A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. VII (4th edition)
Part 2 out of 11
Likewise to honour and to love your child;
If love unto you both may be a fault--
But unto her my love exceeds compare--
Then this hath been my fault, for which I joy,
That in the greatest lust of all my life,
I shall submit for her sake to endure
The pangs of death. O mighty lord of Love,
Strengthen thy vassal boldly to receive
Large wounds into this body for her sake!
Then use my life or death, my lord and king,
For your relief to ease your grieved soul:
For whether I live, or else that I must die
To end your pains, I am content to bear;
Knowing by death I shall bewray the truth
Of that sound heart, which living was her own,
And died alive for her, that lived mine.
TANCRED. Thine, Palurin? What! lives my daughter thine?
Traitor, thou wrong'st me, for she liveth mine.
Rather I wish ten thousand sundry deaths,
Than I to live, and see my daughter thine.
Thine that is dearer than my life to me?
Thine whom I hope to see an emp[e]ress?
Thine whom I cannot pardon from my sight?
Thine unto whom we have bequeath'd our crown?--
Julio, we will that thou inform from us
Renuchio the captain of our guard,
That we command this traitor be convey'd
Into the dungeon underneath our tower;
There let him rest, until he be resolv'd
What farther we intend; which to understand
We will Renuchio repair to us.
JULIO. O, that I might your majesty entreat
With clemency to beautify your seat
Toward this prince, distress'd by his desires,
Too many, all too strong to captivate.
TANCRED. "This is the soundest safety for a king,
To cut them off, that vex or hinder him."
JULIO. "This have I found the safety of a king,
To spare the subjects that do honour him."
TANCRED. Have we been honour'd by this lecher's lust?
JULIO. No, but by his devout submission.
TANCRED. Our fortune says we must do what we may.
JULIO. "This is praise-worth, not to do what you may."
TANCRED. And may the subject countermand the king?
JULIO. No, but entreat him.
TANCRED. What he shall decree?
JULIO. What wisdom shall discern.
TANCRED. Nay, what our word
Shall best determine. We will not reply.
Thou know'st our mind: our heart cannot be eas'd,
But with the slaughter of this Palurin.
[The KING hasteth into his palace.
GUISCARD. O thou great god, who from thy highest throne
Hast stooped down, and felt the force of love,
Bend gentle ears unto the woful moan
Of me poor wretch, to grant that I require!
Help to persuade the same great god, that he
So far remit his might, and slack his fire
From my dear lady's kindled heart, that she
May hear my death without her hurt. Let not
Her face, wherein there is as clear a light
As in the rising moon: let not her cheeks,
As red as is the party-colour'd rose,
Be paled with the news hereof: and so
I yield myself, my seely soul and all,
To him, for her, for whom my death shall show
I liv'd; and as I liv'd, I died her thrall.
Grant this, thou Thunderer: this shall suffice,
My breath to vanish in the liquid skies.
[GUISCARD _is led to prison_.
CHORUS 1. Who doth not know the fruits of Paris' love,
Nor understand the end of Helen's joy?
He may behold the fatal overthrow
Of Priam's house and of the town of Troy--
His death at last and her eternal shame;
For whom so many noble knights were slain.
So many a duke, so many a prince of fame
Bereft his life, and left there in the plain.
Medea's armed hand, Eliza's sword,
Wretched Leander drenched in the flood.
Phillis, so long that waited for her lord:
All these too dearly bought their loves with blood.
CHORUS 2. But he in virtue that his lady serves.
Ne wills but what unto her honour 'longs,
He never from the rule of reason swerves;
He feeleth not the pangs ne raging throngs
Of blind Cupid: he lives not in despair,
As done his servants; neither spends his days
In joy and care, vain hope and throbbing fear:
But seeks alway what may his sovereign please
In honour: he that thus serves, reaps the fruit
Of his sweet service; and no jealous dread,
Nor base suspect of aught to let his suit,
Which causeth oft the lover's heart to bleed,
Doth fret his mind, or burneth in his breast:
He waileth not by day, nor wakes by night,
When every other living thing doth rest;
Nor finds his life or death within her sight.
CHORUS 3. Remember thou in virtue serve therefore
Thy chaste lady: beware thou do not love,
As whilom Venus did the fair Adone,
But as Diana lov'd th'Amazon's son;
Through whose request the gods to him alone
Restor'd new life. The twine that was undone,
Was by the sisters twisted up again.
The love of virtue in thy lady's looks,
The love of virtue in her learned talk;
This love yields matter for eternal books.
This love enticeth him abroad to walk,
There to invent and write new roundelays
Of learn'd conceit, her fancies to allure
To vain delights: such humours he allays,
And sings of virtue and her garments pure.
CHORUS 4. Desire not of thy sovereign the thing
Whereof shame may ensue by any mean;
Nor wish thou aught that may dishonour bring.
So whilom did the learned Tuscan serve
His fair lady; and glory was their end.
Such are the praises lovers done deserve,
Whose service doth to virtue and honour tend.
FINIS ACTUS IV. COMPOSUIT CH. HAT.
ACT V., SCENE 1.
RENUCHIO _cometh out of the palace_.
RENUCHIO. O cruel fate! O miserable chance!
O dire aspect of hateful destinies!
O woe may not be told! Suffic'd it not
That I should see, and with these eyes behold
So foul, so bloody, and so base a deed:
But more to aggravate the heavy cares
Of my perplexed mind, must only I,
Must I alone be made the messenger,
That must deliver to her princely ears
Such dismal news, as when I shall disclose,
I know it cannot but abridge her days?
As when the thunder and three-forked fire,
Rent through the clouds by Jove's almighty power,
Breaks up the bosom of our mother earth,
And burns her heart, before the heat be felt.
In this distress, whom should I most bewail,
My woe, that must be made the messenger
Of these unworthy and unwelcome news?
Or shall I moan thy death, O noble Earl?
Or shall I still lament the heavy hap,
That yet, O Queen, attends thy funeral?
CHORUS 1. What moans be these?
Renuchio, is this Salerne I see?
Doth here King Tancred hold the awful crown?
Is this the place where civil people be?
Or do the savage Scythians here abound?
CHORUS 2. What mean these questions? whither tend these words?
Resolve us maidens, and release our fears.
Whatever news thou bring'st, discover them.
Detain us not in this suspicious dread!
"The thought whereof is greater than the woe."
RENUCHIO. O, whither may I cast my looks? to heaven?
Black pitchy clouds from thence rain down revenge.
The earth shall I behold, stain'd with the gore
Of his heart-blood, that died most innocent?
Which way soe'er I turn mine eyes, methinks
His butcher'd corpse stands staring in my face.
CHORUS 3. We humbly pray thee to forbear these words,
So full of terror to our maiden hearts:
"The dread of things unknown breeds the suspect
Of greater dread, until the worst be known."
Tell therefore what hath chanc'd, and whereunto
This bloody cup thou holdest in thy hand.
RENUCHIO. Since so is your request, that I shall do,
Although my mind so sorrowful a thing
Repines to tell, and though my voice eschews
To say what I have seen; yet since your will
So fixed stands to hear for what I rue,
Your great desires I shall herein fulfil.
Fast by Salerne city, amids the plain,
There stands a hill whose bottom, huge and round.
Thrown out in breadth, a large space doth contain:
And gathering up in height, small from the ground,
Still less and less it mounts: there sometime was
A goodly tower uprear'd, that flower'd in fame
While fate and fortune serv'd; but time doth pass,
And with his sway suppresseth all the same:
For now the walls be even'd with the plain,
And all the rest so foully lies defac'd,
As but the only shade doth there remain
Of that, which there was built in time forepass'd:
And yet that shows what worthy work tofore
Hath there been rear'd. One parcel of that tower
Yet stands, which eating time could not devour:
A strong turret, compact of stone and rock,
Hugy without, but horrible within:
To pass to which, by force of handy stroke,
A crooked strait is made, that enters in,
And leads into this ugly loathsome place.
Within the which, carved into the ground,
A deep dungeon there runs of narrow space.
Dreadful and dark, where never light is found:
Into this hollow cave, by cruel hest
Of King Tancred, were divers servants sent
To work the horror of his furious breast,
Erst nourish'd in his rage, and now stern bent
To have the same perform'd. I woful man,
Amongst the rest, was one to do the thing.
That to our charge so straitly did belong,
In sort as was commanded by the king.
Within which dreadful prison when we came,
The noble County Palurin, that there
Lay chain'd in gyves, fast fetter'd in his bolts,
Out of the dark dungeon we did uprear,
And hal'd him thence into a brighter place,
That gave us light to work our tyranny.
But when I once beheld his manly face,
And saw his cheer, no more appall'd with fear
Of present death, than he whom never dread
Did once amate: my heart abhorred then
To give consent unto so foul a deed:
That wretched death should reave so worthy a man.
On false fortune I cried with loud complaint,
That in such sort o'erwhelms nobility.
But he, whom never grief ne fear could taint,
With smiling cheer himself oft willeth me
To leave to plain his case, or sorrow make
For him; for he was far more glad apaid
Death to embrace thus for his lady's sake,
Than life or all the joys of life, he said.
