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Title: The Noble Spanish Soldier
Author: Dekker, Thomas, 1572-1632
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Thomas Dekker is believed to have been born in London around 1572,
but nothing is known for certain about his youth. He embarked on a
career as a theatre writer early in his adult life, the first extant
text of his work being 'Old Fortunatus' written around 1596, although
there are plays connected with his name which were performed as early
as 1594. The period from 1596 to 1602 was the most prolific of his
career, with 20 plays being attributed to him and an involvement in
up to 28 other plays being suggested. It was during this period that
he produced his most famous work, 'The Shoemaker's Holiday, or the
Gentle Craft', categorised by modern critics as citizen comedy, it
reflects his concerns with the daily lives of ordinary Londoners.
This play exemplifies his vivid use of language and the intermingling
of everyday subjects with the fantastical, embodied in this case by
the rise of a craftsman to Mayor and the involvement of an unnamed
but idealised king in the concluding banquet.

He exhibited a similar vigour in such prose pamphlets as the
ironically entitled 'The Wonderfull Yeare' (1603), about the plague,
'The Belman of London' (1608), about roguery and crime, and 'The Guls
Horne-Booke' (1609), a valuable account of behaviour in the London

Dekker was partly responsible for devising the street entertainment
to celebrate the entry of James I into London in 1603 and he managed
the Lord Mayor's pageant in 1612. His fortunes took a turn for the
worse shortly after, when between 1613 and 1619 he was imprisoned,
probably for debt; this experience may be behind his six prison
scenes first included in the sixth edition (1616) of Sir Thomas
Overbury's 'Characters'. He died in 1632 and was buried at St James',



The first clear reference to the play is dated as 16 May 1631 when an
entry was made in the Stationer's Register, effectively licensing
texts for publication. The entry, made for John Jackman, referred to
manuscripts of two plays by 'Tho: Dekker', these being 'The Wonder of
a Kingdom' and 'a Tragedy called The Noble Spanish Soldier'. A
similar entry was made on 9 December 1633, this time for Nicholas
Vavasour. The play was printed in a quarto version in 1634, probably
by John Beale, on behalf of Vavasour, who initialled the foreword
entitled 'The Printer to The Reader'.

Sources, Authorship and Date

These aspects of the play have attracted more critical attention than
all others combined, reference frequently being made to the following
known facts:

(1)  Although the entries in the Stationer's Register refer
unambiguously to Dekker as the author, the title page of the Quarto
states that the play is written by 'S.R.', the only Jacobean
playwright with those initials being Samuel Rowley.

(2) It has been observed, initially by nineteenth century scholar A.
H. Bullen, that three sections of a play by John Day called 'The
Parliament of Bees' are nearly identical to sections of NSS.
Furthermore a further five sections correspond closely to parts of
'The Wonder of a Kingdom' which as is noted above, was registered
alongside NSS in 1931.

(3) In 1601, theatre manager Philip Henslow made part payment for an
anonymous play called 'The Spanish Fig', no text of which survives
under that name.

(4) In April 1624 a poster appeared in Norwich  advertising a touring
play, being 'An excellent Comedy called The Spanish Contract' to be
performed by Lady Elizabeth's men, a company with which Dekker is
believed to have had connections.

(5)  There is some evidence of confusion in how the play has been
compiled for printing, in particular, a cast list which omits several
significant characters, the late appearance of two pointless
characters (Signor No and Juanna) and the delayed identification of
Alanzo as Captain of the Guard. These have been argued to be evidence
of revision of an earlier work.

(6)  Dekker's 'The Welsh Embassador' reworked much of the material in
NSS, albeit in a comedic form. This is generally dated as c1623.

As may be imagined, these facts offer a considerable range of
possibilities as to authorship and provenance of the play. Various
critics, such as Fleay and Bullen, have tried to make sense of all of
them by postulating, largely without evidence, a variety of
permutations of collaboration and revision so as to give all of the
authorship candidates a role in the production of the text we now
have. The most persuasive contribution however, comes from Julia
Gasper who, building on work by R. Koeppel, convincingly identifies
the source of NSS as being Volume V of Jacques-Augueste de Thou's
Latin 'Historiarum Sui Temporis', published in 1620 <1>.

The de Thou volume tells of how Henri IV of France reneged on a
written promise of marriage to Hentiette d'Entragues, by marrying
Marie be Medicis in 1600; both women bore sons by the King, who is
later assassinated. This closely anticipates the marriage plot of NSS
but the critical detail which seals the identification of de Thou as
the source, is his reference to a soldier called Balthazare Sunica
who acted against the King and was clearly, the original of the
character Balthazar in NSS. This evidence demonstrates that the
earliest date for composition of NSS is 1620. Furthermore, due to the
likelihood that NSS predated 'The Welsh Embassador' of 1623/4, a last
possible date for the writing of NSS, can also be deduced and a
composition date of around 1622 can be established with some

With respect to the relationship with other plays, any connection
with the 'The Spanish Fig' would seem to be ruled out on the grounds
that it pre-dates the publication of de Thou's Historiarum. In the
case of the later play 'The Spanish Contract', a connection is
possible although any theories that may be advanced little more than
conjecture. One such theory, put forward by Tirthanker Bose <2>, is
that 'the Spanish Contract' is a version of NSS, reworked as a comedy
and thus is an intermediate stage on the road to 'The Welsh

The more pressing matter, the question of the connection with 'The
Parliament of Bees', is also addressed by Julia Gasper. The crucial
evidence here relates to instances where details, meaningful only in
the context of NSS, have become embedded in the text of 'The
Parliament of Bees'. The most significant example of this occurs in
Scene 1, Line 29 of 'The Parliament of Bees' where a character asks
'Is Master Bee at leisure to speak Spanish / With a Bee of Service?'.
There is no connection between 'The Parliament of Bees' and Spain or
indeed, the Spanish language, so it would seem strong evidence that
NSS was the source for 'The Parliament of Bees' and not the other way
around. This evidence is supplemented by an analysis of NSS, Act 2
Scene 1, a scene common to both plays, when Balthazar sets out his
credentials of loyal service in seeking to advise the King. Gasper
points out that this scene in NSS contains elements from de Thou, not
to be found in The Parliament of Bees, principally the need to
intervene on behalf of Onaelia. The only plausible order of
composition for the plays therefore places NSS before 'The Parliament
of Bees'. Furthermore as Day's name has never been associated with
NSS, there is no reason to suppose he was involved in its
composition. The likelihood is therefore that he was lifting dialogue
from an earlier work by another writer in order to serve his own

The remaining question to be considered concerns the relative claims
to authorship of Dekker and Rowley. In weighing the evidence, it is
important to consider that that the first records, those on the
Stationer's Register, unequivocally record Dekker as the sole author.
Furthermore, textual scholarship is happy to place NSS within the
Dekker cannon, while, as Hoy says 'no scholar has ever succeeded in
demonstrating Rowley's share in the play' <3>. Given that is has been
established that the play post-dates 1620, the possibility of a
Dekker revision of an earlier Rowley text would appear to be
implausible. The attribution to 'S.R.' remains unexplained, although
it may be noted in passing that the initials are the final letters of
Dekker's names, so it may just be a coded reference to Dekker. More
likely perhaps, it could be the result of the editorial confusion
which also pervades the compilation of the cast list.


There is no firm record of the play being performed, although the
foreword does make mention of it being enthusiastically received.
Such references are not, of course, to be taken at face value as they
would hardly be expected to say anything else; nevertheless, it does
strongly suggest that the play has been staged. In practice, the
printing of a text suggests either high popularity, in which case
sales could be expected to compensate for possible plagiarism, or
else relative unpopularity in which case publication was a last
attempt to generate some financial return before the play was
discarded. In this instance, the later circumstance is likely to
obtain, especially in view of the gap between writing and publication


The sub-title given to the text in the Quarto edition is 'A contract
Broken, Justly Revenged'. Although this title is likely to have been
added by the printers, it does succinctly sum up one aspect the play,
the theme of revenge which is reminiscent of Elizabethan revenge
plays such as Thomas Kidd's 'The Spanish Tragedy'. Revenge plays
however, are generally patterned around a revenger and what may be
termed a 'revengee', while the action of NSS revolves around a power
struggle between two factions both of whom are concerned with violent
intent. In reality, the play reflects the seventeenth century fashion
for mixing elements of tragedy and comedy in a style first identified
by Sir Philip Sydney in 1579 as being 'mongrel tragicomedy'<4>; thus
while death intrudes on the final act, it only strikes unsympathetic
characters. There is also regular light relief provided by two comic
characters, Cornego and Cockadillio, as well the cameo appearances of
Signor No and Medina as a French Doctor.

The two groups of characters at the centre of the play are on one
hand, the ruling cabal, that is the King, his Italian Queen and their
supporters, including the Italian Malateste and on the other a number
of disenchanted Spanish noblemen who are in sympathy with the King's
former betrothed lover, Onaelia. This later faction, led by the Duke
of Medina, eventually includes the key figure of the patriotic
soldier Balthazar, a man who has earned respect for his martial
exploits and whose 'nobility', as celebrated in the title to the
play, is a tribute earned by action rather than by birth or
inheritance. He is thus differentiated from the King, whose nobility
of birth is cancelled out by the dishonesty of his character.

Nevertheless, Balthazar is something of a problematic figure and in
many ways an unconvincing hero for a play with ostensibly, a strong
moral theme. His basic character is presented as that of an honest
uncomplicated soldier; in his first appearance(2.1), he has already
been slighted by the Dons, and presents an unkempt appearance and
rails against the 'pied-winged butterflies' of the effete court who
put appearance before patriotic duty. Nevertheless, subterfuge seems
to come too readily to him as we see in 2.2 when he makes a false
offer to assassinate the King to test Onaelia, again in 3.3 when he
pretends to agree to murder Sebastian and Onaelia in order to placate
the Queen and finally in 5.1 when he tells the King that the murder
has been carried out. Scene 3.3 shows a further unedifying side of
Balthazar when he bursts in on the King and stabs a servant and
refuses to express remorse as the servant is a mere groom. On a
different note, the character is also used to comic effect,
especially in 4.2 when he acts out bawdy dialogue with Cornego. His
last significant act is to dissuade the faction from attempting to
assassinate the King, before being reduced to a minor role in the
closing scene where he only has five short speeches and plays no
significant part in the denouement. The character then, is something
of a patchwork affair, playing different roles as the play progresses
before being effectively jettisoned at the conclusion.

The King by contrast maintains a degree of consistency,
notwithstanding his formulaic deathbed renunciation of evil. As we
have seen, his Queen is Italian, but he may be associated with Italy
by more reasons than his marriage. In Act 5 Scene 2, Daenia says that
'There's in his breast / Both fox and lion, and both those beasts can
bite' This is an direct reference to the works of the Italian
courtier Niccol˜ Machiavelli who wrote in his work on statecraft 'The
Prince': 'A Prince must know how to make good use of the beasts; he
should choose from among the beasts the fox and the lion; for the
lion cannot defend itself from traps and the fox cannot protect
itself from wolves.' <5>. Although the book from which this extract
was taken, 'The Prince', had yet to be published in English, the
ideas it contained (or at least a caricature of them) had been in
circulation for many years following its initial publication in Italy
in 1531. These were often treated with profound suspicion by the
English who saw the advocacy of the use of manipulation and deception
in order to maintain power as being the idea of a disreputable
foreign country. Indeed, Machiavelli was seen as a satanic figure who
was known as 'Old Nick', a still-used reference to the devil, and the
machiavel became a stock figure on the early modern stage, a
tradition which the portrayal of the King is drawing on.

