The Bloody Banquet

Hector adest secumque deos in proelia ducit.
Nos haec novimus esse nihil.

Dramatis Personae
The KING of Lydia
TYMETHES, his son
LAPYRUS, his nephew
The King of Lycia
Zantippus, his son
Eurymone, his daughter

ARMATRITES, King of Cilicia
ZENARCHUS, his son
AMPHRIDOTE, his daughter
MAZERES, his favourite
[ROXANO], the Young Queen's keeper
AMORPHO } two faithful servants to the Lydian King
} two unfaithful servants of his
The OLD QUEEN of Lydia
Her two little children
Four SERVANTS [the first called VALESTA]
Soldiers [in the Induction]
[Two] SOLDIERS [in the forest]

Acts and Scenes
I.i. The presence chamber of the King of Lydia
I.ii. A forest
I.iii. Another part of the forest
I.iv. Outside the Young Queen's rooms
II.i. Outside a sheepcote
II.ii. A room in the castle
II.iii. Outside the sheepcote
III.i. The lodge
III.ii. A room in the lodge
III.iii. A banqueting room in the lodge
IV.i. A room in the castle
IV.ii. Another room in the castle
IV.iii. A drawing-room in the lodge
V.i. A room in the castle
V.ii. The same


Flourish. Enter at one door the old King of Lydia, Tymethes his son, Lapyrus his nephew, and soldiers. At the other the old King of Lycia, Zantippus his son, Eurymone his daughter, and soldiers. The two kings parley and change hostages for peace. Lapyrus is given to the Lycian, and Zantippus to the Lydian. The Lycian seems to offer his daughter Eurymone to Lapyrus to fall from his uncle and join with him; he accepts her, drawing his sword against his country and uncle. The Lydian sends his son Tymethes for aid; he enters again with Armatrites, King of Cilicia, Zenarchus his son, and Mazeres, a young prince, the Cilician king's follower. All they draw against the Lycian's party, whereat they all [with] Lapyrus fly, the two other kings pursuing them. Then enter the Old Queen of Lydia flying from her nephew Lapyrus, with two babes in her arms, he pursuing her with his drawn sword. Enter Chorus.

After the waste of many thousand wounds
Given and receiv'd alike in seven set battles,
Lydia's old king, upon conditions sign'd
For peace and truce, enter'd consigned league
With his fierce enemy, the Lycian king,
Gave him in hostage as his pledge of faith
His nephew, Lord Lapyrus, and receiv'd
Noble Zantippus from the Lycian.
To make the contract full and honourable,
This Lord Lapyrus entertain'd and welcom'd,
But chiefly by the fair Eurymone,
The king's sole daughter, who unto Lapyrus
Offers her as his bride, so he would turn
A traitor to his country and his king;
Lapyrus, to obtain the beauteous maid,
Turns traitor to his king and joins his force
Unto his fair love's father, Lycia's king.
Th' old King of Lydia, being so beset
By his own nephew's unexpected treacheries,
Sent forth his son Tymethes to crave aid
From Armatrites, King of great Cilicia,
Which he obtain'd in a disastrous hour,
As the event will witness. In this trouble
The frighted queen with her two infants fled
Into a forest, fearing the sad ruin
Hourly expected, until Armatrites
With a fresh army forc'd Lapyrus fly
And sav'd the king, doom'd for worse treachery.
What follows shows itself; 'tis our full due
If we with labour give content to you.


I.i. [The presence chamber of the King of Lydia]

Enter the two kings of Lydia and Cilicia, Zenarchus son to the Cilician, Tymethes son to the Lydian, Mazeres, Fidelio, Amorpho, Sextorio, Lodovicus; when they come unto the throne, the tyrant of Cilicia puts by the old King and ascends alone. All snatch out their swords. Mazeres crowns him. The old King and Tymethes stand amazed. Flourish.


Long live Armatrites, King of Lydia!


Art thou amaz'd, old king, and all thy people
Mutually labouring in a fit of wonder?
Start from those pale dreams; we will prove all true:
Who wins the day the brightness is his due.

King of Cilicia.

Ay, and Lydia now.
Bate us not our titles; we and ours
Have sweat and clearly earn'd them in our flesh.

It savours not of nobleness nor virtue,
Religion, loyalty, heaven or nature's laws
So most perfidiously to enter, tyrant,
Where was expected honesty and honour,
Assistance from a friend, not a dissembler,
A royal neighbour and no politic foe.
What worse than this could th' enemy perform?
And when shines friendship best but in a storm?

Why, doting Lydia, is it of no virtue
To bring our army hither and put in venture
Our person and their lives upon our foes?
Wasting our courage, weakening our best forces,
Impoverishing the heart of our munition,
And having won the honour of the battle,
To throw our glory on unworthy spirits,
And so unload victory's honey thighs
To let drones feed

Will nothing satisfy but all?

Without all, nothing.
The kingdom and not under suits our blood:
Flies are not eagles' preys nor thanks our food.
And for Cilicia, our other sphere,
Our son Zenarchus, let thy beams move there.

[Kneeling] Rather, my lord, let me move pity here,
Unto the reverend, fate-afflicted king,
For whom, with his disconsolate son, my friend
And plighted brother, I here kneel as suitor.
Oh, my most noble father, still retain
The seal of honour and religion:
A kingdom rightly possessed by course
Contains more joy than is usurp'd by force.

[Aside] The boy hath almost chang'd us.

[Aside] He cools.--My lord, remember you are possess'd.

What, with the devil?