For loss of life, quoth he, grieves me no more
Than loss of that which I esteemed least:
My lady's grief, lest she should rue therefore,
Is all the cause of grief within my breast.
He pray'd therefore, that we would make report
To her of those his last words he would say:
That, though he never could in any sort
Her gentleness requite, nor never lay
Within his power to serve her as he would;
Yet she possess'd his heart with hand and might,
To do her all the honour that he could.
This was to him, of all the joys that might
Revive his heart, the chiefest joy of all,
That to declare the faithful heart which he
Did bear to her, fortune so well did fall,
That in her love he should both live and die.
After these words he stay'd, and spake no more,
But joyfully beholding us each one,
His words and cheer amazed us so sore,
That still we stood; when forthwith thereupon:
But, why slack you, quoth he, to do the thing
For which you come? make speed, and stay no more:
Perform your master's will. Now tell the king
He hath his life, for which he long'd so sore:
And with those words himself with his own hand
Fast'ned the bands about his neck. The rest
Wond'ring at his stout heart, astonied stand
To see him offer thus himself to death.
What stony breast, or what hard heart of flint
Would not relent to see this dreary sight?
So goodly a man, whom death nor fortune's dint
Could once disarm, murder'd with such despite;
And in such sort bereft, amidst the flowers
Of his fresh years, that ruthful was to seen:
"For violent is death, when he devours
Young men or virgins, while their years be green."
Lo! now our servants seeing him take the bands,
And on his neck himself to make them fast;
Without delay set to their cruel hands,
And sought to work their fierce intent with haste.
They stretch the bloody bands; and when the breath
Began to fail his breast, they slack'd again:
Thrice did they pull, and thrice they loosed him,
So did their hands repine against their hearts:
And ofttimes loosed to his greater pain.
"But date of death, that fixed is so fast,
Beyond his course there may no wight extend;"
For strangled is this noble Earl at last,
Bereft of life, unworthy such an end.
CHORUS. O damned deed!
RENUCHIO. What, deem you this to be
All the sad news that I have to unfold?
Is here, think you, end of the cruelty
That I have seen?
CHORUS. Could any heavier woe
Be wrought to him, than to destroy him so?
RENUCHIO. What, think you this outrage did end so well?
The horror of the fact, the greatest grief,
The massacre, the terror is to tell.
CHORUS. Alack! what could be more? they threw percase
The dead body to be devour'd and torn
Of the wild beasts.
RENUCHIO. Would God it had been cast a savage prey
To beasts and birds: but lo, that dreadful thing
Which e'en the tiger would not work, but to
Suffice his hunger, that hath the tyrant king
Withouten ruth commanded us to do,
Only to please his wrathful heart withal.
Happy had been his chance, too happy, alas!
If birds or beasts had eaten up his corpse,
Yea, heart and all within this cup I bring,
And am constrained now unto the face
Of his dear lady to present the same.
CHORUS. What kind of cruelty is this you name?
Declare forthwith, and whereunto doth tend
This farther plaint.
RENUCHIO. After his breath was gone,
Forced perforce thus from his panting breast,
Straight they despoiled him; and not alone
Contented with his death, on the dead corpse,
Which ravenous beasts forbear to lacerate,
Even upon this our villains fresh begun
To show new cruelty; forthwith they pierce
His naked belly, and unripp'd it so,
That out the bowels gush'd. Who can rehearse
Their tyranny, wherewith my heart yet bleeds?
The warm entrails were torn out of his breast,
Within their hands trembling, not fully dead;
His veins smok'd, his bowels all-to reeked,
Ruthless were rent, and thrown about the place:
All clottered lay the blood in lumps of gore,
Sprent on his corpse, and on his paled face;
His trembling heart, yet leaping, out they tore,
And cruelly upon a rapier
They fix'd the same, and in this hateful wise
Unto the king this heart they do present:
A sight long'd for to feed his ireful eyes.
The king perceiving each thing to be wrought
As he had will'd, rejoicing to behold
Upon the bloody sword the pierced heart,
He calls then for this massy cup of gold,
Into the which the woful heart he cast;
And reaching me the same: now go, quoth he,
Unto my daughter, and with speedy haste
Present her this, and say to her from me,
Thy father hath here in this cup thee sent
That thing to joy and comfort thee withal,
Which thou lovedst best, even as thou wert content
To comfort him with his chief joy of all.
CHORUS. O hateful fact! O passing cruelty!
O murder wrought with too much hard despite!
O heinous deed, which no posterity
Will once believe!
RENUCHIO. Thus was Earl Palurin
Strangled unto the death, yea, after death
His heart and blood disbowell'd from his breast.
But what availeth plaint? It is but breath
Forewasted all in vain. Why do I rest
Here in this place? Why go I not, and do
The hateful message to my charge committed?
O, were it not that I am forced thereto
By a king's will, here would I stay my feet,
Ne one whit farther wade in this intent!
But I must yield me to my prince's hest;
Yet doth this somewhat comfort mine unrest,
I am resolv'd her grief not to behold,
But get me gone, my message being told.
Where is the princess' chamber?
CHORUS. Lo, where she comes.
ACT V., SCENE 2.
GISMUND _cometh out of her chamber, to whom_
RENUCHIO _delivereth his cup, saying_:
RENUCHIO. Thy father, O queen, here in this cup hath sent
The thing to joy and comfort thee withal
Which thou lovedst best, even as thou wast content
To comfort him with his chief joy of all.
GISMUNDA. I thank my father, and thee, gentle squire,
For this thy travail; take thou, for thy pains,
This bracelet, and commend me to the king. [RENUCHIO _departeth_.
So, now is come the long-expected hour,
The fatal hour I have so looked for;
Now hath my father satisfied his thirst
With guiltless blood, which he so coveted.
What brings this cup? Ah me! I thought no less,
It is mine Earl's, my County's pierced heart.
Dear heart, too dearly hast thou bought my love;
Extremely rated at too high a price!
Ah, my sweet heart, sweet wast thou in thy life,
But in thy death thou provest passing sweet.
A fitter hearse than this of beaten gold
Could not be 'lotted to so good an heart:
My father therefore well provided thus
To close and wrap thee up in massy gold,
And therewithal to send thee unto me,
To whom of duty thou dost best belong.
My father hath in all his life bewray'd
A princely care and tender love to me;
But this surpasseth--in his later days
To send me this, mine own dear heart, to me.
Wert thou not mine, dear heart, whilst that my love
Danced and play'd upon thy golden strings?
Art thou not mine, dear heart, now that my love
Is fled to heaven, and got him golden wings?
Thou art mine own, and still mine own shalt be,
Therefore my father sendeth thee to me.
Ah, pleasant harborough of my heart's thought!
Ah, sweet delight, the quickener of my soul!
Seven times accursed be the hand that wrought
Thee this despite, to mangle thee so foul:
Yet in this wound I see mine own true love,
And in this wound thy magnanimity,
And in this wound I see thy constancy.
Go, gentle heart, go rest thee in thy tomb,
Receive this token at thy last farewell. [_She kisseth it_.
Thine own true heart anon will follow thee,
Which panting lusteth for thy company.
Thus hast thou run, poor heart! thy mortal race,
And rid thy life from fickle fortune's snares;
Thus hast thou lost this world and worldly cares,
And of thy foe, to honour thee withal,
Receiv'd a golden grave to thy desert.
Nothing doth want to thy just funeral,
But my salt tears to wash thy bloody wound:
Which to the end thou might'st receive, behold
My father sends thee in this cup of gold;
And thou shalt have them, though I was resolv'd
To shed no tears, but with a cheerful face
Once did I think to wet thy funeral
Only with blood and with no weeping eye.
This done, forthwith my soul shall fly to thee;
For therefore did my father send thee me.
Ah, my pure heart! with sweeter company
Or more content, how safer may I prove
To pass to places all unknown with thee!
Why die I not therefore? why do I stay?
Why do I not this woful life forego,
And with these hands enforce this breath away?
What means this gorgeous glittering head-attire?
How ill beseem these billaments of gold
Thy mournful widowhood? away with them--
[_She undresseth her hair_.
So let thy tresses, flaring in the wind,
Untrimmed hang about thy bared neck.
Now, hellish furies, set my heart on fire,
Bolden my courage, strengthen ye my hands,
Against their kind, to do a kindly deed.
But shall I then unwreaken down descend?
Shall I not work some just revenge on him
That thus hath slain my love? shall not these hands
Fire his gates, and make the flame to climb
Up to the pinnacles with burning brands,
And on his cinders wreak my cruel teen?
Be still, fond girl; content thee first to die,
This venom'd water shall abridge thy life:
[_She taketh a vial of poison out of her pocket_.
This for the same intent provided I,
Which can both ease and end this raging strife.
Thy father by thy death shall have more woe,
Than fire or flames within his gates can bring:
Content thee then in patience hence to go,
Thy death his blood shall wreak upon the king.
Now not alone (a grief to die alone)
"The only mirror of extreme annoy;"
But not alone thou diest, my love, for I
Will be copartner of thy destiny.
Be merry then, my soul; can'st thou refuse
To die with him, that death for thee did choose?
CHORUS 1. What damned fury hath possessed our Queen?
Why sit we still beholding her distress?
Madam, forbear, suppress this headstrong rage.
