The Welsh Embassador – Act One, Scene One

Return to Dramatis Personæ

Enter the DUKE OF CORNWALL, the EARLS OF CHESTER and MERCIA, and EDWIN; ELFRED and EDMOND, the KING’s brothers, disguised like soldiers.

 CORNWALL
Your business?

EDMUND
To the king.

ELFRED
And mine.

CORNWALL
Whence come you?

EDMUND
From France.

ELDRED
And from France I.

Enter the KING.

KING
Which are they that come from France.  These?

OMNES
Yes, sir.

KING
How is it with our army we sent thither
Under the conduct of out two valiant brothers,
Edmund and Eldred and that far-fam’d Penda,
Son to our new-made Duke of Cornwall here?

ELDRED
I lay far off from Penda’s regiment
Nor know I what fate follows him.

EDMOND
Nor I.

ELDRED
From Eldred’s tent I come.

EDMOND
And I from Edmond’s.

KING
Hinder not one another.  Take time.  Speak both.

ELDRED
Your brother Eldred’s slain.

OMNES
Ha, the prince slain?

EDMOND
Ravens, I see, fly together.  Of his fall
Can I sigh nothing; though into the world,
This pair of princes came not hand in hand,
Death hath a mind, it seems, to have them twins,
For Edmond is slain too.

CORNWALL
Both princes lost?

KING
Look I not pale, so much blood being drawn from me
As made two brothers?  Here is yet their honours:
They died like princes on the beds of danger
And like men fighting.

Enter PENDA like a common soldier.

 

 CHESTER
Here’s another soldier.

CORNWALL
And gladder news I hope.

KING
When com’st thou?

PENDA
The last battle fought in France.

KING
Mischief sits on thy brow too.

PENDA
If, sir, you are perfect
Already in the history clasp’d up here,
What need the book be open’d?

KING
Our princely brothers,
Eldred and Edmond’s slain.  Are these the news?

PENDA
No.  This I hear but know not.  The French epitaph
I bring is of young Penda.

CORNWALL
Epitaph?

PENDA
He cut his way to immortality,
Through dangers, which to see but put in picture
Would startle a brave soldier.

CORNWALL
Slain?

PENDA
Sir, I saw him
Fall with more wounds upon his breast than years,
Yet far more spirit than wounds.

<CORNWALL
He die>d no coward then.

<KING>
<Co>rnwall a< > ld < >

CORNWALL
Sir, had I stood but by to see my boy
Acted what he speaks, I would have clapp’d my hands,
And though I will not mourn for him in black,
I cannot for my heart hinder mine eyes
From dropping this warm balsam into’s wounds
Though it do no good but wash them.  Now I ha’ done,
His funeral is past by.  To his sad wife
I’ll go and tell the news.                                                                         [Exit.

KING
And comfort her.
He will be drown’d too.  Pray go and comfort him.

CHESTER
I shall.

KING
Soldiers, your names.

ELDRED
Mine Uffa.

EDMOND
And mine, Gildas.

KING
See us anon.            [Exeunt ELDRED and EDMOND.
And how art thou call’d?

PENDA
Conon.

KING
A Saxon?

PENDA
Yes.

KING
And how saw’st thou Penda fall?

PENDA
I did, and help’d to tear the scaffoldings down
That did support his life.  Please you, read this.                            [Gives a paper.

KING
Whose?

PENDA
Captain Voltimar’s.

KING
Oh, Voltimar’s.

PENDA
When hottest wear the fires, and that the battle
Flam’d in wild uproars, Voltimar—and I,
Set on by him—struck both our well-aim’d swords
Through Penda’s back.

KING
Here all he writes; ‘tis done.

PENDA
‘Tis done, and ‘twas your will to have it done.
Your oaths too, flew to France when it was done
To pay us gold.

KING
Did Voltimar tell thee that too?
Thou canst not sure but be an honest man,
A wondrous honest man, whom Voltimar
Would turn into a cabinet to lock
A treasure of this value in’t.  My brother—
Heaven speed ‘em on their voyage, ambitious boys!
Hard feathers shall no more now stuff my pillow,
But Penda stood between me and a prize
Worth a whole mass of kingdoms.

PENDA
I understand you not.

KING
I would not have thee yet; thou shalt hereafter
Understand this:  the whilst, with thy best speed
Ask to the Duke of Cornwall, the old fellow
That cried here for that Penda—‘twas his son—
And let his daughter hear it from the lips,
Her husband’s dead.  She’ll not believe it else.

PENDA
But, sir, if to this duke you in some fit
Should tell what I have done—

KING
I tell?  Hang padlocks
Best on your own lips, you and Voltimar.
Should you blab all, this can outface you both.
Look to’t.

PENDA
I am lesson’d.                                                                                        [Exit.

Enter EDMOND and ELDRED.

KING
Uffa and Gildas, ha,
Hit I your names right?

BOT<H
Ye>s, sir.

<KING>
<ers, leave me,
<   > Penda’s loss too, a noble fel<low  >
<    d    >ly <  >

EDMOND
Unless your majesty
Command my service I will o’er again.

ELDRED
And I.

KING
Your service state; we shall employ you
In troub’d steams, which if you dare convey—

ELDRED
Dare!

EDMOND
Try us.

KING
So, you shall have golden pay.                                                [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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