The other interesting opposition within the play is between the two
claimants to the title of Queen, the current incumbent and Onaelia.
There is little doubt that it is Onaelia who is the representative of
virtue, her behaviour often rising above that of the 'noble'
Balthazar. In Act 1 Scene 2 she makes a fearless statement in
defacing the King's portrait, this being an act of treason <6>.
Despite her strong feelings however, she does not rise to Balthazar's
bait when he introduces the possibility of assassinating the King;
the remnants of her love for him and her concern for the stability of
the realm rule this possibility out. She is not however prepared to
accept her treatment without protest and, in Act 3 Scene 2, engages a
poet to propagandise on her behalf. His refusal, on the grounds of
self-preservation is denounced in striking terms when she accuses
poets generally of being 'apt to lash / Almost to death poor wretches
not worth striking / but fawn with slavish flattery on damned vices /
so great men act them'. The effective conclusion of her involvement
as early as the end of 3.2 impoverishes the rest of the play. The
Queen's less admirable character is highlighted by the way she is
prepared to condone the taking of life in order to secure her
position. Her ruthless outlook is punished when she is deprived of
her position and forced to return to Italy.

The final scene of the play utilises a dramatic technique that had
played an important part in 'The Shoemakers' Holiday': the banquet
scene. Planned by the King in an attempt to achieve reconciliation
and remove the threat of Onaelia by marrying her off, it represents a
means of bringing almost the entire cast on stage in order to witness
the meeting out of justice. It is ironic that the King's scheme is
undermined, not by his political rivals but by his allies, The Queen
and Malateste, who do not believe that the marriage will provide a
stable settlement and instead seek to pursue a deadlier course of
action. The banquet provides the context for the unwinding of this
plot as vengeance consumes itself, bring about the regime change that
justice demands.


The text is based on the 1634 Quarto, as reproduced in Tudor
Facsimile series in 1913. Spelling has been modernised, except in
instances where to do so would change a word's pronunciation.
Punctuation has also been modernised and has been used lightly in an
attempt to reflect contemporary speech patterns. Contractions to
words have been eliminated where this is possible without upsetting
the verse rhythm; for example, 'baked' replaces 'bak'd' in 4.2.

Names have been retained as originally set out except that of the
central character who name was spelt in the original as 'Baltazar';
Balthazar is the modern Anglicised version of the same name. The cast
list has been newly compiled from the text of the play, rather than
by reference to the one appearing in the Quarto.

All lines have been left justified, including those cases where
characters share a line of verse. The speeches of Balthazar in the
early part of 2.1 and again in 4.1 appear as verse in the Quarto but
have been rendered as prose in this edition. This appears to makes
more sense of the speech patterns and has the additional effect of
making Balthazar and Cornego, the two non-aristocratic figures, the
consistent prose speakers throughout the play.

Endnotes have been provided only to explicate words or terms of
unusual obscurity. Numeric references to such notes are enclosed
within angled brackets.

Stage directions may be identified as being a line of text preceded
by a blank line, rather than by a character's name. These have been
added to occasionally to ensure that all essential movements apparent
from the text are set out. Where significant additions have been
made, these are enclosed within square brackets. Scene divisions
within acts have been deduced from the movements of characters.


Primary text:

Dekker, T.  Ð 'The Noble Spanish Soldier' - Tudor facsimiles Ð 1913.

Secondary texts:

Bentley, G.E. Ð 'The Jacobean and Caroline Stage' Ð Oxford: Clarendon
Ð 1956.

Bowers, F. Ð 'The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker', Volume IV Ð
Cambridge University Press Ð 1961.

Bose, T. Ð 'The Gentle Craft of Revision in Thomas Dekker's last
Plays' Ð Institut f_r Anglistik und Amerikanistik Ð 1979.

Bose T. Ð 'The Noble Spanish Soldier' and 'The Spanish Contract' -
Notes and Queries volume 40, Number 2 - 1993.

Chapman, L.S. Ð 'Thomas Dekker and the Traditions of the English
Drama' Ð Lang Ð 1985.

Fleay, F. G. Ð 'A Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama' -
Reeves and Turner Ð 1891.

Gasper, J. - 'The Noble Spanish Soldier', 'The Wonder of a Kingdom'
and 'The Parliament of Bees': a belated solution to this long-
standing problem - Durham University Journal - 1987.

Gasper, J. Ð 'The Dragon and the Dove: The Plays of Thomas Dekker' Ð
Oxford: Clarendon Ð 1990.

Greetam, D.C. Ð 'Textual Scholarship An Introduction' Ð Garland Ð

Hoy, C. Ð 'Introductions, notes, and commentaries to texts in 'The
dramatic works of Thomas Dekker', Volume IV - Cambridge University
Press Ð 1980.

Meads, Chris Ð 'Banquets set forth : banqueting in English
Renaissance drama' - Manchester University Press Ð 2001.

McLuskie, Kathleen. Ð 'Dekker and Heywood : professional dramatists'
- St. Martin's Press Ð 1994.

Wells, S. Ð 'Re-editing Shakespeare for the Modern Reader' Ð Oxford:
Clarendon -1984.


1. Gasper, J - 'The Noble Spanish Soldier', 'The Wonder of a Kingdom'
and 'The Parliament of Bees': a belated solution to this long-
standing problem - Durham University Journal LXXIX number 2- 1987.

2. Bose, T Ð 'The Noble Spanish Soldier' and 'The Spanish Contract'
in Notes and Queries v 40, number 2 Ð 1993.

3. Hoy, C. - Introductions, notes, and commentaries to texts in 'The
dramatic works of Thomas Dekker, Volume IV, page 99 - Cambridge
University Press Ð 1980.

4. Sidney, Sir Philip, 'The Defense of Posey' in 'The Norton
Anthology of English Literature, page 944 Ð Norton Ð 2000.

5. Machiavelli, N. Ð 'The Prince', page 56 Ð Penguin Ð 2003.

6. See Bowers, F. Ð 'The Stabbing of a Portrait in Elizabethan
Tragedy' Ð Modern language Notes, XLVII, pages 378-385 Ð 1932.

John Price
University College Worcester
1 June 2004



King of Spain
Cardinal, advisor to the King
Count Malateste of Florence, confidant of the Queen
Roderigo, Don of Spain, supporter of the King
Valasco, Don of Spain, supporter of the King
Lopez, Don of Spain, supporter of the King
Duke of Medina, leader of the Faction
Marquis Daenia, member of the Faction
Alba, Don of Spain, member of the Faction
Carlo, Don of Spain, member of the Faction
Alanzo, Captain of the Guard, member of the Faction
Sebastian, illegitimate son of the King
Balthazar, a Spanish soldier
Cornego, servant to Onaelia
Cockadillio, a courtier
Signor No
A Poet

Queen of Spain, Paulina, daughter of Duke of Florence
Onaelia, niece to the Duke of Medina, mother of Sebastian
Juanna, maid to Onaelia
Ladies in waiting

Attendants, guards


Understanding reader, I present this to your view, which has received
applause in action. The poet might conceive a complete satisfaction
upon the stage's approbation; but the printer rests not there,
knowing that that which was acted and approved upon the stage, might
be no less acceptable in print. It is now communicated to you, whose
leisure and knowledge admits of reading and reason. Your judgement
now this Posthumous <1> assures himself will well attest his
predecessor's endeavours to give content to men of the ablest
quality, such as intelligent readers are here conceived to be. I
could have troubled you with a longer epistle, but I fear to stay you
from the book, which affords better words and matter than I can. So
the work modestly depending in the scale of your judgement, the
printer for his part craves your pardon, hoping by his promptness to
do you greater service, as convenience shall enable him to give you
more or better testimony of his entireness towards you.



Enter in magnificent state to the sound of loud music, the King and
Queen, as from church, attended by the Cardinal, Count Malateste,
Marquis Daenia, Roderigo, Valasco, Alba, Carlo, and ladies-in
waiting. The King and Queen with courtly compliments salute and part.
She [exits] with one half attending her. King, Cardinal and the other
half stay, the King seeming angry and desirous to be rid of them.
King, Cardinal, Daenia and others [remain].

Give us what no man here is master of:
Breath. Leave us pray, my father Cardinal
Can by the physic of philosophy
Set all again in order. Leave us pray.

Exeunt [King and Cardinal remain].

How is it with you, sir?

As with a ship
Now beat with storms, now safe. The storms are vanished
And having you my Pilot, I not only
See shore, but harbour; I to you will open
The book of a black sin, deep printed in me.
Oh father, my disease lies in my soul.

The old wound sir?

Yes that, it festers inwards.
For though I have a beauty to my bed
That even creation envies at, as wanting
Stuff to make such another, yet on her pillow
I lie by her, but an adulterer,
And she as an adulteress. She is my queen
And wife, yet but my strumpet though the church
Set on the seal of marriage. Good Onaelia,
Niece to our Lord High Constable of Spain
Was precontracted mine.

Yet when I stung
Your conscience with remembrance of the act
Your ears were deaf to counsel.

I confess it.

Now to untie the knot with your new Queen
Would shake your crown half from your head.

Even Troy, though she has wept her eyes out,
Would find tears to wail my kingdom's ruins.

What will you do then?

She has that contract written, sealed by you,
And other churchmen witnesses unto it.
A kingdom should be given for that paper.

I would not, for what lies beneath the moon,
Be made a wicked engine to break in pieces
That holy contract.

'Tis my soul's aim
To tie it upon a faster knot.

I do not see
How you can with safe conscience get it from her.

Oh I know
I wrestle with a lioness. To imprison her
And force her to it, I dare not. Death! What King
Did ever say 'I dare not'? I must have it;
A bastard have I by her, and that cock
Will have, I fear, sharp spurs, if he crow after
Him that trod for him. Something must be done
Both to the hen and the chicken. Haste you therefore
To sad Onaelia, tell her I'm resolved
To give my new hawk bells, and let her fly.
My Queen, I'm weary of, and her will marry.
To this, our text, add you what gloss you please;
The secret drifts of kings are depthless seas.



A table set out covered with black. Two waxen tapers. The King's
[defaced] picture at one end and a crucifix at the other. Onaelia
[dressed in black] walking discontentedly weeping to the crucifix.

A Song.

Oh sorrow, sorrow, say where do'st thou dwell?

In the lowest room of hell.

Art thou born of human race?

No, no. I have a fury's <2> face.

Art thou in city, town or court?

I to every place resort.

O why into the world is sorrow sent?

Men afflicted best repent.

What dost thou feed on?

Broken sleep.

What takest thou take pleasure in?

To weep,
To sigh, to sob, to pine, to groan,
To wring my hands, to sit alone.

Oh when, oh when, shall sorrow quiet have?

Never, never, never, never,
Never till she finds a grave.

Enter Cornego.

No lesson Madam but Lacrymae's? <3> If you had buried nine husbands, so much
water as you might squeeze out of an onion had been tears enough to cast away upon
fellows that cannot thank you. Come, be jovial.

Sorrow becomes me best.

A suit of laugh and lie down would wear better.

What should I do to be merry, Cornego?

Be not sad.

But what's the best mirth in the world?

Marry this, to see much, say little, do little, get little, spend
little and want nothing.

Oh, but there is a mirth beyond all these;
This picture has so vexed me, I'm half mad,
To spite it therefore, I'll sing any song
Thyself shall tune. Say then, what mirth is best?

Why then Madam, what I knock out now is the very marrowbone of mirth
and this it is.

Say on.

The best mirth for a lawyer is to have fools to his clients; for
citizens to have noblemen pay for their debts; for tailors to have
store of satin brought in, for then how little soever their houses
are, they will be sure to have large yards. The best mirth for bawds
is to have fresh handsome whores, and for whores to have rich gulls
come aboard their pinnaces <4>, for then they are sure to build
galleasses <5>.

These to such souls are mirth, but to mine, none.

Exit Cornego, Enter Cardinal.

Peace to you, Lady.

I will not sin so much as to hope for peace
And 'tis a mock ill suits your gravity.

I come to knit the nerves of your lost strength,
To build your ruins up, to set you free
From this your voluntary banishment,
And give new being to your murdered fame.

What Aesculapius <6> can do this?

'Tis from the King I come.

A name I hate.
Oh, I am deaf now to your embassy.

Hear what I speak.

Your language breathed from him
Is death's sad doom upon a wretch condemned.

Is it such poison?