GISMUNDA. Maidens, forbear your comfortable words.
CHORUS 2. O worthy Queen, rashness doth overthrow
The author of his resolution.
GISMUNDA. Where hope of help is lost, what booteth fear?
CHORUS 3. Fear will avoid the sting of infamy.
GISMUNDA. May good or bad reports delight the dead?
CHORUS 4. If of the living yet the dead have care.
GISMUNDA. An easy grief by counsel may be cur'd.
CHORUS 1. But headstrong mischiefs princes should avoid.
GISMUNDA. In headlong griefs and cases desperate?
CHORUS 2. Call to your mind, Gismund, you are the Queen.
GISMUNDA. Unhappy widow, wife, and paramour.
CHORUS 3. Think on the king.
GISMUNDA. The king, the tyrant king?
CHORUS 4. Your father.
GISMUNDA. Yes, the murtherer of my love.
CHORUS 4. His force.
GISMUNDA. The dead fear not the force of men.
CHORUS 1. His care and grief.
GISMUNDA. That neither car'd for me,
Nor grieved at the murther of my love.
My mind is settled; you with these vain words
Withhold me but too long from my desire.
Depart ye to my chamber.
CHORUS. We will haste
To tell the king hereof.
[CHORUS _depart into the palace_.
GISMUNDA. I will prevent
Both you and him. Lo, here this hearty draught,
The last that in this world I mean to taste,
Dreadless of death, mine Earl, I drink to thee.
So now work on; now doth my soul begin
To hate this light, wherein there is no love;
No love of parents to their children;
No love of princes to their subjects true;
No love of ladies to their dearest loves:
Now pass I to the pleasant land of love,
Where heavenly love immortal flourisheth.
The gods abhor the company of men;
Hell is on earth; yea, hell itself is heaven
Compar'd with earth. I call to witness heaven;
Heaven, said I? No; hell record I call,
And thou, stern goddess of revenging wrongs,
Witness with me, I die for his pure love.
That lived mine.
[_She lieth down, and covereth her face
with her hair_.
ACT V., SCENE 3.
TANCRED _in haste cometh out of his palace with_ JULIO.
TANCRED. Where is my daughter?
JULIO. Behold, here, woful king!
TANCRED. Ah me! break, heart; and thou, fly forth, my soul.
What, doth my daughter Gismund take it so?
What hast thou done? O, let me see thine eyes!
O, let me dress up those untrimmed locks!
Look up, sweet child, look up, mine only joy,
'Tis I, thy father, that beseecheth thee:
Rear up thy body, strain thy dying voice
To speak to him; sweet Gismund, speak to me.
GISMUNDA. Who stays my soul? who thus disquiets me?
TANCRED. 'Tis I, thy father; ah! behold my tears,
Like pearled dew, that trickle down my cheeks,
To wash my silver hairs.
GISMUNDA. O father king,
Forbear your tears, your plaint will not avail.
TANCRED. O my sweet heart, hast thou receiv'd thy life
From me, and wilt thou, to requite the same,
Yield me my death? yea, death, and greater grief--
To see thee die for him, that did defame
Thine honour thus, my kingdom, and thy name?
GISMUNDA. Yea, therefore, father, gave you life to me,
That I should die, and now my date is done.
As for your kingdom and mine own renown,
Which you affirm dishonoured to be,
That fault impute it where it is; for he,
That slew mine Earl, and sent his heart to me,
His hands have brought this shame and grief on us.
But, father, yet if any spark remain
Of your dear love; if ever yet I could
So much deserve, or at your hands desire,
Grant that I may obtain this last request.
TANCRED. Say, lovely child, say on, whate'er it be,
Thy father grants it willingly to thee.
GISMUNDA. My life I crave not, for it is not now
In you to give, nor in myself to save;
Nor crave I mercy for mine Earl and me,
Who hath been slain with too much cruelty.
With patience I must a while abide
Within this life, which now will not be long.
But this is my request--father, I pray
That, since it pleased so your majesty,
I should enjoy my love alive no more,
Yet ne'ertheless let us not parted be,
Whom cruel death could never separate:
But as we liv'd and died together here,
So let our bodies be together tomb'd:
Let him with me, and I with him, be laid
Within one shrine, wherever you appoint.
This if you grant me, as I trust you will,
Although I live not to requite this grace,
Th'immortal gods due recompense shall give
To you for this: and so, vain world, farewell--
My speech is painful, and mine eyesight fails.
TANCRED. My daughter dies--see how the bitter pangs
Of tyrannous death torments her princely heart!
She looks on me, at me she shakes her head;
For me she groans; by me my daughter dies;
I, I the author of this tragedy.--
On me, on me, ye heavens, throw down your ire!
Now dies my daughter! [_she dies_] hence with
princely robes! [_He throws aside his robes_.
O fair in life! thrice fairer in thy death!
Dear to thy father in thy life thou wert,
But in thy death dearest unto his heart;
I kiss thy paled cheeks, and close thine eyes.
This duty once I promis'd to myself
Thou shouldst perform to me; but ah! false hope,
Now ruthful, wretched king, what resteth thee?
Wilt thou now live wasted with misery?
Wilt thou now live, that with these eyes didst see
Thy daughter dead? wilt thou now live to see
Her funerals, that of thy life was stay?
Wilt thou now live that wast her life's decay?
Shall not this hand reach to this heart the stroke?
Mine arms are not so weak, nor are my limbs
So feebled with mine age, nor is my heart
So daunted with the dread of cowardice,
But I can wreak due vengeance on that head,
That wrought the means these lovers now be dead.
Julio, come near, and lay thine own right hand
Upon my thigh--now take thine oath of me.
JULIO. I swear to thee, my liege lord, to discharge
Whatever thou enjoinest Julio.
TANCRED. First, then, I charge thee that my daughter have
Her last request: thou shalt within one tomb
Inter her Earl and her, and thereupon
Engrave some royal epitaph of love.
That done, I swear thee thou shalt take my corpse
Which thou shalt find by that time done to death,
And lay my body by my daughter's side--
Swear this, swear this, I say.
JULIO. I swear.
But will the king do so unkingly now?
TANCRED. A kingly deed the king resolves to do.
JULIO. To kill himself?
TANCRED. To send his soul to ease.
JULIO. Doth Jove command it?
TANCRED. Our stars compel it.
JULIO. The wise man overrules his stars.
TANCRED. So we.
JULIO. Undaunted should the minds of kings endure.
TANCRED. So shall it in this resolution.
Julio, forbear: and as thou lov'st the king,
When thou shalt see him welt'ring in his gore.
Stretching his limbs, and gasping in his groans,
Then, Julio, set to thy helping hand,
Redouble stroke on stroke, and drive the stab
Down deeper to his heart, to rid his soul.
Now stand aside, stir not a foot, lest thou
Make up the fourth to fill this tragedy.
These eyes that first beheld my daughter's shame;
These eyes that longed for the ruthful sight
Of her Earl's heart; these eyes that now have seen
His death, her woe, and her avenging teen;
Upon these eyes we must be first aveng'd.
Unworthy lamps of this accursed lump,
Out of your dwellings! [_Puts out his eyes_] So; it fits us thus
In blood and blindness to go seek the path
That leadeth down to everlasting night.
Why fright'st thou, dastard? be thou desperate;
One mischief brings another on his neck,
As mighty billows tumble in the seas,
Now, daughter, seest thou not how I amerce
My wrath, that thus bereft thee of thy love,
Upon my head? Now, fathers, learn by me,
Be wise, be warn'd to use more tenderly
The jewels of your joys. Daughter, I come.
SPOKEN BY JULIO.
Lo here the sweets of grisly pale despair!
These are the blossoms of this cursed tree,
Such are the fruits of too much love and care,
O'erwhelmed in the sense of misery.
With violent hands he that his life doth end,
His damned soul to endless night doth wend.
Now resteth it that I discharge mine oath,
To see th'unhappy lovers and the king
Laid in one tomb. I would be very loth
You should wait here to see this mournful thing:
For I am sure, and do ye all to wit,
Through grief wherein the lords of Salerne be,
These funerals are not prepared yet:
Nor do they think on that solemnity.
As for the fury, ye must understand,
Now she hath seen th'effect of her desire,
She is departed, and hath left our land.
Granting this end unto her hellish ire.
Now humbly pray we, that our English dames
May never lead their loves into mistrust;
But that their honours may avoid the shames,
That follow such as live in wanton lust.
We know they bear them on their virtues bold,
With blissful chastity so well content
That, when their lives and loves abroad are told,
All men admire their virtuous government;
Worthy to live where fury never came,
Worthy to live where love doth always see,
Worthy to live in golden trump of fame,
Worthy to live and honoured still to be.
Thus end our sorrows with the setting sun:
Now draw the curtains, for our scene is done.
THE WOUNDS OF CIVIL WAR.
The Wounds of Civill War. Lively set forth in the true Tragedies of
Marius and Scilla. As it hath beene publiquely plaide in London, by the
Right Honourable the Lord high Admirall his Servants. Written by Thomas
Lodge, Gent_. O vita! misero longa, faelici brevis. _London, Printed by
John Danter, and are to be sold at the signe of the Sunne in Paules
Church-yarde_. 1594. 4to.
