The Noble Spanish Soldier – Act 5, Scene 2

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Enter MEDINA, DÆNIA, ALBA, CARLO and the faction with rosemary in their hats.

Keep lock’d the door, and let none enter to us
But who shares in our fortunes.

Lock the doors.

What entertainment did the king bestow
Upon your letters and the Cardinal’s?

With a devouring eye he read ‘em o’er,
Swallowing our offers into his empty bosom,
As gladly as the parched earth drinks healths
Out of the cup of heaven.

Little suspecting
What dangers closely lie enambushed.

Let us not trust to that; there’s in his breast
Both fox and lion, and both those beasts can bite.
But presently suspect a winged bullet
Flies whizzing by our ears.

For when I let
The plummet fall to sound his very soul
In his close chamber, being French doctor-like,
He to the Cardinal’s ear sung sorcerous notes,
The burthen of his song, to mine, was death,
Onælia’s murder, and Sebastian’s;
And think you his voice alters now?  ‘Tis strange
To see how brave this tyrant shows in court,
Thron’d like a god; great men are petty stars,
Where his rays shined, wonder fills up all eyes
By sight of him, let him but once check sin,
About him round all cry, “Oh, excellent king!
Oh saint-like man!”  But let the king retire
Into his closet to put off his robes,
He, like a player, leaves his part off too,
Opens his breast, and with a sunbeam search it,
There’s no such man.  This king of gilded clay,
Within is ugliness, lust, treachery,
And a base soul, though rear’d Colossus-high.  [BALTAZAR beats to come in.

None till he speaks, and that we know his voice.
Who are you?

[Within.] An honest house-keeper in Rosemary Lane too, if you dwell in the same parish.

Oh, ‘tis hour honest soldier.  Give him entrance.


Men show like courses, for I meet few but are stuch with rosemary.  Everyone ask’d me who was married today, and I told ‘em adultery and repentance, and that shame and a hangman follow’d ‘em to church.

There’s but two parts to play; shame has done hers,
But execution must close of the scene;
And for that cause these sprigs are worn by all;
Badges of marriage, now of funeral,
For death this day turns courtier.

Who must dance with him?

The king, and all that are our opposites,
That dart or this must fly into the court
Either to shoot this blazing star from Spain,
Or else so long to wrap him up in clouds,
Till all the fatal fires in him burn out,
Leaving his state and conscience clear from doubt
Of following uproars.

Kill not, but surprise him.

That’s my voice still.

Thine, soldier?

Oh, this colic of a kingdom, when the wind of treason gets amongst the small guts, what a rumbling and a roaring it keeps; and yet make the best of it you can; it goes out stinking.  Kill a king?


If men should pull the sun out of heaven every time ‘tis eclipsed, not all the wax nor tallow in Spain would serve to make us candles for one year.

No way to purge
The sick state, but by opening a vein.

Is that your French physic?  If every one of us should be whipp’d according to our faults, to be lash’d at a cart’s tail would be held but a flea-biting.

Enter SIGNIOR NO; whispers MEDINA.

What are you?  Come you from the king?


No?  More no’s?  I know him; let him enter.

Signior, I thank your kind intelligence.
The news long since was sent into our ears,
Yet we embrace your love; so fare you well.

Will you smell to a sprig of rosemary?


Will you be hang’d?


This is either Signior or no signior.

He makes his love to us a warning-peace
To arm ourselves against we come to court,
Because the guard is doubled.

Tush, we care not.

If any here arms his hand to cut off the head, let him first pluck out my throat; in any  noble act I’ll wade chin-deep with you; but to kill a king?

No, hear me—

You were better, my lord, sail five hundred times to Bantam in the West Indies, than once to Barathrum in the Low Countries.  It’s hot going under the line there, the calenture of the soul is a most miserable madness.

Turn then this wheel of Fate from shedding blood
Till with her own hand justice weighs all.

Good.                                           [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene


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