If This Be Not a Good Play – Act 5, Scene 1

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Alarums.  Enter KING, RUFFMAN, SPENDOLA, & BRISCO,
with drawn weapons.

 KING
Black horrors, mischief, ruin, and confusion
Affright us, follow us.

RUFFMAN
Dare them to the face
And you fright them.

SPENDOLA
No safety but to fly.

KING
Wither, Spendola, wither?  Better stay and die.

Enter NARCISSO.  Alarums afar off.

 OMNES
What hope?  What news?

KING
Is my uncle fled?

NARCISSO
He’s gone,
And fights against you.

KING
Follow him damnation
That leaves his prince so in distress, in misery.
O bane of kings, thou enchanting flattery,
Thy venom now I feel eating my heart,
More mortal than an Indian’s poison’d dart!

RUFFMAN
Ya’re too dejected; gather head and fight it out!

KING
The head’s here; where are the hands to lay about?

Enter JOVINELLI.

 JOVINELLI
Where is the king?

KING
The man that title mocks
Is here, thou sad-visage man.  Are any hir’d
To kill me or betray me?  Let ‘em come!
Griefs growing extreme, death is a gentle doom.

JOVINELLI
Prepare then for the worst.

KING
I am arm’d for’t.  Show it.

JOVINELLI
Thy kingdom is a weak ship, split, sinking,
Nor hast thou any pilot to waft us o’er
Out of this foul sea to some calmer shore.
Thy people’s hearts are turn’d to rocks of flint,
The scholar, soldier, and the mariner
Whom, as themselves say, once thou trodst upon,
Now serve as wheels of thy destruction.

KING
Flying swiftly backward, the kingly lion quail’d;
What shall the weaker herds do if he fall?

SPENDOLA
Let’s fly.

OMNES
Zounds!  Whither?

BRISCO
So we may be safe.

JOVINELLI
But where?

SPENDOLA
At Bartervile.  The churl’s to me beholden;
His house so stands, we may enter without fear.

OMNES
Be’t so!  To Bartervile!

SPENDOLA
What will your Highness do?

KING
Die, Spendola, a miserable king;
None here can hinder us of that.

SPENDOLA
How!  Die!
Ha’ you any stomach to death, sirs?

OMNES
Not I.

SPENDOLA
Nor I.
Troth’s though you grow desperate, we’ll grow wise.

OMNES
Farewell, sir; we’ll save one.                   [Exeunt all but KING and RUFFMAN.

KING
Oh, my cruell’st enemies!
Stabs Brutus at me too?

RUFFMAN
[Aside.] Now my own, or never!

KING
Why art not thou gone?

RUFFMAN
I, I’ll stick to you ever;
I am no courtier, sir, of Fortune’s making.

KING
Thou art no wise man to prefer thy love
To me, before thy life; pray thee, leave me!

RUFFMAN
Not I.

KING
I shall not hate the world so really
As else I would.  O, had the ancient race
Of men, who had long leases of their lives,
Been wretched as we are, no recompense
Could the gods have given them for their being here!
But now more pitiful wise nature grows
Who cuts of man’s years to cut off his woes!

RUFFMAN
True, sir, and teaches him a thousand ways
To lead him out this horrid giddy maze.

KING
I apprehend thee a small dagger’s point
Opens the veins to cure our pleurisy.

RUFFMAN
Than to be made your foe’s slave, better die.

KING
A hundred thousand deaths, than like a captive,
Be chained to grace proud Cæsar’s chariot wheel.

RUFFMAN
Much less a petty duke’s.

KING
Fetch me, dear friend,
An armed pistol, and mouth it at my breast.
I’ll make away myself, and all my sorrows
Are made away.

RUFFMAN
The best and nobler spirits
Have done the like.

KING
Your bravest men-at-arms
Have done the like.

RUFFMAN
Philosophers have done it.

KING
Great peers have done it.

RUFFMAN
Kings have done the like.

KING
And I will do it.

RUFFMAN
Nay, it shall ne’er be said
I liv’d a minute after you; here, here!

KING
I embrace thee, noblest friend!

RUFFMAN
Let’s sail together!

KING
Content, brave Bohor.  Oh!  But whither? whither?

RUFFMAN
From Hell, this world, from fiends, in shapes of men.

KING
No, into Hell, from men to be damn’d black with fiends.
Methinks I see hell yawn to swallow us.

RUFFMAN
Foh!  This is but the swimming of your brain
By looking downward with a timorous eye.

KING
My soul was snuck too low to look more high.
Forgiveness, Heaven!                                                                          [Alarums.

RUFFMAN
The whips of furies lash me; the foe come on.

KING
And we will meet him, dare confusion
And the world’s mixed poisons; there is a hand
That fights for kings, and under that we’ll stand.

Alarums still afar off; enter a Friar running.

 RUFFMAN
Whither runs this friar?

FRIAR
To save my wretched life
From th’insolent soldier threat’ning the city’s spoil.

KING
Of what house art thou?

FRIAR
Of Father Clement’s order,
The Capachine’s subprior; a quick messenger
Fetched me to be rich Bartervile’s confessor
Who lies a-dying.

KING
A-dying!

FRIAR
He does, but I
Have come thus far with so much jeopardy
That could I safely get to the lee shore
Him nor the priory would I see more.
For charity’s sake, direct me and defend me!

KING
To help distressed men religion binds me.
Shouldst thou in this hot broils be met abroad
It will be judged you leave your priory
Carrying gold and silver with you.

FRIAR
‘Las, I have none!

KING
But, Friar, if you be thus taken, your life is gone.
Here, here cast off thy habit, better that lie
I’th’ streets than thou poor wretch; wear mine, and away;
Strike down that lane.

FRIAR
Thanks, master; for your lives I’ll pray.                                                             [Exit.

KING
This, Bohor, shall disguise me.  Whither wilt thou fly?

RUFFMAN
I’ll shift, I warrant.  Haste thou to the priory.

KING
If we ne’er meet again, best friend, farewell.

RUFFMAN
[Aside.] Not meet!  Yes, I hope, you must not thus cheat Hell.                [Exit.

KING
I will not trust this fellow.  To th’priory, no.
Bartervile’s confessor; if to betray
Thou findst the churl apt, leave him; if not, there stay.
The downfall of that prince is quick and steep
Who has no heart to leave, nor power to keep.                                           [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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