Lust’s Dominion – Act One, Scene Two

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The curtains being drawn there appears in his bed KING PHILIP, with his Lords, the PRINCESS ISABELLA at the feet; CARDINAL MENDOZA, ALVERO, HORTENZO, FERNANDO, RODERIGO, and to them enter QUEEN MOTHER in haste.

 QUEEN MOTHER
Whose was that screech-owl’s voice, that like the sound
Of a hell-tortur’d soul rung through mine ears
Nothing but horrid shrieks, nothing but death?
Whilst I, veiling my knees to the cold earth,
Drowning my withered cheeks in my warm tears,
And stretching out my arms to pull from heaven
Health for the royal majesty of Spain,
All cried, “the majesty of Spain is dead!”
The last word, “dead,” struck through the echoing air,
Rebounded on my heart, and smote me down
Breathless to the cold earth, and made me leave
My prayers for Philip’s life, but thanks to heaven
I see him live, and lives I hope to see
Unnumbered years to guide this empery.

KING PHILIP
The number of my years ends in one day,
E’er this sun’s down all a king’s glory sets,
For all our lives are but death’s counterfeits.
Father Mendoza and you peers of Spain,
Dry our wet eyes, for sorrow wanteth force
T’inspire a breathing soul in a dead corse.
Such is your king.  Where’s Isabel, our daughter?

CARDINAL
At your bed’s feet, confounded in her tears.

KING PHILIP
She of your grief the heaviest burthen bears;
You can lose a king, but she a father.

QUEEN MOTHER
She bear the heaviest burthen?  Oh, say rather
I bear, and am born down; my sorrowing
Is for a husband’s loss, loss of a king.

KING PHILIP
No more.  Alvero call the princess hither.

ALVERO
Madam, his Majesty doth call for you.

KING PHILIP
Come hither, Isabella, reach a hand.
Yet now it shall not need, instead of thine
Death shoving thee back clasps his hands in mine,
And bids me come away.  I must, I must.
Though kings be gods on earth, the turn to dust.
Is not Prince Philip come from Portugal?

RODERIGO
The prince as yet is not return’d, my lord.

KING PHILIP
Commend me to him; if I ne’er behold him.
This tells the order of my funeral,
Do it as ‘tis set down.  Embalm my body;
Though worms do make no difference of flesh,
Yet kings are curious here to dig their graves;
Such is man’s frailty.  When I am embalmed,
Apparel me in a rich royal robe,
According to the custom of the land;
Then place my bones within that brazen shrine
Which death hath builded for my ancestors.
I cannot name death, but he straight steps in,
And pulls me by the arm.

FERNANDO
His grace doth faint;
Help me, my lords, softly to raise him up.

Enter ELEZAR and stands sadly by.

KING PHILIP
Lift me not up; I shortly must go down.
When a few dribbling minutes have run out,
Mine hour is ended.  King of Spain, farewell.
You all acknowledge him you sovereign?

ALL
When you are dead, we will acknowledge him.

KING PHILIP
Govern this kingdom well.  To be a king
Is given to many, but to govern well
Granted to few.  Have care of Isabel;
Her virtue was King Philip’s looking-glass.
Reverence the queen your mother.  Love your sister,
And the young prince our brother.  Even that day
When Spain shall solemnize my obsequies,
And lay me up in earth, let them crown you.
Where’s Eleazar, Don Alvero’s son?

FERNANDO
Yonder with cross’d arms stands he malcontent.

KING PHILIP
I do commend him to thee for a man
Both wise and warlike, yet beware of him;
Ambition wings his spirit; keep him down.
What will not men attempt to win a crown?
Mendoza is protector of thy realm;
I did elect him for his gravity;
I trust he’ll be a father to thy youth.
Call help, Fernando, now I faint indeed.

FERNANDO
My lords.

KING PHILIP
Let none with a distracted voice
Shriek out and trouble me in my departure.
Heaven’s hands I see are beckoning for my soul.
I come, I come; thus do the proudest die.
Death hath no mercy, life’s no certainty.

CARDINAL
As yet his soul’s not from his temple gone,
Therefore forbear loud lamentation.

QUEEN MOTHER
Oh, he is dead, he’s dead!  Lament and die!
In her king’s end begins Spain’s misery.

ISABELLA
He shall not end so soon.  Father, dear Father!                       [KING dies.