MR. COLLIER'S PREFACE.
Thomas Lodge, in his "Alarum against Usurers," 1584, speaks of his
"birth," and of "the offspring from whence he came," as if he were at
least respectably descended; and on the authority of Anthony Wood, it
has been asserted by all subsequent biographers that he was of a
Lincolnshire family. [The fact is, that Lodge was the second son of Sir
Thomas Lodge, Lord Mayor of London, who died in 1584, by his wife, the
daughter of Sir William Laxton.] Thomas Salter, about the year 1580,
dedicated his "Mirror of Modesty" to [the poet's mother, Lady Anne
Langbaine seems to be under a mistake when he states that Lodge was of
Cambridge. Wood claims him for the University of Oxford, where he
traces him as early as 1573, when he must have been about seventeen
years old, if he were born, as is generally supposed, in 1556. We are
told by himself that he was a Servitor of Trinity College, and that he
was educated under Sir Edward Hoby. At what time and for what cause
Lodge left Oxford is not known; but Stephen Gosson, in the dedication of
his "Plays Confuted in Five Actions," printed about 1582, accuses
him of having become "a vagrant person, visited by the heavy hand of
God," as if he had taken to the stage, and thereby had incurred the
vengeance of heaven. In 1584, when Lodge answered Gosson, he was a
student of Lincoln's Inn; and to "his courteous friends, the
Gentlemen of the Inns of Court," he dedicated his "Alarum against
Usurers." He afterwards, as he informs Lord Hunsdon, in the epistle
before his "Rosalynde," 1590, "fell from books to arms;" and he calls it
"the work of a soldier and a scholar," adding that he had sailed with
Captain Clarke to the islands of Terceras and the Canaries. In 1596, he
published his "Margarite of America," and he mentions that it was
written in the Straits of Magellan, on a voyage with Cavendish. To this
species of vagrancy, however, Gosson did not refer.
That Lodge was vagrant in his pursuits we have sufficient evidence; for,
after having perhaps been upon the stage, having entered himself at
Lincoln's Inn, having become a soldier, and having sailed with Clarke
and Cavendish, he went, according to Wood, to study medicine at
Avignon. This change, if it took place at all, which may admit of
doubt, did not occur until after 1596. In 1595 his "Fig for Momus"
appeared. Besides Satires, it contains Epistles and Eclogues; and in one
of the latter Lodge speaks in his own person, under the character of
"Golde" (the same letters that compose his name), and there states his
determination no longer to pursue ill-rewarded poetry--
"Which sound rewards, since this neglected time,
Repines to yield to men of high desert,
I'll cease to ravel out my wits in rhyme,
For such who make so base account of art;
And since by wit there is no means to climb,
I'll hold the plough awhile, and ply the cart;
And if my muse to wonted course return,
I'll write and judge, peruse, commend and burn."
The dedication of his "Wit's Misery, and the World's Madness," is dated
"from my house, at Low Layton, 5th November 1596."
The principal reasons for supposing that Lodge studied medicine are the
existence of a "Treatise of the Plague," published by "Thomas Lodge,
Doctor in Physic," in 1603, and of a collection of medical recipes in
MS., called "The Poor Man's Legacy," addressed to the Countess of
Arundel, and sold among the books of the Duke of Norfolk. [There can
be little or no question that the physician and poet were one and the
same. In "England's Parnassus," 1600, he is called indifferently Thomas
Lodge and Doctor Lodge.] The author of the "Treatise of the Plague"
expressly tells the Lord Mayor of London, in the dedication, that he was
"bred and brought up" in the city. Thomas Heywood, in his "Troja
Britannica," 1609, enumerates the celebrated physicians then living--
"As famous Butler, Pedy, Turner, Poe,
Atkinson, Lyster, _Lodge_, who still survive."--C. 3.
It hardly deserves remark that Lodge is placed last in this list; but
had he been the same individual who had written for the stage, was the
friend of so many dramatists, and was so well known as a lyric poet, it
seems likely that Heywood would have said more about him. It is a
singular coincidence, that having written how to prevent and cure the
plague, he should die of that disease during the great mortality of
1625. Wood's expressions on this point, however, are not decisive: "He
made his last _exit_ (of the plague, I think) in September 1625, leaving
then behind him a widow called Joan." It has been conjectured [rather
foolishly] that he was a Roman Catholic, from a statement made by one of
his biographers that, while he practised medicine in London, he was much
patronised by persons of that persuasion.
There are but two existing dramatic productions on the title-pages of
which the name of Lodge is found: the one he wrote alone, and the
other in partnership with Robert Greene:--
(1.) The Wounds of Civill War. Lively set forth in the true Tragedies of
Marius and Scilla, &c. Written by Thomas Lodge, Gent. 1594, 4to.
(2.) A Looking Glasse for London and Englande. Made by Thomas Lodge,
Gentleman, and Robert Greene, _in Artibus Magister_. 1594, 1598, 1602,
1617, all in 4to.
The most remarkable [of his works], and that which has been most often
reprinted, is his "Rosalynde" which, as is well known, Shakespeare
closely followed in "As You Like It."
Anterior to the date of any of his other pieces must have been Lodge's
defence of stage-plays, because Stephen Gosson replied to it about 1582.
It was long thought, on the authority of Prynne, that Lodge's tract was
called "The Play of Plays," but Mr Malone ascertained that to be a
different production. The only copy of Lodge's pamphlet seen by Mr
Malone was without a title, and it was probably the same that was sold
among the books of Topham Beauclerc in 1781. It is spoken of in "The
French Academy"  as having "lately passed the press;" but Lodge
himself, in his "Alarum against Usurers," very clearly accounts for its
extreme rarity: he says, "by reason of the slenderness of the subject
(because it was in defence of plaies and play-makers) the godly and
reverent that had to deal in the cause, misliking it, forbad the
publishing;" and he charges Gosson with "comming by a private unperfect
coppye," on which he framed his answer, entitled, "Plays confuted in
Mr Malone ("Shakespeare," by Boswell, ii. 250) contends that Spenser
alludes to Lodge, in his "Tears of the Muses," under the name of Alcon,
in the following lines:--
"And there is pleasing Alcon, could he raise
His tunes from lays to matters of more skill;"
and he adds that Spenser calls Lodge Alcon, from one of the characters
in "A Looking Glasse for London and Englande;" but this argument would
apply just as much to Lodge's coadjutor Greene. Mr Malone further argues
that Lodge, roused by this applause (which he repaid in his "Phillis"),
produced not long afterwards a "matter of more skill," in "The Wounds of
THE MOST LAMENTABLE AND TRUE
MARIUS AND SYLLA.
_Enter on the Capitol_ SULPITIUS, _Tribune_, CAIUS MARIUS,
Q. POMPEY, _Consul_, JUNIUS BRUTUS, LUCRETIUS, CAIUS GRANIUS,
LECTORIUS, LUCIUS MERULA, _Jupiter's Priest, and_ CINNA;
_whom placed, and their Lictors before them with their rods
and axes_, SULPITIUS _beginneth_.
SULPITIUS. Grave senators, and fathers of this state,
Our strange protractions and unkind delays
Where weighty wars doth call us out to fight,
Our factious wits, to please aspiring lords,
(You see) have added power unto our foes,
And hazarded rich Phrygia and Bithinia,
With all our Asian holds and cities too.
Thus Sylla seeking to be general,
Who is invested in our consul's pall,
Hath forced murders in a quiet state;
The cause whereof even Pompey may complain,
Who, seeking to advance a climbing friend,
Hath lost by death a sweet and courteous son.
Who now in Asia but Mithridates
Laughs at these fond dissensions I complain?
While we, in wrangling for a general,
Forsake our friends, forestal our forward war,
And leave our legions full of dalliance:
Waiting our idle wills at Capua.
Fie, Romans! shall the glories of your names,
The wondrous beauty of this capitol,
Perish through Sylla's insolence and pride;
As if that Rome were robb'd of true renown,
And destitute of warlike champions now?
Lo, here the man, the rumour of whose fame,
Hath made Iberia tremble and submit:
See Marius, that in managing estate,
Though many cares and troubles he hath pass'd,
And spent his youth, upon whose reverend head
The milk-white pledge of wisdom sweetly spreads.
He, six times consul, fit for peace or war,
Sits drooping here, content to brook disgrace,
Who glad to fight through follies of his foes
Sighs for your shame, whilst you abide secure.
And I that see and should recure these wrongs,
Through Pompey's late vacation and delay,
Have left to publish him for general,
That merits better titles far than these.
But, nobles, now the final day is come,
When I, your tribune, studying for renown,
Pronounce and publish Marius general,
To lead our legions against Mithridates,
And crave, grave fathers, signs of your content.
Q. POMPEY. Believe me, noble Romans and grave senators,
This strange election, and this new-made law
Will witness our unstable government,
And dispossess Rome of her empery:
For although Marius be renown'd in arms,
Famous for prowess, and grave in warlike drifts,
Yet may the sunshine of his former deeds
Nothing eclipse our Sylla's dignity.
By lot and by election he was made
Chief general against Mithridates,
And shall we then abridge him of that rule?