The devil! The dukedom, the kingdom, Lydia:
All pant under your sceptre; the sway's yours.
Be not bought out with words; a kingdom's dear:
Kiss fortune; keep your mind and keep your state.
Y'are laugh'd at if you prove compassionate.

Thanks to Mazeres; he hath refresh'd our spirits.
Zenarchus, 'tis thy death if thou proceed:
Thy words we threat; rise silent or else bleed.

[Zenarchus rises.]

Who can expect but blood where tyrants govern?

We are not yet so cruel to thy fortune
As was Lapyrus, thy own nephew, treacherous,
That stole upon thy life, beseig'd thee basely,
And had betray'd thee to thine enemy's anger
Had we not beat his strength to his own throat
And made him shrink before us. All can tell
In him 'twas monstrous; 'tis in us but well,
A trick of war, advantage, policy, nay, rather recompense.
There's more deceit in peace: 'tis common there
T' unfold young heirs; the old may well stand bare.
You have your life; be thankful, and 'tis more
Than your perfidious nephew would consent to
Had he surpris'd you first. Your fate is cast;
The sooner you be gone 'twill prove the safer.

On thee, Lapyrus, and thy treacheries fall
The heavy burthen of an old man's curse.

Your queen with her two infants fled the city
Affrighted at this treason and new wars.

News of more sadnesses than the kingdom's loss;
She fled upon her hour, for had she stay'd
Sh' had either died, been banish'd, or betray'd.
I have some servants here?

All these, my lord.

All these? Not all; you did forget
I am not worth the flattering. I am done,
Old and at set: honour the rising sun.
If any for love serve me, which is he?
Now let him shame the world and follow me.

That's I, my lord.

And I.

What, two of you?
Let it be enroll'd
Two follow a king when he is poor and old.

[King] exit cum suis [Fidelio and Amorpho].

Farewell, king. I'll play the flounder, keep me to my tide.

And so will I; this is the flowing side.

Those men are yours, my lord.

We'll grace them chiefly.
[To Sextorio and Lodovicus] Wait for employment, place and eminence;
The like to each that to our bounty flies,
For he that falls to us shall surely rise.
[Taking Mazeres aside] His son Tymethes little frights our thoughts:
He's young and given to pleasure, not to plots.

Your grace defines him right; he may remain.
The prince your son binds him in a love-chain;
There's little fear of him.

Their loves are dear.
Base boy! He leaves his father to live here.

His presence sets a gloss on your attempts;
They have their lustre from him.

He's their countenance;
'Twas well observ'd and follow'd: he shall stay.
Mazeres, thou armest us that won the day.

[Exeunt] all but Zenarchus and Tymethes.

[Aside] None but Mazeres, that court fly, could on
The virtues of the king blow such corruption;
Man falls to vice in minutes, runs and leaps,
But unto goodness he takes wary steps.
How soon a tyrant!--Why, Tymethes, friend, brother?

Peace, prithee, peace: you undo me if you wake me;
I hope I'm in a dream.

Would 'twere so happy.

No? Why then, wake, beggar; but the comfort is
I have brave-seeming kinsmen. Why, Zenarchus,
'Tis not the loss of kingdom, father's banishment,
Uncertainty of mother afflicts me
With half the violence that those cross'd affections
Betwixt your princely sister and ourself,
Who upon fortune, or her father's frown,
Erecting the whole fabric of her love,
Either now will not, or else dare not love me.

Chance alters not affection; see in me
That hold thee dear still spite of tyranny.
Fate does but dim the glass of a right man;
He still retains his worth, do what fate can.
Change faith for dross? I will not call her sister
That shall hate virtue for affliction.

Enter Amphridote.

And here she comes to clear those doubts herself.

Strange alteration! Will the king my father
In his gray hairs turn tyrant to his friends,
Wasting his penitential times in plots,
Acting more sins than he hath tears to weep for them?

Alas, lady, fortune hath chang'd my state; can you love a beggar?

Why, fortune hath the least command o'er love;
She cannot drive Tymethes from himself,
And 'tis Tymethes, not his painted glories,
My soul in her accomplish'd wish desires.

What say you now, sir?

Nothing but admire
That heaven can frame a creature like a woman
And she be constant, seeing most are common.

Put by your wonder, sir, she proves the same:
I spake her virtues for her ere she came;
And when my father dies, I here do vow
This kingdom now detained wrongfully
Shall then return unforcedly to you,
In part thy dowry, but in all thy due.

Unmatched, honest young man!

Enter Mazeres observing.

Come, let your lips meet, though your fortunes wander.

[Aside] Ha! Taste lips so bounteously with a beggar?

Thus in firm state let your affections rest;
Time, that makes wretched, makes the same men bless'd.

Exeunt [all but Mazeres].

What's here? Either the princes out of charity's rashness
Are pleas'd to lay aside their glories and refresh
The gasping fortunes of a desperate wretch,
Or if for larger bounties [ ]. I was mad
T' advise the king for his remaining here
That had been banish'd, and with him my fear:
I love the princess, and the king allows it;
If he should prove a rival to my love,
I have argued fair for his abiding here.
My plots shall work his ruin; if one fail,
I'll raise a second, for I must prevail.
I that us'd policy to cause him stay
Can show like art to rid my fears away.


I.ii. [A forest]

Enter the Old Queen with two babes, as being hard pursued.

Oh, whither shall I fly with these poor babes?
Twice set upon by thieves within this forest,
Who robb'd me of my clothes and left me these,
Which better suit with my calamity!
What fate pursues the good old king my husband?
I cannot learn which is my worst affliction.
Oh, treacherous Lapyrus! Impious nephew!
All horrors of a guilty breast keep with thee!
Either, poor babes, you must pine here for food,
Or have the wars drink your immaculate blood.

