The Noble Spanish Soldier – Act 3, Scene 3

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Enter KING, QUEEN, MALATESTE, RODERIGO, VALASCO,
and LOPEZ.

 KING
The presence door be guard; let none enter
On forfeit of your lives, without our knowledge.
Oh, you are false physicians all unto me;
You bring me poison, but no antidotes.

QUEEN
Yourself that poison brews.

KING
Prithee, no more.

QUEEN
I will.  I must speak more.

KING
Thunder aloud.

QUEEN
My child, yet newly quickened in my womb,
Is blasted with the fires of bastardy.

KING
Who?  Who dares once but think so in his dream?

MALATESTE
Medina’s faction preach’d it openly.

KING
Be curst, he and his faction.  Oh, how I labour
For these preventions; but so cross is Fate,
My ills are ne’re hid from me, but their cures.
What’s to be done?

QUEEN
That which being left undone,
Your life lies at the stake.  Let ‘em be breathless
Both brat and mother.

KING
Ha!

MALATESTE
She plays true music, sir.
The mischiefs you are drench’d in are so full,
You need not fear to add to ‘em; since now
No way is left to guard thy rest secure,
But by a means like this.

LOPEZ
All Spain rings forth
Medina’s name, and his confederates.

RODERIGO
All his allies and friends rush into troops
Like raging torrents.

VALASCO
And loud trumpet forth
Your perjuries, seducing the wild people,
And with rebellious faces threatening all.

KING
I shall be massacred in this their spleen,
Ere I have time to guard myself; I feel
The fire already falling.  Where’s our guard?

MALATESTE
Planted at garden gate, with a strict charge
That none shall enter but by your command.

KING
Let ‘em be doubled.  I am full of thoughts;
A thousand wheels toss my incertain fears.
There is a storm in my hot boiling brains,
Which rises without wind, a horrid one.
What clamour’s that?

QUEEN
Some treason!  Guard the king.

Enter BALTAZAR drawn; one of the Guards falls.

 BALTAZAR
Not in?

 MALATESTE
One of your guards slain; keep off the murderer!

 BALTAZAR
I am none, sir.

 VALASCO
There’s a man dropp’d down by thee!

 KING
Thou desperate fellow, thus press in upon us!
Is murder all the story we shall read?
What king can stand, when thus his subjects bleed?
What hast thou done?

 BALTAZAR
No hurt.

 KING
Play’d even the wolf,
And from a fold committed to my charge,
Stol’n and devour’d one of the flock.

 BALTAZAR
Y’ave sheep enow for all that, sir; I have kill’d none though, or, if I have, mine own blood shed in your quarrels may beg my pardon.  My business was in haste to you.

 KING
I would not have thy sin scor’d on my head
For all the Indian treasury.  I prithee tell me,
Suppose thou hadst our pardon; O can that cure
Thy wounded conscience, can there my pardon help thee?
Yet having deserv’d well both of Spain and us,
We will not pay thy worth with loss of life,
But banish thee for ever.

 BALTAZAR
For a groom’s death?

 KING
No more.  We banish thee our court and kingdom.
A king that forsters men so dipp’d in blood,
May be call’d merciful, but never good.
Be gone, upon thy life!

 BALTAZAR
Well, farewell.                                                                                                        [Exit.

 VALASCO
The fellow is not dead, but wounded, sir.

 QUEEN
After him, Malateste; in our lodging
Stay that rough fellow, he’s the man shall do’t.
Haste, or my hopes are lost.                                                             [Exit MALATESTE.
Why are you sad, sir?

 KING
For thee, Paulina, swell my troubled thoughts
Like billows beaten by two warring winds.

 QUEEN
Be you rul’d by me; I’ll make a calm
Smooth as the breast of heaven.

 KING
Instruct me how.

 QUEEN
You, as your fortunes tie you, are inclin’d
To have the blow given.

 KING
Where’s the instrument?

 QUEEN
‘Tis found in Baltazar.

 KING
He’s banish’d.

 QUEEN
True,
But stay’d be me for this.

 KING
His spirit is hot
And rugged, but so honest, that his soul
Will ne’er turn devil to do it.

 QUEEN
Put it to trial.
Retire a little; hither I’ll send for him,
Offer repeal and favours if he do it;
But if deny, you have no finger in’t,
And then his doom of banishment stands good.

 KING
Be happy in thy workings.  I obey.                                                                         [Exit.

 QUEEN
Stay, Lopez.

 LOPEZ
Madam.

 QUEEN
Step up to our lodging, Lopez,
And instantly bid Malateste bring
The banish’d Baltazar to us.

 LOPEZ
I shall.                                                                                                               [Exit.

 QUEEN
Thrive my black plots, the mischiefs I have set
Must not so die.  Ills must new ills beget.

Enter MALATESTE and BALTAZAR.

