The Weakest Goeth to the Wall – Scene 1

Return to Prologue

Enter KING OF FRANCE, a nobleman bearing his crown and another his hat, staff, and pilgrim’s gown; with them conversing, DUKE OF ANJOU and LOD’WICK, DUKE OF BULLEN.

How long shall I entreat?  How long, my lords,
Will you detain our holy pilgrimage?
Are not our vows already register’d
Upon th’unvalued sepulchre of Christ?
And shall your malice and inveterate hate
Like a contrarious tempest still divorce
Our soul and her religious chaste desires?
If it be treason to attempt by force
To take from me this earthly crown of mine,
What is it when you study to deprive
My soul of her eternal diadem?
Oh, did you but regard my just demand,
Or would like subjects tender your king’s zeal,
You could not choose but entertain a peace.
Why frown you then?  Why do your sparkling eyes
Dart mortal arrows in each other’s face?
Am I a friend, an can I not persuade?
Am I king, and shall I not prevail?
Anjou, be pacifi’d, and Bullen, leave
To feed thy swelling stomach with contempt.

Your grace doth know, with pardon be it spoken,
My wrongs are such, as I have cause to frown,
Nor can you blame me if I loath his flight
That was the butcher of my brother’s life.
In Burgundy what slaughters did he make?
What tyranny left he unpractis’d there?
Philip suppress’d, did not their bloody hands
Extend to women and resistless babes?
Amongst the rest, was not the Duchess drown’d?
And that which draws continual flood of tears
From these mine eyes, and daily doth assail
My feeble heart with never dying grief,
Miscarri’d not young Frederick my son?
Ah, was he not untimely by their means
Cut off, that should have comfort’d mine age?
Poor boy, whose piteous speaking eye
Might have been able to have turn’d the hearts
Of savage lions, yet they spar’d him not.

Ah, speak no more of Burgundy’s decease,
Nor wake the quiet slumber of thy son,
But with the grey decrepit hairs of thine
That are expir’d since Frederick was entomb’d,
With his dear aunt amidst the liquid waves,
Let slip the memory of that mishap,
And now forget it and forgive it too.

Although I must confess the least of these
Incumbent evils is argument enough
To whet the bluntest stomach to revenge,
Yet that your highness may perceive my mind
Doth savour of mildness and compassion,
And that the Bullen duke may ne’er be found
To be a traitor to his king’s command,
There is my dagger, and I’ll lay my hand
Under the foot of Anjou where he treads,
And I will do it to deserve your love.

We thank thee, Bullen, for thy kind respect;
But he that should be foremost to set ope
The gate of mercy, and let friendship in,
Upon whose head redounds the whole reproach
Of all these injuries, swoll’n big with ire
Stands as an outlaw still upon defiance.

[Aside.] I must dissemble, there’s no remedy.

Look, Anjou, here, and let his summers brow
Thaw the hard winter of thy frozen heart.

Dread sovereign, Anjou likewise doth submit,
And with repentant thoughts for what is past,
Rests humbly at your majesty’s dispose.

Then take the Duke of Bullen by the hand,
And treading former hatred under foot
Wherewith your houses have been still oppres’t,
Like subjects of your king, be reconcil’d.

There is my hand, Lod’wick, the hand of him
That thought to have imbru’d it in thy blood,
But now is made the instrument of peace.

And there is mine, with which I once did vow
To sacrifice thy body to pale death,
But now I do embrace thee as a friend.                              [They embrace.

[Aside.] The like do I, but to another end,
For Louis no sooner shall depart from hence,
But straight new deeds of mischief I’ll commence.

This joys my soul and more to let you know
How pleasing this retrait of peace doth seem,
Till my return from Palestine again,
Be you joint governors of this my realm.
I do ordain you both my substitutes,
And herewithal bequeath into your hands
The keeping of the crown.  Myself adorn’d
With these habiliments of humble life,
Will forward to perform my promis’d vow.

The God of heaven be still your highness’ guide.

[Aside.] And help to thrust thy partnership aside.

Lod’wick, the love that thou dost bear to us,
And Mercury, the allegiance thou dost owe,
Now in my absence both of you will show.
So leaving and relying on your trust,
I bid farewell; remember to be just.                                            [Exit.

Brother of Bullen—so I’ll call you now—
For why, this birth of new authority
Will have it so; let me entreat your grace
That you’ll excuse my sudden haste from hence;
I have some urgent cause of great affairs
That call me to the country for awhile,
But long it shall not be ere I return.

At your good pleasure be it, brother of Anjou;
Yet let me tell you that the jealous world
By this our separation will misjudge.

Not for so short a space.  On Friday next,
I mean, God willing, to revisit you.

Adieu, my lord.                                                               [Exit MERCURY.
The strange events that time
In his continuance often brings to pass.
Not two hours since I would have sworn he lied,
That would have told me Anjou and myself
Should ever have been heard to interchange
Such friendly conference.  But my word is pass’d,
And I will keep my covenant with the king.

Enter two Gentlemen, Petitioners.

God save your honour!

Health to the Duke of Bullen!

Gentlemen, y’are welcome.  Come you with news?
Or have you some petition to the king?

A suit, my lord, which should have been prefer’d
Unto the king himself, but being gone
Upon his pilgrimage before we came,
The power now to do us right remains
Within your hands, whom, as we understand,
His grace hath made vice-gerent of the land.

What is your suit?

This paper will unfold,
If please you take perusal of the same.

Oh, I remember now; it is to have
A patent seal’d for certain exhibition
Given by his highness for your service done
Against the late invasion of the English.

True, my good lord.

Well, I will do you any good I can;
But, gentlemen, I must be plain with you:
I am but the half part of that authority
Which late you spake of, for with me is join’d
The Duke of Anjou, equally possess’d
And he even now departed from the court;
But when he doth return, you shall be sure
To be dispatch’d.

When he returns, my lord?
That will not be, I fear, till angry war
Hath brought destruction on some part of France.

How say you that?  “Till angry war hath brought
Destruction on some part of France.”  Why so?

Because, my lord, in secret he hath levied
A mighty power, which since, as we are told,
Lying not far from Paris had in charge
As on this day to meet the duke at Mullins.

A town near neighbouring on my territories.
It is even so; this proud dissembling duke
Made our reconcilement but a colour
To cloak his treason till the king were gone,
And now his hollow and perfidious dealing,
As when the turf the adder lurked in
Is shorn away, begins to show itself.
It is at me he aims; the blood he drank
In Burgundy will not allay his thirst;
Orleans must administer a fresh supply;
But lest my wife and daughter, whom I left
Slenderly guarded, fall into his hands,
Which now is all the comfort I have left.
Come, gentlemen, I will dispatch your suit,
And afterward ride post unto my house.

We will attend upon your excellence.                                           [Exeunt.


Proceed to the next scene


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