The Weakest Goeth to the Wall – Scene 15

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Enter FERDINAND, ODILLIA and LOD’WICK.

 ODILLIA
Thus, Ferdinand, I see that we must part.

 FERDINAND
Our needy state enforceth it, sweetheart.

 ODILLIA
Will you to France?

 FERDINAND
To France.

 ODILLIA
And to the wars?

 FERDINAND
To my advancement, war must be the mean.
I cannot dig, I have no handicraft;
Our coin is spent, and yet I cannot crave,
And thought of want, your want, doth wound my soul
When I consider what you are.

 ODILLIA
Oh, peace!
What am I but the iwfe fo Ferdinand,
By love and faith unto thy fortunes bound?
Oh, let me follow thee to those French wars!

 FERDINAND
Oh, prize your honout and my credit more.
Were it convenient, we would not divide;
But as it is, I must go, you must bide.

 ODILLIA
So says discretion, but true love repines,
That want should fever those whom he combines.
But pardon sweet, my speech is spent in vain.
You must depart.  When will ye come again?

 FERDINAND
Soon, if success do answer my desire.

 ODILLIA
You’ll write to me?

 FERDINAND
As oft as I can send.

 ODILLIA
You’ll leave me here?

 FERDINAND
With this assured friend,
Whose kindness in abundance.

 LOD’WICK
Alas, good sir, my means are weak, ye know.
In sooth, I am no richer than I show.
Were wishes wealth, you want should be supplied,
And have no power your persons to divide.
For I protest, in all my life before,
I ne’er saw two wom I affected more.
But this adds weight to mourner’s leaen grief;
Words may bemoan, but cannot give relief.
For part you must, extremity to shun;
In wars is wealth and honour to be won.

 ODILLIA
And fame, and death, and then I am undone.

 LOD’WICK
Why death dwells here, you see my daily trade,
For men of peace how many graves are made.
Your spouse with wealth and worship may return
And bring you joy, that at his parting mourn.
Hope so, and hinder not his good intent,
That for his honour, and your welfare’s meant.
Oh, that my cottage where ye must remain,
Were, for your sake, the gloriest house in Spain!
But as it is,  your own it is, and I,
Your poor, poor host will tend you carefully.,
But I am tedious in persuasion,
And  you forslow the present time’s occasion.

 ODILLIA
Oh, do not mount him on the wings of haste
That goes too soon.

 FERDINAND
Dearest, mine hour is past.
You gave me leave to go.  Revoke it not.
By ling’ring here, there’s no good fortune got.

 ODILLIA
You’ll wear my favour?

 FERDINAND
Else let heaven hate me.

 ODILLIA
Farewell, sweetheart!

 FERDINAND
Dear love, God comfort thee!
Father, I leave my jewel in your hand.                                               [FERDINAND is going.

 LOD’WICK
I will be carefull.

 ODILLIA
Sweetheart, Ferdinand–

 FERDINAND
What says Odillia?

 ODILLIA
Nothing but God buy ye.                                                                     [Exit FERDINAND.

 LOD’WICK
[Aside.] Such loath farewell my wife and daughter took;
God bless them both and sent us well to meet.
[Aloud.] Take comfort, lady.  Though ths hour be sad,
His safe return with wealth may make you glad.

Enter SIR NICHOLAS and BUNCH.  SIR NICHOLAS hath a paper in his hand.

 SIR NICHOLAS
Sexton, I have sought thee in every seat in the church, doubting thou hadst been drowsy and fall’n asleep in some pew.

 BUNCH
I’ll be sworn from the chapel to the belfry ye have aought him, and in the steeple, for fear he had been crept into a bell and been asleep.  Lord, how do you, mistress?  Fie, why do you weep?

 SIR NICHOLAS
Fair lady, let pass mourning for the absent.  ‘Tis like sorrowing for the dead:  either idolatry or hypocrisy, I cannot tell which.  I could preach patience to ye, but your own wit is as much as my learning.  Your husband’s absence you must bear, yea, and bear him also–in mind, I mean.  There be but three things that save us of condemn us:  that is, thoughts, works, and deeds.  And you may have comfort in all:  your own good thoughts, a good comfort; your friend’s good words, a better comfort; and your husband’s good deeds at his return, the best comfort.  Thus much for instruction.  Command my service day and night, to ride and run to do ye good.

 ODILLIA
So, Master Vicar, I am glad ye have done.

 SIR NICHOLAS
For this time and place I have, because I  have somewhat to say to my sexton.  Here is a thing in writing, sexton, that is sent to be published throught all the French King’s dominions.  Read it, let me hear it, and then thou shalt know my mind.

