The Welsh Embassador – Act One, Scene Two

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Enter CARINTHA, CORNWALL and CHESTER.

 CARINTHA
Where is his body?  Let me see but that.

CORNWALL
Now as we came along, we heard his body,
After the French had seized it, could by no force
Gold or entreaties be rescued, for in triumph
Away the spoil they hurried.

CHESTER
And you must, lady,
Make up your great loss by sweet patience
To keep your heart from breaking.  His noble father,
You see, plays the physician to restore you
When his own sickness is more desperate;
Nor must it be your torment now to look o’er
Th’accompts of Penda’s valour, youth, or virtues,
For he’s run out of all, but so well spent
You cannot at the layings out repent.

CARINTHA
I do not.

CHESTER
Please you, lady, hear the soldier
That tells the perfect story of his death.
‘Twill so delight you that he outwent man
In’s doings.  You’ll scarce wish him here again.

CARINTHA
That soldier sung me the funeral anthem
Ere you or the king heard it.  I thank you loves
For this your tracts of consolation,
But, sir, methinks I were best comfort you.
You have a manly way to fight with grief,
Yet I that am a woman can ward off
The blows better than you.  I ha’ lost a husband,
A son you.  If you will make our wracks even,
And here’s the balance—he’s gone well to heaven.
Penda, my noblest love, for’s country died,
And is not so much mourn’d for as envied,
For the brave end he made.  Three times he flew,
Like an arm’d thunder, into the thickest French,
And with the lightening of his sword made way
As great winds do through woods, rooting up oaks;
So reel’d the armies building at his strokes.
Must not I proudlier hear this than behold him
Break twenty staves i’th’tiltyard?  ‘Tis more honour.
Could I wed twenty husbands, I would wish
Their glories in this world to be no greater,
Their fate no worse, and their farewell no better.

CORNWALL
Thou art a noble girl.

CHESTER
And teachest all of us
To put on the best armour.  Here comes the soldier.

Enter PENDA, disguised as CONON.

PENDA
The king for fear these lords, as loath to wound you,
Should fail in some points of your husband’s story,
Sends me to speak it fully, that your sorrows
May know what they must trust to, and not stagger
In hope that he’s alive, for these eyes <s>aw><it.>

CORINTHA
<Hol>d.

PENDA
<Lady,> I sung not this to you before.

CARINTHA
<    > a bad suit to<   .>

Enter KING.

 KING
By this his coming
To dry the widow’s tears up, ‘tis a sign
He would not have her kill herself with weeping.

CARINTHA
My cheeks have not been wet, sir.

KING
Pity to drown
Such a rush land of beauty in salt water.
Pray, let her be my patient.  I have physic
Were she eaten up with anguish shall again
Put life into her, though her soul and she
Were shaking hands.

CORNWALL
Apply your physic, sir.

CHESTER
We shall be proud of her recovery.   [Exeunt CORNWALL and CHESTER.

KING
Who now shall pluck Carintha from mine arms?
Before a fatal matrimonial chain
Lay cross our ways, mine to a wish’d-for bed,
Thine to a crown.  Both rocks are now remov’d.
We both have sea room, sit thou at helm alone;
The ship my kingdom, and the sails my throne.

CARINTHA
Brave voyage,
Who would not venture.  Are the destinies
Your spinsters that when you cry cut that thread,
‘Tis done?

KING
I am puzzl’d.  A riddle?

CARINTHA
‘Tis here resolv’d:
I know—at least a spirit within me prompts it—
Penda was shipp’d for France that Athelstane
Might without danger besiege his fort.

KING
‘Tis true.

CARINTHA
And win it if he could.

KING
I’ll practise
What engines a whole kingdom can invent
But I will enter it.

CARINTHA
You shall never force it.
‘Tis yielded, sir, on composition.

KING
Name it.

CARINTHA
To be your queen.

KING
We’ll to church instantly.

CARINTHA
Were I lady, lock’d in a brazen tower,
And that a prince but spied me, passing by,
I’d leap, wert ne’er so high, into his arms,
Beckon’d he for me; the name of prince should bear it.
I’d spurn at Indian hills of new-tried gold
To come to his embraces; but to a king’s—

KING
Never such music; ‘tis some angel sings.
Tomorrow we’ll be married.

