Charlemagne – Act Four, Scene Two

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Enter GANELON, ELDEGRAD and GABRIELLA.

  GANELON
Good mother, sister, dear spirits, do not haunt me.
I will not from eternity believe
That Richard is unfaithful.

ELDEGRAD
No, run on,
Swallow thy shames like full bits till they choke you
And make the people prophesy that you
Shall be undone by your false Ganymede.

GANELON
A pox upon the people!  Would you have
Me to depend upon their oracles?

GABRIELLA
Depend on your own goodness; do not trust
A traitor in your bosom.  Richard, they say,
Hath begg’d your honour and your offices;
He’s Count of Poictiers, Marquess of Saluca.

ELDEGRAD
Constable and master of the ordinance.

GANELON
It cannot be nor will I credit it.

ELDEGRAD
Then perish in your dullness.  Nay, sir, more:
It was his earnest suit to the emperor
To be divord’d your presence.  I can prove it.

GABRIELLA
And I that he by secret charms hath sought
To make spoil of mine honour; but in vain
Do I complain where there’s no pitting.

Enter LA FUE.

LA FUE
In the way of ordinary curtesy I do salute you; and notwithstanding my greatness, grace you to give you this, and, lady, you this.                                      [Gives letters.

GANELON
Why, how now?  What motion’s this?  Is the knave fall’n out with his five senses?

LA FUE
Ganelon, no, but in love with my kindest virtues—Hold, there’s your yard [Gives his coat.] and a half of summer’s wearing.  Friends we met, friends we part; if you please me, I may praise you; if you seek me you may find me; a’ loves little that loves long, and so I leave you to the tuition.

GANELON
Heyday, the knave’s lunatic.  Sirrah sot
<…> or endure a <…>yo<…>

LA FUE
If I do, ‘tis dangerous for your shins.  Take heed of mi<schief.>  Favorites are not without their steccados, imbrocados and punto reversos.  No more, but so you have no honour, no office, little land, less money, least wit, y’are a poor man and I pity you.  When next you see me, ‘tis in the emperor’s bosom.                                   [Exit.

GANELON
What’s this?  Scorn’d of my drudge, mock’d and abus’d!
‘Sfoot, I will throw my dagger after him.

ELDEGRAD
Tut!  This is nothing to that heap of scorns
Will flow on you hereafter.  What says your letter?

GANELON
I’ll tell you presently.

ELDEGRAD
What a mad tyrant is man’s strong belief,
Making him hunt his proper mischief forth,
Taking his delight in desperation.
Oh, there’s no foe to out credulity.

GANELON
Oh, mother, yes.  Aimon’s youngest son
Richard’s a slave above credulity.
Why, all’s confirm’d here underneath his hand.
A’ doth blush to write to me a’ hath
All honours that I challeng’d.  Good sweet, look,                          [ELDEGRAD reads.
Read and record a villainy.  What speak yours?

GABRIELLA
No less than I imagin’d; fearful siege
Against my name and honour.                                                  [GANELON reads.

ELDEGRAD
So it takes
This politic trick.  Wench, hath set up the wall
Of strange partition twixt them, hence their loves
Shall never meet again.

GANELON
O monstrous villainy; wouldst thou make her whore?
I tell you, shallow brand, unfaithful hind,
Th’adst better have kiss’d Juno in a cloud
And been the dad to Centaurs.

ELDEGRAD
Save your wrath.
‘Tis fit that now your wisdom govern you.

GANELON
Mother, it shall.  I am not yet past all recovery.

Enter LA BUSSE.

Now, sir, what news at court?

LA BUSSE
Strange and unwholesome.  You are still in falling.
All’s given your friend to be your enemy.

GANELON
I know the full relation.  You did not seek
By base ways my reprival.

LA BUSSE
God forbid.
I spoke but what might suit your nobleness.

GANELON
What answer made the emperor?

LA BUSSE
That when I shall
Meet him upon a way was never us’d
By house nor man, and I myself to ride
Neither on horse, mare, ass and yet the beast,
An usual thing for burthen, and withal
Come neither naked nor cloth’d, and do bring
My greatest friend and greatest enemy,
You then shall have his favour, not before.

GANELON
A’ might in one word plainly have said ‘never,’
And said much circumstance.  What said Richard?

LA BUSSE
Faith, seem’d to speak but utter’d nothing.

ELDEGRAD
Why, that express’d him bravely.

GANELON
A’ thinks me falling and avoids my swindge
Lest I should fall in him; nay, helps me forward
To drive away the fear of doubted ruin.
Even thus do beasts avoid the shaken tree
And browse upon the twigs that fave them shelter.
Mice be more suitable; they keep the house
Till every room be fier’d about their ears.
But friends will vanish at report of danger.
Where shall I fix my trust; my owes are now
Beyond my sins, yet I’ll not bend nor bow.                                   [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene.

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