Alphonsus King of Aragon

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Alphonsus, King of Aragon
by Robert Greene

The Comical History of Alphonsus King of Aragon[edit]

Act I: Prologue[edit]

[The trumpets sound three times signaling the start of the play. After the final flourish VENUS descends from the top of the stage. When she has landed, she starts to speak.]

Venus

Poets are scarce, when goddesses themselves
Are forced to leave their high and stately seats,
Placed on the top of high Olympus’ Mount,
To seek them out, to pen their champion’s praise.
The time hath been when Homer’s sugared muse
Did make each echo to repeat his verse,
That every coward that durst crack a spear,
And tilt and tourney for his lady’s sake,
Was painted out in colors of such price
As might become the proudest potentate.
But nowadays so irksome idless’[1] sleights,
And cursed charms have witched each student’s mind,
That death it is to any of them all,
If that their hands to penning you do call.
Oh Virgil, Virgil, wert thou now alive,
Whose painful pen in stout Augustus’ days,
Did deign to let the base and silly fly[2]
To scape away without thy praise of her.
I do not doubt but long or ere this time,
Alphonsus’ fame unto the heavens should climb;
Alphonsus’ fame, that man of Jove his seed,
Sprung from the loins of the immortal gods,
Whose sire, although he habit on the earth,
May claim a portion in the fiery pole,
As well as any one whate’er he be.
But, setting by Alphonsus’ power divine,
What man alive, or now amongst the ghosts,
Could countervail his courage and his strength?
But thou art dead, yea, Virgil, thou art gone,
And all his acts drowned in oblivion.
And all his acts drowned in oblivion?
No, Venus, no, though poets prove unkind,
And loath to stand in penning of his deeds,
Yet rather than they shall be clean forgot,
I, which was wont to follow Cupid’s games
Will put in ure Minerva’s sacred art;
And this my hand, which used for to pen
The praise of love and Cupid’s peerless power,
Will now begin to treat of bloody Mars,
Of doughty deeds and valiant victories.

[The nine muses enter: MELPOMENE (Muse of Tragedy), CLIO (History), ERATO (Love Poetry), Euterpe (Music), Terpsechore (Dance), Thalia (Comedy), Urania (Astronomy), Polymnia (Rhetoric), and CALLIOPE (Epic Poetry). All of them are playing upon sundry instruments, except for CALLIOPE, who comes last, her head hanging. She is not playing her instrument.]

But see whereas the stately muses come,
Whose harmony doth very far surpass
The heavenly music of Apollo’s pipe!
But what means this? Melpomene herself
With all her sisters sound their instruments,
Only excepted fair Calliope,
Who, coming last and hanging down her head,
Doth plainly show by outward actions
What secret sorrow doth torment her heart.

[Stands aside.

Melpomene

Calliope, thou which so oft didst crake
How that such clients clustered to thy court
By thick and threefold, as not any one
Of all thy sisters might compare with thee,
Where be thy scholars now become, I trow?
Where are they vanished in such sudden sort,
That, while as we do play upon our strings,
You stand still lazing, and have naught to do?

Clio

Melpomene, make you a why of that?
I know full oft you have [in[3]] authors read,
The higher tree, the sooner is his fall,
And they which first do flourish and bear sway,
Upon the sudden vanish clean away.

Calliope

Mock on apace; my back is broad enough
To bear your flouts, as many as they be.
That year is rare that ne’er feels winter’s storms;
That tree is fertile which ne’er wanteth fruit;
And that same muse hath heaped well in store
Which never wanteth clients at her door.
But yet, my sisters, when the surgent seas
Have ebbed their fill, their waves do rise again
And fill their banks up to the very brims;
And when my pipe hath eased herself a while,
Such store of suitors shall my seat frequent,
That you shall see my scholars be not spent.

Erato

Spent, quoth you, sister? Then we were to blame,
If we should say your scholars all were spent.
But pray now tell me when your painful pen
Will rest enough?

Melpomene

When husbandmen shear hogs.

Venus

[coming forward]

Melpomene, Erato, and the rest,
From thickest shrubs dame Venus did espy
The mortal hatred which you jointly bear
Unto your sister high Calliope.
What, do you think if that the tree do bend,
It follows therefore that it needs must break?
And since her pipe a little while doth rest,
It never shall be able for to sound?
Yes, muses, yes, if that she will vouchsafe
To entertain Dame Venus in her school,
And further me with her instructions,
She shall have scholars which will dain to be
In any other muse’s company.

Calliope

Most sacred Venus, do you doubt of that?
Calliope would think her three times blessed
For to receive a goddess in her school,
Especially so high an one as you,
Which rules the earth, and guides the heavens too.

Venus

Then sound your pipes, and let us bend our steps
Unto the top of high Parnassus hill,
And there together do our best devoir
For to describe Alphonsus’ warlike fame,
And, in the manner of a comedy,
Set down his noble valor presently.

Calliope

As Venus wills, so bids Calliope.

Melpomene

And as you bid, your sisters do agree.

Exeunt.

[Act I Scene I][edit]

Enter Carinus the father, and Alphonsus his son.

Carinus

My noble son, since first I did recount
The noble acts your predecessors did
In Aragon, against their warlike foes,
I never yet could see thee joy at all,
But hanging down thy head as malcontent,
Thy youthful days in mourning have been spent.
Tell me, Alphonsus, what might be the cause
That makes thee thus to pine away with care?
Hath old Carinus done thee any offence
In reckoning up these stories unto thee?
What, ne’er a word but mum? Alphonsus, speak,
Unless your father’s fatal day you seek.

Alphonsus

Although, dear father, I have often vowed
Ne’er to unfold the secrets of my heart
To any man or woman, whosome’er
Dwells underneath the circle of the sky;
Yet do your words so conjure me, dear sire,
That needs I must fulfill that you require.
Then so it is. Amongst the famous tales
Which you rehearsed done by our sires in war,
Whenas you came unto your father’s days,
With sobbing notes, with sighs and blubbering tears,
And much ado, at length you thus began;
“Next to Alphonsus should my father come
For to possess the diadem by right
Of Aragon, but that the wicked wretch
His younger brother, with aspiring mind,
By secret treason robbed him of his life,
And me his son of that which was my due.”
These words, my sire, did so torment my mind,
As had I been with Ixion[4] in hell,
The ravening bird could never plague me worse;
For ever since my mind hath troubled been
Which way I might revenge this traitorous fact,
And that recover which is ours by right.

Carinus

Ah, my Alphonsus, never think on that;
In vain it is to strive against the stream.
The crown is lost, and now in hucksters’ hands,
And all our hope is cast into the dust.
Bridle these thoughts, and learn the same of me,
A quiet life doth pass an empery.

Alphonsus

Yet, noble father, ere Carinus’ brood
Shall brook his foe for to usurp his seat,
He’ll die the death with honor in the field,
And so his life and sorrows briefly end.
But did I know my froward fate were such
As I should fail in this my just attempt,
This sword, dear father, should the author be
To make an end of this my tragedy.
Therefore, sweet sire, remain you here a while,
And let me walk my fortune for to try.
I do not doubt but ere the time be long,
I’ll quite his cost, or else myself will die.

Carinus

My noble son, since that thy mind is such
For to revenge thy father’s foul abuse,
As that my words may not a whit prevail
To stay thy journey, go with happy fate,
And soon return unto thy father’s cell,
With such a train as Julius Caesar came
To noble Rome, whenas he had achieved
The mighty monarch of the triple world.
Meantime Carinus in this silly grove
Will spend his days with prayers and orisons,[5]
To mighty Jove, to further thine intent.
Farewell, dear son, Alphonsus, fare you well.

Exit.

Alphonsus

And is he gone? Then hie, Alphonsus, hie,
To try thy fortune where thy fates do call.
A noble mind disdains to hide his head,
And let his foes triumph in his overthrow.

Alphonsus starts to go out, but Albinius enters and speaks.

Albinius

What loitering fellow have we spied here?
Presume not, villain, further for to go,
Unless you do at length the same repent.

Alphonsus comes towards Albinius.

Alphonsus

“Villain,” sayest thou? Nay, “villain” in thy throat!
What knowst thou, skipjack, whom thou villain callest?

Albinius

A common vassal I do villain call.

Alphonsus

That shall thou soon approve, persuade thyself,
Or else I’ll die, or thou shalt die for me.

Albinius

What, do I dream, or do my dazzling eyes
Deceive me? Is’t Alphonsus that I see?
Doth now Medea use her wonted charms
For to delude Albinius’ fantasy?
Or doth black Pluto, King of dark Avern,
Seek [for[6]] to flout me with his counterfeit?
His body like to Alphonsus framed is;
His face resembles much Alphonsus’ hue;
His noble mind declares him for no less.
‘Tis he indeed. Woe worth Albinius,
Whose babbling tongue hath caused his own annoy!
Why doth not Jove send from the glittering skies
His thunderbolts to chastise this offence?
Why doth Dame Terra cease with greedy jaws
To swallow up Albinius presently?
What, shall I fly and hide my traitorous head,
From stout Alphonsus whom I so misused?
Or shall I yield? Tush, yielding is in vain,
Nor can I fly, but he will follow me.
Then cast thyself down at his grace’s feet,
Confess thy fault, and ready make thy breast
To entertain thy well-deserved death.

Albinius kneels down.

Alphonsus

What news, my friend? Why are you so blank,
That erst before did vaunt it to the skies?

Albinius

Pardon, dear lord! Albinius pardon craves
For this offence, which, by the heavens I vow,
Unwittingly I did unto your grace;
For had I known Alphonsus had been here,
Ere that my tongue had spoke so traitorously,
This hand should make my very soul to die.

Alphonsus

Rise up, my friend, thy pardon soon is got.

Albinius rises up.

But, prithee, tell me what the cause might be,
That in such sort thou erst upbraidest me?

Albinius

Most mighty prince, since first your father’s sire
Did yield his ghost unto the sisters three,
And old Carinus forced was to fly
His native soil and royal diadem,
I, for because I seemed to complain
Against their treason, shortly was forewarned
Ne’er more to haunt the bounds of Aragon,
On pain of death; then like a man forlorn,
I sought about to find some resting place,
And at the length did hap upon this shore,
Where showing forth my cruel banishment,
By King Belinus I am succored.
But now, my lord, to answer your demand,
It happens so, that the usurping king
Of Aragon makes war upon this land
For certain tribute which he claimeth here;
Wherefore Belinus sent me round about
His country for to gather up [his] men
For to withstand this most injurious foe;
Which being done, returning with the king,
Despitefully I did so taunt your grace,
Imagining you had some soldier been,
The which, for fear, had sneaked from the camp.

Alphonsus

Enough, Albinius, I do know thy mind.
But may it be that these thy happy news
Should be of truth, or have you forged them?

Albinius

The gods forbid that ere Albinius’ tongue
Should once be found to forge a feigned tale,
Especially unto his sovereign lord.
But if Alphonsus think that I do feign,
Stay here a while, and you shall plainly see
My words be true, whenas you do perceive
Our royal army march before your face—
The which, if’t please my noble lord to stay,
I’ll hasten on with all the speed I may.

