The Noble Spanish Soldier – Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter BALTAZAR, slighted by Dons.

Thou god of good aparal, what strange fellows
Are bound to do thee honour!  Mercers’ books
Shew mens’ devotions to thee.  Heaven cannot hold
A saint so stately.  Do not my dons know me
Because I’m poor in clothes?  Stood my beaten tailor
Plaiting my rich hose, my silk stocking-man
Drawing up my lordship’s courtly calf,
Payers of embroidered things, whose golden clocks
Strike deeper to the faithful shop-keeper’s heart
Than into mine to pay him.  had my barbour
Perfum’d my lousy thatch here, and pok’d out
Me tusks more stiff than are a cat’s mustachios,
These pride-wing’d butterflies had known me then.
Another fly-boat!


                   Save thee, illustrious Don.
Sir, is the King at leisure to speak Spanish
With a poor soldier?

No.                                                                                                                    [Exit.

No, sirrah, you, no!
You Don with th’ochre face, I wish to ha’ thee
But on a breach, stifling with smoke and fire,
And for thy “no,” but whiffling gunpowder
Out of an iron pipe.  I would but ask thee
If thou wouldst on, and if thou didst cry “no,”
Thou shoudst read canon-law.  I’d make thee roar
And wear cut-beaten-satin;  I would pay thee
Though thou payst not the mercer; mere Spanish jennets.


Signior, is the King at leisure?

To do what?

To hear a soldier speak.

I am no ear-picker
To sound his hearing that way.

Are you of court, sir?

Yes, the King’s barber.

That’s his ear-picker.
Your name, I pray.

Don Cockadillio.
If, soldier, thou hast suits to beg at court,
I shall descend so low as to betray
Thy paper to the hand royal.

I beg, you whoreson muscod!  My petition
Is written on my bosom in red wounds.

I am no barber-surgeon.                                                                                        [Exit.

You yellow-hammer! Why, shaver!
That such poor thing as these, only made up
Of tailors’ shreds and merchants silken rags
And pothecary drugs to lend their breath
Sophisticated smells, when their rank guts
Stink worse than cowards in the heat of battle;
Such whalebon’d-doublet-rascals, that owe more
To landresses and sempsters for laced linen
Then all their race from their great-grandfather
To this their reign, in clothes were ever worth.
These execrements of silk-worms!  Oh that such flies
Do buzz about the beams of majesty,
Like earwigs, tickling a king’s yielding ear
With that court-organ flattery, when a soldier
Must not come near the court gates twenty score,
But stand for want of clothes, though he win towns,
Amongst the almsbasketmen!  His best reward
Being scorn’d to be a fellow to the black guard.
Why should a soldier, being the world’s right arm,
Be cut thus by the left?  A courtier?
Is the world all ruff and feather, and nothing else?
Shall I never see a tailor give his coat
With a difference from a gentleman?


My Baltazar!
Let us make haste to meet thee.  How art thou alter’d?
Do you not know him?

ALANZO              Yes, sir, the brave soldier
Employed against the Moors.

Half turned Moor!
I’ll honour thee.  Reach him a chair, that table,
And now Ænæas-like let thine own trumpet
Sound forth thy battle with those slavish Moors.

My music is a cannon, a pitch’d field my stage, furies the actors, blood and vengeance the scene, death the story, a sword inmbru’d with blood, the pen that writes, and the poet a terrible buskin’d tragical fellow with a wreath about his head of burning match instead of bays.

On to the battle.

‘Tis here without bloodshed.  This our main battalia, that the van, this the vaw, these the wings, here we fight, there they fly, here thy ensconce, and here our sconces lay seventeen moons on the cold earth.

This satisfies mine eye, but now mine ear
Must have his music too.  Describe the battle.

The battle?  Am I come from doing to talking?  The hardest part for a soldier to play is to prate well; our tongues are fifes, drums, petronels, muskets, culverin, and cannon; these are our roarers, the clocks which we go by are our hands; thus we recond ten, our swords strike eleven, and when steel targets of proof clatter one against another, then ’tis nooon; that’s the height and the heat of the day of battle.


To that heat we came, our drums beat, pikes were shaken and shiver’d, and targets clash’d and clatter’d, musteks rattled, cannons roar’d, men dued groaning, brave laced jerkings and feathers looked pale, totter’d rascals fought pell mell; here fell a wing, there heads were toss’d like foot-balls; legs and arms quarrell’d in the air, and yet lay quietly on the earth; horses trampl’d upon heaps of carcasses, troops of carbines tumbled wounded from their horses; we beseige Moors, and famine us, mutinies bluster and are calm; I vow’d not to doff mine armour, though my flesh were frosen to’t and turn’d into iron, nor to cut head nor beard till they yielded.  My hairs and oath are of one length, for, with Cæsar, thus write I mine own story, Veni, vidi, vici.

A pitch’d field quickly fought.  Our hand is thine;
And ’cause thou shalt not murmur that thy blood
Was lavish’d forth for an ingrateful man,
Demand what we can give thee, and ’tis thine.

Only your love.

‘This thine.  Rise.  Soldiers’ best accord
When wounds of wrongs are heal’d up by the sword.

ONÆLIA beats at the door.

Let me come in.  I’ll kill that treacherous king—
The murderer of mine honour.  Let me come in.

What woman’s voice is that?

Medina’s niece.

Bar out that fiend.