Cry within, "Follow, follow!"

Oh, fly, lest life and honour be betray'd!


I.iii. [Another part of the forest]

Enter Lapyrus disguised.

Villain and fugitive, where wilt thou hide
Th' abhorred burthen of thy wretched flesh?
In what disguise canst thou be safe and free,
Having betray'd thy [country]? Base Lapyrus!
Earth, stretch thy throat, take down this bitter pill,
Loathing the hateful taste of his own will!

Enter the [Old] Queen and two Soldiers pursuing her.

Oh, help! Good heaven, save a poor wretch from slaughter!

Stop her mouth first; soldiers must have their sport.
'Tis dearly earn'd: they venture their blood for't.

[Aside] A mother so enforc'd by pitiless slaves?
Let me redeem my honour in her rescue,
And in this deed my former baseness die.

Come, come!

If ever woman bore you--

[Drawing his sword] Whoe'er bore them, monsters begot them! Merciless, damn'd villains!

Hold, hold, sir! We are soldiers, but do not love to fight.

Exeunt [Soldiers].

Let me dissuade you from all hope of recompense
Save thanks and prayers, which are the beggar's gifts.

You cannot give me that I have more need of
Than prayers, for my soul hath a poor stock;
There's a fair house within, but 'tis ill-furnish'd:
There wants true tears for hangings, penitent falls,
For without prayers, soldiers are but bare walls.
Whence are you that with such a careful charge
Dare pass this dangerous forest?

Generous sir,
I was of Lydia once, as happy then
As now unfortunate, till one Lapyrus,
That traitorous villain nephew to the king,
Sought the confusion of his state and him,
And with a secret army girt his land
When peace was plighted by his enemy's hand,
Little expecting such unnatural treason
From forth a kinsman's bosom; all admir'd
But I his miserable queen.

Oh, sink into perdition!--Let me hear no further.

I'll tell you all, for your so late attempt
Confirms you honest, and my thoughts so keep you:
I, frighted at new wars and his false breath,
Chose rather with these babes this lingering death.

[Aside] Oh, in her words I endure a thousand deaths!

The truth of this sad story hath been yours;
Now, courteous sir, may I request your name,
That in my prayers I may place the fame.

[Aside] I'll put my death into her woeful hands.

I hear you not, sir; I desire [your] name.

To add some small content to your distress,
Know that Lapyrus, whom your miseries
May rightly curse, and be revenged justly,
Lurks in this forest equally distress'd.

In this forest lurks that abhorred villain?

These eyes did see him, and, faith, lady, say
If you should meet that worst of villains here,
That treacher, monster, what would you attempt?

His speedy death; I should forget all mercy,
Had I but means fully to express my vengeance.

You would not, queen.

No? By these infants' tears
That weep for hunger, I would throughly do't.

See, yonder he comes.

Oh, where?

Here, take my sword.
Are you yet constant? Shame your sex and be so.
Will you do't?

I see him not.

Strike him through his guilt and treachery
And let him see the horrors of his perjur'd soul.
Are you ready?

Pray, let me see him first.

[Lapyrus] pulls off his false beard and kneels.

You see him now: now do't.

Oh, fortunate revenge! Now all thy villainies
Shall be at once requited: thy country's ruin,
The king thy uncle's sorrows, my own miseries,
Shall at this minute all one vengeance meet.
[Aside] Alas, he doth submit, prays, and relents.
Who could wish more? None made from woman can;
Small glory 'twere to kill a kneeling man,
When he in penitent sighs his soul commends:
Thou send'st him to the gods, thyself to th' fiends.

But hearken to thy piteous infants' cries,
And th'are for vengeance. Peace, then: now he dies.
Ingrateful woman, he delivered thee
From ravishment: canst thou his murtheress be?
What's riches to thy honour? That rare treasure
Which worlds redeem not, yet 'tis lost at pleasure.
Kill him that preserv'd that? And in thy rescue
His noble rage so manfully behav'd.--
Rise, rise; he that repents is ever sav'd.

Will misery yet a longer life afford,
To see a queen so poor, not worth her word?

I am better than my word; my word was death.

Man's ne'er past grief till he be past his breath.

I pardon all, Lapyrus.

Do not do't.

And only to one penance I enjoin thee
For all thy faults past: while we here remain
Within this forest, this thy task shall be,
To procure succour to my babes and me.

And if I fail, may the earth swallow me.

Th'art now grown good; here could I ever dwell,
Were the old king my husband safe and well.


I.iv. [Outside the Young Queen's rooms]

Enter Tymethes and Zenarchus.

Come, come, drive away these fits; faith, I'll have thee merry.

As your son and heir at his father's funeral.

Thou seest my sister constantly affects thee.

There were no mirth nor music else for me.

Sir, in this castle the old king my father,
O'erworn with jealousy, keeps his beauteous wife;
I think thou never saw'st her.

No, not I.

Why, then thy judgments fresh, I'll visit her
On purpose for the censure.

I speak my affection.

Nay, on my knowledge, she's worth jealousy,
Though jealously be far unworthy a king.

Enter Roxano.

My lov'd lord?

How cheers the queen?

They whisper.

[Aside] Have I not seen this fellow before now?
He has an excellent preference for a pander;
I know not his office.

Use those words to her.

They shall be us'd, my lord, and anything
That comes to using, let it come to me.


