The Noble Spanish Soldier – Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter MEDINA, ALBA, CARLO, and DÆNIA, met by BALTAZAR
with a poniard and a pistol.

 BALTAZAR
You meet a hydra; see, if one head fails
Another with a sulphurous beak stands yawning.

MEDINA
What hath rais’d up this devil?

BALTAZAR
A great man’s vices, that can raise all hell.
What would you call that man, who under sail
In a most goodly ship, wherein he ventures
His life, fortunes, and honours, yet in a fury
Should hew the mast down, cast sails overboard,
Fire all the tacklings, and to crown this madness
Should blow up all the decks, burn th’oaken ribs,
And in that combat ‘twixt two elements
Leap desperately, and drown himself i’th’seas.
What were so brave a fellow?

OMNES
A brave black villain.

BALTAZAR
That’s I; all that brave black villain dwells in me;
If I be that black villain; but I am not:
A nobler character prints out my brow,
Which you may thus read:  I was banish’d Spain
For emptying a court hogshead, but repeal’d
So I would, ere my reeking iron was cold,
Promise t give it a deep crimson dye
In—none hear—stay—no, none hear.

MEDINA
Whom then?

BALTAZAR
Basely to stap a woman, your wrong’d niece,
And her most innocent son Sebastian.

ALBA
The boar now foams with whetting.

DÆNIA
What has blunted
Thy weapons point at these?

BALTAZAR
My honesty;
A sign at which few dwell:  pure honesty!
I am a vassal to Medina’s house.
He taught me first the A B C of war.
Ere I was truncheon-high, I had the style
Of beardless captain, writing then but boy,
And shall I now turn slave to him that fed me
With cannon-bulets, and taught me, estridge-like
To digest iron and steel?  No!  Yet I yielded
With willow-bendings to commanding breaths.

MEDINA
Of whom?

BALTAZAR
Of king and queen, with supple hams,
And an ill-boding look, I vow’d to do’t;
Yet, lest some choke-pear of state policy
Should stop my throat, and spoil my drinking-pipe,
See, like his cloak, I hung at the king’s elbow
Till I had go his hand to sign my life.

DÆNIA
Shall we see this and sleep?

ALBA
No, whilst these wake.

MEDINA
‘Tis the king’s hand.

BALTAZAR
Think you me a quoiner?

MEDINA
No, no,
Thou art thyself still, noble Baltazar.
I ever knew thee honest, and the mark
Stands still upon thy forehead.

BALTAZAR
Else flea the skin off.

MEDINA
I ever knew thee valiant, and to scorn
All acts of baseness.  I have seen this man
Write in the field such stories with his sword
That our best chieftains swore there was in him
As ‘twere a new philosophy of fighting;
His deeds were so puntillious.  In one battle,
When death so nearly miss’d my ribs, he struck
Three horses stone dead under me.  This man,
Three times that day, even through the jaws of danger,
Redeem’d me up, and, I shall print it ever,
Stood o’er my body with Colossus’ thighs,
Whilst all the thunder bolts which war could throw,
Fell on his head; and Baltazar, thou canst not
Be now but honest still and valiant still,
Not to kill boys and women.

BALTAZAR
My biter here eats no such meat.

MEDINA
Go fetch the mark’d out lamb for slaughter hither.
Good fellow soldier, aid him—and stay—mark;
Give this false fire to the believing king
That the child’s sent to heaven, but that the mother
Stands rocked so strong with friends, then thousand billows
Cannot once shake her.

BALTAZAR
This I’ll do.

MEDINA
Away.
Yet one word more; your counsel, nobles friends;
Hark, Baltazar, because not eyes nor tongues
Shall by loud ‘larums, that the poor boy lives,
Question thy false report; the child shall closely
Mantled in darkness forthwith be conveyed
To the monastery of Saint Paul.

OMNES
Good.

MEDINA
Dispatch then; be quick.

BALTAZAR
As lightening.                                                     [Exit.

ALBA
This fellow is some angel drop’d from heaven
To preserve innocence.

MEDINA
He is a wheel
Of swift and turbulent motion;  I have trusted him
Yet will not hang on him too many plummets,
Lest with a headlong gyre he runes all.
In these state consternations, when a kingdom
Stands tottering at the center, out of suspicion
Safety grows often.  Let us suspect this fellow,
And that albeit he show us the king’s hand.
It may be but a trick.

DÆNIA
Your lordship hits
A poison’d nail i’th’head:  this waxen fellow,
By the king’s hand so bribing him with gold,
Is set on screws, perhaps is made his creature
To turn round every way.

MEDINA
Out of that fear
Will I begat truth, for myself in person
Will sound the king’s breast.

CARLO
How!  Yourself in person?

ALBA
That’s half the prize he gapes for.

MEDINA
I’ll venture it,
And come off well, I warrant you, and rip up
His very entrails, cut in two his heart,
And search each corner in’t; yet shall not he
Know who it is cuts up th’anatomy.

DÆNIA
‘Tis an exploit worth wonder.

CARLO
Put the worst:
Say some infernal voice should roar from hell,
The infant’s cloistering up.

ALBA
‘Tis not our danger,
Nor the imprison’d prince’s, for what thief
Dares by base sacrilege rob the church of him?

CARLO
At worst, none can be lost but this slight fellow!

MEDINA
All build on this as on a stable cube:
If we our footing keep, we fetch him forth
And crown him king; if up we fly i’th’air,
We for his soul’s health a broad way prepare.

DÆNIA
They come.

Enter BALTAZAR and SEBASTIAN.

 MEDINA
Thou know’st where to bestow him, Baltazar.

BALTAZAR
Come, noble boy.

ALBA
Hide him from being discovered.

BALTAZAR
Discover’d?  Would there stood a troop of Moors
Thrusting the paws of hungry lions forth,
To seize this prey, and this but in my hand,
I should do something!

SABASTIAN
Must I go with this black fellow, uncle?

MEDINA
Yes, pretty coz.  Hence with him, Baltazar.

BALTAZAR
Sweet child, within few minutes I’ll change thy fate
And take thee hence, but set thee at heaven’s gate.

 [Exeunt BALTAZAR and SEBASTIAN.

MEDINA
Some keep aloof and watch this soldier.

CARLO
I’ll do’t.                                                                          [Exit.

DÆNIA
What’s to be done now?

MEDINA
First to plant strong guard
About the mother, then into some snare
To hunt this spotted panther, and there kill him.

DÆNIA
What snares have we can hold him?

MEDINA
Be that care mine;
Dangers, like snares, in dark attempts best shine.                                            [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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