'Twere injury to Sylla and to Rome:
Nor would the height of his all-daring mind
Brook to the death so vile and foul disgrace.
J. BRUTUS. Why, Pompey, as if the senate had not power
To appoint, dispose, and change their generals!
Rome shall belike be bound to Sylla's rule,
Whose haughty pride and swelling thoughts puff'd-up
Foreshows the reaching to proud Tarquin's state.
Is not his ling'ring to our Roman loss
At Capua, where he braves it out with feasts,
Made known, think you, unto the senate here?
Yes, Pompey, yes; and hereof are we sure,
If Romans' state on Sylla's pride should lie,
Rome's conquests would to Pontus' regions fly;
Therefore, grave and renowned senators,
(Pillars that bear and hold our rule aloft,
You stately, true, and rich pyramids)
Descend into the depth of your estates;
Then shall you find that Sylla is more fit
To rule in Rome domestical affairs,
Than have the conquest of Bithinia,
Which, if once got, he'll but by death forego:
Therefore I say [let] Marius [be] our general.
LUCRETIUS. So thus we strive abroad to win renown,
And nought regard at home our waning states.
Brutus, I say, the many brave exploits,
The warlike acts that Sylla has achiev'd
Show him a soldier and a Roman too,
Whose care is more for country than himself.
Sylla nill brook, that in so many wars,
So hard adventures and so strange extremes,
Hath borne the palm and prize of victory,
Thus with dishonour to give up his charge.
Sylla hath friends and soldiers at command,
That first will make the towers of Rome to shake,
And force the stately capitol to dance,
Ere any rob him of his just renown.
Then we that through the Caspian shores have run,
And spread with ships the Oriental sea,
At home shall make a murder of our friends,
And massacre our dearest countrymen.
LECTORIUS. The power of Sylla nought will 'vail 'gainst Rome;
And let me die, Lucretius, ere I see
Our senate dread for any private man. Therefore,
Renown'd Sulpitius, send for Sylla back:
Let Marius lead our men in Asia.
L. MERULA. The law the senate wholly doth affirm:
Let Marius lead our men in Asia.
ClNNA. Cinna affirms the senate's censure just,
And saith let Marius lead the legions forth.
C. GRANIUS. Honour and victory follow Marius' steps!
For him doth Granius wish to fight for Rome.
SULPITIUS. Why then, you sage and ancient sires of Rome,
Sulpitius here again doth publish forth,
That Marius by the senate here is made
Chief general to lead the legions out
Against Mithridates and his competitors.
Now victory, for honour of Rome, follow Marius!
[_Here let_ MARIUS _rouse himself_.
MARIUS. Sage and imperial senators of Rome,
Not without good advisement have you seen
Old Marius silent during your discourse:
Yet not for that he fear'd to plead his cause,
Or raise his honour trodden down by age,
But that his words should not allure his friends
To stand on stricter terms for his behoof.
Six times the senate by election hath
Made Marius consul over warlike Rome,
And in that space nor Rome nor all the world
Could ever say that Marius was untrue.
These silver hairs, that hang upon my face,
Are witnesses of my unfeigned zeal.
The Cymbrians, that erewhile invaded France,
And held the Roman empire in disdain,
Lay all confounded under Marius' sword:
Fierce Scipio, the mirror once of Rome,
Whose loss as yet my inward soul bewails,
Being ask'd who should succeed and bear his rule,
Even this, quoth he, shall Scipio's armour bear;
And therewithal clapp'd me upon the back.
If then, grave lords, my former-passed youth
Was spent in bringing honours unto Rome,
Let then my age and latter date of years,
Be sealed up for honour unto Rome.
_Here enter_ SYLLA, _with Captains and Soldiers_.
SULPITIUS. Sylla, what mean these arms and warlike troops?
These glorious ensigns and these fierce alarm[s]
'Tis proudly done to brave the capitol!
SYLLA. These arms, Sulpitius, are not borne for hate,
But maintenance of my confirmed state:
I come to Rome with no seditious thoughts,
Except I find too froward injuries.
SULPITIUS. But wisdom would you did forbear
To yield these slight suspicions of contempt,
Where as the senate studieth high affairs.
SYLLA. What serious matters have these lords in hand?
SULPITIUS. The senators with full decree appoint
Old Marius for their captain-general,
To lead thy legions into Asia,
And fight against the fierce Mithridates.
SYLLA. To Marius? Jolly stuff! Why then I see
Your lordships mean to make a babe of me.
J. BRUTUS. 'Tis true, Sylla, the senate hath agreed
That Marius shall those bands and legions bear,
Which you now hold, against Mithridates.
SYLLA. Marius should lead them then, if Sylla said not no;
And I should be a consul's shadow then.
Trustless senators and ungrateful Romans,
For all the honours I have done to Rome,
For all the spoils I brought within her walls,
Thereby for to enrich and raise her pride,
Repay you me with this ingratitude?
You know, unkind, that Sylla's wounded helm
Was ne'er hung up once, or distain'd with rust:
The Marcians that before me fell amain,
And like to winter-hail on every side,
Unto the city Nuba I pursued,
And for your sakes were thirty thousand slain.
The Hippinians and the Samnites Sylla brought
As tributaries unto famous Rome:
Ay, where did Sylla ever draw his sword,
Or lift his warlike hand above his head
For Romans' cause, but he was conqueror?
And now, unthankful, seek you to disgrade
And tear the plumes that Sylla's sword hath won?
Marius, I tell thee Sylla is the man
Disdains to stoop or vail his pride to thee.
Marius, I say thou may'st nor shalt not have
The charge that unto Sylla doth belong,
Unless thy sword could tear it from my heart,
Which in a thousand folds impales the same.
MARIUS. And, Sylla, hereof be thou full assur'd:
The honour, whereto mine undaunted mind
And this grave senate hath enhanced me,
Thou nor thy followers shall derogate.
The space of years that Marius hath o'erpass'd
In foreign broils and civil mutinies,
Hath taught him this: that one unbridled foe
My former fortunes never shall o'ergo.
SYLLA. Marius, I smile at these thy foolish words;
And credit me, should laugh outright, I fear,
If that I knew not how thy froward age
Doth make thy sense as feeble as thy joints.
MARIUS. Sylla, Sylla, Marius' years have taught
Him how to pluck so proud a younker's plumes;
And know, these hairs, that dangle down my face,
In brightness like the silver Rhodope,
Shall add so haughty courage to my mind,
And rest such piercing objects 'gainst thine eyes,
That mask'd in folly age shall force thee stoop.
SYLLA. And by my hand I swear, ere thou shalt 'maze me so,
My soul shall perish but I'll have thy beard.
Say, grave senators, shall Sylla be your general?
SULPITIUS. No: the senate, I, and Rome herself agrees
There's none but Marius shall be general.
Therefore, Sylla, these daring terms unfit
Beseem not thee before the capitol.
SYLLA. Beseem not me? Senators, advise you.
Sylla hath vowed, whose vows the heavens record,
Whose oaths have pierc'd and search'd the deepest vast,
Ay, and whose protestations reign on earth:
This capitol, wherein your glories shine,
Was ne'er so press'd and throng'd with scarlet gowns
As Rome shall be with heaps of slaughtered souls,
Before that Sylla yield his titles up.
I'll make her streets, that peer into the clouds,
Burnish'd with gold and ivory pillars fair,
Shining with jasper, jet, and ebony,
All like the palace of the morning sun,
To swim within a sea of purple blood,
Before I lose the name of general.
MARIUS. These threats against thy country and these lords,
Sylla, proceed from forth a traitor's heart;
Whose head I trust to see advanced up
On highest top of all this capitol,
As erst was many of thy progeny,
Before thou vaunt thy victories in Rome.
SYLLA. Greybeard, if so thy heart and tongue agree,
Draw forth thy legions and thy men at arms;
Rear up thy standard and thy steeled crest,
And meet with Sylla in the fields of Mars,
And try whose fortune makes him general.
MARIUS. I take thy word: Marius will meet thee there,
And prove thee, Sylla, traitor unto Rome,
And all that march under thy trait'rous wings.
Therefore they that love the Senate and Marius,
Now follow him.
SYLLA. And all that love Sylla come down to him:
For the rest, let them follow Marius,
And the devil himself be their captain.
[_Here let the Senate rise and cast away their gowns,
having their swords by their sides. Exit_ MARIUS, _and
with him_ SULPITIUS, JUNIUS, BRUTUS, LECTORIUS.
Q. POMPEY. Sylla, I come to thee.
LUCRETIUS. Sylla, Lucretius will die with thee.
SYLLA. Thanks, my noble lords of Rome.
[_Here let them go down, and_ SYLLA _offers to go
forth, and_ ANTHONY _calls him back_:
ANTHONY. Stay, Sylla; hear Anthony breathe forth
The pleading plaints of sad declining Rome.
SYLLA. Anthony, thou know'st thy honey words do pierce
And move the mind of Sylla to remorse:
Yet neither words nor pleadings now must serve:
When as mine honour calls me forth to fight:
Therefore, sweet Anthony, be short for Sylla's haste.
ANTHONY. For Sylla's haste! O, whither wilt thou fly?
Tell me, my Sylla, what dost thou take in hand?
What wars are these thou stirrest up in Rome?
