The Weakest Goeth to the Wall – Scene 16

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Enter EPERNOUN, brought in in his chair.

EPERNOUN
So, from this place I shall beold the fight
Betwixt these armies.  Now go, one of you,
And with our leaders presently ive charge;
The other stay with me.  Oh, might the fight
Of Epernoun be like the noontide sun
With the reflection of his feeble eye,
To melt like wax the courage of our foes,
And make the Frenchmen stiff as adamant.
Then could my heart excuse mine idle hands
That they bear not a part in this conflict.
But now defiance from each party flies.

Sound trumpet first.  Then enter FERDINAND pursuing DON UGO, cutting him soundly.

A valliant gentleman what ere thou art,
And by mine honour, very nobly fought.
I have not seen inall my life before,
So young, a tender, and effeminate face
Father such rough and manly fortitude.
How like a weighty hammer did his sword
Fall on the Spaniard’s shrinking burgonet!
That had he not betook him to his heels,
This hour had been his latest hour of life.

Alarum.  Enter FERDINAND again, pursuing DON UGO.

What, still in chase?  He will not give him o’er
Till he hath slain, or made him yield, I see.
A right begotten cockrell of the game.
Whence may he come?  As I remember me,
I never saw him in our camp till now.
I prithee, go range through out battle ranks,
And when you overtake him, gently crave
He will vouchsafe to come and speak with me.
My heart’s enamour’d on his valourous deeds.
Spaniard, some more of such a haughty breed
Would make the stoutest of your hearts to bleed!

Enter FERDINAND.

And here he comes.  Fair bud of chivalry,
Welcome to Epernoun.  Give me your hand.
I thank you even with all my very heart,
For this good service you have done to-day.
Are you of France, I pray you?  Or what place
Is honour’d by your noble parentage?

FERDINAND
I am, my lord, the Duke of Brabant’s subject,
A younger brother whose inheritance
Is little more than what his sword shall purchase;
And for that cause, admonish’d of these wars
Between the haughty Spaniard and this realm,
The noble Bourbon gave me entertain.

EPERNOUN
Are you his soldier?  Trust me for his sake,
I love you better then I did before,
And for some confirmation of my love,
Take this in earnest of a greater good.

FERDINAND
I humbly thank your lordship, and will rest
A faithful servitor to France and you.

EPERNOUN
Nay, stay awhile, refresh your weary limbs.
A little intermission will do well
Amidst these sweating garboils.  [Aside.] Holy rood,
There runs a thought into my labouring mind,
Which from my heart sends gladness to mine eyes.
Methinks the more I view this gentleman,
The more he doth resemble Bullen’s duke,
The virtuous Lod’wick, both for face and limb,
When he and I were fellow mates-in-arms
Against the Turk.  Such deeds of hardiment
Did Lod’wick show as he hath done this day.
Even such a gesture had he when he talk’d
As mild and affable in time of peace
As he was stern and boist’rous in the wars.
All these appatent in this towardly youth.
Earl Lod’wick’s want doth wet my cheeks with ruth.

A shout within.  Enter a Soldier.

What means this cheerful shout?

SOLDIER
My lord,
The battle of the Spaniards is dispers’d.
Besides, I bring to you this happy news:
The worthy Duke of Bullen, long desir’d,
And much bewailed for his injury,
Lives, and return’d about an hour since.
At his first coming, arm’d in complete steel,
Challeng’d the Duke Medina at his tent,
And there in single combat, like himself,
And like a father of his country’s,
Hath slain that proud disturber of our peace,
For which, the soldiers, as you heard, my lord,
Did fill the air with their applausive shouts,
Thronging about him in such clustering heaps
To see his face and do him reverence,
As scarce he hath free passage to this place.

EPERNOUN
Oh, that I had or legs or wings to fly,
That I might quickly satisfy mine eye
With sight of him whose company’s more worth
Than heaps of countless and unvalued treasure!
But where’s the other leader of that route,
Surnam’d Don Ugo?  Is he ‘scap’d the field?

SOLDIER
This gentleman before, Medina died,
Gave him his passport to his longest home.
But, my good lord, I almost had forgot
The latter part of my behoveful message:
There is a stranger duke, of whence, my haste
Suffer’d me not to be instructed,
That likewise came with aid unto our camp,
And is well known unto my Lord of Bullen.

EPERNOUN
Now if I were enclos’d within my grave,
I would as willingly forsake the world
As woeful prisoners many years detain’d
In dark obscurity, could be content
to change the dungeron for a public walk.
But first let us embrace out loving friend.

SOLDIER
Your honour may sit still.  He’s coming hither.

Enter LOD’WICK, EMMANUEL Duke of Brabant, with soldiers.

 EPERNOUN
Right worthy duke, whose victories ever shone
Through clouds of envy, and disater change,
Make rich my bosom with embalming thee,
And wherein ought my restrains my falt’ring tongue,
Let vows for words distinguish my content.
Welcome, oh welcome, to ungoveren’d France,
Whose working garment of afflicting war
Is now cast off, and she hath girt herself
In peaceful robes of holiday attire.
And you, my lord of Brabant, as I think?

EMMANUEL
Your friend, Lord Epernoun, in what he may.