Alphonsus

Make haste, Albinius, if you love my life;
But yet beware, whenas your army comes,
You do not make as though you do me know,
For I awhile a soldier base will be,
Until I find time more convenient
To show, Albinius, what is mine intent.

Albinius

Whate’er Alphonsus fittest doth esteem,
Albinius for his profit best will deem.

Exit.

Alphonsus

Now do I see both gods and fortune too
Do join their powers to raise Alphonsus’ fame;
For in this broil I do not greatly doubt
But that I shall my cousin’s courage tame.
But see whereas Belinus’ army comes,
And he himself, unless I guess awry.
Whoe’er it be, I do not pass a pin,
Alphonsus means his soldier for to be.

[He stands aside.]

[Act I Scene II][edit]

Enter Belinus King of Naples, Albinius, Fabius, marching with their soldiers (and make a stand).

Belinus

Thus far, my lords, we trained have our camp
For to encounter haughty Aragon,
Who with a mighty power of straggling mates
Hath traitorously assailed this our land,
And burning towns, and sacking cities fair,
Doth play the devil wheresome’er he comes.
Now, as we are informed of our scouts,
He marcheth on unto our chiefest seat,
Naples, I mean, that city of renown,
For to begirt it with his bands about,
And so at length, the which high Jove forbid,
To sack the same, as erst he other did.
If which should hap, Belinus were undone,
His country spoiled, and all his subjects slain[7].
Wherefore your sovereign thinketh it most meet
For to prevent the fury of the foe,
And Naples succor, that distressed town,
By entering in, ere Aragon doth come,
With all our men, which will sufficient be
For to withstand their cruel battery.

Albinius

The silly serpent, found by country swain,
And cut in pieces by his furious blows,
Yet if her[8] head do scape away untouched,
As many write, it very strangely goes
To fetch an herb, with which in little time
Her battered corpse again she doth conjoin:
But if by chance the ploughman’s sturdy staff
Do hap to hit upon the serpent’s head,
And bruise the same, though all the rest be sound,
Yet doth the silly serpent lie for dead,
Nor can the rest of all her body serve
To find a salve which may her life preserve.
Even so, my lord, if Naples once be lost,
Which is the head of all your grace’s land,
Easy it were for the malicious foe
To get the other cities in their hand.
But if from them that Naples town be free,
I do not doubt but safe the rest shall be.
And therefore, mighty king, I think it best,
To succor Naples rather than the rest.

Belinus

‘Tis bravely spoken; by my crown I swear,
I like thy counsel, and will follow it.

He points toward Alphonsus.

But hark, Albinius, dost thou know the man,
That doth so closely overthwart us stand?

Albinius

Not I, my lord, nor never saw him yet.

Belinus

Then, prithee, go, and ask him presently,
What countryman he is, and why he comes
Into this place? Perhaps he is some one,
That is sent hither as a secret spy
To hear and see in secret what we do.

Albinius and Fabius go toward Alphonsus.

Albinius

My friend, what art thou, that so like a spy
Dost sneak about Belinus’ royal camp?

Alphonsus

I am a man.

Fabius

A man? We know the same:
But prithee, tell me, and set scoffing by,
What countryman thou art, and why you come,
That we may soon resolve the king thereof?

Alphonsus

Why, say, I am a soldier.

Fabius

Of whose band?

Alphonsus

Of his that will most wages to me give.

Fabius

But will you be
Content to serve Belinus in his wars?

Alphonsus

Ay, if he’ll reward me as I do deserve,
And grant whate’er I win, it shall be mine
Incontinent.

Albinius

Believe me, sir, your service costly is.
But stay a while, and I will bring you word
What King Belinus says unto the same.

Belinus

What news, Albinius? Who is that we see?

Albinius

It is, my lord, a soldier that you see,
Who fain would serve your grace in these your wars,
But that, I fear, his service is too dear.

Belinus

Too dear, why so? What doth the soldier crave?

Albinius

He craves, my lord, all things that with his sword
He doth obtain, whatever that they be.

Belinus

Content, my friend; if thou wilt succor me,
Whate’er you get, that challenge as thine own,
Belinus gives it frankly unto thee,
Although it be the crown of Aragon.
Come on, therefore, and let us hie apace
To Naples town, whereas by this I know
Our foes have pitched their tents against our walls.

Alphonsus[9]

March on, my lord, for I will follow you,
And do not doubt but, ere the time be long,
I shall obtain the crown of Aragon.

Exeunt.

Act II: Prologue[edit]

Enter Belinus, Albinius, Fabius, Alphonsus, with the soldier; as soon as they are in, strike up alarum awhile, and then enter Venus.

Venus

Thus from the pit of pilgrim’s poverty
Alphonsus ‘gins by step and step to climb
Unto the top of friendly Fortune’s wheel.
From banished state, as you have plainly seen,
He is transformed into a soldier’s life,
And marcheth in the ensign of the king
Of worthy Naples, which Belinus hight;
Not for because that he doth love him so,
But that he may revenge him on his foe.
Now on the top of lusty barbed steed
He mounted is, in glittering armor clad,
Seeking about the troops of Aragon,
For to encounter with his traitorous niece.
How he doth speed, and what doth him befall,
Mark this our act, for it doth show it all.

Exit Venus.

Act II Scene I[edit]

Strike up alarum. Enter Flaminius at one door, Alphonsus at another: they fight; Alphonsus kill Flaminius, and say:

Alphonsus

Go pack thou hence unto the Stygian lake,
And make report unto thy traitorous sire
How well thou hast enjoyed the diadem
Which he by treason set upon thy head.
And if he ask thee who did send thee down,
Alphonsus say, who now must wear thy crown.

Strike up alarum. Enter Laelius, who seeing that his king is slain, upbraids Alphonsus in this sort.

Laelius

Traitor, how darest thou look me in the face,
Whose mighty king thou traitorously hast slain?
What, dost thou think Flaminius hath no friends
For to revenge his death on thee again?
Yes, be you sure that, ere you scape from hence,
Thy gasping ghost shall bear him company,
Or else myself, fighting for his defense,
Will be content by those thy hands to die.

Alphonsus

Laelius, few words would better thee become,
Especially as now the case doth stand;
And didst thou know whom thou dost threaten thus,
We should you have more calmer out of hand:
For, Laelius, know that I Alphonsus am,
The son and heir to old Carinus, whom
The traitorous father of Flaminius
Did secretly bereave his diadem.
But see the just revenge of mighty Jove.
The father dead, the son is likewise slain
By that man’s hand who they did count as dead,
Yet doth survive to wear the diadem,
When they themselves accompany the ghosts
Which wander round about the Stygian fields.

Laelius gaze upon Alphonsus.

Muse not hereat, for it is true, I say,
I am Alphonsus, whom thou hast misused.

[Laelius]

The man whose death I did so oft lament?

Kneel down.

Then pardon me for these uncourteous words,
The which I in my rage did utter forth,
Pricked by the duty of a loyal mind:
Pardon, Alphonsus, this my first offence,
And let me die if ere I flight again.

Alphonsus

Laelius, I fain would pardon this offence,
And eke accept thee to my grace again,
But that I fear that, when I stand in need
And want your help, you will your lord betray.
How say you, Laelius, may I trust to thee?

Laelius

Ay, noble lord, by all the gods I vow;
For first shall heavens want stars, and foaming seas
Want watery drops, before I’ll traitor be
Unto Alphonsus, whom I honor so.

Alphonsus

Well then, arise;

Laelius rises.

and for because I’ll try
If that thy words and deeds be both alike,
Go haste and fetch the youths of Aragon,
Which now I hear have turned their heels and fled;
Tell them your chance, and bring them back again
Into this wood; where in ambushment lie,
Until I send or come for you myself.

Laelius

I will, my lord.

Exit Laelius.

Alphonsus

Full little thinks Belinus and his peers
What thoughts Alphonsus casteth in his mind;
For if they did, they would not greatly haste
To pay the same the which they promised me.

Enter Belinus, Albinius, Fabius, with their soldiers, marching.

Belinus

Like simple sheep, when shepherd absent is
Far from his flock, assailed by greedy wolves,[10]
Do scattering fly about, some here, some there,
To keep their bodies from their ravening jaws,
So do the fearful youths of Aragon
Run round about the green and pleasant plains,
And hide their heads from Neapolitans;
Such terror have their strong and sturdy blows
Struck to their hearts, as for a world of gold
I warrant you they will not come again.
But, noble lords, where is the knight become
Which made the blood besprinkle all the place
Whereas he did encounter with his foe?
My friend Albinius, know you where he is?

Albinius

Not I, my lord, for since in thickest ranks
I saw him chase Flaminius at the heels,
I never yet could set mine eyes on him.

Albinius spies out Alphonsus, and shows him to Belinus.

But see, my lord, whereas the warrior stands,
Or else my sight doth fail me at this time.

Belinus

‘Tis he indeed, who, as I do suppose,
Hath slain the king, or else some other lord.
For well I wot, a carcass I do see
Hard at his feet, lie struggling on the ground.
Come on, Albinius, we will try the truth.

Belinus and Albinius go towards Alphonsus. Belinus say to Alphonsus:

Hail to the noble victor of our foes.

Alphonsus

Thanks, mighty prince, but yet I seek not this,
It is not words must recompense my pain,
But deeds: when first I took up arms for you,
Your promise was, whate’er my sword did win
In fight, as his Alphonsus should it crave.

Show Belinus Flaminius, who lieth all this while dead at his feet.

See then where lies thy foe Flaminius,
Whose crown my sword hath conquered in the field.
Therefore, Belinus, make no long delay,
But that discharge you promised for to pay.

Belinus

Will nothing else satisfy thy conquering mind
Besides the crown? Well, since thou hast it won,
Thou shalt it have, though far against my will.

Alphonsus sit in the chair; Belinus takes the crown off of Flaminius’ head, and puts it on that of Alphonsus.

Here doth Belinus crown thee with his hand
The king of Aragon.

Sound trumpets and drums within.

What, are you pleased?

Alphonsus

Not so, Belinus, till you promise me
All things belonging to the royal crown
Of Aragon, and make your lordings swear
For to defend me to their utmost power
Against all men that shall gainsay the same.

Belinus

Mark, what belonged erst unto the crown
Of Aragon, that challenge as thine own;
Belinus gives it frankly unto thee,
And swears[11] by all the powers of glittering skies
To do my best for to maintain the same,
So that it be not prejudicial
Unto mine honor, or my country-soil.

Albinius

And by the sacred seat of mighty Jove
Albinius swears that first he’ll die the death,
Before he’ll see Alphonsus suffer wrong.

Fabius

What erst Albinius vowed we jointly vow.

Alphonsus

Thanks, mighty lords, but yet I greatly fear
That very few will keep the oaths they swear.
But what, Belinus, why stand you so long,
And cease from offering homage unto me?
What, know you not that I thy sovereign am,
Crowned by thee and all thy other lords,
And now confirmed by your solemn oaths?
Feed not thyself with fond persuasions,
But presently come yield thy crown to me,
And do me homage, or by heavens I swear
I’ll force thee to it maugre all thy train.

Belinus

How now, base brat! What, are thy wits thine own,
That thou darest thus abraid me in my land?
‘Tis best for thee these speeches to recall,
Or else by Jove I’ll make thee to repent
That e’er thou settest thy foot in Naples’ soil.