What fire is this is kindled by thy wrath?
A fire that must be quench'd by Romans' blood.
A war that will confound our empery;
And last, an act of foul impiety.
Brute beasts nill break the mutual law of love,
And birds affection will not violate:
The senseless trees have concord 'mongst themselves,
And stones agree in links of amity.
If they, my Sylla, brook not to have jar,
What then are men, that 'gainst themselves do war?
Thou'lt say, my Sylla, honour stirs thee up;
Is't honour to infringe the laws of Rome?
Thou'lt say, perhaps, the titles thou hast won
It were dishonour for thee to forego;
O, is there any height above the highest,
Or any better than the best of all?
Art thou not consul? art thou not lord of Rome?
What greater titles should our Sylla have?
But thou wilt hence, thou'lt fight with Marius,
The man the senate, ay, and Rome hath chose.
Think this, before thou never lift'st aloft,
And lettest fall thy warlike hand adown,
But thou dost raze and wound thy city Rome:
And look, how many slaughter'd souls lie slain
Under thy ensigns and thy conquering lance,
So many murders mak'st thou of thyself.
SYLLA. Enough, my Anthony, for thy honey'd tongue
Washed in a syrup of sweet conserves,
Driveth confused thoughts through Sylla's mind:
Therefore suffice thee, I may nor will not hear.
So farewell, Anthony; honour calls me hence:
Sylla will fight for glory and for Rome.
[_Exit_ SYLLA _and his followers_.
L. MERULA. See, noble Anthony, the trustless state of rule,
The stayless hold of matchless sovereignty:
Now fortune beareth Rome into the clouds,
To throw her down into the lowest hells;
For they that spread her glory through the world,
Are they that tear her proud, triumphant plumes:
The heart-burning pride of proud Tarquinius
Rooted from Rome the sway of kingly mace,
And now this discord, newly set abroach,
Shall raze our consuls and our senates down.
ANTHONY. Unhappy Rome, and Romans thrice accurs'd!
That oft with triumphs fill'd your city walls
With kings and conquering rulers of the world,
Now to eclipse, in top of all thy pride,
Through civil discords and domestic broils.
O Romans, weep the tears of sad lament,
And rend your sacred robes at this exchange,
For fortune makes our Rome a banding ball,
Toss'd from her hand to take the greater fall.
GRANIUS. O, whence proceed these foul, ambitious thoughts,
That fire men's hearts and make them thirst for rule?
Hath sovereignty so much bewitch'd the minds
Of Romans, that their former busied cares,
Which erst did tire in seeking city's good,
Must now be chang'd to ruin of her walls?
Must they, that rear'd her stately temples up,
Deface the sacred places of their gods?
Then may we wail, and wring our wretched hands,
Sith both our gods, our temples, and our walls,
Ambition makes fell fortune's spiteful thralls.
[_A great alarum. Let young_ MARIUS _chase_ POMPEY
over the stage, and old_ MARIUS _chase_ LUCRETIUS.
_Then let enter three or four Soldiers, and his
ancient with his colours, and_ SYLLA _after them
with his hat in his hand: they offer to fly away_.
SYLLA. Why, whither fly you, Romans,
What mischief makes this flight?
Stay, good my friends: stay, dearest countrymen!
1ST SOLDIER. Stay, let us hear what our Lord Sylla say'th.
SYLLA. What, will you leave your chieftains, Romans, then,
And lose your honours in the gates of Rome?
What, shall our country see, and Sylla rue,
These coward thoughts so fix'd and firm'd in you?
What, are you come from Capua to proclaim
Your heartless treasons in this happy town?
What, will you stand and gaze with shameless looks,
Whilst Marius' butchering knife assails our throats?
Are you the men, the hopes, the stays of state?
Are you the soldiers prest for Asia?
Are you the wondered legions of the world,
And will you fly these shadows of resist?
Well, Romans, I will perish through your pride,
That thought by you to have return'd in pomp;
And, at the least, your general shall prove,
Even in his death, your treasons and his love.
Lo, this the wreath that shall my body bind,
Whilst Sylla sleeps with honour in the field:
And I alone, within these colours shut,
Will blush your dastard follies in my death.
So, farewell, heartless soldiers and untrue,
That leave your Sylla, who hath loved you. [_Exit_.
1ST SOLDIER. Why, fellow-soldiers, shall we fly the field,
And carelessly forsake our general?
What, shall our vows conclude with no avail?
First die, sweet friends, and shed your purple blood,
Before you lose the man that wills you good.
Then to it, brave Italians, out of hand!
Sylla, we come with fierce and deadly blows
To venge thy wrongs and vanquish all thy foes.
[_Exeunt to the alarum_.
ACTUS SECUNDUS, SCENA PRIMA.
_Enter_ SYLLA _triumphant_; LUCRETIUS, POMPEY,
SYLLA. You, Roman soldiers, fellow-mates in arms,
The blindfold mistress of uncertain chance
Hath turn'd these traitorous climbers from the top,
And seated Sylla in the chiefest place--
The place beseeming Sylla and his mind.
For, were the throne, where matchless glory sits
Empal'd with furies, threatening blood and death,
Begirt with famine and those fatal fears,
That dwell below amidst the dreadful vast,
Tut, Sylla's sparkling eyes should dim with clear
The burning brands of their consuming light,
And master fancy with a forward mind,
And mask repining fear with awful power:
For men of baser metal and conceit
Cannot conceive the beauty of my thought.
I, crowned with a wreath of warlike state,
Imagine thoughts more greater than a crown,
And yet befitting well a Roman mind.
Then, gentle ministers of all my hopes,
That with your swords made way unto my wish,
Hearken the fruits of your courageous fight.
In spite of all these Roman basilisks,
That seek to quell us with their currish looks,
We will to Pontus: we'll have gold, my hearts;
Those oriental pearls shall deck our brows.
And you, my gentle friends, you Roman peers:
Kind Pompey, worthy of a consul's name,
You shall abide the father of the state,
Whilst these brave lads, Lucretius, and I,
In spite of all these brawling senators,
Will, shall, and dare attempt on Asia,
And drive Mithridates from out his doors.
POMPEY. Ay, Sylla, these are words of mickle worth,
Fit for the master of so great a mind.
Now Rome must stoop, for Marius and his friends
Have left their arms, and trust unto their heels.
SYLLA. But, Pompey, if our Spanish jennets' feet
Have learnt to post it of their mother-wind,
I hope to trip upon the greybeard's heels,
Till I have cropp'd his shoulders from his head.
And for his son, the proud, aspiring boy,
His beardless face and wanton, smiling brows,
Shall, if I catch him, deck yond' capitol.
The father, son, the friends and soldiers all,
That fawn on Marius, shall with fury fall.
LUCRETIUS. And what event shall all these troubles bring?
SYLLA. This--Sylla in fortune will exceed a king.
But, friends and soldiers, with dispersed bands
Go seek out Marius' fond confederates:
Some post along those unfrequented paths,
That track by nooks unto the neighbouring sea:
Murder me Marius, and maintain my life.
And that his favourites in Rome may learn
The difference betwixt my fawn and frown,
Go cut them short, and shed their hateful blood,
To quench these furies of my froward mood.
LUCRETIUS. Lo, Sylla, where our senators approach;
Perhaps to 'gratulate thy good success.
_Enter_ ANTHONY, GRANIUS, LEPIDUS.
SYLLA. Ay, that _perhaps_ was fitly placed there:
But, my Lucretius, these are cunning lords,
Whose tongues are tipp'd with honey to deceive.
As for their hearts, if outward eyes may see them,
The devil scarce with mischief might agree them.
LEPIDUS. Good fortune to our consul, worthy Sylla.
SYLLA. And why not general 'gainst the King of Pontus?
GRANIUS. And general against the King of
SYLLA. Sirrah, your words are good, your thoughts are ill.
Each milkwhite hair amid this mincing beard,
Compar'd with millions of thy treacherous thoughts,
Would change their hue through vigour of thy hate.
But, did not pity make my fury thrall,
This sword should finish hate, thy life, and all.
I prythee, Granius, how doth Marius?
GRANIUS. As he that bides a thrall to thee and fate:
Living in hope, as I and others do,
To catch good fortune, and to cross thee too.
SYLLA. Both blunt and bold, but too much mother-wit.
To play with fire, where fury streams about:
Curtail your tale, fond man, cut off the rest;
But here I will dissemble for the best.
GRANIUS. Sylla, my years have taught me to discern
Betwixt ambitious pride and princely zeal;
And from thy youth these peers of Home have mark'd
A rash revenging humour in thy brain.
Thy tongue adorn'd with flowing eloquence,
And yet I see imprinted in thy brows
A fortunate but froward governance.
And though thy rival Marius, mated late
By backward working of his wretched fate,
Is fall'n; yet, Sylla, mark what I have seen
Even here in Rome. The fencer Spectacus
Hath been as fortunate as thou thyself;
But when that Crassus' sword assayed his crest,
The fear of death did make him droop for woe.
SYLLA. You saw in Rome this brawling fencer die,
When Spectacus by Crassus was subdued.
Why so? but, sir, I hope you will apply,
And say like Spectacus that I shall die.
