Charlemagne – Act Five, Scene Four

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Flourish.  Enter CHARLEMAGNE, BISHOP TURPIN, EUDON and Attendants.

  CHARLEMAGNE
What pageant’s this that on the fallow’d lands
Crosses me every way?  I cannot go,
But still me meets me full jump.

BISHOP TURPIN
Believe me, sir,
I have not seen an antic more disguised.
A’ gallops o’er the new plow’d lands as fast
As ‘twere a common highway, yet no speech
Can make him to forsake them.

EUDON
Nay, what’s more,
The beast he rides on is not usual.
‘Tis neither horse nor ass, and yet a beast
Nimble and fit for burthen.

CHARLEMAGNE
Eudon, go,
Bid him dismount and as he loves his life
Presently come before us.  I will know                                      [Exit EUDON.
The end of this strange purpose.  Sure there must
Some secret hang upon it.  Things done thus
Are seldom jests, unless jests serious.

Enter EUDON and LA BUSSE leading in two lines BERTHA and a Spaniel, himself clad all in net.

 

Oh, ‘tis La Busse.  I’ve found his stratagem
Now, sir, y’are welcome.  Whence grows this disguise?

LA BUSSE
Sir, from the fair protection of your grace
And satisfaction of your vow, which done,
Boldly I hope I may vouchsafe to beg
My father’s dear deliverance.

CHARLEMAGNE
Noble son,
What wouldst thou do hadst thou a noble father!
But, come, sir, since you put me to the test,
Resolve the doubt.  Your father’s pardoned
When you shall meet me upon no highway.

LA BUSSE
Which even now I did.  The fallow lands
New ploughed and till’d are free from passengers.

CHARLEMAGNE
‘Tis granted, but yourself, sir, must not ride
Of horse nor mare nor ass, and yet the beast
An usual thing for burden.

LA  BUSSE
Such is mine,
A mule that is the bastard breed betwixt,
An ass and mare and only fit for labour.

CHARLAMAGNE
But, sir, you must be neither cloth’d nor naked.

LA BUSSE
Nor am I, mighty sir.  This poor thin net
Nor leaves me naked, nor yet doth cover me.

CHARLEMAGNE
You prettily o’erreach me.  But you must
Bring in your hand the faithfullest friend you challenge.

LA BUSSE
This is he, my faithful trusty spaniel;
The very tip and truth of true affection.

CHARLEMAGNE
But with him must be join’d your greatest enemy.

LA BUSSE
They are not far asunder.  A curst wife
Is evermore man’s worst affliction,
And she that outgoes mine in bitterness
May fright the whole world.

CHARLEMAGNE
Come, y’are ingenious
And I confess th’ast conquer’d, though I know
Begin cut by censor>
Thy father holds as much unworthiness
As may excuse tyranny in a prince.
<End cut
Yet for thy goodness and this industry
Th’example of the sweetest disposition
For all th’offices yet reveal’d unto me
I freely pardon him.

LA BUSSE
Oh, you are good
And like yourself, a very good in pity.

BERTHA
And from this mercy I will new create
In me a spirit full of humbleness.

Enter LA FUE in gallantry.

LA FUE
Room there, and uncover, gentlemen!  I that am mine own gentleman usher am the best gentleman in France at this present. Give place and avoid there!

LA BUSSE
What means the peasant.  Sirrah, are you mad?

LA FUE
Yes, and I were half naked as you are.  Room, I say!
Oh, my sweet heart, I will kiss thy white lips
In the sight of this whole assembly.            [Offers to kiss CHARLEMAGNE.

CHARLEMAGNE
Avaunt, I say!  What means this lunatic?

BISHOP TURPIN
Poor sot, how he’s decried.  Th’enchantment vanished,
Sirrah, learn better manners.

LA FUE
How!  Sirrah to my greatness!  I am not in case to carry your tokens.  Old man, you had better manners when last I left you.  Come, sweet love, I will love thee without more entreaty.  Let us withdraw and in private ruminate ourselves together.

CHARLEMAGNE
Is there no whips for knaves are impudent?
This sauciness will make your skin smart.

LA FUE
Away, away, y’are and old man and should be wise.  I tell you, I was not in love with you will you doted on me.  To draw me into a fool’s paradise and there leave me is not an honest man’s part not a good Christian’s.