FERNANDO
Forbear, sweet Isabella, shrieks are vain.

ISABELLA
You cry forbear; you by his loss of breath
Have won a kingdom; you may cry forbear.
But I have lost a father and a king,
And no tongue shall control my sorrowing.

HORTENZO
Whither, good Isabella?

ISABELLA
I will go,
Where I will languish in eternal woe.

HORTENZO
Nay, gentle love.

ISABELLA
Talk not of love to me.
The world and the world’s pride henceforth I’ll scorn.                 [Exit.

HORTENZO
My love shall follow thee.  If thou deny’st
To live with poor Hortanzo as his wife,
I’ll never change my love, but change my life.

Enter PHILIP hastily.

PHILIP
I know he is not dead; I know proud death
Durst not behold such sacred majesty.
Why stand you thus distracted?  Mother, brother?
My lord Mendoza, where’s my royal father?

QUEEN MOTHER
Here lies the temple of his royal soul.

FERNANDO
Here’s all that’s left of Philip’s majesty.
Wash you his tomb with tears.  Fernando’s moan,
Hating a partner, shall be spent alone.                                          [Exit.

PHILIP
Oh, happy father, miserable son!
Philip is gone to joy; Philip’s forlorn.
He dies to live; my life with woe is torn.

QUEEN MOTHER
Sweet son—

PHILIP
Sweet mother.  Oh, how I now do shame
To lay on one so foul so fair a name.
Had you been a true mother, a true wife,
This king had not so soon been robb’d of life.

QUEEN MOTHER
What means this rage, my son?

PHILIP
Call me not your son.
My father whist he liv’d tir’d his strong arms
In bearing Christian armour gainst the Turks,
And spent his brains in warlike stratagems
To bring confusion on damn’d infidels;
Whilst you at home suffered his bedchamber
To be a brotherly; whilst you at home
Suffered his queen to be a concubine,
And wanton red cheek’d boys to be her bawds,
Whilst she, reeking in that lecher’s arms—

ELEAZAR
Me!

PHILIP
Villain, ‘tis thee,
Thou hell-begotten fiend, at thee I stare.

QUEEN MOTHER
Philip, thou art a villain to dishonour me.

PHILIP
Mother, I am no villain!  ‘Tis this villain
Dishonours you and me, dishonours Spain,
Dishonours all these lords; this devil is he
That—

ELEAZAR
What!  Oh, pardon me, I must throw off
All chains of duty.  Wert thou ten king’s sons,
Had I as many souls as I have sins,
As this from hence, so they from this should fly,
In just revenge of this indignity.          [Draws.  Lords come between them.

PHILIP
Give way, or I’ll make way upon your bosoms.

ELEAZAR
Did my dear sovereign live, sirrah, that tongue—

QUEEN MOTHER
Did but King Philip live, traitor, I’d tell—

PHILIP
A tale that should rid both your souls to hell.
Tell Philip’s ghost that Philip tells his queen
That Philip’s queen is a Moor’s concubine.
Did the king live, I’d tell him how you two
Ripp’d up the entrails of his treasury
With masques and antick revellings.

ELEAZAR
Words insupportable.  Dost hear me, boy?

QUEEN MOTHER
Stand you all still, and see me thus trod down?

PHILIP
Stand you all still, yet let this devil stand here?

CARDINAL
Forbear, sweet Prince Philip.  Eleazar, I am now
Protector to Fernando, King of Spain.
By that authority and by consent
Of all these peers, I utterly deprive thee
Of all those royalties thou holdst in Spain.

QUEEN MOTHER
Cardinal, who lend thee this commission?

ELEAZAR
Cardinal, I’ll shorten thee by the head for this.

PHILIP
Forward, my lord Mendoza, damn the fiend.

ELEAZAR
Princes of Spain, consent you to this pride?

ALL
We do.

QUEEN MOTHER
For what cause?  Let his faith be tried.

CARDINAL
His treasons needs no trial; they’re too plain.
Come not within the court, for if you do,
To beg with Indian slaves I’ll banish you.

[Exeunt all but ALVERO, QUEEN MOTHER and ELEAZAR.

ALVERO
Why should my son be banished?

Enter MARIA.

QUEEN MOTHER
Of that dispute not now, Alvero.
I’ll to the king my son.  It shall be tried
If Castile’s king can cool a cardinal’s pride.

