The True Chronicle History of King Leir and His Three Daughters
Enter King Leir and Nobles.
THus to our griefe the obsequies performd
Of our (too late) deceast and dearest Queen,
Whose soule I hope, possest of heavenly joyes,
Doth ride in triumph 'mongst the Cherubins;
Let us request your grave advice, my Lords,
For the disposing of our princely daughters,
For whom our care is specially imployd,
As nature bindeth to advaunce their states,
In royall marriage with some princely mates:
For wanting now their mothers good advice,
Under whose government they have receyved
A perfit patterne of a vertuous life:
Left as it were a ship without a sail a sterne,
Or silly sheepe without a Pastors care;
Although our selves doe dearely tender them,
Yet are we ignorant of their affayres:
For fathers best do know to governe sonnes;
But daughters steps the mothers counsell turnes.
A sonne we want for to succeed our Crowne,
And course of time hath cancelled the date
Of further issue from our withered loynes:
One foote already hangeth in the grave,
And age hath made deepe furrowes in my face:
The world of me, I of the world am weary,
And I would fayne resigne these earthly cares,
And thinke upon the welfare of my soule:
Which by no better meanes may be effected,
Then by resigning up the Crowne from me,
In equall dowry to my daughters three.
Skalliger. A worthy care, my Liege, which well declares,
The zeale you have unto our quondam Queene:
And since your Grace hath licens'd me to speake,
I censure thus; Your Majesty knowing well,
What severall Suters your princely daughters have,
To make them eche a Joynter more or lesse,
As is their worth, to them that love professe.
Leir. No more, nor lesse, but even all alike,
My zeale is fixt, all fashiond in one mould:
Wherefore unpartiall shall my censure be,
Both old and young shall have alike for me.
Nobl. My gracious Lord, I hartily do wish,
That God had lent you an heyre indubitate,
Which might have set upon your royall throne,
When fates should loose the prison of your life,
By whose succession all this doubt might cease;
And as by you, by him we might have peace.
But after‑wishes ever come too late,
And nothing can revoke the course of fate:
Wherefore, my Liege, my censure deemes it best,
To match them with some of your neighbour Kings,
Bordring within the bounds of Albion,
By whose united friendship, this our state
May be protected 'gainst all forrayne hate.
Leir. Herein, my Lords, your wishes sort with mine,
And mine (I hope) do sort with heavenly powers:
For at this instant two neere neyghbouring Kings
Of Cornwall and of Cambria, motion love
To my two daughters, Gonorill and Ragan.
My youngest daughter, fayre Cordella, vowes
No liking to a Monarch, unlesse love allowes.
She is sollicited by divers Peeres;
But none of them her partiall fancy heares.
Yet, if my policy may her beguyle,
Ile match her to some King within this Ile,
And so establish such a perfit peace,
As fortunes force shall ne're prevayle to cease.
Perillus. Of us & ours, your gracious care, my Lord,
Deserves an everlasting memory,
To be inrol'd in Chronicles of fame,
By never-dying perpetuity:
Yet to become so provident a Prince,
Lose not the title of a loving father:
Do not force love, where fancy cannot dwell,
Lest streames being stopt, above the banks do swell.
Leir. I am resolv'd, and even now my mind
Doth meditate a sudden stratagem,
To try which of my daughters loves me best:
Which till I know, I cannot be in rest.
This graunted, when they joyntly shall contend,
Eche to exceed the other in their love:
Then at the vantage will I take Cordella,
Even as she doth protest she loves me best,
Ile say, Then, daughter, graunt me one request,
To shew thou lovest me as thy sisters doe,
Accept a husband, whom my selfe will woo.
This sayd, she cannot well deny my sute,
Although (poore soule) her sences will be mute:
Then will I tryumph in my policy,
And match her with a King of Brittany.
Skal. Ile to them before, and bewray your secrecy.
Per. Thus fathers think their children to beguile,
And oftentimes themselves do first repent,
When heavenly powers do frustrate their intent. Exeunt.
Enter Gonorill and Ragan.
Gon. I marvell, Ragan, how you can indure
To see that proud pert Peat, our youngest sister,
So slightly to account of us, her elders,
As if we were no better then her selfe !
We cannot have a quaynt device so soone,
Or new made fashion, of our choyce invention;
But if she like it, she will have the same,
Or study newer to exceed us both.
Besides, she is so nice and so demure;
So sober, courteous, modest, and precise,
That all the Court hath worke ynough to do,
To talke how she exceedeth me and you
Ra. What should I do ? would it were in my power,
To find a cure for this contagious ill:
Some desperate medicine must be soone applyed,
To dimme the glory of her mounting fame;
Els ere't be long, sheele have both prick and praise,
And we must be set by for working dayes.
Doe you not see what severall choyce of Suters
She daily hath, and of the best degree?
Say, amongst all, she hap to fancy one,
And have a husband when as we have none:
Why then, by right, to her we must give place,
Though it be ne're so much to our disgrace.
Gon. By my virginity, rather then she shall have
A husband before me,
Ile marry one or other in his shirt:
And yet I have made halfe a graunt already
Of my good will unto the King of Cornwall.
Ra. Sweare not so deeply (sister) here cometh my L.Skalliger:
Something his hasty comming doth import. [Enter Skal.
Skal. Sweet Princesses, I am glad I met you heere so luckily,
Having good newes which doth concerne you both,
And craveth speedy expedition.
Ra. For God's sake tell us what it is, my Lord,
I am with child untill you utter it.
Skal. Madam, to save your longing, this it is;
Your father in great secrecy to day,
Told me, he meanes to marry you out of hand,
Unto the noble Prince of Cambria;
You Madam, to the King of Cornwalls Grace:
Your yonger sister he would fayne bestow
Upon the rich King of Hibernia:
But that he doubts, she hardly will consent;
For hitherto she ne're could fancy him.
If she do yeeld, why then, betweene you three,
He will devide his kingdome for your dowries.
But yet there is further mystery,
Which, so you will conceale, I will disclose.
Gon. What e're thou speakest to us, kind Skalliger,
Thinke that thou speakest it only to thy selfe.
Skal. He earnestly desireth for to know,
Which of you three do beare most love to him,
And on your loves he so extremely dotes,
As never any did, I thinke, before.
He presently doth meane to send for you,
To be resolv'd of this tormenting doubt:
And looke, whose answere pleaseth him the best,
They shall have most unto their marriages.
Ra. O that I had some pleasing Mermayds voyce,
For to inchaunt his sencelesse sences with!
Skal. For he supposeth that Cordella will
(Striving to go beyond you in her love)
Promise to do what ever he desires:
Then will he straight enjoyne her for his sake,
The Hibernian King in marriage for to take.
This is the summe of all I have to say;
Which being done, I humbly take my leave,
Not doubting but your wisdomes will foresee,
What course will best unto your good agree.
Gon. Thanks, gentle Skalliger, thy kindnes undeserved,
Shall not be unrequited, if we live. Exit. Skalliger.
Ra. Now have we fit occasion offred us,
To be reveng'd upon her unperceyv'd.
Gon. Nay, our revenge we will inflict on her,
Shall be accounted piety in us:
I will so flatter with my doting father,
As he was ne're so flattred in his life.
Nay, I will say, that if it be his pleasure,
To match me to a begger, I will yeeld:
For why, I know what ever I do say,
He means to match me with the Cornwall King.
Ra. Ile say the like: for I am well assured,
What e're I say to please the old mans mind,
Who dotes, as if he were a child agayne,
I shall injoy the noble Cambrian Prince:
Only, to feed his humour, will suffice,
To say, I am content with any one
Whom heele appoynte me; this will please him more,
Then e're Apolloes musike pleased Jove.
Gon. I smile to think, in what a wofull plight
Cordella will be, when we answere thus:
For she will rather dye, then give consent
To joyne in marriage with the Irish King:
So will our father think, she loveth him not,
Because she will not graunt to his desire,
Which we will aggravate in such bitter termes,
That he will soone convert his love to hate:
For he, you know, is always in extremes.
Rag. Not all the world could lay a better plot,
I long till it be put in practice. Exeunt.
Enter Leir and Perillus.
Leir. Perillus, go seeke my daughters,
Will them immediately come and speake with me.
Per. I will, my gracious Lord. Exit.
Leir. Oh, what a combat feeles my panting heart,
'Twixt childrens love, and care of Common weale!
How deare my daughters are unto my soule,
None knowes, but he, that knowes my thoghts & secret deeds.
Ah, little do thy know the deare regard,
Wherein I hold their future state to come:
When they securely sleepe on beds of downe,
These aged eyes do watch for their behalfe:
While they like wantons sport in youthfull toyes,
This throbbing heart is pearst with dire annoyes.
As doth the Sun excceed the smallest Starre;
So much the fathers love exceeds the childs.
Yet my complaynts are causelesse: for the world
Affords not children more conformable:
And yet, me thinks, my mind presageth still
I know not what; and yet I feare some ill.
Enter Perillus, with the three daughters.
Well, here my daughters come: I have found out
A present meanes to rid me of this doubt.
Gon. Our royall Lord and father, in all duty,
We come to know the tenour of your will,
Why you so hastily have sent for us?
Leir. Deare Gonorill, kind Ragan, sweet Cordella,
Ye florishing branches of a Kingly stocke,
Sprung from a tree that once did flourish greene,
Whose blossomes now are nipt with Winters frost,
And pale grym death doth wayt upon my steps,
And summons me unto his next Assizes.
Therefore, deare daughters, as ye tender the safety
Of him that was the cause of your first being,
Resolve a doubt which much molests my mind,
Which of you three to me would prove most kind;
Which loves me most, and which at my request
Will soonest yeeld unto their fathers hest.
Gon. I hope, my gracious father makes no doubt
Of any of his daughters love to him:
Yet for my part, to shew my zeale to you,
Which cannot be in windy words rehearst,
I prize my love to you at such a rate,
I thinke my life inferiour to my love.
Should you injoyne me for to tye a milstone
About my neck, and leape into the Sea,
At your commaund I willingly would doe it:
Yea, for to doe you good, I would ascend
The highest Turret in Brittany,
And from the top leape headlong to the ground:
Nay, more, should you appoynt me for to marry
The meanest vassayle in the spacious world,
Without reply I would accomplish it:
In briefe, commaund what ever you desire,
And if I fayle, no favour I require.
Leir. O, how thy words revive my dying soule!
Cor. O, how I do abhorre this flattery!
Leir. But what sayth Ragan to her fathers will?
Rag. O, that my simple utterance could suffice,
To tell the true intention of my heart,
Which burns with zeale of duty to your grace,
And never can be quench'd, but by desire
To shew the same in outward forwardnesse.
Oh, that there were some other mayd that durst
But make a challenge of her love with me;
Ide make her soone confesse she never loved
Her father halfe so well as I doe you.
I then, my deeds should prove in playner case,
How much my zeale aboundeth to your grace:
But for them all, let this one meane suffice,
To ratify my love before your eyes:
I have right noble Suters to my love,
No worse then Kings, and happely I love one:
Yet, would you have me make my choyce anew,
Ide bridle fancy, and be rulde by you.
Leir. Did never Philomel sing so sweet a note.
Cord. Did never flatterer tell so false a tale.
Leir. Speak now, Cordella, make my joyes at full,
And drop downe Nectar from thy hony lips.
Cor. I cannot paynt my duty forth in words,
I hope my deeds shall make report for me:
But looke what love the child doth owe the father,
The same to you I beare, my gracious Lord.
Gon. Here is an answere answerlesse indeed:
Were you my daughter, I should scarcely brooke it.
Rag. Dost thou not blush, proud Peacock as thou art,
To make our father such a slight reply ?
Leir. Why how now, Minion, are you growne so proud ?
Doth our deare love make you thus peremptory ?
What, is your love become so small to us,
As that you scorne to tell us what it is ?
Do you love us, as every child doth love
Their father ? True indeed, as some,
Who by disobedience short their fathers dayes,
And so would you; some are so father‑sick,
That they make meanes to rid them from the world;
And so would you: some are indifferent,
Whether their aged parents live or dye;
And so are you. But, didst thou know, proud gyrle,
What care I had to foster thee to this,
Ah, then thou wouldst say as thy sisters do:
Our life is lesse, then love we owe to you.
Cord. Deare father, do not so mistake my words,
Nor my playne meaning be misconstrued;
My toung was never usde to flattery.
Gon. You were not best say I flatter: if you do,
My deeds shall shew, I flatter not with you.
I love my father better then thou canst.
Cor. The prayse were great, spoke from anothers mouth:
But it should seeme your neighbours dwell far off:
Rag. Nay, here is one, that will confirme as much
As she hath sayd, both for my selfe and her.
I say, thou dost not wish my fathers good.
Cord Deare father.------
Leir. Peace, bastard Impe, no issue of King Leir,
I will not heare thee speake one tittle more.
Call not me father, if thou love thy life,
Nor these thy sisters once presume to name:
Looke for no helpe henceforth from me nor mine,
Shift as thou wilt, and trust unto thy selfe:
My Kingdome will I equally devide
'Twixt thy two sisters to their royall dowre,
And will bestow them worthy their deserts:
This done, because thou shalt not have the hope,
To have a childs part in the time to come,
I presently will dispossesse my selfe,
And set up these upon my princely throne.
Gon. I ever thought that pride would have a fall.
Ra. Plaine dealing, sister: your beauty is so sheene,
You need no dowry, to make you be a Queene.
Exeunt Leir, Gonorill, Ragan.
Cord. Now whither, poore forsaken, shall I goe,
When mine own sisters tryumph in my woe ?
But unto him which doth protect the just
In him will poore Cordella put her trust.
These hands shall labour, for to get my spending
And so ile live untill my dayes have ending.
Per. Oh, how I grieve, to see my Lord thus fond,
To dote so much upon vayne flattering words.
Ah, if he but with good advice had weyghed,
The hidden tenure of her humble speech,
Reason to rage should not have given place,
Nor poore Cordella suffer such disgrace. Exit.
Enter the Gallian King with Mumford, and three Nobles more.
King. Disswade me not, my Lords, I am resolv'd,
This next fayre wynd to sayle for Brittany,
In some disguise, to see if flying fame
Be not too prodigall in the wondrous prayse
Of these three Nymphes, the daughters of King Leir.