Alphonsus

“Base brat,” sayest thou? As good a man as thou.
But say I came but of a base descent,
My deeds shall make my glory for to shine
As clear as Luna in a winter’s night.
But, for because thou braggest so of thy birth,
I’ll see how it shall profit thee anon.

Fabius

Alphonsus, cease from these thy threatening words,
And lay aside this thy presumptuous mind,
Or else be sure thou shalt the same repent.

Alphonsus

How now, sir boy, will you be prattling too?
‘Tis best for thee to hold thy tattling tongue,
Unless I send some one to scourge thy breech.
Why, then, I see, ‘tis time to look about,
When every boy Alphonsus dares control.
But be they sure, ere Phoebus’ golden beams
Have compassed the circle of the sky,
I’ll clog their tongues, since nothing else will serve
To keep those vilde and threatening speeches in.
Farewell, Belinus, look thou to thyself;
Alphonsus means to have thy crown ere night.

Exit Alphonsus.

Belinus

What, is he gone? The devil break his neck!
The fiends of hell torment his traitorous corpse!
Is this the quittance of Belinus’ grace,
Which he did show unto that thankless wretch,
That runagate, that rakehell, yea, that thief?
For well I wot, he hath robbed me of a crown.
If ever he had sprung from gentle blood,
He would not thus misuse his favorer.

Albinius

“That runagate,” “that rakehell,” “yea, that thief”?
Stay there, sir king, your mouth runs overmuch;
It ill becomes the subject for to use
Such traitorous terms against his sovereign.
Know thou, Belinus, that Carinus’ son
Is neither rakehell, [no[12]], nor runagate.
But be thou sure that ere the darksome night
Do drive God Phoebus to his Thetis’ lap,
Both thou and all the rest of this thy train,
Shall well repent the words which you have sain.[13]

Belinus

What, traitorous villain, dost thou threaten me?
Lay hold on him, and see he do not scape;
I’ll teach the slave to know to whom he speaks.

[Albinius][14]

To thee I speak, and to thy fellows all;
And though as now you have me in your power,
Yet doubt I not but that in little space
These eyes shall see thy treason recompensed,
And then I mean to vaunt[15] our victory.

Belinus

Nay, proud Albinius, never build on that,
For though the gods do chance for to appoint
Alphonsus victor of Belinus’ land,
Yet shalt thou never live to see that day;
And therefore, Fabius, stand not lingering,
But presently slash off his traitorous head.

Albinius

Slash off his head? As though Albinius’ head
Were then so easy to be slashed off.
In faith, sir, no; when you are gone and dead,
I hope to flourish like the pleasant spring.

Belinus

Why, how now, Fabius! What, do you stand in doubt
To do the deed? What fear you? Who dares seek
For to revenge his death on thee again,
Since that Belinus did command it so?
Or are you waxed so dainty, that you dare
Not use your sword for staining of your hands?
If it be so, then let me see thy sword,
And I will be his butcher for this time.

Fabius give Belinus thy sword drawn; Belinus say as followeth.

Now, Sir Albinius, are you of the mind
That erst you were? What, do you look to see
And triumph in Belinus’ overthrow?
I hope the very sight of this my blade
Hath changed your mind into another tune.

Albinius

Not so, Belinus, I am constant still.
My mind is like to the asbeston stone,
Which, if it once be heat in flames of fire,
Denieth to becomen cold again.
Even so am I, and shall be till I die;
And though I should see Atropos appear,
With knife in hand, to slit my thread in twain,
Yet ne’er Albinius should persuaded be
But that Belinus he should vanquished see.

Belinus

Nay, then, Albinius since that words are vain
For to persuade you from this heresy,
This sword shall sure put you out of doubt.

Belinus offers to strike off Albinius’ head; strike up alarum; enter Alphonsus and his men; fly Belinus and Fabius, follow Alphonsus and Albinius.

Act II Scene II[edit]

Enter Laelius, Miles, and his servants.

Laelius

My noble Lords of Aragon, I know
You wonder much what might the occasion be
That Laelius, which erst did fly the field,
Doth egg you forwards now unto the wars;
But when you hear my reason, out of doubt
You’ll be content with this my rash attempt.
When first our King, Flaminius I do mean,
Did set upon the Neapolitans,
The worst of you did know and plainly see
How far they were unable to withstand
The mighty forces of our royal camp,
Until such time as froward fates we thought,
Although the fates ordained it for our gain,
Did send a stranger stout, whose sturdy blows
And force alone did cause our overthrow.
But to our purpose; this same martial knight
Did hap to hit upon Flaminius,
And lent our king then such a friendly blow
As that his gasping ghost to Limbo went.
Which when I saw, and seeking to revenge,
My noble lords, did hap on such a prize
As never king nor kaiser got the like.

Miles

Laelius, of force we must confess to thee,
We wondered all, whenas you did persuade
Us to return unto the wars again;
But since our marvel is increased much
By these your words, which sound of happiness,
Therefore, good Laelius, make no tarrying,
But soon unfold thy happy chance to us.

Laelius

Then, friends and fellow soldiers, hark to me.
When Laelius thought for to revenge his king
On that same knight, in steed of mortal foe
I found him for to be our chiefest friend.

Miles

Our chiefest friend? I hardly can believe
That he, which made such bloody massacres
Of stout Italians, can in any point
Bear friendship to the country or the king.

Laelius

As for your king, Miles, I hold with you,
He bare no friendship to Flaminius,
But hated him as bloody Atropos.
But for your country, Laelius doth avow
He loves as well as any other land,
Yea, sure, he loves it best of all the world.
And, for because you shall not think that I
Do say the same without a reason why,
Know that the knight Alphonsus hath to name,
Both son and heir to old Carinus, whom
Flaminius’ sire bereaved of his crown;
Who did not seek the ruin of our host
For any envy he did bear to us,
But to revenge him on his mortal foe;
Which by the help of high celestial Jove
He hath achieved with honor in the field.

Miles

Alphonsus, man! I’ll ne’er persuaded be
That ere Alphonsus may survive again,
Who with Carinus many years ago
Was said to wander in the Stygian fields.

Laelius

Truth, noble Miles; these mine ears have heard,
For certainty reported unto me,
That old Carinus with his peerless son
Had felt the sharpness of the sisters’ shears;
And had I not of late Alphonsus seen
In good estate, though all the world should say
He is alive, I would not credit them.
But, fellow soldiers, wend you back with me,
And let us lurk within the secret shade
Which he himself appointed unto us;
And if you find my words to be untruth,
Then let me die to recompense the wrong.

Strike up alarum; enter Albinius with his sword drawn, and say:

Albinius

Laelius, make haste: soldiers of Aragon,
Set lingering by, and come and help your king,
I mean Alphonsus, who, whilst that he did
Pursue Belinus at the very heels,
Was suddenly environed about
With all the troops of mighty Milan-land.

Miles

What news is this? and is it very so?
Is our Alphonsus yet in human state,
Whom all the world did judge for to be dead?
Yet can I scarce give credit to the same.
Give credit? Yes, and since the Milan Duke
Hath broke his league of friendship, be he sure,
Ere Cynthia, the shining lamp of night,
Doth scale the heavens with her horned head,
Both he and his shall very plainly see
The league is burst, that caused long the glee.

Laelius

And could the traitor harbor in his breast
Such mortal treason ‘gainst his sovereign,
As when he should with fire and sword defend
Him from his foes, he seeks his overthrow?
March on, my friends; I ne’er shall joy at all,
Until I see that bloody traitor’s fall.

Exeunt.

Strike up alarum; fly Belinus, follow Laelius : fly Fabius, follow Albinius: fly the Duke of Milan, follow Miles.

Act III: Prologue[edit]

Strike up alarum. Enter Venus.

Venus

No sooner did Alphonsus with his troop
Set on the soldiers of Belinus’ band,
But that the fury of his sturdy blows
Did strike such terror to their daunted minds
That glad was he which could escape away,
With life and limb, forth of that bloody fray.
Belinus flies unto the Turkish soil,
To crave the aide of Amurack their king;
Unto the which he willingly did consent,
And sends Belinus, with two other kings,
To know God Mahomet’s pleasure in the same.
Meantime the empress by Medea’s help
Did use such charms that Amurack did see,
In soundest sleep, what afterward should hap.
How Amurack did recompense her pain,
With mickle more, this act shall show you plain.

Exit Venus.

Act III: Scene I[edit]

Enter one, carrying two crowns upon a crest: Alphonsus, Albinius, Laelius and Miles, with their soldiers.

Alphonsus

Welcome, brave youths of Aragon, to me,
Yea welcome, Miles, Laelius and the rest,
Whose prowess alone hath been the only cause
That we, like victors, have subdued our foes.
Lord, what a pleasure was it to my mind
To see Belinus, which not long before
Did with his threatenings terrify the gods,
Now scud apace from warlike Laelius’ blows.
The Duke of Milan, he increased our sport,
Who[16] doubting that his force was over-weak
For to withstand, Miles, thy sturdy arm,
Did give more credence to his frisking skips
Than to the sharpness of his cutting blade.
What Fabius did to pleasure us withal,
Albinius knows as well as I myself;
For well I wot, if that thy tired steed
Had been as fresh and swift in foot as his,
He should have felt, yea known for certainty,
To check Alphonsus did deserve to die.
Briefly, my friends and fellow peers in arms,
The worst of you deserve[17] such mickle praise
As that my tongue denies for to set forth
The demi-parcel of your valiant deeds;
So that, perforce, I must by duty be
Bound to you all for this your courtesy.

Miles

Not so, my lord; for if our willing arms
Have pleasured you so much as you do say,
We have done naught but that becometh us
For to defend our mighty sovereign.
As for my part, I count my labor small,
Yea though it had been twice as much again,
Since that Alphonsus doth accept thereof.

Alphonsus

Thanks, worthy Miles. But lest[18] all the world
Should count Alphonsus thankless for to be,
Laelius sit down, and Miles sit by him,
And that receive the which your swords have won.

Sit down Laelius and Miles.

First, for because thou, Laelius, in these broils,
By martial might, didst proud Belinus chase
From troop to troop, from side to side about,
And never ceased from this thy swift pursuit
Until thou hadst obtained his royal crown,
Therefore, I say, I’ll do thee naught but right,
And give thee that which thou well hast won.
Set the crown on his head.
Here doth Alphonsus crown thee, Laelius, king
Of Naples’ town, with all dominions
That erst belonged to our traitorous foe,
That proud Belinus, in his regiment.

Sound trumpets and drums.

Miles, thy share the Milan Dukedom is,
For, well I wot, thy sword deserved no less;

Set the crown on his head.

The which Alphonsus frankly giveth thee,
In presence of his warlike men at arms;
And if that any stomach this my deed,
Alphonsus can revenge thy wrong with speed.

Sound trumpets and drums.

Now to Albinius, which in all my toils
I have both faithful, yea, and friendly found:
Since that the gods and friendly fates assign
This present time to me to recompense
The sundry pleasures thou hast done to me,
Sit down by them, and on thy faithful head
Take the crown from thy own head.
Receive the crown of peerless Aragon.