Yes, and were you crystal,
What the King fills you with would make you break.
You should my Lord, be like these robes you wear,
Pure as the dye, and like that reverend shape
Nurse thoughts as full of honour, zeal and purity.
You should be the court-dial, and direct
The King with constant motion, be ever beating,
Like to clock-hammers, on his iron heart
To make it sound clear and to feel remorse.
You should unlock his soul, wake his dead conscience
Which, like a drowsy sentinel, gives leave
For sin's vast armies to beleaguer him.
His ruins will be asked for at your hands.

I have raised up a scaffolding to save
Both him and you from falling. Do but hear me.

Be dumb for ever.

Let your fears thus die:
By all the sacred relics of the church
And by my holy orders, what I minister
Is even the spirit of health.

I'll drink it down into my soul at once.

You shall.

But swear.

What conjurations can more bind my oath?

But did you swear in earnest?

Come, you trifle.

No marvel, for my hopes have been so drowned
I still despair, say on.

The King repents.

Pray, that again my Lord.

The King repents.

His wrongs to me?

His wrongs to you. The sense of sin
Has pierced his soul.

Blessed penitence!

Has turned his eyes <7> into his leprous bosom
And like a king vows execution
On all his traitorous passions.

God-like justice!

Intends in person presently to beg
Forgiveness for his acts from heaven and you.

Heaven pardon him. I shall.

Will marry you.

Umh! Marry me? Will he turn bigamist?
When? When?

Before the morrow sun hath rode
Half his day's journey, will send home his Queen
As one that stains his bed, and can produce
Nothing but bastard issue to his crown.
Why, how now? Lost in wonder and amazement?

I am so stored with joy that I can now
Strongly wear out more years of misery
Than I have lived.

Enter King.

You need not: here is the King.

Leave us.

Exit Cardinal.

With pardon sir, I will prevent you
And charge upon you first.

'Tis granted, do.
But stay, what mean these emblems of distress?
My picture so defaced, opposed against
A holy cross! Room hung in black, and you
Dressed like chief mourner at a funeral?

Look back upon your guilt, dear Sir, and then
The cause that now seems strange explains itself.
This and the image of my living wrongs
Is still confronted by me to beget
Grief like my shame, whose length may outlive time.
This cross, the object of my wounded soul
To which I pray to keep me from despair;
That ever as the sight of one throws up
Mountains of sorrow on my accursed head.
Turning to that, mercy may check despair
And bind my hands from wilful violence.

But who has played the tyrant with me thus,
And with such dangerous spite abused my picture?

The guilt of that lays claim sir, to yourself
For being, by you, ransacked of all my fame,
Robbed of mine honour and dear chastity,
Made, by your act, the shame of all my house,
The hate of good men and the scorn of bad,
The song of broom-men and the murdering vulgar,
And left alone to bear up all these ills
By you begun, my breast was filled with fire
And wrapped in just disdain, and like a woman
On that dumb picture wreaked I my passions.

And wished it had been I.

Pardon me Sir,
My wrongs were great, and my revenge swelled high.

I will descend and cease to be a King,
To leave my judging part, freely confessing
Thou canst not give thy wrongs too ill a name.
And here to make thy apprehension full,
And seat thy reason in a sound belief
I vow tomorrow, ere the rising sun
Begins his journey, with all ceremonies
Due to the Church, to seal our nuptials,
To prive <8> thy son with full consent of state,
Spain's heir apparent, born in wedlock's vows.

And will you swear to this?

By this I swear.

[Takes up Bible.]

Oh, you have sworn false oaths upon that book!

Why then, by this.

[Takes up crucifix.]

Take heed you print it deeply:
How for your concubine, bride I cannot say,
She stains your bed with black adultery,
And though her fame masks in a fairer shape
Than <9> mine to the world's eye, yet King, you know
Mine honour is less strumpeted than hers,
However butchered in opinion.

This way for her, the contract which thou hast,
By best advice of all our Cardinals,
Today shall be enlarged till it be made
Past all dissolving. Then to our council table
Shall she be called, that read aloud, she told
The church commands her quick return for Florence
With such a dower as Spain received with her,
And that they will not hazard heaven's dire curse
To yield to a match unlawful, which shall taint
The issue of the King with bastardy.
This done, in state majestic come you forth,
Our new crowned Queen in sight of all our peers.
Are you resolved?

To doubt of this were treason
Because the King has sworn it.

And will keep it.
Deliver up the contract then, that I
May make this day end with thy misery.

Here as the dearest Jewel of my fame
Locked I this parchment from all viewing eyes.
This your indenture, held alone the life
Of my supposed dead honour; yet behold,
Into your hands I redeliver it.
Oh keep it Sir, as you should keep that vow,
To which, being signed by heaven, even angels bow.

[Onaelia passes the document to the King.]

'Tis in the lion's paw, and who dares snatch it?
Now to your beads and crucifix again.

Defend me heaven!

Pray there may come Embassadors from France
Their followers are good customers.

Save me from madness!

'Twill raise the price, being the King's mistress.

You do but counterfeit to mock my joys.

Away bold strumpet!

Are there eyes in heaven to see this?

Call and try, here's a whore's curse
To fall in that belief, which her sins nurse.

Exit King, Enter Cornego.

How now? What quarter of the moon has she cut out now? My Lord puts
me into a wise office to be a mad-woman's keeper. Why, Madam!

Ha! Where is the King, thou slave?

[Clutches Cornego.]

Let go your hold, or I'll fall upon you as I am a man.

Thou treacherous caitiff <10>, where is the King?

He's gone, but not so far as you are.

Crack all in sunder, oh you battlements,
And grind me into powder

What powder? Come, what powder? When did you ever see a woman grinded
into powder? I am sure some of your sex powder men, and pepper them

Is there a vengeance yet lacking to my ruin?
Let it fall, now let it fall upon me!

No, there has been too much fallen upon you already.

Thou villain, leave thy hold, I'll follow him
Like a raised ghost, I'll haunt him, break his sleep,
Fright him as he is embracing his new leman <11>,
Til want of rest bids him run mad and die,
For making oaths bawds to his perjury.

Pray be more seasoned, if he make any bawds, he did ill, for there is
enough of that fly-blown flesh already.

I'm left quite naked now; all gone, all, all.

No Madam, not all, for you cannot be rid of me.
Here comes your Uncle.

Enter Medina.

Attired in robes of vengeance, are you uncle?

More horrors yet?

'Twas never full till now,
And in this torrent all my hopes lie drowned.

Instruct me in the cause.

The King, the contract!

Exit Onaelia.

That's cud enough for you to chew upon.

Exit Cornego.

What's this? A riddle. How? The King, the contract.
The mischief I divine which proving true,
Shall kindle fires in Spain to melt his crown
Even from his head. Here's the decree of fate:
A black deed must a black deed expiate.

Exit Medina.


Enter Balthazar, [having been] slighted by the Dons.

Thou god of good apparel, what strange fellows are bound to do thee
honour. Mercer's <12> books show men's devotions to thee. Heaven
cannot hold a saint so stately. Do not my dons know me because I'm
poor in clothes? Stood my beaten tailor plaiting my rich hose, my
silk stocking man drawing upon my Lordship's courtly calf pairs of
imbroidered things, whose golden clocks strike deeper to the faithful
shop-keeper's heart, than into mine to pay him. Had my barber
perfumed my lousy thatch here and poked out me tusks more stiff than
are a cats muschatoes <13>, these pied-winged butterflies had known
me then. Another fly-boat! <14> Save thee illustrious Don.

Enter Don Rodrigo.

Sir, is the King at leisure to speak Spanish with a poor Soldier?


No, Sirah, you, no! You Don with the ochre face, I wish to have thee
but on a breach, stifling with smoke and fire. And for thy no, but
whiffing gunpowder out of an iron pipe, I would but ask thee
if thou would'st on, and if thou did'st cry no, thou should'st read
Canon Law. I'd make thee roar, and wear cut-beaten-satin. I would pay
thee though thou payest not thy mercer. Mere Spanish jennets! <15>

Enter Cockadillio.

Signor, is the King at leisure?

To do what?

To hear a soldier speak.

I am no ear picker
To sound his hearing that way.

Are you of court sir?

Yes, the King's barber.

That's his ear picker. Your name, I pray.

Don Cockadillio
If, soldier, thou hast suits to beg at court,
I shall descend so low as to betray
Thy paper to the hand Royal.

I beg, you whorson muscod <16>! My petition is written on my bosom in
red wounds.

I am no barber-surgeon.

Exit Cockadillio.

You yellowhammer, why, shaver: that such poor things as these, only
made up of tailor's shreds and merchant's silken rags and 'pothecary
drugs to lend their breath sophisticated smells, when their rank guts
stink worse than cowards in the heat of battle. Such whaleboned-
doublet rascals, that owe more to laundresses and seamsters for laced
linen than all their race from their great grand-father to this their
reign, in clothes were ever worth.
These excrements of silk worms! Oh that such flies do buzz about the
beams of Majesty, like earwigs tickling a King's yielding ear with
that court-organ, flattery, when a soldier must not come near the
court gates twenty score, but stand for want of clothes, though he
win towns, amongst the almsbasket-men! His best reward being scorned
to be a fellow to the blackguard. Why should a soldier, being the
world's right arm, be cut thus by the left, a courtier? Is the world
all ruff and feather and nothing else? Shall I never see a tailor
give his coat with a difference from a gentleman?

Enter King, Alanzo, Carlo, Cockadillio.

My Balthazar!
Let us make haste to meet thee. How art thou altered?
Do you not know him?

Yes Sir, the brave soldier
Employed against the Moors

Half turned Moor!
I'll honour thee, reach him a chair, that table
And now, Aeneas-like, let thine own trumpet
Sound forth thy battle with those slavish Moors.

My music is a Cannon, a pitched field my stage, Furies the actors,
blood and vengeance the scene, death the story, a sword imbrued with
blood, the pen that writes, and the poet a terrible buskined <17>
tragical fellow, with a wreath about his head of burning match
instead of bays.

On to the battle.

'Tis here without bloodshed. This our main battalia, that the van,
this the vaw <18>, these the wings, here we fight, there they fly,
here they insconce <19>, and here our sconces <20> lay seventeen
moons on the cold earth.

This satisfies my eye, but now my ear
Must have his music too. Describe the battle.

The battle? Am I come from doing to talking? The hardest part for a
soldier to play is to prate well. Our tongues are fifes, drums,
petronels <21>, muskets, culverin <22> and cannon. These are our
roarers, the clocks which we go by are our hands. Thus we reckon ten,
our swords strike eleven and when steel targets of proof clatter one
against another, then 'tis noon that's the height and the heat of the
day of battle.



To that heat we came, our drums beat, pikes were shaken and shivered,
swords and targets clashed and clattered, muskets rattled cannons
roared, men died groaning, brave laced jerkings and feathers looked
pale, tottered rascals fought pell mell. Here fell a wing, there
heads were tossed like footballs, legs and arms quarrelled in the air
and yet lay quietly on the earth. Horses trampled upon heaps of
carcasses, troops of carbines tumbled wounded from their horses, we
besiege Moors and famine us, mutinies bluster and are calm. I vowed
not to doff mine armour though my flesh were frozen to it and turn
into iron, nor to cut head nor beard till they yielded. My hairs and
oath are of one length for, with Caesar, thus write I mine own story:
veni, vidi, vici.

A pitched field, quickly fought. Our hand is thine,
And because thou shalt not murmur that thy blood
Was lavished forth for an ungrateful man,
Demand what we can give thee and 'tis thine.

Only your love.

'Tis thine, rise soldier's best accord
When wounds of wrong are healed up by the sword.

Onaelia knocks loudly at the door.

Let me come in, I'll kill the treacherous King,
The murderer of mine honour, let me come in.

What woman's voice is that?

Medina's niece.

Bar out that fiend.

I'll tear him with my nails,
Let me come in, let me come in, help, help me.

Keep her from following me. A guard.

They are ready, sir.

Let a quick summons call our Lords together,
This disease kills me.

Sir, I would be private with you.

Forebear us, but see the doors are well guarded.

Exeunt [King and Balthazar remain].

Will you, Sir, promise to give me freedom of speech?

Yes, I will, take it, speak any thing, 'tis pardoned.