If present view do answere absent prayse,
And eyes allow of what our eares have heard,
And Venus stand auspicious to my vowes,
And Fortune favour what I take in hand;
I will returne seyz'd of as rich a prize
As Jason, when he wanne the golden fleece.
Mum. Heavens graunt you may; the match were ful of honor,
And well beseeming the young Gallian King.
I would your Grace would favour me so much,
As make me partner of your Pilgrimage.
I long to see the gallant Brittish Dames,
And feed mine eyes upon their rare perfections:
For till I know the contrary, Ile say,
Our Dames in Fraunce are more fayre then they.
Kin. Lord Mumford, you have saved me a labour,
In offring that which I did meane to aske:
And I most willingly accept your company.
Yet first I will injoyne you to observe
Some few conditions which I shall propose.
Mum. So that you do not tye mine eyes for looking
After the amorous glaunces of fayre Dames:
So that you do not tye my toung from speaking,
My lips from kissing when occasion serves,
My hands from congees, and my knees to bow
To gallant Gyrles; which were a taske more hard,
Then flesh and bloud is able to indure:
Commaund what else you please, I rest content.
Kin. To bind thee from a thing thou canst not leave,
Were but a meane to make thee seeke it more:
And therefore speake, looke, kisse, salute for me;
In these my selfe am like to second thee.
Now heare thy taske. I charge thee from the time
That first we set sayle for the Brittish shore,
To use no words of dignity to me,
But in the friendliest maner that thou canst,
Make use of me as thy companion:
For we will go disguisde in Palmers weeds,
That no man shall mistrust us what we are.
Mum. If that be all, ile fit your turne, I warrant you. I am some
kin to the Blunts, and I think, the bluntest of all my kindred; therfore if
I bee too blunt with you, thank your selfe for praying me to be so.
King. Thy pleasant company will make the way seeme short.
It resteth now, that in my absence hence,
I do commit the government to you
My trusty Lords and faythfull Counsellers.
Time cutteth off the rest I have to say:
The wynd blowes fayre, and I must needs away.
Nobles. Heavens send your voyage to as good effect,
As we your land do purpose to protect. Exeunt.
Enter the King of Cornwall and his man booted and spurd, a
riding wand, and a letter in his hand.
Corn. But how far distant are we from the Court ?
Ser. Some twenty miles, my Lord, or thereabouts.
Corn. It seemeth to me twenty thousand myles:
Yet hope I to be there within this houre.
Ser. Then are you like to ride alone for me. to him selfe.
I thinke, my Lord is weary of his life.
Corn. Sweet Gonorill, I long to see thy face,
Which hast so kindly gratified my love.
Enter tbe King of Cambria booted and spurd, and his man
with a wand and a letter.
Cam. Get a fresh horse: for by my soule I sweare,
I am past patience, longer to forbeare He lookes on the letter.
The wished sight of my beloved mistris,
Deare Ragan, stay and comfort of my life.
Ser. Now what in Gods name doth my Lord intend? to himselfe.
He thinks he ne're shall come at's journeyes end.
I would he had old Dedalus waxen wings,
That he might flye, so I might stay behind:
For e're we get to Troynovant, I see,
He quite will tyre himselfe, his horse and me.
Cornwall & Cambria looke one upon another, and start to see
eche otber there.
Corn. Brother of Cambria, we greet you well,
As one whom here we little did expect.
Cam Brother of Cornwall, met in happy time:
I thought as much to have met with the Souldan of Persia,
As to have met you in this place, my Lord.
No doubt, it is about some great affayres,
That makes you here so slenderly accompanied.
Corn. To say the truth, my Lord, it is no lesse,
And for your part some hasty wind of chance
Hath blowne you hither thus upon the sudden.
Cam. My Lord, to break off further circumstances,
For at this time I cannot brooke delayes:
Tell you your reason, I will tell you mine.
Corn. In fayth content, and therefore to be briefe;
For I am sure my haste's as great as yours:
I am sent for, to come unto King Leir,
Who by these present letters promiseth
His eldest daughter, lovely Gonorill,
To me in mariage, and for present dowry,
The moity of halfe his Regiment.
The Ladies love I long ago possest:
But untill now I never had the fathers.
Cam. You tell me wonders, yet I will relate
Strange newes, and henceforth we must brothers call;
Witnesse these lynes: his honourable age,
Being weary of the troubles of his Crowne,
His princely daughter Ragan will bestow
On me in mariage, with halfe his Seigniories,
Whom I would gladly have accepted of,
With the third part, her complements are such.
Corn. If I have one halfe, and you have the other,
Then betweene us we must needs have the whole.
Cam. The hole ! how meane you that ? Zlood, I hope,
We shall have two holes betweene us.
Corn. Why, the whole Kingdome.
Cam. I, that's very true.
Cor. What then is left for his third daughters dowry,
Lovely Cordella, whom the world admires ?
Cam. Tis very strange, I know not what to thinke,
Unlesse they meane to make a Nunne of her.
Corn. 'Twere pity such rare beauty should be hid
Within the compasse of a Cloysters wall:
But howsoe're, if Leirs words prove true,
It will be good, my Lord, for me and you.
Cam. Then let us haste, all danger to prevent,
For feare delayes doe alter his intent. Exeunt.
Enter Gonorill and Ragan.
Gon. Sister, when did you see Cordella last,
That prety piece, that thinks none good ynough
To speake to her, because (sir‑reverence)
She hath a little beauty extraordinary ?
Ra. Since time my father warnd her from his presence,
I never saw her, that I can remember.
God give her joy of her surpassing beauty;
I thinke, her dowry will be small ynough.
Gon. I have incenst my father so against her,
As he will never be reclaymd agayne.
Rag. I was not much behind to do the like.
Gon. Faith, sister, what moves you to beare her such good will?
Rag. Intruth, I thinke, the same that moveth you;
Because she doth surpasse us both in beauty.
Gon. Beshrew your fingers, how right you can gesse:
I tell you true, it cuts me to the heart.
Rag. But we will keepe her low enough, I warrant,
And clip her wings for mounting up too hye.
Gon. Who ever hath her, shall have a rich mariage of her.
Rag. She were right fit to make a Parsons wife
For they, men say, do love faire women well,
And many times doe marry them with nothing.
Gon. With nothing! marry God forbid: why, are there any such?
Rag. I meane, no money.
Gon. I cry you mercy, I mistooke you much:
And she is far too stately for the Church;
Sheele lay her husbands Benefice on her back,
Even in one gowne, if she may have her will.
Ra. In faith, poore soule, I pitty her a little.
Would she were lesse fayre, or more fortunate.
Well, I thinke long untill I see my Morgan,
The gallant Prince of Cambria, here arrive.
Gon. And so do I, untill the Cornwall King
Present himselfe, to consummate my joyes.
Peace, here commeth my father.
Enter Leir, Perillus and others.
Leir. Cease, good my Lords, and sue not to reverse
Our censure, which is now irrevocable.
We have dispatched letters of contract
Unto the Kings of Cambria and of Cornwall;
Our hand and seale will justify no lesse:
Then do not so dishonour me, my Lords,
As to make shipwrack of our kingly word.
I am as kind as is the Pellican,
That kils it selfe, to save her young ones lives:
And yet as jelous as the princely Eagle,
That kils her young ones, if they do but dazell
Upon the radiant splendor of the Sunne.
Enter Kings of Cornwall and Cambria.
Within this two dayes I expect their comming.
But in good time, they are arriv'd already.
This haste of yours, my Lords, doth testify
The fervent love you beare unto my daughters:
And think your selves as welcome to King Leir,
As ever Pryams children were to him.
Corn. My gracious Lord, and father too, I hope,
Pardon, for that I made no greater haste:
But were my horse as swift as was my will,
I long ere this had seene your Majesty.
Cam. No other scuse of absence can I frame,
Then what my brother hath inform'd your Grace:
For our undeserved welcome, we do vowe,
Perpetually to rest at your commaund.
Corn. But you, sweet Love, illustrious Gonorill,
The Regent, and the Soveraigne of my soule,
Is Cornwall welcome to your Excellency ?
Gon. As welcome, as Leander was to Hero,
Or brave Aeneas to the Carthage Queene:
So and more welcome is your Grace to me.
Cam. O, may my fortune prove no worse then his,
Since heavens do know, my fancy is as much.
Deare Ragan, say, if welcome unto thee,
All welcomes else will little comfort me.
Rag. As gold is welcome to the covetous eye,
As sleepe is welcome to the Traveller,
As is fresh water to sea‑beaten men,
Or moystned showres unto the parched ground,
Or any thing more welcomer then this,
So and more welcome lovely Morgan is.
Leir. What resteth then, but that we consummate,
The celebration of there nuptiall Rites ?
My Kingdome I do equally devide.
Princes, draw lots, and take your chaunce as falles.
Then they draw lots.
These I resigne as freely unto you,
As earst by true succession they were mine.
And here I do freely dispossesse my selfe,
And make you two my true adopted heyres:
My selfe will sojorne with my sonne of Cornwall,
And take me to my prayers and my beades.
I know, my daughter Ragan will be sorry,
Because I do not spend my dayes with her:
Would I were able to be with both at once;
They are the kindest Gyrles in Christendome.
Per. I have bin silent all this while, my Lord,
To see if any worthyer then my selfe,
Would once have spoke in poore Cordellaes cause:
But love or feare tyes silence to their toungs.
Oh, heare me speake for her, my gracious Lord,
Whose deeds have not deserv'd this ruthlesse doome,
As thus to disinherit her of all.
Leir. Urge this no more, and if thou love thy life:
I say, she is no daughter, that doth scorne
To tell her father how she loveth him.
Who ever speaketh hereof to mee agayne,
I will esteeme him for my mortall foe.
Come, let us in, to celebrate with joy,
The happy Nuptialls of these lovely payres.
Exeunt omne, manet Perillus.
Per. Ah, who so blind, as they that will not see
The neere approch of their owne misery ?
Poore Lady, I extremely pitty her:
And whilest I live, eche drop of my heart blood,
Will I strayne forth, to do her any good. Exit.
Enter the Gallian King, and Mumford, disguised like Pilgrims.
Mum. My Lord, how do you brook this Brittish ayre ?
King. My Lord ? I told you of this foolish humour,
And bound you to the contrary, you know.
Mum. Pardon me for once, my Lord; I did forget.
King. My Lord agayne ? then let's have nothing else,
And so be tane for spyes, and then tis well.
Mum. Swounds, I could bite my toung in two for anger:
For Gods sake name your selfe some proper name.
King: Call me Tresillus: Ile call thee Denapoll.
Mum. Might I be made the Monarch of the world,
I could not hit upon these names, I sweare.
King. Then call me Will, ile call thee Jacke.
Mum. Well, be it so, for I have wel deserv'd to be cal'd Jack.
King. Stand close; for here a Brittish Lady commeth:
A fayrer creature ne're mine eyes beheld. Enter Cordella
Cord. This is a day of joy unto my sisters,
Wherein they both are maried unto Kings;
And I, by byrth, as worthy as themselves,
Am turnd into the world, to seeke my fortune.
How may I blame the fickle Queene of Chaunce,
That maketh me a patterne of her power ?
Ah, poore weake mayd, whose imbecility
Is far unable to indure these brunts.
Oh, father Leir, how dost thou wrong thy child,
Who alwayes was obedient to thy will!
But why accuse I fortune and my father ?
No, no, it is the pleasure of my God:
And I do willingly imbrace the rod.
King. It is no Goddesse; for she doth complayne
On fortune, and th'unkindnesse of her father.
Cord. These costly robes ill fitting my estate,
I will exchange for other meaner habit.
Mum. Now if I had a Kingdome in my hands,
I would exchange it for a milkmaids smock and petycoate,
That she and I might shift our clothes together.
Cord. I will betake me to my threed and Needle,
And earne my living with my fingers ends.
Mum. O brave! God willing, thou shalt have my custome,
By sweet S. Denis, here I sadly sweare,
For all the shirts and night‑geare that I weare.
Cord. I will professe and vow a maydens life.
Mum. Then I protest thou shalt not have my custom.
King. I can forbeare no longer for to speak:
For if I do, I think my heart will breake.
Mum. Sblood, Wil, I hope you are not in love with my Sempster.
King. I am in such a laborinth of love,
As that I know not which way to get out.
Mum. You'l ne're get out, unlesse you first get in.
King. I prithy Jacke, crosse not my passions.
Mum. Prithy Wil, to her, and try her patience.
King. Thou fairest creature, whatsoere thou art,
That ever any mortall eyes beheld,
Vouchsafe to me, who have o'reheard thy woes,
To shew the cause of these thy sad laments.
Cor. Ah Pilgrims, what availes to shew the cause,
When there's no meanes to find a remedy ?
King. To utter griefe, doth ease a heart o'recharg'd.
Cor. To touch a sore, doth aggravate the payne.
King. The silly mouse, by vertue of her teeth,
Releas'd the princely Lyon from the net.
Cor. Kind Palmer, which so much desir'st to heare
The tragick tale of my unhappy youth:
Know this in briefe, I am the haplesse daughter
Of Leir, sometimes King of Brittany.
King. Why, who debarres his honourable age,
From being still the King of Brittany ?
Cor. None, but himselfe hath dispossest himselfe,
And given all his Kingdome to the Kings
Of Cornwall and of Cambria, with my sisters.
King. Hath he given nothing to your lovely selfe ?
Cor. He lov'd me not, & therfore gave me nothing,
Only because I could not flatter him:
And in this day of triumph to my sisters,
Doth Fortune tryumph in my overthrow.
King. Sweet Lady, say there should come a King,
As good as eyther of your sisters husbands,
To crave your love, would you accept of him?
Cor. Oh, doe not mocke with those in misery,
Nor do not think, though fortune have the power,
To spoyle mine honour, and debase my state,
That she hath any interest in my mind:
For if the greatest Monarch on the earth,
Should sue to me in this extremity,
Except my heart could love, and heart could like,
Better then any that I ever saw,
His great estate no more should move my mind,
Then mountaynes move by blast of every wind.
