Charlemagne – Act Four, Scene Three

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Pray thee, good coz, persuade not my belief.
I cannot stoop the heart of Ganelon.
My cross unhappy fortune hath decreed
A’ never shall be conquered; any else
Should a’ but vow to conquer fifty worlds.
I would believe a’ might do’t, only I
Shall never master a dejected slave.

Indeed, ‘tis but your passion so persuades you.

Be not fantastic.  That which we persuade
Hath both an easy and a certain way
Nor can it yield to you a single joy,
But much redoubled sweetness.


And behold,
Here come the new made marquess.  Good sweet lord,
Give my free speech free passage.

<…>nay <…> I’ll add and se<c>ond you.

‘Sfoot, this new pile of honour walks as if
A’ would known pats with heaven.

‘Tis not unlike
You own true pride doth make you speculous

‘Tis far short of your sweetheart, Ganelon’s.

Sir, he’s a noble gentleman.

A baboon;
A very windy cask of emptiness.

I wonder y’are so impudent.  My friend
Hath virtues left.  If you had either shame
Or charity, you would accuse you libels.
But as the ravens which in Arabia live,
Having flown all the field of spices o’er,
Seize on a stinking carcass, so do you
Swiftly leap over a most plenteous vale
Of good examples which grace Ganelon
And fasten on the scandal which was form’d
By a lewd treacherous knave to get reward.

I give your applications the broad lie.

And ‘tis thy last foul language.                                         [Offers to draw.

Hold!  Who draws must be my enemy.

I’m easily chid from tumult, but, dear sir,
Tell me in private how you dare maintain it.                                    [Whisper.

Enter GANELON aloft.

Yonder a’ stands, consulting with my foes.
Perhaps this present minute he reveals
My sister’s whoredom, or to take away
All fear of my revenge he now contrives
That my sad death may finish my disgrace.
Mine eyes are dazzle’d, but it is no wonder
For in that glassy fellow I discern
The true reflection of my fate and fears.
‘Tis he, ‘tis he; there wants but a good musket crossbow
To level at his heart now.  I begin
A little since to chide my rash belief
And so was ready to turn fool again,
But I am now deliver’d and henceforth,
If wisdom or occasion do me right,
I will determine never to mistake.
Here’s a full proof of what my mother spake.                                          [Exit.

As I respect mine honour I will meet you.

Are you agreed?

Yes, sir.

Away, and shape our purpose.                                     [Exeunt all but RICHARD.

‘Tis put to trial; but I do suspect
Their whispering plots.  This equal hazard may
Shadow the meaning of some certain danger,
The rather since Reinaldo seconds it.
I must see Ganelon and speak these doubts.
This quarrel most concerns him, fir the wrong
And capital abuse touch’d only him.
I gave a constant promise never more
To visit him without the emperor’s leave,
And yet I will adventure.  He may guess
At secret workings and confirm my fear.
This night I will adventure and obey
As he shall fashion me to meet or stay.                                           [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene


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