[Exeunt QUEEN MOTHER and ALVERO.

ELEAZAR
If I digest this gall!  Oh, my Maria!
I am whipp’d and rack’d, and torn the wheel
Of giddy fortune.  She and her minions
Have got me down, and treading on my bosom,
They cry, lie still.  The Cardinal,—
Oh, rare!—would bandy me away from Spain,
And banish me to beg.  I, beg with slaves!

MARIA
Conquer with patience these indignities.

ELEAZAR
Patience, ha, ha!  Yes, yes, an honest Cardinal.

MARIA
Yet smother thy grief and seek revenge.

ELEAZAR
Hah!  Banish me!  S’foot, why say they do.
There’s Portugal, a good air, and France, a fine country;
Or Barbary rich, and has Moors.  The Turk,
Pure devil, and allows enough to fat
The sides of villainy; good living there.
I can live there, and there, and there,
Troth ‘tis, a villain can live anywhere.
But say I go from hence, I leave behind me
A Cardinal that will laugh; I leave behind me
A Philip, that will clap his hands with joy;
And dance lavoltos through the Castile court.
But the deep’st wound of all is this:  I leave
My wrongs, dishonours, and my discontents,
Oh, unrevenged!  My bed-rid enemies
Shall never be rais’d up by the strong physic,
And curing of my sword; therefore stay still.
Many have hearts to strike that dare not kill.
Leave me, my Maria.  Cardinal, this disgrace
Shall dye thy soul as inky as my face.
Pish, hence, Maria.

Enter ALVERO.

 MARIA
To the king I’ll fly.
He shall revenge my lord’s indignity.                                             [Exit.

ALVERO
Mendoza woos the king to banish thee.
Startle thy wonted spirits, awake thy soul,
And on thy resolution fasten wings,
Whose golden feathers may outstrip their hate.

ELEAZAR
I’ll tie no golden feathers to my wings.

ALVERO
Shall they thus tread thee down, which once were glad
To Lacquey by thy conquering chariot wheels?

ELEAZAR
I care not.  I can swallow more sour wrongs.

ALVERO
If they triumph o’er thee, they’ll spurn me down.

ELEAZAR
Look, spurn again.

ALVERO
What ice hath cool’d that fire,
Which sometimes made thy thoughts to heaven aspire;
This patience had not wont to dwell with thee.

Enter FERNANDO and MARIA.

ELEAZAR
‘Tis right, but now the world is chang’d you see.
Though I seem dead to you, here lives a fire.
No more.  Here comes the king and my Maria.
The Spaniard loves my wife; she swears to me
She’s chaste as the white moon.  Well, if she be,
Well too if she not be; I care not, I.
I’ll climb up by that love to dignity.

FERNANDO
Thou woo’st me to revenge thy husband’s wrong.
I woo thy fair self not to wrong thyself.
Swear but to love me, and to thee I’ll swear
To crown thy husband with a diadem.

MARIA
Such love as I dare yield, I’ll not deny.

FERNANDO
When in the golden arms of majesty—
I am broke off.  Yonder thy husband stands.
I’ll set him free if thou unite my bands.
So much for that.  Durst then the Cardinal
Put on such insolence.  Tell me, fair madam,
Where’s your most valiant husband?

ELEAZAR
He sees me,
And yet inquires for me.

MARIA
Yonder’s my lord.

FERNANDO
Eleazar, I have in my breast writ down
From her report your late receiv’d disgrace.
My father lov’d you dearly, so will I.

ELEAZAR
[Aside.] True, for my wife’s sake.

FERNANDO
This indignity
Will have interest in, for being your king,
You shall perceive I’ll curb my underling.
This morning is our coronation
And father’s funeral solemnized.
Be present, step into your wonted place.
We’ll guide your dim disgraces with our grace.     [Exeunt.  Manet ELEAZAR.

ELEAZAR
I thank my sovereign that you love my wife.
I thank thee wife that thou wilt lock my head
In such strong amour, to bear off all blows.
Who dare say such wives are their husbands’ foes
Let’s see now; by her falling I must rise.
Cardinal, you die, if the king bid me live.
Philip, you die for railing at me.  Proud lords, you die,
That with Mendoza cried, “Banish the Moor!”
And you, my loving liege, you’re best sit fast.
If all these live not, you must die at last.                                                         [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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