Charlemagne – Act Five, Scene One

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What, have you visited, my grieved son?

Madam, I have.

And you are reconcil’d?  You see his heart
Is made of melting wax, and not of marble.
Faith, ‘twas a hard part, you have brought us low,
Low as the earth we tread on, but I’ll cease
Further reiteration.  Since he’s pleas’d
To bury all, I will be patient.
You know I ever loved you, and you have
Done me most worthy honest offices.

And many more will dedicate unto you.
My lord and I am reconcil’d at full
And have disburden’d all our grievances
I do confess I was bewitched with fate,
But will redeem mine error, since I know
He loves me now more than he did before.
I will deserv’t so bravely you shall call
And swear I am a noble instrument.

You trust his protestations then?

Madam, or else I were an infidel.

And I could chide my love that pities you.
He doth dissemble with you; you are lost.
Of mine own knowledge he hath laid such baits,
You cannot live two hours.  Go where you will,
He hath a plot that haunts you.  If you can
Find for yourself any prevention,
Use it with quick endeavour, for I know
The thunder speaks that presently will split you.

You do amaze me.

And like the chas’d roe stand in that amaze
Till the hounds catch you.  What I speak
It to prevent your present tragedy
And to blot murder from my Ganelon.
Be wise.                                                                                                                      [Exit.

Am I then noos’d?  Will still my villainous wit
Betray me to misfortune?  Am I limed?
What shall I do?  Flight will not now avail me.
I know his projects like his malice runs
To every place of hop’d security.
I have’t.  This key which I have ever choicely kept,
Long since by my most finally counterfeit,
Enters his chamber and his cabinet
And every place retir’d.  I am resolv’d;
Though I had thousand ways to scape besides,
Yet I will stay only to murder him.
Within his lodging will I hide me safe
And when sleep lulls him, farewell Ganelon!
He shall not outlive midnight.  Here I’ll lie
And though I follow next, this lord shall die.                                     [Hides him.


My plots are laid most certain and no fat
Can interpose betwixt them.  Didier dies
And so shall Richard.  Oh, the weary thoughts
That keep a daily sennet in my brains
Repeat unto me what I loathe to hear:
A friend’s disloyalty.  Be wiser you,
Yet undertake that great and hallowed league
Of friendly comfort.  School your riotous blood
And each your fancies wisdom.  Be not drawn
With such a frail unprofitable thing
As face or person when you choose a friend;
They’re all deceitful.  Would my funeral rites
Were as I wish provided, to disperse
A warning by my horrible abuse
And I would die tomorrow.  I lament
That such another pitied fool as I
Should be amongst the living.  [Knocking within.] Hark, who knocks?
Answer, what are you?

[Within.] Open to your friend.

Oh, my stars, ‘tis he!  Can mischief thus
Come flying to my bosom?


Sir, I come
To open two doors.  This and thy false bosom.                             [Stabs him.

Oh, y’ave slain me!  Tell me, cruel sir,
Why you have done this?  That mine innocent soul
May teach repentance to you—                                                                 [Dies.

Speak it out.
What, not a word?  Dumb with a little blow?
You are grown stately, are you?  ‘Tis even so.
You have the trick of mighty men in court
To speak at leisure and pretend employment.
Well, take your time.  ‘Tis not material
Whether you speak the residue behind
Now or at doomsday.  If thy common sense
Be not yet parted from thee, understand
I do not curse thee dying, because once
I loved thee dearly; and collect by that
There is no devil in me, nor in hell
That could have flesh’d me to this violent death,
Hadst thou been false to all the world but me.
But he is now past thinking on for that
And were he buried, all were perfitted.

[Stepping out.] What will you say if I become the sexton?

That after, thou mayst hand thyself on the bell ropes.
What makes thee here?

I will assure you, sir,
No legs to your wise lordship for my life,
Things standing as they do.

Very good, sir, y’are wondrous merry.

Can you blame me, sir,
When I may tread upon my enemy?
I am your condemn’d creature.  I am lost.

How camst thou here?

Why, look you, sir, by this.                                                                     [Shows the key.
This that I’ve kept as a strong cordial
Against your villainies.  Nay, behond it well,
For as I live ‘tis counterfeit.

What a leaden skull’d slave he makes me!
Why art thou doubtful of me?  Faith, I love thee.

Yes, as the devil does friars’ holy water.
Come, I do know your practice ‘gainst my life
And meant myself to have eas’d mine injuries,
But now this act hath given you to the law
And sav’d me from all danger.

What! That I
Have practis’d ‘gainst thee, ‘tis most damned false.
I do protest I love thee truly fully
Come, let us join; my conscious says thou didst
But what was good and noble.

Nay, by’s light,
I make no suit for’t ‘tis as your free choice.
If I but chance to toll his passing bell
And give the parish notice who is dead,
You know what tends the rumour.

Come, no more.
I’faith, I love thee dearly.  Trust upon’t
And to abandon fear on either part,
Give that dead carcass lodging in the ground.
We both are save and this new friendship sound.

Once more I’ll trust you.
Come then, my burden; no, my welcome task.
How prosperous villainy keeps all in awe.
We are sav’d by that gluts both death and law.               [Exeunt with the dead.

Proceed to the next scene


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