I’ll tear him with my nails.
Let me come in, let me come in.  Help, help me!

Keep her from following me; a guard!

They are ready, sir.

Let a quick summons call our lords together;
This disease kills me.

Sir, I would be private with you.

Forbear us, but see the doors well guarded. [Exeunt all but KING and BALTAZAR.

Will you, sir, promise to give me freedom of speech?

Yes, I will, take it, speak any thing, ‘tis pardon’d.

You are a whoremaster; do you send me to win towns for your abroad, and you lose a kingdom at home?

What kingdom?

The fairest in the world, the kingdom of your fame, your honour.


I’ll be plain with you; much mischief is done by the mouth of a cannon, but the fire begins at a little touch-hole; you head what nightingale sung to you even now?

Ha, ha, ha.

Angels err’d but once and fell, but you, sir, spit in Heaven’s face every minute and laugh at it; laugh still; follow your courses; let your vices run like your kennels of hounds yelping after you, till they pluck down the fairest head in the heard, everlasting bliss.

Any more?

Take sin as the English snuff tobacco, and scornfully blow the smoke in the eyes of Heaven, the vapour flies up in clouds of bravery; but when ‘tis out, the coal is black, your conscience, and the pipe stinks; a sea of rose-water cannot sweeten your corrupted bosom.

Nay, spit your venom.

‘Tis aqua cœlestis, no venom; for when you shall clasp up those two books, never to be open’d again, when by letting fall that anchor, which can never more be weighed up, your mortal navigation ends; then there’s no playing at spurn-point with thunderbolts.  A vintner then for unconscionable reckoning, or a tailor for unmeasurable items shall not answer in half that fear you must.

No more.

I will follow truth at the heels, though her foot beat my gums in pieces.

The barber that draws out a lion’s tooth
Curseth his trade, and so shalt thou.

I care not.

Because you have beaten a few base-born Moors,
Methinkse thou to chastise?  What’s past I pardon,
Because I made the key to unlock thy railing;
But if thou dar’st once more be so untun’d,
I’ll send thee to the galleys.  Who are without there?
How now?

Enter Lords drawn.

In danger, sir?

Yes, yes, I am; but ‘tis no point of weapon
Can rescue me.  Go presently and summon
All our chief grandos, cardinals, and lords
Of Spain to meet in counsel instantly.
We call’d you forth to execute a business
Of another strain—but ‘tis no matter now.
Thou diest, when next thou furrowest up thy brow.

So, die!                                                                                                                  [Exit.


I find my sceptre shaken by enchantments
Charactered in this parchment, which to unloose,
I’ll practise only counter-charms of fire,
And blow the spells of lighting into smoke.
Fetch burning tapers.                                          [Exeunt Servants and return.

Give me audience, sir;
My apprehension opens me a way
To a close fatal mischief, worse then this
You strive to murder; O, this act of yours
Alone shall give your dangers life, which else
Can never grow to height.  Do, sir, but read
A book here clasp’d up, which too late you open’d,
Now blotted by you with foul marginal notes.

Art frantic?

You are so, sir.

If I be,
Then here’s my first mad fit.

For honour’s sake
For love you bear to conscience—

Reach the flames.
Grandos and lords of Spain, be witness all
What here I cancel.  Read, do you know this bond?

Our hands are to’t.

‘Tis your confirmed contract
With my sad kinswoman.  But wherefore, sir,
Now is your rage on fire, in such a presence
To have it mourn in ashes?

Marquis Dænia,
We’ll lend that tongue, when this no more can speak.

Dear sir!

I am deaf.
Play’d the full consort of the spheres unto me
Upon their loudest strings; so burn that witch
Who would dry up the tree of all Spain’s glories,
But that I purge her sorceries by fire.                                       [Burns contract.
Troy lies in cinders; let oracles
Now laugh at me if I have been deceiv’d
By their ridiculous riddles.  Why, good father,
Now you may freely chide, why was your zeal
Ready to burst in showers to quench our fury?

Fury indeed; you give it proper name.
What have you done?  Clos’d up a festering wound
Which robs the heart; like a bad surgeon
Labouring to pluck out from your eye a mote,
You thrust the eye clean out.

Th’art made ex tempore.
What eye?  Which is that wound?

That scroll, which now
You make the black indenture of your lust,
Although eat up in flames, is printed here,
In me, in him, in these, in all that saw it,
In all that ever did but hear ‘twas yours,
That scold of the whole world, fame, will anon
Rail with her thousand tongues at this poor shift
Which gives your sin a flame greater than that
You lent the paper; you to quench a wild fire,
Cast oil upon it.

Oil to blood shall turn.
I’ll lose a limb before the heart shall mourn.

[ExeuntManent DÆNIA and ALBA.

He’s mad with rage or joy

With both.  With rage
To see his follies check’d; with fruitless joy
Because he hopes his contract is cut off
Which divine justice more exemplifies.


Where’s the king?

Wrapt up in clouds of lightening.

What has he done?  Saw you the contract torn
As I did hear a minion swear he threatened?

He tore it not, but burnt it.


And heaven with us to witness.

Well, that fire
Will prove a catching flame to burn his kingdom.

Meet and consult.

No more.  Trust not the air
With our projections.  Let us all revenge
Wrongs done to our most noble kinswoman;
Action is honour’s language, swords and tongues,
Which both speak best, and best do right our wrongs.              [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene


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