Old English Plays, Vol. I
Part 5 out of 7
Not _Vesta's_ but her owne; with Roses strow
The paths that bring thee to her blessed shrine;
Cloath all her Altares in her richest Robes
And hang her walles with stories of such loves
Have rais'd her Tryumphs; and 'bove all at last
Record this day, the happy day in which
_Bellina_ prov'd to love a Convertite.
Be mercifull and save me.
_Bellina_. You are defil'd with Seas of Christians blood,
An enemy to Heaven and which is good;
And cannot be a loving friend to me.
_Hub_. If I have sinn'd forgive me, you iust powers:
My ignorance, not cruelty has don't.
And here I vow my selfe to be hereafter
What ere _Bellina_ shall instruct me in:
For she was never made but to possesse
The highest Mansion 'mongst your Dignities,
Nor can Heaven let her erre.
_Bellina_. On that condition thus I spread my armes,
Whose chaste embraces ne're toucht man before;
And will to _Hubert_ all the favour shew
His vertuous love can covet.
I will be ever his; goe thou to Warre,
These hands shall arme thee; and Ile watch thy Tent
Till from the battaile thou bring'st victory.
In peace Ile sit by thee and read or sing
Stanzaes of chaste love, of love purifi'd
From desires drossie blacknesse; nay when our clouds
Of ignorance are quite vanisht, and that a holy
Religious knot between us may be tyed,
_Bellina_ here vowes to be _Hubert's_ bride:
Else doe I sweare perpetuall chastity.
_Hub_. Thy vowes I seale, be thou my ghostly Tutor;
And, all my actions levell'd to thy thoughts,
I am thy Creature.
_Bellina_. Let Heaven, too, but now propitious prove
And for thy soule thou hast wonne a happy love.
Come, shall we to my Father.
_Enter the King on his bed, two Physitians,
Anthony Damianus and Cosmo_.
_King_. Are you Physitians?
Are you those men that proudly call your selves
The helps of Nature?
_Ant_. Oh, my good Lord, have patience.
_King_. What should I doe? lye like a patient Asse?
Feele my selfe tortur'd by this diffused poyson,
But tortur'd more by these unsavoury drugges?
_Ant_. Come one of you your selves and speake to him.
1 _Phys_. How fares your Highnesse?
_King_. Never worse:--What's he?
_Dami_. One of your Highnesse Doctors.
_King_. Come, sit neare me;
Feele my pulse once again and tell me, Doctor,
Tell me in tearmes that I may understand,--
I doe not love your gibberish,--tell me honestly
Where the Cause lies, and give a Remedy,
And that with speed; or in despight of Art,
Of Nature, you and all your heavenly motions,
Ile recollect so much of life into me
As shall give space to see you tortur'd.
Some body told me that a Bath of mans blood
Would restore me. Christians shall pay for't;
Fetch the Bishop hither, he shall begin.
_Cosm_. Hee's gone for.
_King_. What's my disease?
1 _Phys_. My Lord, you are poyson'd.
_King_. I told thee so my selfe, and told thee how:
But what's the reason that I have no helpe?
The Coffers of my Treasury are full,
Or, if they were not, tributary Christians
Bring in sufficient store to pay your fees,
If that you gape at.
2 _Phys_. Wilt please your Highnesse then to take this Cordiall?
Gold never truely did you good till now.
_King_. 'Tis gone.
2 _Phys_. My Lord, it was the perfectst tincture
Of Gold that ever any Art produc'd:
With it was mixt a true rare Quintessence
Extracted out of Orientall Bezar,
And with it was dissolv'd the Magisteriall
Made of the Horne _Armenia_ so much boast of;
Which, though dull Death had usurp't Natures right,
Is able to create new life agen.
_King_. Why does it good on men and not on Kings?
We have the selfe-same passages for Nature
With mortall men; our pulses beate like theirs:
We are subiect unto passions as they are.
I finde it now, but to my griefe I finde,
Life stands not with us on such ticklish points,
What is't, because we are Kings, Life takes it leave
With greater state? No, no; the envious Gods
Maligne our happinesse. Oh that my breath had power
With my last words to blast their Deities.
1 _Phys_. The Cordiall that you tooke requires rest:
For healths sake, good my Lord, repose your selfe.
_King_. Yes, any thing for health; draw round the Curtaines.
_Dami_. Wee'le watch by him whilst you two doe consult.
1 _Phys_. What guesse you by that Urine?
2 _Phys_. Surely Death!
1 _Phys_. Death certaine, without contradiction,
For though the Urin be a whore and lies,
Yet where I finde her in all parts agree
With other Symtomes of apparent death
Ile give her faith. Pray, Sir, doe but marke
These black Hypostacies; it plainely shewes
Mortification generally through the spirits;
And you may finde the Pulse to shew as much
By his uncertainty of time and strength.
2 _Phys_. We finde the spirits often suffisticated
By many accidents, but yet not mortified;
A sudden feare will doe it.
1 _Phys_. Very right;
But there's no malitious humour mixt
As in the king: Sir, you must understand
A Scorpion stung him: now a Scorpion is
A small compacted creature in whom Earth
Hath the predominance, but mixt with fire,
So that in him _Saturne_ and _Mars_ doe meet.
This little Creature hath his severall humours,
And these their excrements; these met together,
Enflamed by anger, made a deadly poison;
And by how much the creatures body's lesse
By so much is the force of Venome more,
As Lightning through a windows Casement
Hurts more than that which enters at the doore.
2 _Phys_. But for the way to cure it?
1 _Phys_. I know none;
Yet Ancient Writers have prescrib'd us many:
As _Theophrastus_ holds most excellent
Diophoratick Medicines to expell
Ill vapours from the noble parts by sweate;
But _Avices_ and also _Rabby Roses_
Doe thinke it better by provoking Urin,
Since by the Urine blood may well be purg'd,
And spirits from the blood have nutriment,
But for my part I ever held opinion
In such a case the Ventosities are best.
2 _Phys_. They are indeed, and they doe farre exceede--
1 _Phys_. All the great curious Cataphlasmes,
Or the live taile of a deplum[e]d Henne,
Or your hot Pigeons or your quartered whelpes;
For they by a meere forc'd attractive power
Retaine that safely which by force was drawne,
Whereas the other things I nam'd before
Do lose their vertue as they lose their heat.
2 _Phys_. The ventosities shall be our next intensions.
_Anton_. Pray, Gentlemen, attend his Highnesse.
_King_. Your next intentions be to drowne your selves:
Dogge-leaches all! I see I am not mortall,
For I with patience have thus long endur'd
Beyond the strength of all mortality;
But now the thrice heate furnace of my bosome
Disdaineth bounds: doe not I scorch you all?
Goe, goe, you are all but prating Mountebankes,
Quack-salvers and Imposures; get you all from me.
2 _Phys_. These Ventosities, my lord, will give you ease.
_King_. A vengeance on thy Ventosities and thee!
_Anton_. The Bishop, Sir, is come.
_King_. Christian, thy blood
Must give me ease and helpe.
_Eugen_. Drinke then thy fill:
None of the Fathers that begot sweet Physick,
That Divine Lady, comforter to man,
Invented such a medicine as man's blood;
A drinke so pretious should not be so spilt:
Take mine, and Heaven pardon you the guilt.
_King_. A Butcher! see his throat cut.
_Eugen_. I am so farre from shrinking that mine owne hands
Shall bare my throat; and am so farre from wishing
Ill to you that mangle me, that before
My blood shall wash these Rushes,
King, I will cure thee.
1 _Phys_. You cure him?
_King_. Speak on, fellow.
_Eugen_. If I doe not
Restore your limbs to soundnesse, drive the poyson
From the infected part, study your tortures
To teare me peece-meale yet be kept alive.
