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ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS
GORBODUC. A TRAGEDY (BETTER KNOWN AS “FER
REX AND PORREX,” FIRST PERFORMED 1561-1562).
THOMAS NORTON [1532-1584]
the death of his eldest son, Ferrex, whom Porrex, the younger
GORBODUC, AROSTUS, EUBULUS, and others.
Arost. Your grace should now, in these grave years of yours,
Of patient sprite to others wrapt in woe,
Gorb. Madam (alas) what means your woful tale?
Marc. O silly woman I, why to this hour
Gorb. O Eubulus, oh draw this sword of ours,
Eub. Patient, your grace, perhaps he liveth yet,
Gorb. O let us then repair unto the place, And see if that Porrex live, or thus be slain.
Marc. Alas! he liveth not, it is too true, That with these eyes, of him a peerless prince,
1 Nature; natural affection.
Son to a king, and in the flower of youth,
Arost. O damned deed!
Marc. But hear his ruthful end. The noble prince, pierced with the sudden wounds, Out of his wretched slumber hastily start, Whose strength now failing, straight he overthrew, When in the fall his eyes ev'n now unclosed, Beheld the queen, and cried to her for help; We then, alas, the ladies which that time Did there attend, seeing that heinous deed, And hearing him oft call the wretched name Of mother, and to cry to her for aid, Whose direful hand gave him the mortal wound, Pitying, alas (for nought else could we do) His rueful end, ran to the woful bed, Despoiled streight his breast, and all we might Wiped in vain with napkins next at hand The sudden streams of blood, that flushed fast Out of the gaping wound : O what a look, O what a ruthful stedfast eye methought He fixt upon my face, which to my death Will never part from me,—wherewith abraid 3 A deep fetch'd sigh he gave, and therewithal Clasping his hands, to heaven he cast his sight; And streight, pale death pressing within his face, The flying ghost his mortal corpse forsook.
Arost. Never did age bring forth so vile a fact.
Marc. O hard and cruel hap that thus assign'd Unto so worthy wight so wretched end : But most hard cruel heart that could consent, To lend the hateful destinies that hand, By which, alas, so heinous crime was wrought ;O queen of adamant, О marble breast, If not the favour of his comely face, If not his princely chear and countenance, His valiant active arms, his manly breast, If not his fair and seemly personage; His noble limbs, in such proportion cast, As would have rapt a silly woman's thought; If this might not have mov'd the bloody heart, And that most cruel hand the wretched
weapon Even to let fall, and kist him in the face,
i Twinkling of the eye.
3 Awaked; raised up.