King. Think not, sweet Nymph, tis holy Palmers guise,
To grieved soules fresh torments to devise:
Therefore in witnesse of my true intent,
Let heaven and earth beare record of my words:
There is a young and lusty Gallian King,
So like to me, as I am to my selfe,
That earnestly doth crave to have thy love,
And joyne with thee in Hymens sacred bonds.
Cor. The like to thee did ne're these eyes behold;
Oh live to adde new torments to my griefe:
Why didst thou thus intrap me unawares ?
Ah Palmer, my estate doth not befit
A kingly mariage, as the case now stands.
Whilome when as I liv'd in honours height,
A Prince perhaps might postulate my love:
Now misery, dishonour and disgrace,
Hath light on me, and quite reverst the case.
Thy King will hold thee wise, if thou surcease
The sute, whereas no dowry will insue.
Then be advised, Palmer, what to do:
Cease for thy King, seeke for thy selfe to woo.
King. Your birth's too high for any, but a King.
Cor. My mind is low ynough to love a Palmer,
Rather then any King upon the earth.
King. O, but you never can indure their life,
Which is so straight and full of penury.
Cor. O yes, I can, and happy if I might:
Ile hold thy Palmers staffe within my hand,
And thinke it is the Scepter of a Queene.
Sometime ile set thy Bonnet on my head,
And thinke I weare a rich imperiall Crowne.
Sometime ile helpe thee in thy holy prayers,
And thinke I am with thee in Paradise.
Thus ile mock fortune, as she mocketh me,
And never will my lovely choyce repent:
For having thee, I shall have all content.
King. 'Twere sin to hold her longer in suspence,
Since that my soule hath vow'd she shall be mine.
Ah, deare Cordella, cordiall to my heart,
I am no Palmer, as I seeme to be,
But hither come in this unknowne disguise,
To view th'admired beauty of those eyes.
I am the King of Gallia, gentle mayd,
(Although thus slenderly accompanied)
And yet thy vassayle by imperious Love,
And sworne to serve thee everlastingly.
Cor. What e're you be, of high or low discent,
All's one to me, I do request but this:
That as I am, you will accept of me,
And I will have you whatsoe're you be:
Yet well I know, you come of royall race,
I see such sparks of honour in your face:
Mum. Have Palmers weeds such power to win fayre Ladies?
Fayth, then I hope the next that falles is myne:
Upon condition I no worse might speed,
I would for ever weare a Palmers weed.
I like an honest and playne dealing wench,
That sweares (without exceptions) I will have you.
These foppets, that know not whether to love a man or no,
except they first go aske their mothers leave, by this hand,
I hate them ten tymes worse then poyson.
King. What resteth then our happinesse to procure ?
Mum. Fayth, go to Church, to make the matter sure.
King. It shall be so, because the world shall say,
King Leirs three daughters were wedded in one day:
The celebration of this happy chaunce,
We will deferre, untill we come to Fraunce.
Mum. I like the wooing, that's not long a doing.
Well, for her sake, I know what I know:
Ile never marry whilest I live,
Except I have one of these Brittish Ladyes,
My humour is alienated from the mayds of Fraunce. Exeunt.
Enter Perillus solus.
Per. The King hath dispossest himselfe of all,
Those to advaunce, which scarce will give him thanks:
His youngest daughter he hath turnd away,
And no man knowes what is become of her.
He sojournes now in Cornwall with the eldest,
Who flattred him, untill she did obtayne
That at his hands, which now she doth possesse:
And now she sees hee hath no more to give,
It grieves her heart to see her father live.
Oh, whom should man trust in this wicked age,
When children thus against their parents rage ?
But he, the myrrour of mild patience,
Puts up all wrongs, and never gives reply:
Yet shames she not in most opprobrious sort,
To call him foole and doterd to his face,
And sets her Parasites of purpose oft,
In scoffing wise to offer him disgrace.
Oh yron age ! O times ! O monstrous, vilde,
When parents are contemned of the child !
His pension she hath halfe restrain'd from him,
And will, e're long, the other halfe, I feare:
For she thinks nothing is bestowde in vayne,
But that which doth her fathers life maintayne.
Trust not alliance; but trust strangers rather,
Since daughters prove disloyall to the father.
Well, I will counsell him the best I can:
Would I were able to redresse his wrong.
Yet what I can, unto my utmost power,
He shall be sure of to the latest houre. Exit.
Enter Gonorill, and Skalliger.
Gon. I prithy, Skalliger, tell me what thou thinkst:
Could any woman of our dignity
Endure such quips and peremptory taunts,
As I do daily from my doting father ?
Doth't not suffice that I him keepe of almes,
Who is not able for to keepe himselfe ?
But as if he were our better, he should thinke
To check and snap me up at every word.
I cannot make me a new fashioned gowne,
And set it forth with more then common cost;
But his old doting doltish withered wit,
Is sure to give a sencelesse check for it.
I cannot make a banquet extraordinary,
To grace my selfe, and spread my name abroad,
But he, old foole, is captious by and by,
And sayth, the cost would well suffice for twice.
Judge then, I pray, what reason ist, that I
Should stand alone charg'd with his vaine expence,
And that my sister Ragan should go free,
To whom he gave as much, as unto me ?
I prithy, Skalliger, tell me, if thou know,
By any meanes to rid me of this woe.
Skal. Your many favours still bestowde on me,
Binde me in duty to advise your Grace,
How you may soonest remedy this ill.
The large allowance which he hath from you,
Is that which makes him so forget himselfe:
Therefore abbridge it halfe, and you shall see,
That having lesse, he will more thankfull be:
For why, abundance maketh us forget
The fountaynes whence the benefits do spring.
Gon. Well, Skalliger, for thy kynd advice herein,
I will not be ungratefull, if I live:
I have restrayned halfe his portion already,
And I will presently restrayne the other,
That having no meanes to releeve himselfe,
He may go seeke elsewhere for better helpe. Exit.
Skal. Go, viperous woman, shame to all thy sexe:
The heavens, no doubt, will punish thee for this:
And me a villayne, that to curry favour,
Have given the daughter counsell 'gainst the father.
But us the world doth this experience give,
That he that cannot flatter, cannot live. Exit.
Enter King of Cornwall, Leir, Perillus & Nobles.
Corn. Father, what ayleth you to be so sad?
Me thinks, you frollike not as you were wont.
Leir. The neerer we do grow unto our graves,
The lesse we do delight in worldly joyes.
Corn. But if a man can frame himselfe to myrth,
It is a meane for to prolong his life.
Leir. Then welcome sorrow, Leirs only friend,
Who doth desire his troubled dayes had end.
Corn. Comfort your selfe, father, here comes your daughter,
Who much will grieve, I know, to see you sad. Enter Gonorill.
Leir. But more doth grieve, I feare, to see me live.
Corn. My Gonorill, you come in wished time,
To put your father from these pensive dumps.
In fayth, I feare that all things go not well.
Gon. What, do you feare, that I have angred him ?
Hath he complaynd of me unto my Lord ?
Ile provide him a piece of bread and cheese;
For in a time heele practise nothing else,
Then carry tales from one unto another.
Tis all his practise for to kindle strife,
'Twixt you, my Lord, and me your loving wife:
But I will take an order, if I can,
To cease th'effect, where first the cause began.
Corn. Sweet, be not angry in a partiall cause,
He ne're complaynd of thee in all his life.
Father, you must not weygh a womans words.
Leir. Alas, not I: poore soule, she breeds yong bones,
And that is it makes her so tutchy sure.
Gon. What, breeds young bones already ! you will make
An honest woman of me then, belike.
O vild olde wretch ! who ever heard the like,
That seeketh thus his owne child to defame.
Corn. I cannot stay to heare this discord sound. Exit.
Gon. For any one that loves your company,
You may go pack, and seeke some other place,
To sowe the seed of discord and disgrace.
Leir. Thus, say or do the best that e're I can,
Tis wrested straight into another sence.
This punishment my heavy sinnes deserve,
And more then this ten thousand thousand times:
Else aged Leir them could never find
Cruell to him, to whom he hath bin kind.
Why do I over‑live my selfe, to see
The course of nature quite reverst in me ?
Ah, gentle Death, if ever any wight
Did wish thy presence with a perfit zeale:
Then come, I pray thee, even with all my heart,
And end my sorrowes with thy fatall dart. He weepes.
Per. Ah, do not so disconsolate your selfe,
Nor dew your aged cheeks with wasting teares.
Leir. What man art thou that takest any pity
Upon the worthlesse state of old Leir?
Per. One, who doth beare as great a share of griefe,
As if it were my dearest fathers case.
Leir. Ah, good my friend, how ill art thou advisde,
For to consort with miserable men:
Go learne to flatter, where thou mayst in time
Get favour 'mongst the mighty, and so clyme:
For now I am so poore and full of want,
As that I ne're can recompence thy love.
Per. What's got by flattery, doth not long indure;
And men in favour live not most secure.
My conscience tels me, if I should forsake you,
I were the hatefulst excrement on the earth:
Which well do know, in course of former time,
How good my Lord hath bin to me and mine.
Leir. Did I ere rayse thee higher then the rest
Of all thy ancestors which were before ?
Per. I ne're did seke it; but by your good Grace,
I still injoyed my owne with quietnesse.
Leir. Did I ere give thee living, to increase
The due revennues which thy father left ?
Per. I had ynough, my Lord, and having that,
What should you need to give me any more ?
Leir. Oh, did I ever dispossesse my selfe,
And give thee halfe my Kingdome in good will ?
Per. Alas, my Lord, there were no reason, why
You should have such a thought, to give it me.
Leir. Nay, if thou talke of reason, then be mute;
For with good reason I can thee confute.
If they, which first by natures sacred law,
Do owe to me the tribute of their lives;
If they to whom I alwayes have bin kinde.
And bountifull beyond comparison;
If they, for whom I have undone my selfe,
And brought my age unto this extreme want,
Do now reject, contemne, despise, abhor me,
What reason moveth thee to sorrow for me ?
Per. Where reason fayles, let teares confirme my love,
And speake how much your passions do me move.
Ah, good my Lord, condemne not all for one:
You have two daughters left, to whom I know
You shall be welcome, if you please to go.
Leir. Oh, how thy words adde sorrow to my soule,
To thinke of my unkindnesse to Cordella !
Whom causelesse I did dispossesse of all,
Upon th'unkind suggestions of her sisters:
And for her sake, I thinke this heavy doome
Is falne on me, and not without desert:
Yet unto Ragan was I alwayes kinde,
And gave to her the halfe of all I had:
It may be, if I should to her repayre,
She would be kinder, and intreat me fayre.
Per. No doubt she would, & practise ere't be long,
By force of Armes for to redresse your wrong.
Leir. Well, since thou doest advise me for to go,
I am resolv'd to try the worst of wo. Exeunt.
Enter Ragan solus.
Rag. How may I blesse the howre of my nativity,
Which bodeth unto me such happy Starres !
How may I thank kind fortune, that vouchsafes
To all my actions, such desir'd event !
I rule the King of Cambria as I please:
The States are all obedient to my will;
And looke what ere I say, it shall be so;
Not any one, that dareth answere no.
My eldest sister lives in royall state,
And wanteth nothing fitting her degree:
Yet hath she such a cooling card withall,
As that her hony savoureth much of gall.
My father with her is quarter‑master still,
And many times restraynes her of her will:
But if he were with me, and serv'd me so,
Ide send him packing some where else to go.
Ide entertayne him with such slender cost,
That he should quickly wish to change his host. Exit.
Enter Cornwall, Gonorill, and attendants.
Corn. Ah, Gonorill, what dire unhappy chaunce
Hath sequestred thy father from our presence,
That no report can yet be heard of him ?
Some great unkindnesse hath bin offred him,
Exceeding far the bounds of patience:
Else all the world shall never me perswade,
He would forsake us without notice made.
Gon. Alas, my Lord, whom doth it touch so neere,
Or who hath interest in this griefe, but I,
Whom sorrow had brought to her longest home,
But that I know his qualities so well ?
I know, he is but stolne upon my sister
At unawares, to see her how she fares,
And spend a little time with her, to note
How all things goe, and how she likes her choyce:
And when occasion serves, heele steale from her,
And unawares returne to us agayne.
Therefore, my Lord, be frolick, and resolve
To see my father here agayne e're long.
Corn. I hope so too; but yet to be more sure,
Ile send a Poste immediately to know
Whether he be arrived there or no. Exit.
Gon. But I will intercept the Messenger,
And temper him before he doth depart,
With sweet perswasions, and with sound rewards,
That his report shall ratify my speech,
And make my Lord cease further to inquire.
If he be not gone to my sisters Court,
As sure my mind presageth that he is,
He happely may, by travelling unknowne wayes,
Fall sicke, and as a common passenger,
Be dead and buried: would God it were so well;
For then there were no more to do, but this,
He went away, and none knowes where he is.
But say he be in Cambria with the King,
And there exclayme against me, as he will:
I know he is as welcome to my sister,
As water is into a broken ship.
Well, after him Ile send such thunderclaps
Of slaunder, scandall, and invented tales,
That all the blame shall be remov'd from me,
And unperceiv'd rebound upon himselfe.
Thus with one nayle another Ile expell,
And make the world judge, that I usde him well.
Enter the Messenger that should go to Cambria, with a letter in his hand.
Gon. My honest friend, whither away so fast?
Mes. To Cambria, Madam, with letters from the king.
Gon. To whom ?
Mess. Unto your father, if he be there.
Gon. Let me see them. She opens them.
Mess. Madam, I hope your Grace will stand
Betweene me and my neck‑verse, if I be
Calld in question, for opening the Kings letters.
Gon. 'Twas I that opened them, it was not thou.
Mes. I, but you need not care: and so must I,
A hansome man, be quickly trust up,
And when a man's hang'd, all the world cannot save him.
Gon. He that hangs thee, were better hang his father,
Or that but hurts thee in the least degree.
I tell thee, we make great account of thee.
Mes. I am o're‑joy'd, I surfet of sweet words:
Kind Queene, had I a hundred lives, I would
Spend ninety nyne of them for you, for that word.
Gon. I, but thou wouldst keepe one life still,
And that's as many as thou art like to have.