Thus peevish eld, discoursing by a fire,
Amidst their cups will prate how men aspire.
Is this the greeting, Romans, that you give
Unto the patron of your monarchy?
Lucretius, shall I play a pretty jest?
LUCRETIUS. What Sylla will, what Roman dare withstand?
SYLLA. A brief and pleasing answer, by my head.
Why, tell me, Granius, dost thou talk in sport?
GRANIUS. No, Sylla, my discourse is resolute.
Not coin'd to please thy fond and cursed thoughts:
For were my tongue betray'd with pleasing words
To feed the humours of thy haughty mind,
I rather wish the rot should root it out.
SYLLA. The bravest brawler that I ever heard.
But, soldiers, since I see he is oppress'd
With crooked choler, and our artists teach
That fretting blood will press through open'd veins,
Let him that has the keenest sword arrest
The greybeard, and cut off his head in jest.
Soldiers, lay hands on Granius.
GRANIUS. Is this the guerdon then of good advice?
SYLLA. No, but the means to make fond men more wise.
Tut, I have wit, and carry warlike tools,
To charm the scolding prate of wanton fools.
Tell me of fencers and a tale of fate!
No, Sylla thinks of nothing but a state.
GRANIUS. Why, Sylla, I am arm'd the worst to try.
SYLLA, I pray thee then, Lucretius, let him die.
[_Exeunt with_ GRANIUS.
Beshrew me, lords, but in this jolly vein
'Twere pity but the prating fool were slain.
I fear me Pluto will be wrath with me,
For to detain so grave a man as he.
ANTHONY. But seek not, Sylla, in this quiet state
To work revenge upon an aged man,
A senator, a sovereign of this town.
SYLLA. The more the cedar climbs, the sooner down:
And, did I think the proudest man in Rome
Would wince at that which I have wrought or done,
I would and can control his insolence.
Why, senators, is this the true reward,
Wherewith you answer princes for their pain,
As when this sword hath made our city free,
A braving mate should thus distemper me?
But, Lepidus and fellow-senators,
I am resolved, and will not brook your taunts:
Who wrongeth Sylla, let him look for stripes.
ANTHONY. Ay, but the milder passions show the man;
For as the leaf doth beautify the tree,
The pleasant flow'rs bedeck the painted spring,
Even so in men of greatest reach and power
A mild and piteous thought augments renown.
Old Anthony did never see, my lord,
A swelling show'r, that did continue long:
A climbing tower that did not taste the wind:
A wrathful man not wasted with repent.
I speak of love, my Sylla, and of joy,
To see how fortune lends a pleasant gale
Unto the spreading sails of thy desires;
And, loving thee, must counsel thee withal:
For, as by cutting fruitful vines increase,
So faithful counsels work a prince's peace.
SYLLA. Thou honey-talking father, speak thy mind.
ANTHONY. My Sylla, scarce those tears are dried up,
That Roman matrons wept to see this war:
Along the holy streets the hideous groans
Of murdered men infect the weeping air:
Thy foes are fled, not overtaken yet,
And doubtful is the hazard of this war:
Yea, doubtful is the hazard of this war,
For now our legions draw their wasteful swords
To murder whom? Even Roman citizens!
To conquer whom? Even Roman citizens!
Then, if that Sylla love these citizens,
If care of Rome, if threat of foreign foes,
If fruitful counsels of thy forward friends,
May take effect, go fortunate, and drive
The King of Pontus out of Asia;
Lest, while we dream on civil mutinies,
Our wary foes assail our city walls.
POMPEY. My long-concealed thoughts, Mark Anthony,
Must seek discovery through thy pliant words.
Believe me, Sylla, civil mutinies
Must not obscure thy glories and our names.
Then, sith that factious Marius is suppress'd,
Go spread thy colours 'midst the Asian fields;
Meanwhile myself will watch this city's weal.
SYLLA. Pompey, I know thy love, I mark thy words,
And, Anthony, thou hast a pleasing vein;
But, senators, I harbour in my head
With every thought of honour some revenge.
_Enter LUCRETIUS with the head_.
Speak, what, shall Sylla be your general?
LEPIDUS. We do decree that Sylla shall be general?
SYLLA. And wish you Sylla's weal and honour too?
ANTHONY. We wish both Sylla's weal and honour too.
SYLLA. Then take away the scandal of this state,
Banish the name of tribune out of town;
Proclaim false Marius and his other friends
Foemen and traitors to the state of Rome,
And I will wend and work so much by force,
As I will master false Mithridates.
LEPIDUS. The name of tribune hath continued long.
SYLLA. So shall not Lepidus, if he withstand me.
Sirrah, you see the head of Granius:
Watch you his hap, unless you change your words.
Pompey, now please me: Pompey, grant my suit.
POMPEY. Lictors, proclaim this our undaunted doom.
We will that Marius and his wretched sons:
His friends Sulpitius, Claudius, and the rest
Be held for traitors, and acquit the men,
That shall endanger their unlucky lives;
And henceforth tribune's name and state shall cease.
Grave senators, how like you this decree?
LEPIDUS. Even as our consuls wish, so let it be.
SYLLA. Then, Lepidus, all friends in faith for me,
So leave I Rome to Pompey and my friends,
Resolv'd to manage those our Asian wars.
Frolic, brave soldiers, we must foot it now:
Lucretius, you shall bide the brunt with me.
Pompey, farewell, and farewell, Lepidus.
Mark Anthony, I leave thee to thy books;
Study for Rome and Sylla's royalty.
But, by my sword, I wrong this greybeard's head;
Go, sirrah, place it on the capitol:
A just promotion fit for Sylla's foe.
Lordings, farewell: come, soldiers, let us go.
POMPEY. Sylla, farewell, and happy be thy chance,
Whose war both Rome and Romans must advance.
_Enter the Magistrates of Minturnum with_ MARIUS
_very melancholy_: LUCIUS FAVORINUS, PAUSANIUS,
_with some attendants_.
PAUSANIUS. My lord, the course of your unstayed fate,
Made weak through that your late unhappy fight,
Withdraws our wills that fain would work your weal:
For long experience and the change of times,
The innocent suppressions of the just,
In leaning to forsaken men's relief,
Doth make us fear, lest our unhappy town
Should perish through the angry Roman's sword.
MARIUS. Lords of Minturnum, when I shap'd my course,
To fly the danger of pursuing death,
I left my friends, and all alone attain'd,
In hope of succours, to this little town,
Relying on your courtesies and truth.
What foolish fear doth then amaze you thus?
FAVORINUS. O Marius, thou thyself, thy son, thy friends,
Are banished, and exiles out of Rome,
Proclaim'd for traitors, reft of your estates,
Adjudg'd to death with certain warrantise:
Should then so small a town, my lord, as this
Hazard their fortunes to supply your wants?
MARIUS. Why, citizens, and what is Marius?
I tell you, not so base as to despair,
Yea, able to withstand ingratitudes.
Tell me of foolish laws, decreed at Rome
To please the angry humours of my foe!
Believe me, lords, I know and am assur'd,
That magnanimity can never fear,
And fortitude so conquer silly fate,
As Sylla, when he hopes to have my head,
May hap ere long on sudden lose his own.
PAUSANIUS. A hope beseeming Marius; but, I fear,
Too strange to have a short and good event.
MARIUS. Why, Sir Pausanius, have you not beheld
Campania plains fulfill'd with greater foes,
Than is that wanton milk-sop, nature's scorn.
Base-minded men to live in perfect hope,
Whose thoughts are shut within your cottage eaves,
Refuse not Marius, that must favour you:
For these are parts of unadvised men,
With present fear to lose a perfect friend,
That can, will, may control, command, subdue,
That braving boy, that thus bewitcheth you.
FAVORINUS. How gladly would we succour you, my lord,
But that we fear--
MARIUS. What? the moonshine in the water!
Thou wretched stepdame of my fickle state,
Are these the guerdons of the greatest minds?
To make them hope and yet betray their hap,
To make them climb to overthrow them straight?
Accurs'd thy wreak, thy wrath, thy bale, thy weal,
That mak'st me sigh the sorrows that I feel!
Untrodden paths my feet shall rather trace,
Than wrest my succours from inconstant hands:
Rebounding rocks shall rather ring my ruth,
Than these Campanian piles, where terrors bide:
And nature, that hath lift my throne so high,
Shall witness Marius' triumphs, if he die.
But she, that gave the lictor's rod and axe
To wait my six times consulship in Rome,
Will not pursue where erst she flattered so.
Minturnum then, farewell, for I must go;
But think for to repent you of your no.
PAUSANIUS. Nay stay, my lord, and deign in private here
To wait a message of more better worth:
Your age and travels must have some relief;
And be not wrath, for greater men than we
Have feared Rome and Roman tyranny.
MARIUS. You talk it now like men confirmed in faith.
Well, let me try the fruits of your discourse,
For care my mind and pain my body wrongs.
PAUSANIUS. Then, Favorinus, shut his lordship up
Within some secret chamber in the state.
Meanwhile, we will consult to keep him safe,
And work some secret means for his supply.
MARIUS. Be trusty, lords; if not, I can but die.
PAUSANIUS. Poor, hapless Roman, little wottest thou
The weary end of thine oppressed life.