_King_. O reverent man, come neare me; worke this wonder,
Aske gold, honours, any, any thing
The sublunary treasures of this world
Can yeeld, and they are thine.
_Eugen_. I will doe nothing without a recompence.
_King_. A royall one.
_Omnes_. Name what you would desire.
_King_. Stand by; you trouble him.
A recompence can my Crowne bring thee, take it;
Reach him my Crowne and plant it on his head.
_Eugen_. No; here's my bargaine--
_King_. Quickly, oh speake quickly.--
Off with the good man's Irons.
_Eugen_. Free all those Christians which are now thy slaves,
In all thy Cittadels, Castles, Fortresses;
Those in _Bellanna_ and _Mersaganna_,
Those in _Alempha_ and in _Hazanoth_,
Those in thy Gallies, those in thy Iayles and Dungeons.
_King_. Those any where: my signet, take my signet,
And free all on your lives, free all the Christians.
What dost thou else desire?
_Eugen_. This; that thy selfe trample upon thy Pagan Gods.
_Eugen_. Wash your soule white by wading in the streame
Of Christian gore.
_King_. I will turne Christian.
_Dam_. Better wolves worry this accursed--
Have Bandogs worry all of you, than I
To languish in a torment that feedes on me
As if the Furies bit me. Ile turn Christian,
And, if I doe not, let the Thunder pay
My breach of promise. Cure me, good old man,
And I will call thee father; thou shalt have
A king come kneeling to thee every Morning
To take a blessing from thee, and to heare thee
Salute him as a sonne.
When, when is this wonder?
_Eugen_. Now; you are well, Sir.
_Eugen_. Has your paine left you?
_King_. Yes; see else, _Damianus, Antony,
Cosmo_; I am well.
_Omnes_. He does it by inchantment.
1 _Phys_. By meere Witch-Craft.
_Eugen_. Thy payment for my cure.
_Eugen_. To turne Christian,
And set all Christian slaves at liberty.
_King_. Ile hang and torture all--
Call backe the Messenger sent with our signet.
For thy selfe, thou foole, should I allow
Thee life thou wouldst be poyson'd by our
Colledge of Physitians. Let him not touch me
Nor ever more come neare me; and to be sure
Thy sorceries shall not strike me, stone him to death.
(_They binde him to a stake, and fetch stones in baskets_.)
_King_. Now, here presently.
_Eugen_. Ingratefull man!
_King_. Dispatch, his voyce is horrid in our eares;
Kill him, hurle all, and in him kill my feares.
_Eugen_. I would thy feares were ended.
_King_. Why thus delay you?
_Dam_. The stones are soft as spunges.
_Anton_. Not any stone here
Can raze his skin.
_Dam_. See, Sir.
_Cosmo_. Thankes, heavenly preservation.
_King_. Mockt by a hell-hound!
_Omnes_. This must not be endur'd, Sir.
_King_. Unbinde the wretch;
Naile him to the earth with Irons. Cannot death strike him?
New studied tortures shall.
_Eugen_. New tortures bring,
They all to me are but a banquetting.
_Anton_. But are you well, indeed, Sir?
_King_. Passing well:
Though my Physitian fetcht the cure from hell;
All's one, I am glad I have it.
_Enter Antony, Cosmo, Hubert, and Damianus_.
_Anton_. You, noble Hubert, are the man chosen out
From all our _Vandal_ Leaders to be chiefe
O'er a new army, which the King will raise
To roote out from our land these Christians
That over-runne us.
_Cosmo_. 'Tis a glory, _Hubert_,
Will raise your fame and make you like our gods,
To please whom you must do this.
_Dam_. And in doing
Be active as the fire and mercilesse
As is the boundlesse Ocean when it swallows
Whole Townes and of them leaves no Monuments.
_Hub_. When shall mine eyes be happy in the sight
Of this brave Pagentry?
_Cosmo_. The King sayes instantly.
_Hub_. And must I be the Generall?
_Omnes_. Onely you.
_Hub_. I shall not then at my returning home
Have sharers in my great acts: to the Volume
My Sword in bloody Letters shall text downe
No name must stand but mine; no leafe turn'd o'er
But _Huberts_ workes are read and none but mine.
_Bellizarius_ shall not on his Clouds of fire
Fly flaming round about the staring World
Whilst I creepe on the earth. Flatter me not:
Am I to goe indeed?
_Anton_. The King so sweares.
_Hub_. A Kings word is a Statute graven in Brasse,
And if he breakes that Law I will in Thunder
Rouze his cold spirit. I long to ride in Armour,
And looking round about me to see nothing
But Seas and shores, the Seas of Christians blood,
The shoares tough Souldiers. Here a wing flies out
Soaring at Victory; here the maine Battalia
Comes up with as much horrour and hotter terrour
As if a thick-growne Forrest by enchantment
Were made to move, and all the Trees should meete
Pell mell, and rive their beaten bulkes in sunder,
As petty Towers doe being flung downe by Thunder.
Pray, thanke the King, and tell him I am ready
To cry a charge; tell him I shall not sleepe
Till that which wakens Cowards, trembling with feare,
Startles me, and sends brave Musick to mine eare;
And that's the Drumme and Trumpet.
_Ant_. This shall be told him.
_Dam_. And all the _Goths_ and _Vandalls_ shall strike Heaven
With repercussive Ecchoes of your name,
Crying, a _Hubert_!
_Hub_. Deafe me with that sound:
A Souldier, though he falls in the Field, lives crown'd.
_Cosmo_. Wee'le to the King and tell him this.
_Hub_. Doe.--Oh, my _Bellina_,
If ever, make me happy now; now tye
Strong charmes about my full-plum'd Burgonet
To bring me safe home. I must to the Warres.
_Bellina_. What warres? we have no warres but in our selves;
We fighting with our sinnes, our sinnes with us;
Yet they still get the Victory. Who are in Armes
That you must to the Field?
_Hub_. The Kings Royall thoughts
Are in a mutiny amongst themselves,
And nothing can allay them but a slaughter,
A general massacre of all the Christians
That breath in his Dominion. I am the Engine
To worke this glorious wonder.
_Bellina_. Forefend it Heaven!
Last time you sat by me within my bower
I told you of a Pallace wall'd with gold.
_Hub_. I doe remember it.
_Bellina_. The floore of sparkling Diamonds, and the roofe
Studded with Stanes shining as bright as fire.
_Bellina_. And I told you one day I would shew you
A path should bring you thither.
_Hub_. You did indeed.
_Bellina_. And will you now neglect a lease of this
To lye in a cold field, a field of murder?
Say thou shouldst kill ten thousand Christians;
They goe but as Embassadors to Heaven
To tell thy cruelties, and on yon Battlements
They all will stand on rowes, laughing to see
Thee fall into a pit as bottomlesse
As the Heavens are in extension infinite.
_Hub_. More, prethee, more: I had forgot this Musick.
_Bellina_. Say thou shouldst win the day, yet art thou lost,
For ever lost; an everlasting slave
Though thou com'st home a laurel'd Conqueror.
You courted me to love you; now I woe thee
To love thy selfe, to love a thing within thee
More curious than the frame of all this world,
More lasting than this Engine o're our heads,
Whose wheeles have mov'd so many thousand yeeres:
This thing is thy soule, for which I woe thee.
_Hub_. Thou woest, I yeeld, and in that yeelding love thee,
And for that love Ile be the Christians guide:
I am their Captaine, come, both _Goth_ and _Vandall_;
Nay, come the King, I am the Christians Generall.
_Bellina_. Not yet, till your Commission be faire drawne;
Not yet, till on your brow you beare the Print
Of a rich golden seale.
_Hub_. Get me that seale, then.
_Bellina_. There is an _Aqua fortis_ (an eating water)
Must first wash off thine infidelity,
And then th'art arm'd.
