« PreviousContinue »
ACT THE FOURTH.
SCENE I.—The English Camp near Ayton, on the
Enter Earl of SURREY, Bishop of DURHAM, Soldiers, with
drums and colours. PUR. Are all our braving enemies shrunk
back, Hid in the fogs of their distempered
climate, Not daring to behold our colours wave
In spite of this infected air? Can they
Look on the strength of Cundrestine defaced ?
The glory of Hedon-hall devasted ? that
Of Edington cast dows ? the pile of Fulden
O’erthrown ? and this the strongest of their forts,
Old Ayton-castle, yielded and demolished ?
And yet not peep abroad ? The Scots are bold,
Hardy in battle ; but it seems the cause
They undertake, considered, appears
Unjointed in the frame on't.
Our royal master's wisdom is at all times
His fortune's harbinger; for when he draws
His sword to threaten war, his providence
Settles on peace, the crowning of an empire.
[A trumpet within. 1 At that time considered one of the strongest places between Berwick and Edinburgh.
Sur. Rank all in order: 'tis a herald's sound;
Some message from King James : keep a fixed station.
Enter MARCHMONT and another in Heralds' coats.
March. From Scotland's awful majesty we come
Unto the English general.
March. Thus, then ; the waste and prodigal
Effusion of so much guiltless blood
As in two potent armies of necessity
Must glut the earth's dry womb, his sweet compas-
Hath studied to prevent; for which to thee,
Great Earl of Surrey, in a single fight
He offers his own royal person ; fairly
Proposing these conditions only, that
If victory conclude our master's right,
The earl shall deliver for his ransom
The town of Berwick to him, with the fishgarths ;
If Surrey shall prevail, the king will pay
A thousand pounds down present for his freedom,
And silence further arms : so speaks King James.
Sur. So speaks King James ! so like a king he speaks.
Heralds, the English general returns
A sensible devotion from his heart,
His very soul, to this unfellowed grace: ..
For let the king know, gentle heralds, truly,
How his descent from his great throne, to honour
A stranger subject with so high a title
As his compeer in arms, hath conquered more
Than any sword could do; for which-my loyalty
Respected-. I will serve his virtues ever
In all humility : but Berwick, say,
Is none of mine to part with; in affairs
Of princes subjects cannot traffic rights
Inherent to the crown. My life is mine,
That I dare freely hazard ; and--with pardon
To some unbribed vainglory-i? his majesty
Shall taste 'a change of fate, his liberty
Shall meet no articles. If I fall, falling
So bravely, I refer me to his pleasure
Without condition ; and for this dear favour,
Say, if not countermanded, I will cease
Hostility, unless provoked.
We shall relate unpartially.
Pray have a little patience.--[Aside to SURREY] Sir, you
By these gay flourishes how wearied travail
Inclines a willing rest ; here's but a prologue,
However confidently uttered, meant
For some ensuing acts of peace : consider
The time of year, unseasonableness of weather,
Charge, barrenness of profit; and occasion
Presents itself for honourable treaty,
Which we may make good use of. I will back,
As sent from you, in point of noble gratitude
Unto King James, with these his heralds: you
Shall shortly hear from me, my lord, for order
Of breathing or proceeding; and King Henry,
Doubt not, will thank the service.
Sur. [Aside to DURHAM] To your wisdom,
Lord Bishop, I refer it.
Dur. [ Aside to SURREY] Be it so, then.
Sur. Heralds, accept this chain and these few crowns.
March. Our duty, noble general.
Of retribution for such princely love,
My lord the general is pleased to show
The king your master his sincerest zeal,
By further treaty, by no common man :
I will myself return with you.
My faithfullest affections t'ye, Lord Bishop.
March. All happiness attend your lordship!
[Exit with Herald.
Come, friends And fellow-soldiers; we, I doubt, shall meet No enemies but woods and hills to fight with ; Then 'twere as good to feed and sleep at home: We may be free from danger, not secure. [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-The Scottish Camp.
Enter PERKIN WARBECK and Frion.
War. Frion, O, Frion, all my hopes of glory
Are at a stand ! the Scottish king grows dull,
Frosty, and wayward, since this Spanish agent
Hath mixed discourses with him ; they are private,
I am not called to council now :-confusion
On all his crafty shrugs! I feel the fabric
Of my designs are tottering.
Stir with too many engines.
Let his mines,
Shaped in the bowels of the earth, blow up
Works raised for my defence, yet can they never
Toss into air the freedom of my birth,
Or disavow my blood Plantagenet's :
I am my father's son still. But, O, Frion,
When I bring into count with my disasters
My wife's compartnership, my Kate's, my life's,
Then, then my frailty feels an earthquake. Mischief
Damn Henry's plots ! I will be England's king,
Or let my aunt of Burgundy report
My fall in the attempt deserved our ancestors !
Fri. You grow too wild in passion : if you will
Appear a prince indeed, confine your will
War. . What a saucy rudeness
Prompts this distrust! If? If I will appear!
Appear a prince! death throttle such deceits
Even in their birth of utterance! cursèd cozenage
Of trust! Ye make me mad: 'twere best, it seems,
That I should turn impostor to myselt,
Be mine own counterfeit, belie the truth
Of my dear mother's womb, the sacred bed
Of a prince murdered and a living baffled !
Fri. Nay, if you have no ears to hear, I have
No breath to spend in vain.
Sir, sir, take heed !
Gold and the promise of promotion rarely
Fail in temptation.
Why to me this?
Speak what you will; we are not sunk so low
But your advice may piece again the heart
Which many cares have broken : you were wont
In all extremities to talk of comfort;
Have ye none left now? I'll not interrupt ye.
Good, bear with my distractions! If King James
Deny us dwelling here, next whither must I?
I prithee, be not angry.
Sir, I told ye
Of letters come from Ireland; how the Cornish
Stomach their last defeat, and humbly sue
That with such forces as you could partake
You would in person land in Cornwall, where i
Thousands will entertain your title gladly.
War. Let me embrace thee, hug thee; thou'st re-
vived My comforts; if my cousin-king will fail, Our cause will never.