What's he, Zenarchus?

Who, Roxano? A fellow in great trust,
Elected by my father's jealousy.
But he and all the rest attend upon her,
I think would turn her pander for reward,
For 'tis not watch nor ward keeps woman chaste
If honour's watch in her mind be not plac'd.

Right oracle. What gain hath jealousy?
Fruitful suspicion, sighs, ridiculous groans:
Hunger and lust will break through flesh and stones,
And like a whirlwind blows ope castle doors,
Italian padlocks, [ ].

What mad lords are your jealous people then,
That lock their wives from all men but their men?
Make them their keepers to prevent some greater,
So oft it happens to the poor's relief
Keepers eat venison when their lords eat beef.

Enter Young Queen with a book in her hand.

See, see, she comes.

[Aside] Honour of beauty! There man's wishes rise:
Grace and perfection lighten from her eyes;
Amazement is shot through me.

'Tis Tymethes, lady, son to the banish'd king.

Is this he?

It is, sweet lady.

[Aside] I never knew the force of a desire
Until this minute struck within my blood;
I fear one look was destin'd to undo me.

Why, Tymethes? Friend?


A courtier and forget your first weapon? Go and salute our lady mother.

[Aside] He makes towards us.--Y'are Prince Tymethes, so I understand.

The same unfortunate, most gracious lady,
Supremest of your sex in all perfections.

Sir, y'are forgetful: this is no place for courtship,
Nor we a subject for't; return to your friend.

[Aside] All hopes kill'd in their blossom.

[Aside] Too cruelly, in faith, I put him by.--

Enter Roxano with wine.

Wine for our son Zenarchus? 'Twas done kindly.
You son, and our best visitant.

Duty binds me.

Begin to me, Zenarchus, I'll have't so.

[Aside] Why, then there's hope she'll take occasion
To drink to me; she hath no means t' avoid it.

[Aside] I'll prevent all loose thoughts, drink to myself.
My mind walks yonder, but suspect walks here.

Drinks and gives Roxano the cup.

[Aside] The devil's on that side and engrosses all:
Smiles, favours, common courtesies, none can fall
But he has a snatch at them. Not drink to me?

Make you yon stranger drink.

Roxano offers it him.

Pox of't, not I.

[Aside] I speak strange words against my fantasy.

Prithee, Tymethes, drink.

I am not dry.

I think so too: dry and so young, 'twere strange.
Come, prithee drink to the queen, my mother.

You shall rule me: unto that beauteous majesty.

Thanks, noble sir. [Aside] I must be wary;
My mind's dangerous.--I'll pledge you anon, sir.

Gives Roxano the cup [and Roxano exits with wine].

[Aside] Heart! How contempt ill fortune does pursue!
Not drink nor pledge; what was she born to do?
I'll stay no longer, lest I get that flame
Which nothing but cold death can quench or tame.--
Zenarchus, come.


I go; music of mind to the queen.

To you no less.

And all that you can wish or I express.

Thanks to our son.

Exit [Zenarchus].

Th' other took leave in silence, but left me
To speak enough both for myself and thee.
Tymethes? That's his name. Poor heart, take heed:
Look well into th' event ere thou proceed.
Love, yet be wise! Impossible: none can.
If e'er the wise man claim one foolish hour
'Tis when he loves: he's then in folly's power.
I need not fear the servants that o'erwatch me:
Their faiths lie in my coffers, in effect,
More true to me than to my lord's suspect.
The fears and dangers that most threaten me
Live in the party that I must enjoy,
And that's Tymethes. Men are apt to boast;
He may in full cups blaze and vaunt himself
Unto some meaner mistress, make my shame
The politic engine to beat down her name
And from thence force a way to the king's ears.
Strange fate: where my love keeps, there keep my fears.

Enter tyrant [Armatrites].

[Aside] Alone? Why, where's her guard? Suffer her alone?
Her thoughts may work; their powers are not her own.
Women have of themselves no entire sway;
Like dial needles they wave every way,
And must be throughly taught to be kept right
And point to none but to their lord's delight.

Enter Roxano and guard.

Time to convey and plot? Leave her alone!
Why, villains! [To Young Queen] Kiss me, my perfection;
This night we'll banquet in these blissful arms.

[She kisses him.]

Your nights are music and your words are charms.

Kiss me again, fair Tethys!

Walks off with her, and the guard follows.

My lady is scarce perfect in her thoughts,
Howe'er she fram'd a smile upon the tyrant.
I have some skill in faces, and yet they never were more deceitful; a man can scarce know a bawd from a midwife by the face, an hypocritical Puritan from a devout Christian if you go by the face. Well, all's not straight in my lady. She hath certain crooked cogitations, if a man had the liberty to search 'em. If aught point at my advice or performance, she may fortunately disclose it. She knows my mettle and what it yields to an ounce; she cannot be deceiv'd in't. Here's service and secrecy, and no lady can with more, beside a monkey. She is assur'd of our faculties; there's none of us that stand her smock sentinels but would venter a joint to do her any pleasurable service, and I think that's as much as any woman desires.

Enter [Young] Queen sad.

Mass, here she comes. 'Tis some strange physic I know by the working.

[Aside] It cannot be kept down with any argument:
'Tis of aspiring force; sparks fly not downward.
No more this receiv'd fancy of Tymethes;
I threaten it with my lord's jealousy.
Yet still it rises against all objections.
I see my dangers, in what fears I dwell;
There's but a plank on which I run to hell.
Yet were't thrice narrower I should venture on;
None dares do more for sin than woman can.
Misery of love! Roxano? I am observ'd.--
What news, Roxano?