CARINTHA
Not for ten kingdoms.
I must awhile in mourning mask mine eyes
To stop the world’s tongue, and to temporize
With Penda’s father.

KING
Do so then.

CARINTHA
Besides,
There’s a duke’s daughter, whom men call Armante,
Contracted to you under your own hand
And has by you a son.  Untie that knot,
Unwind that bottom, I’m yours; otherwise—

KING
Not.
I’ll do’t with my little finger.

Enter WINCHESTER.

My lord of Winchester, in happy time
You come to be my good physician.

WINCHESTER
First let me know your sickness.

KING
There is, you know,
A contract written under mine own hand,
Seal’d by yourself and other witnesses.

WINCHESTER
Between the lady Armante and your highness.

KING
Right, my spiritual surgeon.  Step you to her
And cure her ever I come of that wild frenzy
<Th>at s<e>ts her tongue a-railing.  Bid her make ready
<The contrac>t, for by all my hopes, dear father,
<Tomorrow we shall b>e married, and wipe off
<The stain of bastard from> the princely bo<y>
I got upon her body.  She shall change
Her name of a king’s concubine to a queen.

WINCHESTER
I would not for what lies beneath the moon
Be made a wicked engine to break in pieces
That holy contract.

KING
‘Tis my aim to tie it
Upon a knot never to be undone.
Go to my dear Armante; tell her I am hers
At first by oath and now by conscience.

WINCHESTER
I am happy in the message.                                                                  [Exit

Enter COLCHESTER.

 KING
My lord of Colchester, the man I look for.

COLCHESTER
And you the man I look for, my dear liege.

KING
Thou hast a buxom cheek, a jovial front.

COLCHESTER
Have I not cause when the blood royal roons
Into some part of mine?  My girl, king’s mistress.
My grandchild, one of Jupiter’s scapes, your son.

KING
Ha, ha!

COLCHESTER
He was got laughing, he laughs so too.
He has your own eyes; there’s his nose, his lip,
His gait just yours, a leg and foot like yours;
But yours is somewhat more calf.  King, he’s thine own,
For when he plays at trap, of all the boys,
He must be king too, all call him the young prince.

KING
They do?

COLCHESTER
He strutting sometimes, to his companions
In a majestic tone, will say, “My lads,
I at my coronation will make you all
Great men; though now you are boys, as I am prince.”

KING
Is he so forward?

COLCHESTER
Forward?  Why, sir, king’s bastards
Are made of lightening—oh!

KING
How does his mother?

COLCHESTER
She, ‘las, poor whore.

KING
How, sir, my love a whore?

COLCHESTER
I cry thee mercy; a king’s concubine,
But the true ancient English is plain whore.

KING
She lost, sir, nothing by being mine.

COLCHESTER
‘Tis true, she got a child by it.

KING
And you got something, sir.

COLCHESTER
Right, sir, a dukedom,
And would I had two daughters more to play ‘em
Away at two such casts.

KING
A brave old boy!

COLCHESTER
Some have by daughters fall’n, why should not others
Be rais’d by daughters?  But, in sooth, my liege,
Would thou couldst quoit her off, bandy this white ball
Into some gallant’s bed, there are enow
Would take her at rebound.

KING
Her at rebound?
No, in few days myself will call thee father.

COLCHESTER
I’ll call you son then.

KING
To Armante have I sent good Winchester
And myself am going to her.

COLCHESTER
Are you?
My house shall bid you welcome.  Some business ended,
I’ll there wait on your grace.

KING
Do so.                                                                                                             [Exit.

COLCHESTER
Thy grace?
Would thou hadst any, I will smooth my forehead,
Be the king’s fool, and call’d the good old man,
The silly duke; and though a barbed horse,
The shaking of his wand makes me stand still,
I will be rid and spurr’d.  But king, take heed:
Headlong I fling thee when to much I bleed.                                          [Exit.

—–

Proceed to the next scene

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