 LOD’WICK
[Reads.] To all Christians, and expecially to the king’s liege people:  Lord Epernoun and the rest of the French nobility send greeting.  Whereas the trice noble and renowned Prince Lod’wick, Duke of Bullen, was by the King’s majesty, at his departure to go on his devoted pilgrimage to the blessed sepulchre appointed join governor, regent and protector of the realm of France, together with that pernicious archtraitor Mercury, Duke of Anjou during the king’s absence; and that the said noble Duke of Bullen was by the treacherous, unjust, and unlawful forces of the said Mercury, expulsed out of his dukedom, lands, territories, and revenues, and disposessed of his place if not of his life; for as much as the said notorious malefactor Mercury hath sithence proved himself an open enemy unto his native country and king; we have thought good to publish and proclaim that whosoever can bring true notice of the safety and life of the said Duke Lod’wick shall have twenty thousand crowns; and he that doth present him alive shall have fifty thousand crowns.  To the end that the said most honourable virtuous duke may be may be fully repossessed and restored to all his lands, liberties, and places of authority in this realm of France.  Dated the last of May &c.  Subscribed by Epernoun and other.

 SIR NICHOLAS
By my holy orders, thou art as well worthy to be a vicar as myself, thou readst so well.  I prithee, soon at evensong, read this to the parishioners.  I cannot be there, for I have promised to bowl a match with good fellows this afternoon at Guynes for a wager, wet and dry, viz., two gallons of Gascoigne wine and two French crowns.  I can stay no longer; I fear they stay for me.

 BUNCH
By this light, I never saw him make such haste into the pulpit.

 LOD’WICK
Hear me one word, good master, ere ye go,
And grant me one petition which is short.
Al these French crowns dare I assure mine own,
And will present him to old Epernoun.
My suit is, that you’ll take this honest Bunch
To be your sexton whilst I am away.

 SIR NICHOLAS
I am content.  Give Bunch the churchdoor key, upon condition wilt say even-song to the parish this afternoon, and read that publication to them.  Then go thy way tomorrow if thou wilt.  Lord, how time passes; in my conscience I burn daylight.  ‘Tis one o’clock at least.  Fare ye well, fare ye well.  I come, i’faith, lads, I come.  Though I come late, I hope to lie as near the mistress as any of ye all.                                                                                                                 [Exit.

 BUNCH
Well, I see I shall have your office, and I trust you’ll bestow your spade and your pickax upon me, that I may grind them sharp to dispatch a grave quickly.  And I pray you as ye travel up into high France, send the plague and that pox, as as many diseases as you can down into this country to kill the people, that I may get money for their graves-making.

 LOD’WICK
Here, take my key, and toll to evening prayer,
I’ll do my master’s bidding ere I go.

 BUNCH
Sancti amen. God give me joy and luck in mine office.  Now boys, beware that ye wipe not your noses on your sleeves, for and ye do, off goes your arm with the church-door key.  And dogs, keep out of the chancel; ye shall smell of the whip else.  And honest prentices, if ye please me, I’l not ring the four a clock bell till it be past five.  An occupation and an office; now I see I shall thrive.                                        [Exit.

 ODILLIA
And will you go and leave me here alone,
My only friend, now Ferdinand is gone?

 LOD’WICK
Ask of your thoughts if they can counsel keep,
Which if upon your honour you assure,
You shall partake a secret very strange.

 ODILLIA
My faith and honour be engag’d for it.

 LOD’WICK
Exterior shows express not always truth,
Nor do imaginations ever fail.
My sexton’s case doth cloud nobility,
And, if opinion do not reason wrong,
Rich noble blood flows through your pure clear veins;
Which conceit draws these secrets from my soul.
That fortune’s scorn, that sorrow-tossed duke,
Lod’wick of Bullen, tells his tale to you,
That can conceive, conceal, and consel me.
Say, lady, for I know you are no less,
Have I not cause when proclamation tells
That Lod’wick shall receive redress of wrongs,
To claim the due that thereunto belongs?

 ODILLIA
Great cause, my lord, and I to be content,
In this poor coat to rest me patient,
Until my husband come or send for me.

 LOD’WICK
Oh, had these tidings come ere he had gone,
Then he nor I had travelled alone;
For, lady, I affirm it constantly,
I love the gentleman religiously,
Which in my bettered fortunes he shall find,
And then to you I purpose to be kind.
Then what you are, speak freely your fair mind.

 ODILLIA
Emmanuel, Duke of Brabant, call’d me child,
Till him for love my Ferdinand beguil’d.

 LOD’WICK
I said and knew ye were no vulgar dame,
For sparks of honour will burst into flame.
Hapless Odillia, but most fortunate,
Compar’d with my poor wife’s and daughter’d state.

 ODILLIA
Where be those ladies?  Let me them attend.

 LOD’WICK
Oh, knew I where, all grief were at an end.
I hear that London is their mansion place.

 ODILLIA
But shall they not be sent for by your grace?

 LOD’WICK
Not yet, Odillia, first I’ll visit France,
Where if good stars my state do readvance,
And grant me power to free my native soil,
I may with comfort then call home my joy.
Till then, their sight will but revive annoy.

 ODILLIA
What can you prize so highly as their sight?

 LOD’WICK
Women discerne not men’s affairs aright.
I prize mine honour, and my country’s good,
More than wife, children, or my proper blood.                                   [A bell tolls within.
Hark, the bell tolls; the sexton I must play
By promise once, tomorrow I’ll away.
Let me receive some token unto Ferdinand,
And this forget not, for a final end,
To come to us if we for you do send.                                                                 [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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