_Hub_. O let me, then, be arm'd.
_Bellina_. Thou shalt;
But on thy knees thou gently first shall sweare
To put no Armour on but what I beare.
_Hub_. By this chaste clasping of our hands I sweare.
_Bellina_. We then thus hand in hand will fight a battaile
Worth all the pitch-fields, all the bloody banquets,
The slaughter and the massacre of Christians,
Of whom such heapes so quickly never fell.
Brave onset! be thy end not terrible.
_Hub_. This kindled fire burne in us, till as deaths slaves
Our bodies pay their tributes to their graves.
_Enter Clowne and two Pagans_.
_Clown_. Come, fellow Pagans; death meanes to fare well to-day, for he
is like to have rost-meate to his supper, two principal dishes; many a
knight keepes a worse Table: first, a brave Generall Carbonadoed,
then a fat Bishop broyl'd, whose Rochet comes in fryed for the
second course, according to the old saying, _A plumpe greazie Prelate
fries a fagot daintily_.
1 _Pag_. Oh! the Generall _Bellizarius_ for my money; hee has a fiery
Spirit, too; hee will roast soakingly within and without.
_Clown_. Methinks Christians make the bravest Bonefires of any people
in the Universe; as a _Jew_ burnes pretty well, but if you marke him he
burnes upward; the fire takes him by the Nose first.
2 _Pag_. I know some Vintners then are _Jewes_
_Clown_. Now, as your _Jew_ burnes upward, your _French-man_ burnes
downewards like a Candle and commonly goes out with a stinke like a
snuffe; and what socket soever it light in it, must be well cleans'd
and pick't before it can be us'd agen. But _Bellizarius_, the brave
Generall, will flame high and cleare like a Beacon; but your Puritane
_Eugenius_ will burne blew, blew like a white-bread sop in _Aqua Vitae_.
Fellow Pagans, I pray let us agree among ourselves about the sharing of
2 _Pag_. I, 'tis fit.
_Clown_. You know I am worshipfull by my place; the under-keeper may
write Equire if he list at the bottome of the paper: I doe cry first
the Generalls great Scarfe to make me a short Summer-cloake, and the
Bishops wide sleeves to make me a Holy-dayes shirt.
1 _Pag_. Having a double voyce we cannot abridge you of a double share.
_Clown_. You, that so well know what belongs to reverence, the Breeches
be yours, whether Bishops or Generalls; but with this Provizo,
because we will all share of both parties, as I have lead the way, I
clayming the Generalls and the Bishops sleeves, so he that chuses the
Generalls Doublet shall weare the Generalls Breeches.
2 _Pag_. A match.
_Clown_. Nay, 'twill be farre from a match, that's certaine; but it will
make us to be taken for men of note, what company soever we come in.
The Souldier and the Scholler, peekt up so,
Will make _tam Marti quam Mercurio_.
_Enter the King, Antony, Damianus, and Cosmo;
Victoria meetes the King_.
_Vict_. As you are Vice-gerent to that Maiesty
By whom Kings reigne on earth, as you would wish
Your heires should sit upon your Throne, your name
Be mentioned in the Chronicle of glory;
Great King, vouchsafe me hearing.
_Vict_. My husband,
The much, too much wrong'd _Bellizarius_,
Hath not deserv'd the measure of such misery
Which is throwne on him. Call, oh call to minde
His service, how often he hath fought
And toyl'd in warres to give his Country peace.
He has not beene a flatterer of the Time,
Nor Courted great ones for their glorious Vices;
He hath not sooth'd blinde dotage in the World,
Nor caper'd on the Common-wealths dishonour;
He has not peeld the rich nor flead the poore,
Nor from the heart-strings of the Commons drawne
Profit to his owne Coffers; he never brib'd
The white intents of mercy; never sold
Iustice for money, to set up his owne
And utterly undoe whole families.
Yet some such men there are that have done thus:
The mores the pitty.
_King_. To the poynt.
_Vict_. Oh, Sir,
_Bellizarius_ has his wounds emptied of blood,
Both for his Prince and Countrey: to repeat
Particulars were to do iniury
To your yet mindfull gratitude. His Life,
His liberty, 'tis that I plead for--that;
And since your enemies and his could never
Captive the one and triumph in the other,
Let not his friends--his King--commend a cruelty,
Strange to be talkt of, cursed to be acted.
My husband, oh! my husband _Bellizarius_,
For him I begge.
_King_. Lady, rise up; we will be gracious
To thy suit,--Cause _Bellizarius_
And the Bishop be brought hither instantly.
[_Exit for him_.
_Vict_. Now all the blessings due to a good King
Crowne you with lasting honours.
_King_. If thou canst
Perswade thy husband to recant his errours,
He shall not onely live, but in our favoures
Be chiefe. Wilt undertake it?
_Vict_. Undertake it, Sir,
On these conditions? You shall your selfe
Be witnesse with what instance I will urge him
To pitty his owne selfe, recant his errours.
_Anton_. So doing he will purchase many friends.
_Dam_. Life, love, and liberty.
_Vict_. But tell me, pray, Sir;
What are those errours which he must recant?
_King_. His hatred to those powers to which we bow,
On whom we all depend, he has kneel'd to them;
Let him his base Apostacy recant,
Recant his being a Christian, and recant
The love he beares to Christians.
_Vict_. If he deny
To doe all this, or any poynt of this,
Is there no mercy for him?
_King_. Couldst thou shed
A Sea of teares to drowne my resolution,
He dyes; could this fond man lay at my foote
The kingdomes of the earth, he dyes; he dyes
Were he my sonne, my father. Bid him recant,
Else all the Torments cruelty can invent
Shall fall on him.
_Vict_. No sparke of pitty?
_Vict_. Well, then, but mark what paines Ile take to winne him,
To winne him home; Ile set him in a way
The Clouds shall clap to finde what went astray.
_Anton_. Doe this, and we are all his.
_King_. Doe this, I sweare to jewell him in my bosome.
--See where he comes.
_Enter Epidophorus with Bellizarius and Eugenius_.
_Belliz_. And whither now? Is Tyranny growne ripe
To blow us to our graves yet?
Thy wife has s'ud for mercy, and has found it;
Speake, Lady, tell him how.
_Belliz_. _Victoria_ too!
Oh, then I feare the striving to expresse
The virtue of a good wife hath begot
An utter ruine of all goodnesse in thee.
What wou'dst thou say, poore woman?
My Lord the King,
Nothing can alter your incensed rage
_Vict_. Recantation! sweet
Musicke; _Bellizarius_, thou maist live;
The King is full of royall bounty--like
The ambition of mortality--examine;
That recantation is--a toy.
_King_. None hinder her; now ply him.
_Vict_. To lose the portage in these sacred pleasures
That knowes no end; to lose the fellowship
Of Angels; lose the harmony of blessings
Which crowne all Martyrs with eternity!
Wilt thou not recant?
_King_. I understand her not.
_Omnes_. Nor I.
_Vict_. Thy life hath hitherto beene, my dear husband,
But a disease to thee; thou hast indeed
Mov'd on the earth like other creeping wormes
Who take delight in worldly surfeits, heate
Their blood with lusts, their limbes with proud attyres;
Fe[e]d on their change of sinnes; that doe not use
Their pleasure[s] but enjoy them, enjoy them fully
In streames that are most sensuall and persever
To live so till they die, and to die never.
_King_. What meanes all this?
_Anton_. Art in thy right wits, woman?
_Vict_. Such beasts are those about thee; take then courage;
If ever in thy youth thy soule hath set
By the Worlds tempting fires, as these men doe,
Recant that errour.
_Vict_. Hast thou in battaile tane a pride in blood?