Albinius

Pardon, dear lord, Albinius at this time;
It ill becomes me for to wear a crown
Whenas my lord is destitute himself.
Why, high Alphonsus, if I should receive
This crown of you, the which high love forbid,
Where would yourself obtain a diadem?
Naples is gone, Milan possessed is,
And naught is left for you but Aragon.

Alphonsus

And naught is left for me but Aragon?
Yes, surely, yes, my fates have so decreed,
That Aragon should be too base a thing
For to obtain Alphonsus for her king.
What, hear you not how that our scattered foes,
Belinus, Fabius, and the Milan Duke,
Are fled for succor to the Turkish court?
And think you not that Amurack their king,
Will, with the mightiest power of all his land,
Seek to revenge Belinus overthrow?
Then doubt I not but, ere these broils do end,
Alphonsus shall possess the diadem
That Amurack now wears upon his head.
Sit down therefore, and that receive of me
The which the fates appointed unto thee.

Albinius

Thou king of heaven, which by thy power divine
Dost see the secrets of each liver’s heart,
Bear record now with what unwilling mind
I do receive the crown of Aragon.

Albinius sit down by Laelius and Miles; Alphonsus set the crown on his head, and say

Alphonsus

Arise, Albinius, King of Aragon,
Crowned by me, who, till my gasping ghost
Do part asunder from my breathless corpse,
Will be thy shield against all men alive
That for thy kingdom any way do strive.
Sound trumpets and drums.
Now since we have, in such an happy hour,
Confirmed three kings, come, let us march with speed
Into the city, for to celebrate
With mirth and joy this blissful festival.

Exeunt omnes.

Act III Scene II[edit]

Enter Amurack the great Turk, Belinus, Fabius, Arcastus King of Moors, Claramount King of Barbary, Bajazet a Lord, with their train.

Amurack

Welcome, Belinus, to thy cousin’s court,
Whose late arrival in such posting pace
Doth bring both joy and sorrow to us all;
Sorrow, because the fates have been so false,
To let Alphonsus drive thee from thy land,
And joy, since that now mighty Mahomet
Hath given me cause to recompense at full
The sundry pleasures I received of thee.
Therefore, Belinus, do but ask and have,
For Amurack doth grant whate’er you crave.

Belinus

Thou second sun, which with thy glimpsing beams
Dost clarify each corner of the earth,
Belinus comes not, as erst Midas did
To mighty Bacchus, to desire of him
That whatsoe’er at any time he touched
Might turned be to gold incontinent.
Nor do I come as Jupiter did erst
Unto the palace of Amphitrion,
For any fond or foul concupiscence,
Which I do bear to Alcumena’s hue,
But as poor Saturn, forced by mighty Jove
To fly his country, banished and forlorn,
Did crave the aide of Troos, King of Troy,
So comes Belinus to high Amurack;
And if he can but once your aid obtain,
He turns with speed to Naples back again.

Amurack

My aid, Belinus? Do you doubt of that?
If all the men at arms of Africa,
Of Asia likewise, will sufficient be
To press the pomp of that usurping mate,
Assure thyself, thy kingdom shall be thine,
If Mahomet say ay unto the same;
For were I sure to vanquish all our foes,
And find such spoils in ransacking their tents
As never any kaiser did obtain,
Yet would I not set foot forth of this land,
If Mahomet our journey did withstand.

Belinus

Nor would Belinus, for King Croesus’ trash,
Wish Amurack to displease the gods,
In pleasuring me in such a trifling toy.
Then, mighty monarch, if it be thy will,
Get their consents, and then the act fulfill.

Amurack

You counsel well; therefore, Belinus, haste,
And, Claramont, go bear him company,
With King Arcastus, to the city walls:
Then bend with speed unto the darksome grove,
Where Mahomet this many a hundred year
Hath prophesied unto our ancestors.
Tell to his priests that Amurack your king
Is now selecting all his men at arms
To set upon that proud Alphonsus’ troop.
The cause you know, and can inform him well,
That makes me take these bloody broils in hand;
And say, that I desire their sacred god,
That Mahomet which ruleth all the skies,
To send me word, and that most speedily,
Which of us shall obtain the victory.

Exeunt omnes, praeter Bajazet and Amurack.

You, Bajazet, go post away apace
To Syria, Scythia, and Albania,
To Babylon, with Mesopotamia,
Asia, Armenia, and all other lands
Which owe their homage to high Amurack;
Charge all their kings with expedition
To gather up the chiefest men at arms
Which now remain in their dominions,
And on the twentie[th] day of the same month,
To come and wait on Amurack their king,
At his chief city Constantinople,
Tell them, moreover, that who so doth fail,
Naught else but death from prison shall him bail.

Exit Bajazet. As soon as he is gone, sound music within.

What heavenly music soundeth in my ear?
Peace, Amurack, and hearken to the same.

Sound music, hearken Amurack, and fall asleep. Enter Medea, Fausta the Empress, Iphigina her daughter.

Medea

Now have our charms fulfilled our minds full well;
High Amurack is lulled fast asleep,
And doubt I not but, ere he wakes again,
You shall perceive Medea did not gibe,
Whenas she put this practice in your mind:
Sit, worthy Fausta, at thy spouse his feet.
Fausta and Iphigina sit down at Amurack’s feet.
Iphigina, sit thou on the other side:
Whate’er you see, be not aghast thereat,
But bear in mind what Amurack doth chat.

Medea do ceremonies belonging to conjuring, and say

Thou which wert wont in Agamemnon’s days
To utter forth Apollo’s oracles
At sacred Delphos, Calchas I do mean,
I charge thee come; all lingering set aside,
Unless the penance you thereof abide.
I conjure thee by Pluto’s loathsome lake,
By all the hags which harbor in the same,
By stinking Styx, and filthy Phlegethon,
To come with speed, and truly to fulfill
That which Medea to thee straight shall will.

Rise Calchas up, in a white surplice and a cardinal's miter, and say

Calchas

Thou wretched witch, when wilt thou make an end
Of troubling us with these thy cursed charms?
What meanst thou thus to call me from my grave?
Shall ne’er my ghost obtain his quiet rest?

Medea

Yes, Calchas, yes, your rest doth now approach;
Medea means to trouble thee no more,
Whenas thou hast fulfilled her mind this once.
Go, get thee hence to Pluto back again,
And there enquire of the Destinies
How Amurack shall speed in these his wars?
Peruse their books, and mark what is decreed
By Jove himself, and all his fellow gods;
And when thou knowst the certainty thereof,
By fleshless visions show it presently
To Amurack, in pain of penalty.

Calchas

Forced by thy charm, though with unwilling mind,
I haste to hell, the certainty to find.

Calchas sink down where you came up.

Medea

Now, peerless princes, I must needs be gone;
My hasty business calls me from this place.
There resteth naught, but that you bear in mind
What Amurack in this his fit doth say;
For mark, what dreaming, madam, he doth prate,
Assure yourself, that that shall be his fate.

Fausta

Though very loath to let thee so depart,
Farewell, Medea, easer of my heart.

Exit Medea.

Sound instruments within; Amurack as it were in a dream, say

Amurack

What, Amurack, doest thou begin to nod?
Is this the care that thou hast of thy wars?
As when thou shouldst be prancing of thy steed,
To egg thy soldiers forward in thy wars,
Thou sittest moping by the fireside?
See where thy viceroys grovel on the ground;
Look where Belinus breatheth forth his ghost;
Behold by millions how thy men do fall
Before Alphonsus, like to silly sheep.
And canst thou stand still lazing in this sort?
No, proud Alphonsus, Amurack doth fly
To quail thy courage, and that speedily.

Sound instruments awhile within, and then Amurack say

And dost thou think, thou proud injurious god,
Mahound I mean, since thy vain prophesies
Led Amurack into this doleful case,
To have his princely feet in irons clapped,
Which erst the proudest kings were forced to kiss,
That thou shalt scape unpunished for the same?
No, no, as soon as by the help of Jove
I scape this bondage, down go all thy groves,
Thy altars tumble round about the streets,
And whereas erst we sacrificed to thee,
Now all the Turks thy mortal foes shall be.

Sound instruments awhile within; Amurack say

Behold the gem and jewel of mine age,
See where she comes, whose heavenly majesty
Doth far surpass the brave and gorgeous pace
Which Cytherea, daughter unto Jove,
Did put in ure whenas she had obtained
The golden apple at the shepherd’s hands.
See, worthy Fausta, where Alphonsus stands,
Whose valiant courage could not daunted be
With all the men at arms of Africa;
See now he stands, as one that lately saw
Medusa’s head, or Gorgon’s hoary hue.

Sound instruments awhile within. Amurack say.

And can it be that it may happen so?
Can Fortune prove so friendly unto me
As that Alphonsus loves Iphigina?
The match is made, the wedding is decreed.
Sound trumpets, haw! Strike drums for mirth and glee!
And three times welcome son-in-law to me.

Fausta rise up as it were in a fury, wake Amurack and say

Fausta

Fie, Amurack, what wicked words be these?
How canst thou look thy Fausta in her face,
Whom thou hast wronged in this shameful sort?
And are the vows so solemnly you swore
Unto Belinus, my most friendly niece,
Now washed so clearly from thy traitorous heart?
Is all the rancor which you erst did bear
Unto Alphonsus worn so out of mind,
As, where thou shouldest pursue him to [the] death,
You seek to give our daughter to his hands?
The gods forbid that such a heinous deed
With my consent should ever be decreed;
And rather then thou shouldst it bring to pass,
If all the army of Amazons
Will be sufficient to withhold the same,
Assure thyself that Fausta means to fight
‘Gainst Amurack, for to maintain the right.

Iphigina

Yea, mother, say—which Mahomet forbid—
That in this conflict you should have the foil,
Ere that Alphonsus should be called my spouse,
This heart, this hand, yea, and this blade, should be
A readier means to finish that decree.

Amurack rise in a rage from thy chair.

Amurack

What threatening words thus thunder in mine ears?
Or who are they amongst the mortal troops,
That dares presume to use such threats to me?
The proudest kings and kaisers of the land
Are glad to feed me in my fantasy;
And shall I suffer, then, each prattling dame
For to upbraid me in this spiteful sort?
No, by the heavens, first will I lose my crown,
My wife, my children, yea, my life and all.
And therefore, Fausta, thou which Amurack
Didst[19] tender erst, as the apple of mine eye,
Avoid my court, and if thou lovest thy life,
Approach not nigh unto my regiment.
As for this carping girl Iphigina,
Take her with thee to bear thee company,
And in my land, I rede, be seen no more,
For if you do, you both shall die therefore.

Exit Amurack.

Fausta

Nay, then, I see, ‘tis time to look about,
Delay is dangerous, and procureth harm;
The wanton colt is tamed in his youth,
Wounds must be cured when they be fresh and green,
And pleurisies, when they begin to breed,
With little care[20] are driven away with speed.
Had Fausta then, when Amurack begun
With spiteful speeches to control and check,
Sought to prevent it by her martial force,
This banishment had never happed to me.
But the echinus, fearing to be gored,
Doth keep her younglings in her paunch so long,
Till, when their pricks be waxen long and sharp,
They put their dam at length to double pain;
And I, because I loathed the broils of Mars,
Bridled my thoughts, and pressed down my rage;
In recompense of which my good intent
I have received this woeful banishment.
Woeful, said I? Nay, happy I did mean,
If that be happy which doth set one free:
For by this means I do not doubt ere long
But Fausta shall with ease revenge her wrong.
Come, daughter, come : my mind foretelleth me
That Amurack shall soon requited be.