You are a whoremaster. Do you send me to win towns for you abroad and
you lose a kingdom at home?

What kingdom?

The fairest in the world, the kingdom of your fame, your honour.


I'll be plain with you. Much mischief is done by the mouth of a
cannon, but the fire begins at a little touch-hole. You heard what
nightingale sung to you even now.

Ha, ha, ha!

Angels erred but once and fell, but you Sir, spit in heaven's face
every minute and laugh at it. Laugh still, follow your courses, do.
Let your vices run like your kennels of hounds, yelping after you
till they pluck down the fairest head in the herd, everlasting bliss.

Any more?

Take sin as the English snuff tobacco, and scornfully blow the smoke
in the eyes of heaven, the vapour flies up in clouds of bravery. But
when 'tis out, the coal is black, your conscience, and the pipe
stinks. A sea of rosewater cannot sweeten your corrupted bosom.

Nay, spit thy venom.

'Tis Aqua Coelestis <23>, no venom. For when you shall clasp up these
two books, never to be opened again, when by letting fall that anchor
which can never more be weighed up, your mortal navigation ends. Then
there's no playing at spurn-point <24> with thunderbolts. A vintner
then for unconscionable reckoning or a tailor for unmeasurable items
shall not answer in half that fear you must.

No more.

I will follow truth at the heels, though her foot beat my gums in

The barber that draws out a lion's tooth
Curseth his trade; and so shalt thou.

I care not.

Because you have beaten a few base-born moors,
Me think'st thou to chastise? What is past I pardon,
Because I made the key to unlock thy railing;
But if thou dar'st once more be so untuned
I'll sent thee to the galleys. Who are without there,
How now?

Enter [guards and attendants] drawn.

In danger, Sir?

Yes, yes, I am, but 'tis no point of weapon
Can rescue me. Go presently and summon
All our chief Grandees, Cardinals, and Lords
Of Spain to meet in Council instantly.
We called you forth to execute a business
Of another strain - but 'tis no matter now.
Thou diest when next thou furrowest up our brow.

So, die!

Exit Balthazar, enter Cardinal, Rodrigo, Alba, Daenia, Valasco.

I find my sceptre shaken by enchantments
Charactered in this parchment, which to unloose,
I'll practice only counter-charms of fire,
And blow the spells of lightening into smoke:
Fetch burning tapers.

[Exit attendant who returns with light.]

Give me audience, Sir.
My apprehension opens me a way
To a close fatal mischief, worse than this
You strive to murder. Oh, this act of yours
Alone shall give your dangers life, which else
Can never grow to height. Do, Sir, but read
A book here closed up, which too late you opened,
Now blotted by you with foul marginal notes.

Art frantic?

You are so, Sir.

If I be,
Then here's my first mad fit.

For honour's sake,
For love you bear to conscience -

Reach the flames:
Grandees and Lords of Spain be witness all
What here I cancel. Read, do you know this bond?

Our hands are to it.

'Tis your confirmed contract
With my sad kinswoman: but wherefore Sir,
Now is your rage on fire, in such a presence
To have it mourn in ashes?

Marquis Daenia
We'll lend that tongue, when this no more can speak.

Dear Sir!

I am deaf,
Played the full concert of the spheres unto me
Upon their loudest strings - so burn that witch
Who would dry up the tree of all Spain's glories,
But that I purge her sorceries by fire.

[Burns contract.]

Troy lies in cinders. Let your Oracles
Now laugh at me if I have been deceived
By their ridiculous riddles. Why, good father,
Now you may freely chide, why was your zeal
Ready to burst in showers to quench our fury?

Fury indeed, you give it proper name.
What have you done? Closed up a festering wound
Which rots the heart. Like a bad surgeon,
Labouring to pluck out from your eye a mote,
You thrust the eye clean out.

Th'art mad ex tempore:
What eye? Which is that wound?

That scroll, which now
You make the black indenture of your lust
Although eat up in flames, is printed here,
In me, in him, in these, in all that saw it,
In all that ever did but hear 'twas yours.
The scold of the whole world, fame, will anon
Rail with her thousand tongues at this poor shift
Which gives your sin a flame greater than that
You lend the paper. You to quench a wild fire,
Cast Oil upon it.

Oil to blood shall turn,
I'll lose a limb before the heart shall mourn.

Exeunt, Daenia and Alba remain.

He's mad with rage or joy.

With both; with rage
To see his follies checked, with fruitless joy
Because he hopes his contract is cut off,
Which divine justice more exemplifies.

Enter Medina.

Where's the King?

Wrapped up in clouds of lightning.

What has he done? Saw you the contract torn?
As I did here a minion swear he threatened.

He tore it not, but burned it.


And heaven with us to witness.

Well, that fire
Will prove a catching flame to burn his kingdom.

Meet and consult.

No more, trust not the air
With our projections, let us all revenge
Wrongs done to our most noble kinswoman.
Action is honours language, swords are tongues,
Which both speak best, and best do right our wrongs.



Enter Onaelia from one way, Cornego another.

Madam, there's a bear without to speak with you

A bear?

It's a man all hair, and that's as bad.

Who is it?

'Tis one Master Captain Balthazar.

I do not know that Balthazar.

He desires to see you: and if you love a water-spaniel before he be
shorn, see him.

Let him come in.

Enter Balthazar.

Hist; a duck, a duck. There she is, Sir.

A soldier's good wish bless you lady.

Good wishes are most welcome Sir, to me,
So many bad ones blast me.

Do you not know me?

I scarce know myself.

I have been at tennis Madam, with the king. I gave him fifteen and
all his faults, which is much, and now I come to toss a ball with

I am bandied too much up and down already.

Yes, she has been struck under line, master soldier.

I conceit you, dare you trust yourself alone with me?

I have been laden with such weights of wrong
That heavier cannot press me. Hence Cornego.

Hence Cornego? Stay Captain? When man and woman are put together,
Some egg of villainy is sure to be sat upon.

Exit Cornego.

What would you say to him should kill this man that hath you so

Oh, I would Crown him
With thanks, praise, gold and tender of my life.

Shall I be that German fencer, and beat all the knocking boys before
me? Shall I kill him?

There's music in the tongue that dares but speak it.

That fiddle then is in me, this arm can do it, by poniard, poison or
pistol: but shall I do it indeed?

One step to human bliss is sweet revenge.

Stay. What made you love him?

His most goodly shape
Married to royal virtues of his mind.

Yet now you would divorce all that goodness; and why? For a little
lechery of revenge? It's a lie. The burr that sticks in your throat
is a throne. Let him out of his mess of kingdoms cut out but one, and
lay Sicily, Aragon or Naples or any else upon your trencher <25>, and
you will praise bastard <26> for the sweetest wine in the world, and
call for another quart of it. 'Tis not because the man has left you,
but because you are not the woman you would be that mads you. A she-
cuckold is an untameable monster.

Monster of men thou are, thou bloody villain,
Traitor to him who never injured thee.
Dost thou profess arms, and art bound in honour
To stand up like a brazen wall to guard
Thy king and country, and would'st thou ruin both?

You spur me on to it.

Worse am I then the horridest fiend in hell
To murder him who I once loved too well:
For thou I could run mad, and tear my hair,
And kill that godless man that turned me vile,
Though I am cheated by a purjurious Prince
Who has done wickedness, at which even heaven
Shakes when the sun beholds it, O yet I'd rather
Ten thousand poisoned poniards stab my breast
Than one should touch his. Bloody slave! I'll play
Myself the hangman, and will butcher thee
If thou but prickest his finger.

Sayest thou me so! Give me thy goll <27>, thou are a noble girl. I
did play the Devil's part, and roar in a feigned voice, but I am the
honestest Devil that ever spat fire. I would not drink that infernal
draft of a King's blood, to go reeling to damnation, for the weight
of the world in diamonds.

Art thou not counterfeit?

Now by my scars I am not.

I'll call thee honest soldier then, and woo thee
To be an often visitant.

Your servant,
Yet must I be a stone upon a hill,
For thou I do no good, I'll not lie still.



Enter Malateste and the Queen.

When first you came from Florence, would the world
Had with a universal dire eclipse
Been overwhelmed, no more to gaze on day,
That you to Spain had never found the way,
Here to be lost forever.

We from one climate
Drew suspiration <28>. As thou then hast eyes
To read my wrongs, so be thy head an engine
To raise up ponderous mischief to the height,
And then thy hands, the executioners.
A true Italian spirit is a ball
Of wild-fire, hurting most when it seems spent.
Great ships on small rocks, beating oft are rent.
And so, let Spain by us. But Malateste,
Why from the presence did you single me
Into this gallery?

To show you Madam,
The picture of yourself, but so defaced,
And mangled by proud Spaniards, it would whet
A sword to arm the poorest Florentine
In your just wrongs.

As how? Let's see that picture.

Here 'tis then: time is not scarce four days old,
Since I, and certain Dons, sharp-witted fellows,
And of good rank, were with two Jesuits
Grave profound scholars, in deep argument
Of various propositions. At the last,
Question was moved touching your marriage
And the King's pre-contract.

So, and what followed?

Whether it were a question moved by chance,
Or spitefully of purpose, I being there,
And your own Countryman, I cannot tell.
But when much tossing had bandied both the King
And you, as pleased those that took up the racquets.
In conclusion, the Father Jesuits,
To whose subtle music every ear there
Was tied, stood with their lives in stiff defence
Of this opinion - oh pardon me
If I must speak their language.

Say on.

That the most Catholic king in marrying you,
Keeps you but as his whore.

Are we their themes?

And that Medina's niece, Onaelia,
Is his true wife. Her bastard son they said
The King being dead, should claim and wear the crown,
And whatsoever children you shall bear,
To be but bastards in the highest degree,
As being begotten in adultery.

We will not grieve at this, but with hot vengeance
Beat down this armed mischief. Malateste!
What whirlwinds can we raise to blow this storm
Back in their faces who thus shoot at me?

If I were fit to be your councillor,
Thus would I speak - feign that you are with child.
The mother of the maids, and some worn ladies
Who oft have guilty being to court great bellies,
May though it not be so, get you with child
With swearing that 'tis true.

Say 'tis believed,
Or that it so doth prove?

The joy thereof,
Together with these earthquakes, which will shake
All Spain, if they their Prince do disinherit,
So borne, of such a Queen, being only daughter
To such a brave spirit as Duke of Florence.
All this buzzed into the King, he cannot choose
But charge that all the bells in Spain echo up
This joy to heaven, that bonfires change the night
To a high noon, with beams of sparkling flames;
And that in Churches, organs, charmed with prayers,
Speak loud for your most safe delivery.

What fruits grow out of these?

These; you must stick,
As here and there spring weeds in banks of flowers,
Spies amongst the people, who shall lay their ears
To every mouth, and seal to you their whispering.


'Tis a plummet to sound Spanish hearts
How deeply they are yours. Besides a guesse <29>
Is hereby made of any faction
That shall combine against you, which the King seeing,
If then he will not rouse him like a dragon
To guard his golden fleece, and rid his harlot
And her base bastard hence, either by death,
Or in some traps of state ensnare them both,
Let his own ruins crush him.

This goes to trial.
Be thou my magic book, which reading o'er
Their counterspells we'll break; or if the King
Will not by strong hand fix me in his Throne,
But that I must be held Spain's blazing star,
Be it an ominous charm to call up war.


Enter Cornego and Onaelia.

Here's a parcel of man's flesh has been hanging up and down all this
morning to speak with you.

Is't not some executioner?

I see nothing about him to hang in but his garters.

Sent from the King to warn me of my death:
I prithee bid him welcome.

He says he is a poet.

Then bid him better welcome.
Belike he's come to write my epitaph,
Some scurvy thing I'll warrant. Welcome Sir.

Enter Poet.

Madam, my love presents this book unto you.

To me? I am not worthy of a line,
Unless at that Line hang some hook to choke me:

[Onaelia reads book.]

To the Most Honoured Lady - Onaelia.
Fellow thou liest, I'm most dishonoured:
Thou should'st have writ to the most wronged Lady.
The title of this book is not to me,
I tear it therefore as mine honour's torn.