CHARLEMAGNE
What kind of madness call you this?  For shame!
Shall I be tortur’d with him?

BISHOP TURPIN
‘Tis but a rude gross weakness which anon
I’ll show at full unto your majesty.

LA FUE
Come, sweet, Charles, I know thou lovest me, and love will creep where it cannot go.  Come, let’s condole together.

CHARLEMAGNE
Yes, if I like your example, go presently and give him
Forty lashes.  Make him bleed soundly.  Away with him.

LA FUE
How, how, how!  Forty lashes!  So I shall bleed to death!  Call you that soundly?  ‘Sfoot, I am sick with thought on’t

CHARLEMAGNE
Away with him and if a prate, see that you double them.  Away!

LA FUE
Well, I shall never trust the wooing of a great man whilst I live again.  And they be as false to women as to men they have sweet eels to hold by.

CHARLEMAGNE
Yes, has a’ leave to prate.

BISHOP TURPIN
Away with him, but on your lives, give him no punishment.
[Exit LA FUE and Guard.

CHARLEMAGNE
I have not seen a madness of this nature.
But let him smart for’t.  Eudon, go command
That Ganelon attend me presently.
But stay.  What solemn sound is this?
I am prevented.  The cause of this?

Dead march.  Funeral sound.  Enter ORLANDO and REINALDO, leading GANELON, OLIVER, DIDIER; two horses, one with ELDEGRAD, the other with GABRIELLA.

 ORLANDO
Oh, my most sacred lord, I bring you here
The world’s extremist monster.  Such a man
Whose ills exceed the law’s invention.
First look on this, the fair and comely branch
Of Aimon’s noble family; then on these,                                     [Shows the dead.
His fairest sister and his dearest mother.
O heavens!  Yet should name that dreadful name
In such a case as murder, all by him
And his right hand, with this ill man’s advice,
Murder’d unjustly.

REINALDO
To which I add
Treasons of danger and of high disgrace,
Both to your crown and person, and though they
Might glut the law, yet my brother’s blood
And these two innocents I hope will plead
Divorce of all reprival.

OLIVER
Lastly, I
With this strong proof, canot be argued of.
Confirm all past denial, his own hand,
Here of this paper make a register                                [Gives the letter.
Of mischiefs above wonder.  Who reads this
Though flint must melt in pity.

LA BUSSE
Die all my hopes in this mass of shame.
Be buried both my memory and name.                                             [Exit.

GANELON
What a large passage or circumference
These princes make to come unto that way
Which lies before their noses.  ‘Tis lost wit
To seek an engine for the desperate.
Why, death’s in all he looks on.  But to hope
Safety were more than deity can promise.
Let it suffice all’s true, and thus I must rest.
If I die once, not ever, I am bless’d.

CHARLEMAGNE
I am amaz’d.  What I have read and heard
Turns me like Gorgon into senselessness.
He speaks here of a ring, a witchcraft ring
By which I was enchanted to his sister.
Where is that damned jewell?

BISHOP TURPIN
Here in my safe possession; this is it
Which at her death lodg’d underneath her tongue.
I found it by careful search.  Good dear, sir, keep it
And henceforth only love your royal self.
The spell is past example and his sin
Can only balance down the wickedness.

GANELON
But I confess it, and the sorcerer
That made it I did murder cunningly,
And at her death had I recompass’d,
I had been king of France.  This, noble knave,
Was privy to each passage.

DIDIER
‘Tis too late
Now to deny it.  Death never brings his smart,
But when a strike ‘gainst law of ‘gainst desert.

CHARLEMAGNE
Away with them and see them presently
Broken upon the wheel.                     [Exeunt GANELON and DIDIER, guarded.
Nephew, for you
I give you freely here the realm of Spain
And all dominions in it; for your guard
Ten thousand or our best French gentelemen
And wish your fortunes, like your valour, be
The best of every lived posterity.

ORLANDO
Sir, you do bind me to eternal service
Both in your love and justice, for we find
Th’instructions that on evil men depends
Is to compare their projects with their ends.                                        [Exeunt.

 

F I N I S

 

Terminat hora diem, terminat Author opus

 

Nel la ΦδΦνρ la B

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