Act III Scene III[edit]

Make as though you were a going out, Medea meet her and say

Medea

Fausta, what means this sudden flight of yours?
Why do you leave your husband’s princely court,
And all alone pass through these thickest groves,
More fit to harbor brutish savage beasts
Then to receive so high a queen as you?
Although your credit would not stay your steps
From bending them into these darkish dens,
Yet should the danger which is imminent
To every one which passeth by these paths,
Keep you at home with fair Iphigina.
What foolish toy hath tickled you to this?
I greatly fear some hap hath hit amiss.

Fausta

No toy, Medea, tickled Fausta’s head,
Nor foolish fancy led me to these groves,
But earnest business eggs my trembling steps
To pass all dangers, whatsoe’er they be.
I banished am, Medea, I, which erst
Was Empress over all the triple world,
Am banished now from palace and from pomp.
But if the gods be favorers to me,
Ere twenty days I will revenged be.

Medea

I thought as much, when first from thickest leaves
I saw you trudging in such posting pace.
But to the purpose: what may be the cause
Of this [so[21]] strange and sudden banishment?

Fausta

The cause, ask you? A simple cause, God wot:
'Twas neither treason, nor yet felony,
But for because I blamed his foolishness.

Medea

I hear you say so, but I greatly fear,
Ere that your tale be brought unto an end,
You’ll prove yourself the author of the same.
But pray, be brief, what folly did your spouse?
And how will you revenge your wrong on him?

Fausta

What folly, quoth you? Such as never yet
Was heard or scene, since Phoebus first gan shine.
You know how he was gathering in all haste
His men at arms, to set upon the troop
Of proud Alphonsus; yea, you well do know
How you and I did do the best we could
To make him show us in his drowsy dream
What afterward should happen in his wars.
Much talk he had, which now I have forgot.
But at the length, this surely was decreed,
How that Alphonsus and Iphigina
Should be conjoined in Juno’s sacred rites.
Which when I heard, as one that did despise
That such a traitor should be son to me,
I did rebuke my husband Amurack:
And since my words could take no better place,
My sword with help of all Amazons
Shall make him soon repent his foolishness.

Medea

This is the cause, then, of your banishment?
And now you go unto Amazon
To gather all your maidens in array,
To set upon the mighty Amurack?
Oh foolish queen, what meant you by this talk?
Those prattling speeches have undone you all.
Do you disdain to have that mighty prince,
I mean Alphonsus, counted for your son?
I tell you, Fausta, he is born to be
The ruler of a mighty monarchy.
I must confess the powers of Amurack
Be great; his confines stretch both far and near;
Yet are they not the third part of the lands
Which shall be ruled by Alphonsus hands—
And yet you dain[22] to call him son-in-law.
But when you see his sharp and cutting sword
Piercing the heart of this your gallant girl,
You’ll curse the hour wherein you did denay
To join Alphonsus with Iphigina.

Fausta

The gods forbid that e’er it happen so.

Medea

Nay, never pray, for it must happen so.

Fausta

And is there, then, no remedy for it?

Medea

No, none but one, and that you have forsworn.

Fausta

As though an oath can bridle so my mind
As that I dare not break a thousand oaths
For to eschew the danger imminent.
Speak, good Medea, tell that way to me,
And I will do it, whatsoe’er it be.

Medea

Then, as already you have well decreed,
Pack to your country, and in readiness
Select the army of Amazons;
When you have done, march with your female troop
To Naples’ town, to succor Amurack;
And so, by marriage of Iphigina,
You soon shall drive the danger clean away.

Iphigina

So shall we soon eschew Charybdis’ lake,
And headlong fall to Scylla’s greedy gulf.
I vowed before, and now do vow again,
Before I wed Alphonsus, I’ll be slain.

Medea

In vain it is, to strive against the stream;
Fates must be followed, and the gods’ decree
Must needs take place in every kind of cause.
Therefore, fair maid, bridle these brutish thoughts,
And learn to follow what the fates assign.
When Saturn heard that Jupiter his son
Should drive him headlong from his heavenly seat
Down to the bottom of the dark Avern,
He did command his mother presently
To do to death the young and guiltless child;
But what of that? The mother loathed in heart
For to commit so vile a massacre;
Yea, Jove did live, and, as the fates did say,
From heavenly seat drave Saturn clean away.
What did avail the castle all of steel,
The which Acrisius caused to be made
To keep his daughter Danaë clogged in?
She was with child for all her castle’s force;
And by that child Acrisius, her sire,
Was after slain, so did the fates require.
A thousand examples I could bring hereof;
But marble stones needeth[23] no coloring,
And that which every one doth know for truth
Needs no examples to confirm the same.
That which the fates appoint must happen so,
Though heavenly Jove and all the gods say no.

Fausta

Iphigina, she sayeth naught but truth;
Fates must be followed in their just decrees;
And therefore, setting all delays aside,
Come let us wend unto Amazon,
And gather up our forces out of hand.

Iphigina

Since Fausta wills, and fates do so command,
Iphigina will never it withstand.

Exeunt omnes.

Act IV: Prologue[edit]

Enter Venus.

Venus

Thus have you scene how Amurack himself,
Fausta his wife, and every other king
Which hold[24] their scepters at the Turk his hands,
Are now in arms, intending to destroy,
And bring to naught, the Prince of Aragon.
Charms have been used by wise Medea’s art,
To know before what afterward shall hap;
And King Belinus with high Claramont,
Joined to Arcastus,[25] which with princely pomp
Doth rule and governed all the warlike Moors,
Are sent as legates to god Mahomet,
To know his counsel in these high affairs.
Mahound, provoked by Amurack’s discourse,
Which, as you heard, he in his dream did use,
Denies to play the prophet any more;
But, by the long entreaty of his priests,
He prophesies in such a crafty sort
As that the hearers needs must laugh for sport.
Yet poor Belinus, with his fellow kings,
Did give such credence to that forged tale
As that they lost their dearest lives thereby,
And Amurack became a prisoner
Unto Alphonsus, as straight shall appear.

Exit Venus.

Act IV: Scene I[edit]

Let there be a brazen head set in the middle of the place behind the stage, out of the which cast flames of fire, drums rumble within. Enter two Priests.

1 Priest

My fellow priests of Mahound’s holy house,
What can you judge of these strange miracles
Which daily happen in this sacred seat?

Drums rumble within.

Hark what a rumbling rattleth in our ears.
Cast flames of fire forth of the brazen head.
See flakes of fire proceeding from the mouth
Of Mahomet, that god of peerless power.
Nor can I tell, with all the wit I have,
What Mahomet by these his signs doth crave.

2 Priest

Thrice ten times Phoebus with his golden beams
Hath compassed the circle of the sky,
Thrice ten times Ceres hath her workmen hired,
And filled her barns with fruitful crops of corn,
Since first in priesthood I did lead my life:
Yet in this time I never heard before
Such fearful sounds, nor saw such wondrous sights;
Nor can I tell, with all the wit I have,
What Mahomet by these his signs doth crave.

Mahomet

(speak[ing] out of the brazen head)

You cannot tell, nor will you seek to know:
Oh perverse priest[s], how careless are you waxed,
As when my foes approach unto my gates,
You stand still talking of “I cannot tell.”
Go, pack you hence, and meet the Turkish kings
Which now are drawing to my temple ward;
Tell them from me, God Mahomet is disposed
To prophesy no more to Amurack,
Since that his tongue is waxen now so free,
As that it needs must chat and rail at me.

Kneel down both.

1 Priest

Oh Mahomet, if all the solemn prayers
Which from our childhood we have offered thee,
Can make thee call this sentence back again,
Bring not thy priest[s] into this dangerous state!
For when the Turk doth hear of this repulse,
We shall be. sure to die the death therefore.

Mahomet

[speaking out of the brazen head]

Thou sayest truth, go call the princes in;
I’ll prophesy unto them for this once,
But in such wise as they shall neither boast,
Nor you be hurt in any kind of wise.

Enter Belinus, CLARAMONT, Arcastus; go both the PRIESTS to meet them; the first say

1 Priest

You kings of Turkey, Mahomet our god,
By sacred science having notice that
You were sent legates from high Amurack
Unto this place, commanded us, his priests,
That we should cause you make as mickle speed
As well you might, to hear for certainty
Of that shall happen to your king and ye.

Belinus

For that intent we came into this place;
And sithens that the mighty Mahomet
Is now at leisure for to tell the same,
Let us make haste and take time while we may,
For mickle danger happeneth through delay.

2 Priest

Truth, worthy king, and therefore you yourself,
With your companions, kneel before this place,
And listen well what Mahomet doth say.
Kneel all down before the brazen head.

Belinus

As you do will, we jointly will obey.

Mahomet

[speaking out of the brazen head]

Princes of Turkey, and ambassadors
Of Amurack to mighty Mahomet,
I needs must muse that you, which erst have been
The readiest soldiers of the triple world,
Are now become so slack in your affairs,
As, when you should with bloody blade in hand
Be hacking helms in thickest of your foes,
You stand still loitering in the Turkish soil.
What, know you not, how that it is decreed
By all the gods, and chiefly by myself,
That you with triumph should all crowned be?
Make haste [then] kings, lest when the fates do see
How carelessly you do neglect their words,
They call a council, and force Mahomet
Against his will some other things to set.
Send Fabius back to Amurack again,
To haste him forwards in his enterprise;
And march you on, with all the troops you have,
To Naples ward, to conquer Aragon.
For if you stay, both you and all your men
Must needs be sent down straight to Limbo den.

2 Priest

Muse not, brave kings, at Mahomet’s discourse,
For mark what he forth of that mouth doth say,
Assure your selves it needs must happen so.
Therefore make haste, go mount you on your steeds,
And set upon Alphonsus presently:
So shall you reap great honor for your pain,
And scape the scourge which else the fates ordain.

Rise all up.

Belinus

Then, proud Alphonsus, look thou to thy crown:
Belinus comes, in glittering armor clad,
All ready pressed for to revenge the wrong
Which not long since you offered unto him;
And since we have God Mahound on our side,
The victory must needs to us betide.

Claramont

Worthy Belinus, set such threats away,
And let us haste as fast as horse can trot
To set upon presumptuous Aragon.
You Fabius, haste, as Mahound did command,
To Amurack with all the speed you may.

Fabius

With willing mind I hasten on my way.

Exit Fabius.

Belinus

And thinking long till that we be in fight,
Belinus hastes to quail Alphonsus might.

Exeunt omnes.

Act IV Scene II[edit]

Strike up alarum a while. Enter Carinus.