Recant that errour. Hast thou constant stood
In a bad cause? clap a new armour on
And fight now in a good. Oh lose not heaven
For a few minutes in a Tyrants eye;
Be valiant and meete death: if thou now losest
Thy portion laid up for thee yonder, yonder,
For breath or honours here, oh thou dost sell
Thy soule for nothing. Recant all this,
And then be rais'd up to a Throne of blis.
_Anton_. We are abus'd, stop her mouth.
Thou nobly dost confirme me, hast new arm'd
My resolution, excellent _Victoria_.
_Eugen_. Oh happy daughter, thou in this dost bring
That _Requiem_ to our soules which Angels sing.
_Dam_. Can you endure this wrong, Sir?
_Cosmo_. Be out-brav'd by a seducing Strumpet?
_King_. Binde her fast;
Weele try what recantation you can make.
Hagge, in the presence of your brave holy Champion
And thy Husband,
One of my Cammell drivers shall take from thee
The glory of thy honesty and honour.
Call in the Peasant.
_Eugenius_, is there no guard above us
That will protect me from a rape? 'tis worse
Than worlds of tortures.
_Eugen_. Fear not, _Victoria_;
Be thou a chaste one in thy minde, thy body
May like a Temple of well tempered steele
Be batter'd, not demolishe'd.
_Belliz_. Tyrant, be mercifull;
And if thou hast no other vertue in thee
Deserving memory to succeeding ages,
Yet onely thy not suffering such an out-rage
Shall adde praise to thy name.
_King_. Where is the Groome?
_Eugen_. Oh sure the Sunne will darken
And not behold a deed so foule and monstrous.
_Enter Epidophorus with a Slave_.
_Epi_. Here is the Cammell driver.
_Omnes_. Stand forth, sirrah.
_Epi_. Be bould and shrink not; this is she.
1 _Cam_. And I am hee. Is't the kings pleasure that
I should mouse her, and before all these people?
_King_. No; 'tis considered better; unbinde the fury
And dragge her to some corner; 'tis our pleasure,
Fall to thy businesse freely.
1 _Cam_. Not too freely neither: I fare hard and drinke water; so doe
the _Indians_, yet who fuller of Bastards? so doe the _Turkes_, yet who
gets greater Logger-heads? Come, wench; Ile teach thee how to cut up
_Vict_. Guard me, you heavens.
_Belliz_. Be mine eyes lost for ever.
1 _Cam_. Is that her husband?
1 _Cam_. No matter; some husbands are so base, they keepe the doore
whilst they are Cuckolded; but this is after a more manlier way, for
he stands bound to see it done.
_King_. Haile her away.
1 _Cam_. Come, Pusse! Haile her away? which way? yon way? my Camells
backs cannot climbe it.
_Anton_. The fellow is struck mad.
1 _Cam_. That way? it lookes into a Mill-pond,
Whirre! how the Wheels goe and the Divell grindes.
No, this way.
_King_. Keepe the slave back!
_1 Cam_. Backe, keep me backe! there sits my wife kembing her haire,
which curles like a witches felt-locks! all the Neets in't are
Spiders, and all the Dandruffe the sand of a Scriveners Sand-boxe.
Stand away; my whore shall not be lousie; let me come noynt her with
_King_. Defend me, lop his hands off!
_Omnes_. Hew him in pieces
_King_. What has he done?
_Anton_. Sir, beate out his owne braines.
_Vict_. You for his soule must answer.
_King_. Fetch another.
_Eugen_. Tempt not the wrath supernall to fall downe
And crush thee in thy throne.
_Enter 2 Cammell drivers_.
_King_. Peace, sorcerous slave:
Sirra, take hence this Witch and ravish her.
2 _Cam_. A Witch? Witches are the Divels sweete hearts.
_King_. Doe it, be thou Master of much gold.
2 _Cam_. Shall I have gold to doe it? in some Countries I heare whole
Lordships are spent upon a fleshly device, yet the buyer in the end had
nothing but French Repentance and the curse of Chyrurgery for his money.
Let me finger my gold; Ile venture on, but not give her a penny. Womans
flesh was never cheaper; a man may eate it without bread; all Trades
fall, so doe they.
_Epi_. Look you, Sir, there's your gold.
2 _Cam_. Ile tell money after my father. Oh I am strucke blinde!
_Omnes_. The fellow is bewitcht, Sir.
_Eugen_. Great King, impute not
This most miraculous delivery
To witch-craft; 'tis a gentle admonition
To teach thy heart obey it.
_King_. Lift up the slave;
Though he has lost his sight, his feeling is not;
He dyes unlesse he ravish her.
_Epi_. Force her into thy armes or else thou dyest.
2 _Cam_. I have lost my hearing, too.
_King_. Fetch other slaves.
_Epi_. Thou must force her.
2 _Cam_. Truely I am hoarse with driving my Cammells, and nothing does
me good but sirrop of Horehound.
_Enter two Slaves_.
_Epi_. Here are two slaves will doe it indeed.
2. Which is shee?
_King_. This creature; she has beauty to intice you
And enough to feast you all; seize her all three
And ravish her by turnes.
_Slaves_. A match.
[_They dance antiquely, and Exeunt_.
_King_. Hang up these slaves; I am mock't by her and them;
They dance me into anger. Heard you not musicke?
_Anton_. Yes, sure, and most sweet melody.
_Vict_. 'Tis the heavens play
And the Clowdes dance for ioy thy cruelty
Has not tane hold upon me.
_King_. Hunger then shall:
Leade them away, dragge her to some loathed dungeon
And for three days give her no food.
Load her with Irons.
_Epi_. They shall.
_Eugen_. Come, fellow souldiers, halfe the fight is past:
The bloodiest battell comes to an end at last.
_Enter Epidophorus and Clowne_.
_Epi_. Have any Christian soule broke from my Iayle
This night, and gone i'the dark to find out heaven?
Are any of my hated prisoners dead?
_Clown_. Dead? yes; and five more come into the world instead of one.
These Christians are like Artichoaks of _Jerusalam_; they over-runne
any ground they grow in.
_Epi_. Are they so fruitfull?
_Clown_. Fruitfull! a Hee Christian told me that amongst them the young
fellowes are such Earing rioted Rascals that they will runne into
the parke of Matrimony at sixteene; are Bucks of the first head at
eighteenes and by twenty carry in some places their hornes on their
_Epi_. On their backs? What kind of Christians are they?
_Clown_. Marry, these are Christian Butchers, who when their Oxen are
flead throw their skinnes on their shoulders.
_Epi_. I thought they had beene Cuckolds.
_Clown_. Amongst them? no; there's no woman, that's a true Christian,
will horne her husband. There dyed to night no lesse than six and a
halfe in our Iayle.
_Epi_. How? six and a halfe?
_Clown_. One was a girle of thirteene, with child.
_Epi_. Thy tidings fats me.
_Clown_. You may have one or two of 'em drest to your Dinner to make
you more fat.
_Epi_. Unhallowed slave! let a _Jew_ eate Pork, when
I but touch a Christian.
_Clown_. You are not of my dyet: Would I had a young Loyne of Porke to
my Supper, and two Loynes of a pretty sweate Christian after Supper.
_Epi_. Would thou mightst eate and choake.
_Clown_. Never at such meate; it goes downe without chawing.
_Epi_. We have a taske in hand, to kill a Serpent
Which spits her poyson in our kingdomes face.
And that we speake not of (?); lives still
That Witch _Victoria_, wife to _Bellizarius_?
Is Death afraid to touch the Hagge? does hunger
Tremble to gnaw her flesh off, dry up her blood
And make her eate her selfe in Curses, ha?
_Clown_. Ha? your mouth gapes as if you would eate me. The King
commanded she should be laden with Irons,--I have laid two load upon
her; then to pop her into the Dungeon,--I thrust her downe as deepe as
I could; then to give her no meate,--alas my cheekes cry out, I have
meate little enough for my selfe. Three days and three nights has her
Cupboard had no victuals in it; I saw no lesse than Fifty sixe Mice
runne out of the hole she lies in, and not a crumme of bread or bit of
cheese amongst them.