LUCIUS. Why, my Pausanius, what imports these words?
PAUSANIUS. O Lucius, age hath printed in my thoughts
A memory of many troubles pass'd.
The greatest towns and lords of Asia
Have stood on tickle terms through simple truth:
The Rhodian records well can witness this.
Then, to prevent our means of overthrow,
Find out some stranger, that may suddenly
Enter the chamber, where as Marius lies,
And cut him short; the present of whose head
Shall make the Romans praise us for our truth,
And Sylla prest to grant us privilege.
LUCIUS. A barbarous act to wrong the men that trust.
PAUSANIUS. In country's cause injustice proveth just.
Come, Lucius, let not silly thought of right
Subject our city to the Roman's might:
For why you know in Marius only end
Rome will reward, and Sylla will befriend.
LUCIUS. Yet all successions will us discommend.
_Enter_ MARIUS _the younger_; CETHEGUS, LECTORIUS,
_with Roman Lords and Soldiers_.
YOUNG MARIUS. The wayward lady of this wicked world,
That leads in luckless triumph wretched men,
My Roman friends, hath forced our desires,
And fram'd our minds to brook too base relief.
What land or Lybian desert is unsought
To find my father Marius and your friend?
Yea, they whom true relent could never touch--
These fierce Numidians, hearing our mishaps,
Weep floods of moan to wail our wretched fates.
Thus we, that erst with terrors did attaint
The Bactrian bounds, and in our Roman wars
Enforc'd the barbarous borderers of the Alps
To tremble with the terrors of our looks,
Now fly, poor men, affrighted without harms:
Seeking amidst the desert rocks and dens
For him, that whilom in our capitol
Even with a beck commanded Asia.
Thou woful son of such a famous man,
Unsheathe thy sword, conduct these warlike men
To Rome, unhappy mistress of our harms:
And there, since tyrants' power hath thee oppress'd,
And robb'd thee of thy father, friends, and all,
So die undaunted, killing of thy foes,
That were the offspring of these wretched woes.
LECTORIUS. Why, how now, Marius, will you mate us thus,
That with content adventure for your love?
Why, noble youth, resolve yourself on this,
That son and father both have friends in Rome,
That seek old Marius' rest and your relief.
YOUNG MARIUS. Lectorius, friends are geason now-a-days,
And grow to fume, before they taste the fire.
Adversities bereaving man's avails,
They fly like feathers dallying in the wind:
They rise like bubbles in a stormy rain,
Swelling in words, and flying faith and deeds.
CETHEGUS. How fortunate art thou, my lovely lord,
That in thy youth may'st reap the fruits of age;
And having lost occasion's holdfast now,
May'st learn hereafter how to entertain her well.
But sudden hopes do swarm about my heart:
Be merry, Romans; see, where from the coast
A weary messenger doth post him fast.
_Enter_ CINNA'S SLAVE, _with a letter enclosed,
posting in haste_.
LECTORIUS. It should be Cinna's slave, or else I err,
For in his forehead I behold the scar,
Wherewith he marketh still his barbarous swains.
YOUNG MARIUS. O, stay him, good Lectorius, for me-seems
His great post-haste some pleasure should present.
LECTORIUS. Sirrah, art thou of Rome?
SLAVE. Perhaps, sir, no.
LECTORIUS. Without perhaps, say, sirrah, is it so?
SLAVE. This is Lectorius, Marius' friend, I trow;
Yet were I best to learn the certainty,
Lest some dissembling foes should me descry. [_Aside_.
YOUNG MARIUS. Sirrah, leave off this foolish dalliance,
Lest with my sword I wake you from your trance.
SLAVE. O happy man, O labours well-achiev'd!
How hath this chance my weary limbs revived:
O noble Marius! O princely Marius!
YOUNG MARIUS. What means this peasant by his great rejoice?
SLAVE. O worthy Roman, many months have past
Since Cinna, now the consul and my lord,
Hath sent me forth to seek thy friends and thee.
All Lybia, with our Roman presidents,
Numidia, full of unfrequented ways,
These weary limbs have trod to seek you out,
And now, occasion pitying of my pains,
I late arriv'd upon this wished shore,
Found out a sailor born in Capua,
That told me how your lordship pass'd this way.
YOUNG MARIUS. A happy labour, worthy some reward.
How fares thy master? What's the news at Rome?
SLAVE. Pull out the pike from off this javelin-top,
And there are tidings for these lords and thee.
YOUNG MARIUS. A policy beseeming Cinna well:
Lectorius, read, and break these letters up.
To his Honourable friend Marius the younger, greeting.
_Being consul (for the welfare both of father and son, with other thy
accomplices), I have, under an honest policy, since my instalment in the
consulship, caused all Sylla's friends that were indifferent, with the
other neighbouring cities, to revolt. Octavius, my fellow-consul, with
the rest of the senate, mistrusting me, and hearing how I sought to
unite the old citizens with the new, hath wrought much trouble, but to
no effect. I hope the soldiers of Capua shall follow our faction, for
Sylla, hearing of these hurly-burlies, is hasting homeward, very
fortunate in his wars against Mithridates. And it is to be feared that
some of his friends here have certified him of my proceedings, and
purpose to restore you. Cethegus and Lectorius I hear say are with you.
Censorinus and Albinovanus will shortly visit you. Therefore haste and
seek out your father, who is now, as I hear, about Minturnum. Levy what
power you can with all expedition, and stay not_.
Rome, the 5 Kalends of December.
_Your unfeigned friend,_
YOUNG MARIUS. Yea, fortune, shall young Marius climb aloft?
Then woe to my repining foes in Rome!
And if I live, sweet queen of change, thy shrines
Shall shine with beauty 'midst the capitol.
Lectorius, tell me what were best be done?
LECTORIUS. To sea, my lord; seek your warlike sire:
Send back this peasant with your full pretence,
And think already that our pains have end,
Since Cinna, with his followers, is your friend.
YOUNG MARIUS. Yea, Romans, we will furrow through the foam
Of swelling floods, and to the sacred twins
Make sacrifice, to shield our ships from storms.
Follow me, lords; come, gentle messenger,
Thou shalt have gold and glory for thy pains.
ACTUS TERTIUS. SCENA PRIMA.
_Enter_ CINNA, OCTAVIUS, ANTHONY, _Lictors, Citizens_.
CINNA. Upbraiding senators, bewitch'd with wit,
That term true justice innovation;
You ministers of Sylla's mad conceits,
Will consuls, think you, stoop to your controls?
These younger citizens, my fellow-lords,
Bound to maintain both Marius and his son,
Crave but their due, and will be held as good
For privilege as those of elder age;
For they are men conform'd to feats of arms,
That have both wit and courage to command.
These favourites of Octavius, that with age
And palsies shake their javelins in their hands,
Like heartless men attainted all with fear:
And should they then overtop the youth?
No, nor this consul, nor Mark Anthony,
Shall make my followers faint or lose their right;
But I will have them equal with the best.
ANTHONY. Why then the senate's name, whose reverend rule
Hath blazed our virtues 'midst the western isle,
Must be obscur'd by Cinna's forced power.
O citizens! are laws of country left?
Is justice banish'd from this capitol?
Must we, poor fathers, see your drooping bands
Enter the sacred synod of this state?
O brutish fond presumptions of this age!
Rome! would the mischiefs might obscure my life,
So I might counsel consuls to be wise.
Why, countrymen, wherein consists this strife?
Forsooth the younger citizens will rule;
The old men's heads are dull and addle now;
And in elections youth will bear the sway.
O Cinna, see I not the woful fruits
Of these ambitious stratagems begun?
Each flattering tongue that dallieth pretty words
Shall change our fortunes and our states at once.
Had I ten thousand tongues to talk the care,
So many eyes to weep their woful miss,
So many pens to write these many wrongs,
My tongue your thoughts, my eyes your tears, should move,
My pen your pains by reason should approve.
CINNA. Why, Anthony, seal up those sugar'd lips,
For I will bring my purpose to effect.
ANTHONY. Doth Cinna like to interrupt me, then?
CINNA. Ay, Cinna, sir, will interrupt you now.
I tell thee, Mark, old Marius is at hand,
The very patron of this happy law,
Who will revenge thy cunning eloquence.
ANTHONY. I talk not, I, to please or him or thee,
But what I speak, I think and practise too:
'Twere better Sylla learnt to mend in Rome,
Than Marius come to tyrannise in Rome.
OCTAVIUS. Nay, Marius shall not tyrannise in Rome,
Old citizens; as Sylla late ordain'd,
King Tullius' laws shall take their full effect:
The best and aged men shall in their choice,
Both bear the day, and firm [th'] election.
CINNA. O brave! Octavius, you will beard me then,
The elder consul and old Marius' friend;
And these Italian freemen must be wrong'd.
First shall the fruit of all thine honours fail,
And this my poniard shall despatch thy life.
LEPIDUS. Such insolence was never seen in Rome:
Nought wanteth here but name to make a king.
OCTAVIUS. Strike, villain, if thou list, for I am prest
To make as deep a furrow in thy breast!
YOUNG CITIZEN. The young men's voices shall prevail, my lords.
OLD CITIZEN. And we will firm our honours by our bloods.
Back to Full Books