Carinus

No sooner had God Phoebus’ brightsome beams
Begun to dive within the Western seas,
And darksome Nox had spread about the earth
Her blackish mantle, but a drowsy sleep
Did take possession of Carinus’ sense,
And Morpheus showed me strange disguised shapes.
Methought I saw Alphonsus, my dear son,
Placed in a throne all glittering clear with gold,
Bedecked with diamonds, pearls and precious stones,
Which shined so clear, and glittered all so bright,
Hyperion’s coach[26] that well be termed it might.
Above his head a canopy was set,
Not decked with plumes, as other princes use,
But all beset with heads of conquered kings,
Installed with crowns, which made a gallant show,
And struck a terror to the viewers’ hearts.
Under his feet lay groveling on the ground
Thousand of princes, which he in his wars
By martial might did conquer and bring low:
Some lay as dead as either stock or stone,
Some other tumbled, wounded to the death;
But most of them, as to their sovereign king,
Did offer duly homage unto him.
As thus I stood beholding of this pomp,
Methought Alphonsus did espy me out,
And, at a trice, he leaving throne alone,
Came to embrace me in his blessed arms.
Then noise of drums and sound of trumpets shrill
Did wake Carinus from this pleasant dream.
Something, I know, is now foreshown by this:
The gods forfend that aught should hap amiss.

Carinus walk up and down. Enter the Duke of Milan in pilgrim’s apparel, and say,

Duke

This is the chance of fickle Fortune’s wheel;
A prince at morn, a pilgrim ere it be night.
I, which erewhile did dain for to possess
The proudest palace of the western world,
Would now be glad a cottage for to find
To hide my head; so Fortune hath assigned.
Thrice Hesperus with pomp and peerless pride
Hath heaved his head forth of the eastern seas,
Thrice Cynthia, with Phoebus’ borrowed beams,
Hath shown her beauty through the darkish clouds,
Since that I, wretched duke, have tasted aught,
Or drunk a drop of any kind of drink.
Instead of beds set forth with ebony,
The greenish grass hath been my resting place,
And for my pillow stuffed [soft[27]] with down,
The hardish hillocks have sufficed my turn.
Thus I, which erst had all things at my will,
A life more hard then death do follow still.

Carinus

[aside]

Methinks I hear, not very far from hence,
Some woeful wight lamenting his mischance:
I’ll go and see if that I can espy
Him where he sits, or overhear his talk.

Duke

Oh Milan, Milan, little dost thou think,
How that thy Duke is now in such distress;
For if thou didst, I soon should be released
Forth of this greedy gulf of misery.

Carinus

[aside]

The Milan Duke! I thought as much before,
When first I glanced mine eyes upon his face.
This is the man which was the only cause
That I was forced to fly from Aragon.
High Jove be praised, which hath allotted me
So fit a time to quite that injury.
Pilgrim, God speed.

Duke

Welcome, grave sir, to me.

Carinus

Methought as now I heard you for to speak
Of Milan land: pray, do you know the same?

[Duke][28]

Ay, aged father, I have cause to know
Both Milan land and all the parts thereof.

Carinus

Why then, I doubt not but you can resolve
Me of a question that I shall demand.

Duke

Ay, that I can, what ever that it be.

Carinus

Then, to be brief, not twenty winters past,
When these my limbs, which withered are with age,
Were in the prime and spring of all their youth,
I still desirous, as young gallants be,
To see the fashions of Arabia,
My native soil, and in this pilgrim’s weed,
Began to travel through unkenned lands.
Much ground I past, and many soils I saw;
But when my feet in Milan land I set,
Such sumptuous triumphs daily there I saw
As never in my life I found the like.
I pray, good sir, what might the occasion be,
That made the Milans make such mirth and glee?

Duke

This solemn joy whereof you now do speak,
Was not solemnized, my friend, in vain;
For at that time there came into the land
The happiest tidings that they e’er did hear;
For news was brought upon that solemn day
Unto our court, that Ferdinandus proud
Was slain himself, Carinus and his son
Were banished both forever from Aragon;
And for these happy news that joy was made.

Carinus

But what, I pray, did afterward become
Of old Carinus with his banished son?
What, hear you nothing of them all this while?

Duke

Yes, too too much, the Milan Duke may say.
Alphonsus first by secret means did get
To be a soldier in Belinus’ wars,
Wherein he did behave himself so well
As that he got the Crown of Aragon;
Which being got, he dispossessed also
The king Belinus which had fostered him.
As for Carinus he is dead and gone;
I would his son were his companion.

Carinus

A blister build upon that traitor’s tongue!
But, for thy friendship which thou showedest me,
Take that of me, I frankly give it thee.

Stab him.

Now will I haste to Naples with all speed,
To see if Fortune will so favor me
To view Alphonsus in his happy state.

Exit Carinus.

Act IV Scene III[edit]

Enter Amurack, Crocon, King of Arabia, Faustus, King of Babylon, Fabius, with the Turk’s Janissaries.

Amurack

Fabius, come hither: what is that thou sayest?
What did god Mahound prophesy to us?
Why do our viceroys wend unto the wars
Before their king had notice of the same?
What, do they think to play bob fool with me?
Or are they waxed so frolic now of late,
Since that they had the leading of our bands,
As that they think that mighty Amurack
Dares do no other then to soothe them up?
Why speakest thou not? What fond or frantic fit
Did make those careless kings to venture it?

Fabius

Pardon, dear lord; no frantic fit at all,
No frolic vain, nor no presumptuous mind,
Did make your viceroys take these wars in hand;
But forced they were by Mahound’s prophecy
To do the same, or else resolve to die.

Amurack

So, sir, I hear you, but can scarce believe
That Mahomet would charge them go before,
Against Alphonsus with so small a troop,
Whose number far exceeds King Xerxes’ troop.[29]

Fabius

Yes, noble lord, and more then that, he said
That, ere that you, with these your warlike men,
Should come to bring your succor to the field,
Belinus, Claramont, and Arcastus too
Should all be crowned with crowns of beaten gold,
And borne with triumph[30] round about their tents.

Amurack

With triumph, man? Did Mahound tell them so?
Provost, go carry Fabius presently,
Unto the Marshalsea; there let him rest,
Clapped sure and safe in fetters all of steel,
Till Amurack discharge him from the same.
For be he sure, unless it happen so
As he did say Mahound did prophesy,
By this my hand forthwith the slave shall die.

Lay hold of Fabius, and make as though you carry him out; Enter a [Messenger] soldier and say

Messenger

Stay, provost, stay, let Fabius alone:
More fitteth now that every lusty lad
Be buckling on his helmet, then to stand
In carrying soldiers to the Marshalsea.

Amurack

Why, what art thou, that darest once presume
For to gainsay that Amurack did bid?

Messenger

I am, my Lord, the wretcheds(t) man alive,
Born underneath the planet of mishap;
Erewhile, a soldier of Belinus’ band,
But now—

Amurack

What now?

Messenger

The mirror of mishap;
Whose captain is slain, and all his army dead,
Only excepted me, unhappy wretch.

Amurack

What news is this? And is Belinus slain?
Is this the crown which Mahomet did say
He should with triumph wear upon his head?
Is this the honor which that cursed god
Did prophesy should happen to them all?
Oh Daedalus, and wert thou now alive,
To fasten wings upon high Amurack,
Mahound should know, and that for certainty,
That Turkish kings can brook no injury.

Fabius

Tush, tush, my lord, I wonder what you mean,
Thus to exclaim against high Mahomet:
I'll lay my life that, ere this day be past,
You shall perceive these[31] tidings all be waste.

Amurack

We shall perceive, accursed Fabius!
Suffice it not that thou hast been the man
That first didst beat those baubles in my brain,
But that, to help me forward in my grief,
Thou seekest to confirm so foul a lie?

Stab him.

Go, get thee hence, and tell thy traitorous king
What gift you had, which did such tidings bring.
And now, my lords, since nothing else will serve,
Buckle your helms, clap on your steeled coats,
Mount on your steeds, take lances in your hands;
For Amurack doth mean this very day
Proud Mahomet with weapons to assay.

Messenger

Mercy, high monarch; it is no time now
To spend the day in such vain threatenings
Against our god, the mighty Mahomet.
More fitteth thee to place thy men at arms
In battle ‘ray for to withstand your foes,
Which now are drawing towards you with speed.

Sound drums within.

Hark how their drums with dub-a-dub do come!
To arms, high lord, and set these trifles by,
That you may set upon them valiantly.

Amurack

And do they come? You kings of Turkey-[land],[32]
Now is the time in which your warlike arms
Must raise your names above the starry skies.
Call to your mind your predecessors’ acts,
Whose martial might, this many a hundred year,
Did keep those fearful dogs in dread and awe,
And let your weapons show Alphonsus plain,
That though that they be clapped up in clay,
Yet there be branches sprung up from those trees,
In Turkish land, which brook no injuries.
Besides the same, remember with yourselves
What foes we have; not mighty Tamburlaine,
Nor soldiers trained up amongst the wars,
But fearful boors,[33] picked from their rural flock,
Which, till this time, were wholly ignorant
What weapons meant, or bloody Mars doth crave.
More would I say, but horses that be free
Do need no spurs, and soldiers which themselves
Long and desire to buckle with the foe
Do need no words to egg them to the same.

Enter Alphonsus, with a canopy carried over him by three lords, hailing over each corner a king’s head, crowned; with him, Albinius, Laelius, Miles, with crowns on their heads, and their soldiers.

Besides the same, behold whereas our foes
Are marching towards us most speedily.
Courage, my lords, ours is the victory.

Alphonsus

Thou pagan dog, how darest thou be so bold
To set thy foot within Alphonsus’ land?
What, art thou come to view thy wretched kings,
Whose traitorous heads bedeck my tent[34] so well?
Or else, thou hearing that on top thereof
There is a place left vacant, art thou come
To have thy head possesseth highest seat?
If it be so, lie down, and this my sword
Shall presently that honor thee afford.
If not, pack hence, or by the heavens I vow,
Both thou and thine shall very soon perceive
That he that seeks to move my patience
Must yield his life to me[35] for recompense.

Amurack

Why, proud Alphonsus, thinkest thou Amurack,
Whose mighty force doth terrify the gods,
Can e’er be found to turn his heels, and fly
Away for fear from such a boy as thou?
No, no, although that Mars this mickle while
Hath fortified thy weak and feeble arm,
And Fortune oft hath viewed with friendly face
Thy armies marching victors from the field,
Yet at the presence of high Amurack
Fortune shall change, and Mars, that god of might,
Shall succor me, and leave Alphonsus quite.

Alphonsus

Pagan, I say thou greatly art deceived.
I clap up Fortune in a cage of gold,
To make her turn her wheel as I think best;
And as for Mars whom you do say will change,
He moping sits behind the kitchen door,
Pressed at command of every scullion’s mouth,
Who dares not stir, nor once to move a whit,
For fear Alphonsus then should stomach it.

Amurack

Blasphemous dog, I wonder that the earth
Doth cease from renting underneath thy feet,
To swallow up that[36] cankered corpse of thine.
I muse that Jove can bridle so his ire
As, when he hears his brother so misused,
He can refrain from sending thunderbolts
By thick and threefold, to revenge his wrong.
Mars fight for me, and Fortune be my guide;
And I’ll be victor, whatsome’er betide.

Albinius

Pray loud enough, lest that you pray in vain:
Perhaps God Mars and Fortune is asleep.