_Epi_. 'Tis the better.
_Clown_. I heard her one morning cough pittifully; upon which I gave her
a messe of Porredge piping-hot.
_Epi_. Thou Dog, 'tis Death.
_Clown_. Nay but, Sir, I powr'd 'em downe scalding as they were on her
head, because they say they are good for a cold, and I thinke that
kill'd her; for to try if she were alive or no I did but even now tye a
Crust to a packe-threed on a pinne, but shee leapt not at it; so that I
am sure shee's worms meate by this.
_Epi_. Rewards in golden showers shall raine upon us,
Be thy words true: fall downe and kisse the earth.
_Clown_. Kisse earth? Why? and so many wenches come to the Iayle?
_Epi_. Slave, downe and clap thy eare to the caves mouth
And make me glad or heavy; if she speake not
I shall cracke my ribs and spend my spleene in laughter;
But if thou hear'st her pant I am gon.
_Clown_. Farewell, then.
_Epi_. Breaths shee?
_Clown_. No, Sir; her winde instrument is out of tune.
_Epi_. Call, cal.
_Clown_. Do you heare, you low woman? hold not downe your head so for
shame; creepe not thus into a corner, no honest woman loves to be
fumbling thus in the darke. Hang her; she has no tongue.
_Epi_. Would twenty thousand of their sexe had none.
_Clown_. Foxe, foxe, come out of your hole.
_An Angel ascends from the cave, singing_.
_Epi_. Horrour! what's this?
_Clown_. Alas, I know not what my selfe am.
_Fly, darknesse, fly in spight of Caves;
Truth can thrust her armes through Graves.
No Tyrant shall confine
A white soule that's divine
And does more brightly shine
Than Moone or Sunne;
She lasts when they are done_.
_Epi_. I am bewitcht,
Mine Eyes faile me; lead me to [the] King.
_Clown_. And tell we heard a Mermaide sing.
_Goe, fooles, and let your feares
Glow as your sins and eares;
The good, how e're trod under,
Are Lawreld safe in thunder;
Though lockt up in a Den
One Angel frees you from an host of men_.
_The Angel descends as the King enters, who comes
in with his Lords, Epidophorus and the Clowne_.
_King_. Where is this piece of witchcraft?
_Epi_. 'Tis vanish'd, Sir,
_Clown_. 'Twas here, just at the Caves mouth, where shee lyes.
_Anton_. What manner of thing was it?
_Epi_. An admirable face, and when it sung
All the Clouds danc't methought above our heads,
_Clown_. And all the ground under my heeles quak't like a Bogge.
_King_. Deluded slaves! these are turn'd Christians, too.
_Epi_. The prisoners in my Iayle will not say so.
_Clown_. Turnd Christians! it has ever beene my profession to fang
and clutch and to squeeze: I was first a Varlet, then a Bumbaily,
now an under Iailor. Turn'd Christian!
_King_. Breake up the Iron passage of the Cave
And if the sorceresse live teare her in pieces.
_The Angel ascends agen_.
_Epi_. See, 'tis come agen.
_King_. It staggers me.
_Omnes_. Amazement! looke to the King.
_She comes, she comes, she comes!
No banquets are so sweete as Martyrdomes.
_Anton_. 'Tis vanish'd, Sir, agen.
_Dam_. Meere Negromancy.
_Cosmo_. This is the apparition of some divell
Stealing a glorious shape, and cryes 'she comes'!
_Clown_. If all divels were no worse, would I were amongst 'em.
_King_. Our power is mockt by magicall impostures;
They shall not mock our tortures. Let _Eugenius_
And _Bellizarius_ fright away these shadowes
Rung from sharp tortures: drag them hither.
_Epi_. To th'stake?
_Clown_. As Beares are?
_King_. And upon your lives
My longings feast with her, though her base limbes
Be in a thousand pieces.
_Clown_. She shall be gathered up.
[_Exit. Epid. and Clowne_.
(_Victoria rises out of the cave, white_.)
_Vict_. What's the Kings will? I am here.
Are your tormentors ready to give battaile?
I am ready for them, and though I lose
My life hope to winne the day.
_King_. What art thou?
_Vict_. An armed Christian.
_King_. What's thy name?
_Vict_. _Victoria_: in my name there's conquest writ:
I therefore feare no threat[e]nings! but pray
That thou maist dye a good king.
_Omnes_. This is not she, Sir.
_King_. It is, but on her brow some Deity sits.
What are those Fayries dressing up her haire,
Whilst sweeter spirits dancing in her eyes
Bewitcheth me to them?
_Enter Epidophorus, Bellizarius, Eugenius, and Clowne_.
Oh _Victoria_, love me!
And see, thy Husband, now a slave whose life
Hangs at a needles poynt, shall live, so thou
Breath but the doome.--Trayters! what sorcerous hand
Has built upon this inchantment of a Christian
To make me doat upon the beauty of it?
How comes she to this habite? Went she thus in?
_Epi_. No, Sir, mine owne hande stript her into rags.
_Clown_. For any meat shee has eaten her face needes not make you doate;
and for cleane linen Ile sweare it was not brought into the Iaile, for
there they scorne to shift once a weeke.
_King_. _Bellizarius_, woe thy wife that she would love me,
And thou shalt live.
_Belliz_. I will.--_Victoria_,
By all those chaste fires kindled in our bosomes
Through which pure love shin'd on our marriage night;
Nay, with a bolder conjuration,
By all those thornes and bryers which thy soft feet
Tread boldly on to finde a path to heaven,
I begge of thee, even on my knee I beg,
That thou wouldst love this King, take him by th'hand,
Warme his in thine, and hang about his necke,
And seale ten thousand kisses on his cheeke,
So he will tread his false gods under foote.
_Omnes_. Oh, horrible!
_King_. Bring tortures.
_Belliz_. So he will wash his soule white, as we doe,
And fight under our Banner (bloody red),
And hand in hand with us walke martyred.
_Anton_. They mocke you.
_King_. Stretch his body up by th'armes,
And at his feete hang plummets.
_Clown_. He shall be well shod for stroveling, I warrant you.
_Cosmo_. _Eugenius_, bow thy knee before our _Jove_,
And the King gives thee mercy.
_Dam_. Else stripes and death.
_Eugen_. We come into the world but at one doore,
But twenty thousand gates stand open wide
To give us passage hence: death then is easie,
And I defie all tortures.
_King_. Then fasten the Cative;
I care not for thy wife: Get from mine eyes
Thou tempting _Lamia_. But, _Bellizarius_,
Before thy bodyes frame be puld in pieces,
Wilt thou forsake the errours thou art drencht in?
_Belliz_. Errours? thou blasphemous and godlesse man,
From the great Axis maist thou as easie
With one arme plucke the Universall Globe,
As from my Center move me. There's my figure;
They are waves that beat a rock insensible
With an infatigable patience.
My breast dares all your arrowes; shoote,--shoote, all;
Your tortures are but struck against the wall,
Which, backe rebounding, hit your selves.
_King_. Up with him.
_Belliz_. Lay on more waights; that hangman which more brings
Addes active feathers to my soaring wings.
(_They draw him up_.)
_King_. _Victoria_, yet save him.
_Vict_. Keepe on thy flight,
And be a bird of Paradise.
_Omnes_. Give him more Irons.
_Belliz_. More, more.
_King_. Let him then goe; love thou and be my Queene,
Daine but to love me.
_Vict_. I am going to live with a farre greater King.
_King_. Binde the coy strumpet; she dyes, too.
Let her braines be beaten on an Anvill:
For some new plagues for her!