Your verses are lamed in some of their feet, Master poet.

What does it treat of?

Of the solemn triumphs
Set forth at coronation of the Queen.

Hissing, the poet's whirlwind, blast thy lines!
Com'st thou to mock my tortures with her triumphs?

'Las Madam!

When her funerals are past,
Crown thou a dedication to my joys,
And thou shalt swear each line a golden verse.
Cornego, burn this idol.

Your book shall come to light, Sir.

Exit Cornego [with book.]

I have read legends of disastrous dames;
Will none set pen to paper for poor me?
Canst write a bitter satire? Brainless people
Do call them libels. Darest thou write a libel?

I dare mix gall and poison with my ink.

Do it then for me.

And every line must be
A whip to draw blood.


And to dare
The stab from him it touches. He that writes
Such libels, as you call them, must launch wide
The sores of men's corruptions, and even search
To the quick for dead flesh, or for rotten cores:
A poet's ink can better cure some sores
Than surgeon's balsam.

Undertake that cure
And crown thy verse with bays.

Madam, I'll do it,
But I must have the party's character.

The King.

I do not love to pluck the quills,
With which I make pens, out of a lion's claw.
The King! Should I be bitter 'gainst the King,
I shall have scurvy ballads made of me,
Sung to the hanging tune. I dare not, Madam.

This baseness follows your profession.
You are like common beadles, apt to lash
Almost to death poor wretches not worth striking,
But fawn with slavish flattery on damned vices
So great men act them. You clap hands at those,
Where the true poet indeed doth scorn to guild
A gaudy tomb with glory of his verse,
Which coffins stinking carrion. No, his lines
Are free as his invention. No base fear
Can shake his pen to temporise even with kings,
The blacker are their crimes, he louder sings.
Go, go, thou canst not write: 'tis but my calling
The muses help, that I may be inspired.
Canst a woman be a poet, Sir?

Yes, Madam, best of all. For poesie
Is but feigning, feigning is to lie,
And women practice lying more than men.

Nay, but if I should write, I would tell truth.
How might I reach a lofty strain?

Thus Madam:
Books, music, wine, brave company and good cheer
Make poets to soar high and sing most clear.

Are they born poets?


Die they?

Oh, never die.

My misery is then a poet sure,
For time has given it an eternity.
What sort of poets are there?

Two sorts lady:
The great poets and the small poets.

Great and small!
Which do you call the great? The fat ones?

But such as have great heads, which emptied forth,
Fill all the world with wonder at their lines;
Fellows which swell big with the wind of praise.
The small ones are but shrimps of poesie.

Which in the kingdom now is the best poet?


Which the next?


And which the worst?


Say I turn poet, what should I get?


Alas, I have got too much of that already,
Opinion is my evidence, judge and jury.
Mine own guilt and opinion now condemn me.
I'll therefore be no poet, no nor make
Ten muses of your nine. I'll swear for this;
Verses, though freely born, like slaves are sold,
I crown thy lines with bays, thy love with gold:
So fare thou well.

Our pen shall honour thee.

Exit Poet, enter Cornego.

The poet's book Madam, has got the inflammation of the liver, it died
of a burning fever.

What shall I do, Cornego? For this poet
Has filled me with a fury. I could write
Strange satires now against adulterers,
And marriage-breakers.

I believe you Madam - but here comes your uncle.

Enter Medina, Alanzo, Carlo, Alba, Sebastian, Daenia.

Where's our niece?
Turn your brains round, and recollect your spirits,
And see your noble friends and kinsmen ready
To pay revenge his due.

That word revenge,
Startles my sleepy soul, now thoroughly wakened
By the fresh object of my hapless child
Whose wrongs reach beyond mine.

How doth my sweet mother?

How doth my prettiest boy?

Wrongs, like great whirlwinds,
Shake highest battlements. Few for heaven would care,
Should they be ever happy. They are half gods
Who both in good days, and good fortune share.

I have no part in either.

You shall in both,
Can swords but cut the way.

I care not much, so you but gently strike him,
And that my child escape the lightening.

For that our nerves are knit; is there not here
A promising face of manly princely virtues,
And shall so sweet a plant be rooted out
By him that ought to fix it fast in the ground?
Sebastian, what will you do to him
That hurts your mother?

The King my father shall kill him I trow.

But sweet cousin, the King loves not your mother.

I'll make him love her when I am a King.

La you, there's in him a king's heart already.
As therefore we before together vowed,
Lay all your warlike hands upon my sword,
And swear.

Will you swear to kill me, Uncle?

Oh not for twenty worlds.

Nay then draw and spare not, for I love fighting.

Stand in the midst, sweet coz, we are your guard.
These hammers shall for thee beat out a crown
If all hit right. Swear therefore, noble friends,
By your high bloods, by true nobility,
By what you owe religion, owe to your country,
Owe to the raising your posterity,
By love you bear to virtue, and to arms,
The shield of innocence, swear not to sheath
Your swords, when once drawn forth.

Oh not to kill him
For twenty thousand worlds.

Will you be quiet?
Your swords when once drawn forth, till they have forced
Yon godless, perjurous, perfidious man...

Pray rail not at him so.

Art mad? You're idle
Till they have forced him
To cancel his late lawless bond he sealed
At the high altar to his Florentine strumpet,
And in his bed lay this his troth-plight wife.

I, I that's well. Pray swear.

To this we swear.

Uncle, I swear too.

Our forces let's unite, be bold and secret,
And lion-like with open eyes let's sleep,
Streams smooth and slowly running are most deep.



Enter King, Queen, Malateste, Valasco, Lopez, [Roderigo and guards].

The presence door be guarded, let none enter
On forfeit of your lives, without our knowledge.
Oh you are false physicians all unto me,
You bring me poison, but no antidotes.

Yourself that poison brews.

Prithee, no more.

I will, I must speak more.

Thunder aloud.

My child, yet newly quickened in my womb,
Is blasted with the fires of bastardy.

Who! Who dares once but think so in his dream?

Medina's faction preached it openly.

Be cursed he and his faction. Oh how I labour
For these preventions! But so cross is fate
My ills are ne'r hid from me, but their cures.
What's to be done?

That which being left undone,
Your life lies at the stake. Let them be breathless
Both brat and mother.


She plays true music Sir.
The mischiefs you are drenched in are so full,
You need not fear to add to them. Since now
No way is left to guard thy rest secure,
But by a means like this.

All Spain rings forth
Medina's name, and his confederates.

All his allies and friends rush into troops
Like raging torrents.

And loud trumpet forth
Your perjuries. Seducing the wild people,
And with rebellious faces threatening all.

I shall be massacred in this their spleen,
Ere I have time to guard myself. I feel
The fire already falling. Where's our guard?

Planted at guarded gate, with a strict charge
That none shall enter but by your command.

Let them be doubled. I am full of thoughts,
A thousand wheels toss my incertain fears,
There is a storm in my hot boiling brains,
Which rises without wind. A horrid one.
What clamour's that?

Some treason. Guard the King.

Enter Balthazar drawn, [he strikes] one of the guards who falls.

Not in?

One of the guards is slain, keep off the murderer.

I am none, sir.

There's a man dropped down by thee.

Thou desperate fellow, thus press in upon us!
Is murder all the story we shall read?
What King can stand, when thus his subjects bleed?
What has thou done?

No hurt.

Played even the wolf,
And from a fold committed to my charge,
Stolen and devoured one of the flock.

You have sheep enough for all that, Sir. I have killed none though.
Or if I have, mine <30> own blood, shed in your quarrels, may beg my
pardon. My business was in haste to you.

I would not have thy sin scored on my head
For all the Indian Treasury. I prithee tell me,
Suppose thou had'st our pardon, oh can that cure
Thy wounded conscience, can there my pardon help thee?
Yet having deserved well both of Spain and us,
We will not pay thy worth with loss of life,
But banish thee for ever.

For a groom's death?

No more. We banish thee our court and Kingdom.
A King that fosters men so dipped in blood,
May be called merciful, but never good.
Be gone upon thy life.

Well, farewell.

Exit Balthazar.

The fellow is not dead, but wounded sir.

After him Malateste. In our lodging
Stay that rough fellow, he's the man shall do't.
Haste or my hopes are lost.

Exit Malateste.

Why are you sad, sir?

For thee, Paulina, swell my troubled thoughts
Like billows beaten by two warring winds.

Be you ruled but ruled by me, I'll make a calm
Smooth as the breast of heaven.

Instruct me how.

You, as your fortunes tie you, are inclined
To have the blow given.

Where's the instrument?

'Tis found in Balthazar.

He's banished.

But stayed by me for this.

His spirit is hot
And rugged, but so honest that his soul
Will never turn devil to do it.

Put it to trial.
Retire a little, hither I'll send for him,
Offer repeal and favours if he do it.
But if he deny, you have no finger in't,
And then his doom of banishment stands good.

Be happy in thy workings, I obey.

Exit King

Stay Lopez.


Step to our lodging, Lopez
And instantly bid Malateste bring
The banished Balthazar to us.

I shall.

Exit Lopez.

Thrive my black plots, the mischiefs I have set
Must not so die. Ills must new ills beget.

Enter Malateste and Balthazar.

Now! What hot poisoned custard must I put my spoon into now?

None, for mine honour is now thy protection.

Which, noble soldier, she will pawn for thee
But never forfeit.

'Tis a fair gage <31>, keep it.

Oh Balthazar! I am thy friend, and marked thee.
When the King sentenced thee to banishment
Fire sparkled from thine eyes of rage and grief.
Rage to be doomed so for a groom so base,
And grief to lose thy Country. Thou hast killed none,
The milk-sop is but wounded, thou are not banished.

If I were, I lose nothing, I can make any country mine. I have a
private coat for Italian Stilettos, I can be treacherous with the
Walloon, drunk with the Dutch, a chimney-sweeper with the Irish, a
gentleman with the Welsh and true arrant thief with the English. What
then is my country to me?

The King, who rap'd with fury, banished thee,
Shall give thee favours, yield but to destroy
What him distempers.

So. And what is the dish I must dress?

Only the cutting off a pair of lives.

I love no red-wine healths.

The King commands it, you are but executioner.

The hang-man? An office that will hold so long as hemp lasts. Why do
not you beg the office, Sir?

Thy victories in field never did crown thee
As this one Act shall.

Prove but that, 'tis done.

Follow him close, he's yielding.

Thou shalt be called thy Country's Patriot,
For quenching out a fire now newly kindling
In factious bosoms, and shalt thereby save
More Noble Spaniards lives, than thou slew Moors.

Art thou yet converted?

No point.

Read me then:
Medina's niece, by a contract from the King,
Lays claim to all that's mine, my crown, my bed.
A son she has by him must fill the throne,
If her great faction can but work that wonder.
Now hear me...

I do with gaping ears.

I swell with hopeful issue to the King.

A brave Don call you mother.

Of this danger the fear afflicts the King.

Cannot much blame him.

If therefore by the riddance of this Dame ...

Riddance? Oh! The meaning on't is murder.

Stab her, or so, that's all.

That Spain be free from frights, the King from fears,
And I, now held his infamy, be called Queen,
The treasure of the Kingdom shall lie open
To pay thy noble darings.

Come. I'll do it, provided I hear Jove call to me, though he roars. I
must have the King's hand to this warrant, else I dare not serve it
upon my conscience.

Be firm then. Behold the King is come.

Enter King.

Acquaint him.

I found the metal hard, but with oft beating
He's now so softened, he shall take impression
From any seal you give him.

Come hither, listen. Whatsoe'er our Queen
Has importuned thee to touching Onaelia
Niece to the Constable, and her young son,
My voice shall second it, and sign her promise.

Their riddance?


What way? By poison?


Starving? Or strangling, stabbing, smothering?


Any way, so 'tis done.

But I will have, Sir,
This under your own hand, that you desire it,
You plot it, set me on to't.

Pen, ink and paper.

[King writes and signs document.]

And then as large a pardon as law and wit can engross for me.

Thou shalt have my pardon.