Mes. That one life is not too deare for my good Queene; this
sword, this buckler, this head, this heart, these hands, armes, legs,
tripes, bowels, and all the members else whatsoever, are at your
dispose; use me, trust me, commaund me: if I fayle in any thing, tye
me to a dung cart, and make a Scavengers horse of me, and whip me,
so long as I have any skin on my back.
Gon. In token of further imployment, take that. Flings him a purse.
Mes. A strong Bond, a firme Obligation, good in law, good in
law: if I keepe not the condition, let my necke be the forfeyture of my negligence.
Gon. I like thee well, thou hast a good toung.
Mes. And as bad a toung if it be set on it, as any Oysterwife at Billinsgate hath: why, I have made many of my neighbours forsake their houres with rayling upon them, and go dwell else where; and so by my meanes houses have bin good cheape in our parish: My toung being well whetted with choller, is more sharpe then a Razer of Palerno.
Gon. O, thou art a fit man for my purpose.
Mes. Commend me not, sweet Queene, before you try me.
As my deserts are, so do think of me.
Gon. Well sayd, then this is thy tryall: Instead of carrying the
Kings letters to my father, carry thou these letters to my sister, which
contayne matter quite contrary to the other: there shal she be given to understand, that my father hath detracted her, given out slaundrous
speaches against her; and that hee hath most intollerably abused me,
set my Lord and me at variance, and made mutinyes amongst the
These things (although it be not so)
Yet thou must affirme them to be true,
With othes and protestations as will serve,
To drive my sister out of love with him,
And cause my will accomplished to be.
This do, thou winst my favour for ever,
And makest a hye way of preferment to thee
And all thy friends.
Mess. It sufficeth, conceyt it is already done:
I will so toung‑whip him, that I will
Leave him as bare of credit, as a Poulter
Leaves a Cony, when she pulls off his skin.
Gon. Yet there is a further matter.
Mes. I thirst to heare it.
Gon. If my sister thinketh convenient, as my letters importeth, to make him away, hast thou the heart to effect it ?
Mess. Few words are best in so small a matter:
These are but trifles. By this booke I will. Kisse the paper.
Gon. About it presently, I long till it be done.
Mes: I fly, I fly. Exeunt.
Enter Cordella solus.
I have bin over‑negligent to day,
In going to the Temple of my God,
To render thanks for all his benefits,
Which he miraculously hath bestowed on me,
In raysing me out of my meane estate,
When as I was devoyd of worldly friends,
And placing me in such a sweet content,
As far exceeds the reach of my deserts.
My kingly husband, myrrour of his time,
For zeale, for justice, kindnesse, and for care
To God, his subjects, me, and Common weale,
By his appoyntment was ordayned for me.
I cannot wish the thing that I do want;
I cannot want the thing but I may have,
Save only this which I shall ne're obtayne,
My fathers love, oh this I ne're shall gayne.
I would abstayne from any nutryment,
And pyne my body to the very bones:
Bare foote I would on pilgrimage set forth
Unto the furthest quarters of the earth,
And all my life time would I sackcloth weare,
And mourning‑wise powre dust upon my head:
So he but to forgive me once would please,
That his grey haires might go to heaven in peace.
And yet I know not how I him offended,
Or wherein justly I have deserved blame.
Oh sisters ! you are much to blame in this,
It was not he, but you that did me wrong.
Yet God forgive both him, and you and me,
Even as I doe in perfit charity.
I will to Church, and pray unto my Saviour,
That ere I dye, I may obtayne his favour. Exit.
Enter Leir and Perillus fayntly.
Per. Rest on me, my Lord, and stay your selfe,
The way seemes tedious to your aged lymmes.
Leir. Nay, rest on me, kind friend, and stay thy selfe,
Thou art as old as I, but more kind.
Per. Ah, good my Lord, it ill befits, that I
Should leane upon the person of a King.
Leir. But it fits worse, that I should bring thee forth,
That had no cause to come along with me,
Through these uncouth paths, and tirefull wayes,
And never ease thy faynting limmes a whit.
Thou hast left all, I, all to come with me,
And I, for all, have nought to guerdon thee.
Per. Cease, good my Lord, to aggravate my woes,
With these kind words, which cuts my heart in two,
To think your will should want the power to do.
Leir. Cease, good Perillus, for to call me Lord
And think me but the shaddow of my selfe.
Per. That honourable title will I give,
Unto my Lord, so long as I do live.
Oh, be of comfort; for I see the place
Whereas your daughter keeps her residence.
And loe, in happy time the Cambrian Prince
Is here arriv'd, to gratify our comming.
Enter the Prince of Cambria, Ragan and Nobles: looke upon
them, and whisper together.
Leir. Were I best speak, or sit me downe and dye ?
I am asham'd to tell this heavy tale.
Per. Then let me tell it, if you please, my Lord:
Tis shame for them that were the cause thereof.
Cam. What two old men are those that seeme so sad ?
Me thinks, I should remember well their lookes.
Rag. No, I mistake not, sure it is my father:
I must dissemble kindnesse now of force.
She runneth to him and kneeles downe, saying:
Father, I bid you welcome, full of griefe,
To see your Grace usde thus unworthily,
And ill befitting for your reverend age,
To come on foot a journey so indurable.
Oh, what disaster chaunce hath bin the cause,
To make your cheeks so hollow, spare and leane ?
He cannot speake for weeping: for Gods love, come.
Let us refresh him with some needfull things,
And at more leysure we may better know,
Whence springs the ground of this unlookt for wo.
Cam. Come, father, e're we any further talke,
You shall refresh you after this weary walk.
Exeunt, manet Ragan.
Rag. Comes he to me with finger in the eye,
To tell a tale against my sister here ?
Whom I do know, he greatly hath abusde:
And now like a contentious crafty wretch,
He first begins for to complayne himselfe,
When as himselfe is in the greatest fault.
Ile not be partiall in my sisters cause,
Nor yet beleeve his doting vayne reports:
Who for a trifle (safely) I dare say,
Upon a spleene is stolen thence away:
And here (forsooth) he hopeth to have harbour,
And to be moan'd and made on like a child:
But ere't be long, his comming he shall curse,
And truely say, he came from bad to worse:
Yet will I make fayre weather, to procure
Convenient meanes, and then ile strike it sure. Exit.
Enter Messenger solus.
Mes. Now happily I am arrived here,
Before the stately Palace of the Cambrian King:
If Leir be here safe‑seated, and in rest,
To rowse him from it I will do my best. Enter Ragan.
Now bags of gold, your vertue is (no doubt)
To make me in my message bold and stout.
The King of heaven preserve your Majesty.
And send your Highnesse everlasting raigne.
Ra. Thanks, good my friend; but what imports thy message?
Mes. Kind greetings from the Cornwall Queene:
The residue these letters will declare.
She opens the letters.
Rag. How fares our royall sister ?
Mes. I did leave her at my parting, in good health.
She reads the letter, frownes and stamps.
See how her colour comes and goes agayne,
Now red as scarlet, now as pale as ash:
She how she knits her brow, and bytes her lips,
And stamps, and makes a dumbe shew of disdayne,
Mixt with revenge, and violent extreames.
Here will be more worke and more crownes for me.
Rag. Alas, poore soule, and hath he usde her thus ?
And is he now come hither, with intent
To set divorce betwixt my Lord and me ?
Doth he give out, that he doth heare report,
That I do rule my husband as I list,
And therefore meanes to alter so the case,
That I shall know my Lord to be my head ?
Well, it were best for him to take good heed,
Or I will make him hop without a head,
For his presumption, dottard that he is.
In Cornwall he hath made such mutinies,
First, setting of the King against the Queene;
Then stirring up the Commons 'gainst the King;
That had he there continued any longer,
He had bin call'd in question for his fact.
So upon that occasion thence he fled,
And comes thus slily stealing unto us:
And now already since his comming hither,
My Lord and he are growne in such a league,
That I can have no conference with his Grace:
I feare, he doth already intimate
Some forged cavillations 'gainst my state:
Tis therefore best to cut him off in time,
Lest slaunderous rumours once abroad disperst,
It is too late for them to be reverst.
Friend, as the tennour of these letters shewes,
My sister puts great confidence in thee.
Mes. She never yet committed trust to me,
But that (I hope) she found me alwayes faythfull:
So will I be to any friend of hers,
That hath occasion to imploy my helpe.
Rag. Hast thou the heart to act a stratagem,
And give a stabbe or two, if need require ?
Mes. I have a heart compact of Adamant,
Which never knew what melting pitty meant.
I weigh no more the murdring of a man,
Then I respect the cracking of a Flea,
When I doe catch her byting on my skin.
If you will have your husband or your father,
Or both of them sent to another world,
Do but commaund me doo't, it shall be done.
Rag. It is ynough, we make no doubt of thee:
Meet us tomorrow here, at nyne a clock:
Meane while, farewell, and drink that for my fake. Exit.
Mes. I, this is it will make me do the deed:
Oh, had I every day such customers,
This were the gainefulst trade in Christendome !
A purse of gold giv'n for a paltry stabbe !
Why, heres a wench that longs to have a stabbe.
Wel, I could give it her, and ne're hurt her neither.
Enter the Gallian King, and Cordella.
King. When will these clouds of sorrow once disperse,
And smiling joy tryumph upon thy brow ?
When will this Scene of sadnesse have an end,
And pleasant acts insue, to move delight ?
When will my lovely Queene cease to lament,
And take some comfort to her grieved thoughts ?
If of thy selfe thou daignst to have no care,
Yet pitty me, whom thy griefe makes despayre.
Cor. O, grieve not you, my Lord, you have no cause;
Let not my passions move your mind a whit:
For I am bound by nature, to lament
For his ill will, that life to me first lent.
If so the stocke be dryed with disdayne,
Withered and fere the branch must needes remaine.
King. But thou art now graft in another stock;
I am the stock, and thou the lovely branch:
And from my root continuall sap shall flow,
To make thee flourish with perpetuall spring.
Forget thy father and thy kindred now,
Since they forsake thee like inhumane beastes,
Thinke they are dead, since all their kindnesse dyes,
And bury them, where black oblivion lyes.
Think not thou art the daughter of old Leir,
Who did unkindly disinherit thee:
But think thou art the noble Gallian Queene,
And wife to him that dearely loveth thee:
Embrace the joyes that present with thee dwell,
Let sorrow packe and hide her selfe in hell.
Cord. Not that I misse my country or my kinne,
My old acquaintance or my ancient friends,
Doth any whit distemperate my mynd,
Knowing you, which are more deare to me,
Then Country, kin, and all things els can be.
Yet pardon me, my gracious Lord, in this:
For what can stop the course of natures power ?
As easy is it for foure‑footed beasts,
To stay themselves upon the liquid ayre,
And mount aloft into the element,
And overstrip the feathered Fowles in flight:
As easy is it for the slimy Fish.
To live and thrive without the helpe of water:
As easy is it for the Blackamoore,
To wash the tawny colour from his skin,
Which all oppose against the course of nature,
As I am able to forget my father.
King. Myrrour of vertue, Phoenix of our age !
Too kind a daughter for an unkind father,
Be of good comfort; for I will dispatch
Ambassadors immediately for Brittayne,
Unto the King of Cornwalls Court, whereas
Your father keepeth now his residence,
And in the kindest maner him intreat,
That setting former grievances apart,
He will be pleasde to come and visit us.
If no intreaty will suffice the turne,
Ile offer him the halfe of all my Crowne:
If that moves not, weele furnish out a Fleet,
And sayle to Cornwall for to visit him;
And there you shall be firmely reconcilde
In perfit love, as earst you were before.
Cor. Where toung cannot sufficient thanks afford,
The King of heaven remunerate my Lord.
King. Only be blithe, and frolick (sweet) with me:
This and much more ile do to comfort thee.
Enter Messenger solus.
Mes. It is a world to see now I am flush,
How many friends I purchase every where !
How many seekes to creepe into my favour,
And kisse their hands, and bend their knees to me !
No more, here comes the Queene, now shall I know her mind,
And hope for to derive more crownes from her.Enter Ragan.
Rag. My friend, I see thou mind'st thy promise well,
And art before me here, me thinks, to day.
Mes. I am a poore man, and it like your Grace;
But yet I alwayes love to keepe my word.
Ra. Wel, keepe thy word with me, & thou shalt see,
That of a poore man I will make thee rich.
Mes. I long to heare it, it might have bin dispatcht,
If you had told me of it yesternight.
Ra. It is a thing of right strange consequence,
And well I cannot utter it in words.
Mes. It is more strange, that I am not by this
Beside my selfe, with longing for to heare it.
Were it to meet the Devill in his denne,
And try a bout with him for a scratcht face,
Ide undertake it, if you would but bid me.
Ra. Ah, good my friend, that I should have thee do,
Is such a thing, as I do shame to speake;
Yet it must needs be done.
Mes. Ile speak it for thee, Queene: shall I kill thy father?
I know tis that, and if it be so, say. Rag. I.
Mes. Why, thats ynough.
Rag. And yet that is not all.
Mes. What else ?
Rag. Thou must kill that old man that came with him.
Mes. Here are two hands, for eche of them is one.
Rag. And for eche hand here is a recompence.
Give him two purses.
Mes. Oh, that I had ten hands by myracle,
I could teare ten in pieces with my teeth,
So in my mouth yould put a purse of gold.
But in what maner must it be effected ?
Rag. To morrow morning ere the breake of day,
I by a wyle will send them to the thicket,
That is about some two myles from the Court,
And promise them to meet them there my selfe
Because I must have private conference
About some newes I have receyv'd from Cornwall.
This is ynough, I know, they will not fayle,
And then be ready for to play thy part:
Which done, thou mayst right easily escape,
And no man once mistrust thee for the fact:
But yet, before thou prosecute the act,
Shew him the letter, which my sister sent,
There let him read his owne inditement first,
And then proceed to execution:
But see thou faynt not; for they will speake fayre.
Mes. Could he speak words as pleasing as the pipe
Of Mercury, which charm'd the hundred eyes
Of watchfull Argos, and inforc'd him sleepe:
Yet here are words so pleaslng to my thoughts, To the purse.