EPERNOUN
Welcome in sooth.  Your presence with the rest
Hath made me happy, and my country blest.

LOD’WICK
These greetings, reverend earl, exceed desert.
Had it been Lod’wick’s fortune to have done
Ten times more service then this day’s exploit,
It might not be sufficient to redeem
The lack of his endeavors all this while.
But heaven and you, I hope, will pardon me,
Considering I was forc’d from hence to fly.

EPERNOUN
Ay, and most wrongfully enforc’d, my lord.
But he that was the author of that ill,
The traitorous Duke of Anjou, by just heavens,
Now at your mercy stands.  One fetch him forth,
And Lod’wick, repossessed in the place,
If that authority his highness gave;
Judge and condemn according as you please.

LOD’WICK
No, let him still be prisoner where he is.
Your wisdom hath discover’d his abuse,
And our dread sovereign shal determine it.
Were it my wrongs were greater than they are,
I will not be a facrot for myself.
Now, what is he, my lord, of all this train
By whom our other enemy was slain,
Don Ugo de Cordova?  Fain would I
Know that brave gentleman, and for the same
Add somewhat more unto his honour’d name.

EPERNOUN
Therein, my lord, I shall acount myself
Much pleasur’d by your grace.  And this is he,
My lord of Brabant’s subject, as he said.

EMMANUEL
[Aside.] My subject?  Trait’rous villian, how he lies!
But I will be reveng’d upon his crimes.

LOD’WICK
What may I call your name,  young gentleman?

FERDINAND
My name is Ferdinand.

LOD’WICK
[Aside.] I know it well,
And little thinks he ’tis the sexton’s hands
Draws forth a sword to give him knighthood here;
But I am glad it is my fortune’s chance
To be of power to shew him any grace,
Whom I admir’d when first I saw his face.
Kneel down, young Ferdinand, and now again,
Rise up Sir Ferdinando, Lod’wick’s knight.

EMMANUEL
And rise withal base Berdinand, falst wretch,
Viler than puddle dirt, thou spring of hate,
Never begot but of some dunghill churl;
Durst thou avow thou wast my subject?
Durst that impious tongue pronounce my name,
Whom thou hast most ingratefully incens’d?
Villian, more abject than thought can decipher!
But I am glad that we are met at last.
Here in this presence I do challenge thee
Of most notorius felony and theft.
Let me have justice on this fugitive
You peers of France, or else you injure me.

LOD’WICK
What moves the noble Brabant to this rage?

EPERNOUN
Oh, wherefore stain you virtue and renown
With such foul terms of ignomy and shame?

EMMANUEL
Virtue, my lords?  You gild a rotten stick.
You spread fair honour’s garments on the ground,
And dignify a loathsome swine with pearl.
This shadow of a seeming gentleman,
This gloss of piety, deceives your sight.
He’s nothing so, nor so, but one, my lords,
Whom I have foster’d in my court of alms;
And to requite my careful indulgence,
Hath Judas-like betray’d his master’s life,
And stol’n mine only daughter to allay
the sensual fire of his enkindl’d lust;
For which, let me have justice and the law.

LOD’WICK
You shall have justice, though I cannot think
So fair a shape hath had so foul a forge.

EPERNOUN
Alack the day misfortune should so son
Disturb our friendship, was so well begun.
Come hither, Ferdinand, and tell me truth,
If thou be guilty as the duke informs?

FERDINAND
I not deny, my lord, but I am married
Unto Odillia, though unworthy far
of such a gracious blessing.  Yet her love
Was forward in the choice as well as mine.

EMMANUEL
See how he goes about to choke the fact
With love and marriage?  No, adulterous swain,
Your hedge-betrothing covenant shall not serve.
Where is your sweet companion?  Where is she?
But we will talk of that another time.
Why is my Lord of Bullen so remiss,
And will not presently be given incharge
A pair of bolts be clap’d upon his heels?

LOD’WICK
Without offence, my lord, unto your grace,
Myself will undertake to be his bail,
And he shall answer if you so be pleas’d,
Your accusation, when you will appoint
A day of hearing.  Be it to-morrow next.

EMMANUEL
And even to-morrow let his trial be.
I will no longer have the cause deffer’d.                                       [Exit.

EPERNOUN
And Ferdinando, in this time of need,
Old Epernoun will stand thee in some stead.
Good Duke of Bullen, use him kindly yet,
Whilst I do follow this incensur’d lord,
And try if tears may drive him to accord.                                      [Exit.

LOD’WICK
Now, Ferdinand, here’s nont but you and I.
Know you not me?

FERDINAND
I cannot call it to my mind, my lord,
That ever I did see your grace till now.

LOD’WICK
Bethink yourself.  Look better on my face.

FERDINAND
There is, my lord, with pardon be it spoke,
A man in Ards, a sexton of a church,
With whom I had acquaintance once.  He, methinks,
Is somewhat like your excellence, or else
I do not know where I have seen your favour.

LOD’WICK
The sexton there is Duke of Bullen here.
Be not abash’d; ’twas I to whom you left
Your fair Odillia, and ’tis I can witness,
That you and she are lawfull man and wife.
This may be some defence against the stream
Of angry Brabant that pursues your life.
Come, I have sent in private for the dame,
And by all means to shield you both from shame.                     [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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