A word more, Sir, pray will you tell me one thing?

Yes, any thing dear Balthazar.

Suppose I have your strongest pardon, can that cure my wounded
conscience? Can there your pardon help me? You not only knock the ewe
on the head, but cut the innocent lamb's throat too, yet you are no

Is this thy promised yielding to an act
So wholesome for thy country?

Chide him not.

I would not have this sin scored on my head
For all the Indian Treasury.

That song no more.
Do this and I will make thee a great man.

Is there no farther trick in't but my blow, your purse and my pardon?

No nets upon my life to entrap thee.

Then trust me. These knuckles work it.

Farewell. Be confident and sudden.

Subjects may stumble, when kings walk astray.
Thine Acts shall be a new Apocrypha.



Enter Medina, Alba, [Carlo], and Daenia, met by Balthazar with a
poniard and a pistol.

You met a Hydra. See, if one head fails
Another with a sulphurous beak stands yawning.

What hath raised up this devil?

A great man's vices, that can raise all hell. What would you call
that man, who under-sail in a most goodly ship, wherein he ventures
his life, fortunes, and honours, yet in a fury should hew the mast
down, cast sails overboard, fire all the tacklings, and to crown this
madness, should blow up all the decks, burn th'oaken ribs, and in
that combat 'twix two elements leap desperately, and drown himself in
the seas? What were so brave a fellow?

A brave black villain.

That's I. All that brave black villain dwells in me, if I be that
black villain. But I am not! A nobler character prints out my brow,
which you may thus read, I was banished Spain for emptying a court-
hogshead, but repealed so I would, ere my reeking iron was cold,
promise to give it a deep crimson dye in - none hear, - stay - no,
none hear.

Whom then?

Basely to stab a woman, your wronged niece and her most innocent son,

The boar now foams with wetting.

What has blunted
Thy weapons point at these?

My honesty. A sign at which few dwell, pure honesty! I am a vassal to
Medina's house, He taught me first the A-B-C of war. E'er I was
truncheon high, I had the stile on beardless Captain, writing then
but boy, and shall I now turn slave to him that fed me with Cannon-
bullets and taught me, ostrich-like to digest iron and steel! No! Yet
I yielded with willow-bendings to commanding breaths.

Of whom?

Of King and Queen. With supple hams and an ill-boding look, I vowed
to do it. Yet, lest some choke-pear <32> of state policy should stop
my throat, and spoil my drinking pipe, see, like his cloak, I hung at
the King's elbow, till I had got his hand to sign my life.

[Balthazar passes over the document signed by the King.]

Shall we see this and sleep?

No, whilst these wake.

'Tis the King's hand?

Think you me a coiner <33>?

No, no,
Thou art thy self still, noble Balthazar.
I ever knew thee honest, and the mark
Stands still upon thy forehead.

Else flea the skin off.

I ever knew thee valiant, and to scorn
All acts of baseness. I have seen this man
Write in the field such stories with his sword,
That our best chieftains swore there was in him
As 'twere a new philosophy of fighting,
His deeds were so punctilious. In one battle
When death so nearly missed my ribs, he struck
Three horses stone-dead under me. This man,
Three times that day, even through the jaws of danger,
Redeemed me up and, I shall print it ever,
Stood over my body with Colossus thighs
Whilst all the thunder-bolts which war could throw,
Fell on his head. And Balthazar, thou canst not
Be now but honest still, and valiant still,
Not to kill boys and women.

My biter here, eats no such meat.

Go fetch the marked-out lamb for slaughter hither,
Good fellow-soldier aid him, and stay, mark,
Give this false fire to the believing King,
That the child's sent to heaven, but that the mother
Stands rocked so strong with friends, ten thousand billows
Cannot once shake her.

This I'll do.

Yet one word more. Your counsel, Noble friends.
Hark Balthazar, because nor eyes nor tongues,
Shall by loud larums, that the poor boy lives,
Question thy false report, the child shall, closely
Mantled in darkness, forthwith be conveyed
To the monastery of Saint Paul.


Despatch then, be quick.

As lightning.

Exit Balthazar.

This fellow is some angel dropped from heaven
To preserve innocence.

He is a wheel
Of swift and turbulent motion. I have trusted him,
Yet will not hang on him too many plummets,
Lest with a headlong gyre <34> he ruins all.
In these state consternations, when a kingdom
Stands tottering at the centre, out of suspicion
Safety grows often. Let us suspect this fellow,
And that albeit he show us the King's hand,
It may be but a trick.

Your Lordship hits
A poisoned nail i'th head. This waxen fellow,
By the King's hand so bribing him with gold,
Is set on screws, perhaps is made his creature,
To turn round every way.

Out of that fear
Will I beget truth. For myself in person
Will sound the King's breast.

How? Yourself in person?

That's half the prize he gapes for.

I'll venture it,
And come off well I warrant you, and rip up
His very entrails, cut in two his heart,
And search each corner in't, yet shall not he
Know who it is cut up the anatomy.

'Tis an exploit worth wonder.

Put the worst,
Say some infernal voice should roar from hell,
The infant's cloistering up.

'Tis not our danger,
Nor the imprisoned Prince's, for what thief
Dares by base sacrilege rob the Church of him?

At worst none can be lost but this slight fellow!

All build on this as on a stable cube.
If we our footing keep, we fetch him forth,
And crown him King. If up we fly i'th air,
We for his soul's health a broad way prepare.

They come.

Enter Balthazar and Sebastian.

Thou knowest where to bestow him, Balthazar.

Come noble boy.

Hide him from being discovered.

Discovered? Would there stood a troop of Moors thrusting the paws of
hungry lions forth, to seize this prey, and this but in my hand, I
should do something.

Must I go with this black fellow, Uncle?

Yes, pretty coz, hence with him Balthazar.

Sweet child, within few minutes I'll change thy fate
And take thee hence, but set thee at heavens gate.

[Exit Balthazar and Sebastian.]

Some keep aloof and watch this soldier

I'll do't.

Exit Carlo.

What's to be done now?

First to plant strong guard
About the mother, then into some snare
To hunt this spotted panther, and there kill him.

What snares have we can hold him?

Be that care mine.
Dangers, like stars, in dark attempts best shine.



Enter Cornego, Balthazar.

The Lady Onaelia dresseth the stead of her commendations in the most
courtly attire that words can be clothed with, from herself to you,
by me.

So Sir, and what disease troubles her now?

The King's evil. And here she hath sent something to you, wrapped up
in a white sheet, you need not fear to open it, 'tis no course.

What's here? A letter minced into five morsels? What was she doing
when thou camest from her?

At her prick-song.

So me thinks, for here's nothing but sol-re-me-fa-mi. What crotchet
fills her head now, canst tell?

No crotchets, 'tis only the Cliff has made her mad.

What instrument played she upon?

A wind instrument, she did nothing but sigh.

Sol, re, me, fa, mi.

My wit has always a singing head, I have found out her note captain.

The tune? Come.

Sol, my soul. Re, is all rent and torn like a ragamuffin. Me, mend it
good captain. Fa, fa. What's fa Captain?

Fa, why farewell and be hanged.

Mi Captain, with all my heart. Have I tickled my Lady's fiddle well?

Oh, but you stick wants rosin <35> to make the strings sound clearly.
No, this double virginal, being cunningly touched, another matter of
jack leaps up then is now in mine eye. Sol, re me fa, mi, I have it
now. Solus Rex me facit miseram <36>. Alas poor Lady, tell her no
apothecary in Spain has any of that assa foetida <37 > she writes

Assa foetida? What's that?

A thing to be taken in a glister-pipe <38>.

Why, what ails my Lady?

What ails she? Why when she cries out, Solus Rex me facit miseram,
she says in the Hypocronicall <39> language, that she is so miserably
tormented with the wind colic that it racks her very soul.

I said somewhat cut her soul in pieces.

But go to her, and say the oven is heating.

And what shall be baked in't?

Carp pies.<40> And besides, tell her the hole in her coat shall be
mended, and tell her if the dial of good days <41> goes true, why
then bounce buckrum.<42>

The devil lies sick of the mulligrubs.<43>

Or the Cony is dub'd, and three sheepskins ...

With the wrong side outward ...

Shall make the fox a night-cap.

So the goose talks French to the buzzard.

But, Sir, if evil days jostle our prognostication to the wall, then
say there's a fire in a whore-masters cod-piece.

And a poisoned bag-pudding in Tom Thumb's belly.

The first cut be thine. Farewell.

Is this all?

Would'st not trust an Almanac?

Not a coranta <44> neither, though it were sealed with butter, <45>
and yet I know where they both lie passing well.

Enter Lopez.

The King sends round about the court to seek you.

Away Otterhound.

Dancing bear, I'm gone.

Exit Cornego. Enter King attended.

A Private room,

Exeunt, King and Balthazar remain

I'st done? Hast drawn thy two-edged sword out yet?

No, I was striking at the two iron bars that hinder your passage, and
see Sir.


What mean'st thou?

The edge abated, feel.

No, no I see it.

As blunt as ignorance.

How? Put up - so - how?

I saw by chance hanging in Cardinal Alvarez gallery, a picture of

So what of that?

There lay upon burnt straw ten thousand brave fellows all stark
naked, some leaning upon crowns, some on Mitres, some on bags of
gold. Glory, in another corner lay, a feather beaten in the rain.
Beauty was turned into a watching candle that went out stinking.
Ambition went upon a huge high pair of stilts but horribly rotten.
Some in another nook were killing Kings, and some having their elbows
shoved forward by Kings to murder others. I was, me thought, half in
hell myself whist I stood to view this piece.

Was this all?

Was't not enough to see that a man is more healthful that eats dirty
puddings, than he that feeds on a corrupted conscience?

Conscience! What's that? A conjuring book ne'r opened
Without the reader's danger. 'Tis indeed
A scarecrow set i'th world to frighten weak fools.
Hast thou seen fields paved o'er with carcasses,
Now to be tender-footed, not to tread
On a boy's mangled quarters, and a woman's!

Nay, Sir, I have searched the records of the Low-Countries, and find
that by your pardon I need not care a pin for goblins, and therefore
I will do it Sir. I did recoil because I was double charged.

No more. Here comes a satyr with sharp horns.

Enter Cardinal, and Medina like a French Doctor.

Sir, here's a Frenchman charged with some strange business
Which to close ear only he'll deliver,
Or else to none.

A Frenchman?

Oui, Monsieur.

Cannot he speak the Spanish?

Si Signor, un Poco - Monsieur Acontez in de Corner, me come for offer
to your Bon Grace mi trezhumbla service, by gar no John fidleco shall
put into your near braver melody dan dis un petite pipe shall play to
your great bon Grace.

What is the tune you strike up, touch the string.

Dis - me has run up and down mine Country and learn many fine thing,
and mush knavery, now more and all dis me know you'll jumbla de fine
vench and fill her belly with garsoone, her name is La Madam ...


She by gar. Now Monsieur dis Madam send for me to help her malady,
being very naught of her corpus, her body, me know you no point loves
dis vench. But royal Monsieur donne moye ten thousand French Crowns
she shall kick up her tail by gar, and beshide lie dead as dog in de

Speak low.

As de bag-pipe when de wind is puff, Gar beigh,

Thou namest ten thousand Crowns, I'll treble them
Rid me of this leprosy. Thy name?

Monsieur Doctor Devil.

Shall I a second wheel add to this mischief
To set it faster going? If one break,
T'other may keep his motion.

Esselent fort boone.

To give thy sword an edge again, this Frenchman
Shall whet thee on, that if thy pistol fail,
Or poniard, this can send the poison home.

Brother Cain we'll shake hands.

In de bowl of de bloody busher. 'Tis very fine wholesome.

And more to arm your resolution,
I'll tune this Churchman so, that he shall chime
In sounds harmonious, merit to that man
Whose hand has but a finger in that act.

That music were worth hearing.

Holy father,
You must give pardon to me in unlocking
A cave stuffed full with serpents, which my State
Threaten to poison, and it lies in you
To break their bed with thunder of your voice.

How princely son?