As quite shall take away the sound of his. Exit.
Rag. About it then, and when thou hast dispatcht,
Ile find a meanes to send thee after him. Exit.
Enter Cornwall and Gonorill
Corn. I wonder that the Messenger doth stay,
Whom we dispatcht for Cambria so long since:
If that his answere do not please us well,
And he do shew good reason for delay
Ile teach him how to dally with his King,
And to detayne us in such long suspence.
Gon. My Lord, I thinke the reason may be this:
My father meanes to come along with him;
And therefore tis his pleasure he shall stay,
For to attend upon him on the way.
Corn. It may be so, and therefore till I know
The truth thereof, I will suspend my judgement.
Ser. And't like your Grace, there is an Ambassador
Arrived from Gallia, and craves admittance to your Majesty.
Corn. From Gallia ? what should his message
Hither import ? is not your father happely
Gone thither ? well, whatsoere it be,
Bid him come in, he shall have audience.
What newes from Gallia ? speake Ambassador.
Am. The noble King and Queene of Gallia first salutes,
By me, their honourable father, my Lord Leir:
Next, they commend them kindly to your Graces,
As those whose wellfare they intirely wish.
Letters I have to deliver to my Lord Leir,
And presents too, if I might speake with him.
Gon. If you might speak with him ? why, do you thinke,
We are afrayd that you should speake with him ?
Am. Pardon me, Madam; for I thinke not so,
But say so only, 'cause he is not here.
Corn. Indeed, my friend, upon some urgent cause,
He is at this time absent from the Court:
But if a day or two you here repose,
Tis very likely you shall have him here,
Or else have certayne notice where he is.
Gon. Are not we worthy to receive your message ?
Am. I had in charge to do it to himselfe.
Gon. It may be then 'twill not be done in haste. to herselfe.
How doth my sister brooke the ayre of France?
Am. Exceeding well, and never sicke one houre,
Since first she set her foot upon the shore.
Gon. I am the more sorry.
Am. I hope, not so, Madam.
Gon. Didst thou not say, that she was ever sicke,
Since the first houre that she arrived there ?
Amb. No, Madam, I sayd quite contrary.
Gon. Then I mistooke thee.
Corn. Then she is merry, if she have her health.
Am. Oh no, her griefe exceeds, untill the time,
That she be reconcil'd unto her father.
Gon. God continue it.
Am. What, madam ?
Gon. Why, her health.
Am. Amen to that: but God release her griefe
And send her father in a better mind,
Then to continue alwayes so unkind.
Corn. Ile be a mediator in her cause,
And seeke all meanes to expiat his wrath.
Am. Madam, I hope your Grace will do the like.
Gon. Should I be a meane to exasperate his wrath
Against my sister, whom I love so deare ? no, no.
Am. To expiate or mittigate his wrath:
For he hath misconceyved without a cause.
Gon. O, I, what else ?
Am. Tis pity it should be so, would it were otherwise.
Gon. It were great pity it should be otherwise.
Am. Then how, Madam ?
Gon. Then that they should be reconcilde againe.
Am. It shewes you beare an honourable mind.
Gon. It shewes thy understanding to be blind, Speakes to her selfe.
And that thou hadst need of an Interpreter:
Well, I will know thy message ere't be long,
And find a meane to crosse it, if I can.
Corn. Come in, my friend, and frolick in our Court,
Till certayne notice of my father come. Exeunt.
Enter Leir and Perillus
Per. My Lord, you are up to day before your houre,
Tis newes to you to be abroad so rathe.
Leir. Tis newes indeed, I am so extreme heavy,
That I can scarcely keepe my eye‑lids open.
Per. And so am I, but I impute the cause
To rising sooner then we use to do.
Leir. Hither my daughter meanes to come disguis'd:
Ile sit me downe, and read untill she come.
Pull out a booke and sit downe.
Per. Sheele not be long, I warrant you, my Lord:
But say, a couple of these they call good fellowes,
Should step out of a hedge, and set upon us,
We were in good case for to answere them.
Leir. 'Twere not for us to stand upon our hands.
Per. I feare, we scant should stand upon our legs.
But how should we do to defend our selves ?
Leir. Even pray to God, to blesse us from their hands:
For fervent prayer much ill hap withstands.
Per. Ile sit and pray with you for company;
Yet was I ne're so heavy in my life.
They fall both asleepe.
Enter the Messenger or murtherer with two daggers in his hands.
Mess. Were it not a mad jest, if two or three of my profession
should meet me, and lay me downe in a ditch, and play robbe thiefe
with me, & perforce take my gold away from me, whilest I act this
stratagem, and by this meanes the gray beards should escape? Fayth,
when I were at liberty againe, I would make no more to do, but go to
the next tree, and there hang my selfe. See them and start.
But stay, me thinks, my youthes are here already,
And with pure zeale have prayed themselves asleepe.
I thinke, they know to what intent they came,
And are provided for another world.
He takes their bookes away.
Now could I stab them bravely, while they sleepe,
And in a maner put them to no payne;
And doing so, I shewed them mighty friendship:
For feare of death is worse then death it selfe.
But that my sweet Queene will'd me for to shew
This letter to them, ere I did the deed.
Masse, they begin to stirre: ile stand aside;
So shall I come upon them unawares.
They wake and rise.
Leir. I marvell, that my daughter stayes so long.
Per. I feare, we did mistake the place, my Lord.
Leir. God graunt we do not miscarry in the place:
I had a short nap, but so full of dread,
As much amazeth me to think thereof.
Per. Feare not, my Lord, dreames are but fantasies,
And night imaginations of the brayne.
Mes. Perswade him so; but ile make him and you
Confesse, that dreames do often prove too true.
Per. I pray, my Lord, what was the effect of it ?
I may go neere to gesse what it pretends.
Mes. Leave that to me, I will expound the dreame.
Leir. Me thought, my daughters, Gonorill & Ragan,
Stood both before me with such grim aspects,
Eche brandishing a Faulchion in their hand,
Ready to lop a lymme of where it fell,
And in their other hands a naked poynyard,
Wherwith they stabd me in a hundred places,
And to their thinking left me there for dead:
But then my youngest daughter, fayre Cordella,
Came with a boxe of Balsome in her hand,
And powred it into my bleeding wounds,
By whose good meanes I was recovered well,
In perfit health, as earst I was before:
And with the feare of this I did awake
And yet for feare my feeble joynts do quake.
Mes. Ile make you quake for something presently.
Stand, Stand. They reele.
Leir. We do, my friend, although with much adoe.
Mes. Deliver, deliver.
Per. Deliver us, good Lord, from such as he.
Mes. You should have prayed before, while it was time,
And then perhaps, you might have scapt my hands:
But you, like faithfull watch‑men, fell asleepe,
The whilst I came and tooke your Halberds from you.
Shew their Bookes.
And now you want your weapons of defence,
How have you any hope to be delivered ?
This comes, because you have no better stay,
But fall asleepe, when you should watch and pray.
Leir. My friend, thou seemst to be a proper man.
Mes. Sblood, how the old slave clawes me by the elbow?
He thinks, belike, to scape by scraping thus.
Per. And it may be, are in some need of money.
Mes. That to be false, behold my evidence.
Shewes his purses.
Leir. If that I have will do thee any good,
I give it thee, even with a right good will. Take it.
Per. Here, take mine too, & wish with all my heart,
To do thee pleasure, it were twice as much.
Take his, and weygh them both in his hands.
Mes. Ile none of them, they are too light for me.
Puts them in his pocket.
Leir. Why then farewell: and if thou have occasion
In any thing, to use me to the Queene,
'Tis like ynough that I can pleasure thee.
They proffer to goe.
Mes. Do you heare, do you heare, sir ?
If I had occasion to use you to the Queene,
Would you do one thing for me I should aske ?
Leir. I, any thing that lyes within my power.
Here is my hand upon it, so farewell. Proffer to goe.
Mes. Heare you sir, heare you ? pray, a word with you.
Me thinks, a comely honest ancient man
Should not dissemble with one for a vantage.
I know, when I shall come to try this geare,
You will recant from all that you have sayd.
Per. Mistrust not him, but try him when thou wilt:
He is her father, therefore may do much.
Mes. I know he is, and therefore meane to try him:
You are his friend too, I must try you both.
Ambo. Prithy do, prithy do. Proffer to go out.
Mes. Stay gray‑beards then, and prove men of your words:
The Queene hath tyed me by a solemne othe,
Here in this place to see you both dispatcht:
Now for the safegard of my conscience,
Do me the pleasure for to kill your selves:
So shall you save me labour for to do it,
And prove your selves true old men of your words.
And here I vow in sight of all the world,
I ne're will trouble you whilst I live agayne.
Leir. Affright us not with terrour, good my friend,
Nor strike such feare into our aged hearts.
Play not the Cat, which dallieth with the mouse;
And on a sudden maketh her a pray:
But if thou art markt for the man of death
To me and to my Damion, tell me playne,
That we may be prepared for the stroke,
And make our selves fit for the world to come.
Mes. I am the last of any mortall race,
That ere your eyes are likely to behold,
And hither sent of purpose to this place,
To give a finall period to your dayes,
Which are so wicked, and have lived so long,
That your owne children seeke to short your life.
Leir. Camst thou from France, of purpose to do this ?
Mes. From France? zoones, do I looke like a Frenchman?
Sure I have not mine owne face on; some body hath chang'd faces
with me, and I know not of it: But I am sure, my apparell is all
English. Sirra, what meanest thou to aske that question ? I could
spoyle the fashion of this face for anger. A French face!
Leir. Because my daughter, whom I have offended
And at whose hands I have deserv'd as ill,
As ever any father did of child,
Is Queene of Fraunce, no thanks at all to me,
But unto God, who my injustice see.
If it be so, that shee doth seeke revenge,
As with good reason she may justly do,
I will most willingly resigne my life,
A sacrifice to mittigate her ire:
I never will intreat thee to forgive,
Because I am unworthy for to live.
Therefore speake soone, & I will soone make speed:
Whether Cordella will'd thee do this deed ?
Mes. As I am a perfit gentleman, thou speakst French to me:
I never heard Cordellaes name before,
Nor never was in Fraunce in all my life:
I never knew thou hadst a daughter there,
To whom thou didst prove so unkind a churle:
But thy owne toung declares that thou hast bin
A vyle old wretch, and full of heynous sin.
Leir. Ah no, my friend, thou art deceyved much:
For her except, whom I confesse I wrongd,
Through doting frenzy, and o're‑jelous love.
There lives not any under heavens bright eye,
That can convict me of impiety.
And therfore sure thou dost mistake the marke:
For I am in true peace with all the world.
Mes. You are the fitter for the King of heaven:
And therefore, for to rid thee of suspence,
Know thou, the Queenes of Cambria and Cornwall,
Thy owne two daughters, Gonorill and Ragan,
Appoynted me to massacre thee here.
Why wouldst thou then perswade me, that thou art
In charity with all the world ? but now
When thy owne issue hold thee in such hate,
That they have hyred me t'abbridge thy fate,
Oh, fy upon such vyle dissembling breath,
That would deceyve, even at the poynt of death.
Per. Am I awake, or is it but a dreame ?
Mes. Feare nothing, man, thou art but in a dreame,
And thou shalt never wake untill doomes day,
By then, I hope, thou wilt have slept ynough.
Leir. Yet, gentle friend, graunt one thing ere I die.
Mes. Ile graunt you any thing, except your lives.
Leir. Oh, but assure me by some certayne token,
That my two daughters hyred thee to this deed:
If I were once resolv'd of that, then I
Would wish no longer life, but crave to dye.
Mes. That to be true, in sight of heaven I sweare.
Leir. Sweare not by heaven, for feare of punishment:
The heavens are guiltlesse of such haynous acts.
Mes. I sweare by earth, the mother of us all.
Leir. Sweare not by earth; for she abhors to beare
Such bastards. as are murtherers of her sonnes.
Mes. Why then, by hell, and all the devils I sweare.
Leir. Sweare not by hell; for that stands gaping wide,
To swallow thee, and if thou do this deed.
Thunder and lightning.
Mes. I would that word were in his belly agayne,
It hath frighted me even to the very heart:
This old man is some strong Magician:
His words have turned my mind from this exployt.
Then neyther heaven, earth, nor hell be witnesse;
But let this paper witnesse for them all.
Shewes Gonorils letter.
Shall I relent, or shall I prosecute ?
Shall I resolve, or were I best recant ?
I will not crack my credit with two Queenes,
To whom I have already past my word.
Oh, but my conscience for this act doth tell,
I get heavens hate, earths scorne, and paynes of hell.
They blesse themselves.
Per. Oh just Jehova, whose almighty power
Doth governe all things in this spacious world,
How canst thou suffer such outragious acts
To be committed without just revenge ?
O viperous generation and accurst,
To seeke his blood, whose blood did make them first !
Leir. Ah, my true friend in all extremity,
Let us submit us to the will of God:
Things past all sence, let us not seeke to know;
It is Gods will, and therefore must be so.
My friend, I am prepared for the stroke:
Strike when thou wilt, and I forgive thee here,
Even from the very bottome of my heart.
Mes. But I am not prepared for to strike.
Leir. Farewell, Perillus, even the truest friend,
That ever lived in adversity:
The latest kindnesse ile request of thee,
Is that thou go unto my daughter Cordella,
And carry her her fathers latest blessing
Withall desire her, that she will forgive me;
For I have wrongd her without any cause.
Now, Lord, receyve me, for I come to thee,
And dye, I hope, in perfit charity.
Dispatch, I pray thee, I have lived too long.
Mes. I but you are unwise, to send an errand
By him that never meaneth to deliver it:
Why, he must go along with you to heaven:
It were not good you should go all alone.
Leir. No doubt, he shal, when by the course of nature
He must surrender up his due to death:
But that time shall not come, till God permit.
Mes. Nay, presently, to beare you company.
I have a Pasport for him in my pocket,
Already seald, and he must needs ride Poste.
Shew a bagge of money.
Leir. The letter which I read, imports not so,
It only toucheth me, no word of him.
Mes. I, but the Queene commaunds it must be so,
And I am payd for him, as well as you.
Per. I, who have borne you company in life,
Most willingly will beare a share in death.
