The Welsh Embassador – Act Five, Scene One

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Flourish.  Enter KING, CORNWALL, and CHESTER.

 KING
Cornwall.

CORNWALL
My lord.

KING
Why shines not bravery
Throughout our court in rich habiliments
Of glory?  Chester.

CHESTER
Sir.

KING
Be it proclaim’d
That whosoe’er presents most curious sports
Of art or charg’d to grace out nuptial feasts
Shall have a large reward.  We will be royal.

CHESTER
I’ll undertake the task.

KING
Do and be speedy.

Enter WINCHESTER like a friar leading the PRINCE veiled.

WINCHESTER
Angels of peace wait round about th<y throne,>
Great Athelstane the king.

KING
Whence art thou, friar?

WINCHESTER
Few words I have <to speak, m>y lessons c<   >
<T  le        o       s       >

KING
Yes, we’ll hear it.

WINCHESTER
A sad creature cross’d in life
For being neither mad nor wife,
Hath left the world at last, and reads
Her better hopes upon her beads.
She thinks no more what she hath been,
Nor dreams what ‘tis to be a queen,
For goes her beauty, youth, and state
‘T’embrace a holier happier fate.
By prayers, sighs, she weeps, she dies,
To live a saint in paradise.
Armante’s requiem ‘tis I sing,
Once lov’d by Athelstane the king.
The sad Armante, who though strange
Hath made a heaven sweet exchange.
Instead of marrying pomp and glory,
Married her to a monastery.
One only token sends she here,
More dear than life or what’s most dear,
The pawn of her first troth, her son,
The prince, ‘tis he.  Lo, I have done.                                                           [Unveils him.
She bids thee of this child make store
For she shall never see thee more.
What else she said the boy can tell,
I’ll to by beads.  Now, king, farewell.                                                                        [Exit.

KING
Stay, father, gentle father, holy man.

OMNES
He’s trudg’d away, sir.

KING
Gone already?  Strange,
Exceeding strange.

OMNES
Unlook’d for.

KING
Welcome, boy.
Thy mother turn’d a nun; she, who lately
Seem’d pliant to the pleasures we presented,
Not alter’d on a sudden?  ‘Tis a riddle
I understand not yet.

PRINCE
I have a message ‘tee,
And ‘tis her last.

KING
What, pretty boy?

PRINCE
She prays ye,
You’d use me kindly; truly I can scarce
Refrain from crying to remember how
Unhandsomely we parted.  “Oh, my child,”
My mother, my good mother, said, and ‘deed, la,
She wept too when she spoke it, “now, my boy,
Thou art lost, forever lost, to me, the world,
Thy birth, thy friends, thou has not one friend left.
Go to thy father, child, thy cruel father.”
She bad me ask your blessing too.  Pray, give it me,
Father, your blessing.

KING
For thy mother’s sake,
I’ll keep a blessing for thee, boy, a great one.
Rise.  ‘Tis a good child.

PRINCE
But ‘dee love me indeed?

KING
Heartily, heartily.

PRINCE
If, cause my blood is yours,
You think my life may be some dange, ‘tee,
Or that my mother-in-law, when next you marry,
Cannot abide me, yet I’ll do the best
I can to please her; but these stepmothers,
They say do seldom love their husbands’ children.
Or if for being your heir some wicked people
Give you bad counsel that I must not row
To be a man, for growing too fast upwards,
<Safer> you cut me off betimes;
<Yet as y>ou are a king, I do beseech you
<Let not> a common villain be my butcher,
<But I> die like a prince.  Sir, will you promise me
<     nto       s      for      >

KING
Pestilent ape,
His mother taught him this.  Fie, boy, no more.
I will be loving, thou shall find it.

PRINCE
Shall I?
Indeed, I never went to bed but e’er
I slept, I pray’d for the good king my father.
I never rose but e’er I had my breakfast,
I said “Heaven bledd my father.”  That is you.
There was no hurt in this?

CORNWALL
Well prated, little one.

KING
Enough.  I will be tender o’er thee, boy;
As tender as thy mother.

PRINCE
Will ye, think ye?

Enter CARINTHA and VOLTIMAR.

CARINTHA
Where’s now this royal lover?

KING
My Carintha,
Melt here all passions from me, my soul’s empress.

CARINTHA
And when’s this day forsooth, this day of queenship?
I’ll make a goodly fool.

KING
Be not impatient.
Thy glories and my joys shall be the fuller.

VOLTIMAR
Now for a shower of rain downright; there’s a horrible clap of thunder towards.  Take heed of lightening, king.  You are in danger of being blasted.

PRINCE
What angry woman’s this?  Bless me, her looks
Affright me, father king.

CARINTHA
Your bastard here?
I thought I was your mockery.  Why lives he
To be my torment?

KING
Prithee, sweet—

PRINCE
How’s this?
‘Las, what must I do now?