Suppose a universal
Hot pestilence beat her mortiferous wings
O'er all my kingdoms, am I not bound in soul,
To empty all our academies of doctors
And Aesculapian <46> spirits to charm this plague?

You are.

Or had the canon made a breach
Into our rich Escurial <47>, down to beat it
About our ears, should I stop this breach
Spare even our richest Ornaments, nay our crown,
Could it keep bullets off.

No sir, you should not.

This linstock <48> gives you fire. Shall then that strumpet
And bastard breathe quick vengeance in my face,
Making my Kingdom reel, my subjects stagger
In their obedience, and yet live?

How? Live!
Shed not their bloods to gain a kingdom greater
Than ten times this.

Pish, not matter how Red-cap and his wit run.

As I am Catholic King, I'll have their hearts
Panting in these two hands.

Dare you turn hangman?
Is this religion Catholic to kill
What even brute beasts abhor to do, your own!
To cut in sunder wedlock's sacred knot
Tied by heaven's fingers! To make Spain a bonfire
To quench which must a second deluge rain
In showers of blood, no water. If you do this
There is an arm armipotent that can fling you
Into a base grave, and your palaces
With lightening strike, and of their ruins make
A tomb for you, unpitied and abhorred,
Bear witness all you lamps celestial
I wash my hands of this.

Rise my good angel,
Whose holy tunes beat from me that evil spirit
Which jogs mine elbow, hence thou dog of hell.

Bow wow.

Bark out no more thou mastiff, get you all gone,
And let my soul sleep. [Aside to Balthazar] There's gold, peace, see
it done.

Exit King.

Sirra, you salsa-perilla <49>, rascal, toads-gut, you whorson pockey
French spawn of a butsten-bellyed spider. Do you hear Monsieur?

Why do you bark and snap at my Narcissus, as if I were de French dog?

You cur of Cerberus litter,

[Strikes him]

You'll poison the honest Lady? Do but once toot <50> into her
chamber-pot, and I'll make thee look worse than a witch does upon a
close stool.

You shall not dare to touch him, stood he here
Single before thee.

I'll cut the rat into anchovies.

I'll make thee kiss his hand, embrace him, love him
And call him ...

Medina [reveals his true identity].

The perfection of all Spaniards, Mars in little, the best book of the
art of war printed in these times. As a French doctor, I would have
given you pellets for pills, but as my noblest Lord, rip my heart out
in your service.

Thou are the truest Clock
That e'er to time paidst tribute, honest soldier,
I lost mine own shape, and put on a French
Only to try thy truth, and the King's falsehood,
Both which I find. Now this great Spanish volume
Is opened to me, I read him o'er and o'er,
Oh what black characters are printed in him.

Nothing but certain ruin threats your niece,
Without prevention. Well this plot was laid
In such disguise to sound him, they that know
How to meet dangers, are the less afraid.
Yet let me counsel you not to text down
These wrongs in red lines.

No, I will not, father.
Now that I have anatomised his thoughts,
I'll read a lecture on them that shall save
Many men's lives, and to the kingdom minister
Most wholesome surgery. Here's our aphorism.
These letters from us in our niece's name,
You know treat of a marriage.

There's the strong anchor
To stay all in this tempest.

Holy sir,
With these works you the King, and so prevail
That all these mischiefs hull <51> with flagging sail.

My best in this I'll do.

Soldier, thy breast
I must lock better things in.

'Tis your chest,
With three good keys to keep it from opening an honest heart, a
daring hand, and a pocket which scorns money.



Enter King, Cardinal with letters, [Valesco and Lopez].

Commend us to Medina, say his letters
Right pleasing are, and that, except himself
Nothing could be more welcome. Counsel him,
To blot the opinion out of factious numbers,
Only to have his ordinary train
Waiting upon him. For, to quit all fears
Upon his side of us, our very court
Shall even but dimly shine with some few Dons,
Freely to prove our longings great to peace.

The Constable expects some pawn from you,
That in this fairy circle shall rise up
No fury to confound his niece nor him.

A King's word is engaged.

It shall be taken.

Valasco, call the Captain of our Guard,
Bid him attend us instantly.

I shall.

Exit Valasco.

Lopez come hither. See,
Letters from Duke Medina, both in the name
Of him and all his faction, offering peace,
And our old love, his niece Onaelia
In marriage with her free and fair consent
To Cockadillio, a Don of Spain.

Will you refuse this?

My crown as soon. They feel their sinewy plots
Belike to shrink i'the joints. And fearing ruin,
Have found this cement out to piece up all,
Which more endangers all.

How sir? Endangers!

Lions may hunted be into the snare,
But if they once break loose, woe be to him
That first seized on them. A poor prisoner scorns
To kiss his jailer. And shall a king be choked
With sweet-meats by false traitors! No, I will fawn
On them as they stroke me, till they are fast
But in this paw. And then...

A brave revenge!
The Captain of your Guard.

Enter Alanzo, the Captain.

Upon thy life
Double our guard this day. Let every man
Bear a charged pistol hid, and, at a watch-word
Given by a musket, when our self sees time,
Rush in, and, if Medina's faction wrestle
Against your forces, kill, but if yield, save.
Be secret!

I am charmed, Sir.

Exit Alanzo.

Watch Valasco.
If any wear a Cross, feather or glove,
Or such prodigious signs of a knit faction,
Table their names up. At our court-gate plant
Good strength to bar them out, if once they swarm.
Do this upon thy life.

Not death shall fright me.

Exit [Valasco and Lopez,] enter Balthazar.

'Tis done, Sir.

Death! What's Done?

Young cub's flayed, but the she-fox shifting her hole is fled. The
little jackanapes, the boy's brained.


He shall ne'r speak more Spanish.

Thou teachest me to curse thee.

For a bargain you set your hand to.

Half my crown I'd lose were it undone.

But half a crown! That's nothing.
His brains stick in my conscience more than yours.

How lost I the French doctor?

As Frenchmen lose their hair. Here was too hot staying for him.

Get thou from my sight, the Queen would see thee.

Your gold, Sir.

Go with Judas and repent.

So men hate whores after lust's heat is spent.
I'm gone, Sir.

Tell me true, is he dead?


No matter. 'Tis but morning of revenge,
The sunset shall be red and tragical.

Exit King.

Sin is a raven croaking <52> her own fall.

Exit Balthazar.


Enter Medina, Daenia, Alba, Carlo and The Faction with Rosemary <53>
in their hats.

Keep locked the door, and let none enter to us
But who shares our fortunes.

Lock the doors.

What entertainment did the King bestow
Upon your letters and the Cardinal's?

With a devouring eye he read them o'er,
Swallowing our offers into his empty bosom,
As gladly as the parched earth drinks healths
Out of the cup of heaven.

Little suspecting
What dangers closely lie enambushed.

Let us not trust to that. There's in his breast
Both fox and lion, and both these beasts can bite.
We must not now behold the narrowest loop-hole,
But presently suspect a winged bullet
Flies whizzing by our ears.

For when I let
The plummet fall to sound his very soul
In his close-chamber, being French-Doctor like,
He to the Cardinal's ear sung sorcerous notes,
The burden of his song, to mine, was death,
Onaelia's murder, and Sebastian's.
And think you his voice alters now? 'Tis strange,
To see how brave this tyrant shows in court,
Throned like a god. Great men are pretty stars,
When his rays shine, wonder fills up all eyes
By sight of him, let him but once check sin,
About him round all cry, oh excellent King!
Oh Saint-like man! But, let this King retire
Into his closet to put off his robes,
He like a player leaves his part too.
Open his breast, and with a sunbeam search it,
There's no such man. This King of gilded clay,
Within is ugliness, lust, treachery,
And a base soul, though reared Colossus-like.

Balthazar beats to come.

None till he speaks, and that we know his voice.
Who are you?

BALTHAZAR (within)
An honest house-keeper in Rosemary Lane <54> too, if you dwell in the
same parish.

Oh 'tis our honest soldier, give him entrance.

Men show like coarses, for I meet few but are stuck with Rosemary.
Every one asked me who was married today, and I told them Adultery
and Repentance, and that Shame and a Hangman followed them to church.

There's but two parts to play, shame has done hers,
But execution must close up the scene,
And for that cause these sprigs are worn by all,
Bags of marriage, now of funeral,
For death this day turns courtier.

Who must dance with him?

The King, and all that are our opposites.
That dart or this must fly into the court
Either to shoot this blazing star from Spain,
Or else so long to wrap him up in clouds,
Till all the fatal fires in him burn out,
Leaving his state and conscience clear from doubt
Of following uproars.

Kill not, but surprise him.

That's my voice still.

Thine, soldier?

Oh, this colic of a kingdom, when the wind of treason gets amongst
the small guts, what a rumbling and a roaring it keeps. And yet, make
the best of it you can, it goes on stinking. Kill a King?


If men should pull the sun out of heaven every time 'tis eclipsed,
not all the wax nor tallow in Spain would serve to make us candles
for one year.

No way to purge
The sick state, but by opening a vein.

Is that your French physic? If every one of us should be whipped
according to our faults, to be lashed at a cart's tail would be held
but a flea biting.

Enter Signor No.

MEDINA  whispers
What are you? Come from the King?


No? More no's? I know him, let him enter.

Signor, I thank your kind intelligence,
The news long since was sent into our ears,
Yet we embrace your love, so fare you well.

Will you smell to a sprig of rosemary?


Will you be hanged?


This is either Signor No, or no Signor.

He makes his love to us a warning piece
To arm ourselves against we come to court,
Because the guard is doubled.

Tush, we care not.

If any here arms his hand to cut off the head, let him first pluck
out my throat. In any noble act I'll wade chin-deep with you. But to
kill a King?

No hear me...

You were better, my Lord, sail five hundred times to Bantam <55> in
the West Indies, that once to Barathrum in the Low Countries. It's
hot going under the line there, the calenture <56> of the soul is a
most miserable madness.

Turn then this wheel of fate from shedding blood
Till with her own hand Justice weighs all.




Enter Queen, Malateste.

Must then his trul <57> be once more sphered in court
To triumph in my spoils, in my eclipses?
And I like moping Juno sit, whilst Jove
Varies his lust into five hundred shapes
To steal to his whore's bed! No Malateste,
Italian fires of Jealousy burn my marrow.
For to delude my hopes, the lecherous king
Cuts out this robe of cunning marriage,
To cover his incontinence, which flames
Hot, as my fury, in his black desires.
I am swollen big with child of vengeance now,
And till delivered, feel the throws of hell.

Just is your imagination, high and noble,
And the brave heat of a true Florentine:
For Spain trumpets abroad her interest
In the King's heart, and with a black coal draws
On every wall your scoffed at injuries,
As one that has the refuse of her sheets,
And the sick Autumn of the weakened King,
Where she drunk pleasures up in the full spring.

That, Malateste, that, that torrent wracks me.
But Hymen's torch, held downward, shall drop out,
And for it, the mad Furies swing their brands
About the bride-chamber.

The priest that joins them,
Our twin born malediction.

Loud it may speak.

The herbs and flowers to strew the wedding way,
Be cypress, eugh, cold colliquintida. <58>

Herbane and poppy, and that magical weed
Which hags at midnight watch to catch the seed. <59>

To these our execrations, and what mischief
Hell can but hatch in a distracted brain,
I'll be the executioner, though it look
So horrid it can fright even murder back.

Poison his whore today, for thou shalt wait
On the King's cup, and when heated with wine
He calls to drink the bride's health, marry her
Alive to a gaping grave.

At board?

At board.

When she being guarded round about with friends,
Like a fairy land, hemmed with rocks and seas,
What rescue shall I find?

Mine arms. Dost faint?
Stood all the Pyrenean hills that part
Spain and our country, on each others shoulders,
Burning with Aetnean flame, yet thou should'st on,
As being my steel of resolution,
First striking sparkles from my flinty breast.
Wert thou to catch the horses of the sun
Fast by their bridles, and to turn back day,
Would'st thou not do it, base coward, to make way
To the Italians second bliss, revenge?

Were my bones threatened to the wheel of torture
I'll do it.

Enter Lopez.

