If This Be Not a Good Play – Act 5, Scene 3

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Enter SUBPRIOR and SCUMBROTH.

 SCUMBROTH
Alas!  Where’s the Subprior?

SUBPRIOR
Here.  What ail’st thou?

SCUMBROTH
Can you pick nothing out of my face?
Is there not a death’s head standing on my shoulders?

SUBPRIOR
Why, what’s the matter?

SCUMBROTH
The lord’s prior is call’d away.

SUBPRIOR
Whither?  By whom?

SCUMBROTH
By the great-head.  I think he cozened me.  He is gone to the black squib tree, to Judas Oak, set by the devil; I told you then I saw Friar Rush spit fire amongst other hell-cats, and ye would  not believe me.  Now I’ll tell you that the Prior is chok’d.  Will his choking go down your throat?

SUBPRIOR
How chok’d?

SCUMBROTH
Yes, chok’d.  That of which men die o’er night, and are well the nest morning; wine has kill’d the Lord Prior.  He would in a bravery taste the liquor of our vines because you threatened he should never lick his lips after; and the kernel of a grape stop’d his windpipe for want of a skow’ring stick.

SUBPRIOR
Art thou sure he is dead?

SCUMBROTH
How dead?  Because I would be sure, I cut his throat of purpose to take out the kernel.

SUBPRIOR
Most fearful and prodigious!  Whither run’st thou?

SCUMBROTH
To see more throats cut; an execution of certain gallants is this morning and I came running to see them.  Who like a whore spoils every good thing that comes into his hand?  The hangman.  I leave you to the gallows.                                                                           [Exit.

Enter BARTERVILE like a Friar, brought in by the KING,
SHACKLE-SOUL, and LURCHALL, with Others, all like Friars.

 SHACKLE-SOUL
Welcome, dear brother.  Now your heed must be
Not to look back at this world’s vanity,
Riches and pleasures; you have laid aside
That garment and must now be mortified.

BARTERVILE
I am mortified, I warrant you.

KING
[Aside.] So is the Devil.

SUBPRIOR
Your gold and silver you must see no more.

BARTERVILE
Oh fie!  Give it every farthing to the poor
When I have sent for’t hither.

LURCHALL
[Aside.] That will be never.

SHACKLE-SOUL
Your money shall be spent in pious sort.

BARTERVILE
I know that; let my soul be the better for’t,
That’s all I crave for after I am dead.

SUBPRIOR
Many a requiem for it shall be said.                                 [Drum sounds.

OMNES
What drum is this?

SHACKLE-SOUL
Friars, stand upon your guard.
The priory is beset with armed men
Of which some troops are entered.

KING
I am betray’d.

BARTERVILE
Lurchall, I feel my wizen’d pipe cut.

LURCHALL
I warrant you.

Enter DUKE OF CALABRIA, OCTAVIO, ASTOLFO, RUFFMAN led
by two holding pistols, Soldiers, drums and colours.

 CALABRIA
Guard the abbey gates, let not a friar go forth.
You have a king amongst you; which is he?

OMNES
A king!

SUBPRIOR
I know of none here.

CALABRIA
Villains, you lie.

OCTAVIO
This caitiff does delude you; torture him!

CALABRIA
Hang him and these up o’er the abbey walls.
Our wrath shall smite like thunder where it falls.

BARTERVILE
I shall, like a dog, die without money, Lurchall.

LURCHALL
I warrant you.

KING
Tyran, that royal hart thou huntst is here;
Stand from me all, you have betray’d me all,
And I’ll trust none of you; if the lion must fall,
Fall he shall like a lion.  Thinkst thou, base lord,
Because the glorious sun behind black clouds
Has a while hid his beams, he’s darkened for ever?
Eclipsed never more to shine, yes, and to throw
Fires from his sparkling eyes, thee to confound.
Touch not that noble friend of mine; it seems
For my sake mark’d for danger.  Let your arrows,
Dipp’d in rank poison, be shot all at me,
Since all is lost, die nobly, and loose life too.
O uncle!  Must the first dart fly from you?

OCTAVIO
Into thy bosom fly I.

KING
To betray me?

OCTAVIO
To fight for thee till I can fight no more.
Hadst thou posses’d this kingly spirit before
We ne’er had left thee.  What makes Judas here?

ASTOLFO
Here’s he that to the duke thy life betray’d.

KING
Bohor!

OCTAVIO
Ay, Bohor.

RUFFMAN
I told him where you were.

OCTAVIO
I tell thee th’art a traitor and I’ll have
Thy head off, or thou mine!

RUFFMAN
Head!

OCTAVIO
Th’art a slave.
Thou seest, Duke, what to trust to.

BARTERVILE
I have confess’d, and shall be hang’d.  The king?

