The Welsh Emassador – Act Four, Scene Three

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It’s a strange creature,
A daughter and so disobedient.
Her brains are wilder than a troubled sea,
No cloud is so unsettled.  She’s an engine
Driven by a thousand wheels; a German clock
Never going true.

That shows she’s a right woman.

She and the widow whom the king so dotes on
I hear have met and parleyed, and sure their breath
Lows down all that we build.

One glib-tongu’d woman
Is a shrew witch to another.

‘Tis voic’d for certain
That now she’s grown so mad to have the Welshman,
The king is quite lost to her.

Maybe she longs
To study all the neighbouring languages.

‘Tis now no wonder that a king took captive
Her maiden honour when to a new-come stranger
She yields without assault.  I do not think
She understands his lofty British tongue;
He courts her sure by signs.

Hang me for a sign then.  A Welshman makes signs to a woman?

All’s one what signs he makes, for a dumb man
May woo a woman if his face be good;
An able promising body; a neat leg,
<Fin>e cloth<e>s and lands, and money, and no coxcomb.
<Whore>s w<ou>ld scratch out one another’s eyes
To have such bits alone.  Now, this Welsh lord
Is all this:  rich, and well-form’d, a air outside,
A mind nobly furnished, the match were fit
But that our heap’d-up wrongs are slav’d by it.
It brands both us and our posterity
To have a daughter strumpeted, a kinswoman
Texted upon dishonourable file,
A grandchild branded with a bastard’s name.
We must not therefore swallow it.

We will not.
Should we do nothing, out opposed faction
Might jeer us to our faces; common people
Revile us, call us cowards.

Saucy wits
Will dip their pens in gall and whet base rhymes
To stab out fames more than to mend out crimes.

What’s to be done then?

This is to be done:
You know that staring soldier came for the prince
And we deni’d him.

Had we not cause?

And yet
On more weigh’d council you, my lord, hold it fit
To leave him in’s father’s hands.  I think he has not
A knife to cut his own heart.  I’ll presently
Write to the king that since ‘tis his high pleasure
To snatch the distaff of my daughter’s fate
And cut her golden thread, we all consent
To this her second fortune.  He’ll think us quiet,
Nor shall he spell  hard letters on our brows.
The night before the marriage is a masque;
We’ll all to court and when the winds lie still
And not a leaf of murmeration stirs—
Suspicion sealing up her hundred eyes—
Than break we forth, light lightening from a cloud
And force him feel our fury.

Feel what fury?
Though he has struck a dagger through my sides,
Be but a finger held up at his life,
My breast shall be a wall to beat back danger
From him on your own heads.

My lord of Winchester,
Our arrows fly not at his life.

Do fairly what you will do, I am yours.

Not doing so, leave us.

We’ll only to the king’s masque add our dance
And veil our wrongs in smother’d ignorance.                                                    [Exeunt

Proceed to the Next Scene


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