[Amurack][37]

And Mars lies slumbering on his downy bed,
Yet do not think but that the power we have,
Without the help of those celestial gods,
Will be sufficient, yea, with small ado,
Alphonsus’ straggling army to subdue.

Laelius

You had need as then to call for Mahomet,
With hellish hags [for[38]] to perform the same.

Faustus

High Amurack, I wonder what you mean,
That when you may, with little toil or none,
Compel these dogs to keep their tongues in peace,
You let them stand still barking in this sort:
Believe me, sovereign, I do blush to see
These beggars’ brats to chat so frolicly.

Alphonsus

How now, sir boy? Let Amurack himself,
Or any he, the proudest of you all,
But offer once for to unsheathe his sword,
If that he dares, for all the power you have.

Amurack

What, darest thou us? Myself will venture it.
To arms, my mates!

Amurack draw thy sword: Alphonsus and all the other kings draw theirs: strike up alarum: fly Amurack and his company. Follow Alphonsus and his company.

Act V: Prologue[edit]

Strike up alarum. Enter Venus.

Venus

Fierce is the fight, and bloody is the broil.
No sooner had the roaring cannon shot
Spit forth the venom of their fired paunch,
And with their pellets sent such troops of souls
Down to the bottom of the dark Avern,
As that it covered all the Stygian fields;
But, on a sudden, all the men at arms,
Which mounted were on lusty coursers’ backs,
Did rush together with so great a noise
As that I thought the giants one time more
Did scale the heavens, as erst they did before.
Long time Dame Fortune tempered so her wheel
As that there was no vantage to be seen
On any side, but equal was the gain.
But at the length, so God and Fates decreed,
Alphonsus was the victor of the field,
And Amurack became his prisoner;
Who so remained, until his daughter came,
And by her marrying, did his pardon frame.

Exit Venus.

Act V Scene I[edit]

Strike up alarum: fly Amurack, follow Alphonsus, and take him prisoner. Carry him in. Strike up alarum: fly Crocon and Faustus. Enter Fausta and Iphigina, with their army, and meet them, and say

Fausta

You Turkish kings, what sudden flight is this?
What means the men, which for their valiant prowess
Were dreaded erst clean through the triple world,
Thus cowardly to turn their backs and fly?
What froward fortune happened on your side?
I hope your king in safety doth abide?

Crocon

Ay, noble madam, Amurack doth live,
And long I hope he shall enjoy his life;
But yet I fear, unless more succor come,
We shall both lose our King and sovereign.

Fausta

How so, King Crocon? Dost thou speak in jest,
To prove if Fausta would lament his death?
Or else hath anything happed him amiss?
Speak quickly, Crocon, what the cause might be,
That thou dost utter forth these words to me.

Crocon

Then, worthy Fausta, know that Amurack
Our mighty king, and your approved spouse,
Pricked with desire of everlasting fame,
As he was pressing in the thickest ranks
Of Aragonians, was, with much ado,
At length took prisoner by Alphonsus’ hands.
So that, unless you succor soon do bring,
You lose your spouse, and we shall want our king.

Iphigina

Oh hapless hap, oh dire and cruel fate!
What injury hath Amurack, my sire,
Done to the gods, which now I know are wrath,
Although unjustly and without a cause?
For well I wot, not any other king,
Which now doth live, or since the world begun
Did sway a scepter, had a greater care
To please the gods then mighty Amurack.
And for to quite our father’s great good will,
Seek they thus basely all his fame to spill?

Fausta

Iphigina, leave off these woeful tunes:
It is not words can cure and ease this wound,
But warlike swords; not tears, but sturdy spears.
High Amurack is prisoner to our foes.
What then? Think you that our Amazones,
Joined with the forces of the Turkish troop,
Are not sufficient for to set him free?
Yes, daughter, yes, I mean not for to sleep,
Until he is free, or we him company keep.
March on, my mates.

Exeunt omnes.

Act V: Scene II[edit]

Strike up alarum: fly Alphonsus, follow Iphigina, and say

Iphigina

How now, Alphonsus! You which never yet
Could meet your equal in the feats of arms,
How haps it now that in such sudden sort
You fly the presence of a silly maid?
What, have you found mine arm of such a force
As that you think your body over-weak
For to withstand the fury of my blows?
Or do you else disdain to fight with me,
For staining of your high nobility?

Alphonsus

No, dainty dame, I would not have thee think
That ever thou or any other wight
Shall live to see Alphonsus fly the field
From any king or kaiser whosome’er:
First will I die in thickest of my foe,
Before I will disbase mine honor so.
Nor do I scorn, thou goddess, for to stain
My prowess with thee, although it be a shame
For knights to combat with the female sect.
But love, sweet mouse, hath so benumbed my wit,
That though I would, I must refrain from it.

Iphigina

I thought as much when first I came to wars;
Your noble acts were fitter to be writ
Within the tables of Dame Venus’ son,
Then in God Mars his warlike registers.
Whenas your lords are hacking helms abroad,
And make their spears to shiver in the air,
Your mind is busied in fond Cupid’s toys.
Come on, i’faith, I’ll teach you for to know
We came to fight, and not to love, I trow.

Alphonsus

Nay, virgin, stay. And if thou wilt vouchsafe
To entertain Alphonsus simple suit,
Thou shalt ere long be monarch of the world;
All christened kings, with all your pagan dogs,
Shall bend their knees unto Iphigina;
The Indian soil shall be thine at command,
Where every step thou settest on the ground
Shall be received on the golden mines:
Rich Pactolus, that river of account,
Which doth descend from top of Tmolus Mount,
Shall be thine own, and all the world beside,
If you will grant to be Alphonsus’ bride.

Iphigina

Alphonsus’ bride? Nay, villain, do not think
That fame or riches can so rule my thoughts
As for to make me love and fancy him
Whom I do hate, and in such sort despise,
As, if my death could bring to pass his bane,
I would not long from Pluto’s port remain.

Alphonsus

Nay then, proud peacock, since thou art so stout
As that entreaty will not move thy mind
For to consent to be my wedded spouse,
Thou shalt, in spite of Gods and Fortune too,
Serve high Alphonsus as a concubine.

Iphigina

I’ll rather die then ever that shall hap.

Alphonsus

And thou shalt die unless it come to pass.

Alphonsus and Iphigina fight; Iphigina fly; follow Alphonsus.

Act V: Scene III[edit]

Strike up alarum. Enter Alphonsus with his rapier, Albinius, Laelius, Miles, with their soldiers. Amurack, Fausta, Iphigina, Crocon and Faustus, all bound with their hands behind them. Amurack look angerly on Fausta. Enter Medea, and say

Medea

Nay, Amurack, this is no time to jar,
Although thy wife did, in her frantic mood,
Use speeches which might better have been spared,
Yet do thou not judge this[39] same time to be
A season to requite that injury.
More fitteth thee, with all the wit thou hast,
To call to mind which way thou mayest release
Thyself, thy wife, and fair Iphigina,
Forth of the power of stout Alphonsus’ hands.
For, well I wot, since first you breathed breath,
You never were so nigh the snares of death.
Now, Amurack, your high and kingly seat,
Your royal scepter, and your stately crown,
Your mighty country, and your men at arms,
Be conquered all, and can no succor bring.
Put then no trust in these same paltry toys,
But call to mind that thou a prisoner art,
Clapped up in chains, whose life and death[40] depends
Upon the hands of thy most mortal foe.
Then take thou heed, that whatsome’er he say,
Thou doest not once presume for to gainsay.

Amurack

Away, you fool! Think you your cursed charms
Can bridle so the mind of Amurack
As that he will stand crouching to his foe?
No, no, be sure that, if that beggar’s brat
Do dare but once to contrary my will,
I’ll make him soon in heart for to repent
That ere such words ‘gainst Amurack he spent.

Medea

Then, since thou dost disdain my good advice,
Look to thyself, and if you fare amiss,
Remember that Medea counsel gave,
Which might you safe from all those perils save.
But, Fausta, you, as well you have begun,
Beware you follow still your friend’s advice.
If that Alphonsus do desire of thee
To have your daughter for his wedded spouse,
Beware you do not once the same gainsay,
Unless with death he do your rashness pay.

Fausta

No, worthy wight; first Fausta means to die
Before Alphonsus she will contrary.

Medea

Why, then, farewell. But you, Iphigina,
Beware you do not over-squeamish wax,
Whenas your mother giveth her consent.

Iphigina

The gods forbid that e’er I should gainsay
That which Medea bids me to obey.

Exit Medea.

Rise up Alphonsus out of his chair, who all this while hath been talking to Albinius, and say

Alphonsus

Now, Amurack, the proud blasphemous dogs,
(For so you termed us) which did brawl and rail
Against God Mars, and fickle Fortune’s wheel,
Have got the goal for all your solemn prayers.
Yourself are prisoner, which as then did think
That all the forces of the triple world
Were insufficient to fulfill the same.
How like you this? Is Fortune of such might,
Or hath God Mars such force or power divine,
As that he can, with all the power he hath,
Set thee and thine forth of Alphonsus hands ?
I do not think but that your hope’s so small
As that you would with very willing mind
Yield for my spouse the fair Iphigina,
On that condition, that without delay
Fausta and you may scot-free scape away.

Amurack

What, thinkest thou, villain, that high Amurack
Bears such a mind as, for the fear of death,
He’ll yield his daughter, yea, his only joy,
Into the hands of such a dunghill knight?
No, traitor, no; for [though] as now I lie
Clapped up in irons and with bolts of steel,
Yet do there lurk within the Turkish soil
Such troops of soldiers, that with small ado,
They'll set me scot-free from your men and you,

Alphonsus

“Villain,” sayest thou? “Traitor” and “dunghill knight”?
Now, by the heavens, since that thou dost deny
For to fulfill that which in gentle wise
Alphonsus craves, both thou and all thy train
Shall with your lives requite that injury,
Albinius, lay hold of Amurack,
And carry him to prison presently,
There to remain until I do return
Into my tent; for by high Jove I vow,
Unless he wax more calmer out of hand,
His head amongst his fellow kings shall stand.

Albinius carry Amurack, who as he is going must say

Amurack

No, villain, think not that the fear of death
Shall make me calmer while I draw my breath.

Alphonsus

Now, Laelius, take you Iphigina,
Her mother Fausta, with these other kings,
And put them into prisons severally;
For Amurack’s stout stomach shall undo
Both he himself and all his other crew,

Fausta kneel down.

Fausta

Oh sacred prince, if that the salt-brine tears,
Distilling down poor Fausta’s withered cheeks,
Can mollify the hardness of your heart,
Lessen this judgment, which thou in thy rage
Hast given on thy luckless prisoners.

Alphonsus

Woman, away! My word is gone and past;
Now, if I would, I cannot call it back.
You might have yielded at my first demand,
And then you needed[41] not to fear this hap.
Laelius make haste, and go thou presently
For to fulfill that I commanded thee.

Rise up Fausta, kneel down Iphigina, and say

Iphigina

Mighty Alphonsus, since my mother’s suit
Is so rejected, that in any case
You will not grant us pardon for her sake,
I now will try if that my woeful prayers
May plead for pity at your grace’s feet.
When first you did, amongst the thickest ranks,
All clad in glittering arms encounter me,
You know yourself what love you did protest
You then did bear unto Iphigina.
Then for that love, if any love you had,
Revoke this sentence, which is too too bad.