None that's good, madam.

No? Which is the bad?

The worst of all is, madam, you are sad.

Indeed, I am not merry.

Would I knew the means would make you so,
I would turn myself into any shape or office
To be the author of it, sweet lady.

Troth, I have that hope of thee; I think thou wouldst.

Think it? 'Sfoot, you might swear safely in that action
And never hurt your oath: I ne'er fail'd yet.

'Twere sin to injure thee; I know thou didst not.

Nay, I know I did not.

But, my trusty servant,
This plot requires art, secrecy and wit,
Yet out of all can hardly work one safety.

Not one? That's strange. I would 'twere put to me;
I'll make it arrive safe, whate'er it be.

Thou couldst not, my Roxano. Why, admit I love; now I come to thee.

Admit you love? Why, all's safe [enough] yet.

Ay, but a stranger.

Nay, now we are all spoil'd, lady; I may look for my brains in my boots. Now you have put home to me indeed, madam. A stranger? There's a hundred deaths in the very name, besides vantage.

I said I should affright thee.

Faith, no fool can fright me, madam, commonly call'd a stranger.

Hast thou the will? Or dar'st thou do me good?

Do thee good, sweet lady? As far as I am able, ne'er doubt it. Let me but cast about for [safety], and I'll do anything, madam.

Ay, ay, our safeties, which are mere impossibles;
Love forgets all things but its proper objects.

What is he, and his name?

Tymethes, in a most unlucky minute,
Led hither by our son-in-law, Zenarchus.

Hum; is that the most fortunate, spider-catching, smock-wrapp'd gentleman?

Yet if he know me.

What then?

I am undone.

And is it possible a man should lie with a woman and yet not know her? And yet 'tis possible too; thank my invention, follow that game still.

He must not know me, [that] I love no further,
Although for not enjoying him I die:
My lord's pale jealousy does so o'erlook me
That if Tymethes know what he enjoys,
It may make way unto my lord's mistrust;
Then since in my desire such horrors move,
I'll die no other than the death of love.

She swoons and Roxano holds her in his arms.

Lady, madam, do you hear? Have you leisure to swoon now, when I have taken such pains i' th' business, to take order for your safety, set all things right? Why, madam!

What says the man?

Why, he says like a gentleman, every inch of him, and will perform the office of a gentleman: bring you together, put you together, and leave you together; what gentleman can do more?

And all this safely?

And all this safely? Ay, by this hand will I, or else would I might never do anything to purpose, if he have but the first part of a young gentleman in him. 'Tis granted, madam; I have crotchets in my brain that you shall see him and enjoy him, and he not know where he is nor who he is.

How? Shall he not know me?

Why, 'tis the least part of my meaning he should, lady. Do you think you could possibly be safe and he know you? Why, some of your young gallants are of the vainglorious and preposterous humour, that if they lay with their own sisters you should hear them prate of't; this is too usual, there's no wonder in't. What I have said I will swear to perform: you shall enjoy him ere night and he not know you next morning.

Thou art not only necessary but pleasing.
[Giving him money] There, catch our bounty; manage all but right:
As now with gold, with honours we'll requite.


I am your creature, lady. Pretty gold,
And by this light methinks most easily earn'd.
There's no faculty, say I, like a pander,
And that makes so many nowadays
Die in the trade. I have your gold, lady,
And eke your service. I am one step higher;
This office makes a gentleman a squire.


II.i. [Outside a sheepcote]

Enter Clown and two Shepherds.

Come, fellow clown, are the pits digg'd?

Ay, and as deep as an usurer's conscience, I warrant thee.

Mass, and that's deep enough; 'twill devour a widow and three orphans at a breakfast. Soft, is this it?

Ay, ay, this is it.

Nay, for the deepness I'll be sworn; but come, my masters, and lay these boughs cross over. So, so, artificially, and may all those whoreson muttonmongers, the wolves, hole here, which eat our sheep.

I wonder what wolves those are which eat our sheep,
Whether they be he-wolves or she-wolves?

They should be he-wolves by their loving mutton,
But by their greediness they should be she-wolves,
For the belly of a she-wolf is never satisfied till it be damm'd up.

Why, are the she-wolves worse than the hes?

Why, is not the dam worse than the devil, pray?

You have answered me there indeed.

Why, man, if all the earth were a parchment, the sea ink, every stick a pen, and every knave a scrivener, they were not all able to write down the knaveries of she-wolves.

A murrain on them, hes or shes: they suck the blood of none but our lambs.

Oh, always the weakest goes to the wall, as for example: knock down a sheep and he tumbles forwards; knock down a woman and she tumbles backwards.

Sirrah, I wonder how many sorts of wolves there be.

Marry, just as many sorts as there be knaves in the cards.

Why, that's four.

First there are your court wolves, and those be foul eaters and clean drinkers.

And why clean drinkers?

Why, because when they be drunk, they commonly cast up all, and so make cleaning [work] of't.

So, sir, those are clean drinkers indeed.

The next are your country wolves: nothing chokes them but plenty; they sing like sirens when corn goes out by shipfuls, and dance after no tune but after an angel a bushel.

The halter take such corn-cutters!

Are there no city wolves?

A rope on them, yes, huge routs; you shall have Long Lane full of them: they'll feed upon any whore-carrion, these, or anything.

Have they such maws?

Maws? Why, man, fiddlers have no better stomachs; I have known some of them eat up a lord at three bits.

Three bonds, you mean.