 BALTAZAR
Now, what hot poisoned custard must I put my spoon into now?

 QUEEN
None, for mine honour mow is thy protection.

 MALATESTE
Which, noble soldier, she will pawn for thee,
But never forfeit.

 BALTAZAR
‘Tis a fair gage; keep it.

 QUEEN
Oh Baltazar, I am thy friend, and mark’d thee;
When the king sentenc’d thee to banishment
Fire sparkled from thine eyes of rage and grief;
Rage to be doom’d so for a groom so base,
And grief to lose thy country;  thou hast kill’d none,
The milksop is but wounded; thou art not banish’d.

  BALTAZAR
If I were, I lose nothing; I can make any country mine.  I have a private coat for Italian stilettos, I can be treacherous with the Walloon, drunk with the Dutch, a chimney-sweeper with the Irish, a gentleman with the Welsh, and turn arrant thief with the English.  What then is my country to me?

 QUEEN
The king, who rapt with fury, banish’d thee,
Shall give thee favours; yield but to destroy
What him distempers.

 BALTAZAR
So.  And what’s the dish I must dress?

 QUEEN
Only the cutting of a pair of lives.

 BALTAZAR
I love no red wine healths.

 MALATESTE
The king commands it.  You are but executioner.

 BALTAZAR
The hangman!  An office that will hold so long as hemp lasts.  Why do not you beg the office, sir?

 QUEEN
Thy victories in field did never crown thee
As this one act shall.

 BALTAZAR
Prove but that, ‘tis done.

 QUEEN
Follow him close; he’s yielding.

 MALATESTE
Thou shalt be call’d thy country’s patriot,
For quenching out a fire now newly kindling
In factious bosoms, and shalt thereby save
More noble Spaniards lives, than thou slewst Moors.

 QUEEN
Art thou not yet converted?

 BALTAZAR
No point.

 QUEEN
Read me then:
Medina’s niece, by a contract from the king,
Lays claim to all that’s mine; my crown, my bed;
A son she has by him must fill the throne
If her great faction can but work that wonder.
Now hear me—

 BALTAZAR
I do with gaping ears.

 QUEEN
I swell with hopeful issue to the king.

 BALTAZAR
A brave don call you mother.

 MALATESTE
Of this danger the fear afflicts the king.

 BALTAZAR
Cannot much blame him.

 QUEEN
If therefore by the riddance of this dame—

 BALTAZAR
Riddance!  Oh, the meaning on’t is murder!

 MALATESTE
Stab her, or so; that’s all.

 QUEEN
That Spain be free from frights, the king from fears,
And I, now held his infamy, be call’d queen.
The treasure of the kingdom shall lie open
To pay thy noble darings.

 BALTAZAR
Come, I’ll do’t, provided I hear Jove call to me, though he roars.  I must have the king’s hand to this warrant, else I dare not serve it upon my conscience.

 QUEEN
Be firm then.  Behold, the king is come.

Enter  KING.

 BALTAZAR
Acquaint him.

 QUEEN
I found the metal hard, but with oft beating
He’s now so softened, he shall take impression
From any seal you give him.

 KING
Baltazar,
Come hither; listen.  Whatsoe’er our queen
Has importun’d thee to touching Onæla,
Niece to the constable, and her young son,
My voice shall second it, and sign her promise.

 BALTAZAR
Their riddance?

 KING
That.

 BALTAZAR
What way? By poison?

 KING
So.

 BALTAZAR
Starving?  Or strangling, stabbing, smothering?

 QUEEN
Good.

 KING
Any way, so ‘tis done.

 BALTAZAR
But I will have, sir,
This under your own hand, that you desire it,
You plot it, set me on to’t.

 KING
Pen, ink, and paper.

 BALTAZAR
And then as large a pardon as law and wit
Can engross for me.

 KING
Though shalt ha’ my pardon.

 BALTAZAR
A word more, sir, pray will you tell me one thing?

 KING
Yes, anything, dear Baltazar.

 BALAZAR
Suppose
I have your strongest pardon, can that cure
My wounded conscience?  Can there your pardon help me?
You not only knock the eye i’th’head, but cut the innocent lamb’s throat too, yet you are no butcher.

 QUEEN
Is this thy promis’d yielding to an act
So wholesome for thy country?

 KING
Chide him not.

 BALTAZAR
I would not have this sin scor’d on my head
For all the Indian treasury.

 KING
That song no more.
Do this and I will make thee a great man.

 BALTAZAR
Is there no farther trick in’t, but my blow, your purse, and my pardon?

 MALATESTE
No nets upon my life to entrap thee.

 BALTAZAR
Then trust me; these knuckles work it.

 KING
Farewell, be confident and sudden.

 BALTAZAR
Yes.
Subjects may stumble, when kings walk astray;
Thine acts shall be a new apocrypha.                                                               [Exeunt.

Procced to the next scene

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