Alphonsus

No, damsel;[42] he that will not when he may,
When he desires, shall surely purchase nay:
If that you had, when first I proffer made,
Yielded to me, mark, what I promised you,
I would have done; but since you did deny,
Look for denial at Alphonsus hands.

Rise up Iphigina, and stand aside. Alphonsus talk with Albinius. Enter Carinus in his pilgrim’s clothes, and say

Carinus

Oh friendly Fortune, now thou showst thy power
In raising up my son from banished state
Unto the top of thy most mighty wheel.
But what be these, which at his sacred feet
Do seem to plead for mercy at his hands?
I’ll go and sift this matter to the full.

Go toward Alphonsus and speak to one of his soldiers.

Sir Knight, and may a pilgrim be so bold
To put your person to such mickle pain
For to inform me what great king is this,
And what these be, which, in such woeful sort,
Do seem to seek for mercy at his hands?

Soldier

Pilgrim, the king that sits on stately throne
Is called Alphonsus; and this matron hight
Fausta, the wife to Amurack the Turk;
That is their daughter, fair Iphigina;
Both which, together with the Turk himself,
He did take prisoners in a battle fought.

Alphonsus spy out Carinus and say

Alphonsus

And can the gods be found so kind to me
As that Carinus now I do espy ?
‘Tis he indeed. Come on, Albinius:
The mighty conquest which I have achieved,
And victories the which I oft have won,
Bring not such pleasure to Alphonsus’ heart
As now my father’s presence doth impart.

Alphonsus and Albinius go toward Carinus; Alphonsus stand looking on Carinus; Carinus say

Carinus

What, ne’er a word, Alphonsus? Art thou dumb?
Or doth my presence so perturb thy mind
That, for because I come in pilgrim’s weed,
You think each word which you do spend to me
A great disgrace unto your name to be?
Why speakest thou not? If that my place you crave,
I will be gone, and you my place shall have.

Alphonsus

Nay, father, stay, the gods of heaven forbid
That e’er Alphonsus should desire or wish
To have his absence whom he doth account
To be the [very] lodestone of his life.
What, though the fates and fortune, both in one,
Have been content to call your loving son
From beggar’s state unto this princely seat,
Should I, therefore, disdain my aged sire?
No, first both crown and life I will detest,
Before such venom breed within my breast.
What erst I did, the sudden joy I took
To see Carinus in such happy state,
Did make me do, and nothing else at all,
High Jove himself do I to witness call.

Carinus

These words are vain; I knew as much before.
But yet Alphonsus I must wonder needs,
That you whose years are prone[43] to Cupid’s snares,
Can suffer such a goddess as this dame
Thus for to shed such store of crystal tears.
Believe me, son, although my years be spent,
Her sighs and sobs in twain my heart do rent.

Alphonsus

Like power, dear father, had she over me,
Until for love I looking to receive
Love back again, not only was denied,
But also taunted in most spiteful sort,
Which made me loathe that which I erst did love,
As she herself with all her friends shall prove.

Carinus

How now, Alphonsus! You which have so long
Been trained up in bloody broils of Mars,
What know you not, that castles are not won
At first assault, and women are not wooed
When first their suitors proffer love to them?
As for my part, I should account that maid
A wanton wench, unconstant, lewd and light,
That yields the field, before she venture fight,
Especially unto her mortal foe,
As you were then unto Iphigina.
But, for because I see you fitter are
To enter lists and combat with your foes
Then court fair ladies in God Cupid’s tents,
Carinus means your spokesman for to be,
And if that she consent, you shall agree.

Alphonsus

What you command, Alphonsus must not fly,
Though otherwise perhaps he would deny.

Carinus

Then, dainty damsel, stint these trickling tears;
Cease sighs and sobs, yea make a merry cheer,
Your pardon is already purchased,
So that you be not over-curious
In granting to Alphonsus’ just demand.

Iphigina

Thanks, mighty prince, no curiouser I’ll be
Then doth become a maid of my degree.

Carinus

The gods forbid that e’er Carinus tongue
Should go about to make a maid consent
Unto the thing which modesty denies.
That which I ask is neither hurt to thee,
Danger to parents, nor disgrace to friends,
But good and honest, and will profit bring
To thee and those which lean unto that thing.
And that is this: since first Alphonsus’ eyes
Did hap to glance upon your heavenly hue,
And saw the rare perfection of the same,
He hath desired to become your spouse:
Now, if you will unto the same agree,
I dare assure you that you shall be free.

Iphigina

Pardon, dear lord, the world goes very hard
When womenkind are forced for to woe.
If that your son had loved me so well,
Why did he not inform me of the same?

Carinus

Why did he not? What, have you clean forgot
What ample proffers he did make to you,
When hand to hand he did encounter you?

Iphigina

No, worthy sir, I have not it forgot;
But Cupid cannot enter in the breast
Where Mars before had took possession.
That was no time to talk of Venus’ games
When all our fellows were pressed in the wars.

Carinus

Well, let that pass: now canst thou be content
To love Alphonsus, and become his spouse?

Iphigina

Ay, if the high Alphonsus could vouchsafe
To entertain me as his wedded spouse.

Alphonsus

If that he could? What, dost thou doubt of that?
Jason did jet whenas he had obtained
The golden fleece by wise Medea’s art;
The Greeks rejoiced when they had subdued
The famous bulwarks of most stately Troy;
But all their mirth was nothing in respect
Of this my joy, since that I now have got
That which I long desired in my heart.

Carinus

But what says Fausta to her daughter’s choice?

Fausta

Fausta doth say, the gods have been her friends,
To let her live to see Iphigina
Bestowed so unto her heart’s content.

Alphonsus

Thanks, mighty empress, for your gentleness;
And, if Alphonsus can at any time
With all his power requite this courtesy,
You shall perceive how kindly he doth take
Your forwardness in this his happy chance.

Carinus

Albinius, go call forth Amurack:
We’ll see what he doth say unto this match.

Exit Albinius; bring forth Amurack.

Most mighty Turk, I, with my warlike son
Alphonsus, loathing that so great a prince
As you should live in such unseemly sort,
Have sent for you to proffer life or death;
Life, if you do consent to our demand,
And death, if that you dare gainsay the same.
Your wife, high Fausta, with Iphigina,
Have given consent that this my warlike son
Should have your daughter for his bedfellow;
Now resteth naught but that you do agree,
And so to purchase sure tranquility.

Amurack

[aside]

Now, Amurack, advise thee what thou sayest:
Bethink thee well what answer thou wilt make:
Thy life and death dependeth on thy words.
If thou deny to be Alphonsus’ sire,
Death is thy share: but if that thou consent,
Thy life is saved. Consent? nay, rather die;
Should I consent to give Iphigina
Into the hands of such a beggar’s brat?
What, Amurack, thou dost deceive thyself;
Alphonsus is the son unto a king;
What then? The[n] worthy of thy daughter’s love.
She is agreed, and Fausta is content;
Then Amurack will not be discontent.

Take Iphigina by the hand, and give her to Alphonsus.

Here, brave Alphonsus, take thou at my hand
Iphigina, I give her unto thee;
And for her dowry, when her father dies,
Thou shalt possess the Turkish empery.
Take her, I say, and live King Nestor’s years:
So would the Turk and all his noble peers.

Alphonsus

Immortal thanks I give unto your grace.

Carinus

Now, worthy princes, since, by help of Jove,
On either side the wedding is decreed,
Come let us wend to Naples speedily,
For to solemnize it with mirth and glee.

Amurack

As you do will, we jointly do agree.

Exeunt omnes.

Epilogue[edit]

Enter Venus with the Muses, and say

Venus

Now worthy Muses, with unwilling mind
Venus is forced to trudge to heaven[44] again;
For Jupiter, that God of peerless power,
Proclaimed hath a solemn festival,
In honor of dame Danaë’s luckless death;
Unto the which, in pain of his displeasure,
He hath invited all the immortal gods
And goddesses, so that I must be there,
Unless I will his high displeasure bear.
You see Alphonsus hath, with much ado,
At length obtained fair Iphigina
Of Amurack her father, for his wife;
Who now are going to the temple wards,
For to perform Dame Juno’s sacred rites;
Where we will leave them till the feast be done,
Which, in the heavens, by this time is begun.
Meantime, dear Muses, wander you not far
Forth of the path of high Parnassus hill,
That, when I come to finish up his life,
You may be ready for to succor me,
Adieu, dear dames; farewell Calliope.

Calliope

Adieu, you sacred goddess of the sky.

Exit Venus; or if you can conveniently, let a chair come down from the top of the stage and draw her up.

Well, loving sisters, since that she is gone,
Come, let us haste unto Parnassus’ hill,
As Cytherea did lately will.

Melpomene

Then make you haste her mind for to fulfill.

Exeunt omnes, playing on their instruments.

Notes[edit]

  1. idless’] Dyce; Idels Q.
  2. fly] Dyce; flea Q.
  3. in] Dyce.
  4. Ixion] Here Greene confounds the punishment of Tityus with that of Ixion.—Dyce.
  5. orisons] Dyce; horizons Q.
  6. for] conj. Dyce; not in Q.
  7. subjects] Dyce; subiect Q.
  8. her] Dyce; his Q.
  9. Alphonsus] The speech heading is omitted in Q, so that these lines are a continuation of the previous speech.
  10. wolves] Dyce; Wolfe Q.
  11. swears] Dyce; sweare Q.
  12. no] The line is defective. This is Collins’ suggestion; Dyce suggested “nor a runagate.”
  13. sain] said.
  14. This speech prefix is omitted in Q.
  15. vaunt] Dyce; vaunt of Q.
  16. Who] Dyce; When Q.
  17. deserve] Dyce; do deserve Q.
  18. But lest] Dyce; lest that Walker; lest Q.
  19. Didst] Q; Did Dyce.
  20. care] Dyce; ease Q.
  21. so] Walker & Dyce; omitted Q.
  22. dain] disdain
  23. needeth] Collins; needs Q; do need Dyce.
  24. hold] holds Q.
  25. Arcastus] Dyce; Alphonsus Q.
  26. coach] couch Q.
  27. soft] Walker. Collins suggests “stuffed with soft down.”
  28. This speech is given to Carinus in Q.
  29. troop] Repeated, most probably, by a mistake of the transcriber or printer, from the preceding line. Qy. “host”—Dyce.
  30. triumph] triumphs Q.
  31. these] Dyce; his Q.
  32. land] Dyce; not in Q.
  33. boors] Dyce; bodies Q.
  34. bedeck my tent] Dyce; bedeckt my tents Q.
  35. me] Dyce; thee Q.
  36. that] Dyce; those Q.
  37. Amurack] Dyce; not in Q.
  38. for] Dyce; not in Q.
  39. this] Dyce; the Q.
  40. death] Dyce; deaths Q.
  41. needed] Dyce; need Q.
  42. damsel] Dyce; damsel damsel Q.
  43. prone] proue Q.
  44. heaven] heauens Q.