A knight is nobody with them; a young gentleman is swallowed whole like a gudgeon.

I wonder that gudgeon does not choke him.

A gudgeon choke him if the throat of his conscience be found; he'll gulp down anything. Five of your silken gallants are swallowed easier than a damask prune, for our city wolves do so rule my young prodigal first in wax, which is soft, till he look like a gilded pill; and then so finely wrap him up in satin, which is sleek, that he goes down without chewing: and thereupon they are called slippery gallants.

I'll be no gentleman for that trick.

The last is your sea wolf, a horrible ravener too: he has a belly as big as a ship, and devours as much silk at a gulp as would serve forty dozen tailors against a Christmas day or a running at tilt.

Well, well, now our trap is set, what shall we do with the wolves we catch?

Why, those that are great ones and more than our matches we'll let go, and the lesser wolves we'll hang. Shall it be so?

Ay, ay; each man to his stand.

Exeunt. Enter Lapyrus, solus.

Foul monster-monger, who must live by that
Which is thy own destruction! Why should men
Be nature's bondslaves? Every creature else
Comes freely to the table of the earth,
That, which for man alone doth all things bear,
Scarce gives him his true diet anywhere.
What spiteful winds breath here, that not a tree
Spreads forth a friendly arm? Distressed queen
And most accursed babes, the earth that bears you
Like a proud mother scorns to give you food. Ha!
Thanks, fates; I now defy thee, starveling hunger!
Bless'd tree, four lives grow in thy fruit; run, taste it then:
Wise men serve first themselves than other men.

He falls into the pit.

Oh me, accursed and most miserable!
Help, help! Some angel lay a list'ning ear
To draw my cry up! None to lend help? Oh,
Then pine and die!

Enter Clown.

A wolf caught, a wolf caught!

Oh, help! I am no wolf, good friend.

No? What art thou then?

A miserable wretch.

An usurer?

No, no.

A broker then?

Mock not a man in woe, in a green wound:
Pour balsam and not physic.

'Snails, he talks like a surgeon! If you be one, why do you not help yourself, sir?

I am no surgeon, friend; my name's Lapyrus.

How! A wolf caught, ho! Lap, what, Lap, ho!

Lapyrus is my name; dost thou not know me?

Yes, for a wolfish rascal that would have worried his own country.

Torture me not, I prithee; I am that wretch.
A villain I was once, but I am now--

The devil in the vault! You, sirrah, that betray'd your country, and the old king your uncle, there lie till one wolf devour another, thou treacherous rascal!


Oh me, most miserable and wretched creature!
I now do find there's a revenging fate
That dooms bad men to be unfortunate.

II.ii. [A room in the castle]

Enter Zenarchus, Tymethes, Amphridote, and Mazeres [following them].

We are observ'd.

By whom?

Mazeres follows us.

Oh, he's my protested servant, your sole rival.

The devil he is.

You'll make a hot suitor of him anon?

He may be hot in th' end; his good parts sue for't.

He eyes us still.

He does. You shall depart, lady;
I'll take my leave on purpose in his presence.
He's jealous, and a kiss runs through his heart;
I'll make a thrust at him on your lip.

[He kisses her.]

[Aside] Death! Minute favours? Every step a kiss?
I think they count how the day goes by kissing;
'Tis past four since I met them.

I have hit him in the gall instead of th' blood;
He sheds distractions, which are worse than wounds.

But sirrah!

Stays he to prove my rival? Curs'd be th' hour
Wherein I advis'd the king for his stay here.
I have set slaves t' entrap him, yet none prosper;
I'll lay no more my faith upon their works:
Th'are weak and loose, and like a rotten wall,
Leaning on them may hazard my own fall.
I'll use a swifter course, cut off long journeys
And tedious ways that run my hopes past breath:
I'll take the plain road and hunt his death.


So, so, he departs with a knit brow. No matter;
When his frown begets earthquakes, haply then
'Twill shake me too: I shall stand firm till then.

Enter Roxano disguised [as a beggar].

[Aside] Mass, here 'a walks. I am far enough from myself;
I challenge all disguises except drinking
To hide me better: I give way to that,
For that indeed will thrust a white gentleman
Into a suit of mud. But whist, I begin to be noted.

Ay, he chang'd upon't.

I mark'd him.

[Roxano approaches them.]

Good your honours, your most comfortable, charitable relief
And devotion to a poor, star-cross'd gentleman.

Pox on thee!

I'm bare enough already if it like your honour.

He did!

[Aside] "Pox on thee?" Your young gallants love to give no alms
But that that will stick by a man, that's one virtue in them:
He's not content to have my hat off, but he would have my hair off too.--
Thank your good lordship.

No, was that his action!

It call'd him lord.

Nay, he's a villain!

Good your honours! I have been a man in my time.

Why, what art thou now?

Kept goodly beasts, had three wives, two men uprising, three maids down-lying; oh, good your kind honours!

'Sfoot, I am a beggar myself.

Perhaps your lordship gets by it.
Good your sweet honour!

This fellow would be whipp'd.

Your lordship has forgot since you were a beggar.

[Taking him aside] I'll give thee somewhat for that jest, in troth!

But now you are in private, shut your purse and open your ear, sir.


[To Amphridote] He's dealing his devotion; hinder him not.

I am not literally a beggar, as puritanical as I appear.
The naked truth is you are happily desired--


Of the most sweet, delicate, divine,
Pleasing, ravishing creature--

Peace, peace, prithee peace.

That ever made man's wishes perfect.

Nay, say not so; I saw one creature lately
Exceeds all human form for true perfection:
This may be beauteous.