CORNWALL
I like not this.

CHESTER
Nor I.

CARINTHA
Hast thou nor heart nor hands?

KING
Carintha—

CARINTHA
How say by that?  Give me the brat; I’ll have him,
T’shall save ye charges too.  Oh, I am vex’d,
Not yet dispatch.  ‘A shall with me.

KING
You must not.
Will you undo all what I strive to build
For your advancement?

CARINTHA
Pish.

KING
For my sake, do not.
For your own sake, do not.  Voltimar?

VOLTIMAR
My lord?

KING
Take him aside awhiles.

VOLTIMAR
I will.  Come.

PRINCE
Heaven,
Be thou a father t ome.  Sur ethis woman
Was never mother to a child.  She’s cruel,
Even in her frown.

VOLTIMAR
No prating.  Come.                                       [Exeunt PRINCE and VOLTIMAR.

KING
Thou art not well-advis’d.

CARINTHA
You have broke your promise.
Make it your practise.  Would you play the tyrant
Over my wrongs, as over her’s whose honour
Y’ave whor’d and strumpeted to your vil’d lust?
You’d cast me off to. Here, my lords, and witness
How much my spirit scorns to fawn on slavery.
My firstborn shall not be a bastard’s second.
Intolerable.

KING
Dear Carintha—

CARINTHA
Shall not.
King, till I know thy bed and pleasures free,
Wert thou ten times a king, thou art not for me.
Think on’t.  I am not thy bride yet.                                                                    [Exit.

KING
Stay!  Fly after;
Entreat her back.

CORNWALL
Command her.

CHESTER
Fetch her.  Force her.

KING
Not so.  I have some private thoughts require
Consideration.  Leave us all.  None stay.

OMNES
You are obey’d, sir.                                                                                              [Exeunt.

KING
Impudent and bloody;
Two attributes fit only for deformity.
True beauty in meekness, love with pity
Keeps leagues.  There is a pleurisy within me
Requires a skilful surgeon that can lance it.

Enter VOLTIMAR.

VOLTIMAR
Here, here, here, my lord, I am here.  What is’t you call’d for?

KING
Foe thou art too officious.  I am busy.

VOLTIMAR
Shall I be gone, sir?

KING
Gone, sir?

VOLTIMAR
Bless your majesty, I dare not bide the noise.

KING
Stay.  Send the boy in,
And wait some two rooms off, not within hearing.

VOLTIMAR
‘Tis good.  You, little one!

Enter PRINCE.

PRINCE
The king.

KING
[To VOLTIMAR.] Away; do as you are commanded.

VOLTIMAR
Touch him  home.  ‘Tis my suit, heaven, I beseech thee.                         [Exit.

KING
Come hither; do not fear me.  Yet nearer.

PRINCE
No, sir.  Being with you alone
I will not fear.  Do what you will with me,
I’ll stand you like a little harmless lamb;
I will not cry out, neither.

KING
It has been told me,
That thou art like me, boy.

PRINCE
My grand, sir, swore
My chin and nose were yours, and my good mother
Said I was but your picture.

KING
She was deceiv’d,
For thou art fairer far.

PRINCE
That’s ‘cause I am
But yet a child, and if you do not lay me
In some untimely pit-hole ere I grow
To man’s estate, I shall be as you are.

KING
A king, thou meanest?

PRINCE
No, I mean a man.
That shall be just like you.

KING
Let me look on thee.

PRINCE
Pray do.

KING
Here’s a white forehead
Of innocence whose alablaster sweetness
Rebates my cruelties.  Tell me, my boy,
Didst never hear thy mother curse thy father,
Or did she not teach thee to curse me?

PRINCE
Truly,
My lord, I cannot lie, nor do I use to swear
An oath, but, by my troth, you may believe me,
I never heard her curse, but often pray for ye;
And so have I too, heartily, every day.
I learnt it from her mouth.

KING
Gone to a nunnery?
I’ll hie me thither too; by her example,
Learn to be good and reconcile my peace
To hers.  Alas, poor soul, how I have wrong’d her.

PRINCE
Why did ye?

KING
Gentle boy, wilt thou forgive me?

PRINCE
I?  Yes, indeed, father.

KING
My blessings on thee.
I’ll call thee now mine heir.  Let me bethink thee.

PRINCE
If ever a poor child’s prayer was accepted,
Good heaven, I beg thee pity my poor mother,
And turn my father’s heart now, I beseech thee.
How does the king my father?

<KING>
I <have> forgone,
An angel for a devil; a companion
<Whose soul was> osft as doves, for a thing fram’d
<Of nothing but> ambition.

<PRINCE>
<   >ke<      >s,
You promis’d me to lve me as my mother doth,
And she would talk to me, she would, my lord.

KING
It shall be so.  I’ll try to what strange height
Th’one’s wickedness will mount, to what humility
The other’s goodness creeps.  Joy of my soul.
Desires may stray, our souls are precious things,
All men are dear to heaven, but chiefly kings.
Attendance.