A raven's voice, and it likes me well.

The King expects your presence.

So, so we come.
To turn this bride's day to a day of doom.



A banquet set out, cornets sounding; enter at one door, Lopez,
Valasco, Alanzo, No. After them King, Cardinal, with Don Cockadillio,
Bridegroom, Queen and Malateste after. At the other door, Alba,
Carlo, Roderigo, Medina and Daenia leading Onaelia as bride, Cornego,
and Juanna after, Balthazar alone. The Bride and Bridegroom kiss, and
by the Cardinal are joined hand in hand. The King is very merry,
hugging Medina very lovingly.

For half Spain's weigh in ingots I'd not lose
This little man today.

Not for so much
Twice told Sir, would I miss your Kingly presence.
Mine eyes have lost the acquaintance of your face
So long, and I so little late read o'er
That index of the royal book your mind,
That scarce, without your comment, can I tell
When in those leaves you turn o'er smiles or frowns.

'Tis dimness of your sight, no fault i'the letter.
Medina, you shall find that free from erratas,
And for a proof, if I could breathe my heart
In welcome forth, this hall should ring naught else.
Welcome Medina, Good Marquis Daenia,
Dons of Spain all welcome.
My dearest love and Queen, be it your place
To entertain the bride, and do her grace.

With all the love I can, whose fire is such,
To give her heat, I cannot burn too much.

Contracted bride, and bridegroom sit,
Sweet flowers not plucked in season lose their scent,
So will our pleasures. Father Cardinal,
Methinks this morning new begins our reign.

Peace had her Sabbath ne'r till now in Spain.

Where is our noble soldier Balthazar?
So close in conference with that Signor?


What think'st thou of this great day Balthazar?

Of this day? Why as of a new play, if it ends well, all's well. All
but men are but actors, now if you being the King should be out of
your part, or the Queen out of hers, or your Dons out if theirs,
here's No will never be out of his.


'Twere a lamentable piece of stuff to see great statesmen have vile
exits, but I hope there are nothing but plaudities in all your eyes.

Mine I protest are free.

And mine by heaven.

Free from one good look till the blow be given.

Wine. A full cup crowned to Medina's health.

Your highness this day so much honours me,
That I to pay you what I truly owe,
My life shall venture for it.

So shall mine.

Onaelia, you are sad. Why frowns your brow?

A foolish memory of my past ills
Folds up my look in furrows of old care,
But my heart's merry, Sir.

Which mirth to heighten,
Your bridegroom and yourself first pledge this health
Which we begin to our High Constable.

Three cups filled, one to the King, the second to the Bridegroom and
the third to Onaelia, with whom the King compliments.

Is't speeding?

As all our Spanish figs are.

Here's to Medina's heart with all my heart.

My heart shall pledge your heart i'th deepest draught
That ever Spaniard drank.

Medina mocks me,
Because I wrong her with the largest bowl.
I'll change with thee Onaelia.

Malateste rages.

Sir, you shall not!

Fear you I cannot fetch it off?


This is your scorn to her, because I am doing
This poorest honour to her. Music sound,
It goes were it ten fathoms to the ground.

Cornets play. King drinks, Queen and Malateste storm.

Fate strikes with the wrong weapon.

Sweet Royal Sir no more, it is too deep.

Twill hurt your health sir.

Interrupt me in my drink? 'Tis off.

Alas Sir.
You have drunk your last, that poisoned bowl I filled
Not to be put in your hand, but hers.


Descend black speckled soul to hell!

[The faction turn on Malateste and wound him.]

The Queen has sent me thither.

Malateste dies.

What new fury shakes now with her snake's locks?

I, I, 'tis I
Whose soul is torn in pieces, till I send
This harlot home.

More murders! Save the Lady.

Rampant? Let the Constable make a mittimus <60>.

Keep them asunder.

How is it royal son?

I feel no poison yet, only mine eyes
Are putting out their lights. Me thinks I feel
Death's icy fingers stroking down my face.
And now I'm in a mortal cold sweat.

Dear my Lord.

Hence, call in my physicians.

Thy physician tyrant,
Dwells yonder, call on him or none.

Bloody Medina, stab'st thou Brutus too?

As he is, so are we all.

I burn,
My brains boil in a cauldron, oh one drop
Of water now to cool me.

Oh, let him have physicians.

Keep her back.

Physicians for my soul, I need none else.
You'll not deny me those. Oh holy father,
Is there no mercy hovering in a cloud
For me a miserable King so drenched
In perjury and murder?

Oh Sir, great store.

Come down, come quickly down.

I'll forthwith send
For a grave Friar to be your confessor.

Do, do.

And he shall cure your wounded soul.
Fetch him good soldier.

So good a work, I'll hasten.

[Exit Balthazar.]

Onaelia! Oh she's drowned in tears! Onaelia,
Let me not die unpardoned at thy hands.

Enter Balthazar, Sebastian as a Friar with others.

Here comes a better surgeon.

Hail my good son
I come to be thy ghostly father.

My child! 'Tis my Sebastian, or some spirit
Sent in his shape to fright me.

'Tis no goblin, Sir, feel. Your own flesh and blood, and much younger
than you though he be bald, and calls you son. Had I been as ready to
have cut his sheep's throat, as you were to send him to the shambles
<61>, he had bleated no more. There's less chalk upon your score of
sins by these round O'es <62>.

Oh my dull soul look up, thou art somewhat lighter.
Noble Medina, see Sebastian lives.
Onaelia cease to weep, Sebastian lives.
Fetch me my crown. My sweetest pretty Friar
Can my hands do't, I'll raise thee one step higher.
Thou'st been in heaven's house all this while sweet boy?

I had but coarse cheer.

Thou could'st n'er fare better.
Religious houses are those hives where bees
Make honey for men's souls. I tell thee boy,
A Friary is a cube, which strongly stands,
Fashioned by men, supported by heaven's hands.
Orders of holy priesthood are as high
I'th eyes of Angels, as a King's dignity.
Both these unto a Crown give the full weight,
And both are thine. You that our contract know,
See how I seal it with this marriage.
My blessing and Spain's kingdom both be thine.

Long live Sebastian.

Doff that Friar's coarse grey.
And since he's crowned a King, clothe him like one.

Oh no. Those are right sovereign ornaments.
Had I been clothed so, I had never filled
Spain's chronicle with my black calumny.
My work is almost finished. Where's my Queen?

Here piecemeal, torn by Furies.

Your hand Paulina too, Onaelia yours.
This hand, the pledge of my twice broken faith,
By you usurped is her inheritance.
My love is turned, see as my fate is turned,
Thus they today laugh, yesterday which mourned.
I pardon thee my death. Let her be sent
Back into Florence with a trebled dowry.
Death comes, oh now I see what late I feared!
A contract broke, though pieced up ne'r so well,
Heaven sees, earth suffers, but it ends in hell.

King Dies.

Oh, I could die with him.

Since the bright sphere
I moved in falls, alas what make I here?

Exit Queen.

The hammers of black mischief now cease beating,
Yet some irons still are heating. You Sir Bridegroom,
Set all this while up as a mark to shoot at,
We here discharge you of your bedfellow,
She loves no barber's washing <63>.

My balls are saved then.

Be it your charge, so please you reverend Sir,
To see the late Queen safely to Florence.
My niece Onaelia, and that trusty soldier,
We do appoint to guard the infant King.
Other distractions, time must reconcile.
The State is poisoned like a crocodile.



1. This Posthumous Ð the now dead author of the play.
2. Fury's Ð in classical mythology, the Furies were three daughters
of mother earth that personified conscience and punished crimes
against kindred blood. Furriers in the Quarto.
3. Lacrymae's - the personification of tearfulness, believed to be a
reference to a tune by the luteist, John Dowland, known as 'Lachrimae
, or seven tears'.
4. Pinnace Ð a boat for communicating between ship and shore, also a
procurer. Possible pun on penis.
5. Galleasses Ð large fast sailing vessel, indicative of wealth, also
sexual innuendo.
6. Aesculapius - in Greek mythology, Aesculapius, son of Apollo, was
a Greek healer who became a Greek demigod, and was a famous
7. Eyes Ð joys in the Quarto.
8. Prive Ð prove, establish.
9. Than Ð Q reads 'then'.
10. Caitiff - a contemptible or cowardly person.
11. Leman Ð lover, sweetheart.
12. Mercer's Ð merchant's.
13. Muschatoes - A pair of moustaches.
14. Fly-boat Ð small vessel supporting large ship
15. Jennets Ð riders of small horses. Balthazar is making a contrast
between his martial exploits and the courtly life of the Dons.
16. Whorson muscod Ð scented fop.
17. Buskined Ð wearing thick-soled boots as worn by tragical actors.
18. Van É vaw Ð the van was the rear of an army's battle formation,
the vaw, although not a recognised usage, is taken to mean the front.
19. Insconce Ð make secure base.
20. Sconce Ð lights.
21. Petronel Ð a hand-cannon.
22. Culverin Ð a long cannon.
23. Aqua Coelestis Ð a sweet cordial.
24. Spurn-point Ð an old game, believed to be similar to hop-scotch.
25. Trencher Ð a wooden board or plate on which food is served.
26. Bastard Ð sweet Spanish Wine.
27. Goll Ð hand.
28. Suspiration Ð Breath.
29. Ghesse Ð ghost.
30. Mine Ð thine in the Quarto.
31. Gage Ð a pledge.
32. Choke-pear - A kind of pear that has a rough, astringent taste,
and is swallowed with difficulty, or which contracts the mucous
membrane of the mouth.
33. Coiner - counterfeiter.
34. Gyre Ð revolution. Cyre in the Quarto
35. Rosin Ð oil or resin, used for lubricating violin stings.
36. Solus Rex me facit miseram Ð the sun king makes me miserable.
37. Assa foetida Ð dried resin, used as a nervous tonic.
38. Glister-pipe Ð also known as a clyster-pipe. A tube used to
inject liquid through the anus to stimulate evacuation.
39. Hypocronicall Ð a nonce word whose meaning is unclear. Possibly
should read Hypocondricall, meaning 'of a melancholy humour'.
40. Carp pies Ð suggests secrecy, based on the belief that the carp
has no tongue.
41. Dial of good days Ð a reference to lists of good and bad days
compiled by producers of almanacs.
42. Bounce Buckram Ð from the proverb 'Bounce buckram, velvet's dear,
Christmas comes but once a year, and when it comes it brings good
cheer, but when it's gone it's never the near.'
43. Mulligrubs Ð depression.
44. Coranta Ð a court dance.
45. Sealed with butter Ð a reference to the musical publications
printed by the newsmonger Nathaniel Butter.
46. Aesculapian Ð relating to medicine.
47. Escurial Ð the chief palace of Spain, some 30 miles from Madrid.
48. Linstock Ð pole for firing a cannon.
49. Salsa-perilla Ð a drug used in the treatment of syphilis
50. Toot Ð to pry.
51. Hull Ð for a cannon-ball to break the hull of a ship.
52. Croaking Ð creaking in the Quarto. Compare with W. Shakespeare,
Hamlet, 3.2.233, 'the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge', itself
a misquotation from the anonymous 'The True Tragedy of Richard III'.
53. Rosemary Ð herb worn at both weddings and funerals. In NSS, it
signifies opposition to the King in a manner reminiscent of the Wars
of the Roses.
54. Rosemary Lane Ð a road in the City of London, known since 1850 as
Royal Mint Street.
55. Bantam Ð in fact, a trade centre in Indonesia, unconnected with
the West Indies.
56. Callenture Ð guilty knowledge.
57. Trul Ð whore.
58. Collinquintida Ð a bitter apple of the gourd family whose soft
fruit made a purgative drug
59. Magical weed / Which hags at midnight watch to catch the seed Ð
the Peony, which needed to be gathered in the dark as the birdlife
were believed to be protective of it.
60. Mittimus Ð notice to quit.
61. Shambles Ð a slaughterhouse.
62. O'es Ð An allusion to the manner of posting scores in an ale-
63. Barber's washing Ð Barbers were users of scent, like Cockadillio.

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