_Omnes_. Vexe him.
_Belliz_. Doe more.
_Vict_. Heavens, pardon you.
_Eugen_. And strengthen him in all his sufferings.
_Two Angels descend_.
2 ANGEL SINGS.
_Come, oh come, oh come away;
A Quire of Angels for thee stay;
A home where Diamonds borrow light,
Open stands for thee this night,
Night? no, no; here is ever day:
Come, oh come, oh come, oh come away_.
1 _Ang_. This battaile is thy last; fight well, and winne
A Crowne set full of Starres.
_Belliz_. I spy an arme
Plucking [me] up to heaven; more waights, you are best;
I shall be gone else.
_Vict_. Doe, Ile follow thee.
_King_. Is he not yet dispatcht?
_Belliz_. Yes, King, I thanke thee;
I have all my life time trod on rotten ground,
And still so deepe beene sinking that my soule
Was oft like to bee lost; but now I see
A guide, sweete guide, a blessed messenger
Who having brought me up a little way
Up yonder hill, I then am sure to buy
For a few stripes here rich eternity.
2 ANGEL SINGS.
_Victory, victory! hell is beaten downe,
The Martyr has put on a golden Crowne;
Ring Bels of Heaven, him welcome hither,
Circle him Angels round together_.
1 _Angel_. Follow!
_Vict_. I will; what sacred voice cryes 'follow'!
I am ready: Oh send me after him.
_King_. Thou shalt not,
Till thou hast fed my lust.
_Vict_. Thou foole, thou canst not;
All my mortality is shaken off;
My heart of flesh and blood is gone; my body
Is chang'd; this face is not that once was mine.
I am a Spirit, and no racke of thine
Can touch me.
_King_. Not a racke of mine shall touch thee.
Why should the world loose such a paire of Sunnes
As shine out from thine eyes? Why art thou cruell,
To make away thy selfe and murther mee?
Since whirle-winds cannot shake thee thou shalt live,
And Ile fanne gentle gales upon thy face.
Fetch me a day bed, rob the earths perfumes
Of all the ravishing sweetes to feast her sence;
Pillowes of roses shall beare up her head;
O would a thousand springs might grow in one
To weave a flowry mantle o're her limbes
As she lyes downe.
_Enter two Angels about the bed_.
_Vict_. O that some rocke of Ice
Might fall on me and freeze me into nothing.
_King_. Enchant our [her?] eares with Musicke; would I had skill
To call the winged musitians of the aire
Into these roomes! they all should play to thee
Till golden slumbers danc'd upon thy browes,
Watching to close thine eye-lids.
_Ang_. These Starres must shine no more; soule, flye away.
Tyrant, enioy but a cold lumpe of clay.
_King_. My charmes worke; shee sleepes,
And lookes more lovely now she sleepes.
Against she wakes, Invention, grow thou poore,
Studying to finde a banquet which the gods
Might be invited to. I need not court her now
For a poor kisse; her lips are friendly now,
And with the warme breath sweeting all the Aire,
Draw mee thus to them.--Ha! the lips of Winter
Are not so cold.
_Anton_. She's dead, Sir.
_Dam_. As frozen as if the North-winde had in spight
Snatcht her hence from you.
_King_. Oh; I have murthered her!
Perfumes some creature kill: she has so long
In that darke Dungeon suck't pestiferous breath,
The sweete has stifled her. Take hence the body,
Since me it hated it shall feele my hate:
Cast her into the fire; I have lost her,
And for her sake all Christians shall be lost
That subjects are to me: massacre all,
But thou, _Eugenius_, art the last shall fall
This day; and in mine eye, though it nere see more,
Call on thy helper which thou dost adore.
_A Thunder-bolt strikes him_.
_Omnes_. The King is strucke with thunder!
_Eugen_. Thankes, Divine Powers;
Yours be the triumph and the wonder ours.
_Anton_. Unbinde him till a new King fill the throne;
And he shall doome him.
_A Hubert, a Hubert, a Hubert_!
_Flourish: Enter Hubert, armed with shields and swords.
Bellina and a company of Souldiers with him_.
_Hub_. What meanes this cry, 'a Hubert'? Where's your King?
_Omnes_. Strucke dead by thunder.
_Hub_. So I heare; you see, then,
There is an arme more rigorous than your _Iove_,
An arme stretcht from above to beate down Gyants,
The mightiest Kings on _Earth_, for all their shoulders
Carry _Colossi_ heads: the memory
Of _Genzericks_ name dyes here: _Henricke_ gives buriall
To the successive glory of that race
Who had both voyce and title to the Crowne,
And meanes to guard it.--Who must now be King?
_Anton_. We know not till we call the Lords together.
_Hub_. What Lords?
_Cosmo_. Our selves and others.
_Hub_. Who makes you Lords?
The Tree upon whose boughs your honours grew,
Your Lordships and your lives, is falne to th'ground.
_Dam_. We stand on our owne strength.
_Hub_. Who must be King?
_Within: A Hubert, a Hubert a Hubert_!
_Hub_. Deliver to my hand that reverent [_sic_] man.
_Epi_. Take him and torture him, for he cald down Vengeance
On _Henricks_ head.
_Hub_. Good _Eugenius_, lift thy hands up,
For thou art say'd from _Henricke_ and from these.
You heare what ecchoes
Rebound from earth to heaven, from heaven to earth,
Casting the name of King onely on me?
This golden apple is a tempting fruit;
It is within my reach; this sword can touch it,
And lop the weake branch off on which it hangs.
Which of you all would spurne at such a Starre,
Lay it i'th the dust when 'tis let down from heaven
For him to weare?
_Anton_. Who then must weare that Starre?
_Within: Hubert, Hubert, Hubert_!
_Hub_. The Oracle tells you; Oracle? 'tis a voyce
From above tells you; for the peoples tongues,
When they pronounce good things, are ty'd to chaines
Of twenty thousand linkes, which chaines are held
By one supernall hand, and cannot speake
But what that hand will suffer. I have then
The people on my side; I have the souldiers;
I have that army which your rash young King
Had bent against the Christians,--they now are mine:
I am the Center, and they all are lines
Meeting in me. If, therefore, these strong sinewes,
The Souldiers and the Commons, have a vertue
To lift me into the Throne, Ile leape into it.
Will you consent or no? be quick in answer;
I must be swift in execution else.
_Omnes_. Let us consult.
_Hub_. Doe, and doe't quickly.
_Eugen_. O noble Sir, if you be King shoot forth
Bright as a Sunne-beame, and dry up these vapours
That choake this kingdome; dry the seas of blood
Flowing from Christians, and drinke up the teares
Of those alive, halfe slaughter'd in their feares.
_Hub_. Father, Ile not offend you.--Have you done?
So long chusing one Crowne?
_Anton_. Let Drums and Trumpets proclaime
_Hubert_ our King!
_Omnes_. Sound Drummes and Trumpets!
_Hub_. I have it, then, as well by voyce as sword;
For should you holde it backe it will be mine.
I claime it, then, by conquest; fields are wonne
By yeelding as by strokes: Yet, noble _Vandals_,
I will lay by the Conquest and acknowledge
That your hands and your hearts the pinnacles are
On which my greatnesse mounts unto this height.
And now in sight of you and heaven I sweare
By those new sacred fires kindled within me,
'Tis not your ho[o]pe of Gold my brow desires;
A thronging Court to me is but a Cell;
These popular acclamations, which thus dance
I'th Aire, should passe by me as whistling windes
Playing with leaves of trees. I'me not ambitious
Of Titles glorious and maiesticall;
But what I doe is to save blood, save you;
I meane to be a husband for you all,
And fill you all with riches.
_Epi_. 'Tis that we thirst for;
For all our bagges are emptied in these warres
Rais'd by seditious Christians.