This for white and red, sir.
Her honour and my oath sue for that pardon;
You must not know her name nor see her face.


She rather chooseth death in her neglect
Than so to hazard life or lose respect.

How shall I come at her?

Let your will
Subscribe to the sure means already wrought;
She shall be safely pleas'd, you safely brought.

Ha! And is this sheer faith, without any trick in't?

Let me perish in this office else, and I need wish
No more damnation than to die a pander.

Thou speakest well. When meet we?

Five is the fixed hour, upon tomorrow's evening.

So. The place?

Near to the further lodge.

Go to then. It holds honest all the way?

Else does there live no honesty but in lawyers.

Enough. Five? And the furthest lodge? I'll meet thee.

Enjoy the sweetest treasure in a woman.


[Aside] Always excepting and the tyrant's gem.

What, have you done with the beggar?

None that lives can say he has done with the beggar.

Hold conference so long with such a fellow?

How? Are your wits perfect? If one should refuse to talk with every beggar, he might refuse brave company sometimes: gallants, i'faith.


II.iii. [Outside the sheepcote]

Enter the old King, Fidelio, and Amorpho.

The loss of my dear queen afflicts me more
Than all Lapyrus' cursed treacheries. Inhuman monster!

[In the pit] If you have human forms to fit those voices
And hearts that may be pierc'd with misery's groans
Sent from a fainting spirit, pity a wretch,
A miserable man, prisoner to darkness;
Your charitable strengths this way repair,
And lift my flesh to the reviving air!

Alas, some travelling man, by night outstripp'd,
Missing his away into this danger slipp'd.
Set all our hands to help him. Come, good man,
They that sit high may make their ends below.

Millions of thanks and prayers.

Y'are heavy, sir, whoe'er you be.

There's weight within keeps down my soul and me.

One full strength more makes our pains happy, poor strength helps the poor.
So, sir, y'are welcome to-- Lapyrus? Oh!

Lapyrus falls down.

We do forgive thy treachery; revive:
'Tis pity and not hate makes goodness thrive.

Oh, that astonishment had left me dead!
Shame, sitting on my brow, weighs down my head:
Even thus the guilt of my abhorred sin
Flash'd in my face when I beheld the queen.

Our queen! Oh, where, Lapyrus? Tell the rest!

Within this forest with her babes distress'd.

Which way? Lead, dear Lapyrus.

Follow me then.

Not only shall we quit thy soul's offence,
But give thy happy labour recompense.


Dumb Show

Enter the Old Queen weeping, with both her infants, the one dead. She lays down the other on a bank and goes to bury the dead, expressing much grief. Enter the former Shepherds, walking by carelessly; at last they espy the child and strive for it, at last the Clown gets it and dandles it, expressing all signs of joy to them. Enter again the Queen; she looks for her babe and, finding it gone, wrings her hands. The Shepherds see her, then whisper together, then beckon to her. She joyfully runs to them, they return her child, she points to her breasts as meaning she should [nurse] it, they all give her money, the Clown kisses the babe and her, and so exeunt several ways. Then enter Lapyrus, the old King, Amorpho, and Fidelio; they miss the Queen and so expressing great sorrow. Exeunt. Enter Chorus.

The miserable queen expecting still
The infants' succour from Lapyrus' hand,
Who wants himself, it chanc'd through extreme want
The youngest died, and this so near his end,
That had not shepherds happily passed by
And on the babe cast a compassionate eye,
And snatch'd the child out of the arms of death
Where the sad mother left it, the same hour
Had been his grave that gives his life new power.
Thus the distressed queen, to them unknown,
Was as a nurse receiv'd unto her own,
Whose sight Lapyrus missing, having led
The king her husband to this hapless place,
They all depart in extreme height of grief
To get unto their own sad want release.


III.i. [The lodge]

Enter Roxano with his disguise in his hand.

This is the farther lodge, the place of meeting, the hour scarce come yet. Well. I was not born to this; there's not a hair to choose betwixt me and a pander in this case, shift it off as well as I can. I do envy this fellow's happiness now, and could cut his [throat] at pleasure. I could e'en gnaw feathers now to think of his downy felicity: I, that could never aspire above a dairy wench, the very cream of my fortunes. That he should bath in nectar, and I most unfortunate in buttermilk! This is good dealing now, is't?

Enter Mazeres, musing.

[Aside] I'll have some other, for he must not live.

[Aside] Who's this? My Lord Mazeres, discontent!
H' has been to seek me twice, and privately;
I wonder at the business. I'm no statesman;
If I be, 'tis more than I know: I protest therefore
I dare not call it in question. What should he make with me?
I'll discover myself to him; if th' other come
In the meantime, so I may be caught bravely,
Yet 'tis scarce the hour. I'll put it to the trial.

[Aside] Roxano in my judgment had been fittest,
And farthest from suspect of such a deed
Because he keeps in the castle.

My lov'd lord.


The same, my lord.

I was to seek thee twice.
Tell me, Roxano, have I any power in thee?
Do I move there, or any part of me
Flow in thy blood?

As far as life, my lord.

As far as love, man; I ask no further.

Touch me then, my lord, and try my mettle.

[Giving him gold] First, there's gold for thee,
After which follow favour, eminence,
And all those gifts which fortune calls her own.

Well, my lord.

There's one Tymethes, son to the banish'd king,
Lives about court, Zenarchus gives him grace,
That fellows my diseases; I thrive not with him:
He's like a prison chain shook in my ears;
I take no sleep for him, his favours mad me.
My honours and my dignities are dreams
When I behold him; that right arm can ease me:
I will not boast my bounties, but forever
Live rich and happy. Thou art wise; farewell.