It skilleth not for me, my friend, a whit,
Nor for a hundred such as thou and I.
Mes. Mary, but it doth, sir, by your leave; your good dayes
are past: though it bee no matter for you, tis a matter for me, proper
men are not so rife.
Per. Oh, but beware, how thou dost lay thy hand
Upon the high anoynted of the Lord:
O, be advisd ere thou dost begin:
Dispatch me straight, but meddle not with him.
Leir. Friend, thy commission is to deale with me,
And I am he that hath deserved all:
The plot was layd to take away my life:
And here it is, I do intreat thee take it:
Yet for my sake, and as thou art a man,
Spare this my friend, that hither with me came:
I brought him forth, whereas he had not bin,
But for good will to beare me company.
He left his friends, his country and his goods,
And came with me in most extremity.
Oh, if he should miscarry here and dye,
Who is the cause of it, but only I ?
Mes. Why that am I, let that ne're trouble thee.
Leir. O no, tis I. O, had I now to give thee
The monarchy of all the spacious world
To save his life, I would bestow it on thee:
But I have nothing but these teares and prayers,
And the submission of a bended knee. kneele,
O, if all this to mercy move thy mind,
Spare him, in heaven thou shalt like mercy find.
Mes. I am as hard to be moved as another, and yet me thinks
the strength of their perswasions stirres me a little.
Per. My friend, if feare of the almighty power
Have power to move thee, we have sayd ynough:
But if thy mind be moveable with gold,
We have not presently to give it thee:
Yet to thy selfe thou mayst do greater good,
To keepe thy hands still undefilde from blood:
For do but well consider with thy selfe,
When thou hast finisht this outragious act,
What horrour still will haunt thee for the deed:
Think this agayne, that they which would incense
Thee for to be the Butcher of their father,
When it is done, for feare it should be knowne,
Would make a meanes to rid thee from the world:
Oh, then art thou for ever tyed in chaynes
Of everlasting torments to indure,
Even in the hotest hole of grisly hell,
Such paynes, as never mortall toung can tell.
It thunders. He quakes, and lets fall the Dagger next to Perillus.
Leir. O, heavens be thanked, he wil spare my friend.
Now when thou wilt come make an end of me.
He lets fall the otber dagger.
Per. Oh, happy sight ! he meanes to save my Lord.
The King of heaven continue this good mind.
Leir. Why stayst thou to do execution ?
Mes. I am as wilfull as you for your life:
I will not do it, now you do intreat me.
Per. Ah, now I see thou hast some sparke of grace.
Mes. Beshrew you for it, you have put it in me:
The parlosest old men, that ere I heard.
Well, to be flat, ile not meddle with you:
Here I found you, and here ile leave you:
If any aske you why the case so stands ?
Say that your toungs were better then your hands. Exit Mess.
Per. Farewell. If ever we together meet,
It shall go hard, but I will thee regreet.
Courage, my Lord, the worst is overpast;
Let us give thanks to God, and hye us hence.
Leir. Thou art deceyved; for I am past the best,
And know not whither for to go from hence:
Death had bin better welcome unto me,
Then longer life to adde more misery.
Per. It were not good to returne from whence we came,
Unto your daughter Ragan back againe.
Now let us go to France, unto Cordella,
Your youngest daughter, doubtlesse she will succour you.
Leir. Oh, how can I perswade my selfe of that,
Since the other two are quite devoyd of love;
To whom I was so kind, as that my gifts,
Might make them love me, if 'twere nothing else?
Per. No worldly gifts, but grace from God on hye,
Doth nourish vertue and true charity.
Remember well what words Cordella spake,
What time you askt her, how she lov'd your Grace.
Se sayd, her love unto you was as much,
As ought a child to beare unto her father.
Leir. But she did find, my love was not to her,
As should a father beare unto a child.
Per. That makes not her love to be any lesse,
If she do love you as a child should do:
You have tryed two, try one more for my sake,
Ile ne're intreat you further tryall make.
Remember well the dream you had of late,
And thinke what comfort it foretels to us.
Leir. Come, truest friend, that ever man possest,
I know thou counsailst all things for the best:
If this third daughter play a kinder part,
It comes of God, and not of my desert. Exeunt.
Enter the Gallian Ambassador solus.
Am. There is of late newes come unto the Court.
That old Lord Leir remaynes in Cambria:
Ile hye me thither presently, to impart
My letters and my message unto him.
I never was lesse welcome to a place
In all my life time, then I have bin hither,
Especially unto the stately Queene,
Who would not cast one gracious looke on me,
But still with lowring and suspicious eyes,
Would take exceptions at each word I spake,
And fayne she would have undermined me,
To know what my Ambassage did import:
But she is like to hop without her hope,
And in this matter for to want her will,
Though (by report) sheele hav't in all things else.
Well, I will poste away for Cambria:
Within these few dayes I hope to be there, Exit.
Enter the King and Queene of Gallia, & Mumford.
King. By this, our father understands our mind,
And our kind greetings sent to him of late:
Therefore my mind presageth ere't be long,
We shall receyve from Brittayne happy newes.
Cord. I feare, my sister will disswade his mind;
For she to me hath alwayes bin unkind.
King. Feare not, my love, since that we know the worst,
The last meanes helpes, if that we misse the first:
If hee'le not come to Gallia unto us,
Then we will sayle to Brittayne unto him.
Mum. Well, if I once see Brittayne agayne,
I have sworne, ile ne're come home without my wench,
And ile not be forsworne,
Ile rather never come home while I live.
Cor. Are you sure, Mumford, she is a mayd still ?
Mum. Nay, ile not sweare she is a mayd, but she goes for one:
Ile take her at all adventures, if I can get her.
Cord. I, thats well put in.
Mum. Well put in ? nay, it was ill put in; for had it
Bin as well put in, as ere I put in, in my dayes,
I would have made her follow me to Fraunce.
Cor. Nay, you'd have bin so kind, as take her with you,
Or else, were I as she,
I would have bin so loving, as ide stay behind you:
Yet I must confesse, you are a very proper man,
And able to make a wench do more then she would do.
Mum. Well, I have a payre of flops for the nonce,
Will hold all your mocks.
King. Nay, we see you have a hansome hose.
Cor. I, and of the newest fashion.
Mum. More bobs, more: put them in still,
They'l serve instead of bumbast, yet put not in too many,
lest the seames crack, and they fly out amongst you againe:
you must not think to outface me so easly in my mistris quarrel,
who if I see once agayne, ten teame of horses shall
not draw me away, till I have full and whole possession.
King. I, but one teame and a cart will serve the turne.
Cor. Not only for him, but also for his wench.
Mum. Well, you are two to one, ile give you over:
And since I see you so pleasantly disposed,
Which indeed is but seldome seene, ile clayme
A promise of you, which you shall not deny me:
For promise is debt, & by this hand you promisd it me.
Therefore you owe it me, and you shall pay it me,
Or ile sue you upon an action of unkindnesse.
King. Prithy, Lord Mumford, what promise did I make thee?
Mum. Fayth, nothing but this,
That the next fayre weather, which is very now,
You would go in progresse downe to the sea side,
Which is very neere.
King. Fayth, in this motion I will joyne with thee,
And be a mediator to my Queene.
Prithy, my Love, let this match go forward,
My mind foretels, 'twill be a lucky voyage.
Cor. Entreaty needs not, where you may commaund,
So you be pleasde, I am right well content:
Yet, as the Sea I much desire to see;
So am I most unwilling to be seene.
King. Weele go disguised, all unknowne to any.
Cor. Howsoever you make one, ile make another.
Mum. And I the third: oh, I am over-joyed!
See what love is, which getteth with a word,
What all the world besides could ne're obtayne !
But what disguises shall we have, my Lord ?
King. Fayth thus: my Queene & I wil be disguisde,
Like a playne country couple, and you shall be Roger
Our man, and wayt upon us: or if you will,
You shall go first, and we will wayt on you.
Mum. 'Twere more then time; this device is excellent.
Come let us about it. Exeunt.
Enter Cambria and Ragan, with Nobles.
Cam. What strange mischance or unexpected hap
Hath thus depriv'd us of our fathers presence ?
Can no man tell us what's become of him,
With whom we did converse not two dayes since ?
My Lords, let every where light‑horse be sent,
To scoure about through all our Regiment.
Dispatch a Poste immediately to Cornwall,
To see if any newes be of him there;
My selfe will make a strickt inquiry here,
And all about our Cities neere at hand,
Till certayne newes of his abode be brought.
Rag. All sorrow is but counterfet to mine,
Whose lips are almost sealed up with griefe:
Mine is the substance, whilst they do but seeme
To weepe the lesse, which teares cannot redeeme.
O, ne're was heard so strange a misadventure,
A thing so far beyond the reach of sence,
Since no mans reason in the cause can enter.
What hath remov'd my father thus from hence ?
O, I do feare some charme or invocation
Of wicked spirits, or infernall fiends,
Stird by Cordella, moves this innovation,
And brings my father timelesse to his end.
But might I know, that the detested Witch
Were certayne cause of this uncertayne ill,
My selfe to Fraunce would go in some disguise,
And with these nayles scratch out her hatefull eyes:
For since I am deprived of my father,
I loath my life, and wish my death the rather.
Cam. The heavens are just, and hate impiety,
And will (no doubt) reveale such haynous crimes:
Censure not any, till you know the right:
Let him be judge, that bringeth truth to light.
Ra. O, but my griefe, like to a swelling tyde,
Exceeds the bounds of common patience:
Nor can I moderate my toung so much,
To conceale them, whom I hold in suspect.
Cam. This matter shall be sifted: if it be she,
A thousand Fraunces shall not harbour her.
Enter the Gallian Ambassador.
Am. All happinesse unto the Cambrian King.
Cam. Welcom, my friend, from whence is thy Ambassage?
Am. I came from Gallia, unto Cornwall sent,
With letters to your honourable father,
Whom there not finding, as I did expect,
I was directed hither to repayre.
Rag. Frenchman, what is thy message to my father ?
Am. My letters, Madam, will import the same,
Which my Commission is for to deliver.
Ra. In his absence you may trust us with your letters.
Am. I must performe my charge in such a maner,
As I have strict commaundement from the King.
Ra. There is good packing twixt your King and you:
You need not hither come to aske for him,
You know where he is better then our selves.
Am. Madam, I hope, not far off.
Ra. Hath the young murdresse, your outragious Queene,
No meanes to colour her detested deeds,
In finishing my guiltlesse fathers dayes,
(Because he gave her nothing to her dowre)
But by the colour of a fayn'd Ambassage,
To send him letters hither to our Court ?
Go carry them to them that sent them hither,
And bid them keepe their scroules unto themselves:
They cannot blind us with such slight excuse,
To smother up so monstrous vild abuse.
And were it not, it is 'gainst law of Armes,
To offer violence to a Messenger,
We would inflict such torments on thy selfe,
As should inforce thee to reveale the truth.
Am. Madam, your threats no whit apall my mind,
I know my Conscience guiltlesse of this act;
My King and Queene, I dare be sworne, are free
From any thought of such impiety
And therefore, Madam, you have done them wrong,
And ill beseeming with a sisters love,
Who in meere duty tender him as much,
As ever you respected him for dowre.
The King your husband will not say as much.
Cam. I will suspend my judgement for a time,
Till more apparance give us further light:
Yet to be playne, your comming doth inforce
A great suspicion to our doubtful mind,
And that you do resemble, to be briefe,
Him that first robs, and then cries, Stop the theefe.
Am. Pray God some neere you have not done the like.
Rag. Hence, saucy mate, reply no more to us; She
For law of Armes shall not protect thy toung. strikes him.
Am. Ne're was I offred such discourtesy;
God and my King, I trust, ere it be long,
Will find a meane to remedy this wrong, Exit Amb.
Rag. How shall I live, to suffer this disgrace,
At every base and vulgar peasants hands ?
It ill befitteth my imperiall state,
To be thus usde, and no man take my part. She weeps.
Cam. What should I do ? infringe the law of Armes,
Were to my everlasting obloquy:
But I will take revenge upon his master,
Which sent him hither, to delude us thus.
Rag. Nay, if you put up this, be sure, ere long,
Now that my father thus is made away,
Sheele come & clayme a third part of your Crowne,
As due unto her by inheritance.
Cam. But I will prove her title to be nought
But shame, and the reward of Parricide,
And make her an example to the world,
For after‑ages to admire her penance.
This will I do, as I am Cambriaes King,
Or lose my life, to prosecute revenge.
Come, first let's learne what newes is of our father,
And then proceed, as best occasion fits. Exeunt.
Enter Leir, Perillus, and two Marriners, in sea-
gownes and sea‑caps.
Per. My honest friends, we are asham'd to shew
The great extremity of our present state,
In that at this time we are brought so low,
That we want money for to pay our passage.
The truth is so, we met with some good fellowes,
A little before we came aboord your ship,
Which stript us quite of all the coyne we had,
And left us not a penny in our purses:
Yet wanting mony, we will use the meane,
To see you satisfied to the uttermost. Looke on Leir.
1. Mar. Heres a good gown, 'twould become me passing wel,
I should be fine in it. Looke on Perillus.
2. Mar. Heres a good cloke, I marvel how I should look in it.
Leir. Fayth, had we others to supply their roome,
Though ne'er so meane, you willingly should have them.
1. Mar. Do you heare, sir ? you looke like an honest man;
Ile not stand to do you a pleasure: here's a good strong motly
gaberdine, cost me xiiij, good shillings at Billinsgate, give me your
gowne for it, & your cap for mine, & ile forgive your passage.
Leir. With al my heart, and xx. thanks. Leir & he changeth.
2. Mar. Do you heare, sir ? you shal have a better match then
he; because you are my friend: here is a good sheeps russet sea-gowne,
wil bide more stresse, I warrant you, then two of his, yet for you
seem to be an honest gentleman, I am content to change it for your
cloke, and aske you nothing for your passage more. Pull off Perillus cloke.
Per. My owne I willingly would change with thee,
And think my selfe indebted to thy kindnesse:
But would my friend might keepe his garment still.
My friend, ile give thee this new dublet, if thou wilt
Restore his gowne unto him back agayne.