_Hub_. Peace, thou foole:
They are not bags of gold, that melts in fire,
Which I will fill your coffers with; my treasury
Are riches for your soules; my armes are spread
Like wings to protect Christians. What have you done?
Proclaim'd a Christian King; and Christian Kings
Should not be bloody.
_Omnes_. How? turn'd Christian?
_Eugen_. O blest King! happy day!
_Omnes_. Must we forsake our Gods then?
_Hub_. Violent streames
Must not bee stopt by violence; there's an art
To meete and put by the most boysterous wave;
'Tis now no policy for you to murmure
Nor will I threaten. A great counsell by you
Shall straight be cal'd to set this frame in order
Of this great state.
_Omnes_. To that we all are willing.
_Hub_. Are you then willing this noble maid
Shall be my Queene?
_Omnes_. With all our hearts.
_Hub_. By no hand but by thine will we be crown'd:
Come, my _Bellina_.
_Bellina_. Your vow is past to me that I should ever
Preserve my virgin honour, that you would never
Tempt me unto your bed.
_Hub_. That vow I keepe:
I vow'd so long as my knees bow'd to _Iove_
To let you be your selfe; but, excellent Lady,
I now am seal'd a Christian as you are:
And you have sworne oft that, when upon my forehead
That glorious starre was stucke, you would be mine
In holy wedlocke. Come, sweete, you and I
Shall from our loynes produce a race of Kings,
And ploughing up false gods set up one true;
Christians unborne crowning both me and you
With praise as now with gold.
_Bellina_. A fortunate day;
A great power prompts me on and I obey.
_Omnes_. Long live _Hubert_ and _Bellina_, King and Queene
Of Goths and Vandals.
_Hub_. Two royall Iewels you give me, this and this:
Father, your hand is lucky, I am covetous
Of one Gift more: After your sacred way
Make you this Queene a wife: our Coronation
Is turn'd into a bridall.
_Omnes_. All ioy and happinesse.
_Hub_. To guard your lives will I lay out mine owne,
And like Vines plant you round about my throne.
_The end of the fift and last Act_.
To the Reader of this Play now come in Print.
That this play's old 'tis true; but now if any
Should for that cause despise it we have many
Reasons, both iust and pregnant, to maintaine
Antiquity, and those, too, not all vaine.
We know (and not long since) there was a time
Strong lines were not lookt after, but, if Rime,
O then 'twas excellent. Who but beleeves
That Doublets with stuft bellies and big sleeves
And those Trunk-hose which now our life doth scorne
Were all in fashion and with custome worne?
And what's now out of date who is't can tell
But it may come in fashion and sute well?
With rigour therefore iudge not but with reason,
Since what you read was fitted to that season.
_As in a Feast, so in a Comedy,
Two Sences must be pleas'd; in both the Eye;
In Feasts the Eye and Taste must be invited,
In Comedies the Eye and Eare delighted:
And he that only seekes to please but either,
While both he doth not please, he pleaseth neither.
What ever Feast could every guest content,
When as t'each man each Taste is different?
But lesse a Scene, when nought but as 'tis newer
Can please, where Guests are more and Dishes fewer.
Yet in this thought, this thought the Author eas'd;
Who once made all, all rules all never pleas'd.
Faine would we please the best, if not the many;
And sooner will the best be pleas'd then any.
Our rest we set in pleasing of the best;
So we wish you, what you may give us, Rest_.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NOBLE SOULDIER.
In December, 1633, Nicholas Vavasour entered the _Noble Spanish
Souldier_ on the Stationers' Registers as a work of Dekker's; and in the
following year the same publisher brought out the _Noble Soldier_ with
the initials _S.R_. on the title-page. The running-title of the piece is
_The Noble Spanish Souldier_. There is nothing to hinder us from
supposing that Dekker, unwilling to take the credit due to his dead
friend, informed the publisher of the mistake. Possibly the play had
undergone some revision at Dekker's hands.
Samuel Rowley was at once an actor and a playwright. The first mention
of him is in a list of the Lord Admiral's players, March 8, 1597-8
(Henslowe's _Diary_, ed. Collier, p. 120). On the sixteenth of November,
1599, Rowley bound himself to play solely for Henslowe 'for a year and
as much as to Shraftide' (_Diary_, p. 260). In 1603 we find him among
Prince Henry's players (Collier's _Annals of the Stage_, i. 351): he is
still belonging to the same company in 1607 (Shakespeare Society's
Papers, iv. 44). Six years later, 1613, he is among the Palsgrave's
players (_Annals of the Stage_, i. 381).
Francis Meres in _Palladis Tamia_ (1598), enumerating 'the best for
comedy,' mentions a certain Maister _Rowley_ once a rare scholar of
learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge. It has been conjectured that the
allusion is to Samuel Rowley; but a more likely candidate for the honour
is Ralph Rowley, who is known to have been a Fellow of Pembroke Hall. We
do not learn from any other source that Ralph Rowley wrote plays; but,
like another Academic worthy in whose company he is mentioned, 'Dr.
Gager of Oxforde', he may have composed some Latin pieces that the world
was content to let die. Of Samuel Rowley as a playwright we hear nothing
before December, 1601, when he was writing for Henslowe a scriptural
play on the subject of _Judas_ in company with his fellow-actor William
Borne--or Birde, for the name is variously written (Henslowe's _Diary_,
p. 205). In July of the following year an entry occurs in the
_Diary_--'Lent unto Samwell Rowley and Edward Jewbe to paye for the
Booke of Samson, vi 1.' Samuel Rowley and Edward Jewby often acted as
paymasters for Henslowe; but I suspect that in the present instance the
money went into their own pockets. Two months later we certainly find
our author receiving the sum of seven pounds in full payment 'for his
playe of Jhoshua' (Henslowe's _Diary_, p. 226). In November of the same
year he was employed with William Birde to make additions to Marlowe's
_Faustus_ (ibid. p. 228). On July 27, 1623, Sir Henry Herbert licensed
'for the Palsgrave's players a tragedy of Richard the Third, or the
English Profit with the Reformation, by Samuel Rowley'; and, again, on
October 29 of the same year 'for the Palsgrave players a new comedy
called Hard Shifte for Husbands, or Bilboes the Best Blade, written by
Samuel Rowley.' Another of our author's pieces, 'Hymen's Holiday, or
Cupid's Fagaries,' is mentioned in a list of plays which belonged to the
Cock-pit in 1639. None of these plays has come down; but in 1605 there
was published 'When You See Me You Know Me; or the famous Chronicle
Historic of King Henry VIII. with the Birth and virtuous Life of Edward
Prince of Wales. By Samuel Rowley.' This play was again printed in 1632;
and a few years ago it was elaborately edited by Prof. Karl Eltze,
who--whatever may be his merits as a critic--is acknowledged on every
hand to be a most accomplished scholar.
The piece now reprinted will need some indulgence at the reader's hands.
Its blemishes are not a few; and no great exercise of critical ability
is required to discover that the language is often strained and the
drawing extravagant. The atmosphere in which the action of the piece
moves is hot and heavy. Sebastian's presence in the third act brings
with it a ray of sunlight; but he is quickly gone, and the gloom settles
down more hopelessly than before. Onaelia, the forsaken lady, is so
vixenish that she moves our sympathies only in a moderate degree. In
both choices the King seems to have been equally unfortunate; and it may
be doubted whether he could be 'happy with either were t'other fair
charmer away.' Baltazar, the Noble Soldier, is something of a bore. At
first we are a little suspicious of him, for he seems to 'protest too
much'; and even when these suspicions are set at rest his strut and
swagger continue to be offensive.
But though the _Noble Souldier_ is not a play over which one would
linger long or to which one would care often to return, yet it is
impossible not to be struck by the power that marks so much of the
writing. Here is an example of our author at his best:--
'You should, my Lord, be like these robes you weare,
Pure as the Dye and like that reverend shape;
Nurse thoughts as full of honour, zeale and purity.