Enter VOLTIMAR.

 VOLTIMAR
I am here.

KING
Lock fast the door,
‘Tis death to enter.  Come you back.

VOLTIMAR
I shall.                                                                                                                   [Exit.

KING
Be not afraid, child.

PRINCE
Well, I will not then.

KING
I’ll teach thee
A policy of state even in thy cradle.

PRINCE
I’ll learn it if I can.

Enter VOLTIMAR.

 KING
Now, is all sure?

VOLTIMAR
As fast as key and bold can ward.

KING
Thine ear.  [Aside to VOLTIMAR.] This boy must be dispatch’d.

VOLTIMAR
[Aside to KING.] How?

KING
[Aside to VOLTIMAR.] Suddenly

VOLTIMAR
[Aside to KING.] Good.  He dies.

KING
[Aside to VOLTIMAR.] Shall I depend?

VOLTIMAR
[Aside to KING.] Remember the words, “’Tis done.”

PRINCE
[Aside.] I do not like this man’s wild looks.  Methinks
Upon his forehead hand a thousand earthquakes.
Pray, stand between us, sir.

KING
[Aside to VOLTIMAR.] But dost thou know
What ‘tis to cut off a young innocent infant?

VOLTIMAR
[Aside to KING.] Yes, to cut’s throat, knock out his brains, writh his neck off, anything.

PRINCE
[Aside.] Bless me!  What does this fellow talk?

KING
[Aside to VOLTIMAR.] A villain’s language;
A minister of horror, born to live
And die a monster.

VOLTIMAR
[Aside to KING.] Fine stuff, king, admirable dissimulation.  It becomes ye.

KING
[Aside to VOLTIMAR.] Mark what remains for thee.

VOLTIMAR
[Aside to KING.] A brave reward?

KING
I will resign my royal office up
And plant my crown here on this princely head.
He shall be king, for since thou hast my promise
Of pardon, I’ll not be thy judge.  That day
Whereon my boy makes entrance to his reign
Shall be renowned for an act of justice
On such a man of mischief as thou art.

VOLTIMAR
Heyday, how scurvy it shows!

KING
The evidence
Against thee I myself will give.  The world
Shall know how miserable I have been
By Penda’s ruin acted by thy hand.

PRINCE
‘Tis strange and very pitiful.

KING
Myself in person shall be the accuser.

VOLTIMAR
Dare ye?

KING
Oh, boy, if not for my sake, for thy mother’s,
I charge thee by the duty of a son,
Give him a heavy doom; let him die groaning.
Revenge the manly Penda, that brave soldier.
Take heed, my charge is great.

PRINCE
Should this be true,
When I am king, a’ smarts for’t.

KING
Guard, a guard!

VOLTIMAR
Sir, what dee mean?

KING
I’ll never hear thee again.  I’ll call <     >

PRINCE
Why dost not speak?  Trust me, I’ll ou<t     >
Rath<er then    >s<     >.

VOLTIMAR
Will you babble?

KING
He’ll infect thee or do thee mischief.

PRINCE
But a’ shall not; nay,
I’ll tell my father, my good father, now.
My lord—

VOLTIMAR
Peace, or—

PRINCE
Indeed, this soldier, if a’ be not
An honest man, a very honest man,
Is truly a very knave.  ‘Twas he that taught me
What I should say; he fetch’d me to be rul’d by him;
Told me he was not cruel as he seem’d,
But of a gentle nature, and indeed,
To speak the truth, he still has us’d me kindly
As if a’ had been my man.

KING
Would yet a’ had
A heart to melt in penitence for Penda,
Unluckily by him misdone.

VOLTIMAR
The prince
Somewhat too early hath prevented me
In my designs.  Upon my knew, my lord,
I humbly crave your favour.

KING
Kneel to heaven,
I am too low to be crept to.

VOLTIMAR
Then know, sir,
That hitherto I have but given you physic
And now your health is purchas’d.

KING
Oh, why wilt thou
Flatter mine infinite guilt?

VOLTIMAR
I can restore
All your discomforts in a rich discovery
Of honest duty, would you be but pleas’d
To take truce with your griefs.

KING
Thou canst not, Voltimar.
Penda is fall’n.

VOLTIMAR
Heaven can work by miracles.
I’ll cure that wound too.

KING
Ha?

PRINCE
I’ll pass my word.
I have commission for it from my mother.

KING
Oh, boy—

VOLTIMAR
Sir, be but contented.

PRINCE
I’ll entreat you.

KING
Do what you will.  I am lost as I am found.
All present joys are short, the best come after.
Better to live in tears than die in laughter.
Come, child, thy hand.

PRINCE
Here, father, we’ll attend ye.                                                                        [Exeunt.

Proceed to the Next Scene

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