1. Mar. Nay, if I do, would I might ne're eate powderd beefe
and mustard more, nor drink Can of good liquor whilst I live. My
friend, you have small reason to seeke to hinder me of my bargaine: but
the best is, a bargayne's a bargayne.
Leir. Kind friend, it is much better as it is; Leir to Perillus.
For by this meanes we may escape unknowne,
Till time and opportunity do fit.
2. Mar. Hark, hark, they are laying their heads together,
Theile repent them of their bargayne anon,
'Twere best for us to go while we are well.
1. Mar. God be with you, sir, for your passage back agayne,
Ile use you as unreasonable as another.
Leir. I know thou wilt; but we hope to bring ready money
With us, when we come back agayne. Exeunt Mariners.
Were ever men in this extremity,
In a strange country, and devoyd of friends,
And not a penny for to helpe our selves ?
Kind friend, what thinkst thou will become of us?
Per. Be of good cheere, my Lord, I have a dublet
Will yeeld us mony ynough to serve our turnes,
Untill we come unto your daughters Court:
And then, I hope, we shall find friends ynough.
Leir. Ah, kind Perillus, that is it I feare,
And makes me faynt, or ever I come there.
Can kindnesse spring out of ingratitude ?
Or love be reapt, where hatred hath bin sowne ?
Can Henbane joyne in league with Methridate?
Or Sugar grow in Wormwoods bitter stalke ?
It cannot be, they are too opposite:
And so am I to any kindnesse here.
I have throwne Wormwood on the sugred youth,
And like to Henbane poysoned the Fount,
Whence flowed the Methridate of a childs goodwil:
I like an envious thorne, have prickt the heart,
And turnd sweet Grapes, to sowre unrelisht Sloes:
The causelesse ire of my respectlesse brest,
Hath sowrd the sweet milk of dame Natures paps:
My bitter words have gauld her hony thoughts,
And weeds of rancour chokt the flower of grace.
Then what remainder is of any hope,
But all our fortunes will go quite aslope ?
Per. Feare not, my Lord, the perfit good indeed,
Can never be corrupted by the bad:
A new fresh vessell still retaynes the taste
Of that which first is powr'd into the same:
And therfore, though you name yourselfe the thorn,
The weed, the gall, the henbane & the wormewood;
Yet sheele continue in her former state,
The hony, milke, Grape, Sugar, Methridate.
Leir. Thou pleasing Orator unto me in wo,
Cease to beguile me with thy hopefull speaches:
O joyne with me, and thinke of nought but crosses,
And then weele one lament anothers losses.
Per. Why, say the worst, the worst can be but death,
And death is better then for to despaire:
Then hazzard death, which may convert to life;
Banish despaire, which brings a thousand deathes.
Leir. Orecome with thy strong arguments, I yeeld,
To be directed by thee, as thou wilt:
As thou yeeldst comfort to my crazed thoughts,
Would I could yeeld the like unto thy body,
Which is full weake, I know, and ill apayd,
For want of fresh meat and due sustenance.
Per. Alack, my Lord, my heart doth bleed, to think
That you should be in such extremity.
Leir. Come, let us go, and see what God will send;
When all meanes faile, he is the surest friend. Exeunt.
Enter the Gallian King and Queene, and Mumford, with a
basket, disguised like Countrey folke.
King. This tedious journey all on foot, sweet Love
Cannot be pleaslng to your tender joynts,
Which ne're were used to these toylesome walks.
Cord. I never in my life tooke more delight
In any journey, then I do in this:
It did me good, when as we hapt to light
Amongst the merry crue of country folke,
To see what industry and paynes they tooke,
To win them commendations 'mongst their friends.
Lord, how they labour to bestir themselves,
And in their quirks to go beyond the Moone,
And so take on them with such antike fits,
That one would think they were beside their wits!
Come away, Roger, with your basket.
Mum. Soft, Dame, here comes a couple of old youthes,
I must needs make my selfe fat with jesting at them.
Cor. Nay, prithy do not, they do seeme to be Enter Leir
Men much o'regone with griefe and misery. & Perillus
Let's stand aside, and harken what they say. very faintly.
Leir. Ah, my Perillus, now I see we both
Shall end our dayes in this unfruitfull soyle.
Oh, I do faint for want of sustenance:
And thou, I know, in little better case.
No gentle tree affords one taste of fruit,
To comfort us, untill we meet with men:
No lucky path conducts our lucklesse steps
Unto a place where any comfort dwels.
Sweet rest betyde unto our happy soules;
For here I see our bodies must have end.
Per. Ah, my deare Lord, how doth my heart lament,
To see you brought to this extremity !
O, if you love me, as you do professe,
Or ever thought well of me in my life, He strips up his arme.
Feed on this flesh, whose veynes are not so dry,
But there is vertue left to comfort you.
O, feed on this, if this will do you good,
Ile smile for joy, to see you suck my bloud.
Leir. I am no Caniball, that I should delight
To slake my hungry jawes with humane flesh:
I am no devill, or ten times worse then so,
To suck the bloud of such a peerelesse friend.
O, do not think that I respect my life
So dearely, as I do thy loyall love.
Ah, Brittayne, I shall never see thee more,
That hast unkindly banished thy King:
And yet not thou dost make me to complayne,
But they which were more neere to me then thou.
Cor. What do I heare ? this lamentable voyce,
Me thinks, ere now I oftentimes have heard.
Leir. Ah, Gonorill, was halfe my Kingdomes gift
The cause that thou didst seeke to have my life?
Ah, cruell Ragan, did I give thee all,
And all could not suffice without my bloud ?
Ah, poore Cordella, did I give thee nought,
Nor never shall be able for to give ?
O, let me warne all ages that insueth,
How they trust flattery, and reject the trueth.
Well, unkind Girles, I here forgive you both,
Yet the just heavens will hardly do the like;
And only crave forgivenesse at the end
Of good Cordella, and of thee, my friend;
Of God, whose Majesty I have offended,
By my transgression many thousand wayes:
Of her, deare heart, whom I for no occasion
Turn'd out of all, through flatterers perswasion:
Of thee, kind friend, who but for me, I know,
Hadst never come unto this place of wo.
Cor. Alack, that ever I should live to see
My noble father in this misery.
King. Sweet Love, reveale not what thou art as yet,
Untill we know the ground of all this ill.
Cor. O, but some meat, some meat: do you not see,
How neere they are to death for want of food ?
Per. Lord, which didst help thy servants at their need,
Or now or never send us helpe with speed.
Oh comfort, comfort ! yonder is a banquet,
And men and women, my Lord : be of good cheere ;
For I see comfort comming very neere.
O my Lord, a banquet, and men and women !
Leir. O, let kind pity mollify their hearts,
That they may helpe us in our great extreames.
Per. God save you, friends; & if this blessed banquet
Affordeth any food or sustenance,
Even for his sake that saved us all from death,
Vouchsafe to save us from the gripe of famine. She bringeth him to tbe table
Cor. Here father, sit and eat, here, sit & drink:
And would it were far better for your sakes.
Perillus takes Leir by the hand to the table.
Per. Ile give you thanks anon: my friend doth faynt,
And needeth present comfort. Leir drinks.
Mum. I warrant, he ne're stayes to say grace:
O, theres no sauce to a good stomake.
Per. The blessed God of heaven hath thought upon us.
Leir. The thanks be his, and these kind courteous folke,
By whose humanity we are preserved. They eat hungerly, Leir
Cor. And may that draught be unto him, as was drinkes.
That which old Eson dranke, which did renue
His withered age, and made him young againe.
And may that meat be unto him, as was
That which Elias ate, in strength whereof
He walked fourty dayes, and never faynted.
Shall I conceale me longer from my father ?
Or shall I manifest my selfe to him ?
King. Forbeare a while, untill his strength returne,
Lest being over joyed with seeing thee,
His poore weake sences should forsake their office,
And so our cause of joy be turnd to sorrow.
Per. What chere, my Lord? how do you feele yourselfe?
Leir. Me thinks, I never ate such savory meat:
It is as pleasant as the blessed Manna,
That raynd from heaven amongst the Israelites:
It hath recall'd my spirits home agayne,
And made me fresh, as earst I was before.
But how shall we congratulate their kindnesse ?
Per. Infayth, I know not how sufficiently;
But the best meane that I can think on, is this:
Ile offer them my dublet in requitall;
For we have nothing else to spare.
Leir. Nay, stay, Perillus, for they shall have mine.
Per. Pardon my Lord, I sweare they shall have mine.
Perillus proffers his dublet: they will not take it.
Leir. Ah, who would think such kindnes should remayne
Among such strange and unacquainted men :
And that such hate should harbour in the brest
Of those, which have occasion to be best ?
Cor. Ah, good old father, tell to me thy griefe,
Ile sorrow with thee, if not adde reliefe.
Leir. Ah, good young daughter, I may call thee so;
For thou art like a daughter I did owe.
Cor. Do you not owe her still ? what, is she dead ?
Leir. No, God forbid: but all my interest's gone,
By shewing my selfe too much unnaturall:
So have I lost the title of a father,
And may be call'd a stranger to her rather.
Cor. Your title's good still; for tis alwayes knowne,
A man may do as him list with his owne.
But have you but one daughter then in all ?
Leir. Yes, I have more by two, then would I had.
Cor. O, say not so, but rather see the end:
They that are bad, may have the grace to mend:
But how have they offended you so much ?
Leir. If from the first I should relate the cause,
'Twould make a heart of Adamant to weepe;
And thou, poore soule, kind‑hearted as thou art,
Dost weepe already, ere I do begin.
Cor. For Gods love tell it, and when you have done,
Ile tell the reason why I weepe so soone.
Leir. Then know this first, I am a Brittayne borne,
And had three daughters by one loving wife:
And though I say it, of beauty they were sped;
Especially the youngest of the three,
For her perfections hardly matcht could be:
On these I doted with a jelous love,
And thought to try which of them lov'd me best,
By asking them, which would do most for me ?
The first and second flattred me with words,
And vowd they lov'd me better then their lives:
The youngest sayd, she loved me as a child
Might do: her answere I esteem'd most vild,
And presently in an outragious mood,
I turned her from me to go sinke or swym:
And all I had, even to the very clothes,
I gave in dowry with the other two:
And she that best deserv'd the greatest share,
I gave her nothing, but disgrace and care.
Now mark the sequell: When I had done thus,
I sojournd in my eldest daughters house,
Where for a time I was intreated well,
And liv'd in state sufficing my content:
But every day her kindnesse did grow cold,
Which I with patience put up well ynough,
And seemed not to see the things I saw:
But at the last she grew so far incenst
With moody fury, and with causlesse hate,
That in most vild and contumelious termes,
She bade me pack, and harbour somewhere else.
Then was I fayne for refuge to repayre
Unto my other daughter for reliefe,
Who gave me pleasing and most courteous words;
But in her actions shewed her selfe so sore,
As never any daughter did before:
She prayd me in a morning out betime,
To go to a thicket two miles from the Court,
Poynting that there she would come talke with me:
There she had set a shaghayrd murdring wretch,
To massacre my honest friend and me.
Then judge your selfe, although my tale be briefe,
If ever man had greater cause of griefe.
King. Nor never like impiety was done,
Since the creation of the world begun.
Leir. And now I am constraind to seeke reliefe
Of her, to whom I have bin so unkind;
Whose censure, if it do award me death,
I must confesse she payes me but my due:
But if she shew a loving daughters part,
It comes of God and her, not my desert.
Cor. No doubt she will, I dare be sworne she will.
Leir. How know you that, not knowing what she is?
Cor. My selfe a father have a great way hence,
Usde me as ill as ever you did her;
Yet, that his reverend age I once might see,
Ide creepe along, to meet him on my knee.
Leir. O, no mens children are unkind but mine.
Cor. Condemne not all, because of others crime:
But looke, deare father, looke, behold and see
Thy loving daughter speaketh unto thee. She kneeles.
Leir. O, stand thou up, it is my part to kneele,
And aske forgivenesse for my former faults . he kneeles.
Cor. O, if you wish I should injoy my breath,
Deare father rise, or I receive my death. he riseth.
Leir. Then I will rise, to satisfy your mind,
But kneele againe, til pardon be resignd. he kneeles.
Cor. I pardon you: the word beseemes not me:
But I do say so, for to ease your knee.
You gave me life, you were the cause that I
Am what I am, who else had never bin.
Leir. But you gave life to me and to my friend,
Whose dayes had else, had an untimely end.
Cor. You brought me up, when as I was but young,
And far unable for to helpe my selfe.
Leir. I cast thee forth, when as thou wast but young,
And far unable for to helpe thy selfe.
Cor. God, world and nature say I do you wrong,
That can indure to see you kneele so long.
King. Let me breake off this loving controversy,
Which doth rejoyce my very soule to see.
Good father, rise, she is your loving daughter, He riseth.
And honours you with as respective duty,
As if you were the Monarch of the world.
Cor. But I will never rise from off my knee, She kneeles.
Untill I have your blessing, and your pardon
Of all my faults committed any way,
From my first birth unto this present day.
Leir. The blessing, which the God of Abraham gave
Unto the trybe of Juda, light on thee,
And multiply thy dayes, that thou mayst see
Thy childrens children prosper after thee.
Thy faults, which are just none that I do know,
God pardon on high, and I forgive below. she riseth.
Cor. Now is my heart at quiet, and doth leape
Within my brest, for joy of this good hap:
And now (deare father) welcome to our Court,
And welcome (kind Perillus) unto me,
Myrrour of vertue and true honesty.
Leir. O, he hath bin the kindest friend to me,
That ever man had in adversity.
Per. My toung doth faile, to say what heart doth think,
I am so ravisht with exceeding joy.
King. All you have spoke: now let me speak my mind,
And in few words much matter here conclude: he kneeles
If ere my heart do harbour any joy,
Or true content repose within my brest,
Till I have rooted out this viperous sect,
And repossest my father of his Crowne,
Let me be counted for the perjurdst man,
That ever spake word since the world began. rise.
Mum. Let me pray to, that never pray'd before; Mumford kneeles.
If ere I resalute the Brittish earth,
(As (ere't be long) I do presume I shall)
And do returne from thence without my wench,
Let me be gelded for my recompence. rise.
