Charlemagne – Act Five, Scene Two

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The hour is past.  The place and circumstance
And all the forms of manhood are expir’d,
And yet young Richard comes not.  ‘Tis most strange;
He is as valiant as is victory
And dare upon a rough sea high as heaven,
Court all amazed danger.  Now to fail
Is past all revelation; sure as death
Out whole plot is reveal’d.


How now, cousin?  Sure the hour is past,
Yet no news of my brother.  As I live,
The youth is valiant; fear deters him not.

Sure as death, our plot is all disclos’d
And that there was no meaning in the fight
But only to withdraw him from his friend
On whom he dotes too dearly.

Sure, ‘tis so
And it will vex the noble palladine
Above the height of madness; nay, believe’t,
Twill change opinion to a constant faith
Of his extreme misfortunes.  See, a’ comes.


How now, my lords, how speed your noble plots?
What, have you won young Richard from his friend?
Tell me whose eloquence hath done that deed,
And I will honour him.

He hath forborne th’encounter and in that
Hath drown’d us in amazement.  We suppose
Our plot discover’d.

No more; keep back the rest
For I can read misfortunes in your brows.
Vengeance consume these projects!  They are base
And baseness ever more doth second them. The noble youth
Smile at our follies, nay,
Scorns the base language that you uttered,
Which is by this time with the emperor.
Oh, ‘twas a speeding way to do us shame.

Take truce with passion.  I dare boldly swear
There is some other mystery.

At worst
I’ll make his it for our purposes every way
And even kill the soul of Ganelon
With talking of the cowardice, that that you
Hold patience for a minute.

Preach it to cynics or green sickness girls
That have not blood enough to make a blush
Or form an act might cause one.  I have long,
Like to a reeling pine tree, shook the earth
That I was rooted in, but now must fall
And be no longer the fate’s tennis ball.

Come, be more temper’d.  You shall see from this
Spring pleasure that you wish for.  Oliver
Shall instantly upbraid false Ganelon
With Richard’s much unworthiness.

That’s decreed,
For in such terms I mean to set him forth
As shall even burst his gall with agony;
Nay, it shall make him never dare t’appear
Where men resort of know aught but his fear.

You have large promises, but acts as slow
As dial’s hands that are not seen to go.                                           [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene


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