CALABRIA
Our fair game come to this?  Our swords, I see,
Must from your heart’s blood let out all my wrongs;
A murdered daughter for just vengeance cries
Whom to appease your lives we’ll sacrifice.
Beat the drum.

KING
Thunder mock thunder.  Beat ours.

SUBPRIOR
O, let these fires be quenched out with my tears,
If waters cannot.  Duke, I bind thy rage
With this strong charm’ and this:  read o’er that spell
And let thy hard breast grow more flexible                                     [Exit.

KING
Where’s Jovinelli and that bastard crew
Of my false friends?

OCTAVIO
Beheaded.

KING
They have their due.

CALABRIA
The ring I gave her, and her hand. Old man,
Where the old friar delivered these?

OMNES
He’s gone.

CALABRIA
Make after him, ‘tis some delusion.

Enter SUBPRIOR and ERMINHILD.

 ERMINHILD
‘Tis no delusion, father, am I the ground
Of this your quarrel, which must both confound
If you go on; your battles thus I’ll part:
The first blow given shall run clean through my heart.

KING
Oh, noble constant maid, forgive my wrongs!
The warmth of heaven to a pining spring
Cannot such comfort give as thy glad presence
Does to my bosom.

OCTAVIO
Will you fight or no?

CALABRIA
‘Twere madness to wish storms when fair winds blow.
Will you your faith yet keep?

KING
Inviolate.

CALABRIA
Then here end all my wars.

KING
And all my hate.
Haste all these friars up to the abbey walls
And with shrill voices, this our peace proclaim.
Stay, holy father.  Bohor, see you this done.

RUFFMAN
Vengeance, I have now lost more than I have won.  [Exit RUFFMAN with Friars.

BARTERVILE
I shall go scot-free, Lurchall.

LURCHALL
Passing well?

BARTERVILE
They do not smell me, yet myself I smell.                                        [Exit.

OCTAVIO
Why sends your Highness thus these friars to play
Your heralds’ parts in publishing this peace?

KING
There’s in’t a riddle, uncle, which by none
But these friars only can be done.

Enter Friars above, BARTERVILE among them.

So, are you mounted?  Sing now.

OMNES
Sing?

KING
Yes, sing.
Like swans before your deaths; there you shall die.
Give fire to this most damned priory.

SUBPRIOR
Alack for pity!

KING
Father, but for thee
Thunder from Heaven had, long ere this, to dust
Grinded these hellish buildings.  That hand was just
Which struck your virtuous prior; so is our doom.
That synagogue of devils let fire consume.

BARTERVILE
But means the king that I shall burn here too?

KING
Thou?

BARTERVILE
I am no friar!  See, I’m poor Bartervile.

OMNES
How! Bartervile!

KING
He lies.  The slave’s a Turk.

BARTERVILE
A Christian by this hand, your officer.

KING
The city canker, the court’s cozener,
A devil in shape of man.

BARTERVILE
Half that I have
I freely give, so you my life will save.
I’ll lend your Highness thirty thousand chequins.

KING
Ten kingdoms cannot buy thee; were there ten hells
Th’art damn’d in all.  S’death!  Fire that house of death!

THE THREE DEVILS
Do!  Let’s not want light to set forth out revels.

RUFFMAN
King, little dost thou know, whom, all this while
Thy court, this covent, and this Bartervile
Have entertain’d.  Of Hell, three spirits we are.

OMNES
How!

RUFFMAN
Sent to catch souls for Pluto, our prince and master.

OMNES
Defend us, Heavens!

RUFFMAN
Thyself hast burst those bands
In which I once held thee, these are in our hands.

BARTERVILE
If you be right sergeants, for money you’ll let me go.
Five thousand crowns I’ll give but to go home.

THE THREE DEVILS
No.

BARTERVILE
I’ll put in four brokers to be my bail.  I hope they’ll be taken.

RUFFMAN
Yes, as thou art, to Hell, you dog leave howling.
This pile of green young devils needs no fire
Of mortals kindling to consume these frames.
You shall with us to Hell ride, all in flames.

SHACKLE-SOUL
Catch.

THE THREE DEVILS
Come.

RUFFMAN
Let every spirit his own prize bear.

THE THREE DEVILS
They are so heavy with sin, they’ll soon be there.

RUFFMAN
Away then and be damn’d.  Would you were here.

OMNES
Oooh!                                                              [Sink down above flames.

KING
Immortal thanks for our deliverance.
Raze to the ground those walls; no stone shall stand
To tell such place was ever in our land.
What wealth can there be found give to the poor.
Another house we’ll build and thee restore
To former virginity.  Weep not for these ruins.
Thou shalt from us have honours.  Here we begin
Our reign anew which golden threads shall spin.
Justice shall henceforth sit upon our throne
And virtue be your King’s companion.
War here resigns his black and horrid stage
To sportful Hymen, god of marriage.                                           [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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