You should be the Court-Diall and direct
The king with constant motion; be ever beating
(Like to Clocke-Hammers) on his Iron heart
To make it sound cleere and to feel remorse:
You should unlocke his soule, wake his dead conscience
Which, like a drowsie Centinell, gives leave
For sinnes vast army to beleaguer him:
His ruines will be ask'd for at your hands.'--(i. 2.)
There is the true dramatic ring in those lines; the words come straight
from the heart and strike home. The swift sudden menace in the last line
is more effective than pages of rhetoric.
The _Noble Souldier_ affords a good illustration of the sanctity
attached by our ancestors to marriage-contracts. On this subject the
reader will find some interesting remarks in Mr. Spalding's _Elizabethan
Demonology_ (pp. 3-7).
THE NOBLE SOVLDIER,
A CONTRACT BROKEN, JUSTLY REVENG'D.
Written by_ S.R.
_Non est, Lex Iustior Ulla,
Quam Nescis Artifices, Arte perire Sua.
Printed for _Nicholas Vavasour_, and are to be
sold at his shop in the _Temple_, neere the
_The_ Printer _to the_ Reader.
Understanding Reader, I present this to your view which has received
applause in Action. The Poet might conceive a compleat satisfaction upon
the Stages approbation. But the Printer rests not there, knowing that
that which was acted and approved upon the Stage might be no less
acceptable in Print. It is now communicated to you whose leisure and
knowledge admits of reading and reason: Your Judgment now this
_Posthumus_ assures himself will well attest his predecessors endevours
to give content to men of the ablest quality, such as intelligent
readers are here conceived to be. I could have troubled you with a
longer epistle, but I feare to stay you from the booke, which affords
better words and matter than I can. So, the work modestly depending in
the skale of your Judgment, the Printer for his part craves your pardon,
hoping by his promptness to doe you greater service as conveniency shall
enable him to give you more or better testimony of his entirenesse
towards you. N.V.
_King of Spaine.
Duke of Medina_.
Marquesse _Daenia, |
Roderigo, | Dons of Spayne.
_Queene_, A Florentine.
_Onaelia_, Neece to _Medina_, the Contracted Lady.
_Sebastian_, Her Sounne.
_Malateste_, A Florentine.
_Baltazar_, The Souldier.
_Cockadillio_, A foolish Courtier.
[To make the list complete we should add--
THE NOBLE SPANISH SOULDIER.
_Enter in Magnificent state, to the sound of lowd
musicke, the King and Queene as from Church,
attended by the Cardinall, Count Malateste, Daenia,
Roderigo, Valasco, Alba, Carlo, and some waiting
Ladies. The King and Queen with Courtly
Complements salute and part; she with one halfe
attending her; King, Cardinall and th'other halfe
stay, the King seeming angry and desirous to be
rid of them too.--King, Cardinal, Daenia, &c_.
_King_. Give us what no man here is master of,
Breath; leave us, pray: my father Cardinall
Can by the Physicke of Philosophy
Set al agen in order. Leave us, pray.
_Card_. How is it with you, Sir?
_King_. As with a Shippe
Now beat with stormes, now safe the stormes are vanisht;
And having you my Pylot I not onely
See shore but harbour. I to you will open
The booke of a blacke sinne deepe-printed in me.
Oh, father, my disease lyes in my soule.
_Card_. The old wound, Sir?
_King_. Yes, that; it festers inward:
For though I have a beauty to my bed
That even Creation envies at, as wanting
Stuffe to make such another, yet on her pillow
I lye by her but an Adulterer
And she as an Adulteresse. Shee's my Queene
And wife, yet but my strumpet, tho the Church
Set on the seale of Mariage: good _Onaelia_,
Neece to our Lord high Constable of Spaine,
Was precontracted mine.
_Card_. Yet when I stung
Your Conscience with remembrance of the Act,
Your eares were deafe to counsell.
_King_. I confesse it.
_Card_. Now to unty the knot with your new Queene
Would shake the Crowne halfe from your head.
_King_. Even Troy
(Tho she hath wept her eyes out) wud find teares
To wayle my kingdomes ruines.
_Card_. What will you doe then?
_King_. She has that Contract written, seal'd by you
And other Churchmen (witnesses untoo't).
A kingdome should be given for that paper.
_Card_. I wud not, for what lyes beneath the Moone,
Be made a wicked Engine to breake in pieces
That holy Contract.
_King_. 'Tis my soules ayme to tye it
Vpon a faster knot.
_Card_. I do not see
How you can with safe conscience get it from her.
_King_. Oh, I know
I wrastle with a Lyonesse: to imprison her
And force her too't I dare not. Death! what King
Did ever say I dare not? I must have it.
A Bastard have I by her; and that Cocke
Will have (I feare) sharpe spurres, if he crow after
Him that trod for him. Something must be done
Both to the Henne and Chicken: haste you therefore
To sad _Onaelia_; tell her I'm resolv'd
To give my new Hawke bells and let her flye;
My Queene I'm weary of and her will marry.
To this our Text adde you what glosse you please;
The secret drifts of Kings are depthlesse Seas.
_A Table set out cover'd with blacke: two waxen tapers:
the Kings Picture at one end, a Crucifix at the other:
Onaelia walking discontentedly weeping to the Crucifix,
her Mayd with her: to them Cornego_.
Quest. _Oh sorrow, sorrow, say, where dost thou dwell_?
Answ. _In the lowest roome of Hell_.
Quest. _Art thou borne of Humane race_?
Answ. _No, no, I have a furier face_.
Quest. _Art thou in City, Towne or Court_?
Answ. _I to every place resort_.
Quest. _O why into the world is sorrow sent_?
Answ. _Men afflicted best repent_.
Quest. _What dost thou feed on_?
Answ. _Broken sleepe_.
Quest. _What tak'st thou pleasure in_?
Answ. _To weepe,
To sigh, to sob, to pine, to groane,
To wring my hands, to sit alone_.
Quest. _Oh when, oh when shall sorrow quiet have?_
Answ. _Never, never, never, never,
Never till she finds a grave_.
_Corn_. No lesson, Madam, but Lacrymae's? If you had buried nine
husbands, so much water as you might squeeze out of an Onyon had been
teares enow to cast away upon fellowes that cannot thanke you. Come,
_Onae_. Sorrow becomes me best.
_Corn_. A suit of laugh and lye downe would weare better.
_Onae_. What should I doe to be merry, _Cornego_?
_Corn_. Be not sad.
_Onae_. But what's the best mirth in the world?
_Corn_. Marry, this: to see much, say little, doe little, get little,
spend little and want nothing.
_Onae_. Oh, but there is a mirth beyond all these:
This picture has so vex'd me I'me half mad.
To spite it therefore I'le sing any song
Thy selfe shalt tune: say then, what mirth is best?
_Corn_. Why then, Madam, what I knocke out now is the very Maribone
of mirth; and this it is.
_Onae_. Say on.
_Corn_. The best mirth for a Lawyer is to have fooles to his Clients;
for Citizens to have Noblemen pay their debts; for Taylors to have store
of Sattin brought in for them--how little soere their hours are--they'll
be sure to have large yards: the best mirth for bawds is to have fresh
handsome whores, and for whores to have rich guls come aboard their
pinnaces, for then they are sure to build Gully-Asses.
_Onae_. These to such soules are mirth, but to mine none: Away!
_Car_. Peace to you, Lady.
_Onae_. I will not sinne so much as hope for peace:
And 'tis a mocke ill suits your gravity.
_Card_. I come to knit the nerves of your lost strength,
To build your ruines up, to set you free
From this your voluntary banishment,
And give new being to your murd'red fame.
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