King. Come, let's to armes for to redresse this wrong:
Till I am there, me thinks, the time seemes long. Exeunt.
Enter Ragan sola.
Rag. I feele a hell of conscience in my brest,
Tormenting me with horrour for my fact,
And makes me in an agony of doubt,
For feare the world should find my dealing out.
The slave whom I appoynted for the act,
I ne're set eye upon the peasant since:
O, could I get him for to make him sure,
My doubts would cease, and I should rest secure.
But if the old men, with perswasive words,
Have sav'd their lives, and made him to relent;
Then are they fled unto the Court of Fraunce,
And like a Trumpet manifest my shame.
A shame on these white‑liverd slaves, say I,
That with fayre words so soone are overcome.
O God, that I had bin but made a man;
Or that my strength were equall with my will !
There foolish men are nothing but meere pity,
And melt as butter doth against the Sun.
Why should they have preeminence over us,
Since we are creatures of more brave resolve ?
I sweare, I am quite out of charity
With all the heartlesse men in Christendome.
A poxe upon them, when they are affrayd
To give a stab, or slit a paltry Wind‑pipe,
Which are so easy matters to be done.
Well, had I thought the slave would serve me so,
My selfe would have bin executioner:
Tis now undone, and if that it be knowne,
Ile make as good shift as I can for one.
He that repines at me, how ere it stands,
'Twere best for him to keepe him from my hands. Exit.
Sound Drums & Trumpets: Enter the Gallian
King, Leir, Mumford and the army.
King. Thus have we brought our army to the sea,
Whereas our ships are ready to receyve us:
The wind stands fayre, and we in foure houres fayle,
May easily arrive on Brittish shore,
Where unexpected we may them surprise,
And gayne a glorious victory with ease.
Wherefore, my loving Countreymen, resolve,
Since truth and justice fighteth on our sides,
That we shall march with conquest where we go
My selfe will be as forward as the first,
And step by step march with the hardiest wight:
And not the meanest souldier in our Campe
Shall be in danger, but ile second him.
To you, my Lord, we give the whole commaund
Of all the army, next unto our selfe,
Not doubting of you, but you will extend
Your wonted valour in this needfull case,
Encouraging the rest to do the like,
By your approved magnanimity.
Mum. My Liege, tis needlesse to spur a willing horse,
Thats apt enough to run himselfe to death:
For here I sweare by that sweet Saints bright eye,
Which are the starres, which guide me to good hap,
Eyther to see my old Lord crown'd anew,
Or in his cause to bid the world adieu.
Leir. Thanks, good Lord Mumford, tis more of your goodwill,
Then any merit or desert in me.
Mum. And now to you, my worthy Countrymen,
Ye valiant race of Genovestan Gawles,
Surnamed Red‑shanks, for your chyvalry,
Because you fight up to the shanks in bloud;
Shew your selves now to be right Gawles indeed,
And be so bitter on your enemies,
That they may say, you are as bitter as Gall.
Gall them, brave Shot, with your ArtilIery:
Gall them, brave Halberts, with your sharp point Billes,
Each in their poynted place, not one, but all,
Fight for the credit of your selves and Gawle.
King. Then what should more perswasion need to those,
That rather wish to deale, then heare of blowes?
Let's to our ships, and if that God permit,
In foure houres sayle, I hope we shall be there.
Mum. And in five houres more, I make no doubt,
But we shall bring our wish'd desires about. Exeunt.
Enter a Captayne of tbe watch, and two watchmen.
Cap. My honest friends, it is your turne to night,
To watch in this place, neere about the Beacon,
And vigilantly have regard,
If any fleet of ships passe hitherward:
Which if you do, your office is to fire
The Beacon presently, and raise the towne. Exit.
1. Wat. I, I, I, feare nothing; we know our charge, I warrant:
I have bin a watchman about this Beacon this xxx. yere, and yet I
ne're see it stir, but stood as quietly as might be.
2. Wat. Fayth neighbour, and you'l follow my vice, instead of watching the Beacon, wee'l go to goodman Gennings, & watch a pot
of Ale and a rasher of Bacon: and if we do not drink our selves drunke,
then so; I warrant, the Beacon will see us when we come out agayne.
l. W. I, but how if some body excuse us to the Captayne?
2. W. Tis no matter, ile prove by good reason that we watch the Beacon; asse for example.
1. W. I hope you do not call me asse by craft, neighbour.
2. W. No, no, but for example: Say here stands the pot of ale,
thats the Beacon. 1. W. I, I, tis a very good Beacon.
2. W. Well, say here stands your nose, thats the fire.
1. W. Indeed I must confesse, tis somewhat red.
2. W. I see come marching in a dish, halfe a score pieces of salt Bacon. 1. W. I understand your meaning, thats as much to say, half a
score ships. 2. W. True, you conster right; presently, like faithfull
watchman, I fire the Beacon, and call up the towne. 1. W. I, thats as
much as to say, you set your nose to the pot, and drink up the drink.
2. W. You are in the right; come, let's go fire the Beacon. Exeunt.
Enter the King of Gallia with a stil march, Mumford & soldiers.
King. Now march our ensignes on the Brittish earth,
And we are neere approaching to the towne:
Then looke about you, valiant Countrymen,
And we shall finish this exployt with ease.
Th'inhabitants of this mistrustfull place,
Are dead asleep, as men that are secure:
Here shall we skirmish but with naked men,
Devoyd of sence, new waked from a dreame,
That know not what our comming doth pretend,
Till they do feele our meaning on their skinnes:
Therefore assaile: God and our right for us. Exeunt.
Alarum, with men and women halfe naked: Enter two
Captaynes without dublets, with swords.
1. Cap. Where are these villaines that were set to watch,
And fire the Beacon, if occasion serv'd,
That thus have suffred us to be surprisde,
And never given notice to the towne ?
We are betrayd, and quite devoyd of hope,
By any meanes to fortify our selves.
2. Cap. Tis ten to one the peasants are o'recome with drinke
and sleep, and so neglect their charge.
1. Cap. A whirl‑wind carry them quick to a whirl‑poole, That
there the slaves may drinke their bellies full.
2. Cap. This tis, to have the Beacon so neere the Ale‑house.
Enter the watchmen drunke, with each a pot.
1. Cap. Out on ye, villaynes, whither run you now ?
1. Wat. To fire the towne, and call up the Beacon.
2. Wat. No, no, sir, to fire the Beacon. He drinkes.
2. Cap. What, with a pot of ale, you drunken Rogues ?
1. Cap. You'l fire the Beacon. when the towne is lost:
Ile teach you how to tend your office better. draw to stab them.
Enter Mumford, Captaynes run away.
Mum. Yeeld, yeeld, yeeld. He kicks downe their pots.
1. Wat. Reele ? no, we do not reele:
You may lacke a pot of Ale ere you dye.
Mum. But in meane space, I answer, you want none.
Wel, theres no dealing with you, y'are tall men, & wel weapond,
I would there were no worse then you in the towne. Exit.
2. Wat. A speaks like an honest man, my cholers past already.
Come, neighbour, let's go.
1. Wat. Nay, first let's see and we can stand. Exeunt.
Alarum, excursions, Mumford after them, and some halfe naked.
Enter the Gallian King, Leir, Mumford, Cordella, Perillus, and
souldiers, with the chiefe of the towne bound.
King. Feare not, my friends, you shall receyve no hurt,
If you'l subscribe unto your lawfull King,
And quite revoke your fealty from Cambria,
And from aspiring Cornwall too, whose wives
Have practisde treason 'gainst their fathers life.
Wee come in justice of your wronged King,
And do intend no harm at all to you,
So you submit unto your lawfull King.
Leir. Kind Countrymen, it grieves me, that perforce,
I am constraind to use extremities.
Noble. Long have you here bin lookt for, good my Lord,
And wish'd for by a generall consent :
And had we known your Highnesse had arrived,
We had not made resistance to your Grace:
And now, my gracious Lord, you need not doubt,
But all the Country will yeeld presently,
Which since your absence have bin greatly tax'd,
For to maintayne their overswelling pride.
Weele presently send word to all our friends;
When they have notice, they will come apace.
Leir. Thanks, loving subjects; and thanks, worthy son,
Thanks, my kind daughter, thanks to you, my Lord,
Who willingly adventured have your blood,
(Without desert) to do me so much good.
Mum. O, say not so:
I have bin much beholding to your Grace:
I must confesse, I have bin in some skirmishes,
But I was never in the like to this:
For where I was wont to meet with armed men,
I was now incountred with naked women.
Cord. We that are feeble, and want use of Armes,
Will pray to God, to sheeld you from all harmes.
Leir. The while your hands do manage ceaselesse toyle,
Our hearts shall pray, the foes may have the foyle.
Per. Weele fast and pray, whilst you for us do fight,
That victory may prosecute the right.
King. Me thinks, your words do amplify (my friends)
And adde fresh vigor to my willing limmes: Drum.
But harke, I heare the adverse Drum approch.
God and our right, Saint Denis, and Saint George.
Enter Cornwall, Cambria, Gonorill, Ragan, and the army.
Corn. Presumptuous King of Gawles, how darest thou
Presume to enter on our Brittish shore ?
And more then that, to take our townes perforce,
And draw our subjects hearts from their true King ?
Be sure to buy it at as deare a price,
As ere you bought presumption in your lives.
King. Ore‑daring Cornwall, know, we came in right,
And just revengement of the wronged King,
Whose daughters there, fell vipers as they are,
Have sought to murder and deprive of life:
But God protected him from all their spight,
And we are come in justice of his right.
Cam. Nor he nor thou have any interest here,
But what you win and purchase with the sword.
Thy slaunders to our noble vertuous Queenes,
Wee'l in the battell thrust them down thy throte,
Except for feare of our revenging hands,
Thou flye to sea, as not secure on lands.
Mum. Welshman, ile so ferrit you ere night for that word,
That you shall have no mind to crake so wel this twelvemonth.
Gon. They lye, that say, we sought our fathers death.
Rag. Tis meerely forged for a colours sake,
To set a glosse on your invasion.
Me thinks, an old man ready for to dye,
Should be asham'd to broache so foule a lye.
Cord. Fy, shamelesse sister, so devoyd of grace,
To call our father lyer to his face.
Gon. Peace (Puritan) dissembling hypocrite,
Which art so good, that thou wilt prove stark naught:
Anon, when as I have you in my fingers,
Ile make you wish your selfe in Purgatory.
Per. Nay, peace thou monster, shame unto thy sexe:
Thou fiend in likenesse of a humane creature.
Rag. I never heard a fouler spoken man.
Leir. Out on thee, viper, scum, filthy parricide,
More odious to my sight then is a Toade.
Knowest thou these letters ? She snatches them & teares them.
Rag. Think you to outface me with your paltry scrowles?
You come to drive my husband from his right,
Under the colour of a forged letter.
Leir. Who ever heard the like impiety?
Per. You are our debtour of more patience:
We were more patient when we stayd for you,
Within the thicket two long houres and more.
Rag. What houres ? what thicket ?
Per. There, where you sent your servant with your letters,
Seald with your hand, to send us both to heaven,
Where, as I thinke, you never meane to come.
Rag. Alas, you are growne a child agayne with age,
Or else your sences dote for want of sleepe.
Per. Indeed you made us rise betimes, you know,
Yet had a care we should sleepe where you bade us stay,
But never wake more till the latter day.
Gon. Peace, peace, old fellow, thou art sleepy still.
Mum. Fayth, and if you reason till to morrow,
You get no other answere at their hands.
Tis pitty two such good faces
Should have so little grace betweene them.
Well, let us see if their husbands with their hands,
Can do as much, as they do with their toungs.
Cam. I, with their swords they'l make your toung unsay
What they have sayd, or else they'l cut them out.
King. Too't, gallants, too't, let's not stand brawling thus.
Exeunt both armyes.
Sound alarum: excursions. Mumford must chase Cambria away:
then cease. Enter Cornwall.
Corn. The day is lost, our friends do all revolt,
And joyne against us with the adverse part:
There is no meanes of safety but by flight,
And therefore ile to Cornwall with my Queene. Exit.
Cam. I thinke, there is a devill in the Campe hath haunted
me today: he hath so tyred me, that in a maner I can fight no more.
Zounds, here he comes, Ile take me to my horse. Exit.
Mumford followes him to the dore, and returnes.
Mum. Farewell (Welshman) give thee but thy due,
Thou hast a light and nimble payre of legs:
Thou art more in debt to them then to thy hands:
But if I meet thee once agayne to day,
Ile cut them off, and set them to a better heart. Exit.
Alarums and excursions, then sound victory. Enter Leir, Perillus,
King, Cordella, and Mumford.
King. Thanks be to God, your foes are overcome,
And you againe possessed of your right.
Leir. First to the heavens, next, thanks to you, my sonne,
By whose good meanes I repossesse the same:
Which if it please you to accept your selfe,
With all my heart I will resigne to you:
For it is yours by right, and none of mine.
First, have you raisd, at your owne charge, a power
Of valiant Souldiers; (this comes all from you)
Next have you ventured your owne persons scathe.
And lastly, (worthy Gallia never staynd)
My kingly title I by thee have gaynd.
King. Thank heavens, not me, my zeale to you is such,
Commaund my utmost, I will never grutch.
Cor. He that with all kind love intreats his Queene,
Will not be to her father unkind seene.
Leir. Ah, my Cordella, now I call to mind,
The modest answere, which I tooke unkind:
But now I see, I am no whit beguild,
Thou lovedst me dearely, and as ought a child.
And thou (Perillus) partner once in woe,
Thee to requite, the best I can, Ile doe:
Yet all I can, I, were it ne're so much,
Were not sufficient, thy true love is such.
Thanks (worthy Mumford ) to thee last of all,
Not greeted last, 'cause thy desert was small;
No, thou hast Lion‑like layd on to day,
Chasing the Cornwall King and Cambria;
Who with my daughters, daughters did I say ?
To save their lives, the fugitives did play.
Come, sonne and daughter, who did me advaunce,
Repose with me awhile, and then for Fraunce.
Sound Drummes and Trumpets. Exeunt.