Hum, what news is here now? "Thou art wise; farewell." By my troth, I think it is a part of wisdom to take gold when it is offer'd: many wise men will do't; that I learnt of my learned counsel. This is worth thinking on now. To kill Tymethes, so strangely belov'd by a lady, and so monstrously detested by a lord? Here's gold to bring Tymethes, and here's gold to kill Tymethes. Ay, let me see: which weighs heaviest? By my faith, I think the killing gold will carry 't. I shall like many a bad lawyer run my conscience upon the greatest fee: who gives most is like to fare best. I like my safety so much the worse in this business in that Lord Mazeres is his profess'd enemy. He's the king's bosom; he blows his thoughts into him, and I had rather be torn with whirlwinds than fall into any of their furies. Troth, as far as I can see, the wisest course is to play the knave, lay open this venery, betray him. But see, my lord again.

Enter Mazeres.

Hast thou thought of me? May I do good upon thee?
I'll out of recreation make thee worthy,
Play honours to thy hand.

My lord?

Art thou resolv'd and I will be thy lord?

It will appear I am so.
Be proud of your revenge before I name it.
Never was man so fortunate in his hate;
I'll give you a whole age but to think how.

Thou mak'st me thirst.

Tymethes meets me here.

Here? Excellent. On Roxano; he meets thee here.

I meant at first to betray all to you, sir;
Understand that, my lord.

I'faith, I do.

Then thus, my lord--

Enter Tymethes.

He comes.

Withdraw behind the lodge; relate it briefly.

[Roxano and Mazeres withdraw.]

A delicate, sweet creature? 'Slight, who should it be?
I must not know her name nor see her face?
It may be some trick to have my bones bastinadoed
Well, and so sent back again. What say you to a blanketing?
Faith, so 'twere done by a lady and her chambermaids
I care not, for if they toss me in the blankets,
I'll toss them in the sheets, and that's one for th' other.
A man may be led into a thousand villainies,
But the fellow swore enough,
And here's blood apt enough to believe him.

I both admire the deed and my revenge.

My lord, I'll make your way.

Thou mak'st thy friend.

Exit. [Roxano approaches Tymethes.]

Art come? We meet e'en jump upon a minute.

Ay, but you'll play the better jumper of the two;
I shall not jump so near as you by a handful.

How! At a running leap?

That is more hard;
At a running leap you may give me a handful.

So, so, what's to be done?

Nothing but put this hood over your head.

How? I never went blindfold before.

You never went otherwise, sir, for all folly is blind.
Besides, sir, when we see the sin we act,
We think each trivial crime a bloody fact.

Well follow'd of a serving-man.

serving-men always follow their masters, sir.

No, not in their mistresses.

There I leave you, sir.

I desire to be left when I come there, sir.
But faith, sincerely, is there no trick in this?
Prithee, deal honestly with me.

Honestly, if protestation be not honest,
I know not what to call it.

Why, if she affect me so truly, she
Might trust me with her knowledge; I could be secret
To her chief actions. Why, I love women too well.

She'll trust you the worse for that, sir.

Why, because I love women?

Oh, sir, 'tis most common,
He that loves women is ne'er true to woman.
Experience daily proves he loveth none
With a true heart that affects more than one.

Your wit runs nimbly, sir; pray, use your pleasure.

Why, then goodnight, sir.

He puts on the hood.

Mass, the candle's out.

Oh, sir, the better sports taste best in th' night,
And what we do in the dark we hate i' th' light.

A good doer mayst thou prove for thy experience.
Come, give my thy hand; thou mayst prove an honest lad,
But however I'll trust thee.

Oh, sir, first try me.
But we protract good hours; come, follow me, sir.
Why, this is right your sportive gallants prize:
Before they'll lose their sport, they'll lose their eyes.


III.ii. [A room in the lodge]

Enter the [Young] Queen and four Servants, [the first called Valesta,] she with a book in her hand.

Oh, my fear-fighting blood! Are you all here?

All at your pleasure, madam.

That's my wish, and my opinion
Hath ever been persuaded of your truths,
And I have found you willing t' all employments
We put into your charge.

In our faiths, madam.

For we are bound in duty to your bounty.

Will you to what I shall prescribe swear secrecy?

Try us, sweet lady, and you shall prove our faiths.

To all things that you hear or see
I swear you all to secrecy:
I pour my life into your breasts;
There my doom or safety rests.
If you prove untrue to all,
Now I rather choose to fall
With loss of my desire than light
Into the tyrant's wrathful spite.
But in vain I doubt your trust;
I never found your hearts but just.
On this book your vows arrive,
And as in truth in favour thrive.

[They lay their hands on the book.]

We wish no higher, so we swear.

Like jewels all your vows I'll wear.
Here, take this paper; there those secrets dwell.
Go read your charge, which I should blush to tell.
[Aside] All's sure, I nothing doubt of safety now,
To which each servant hath combin'd his vow.
Roxano, that begins it trustily,
I cannot choose but praise him; he's so needful:
There's nothing can be done about a lady
But he is for it. Honest Roxano!
Even from our head to feet he's so officious.
The time draws on; I feel the minutes here:
No clock so true as love that strikes in fear.


III.iii. [A banqueting room in the lodge]

Soft music, a table with lights set out, arras spread. Enter Roxano leading Tymethes [hooded]. Mazeres meets them.

How far lack I yet of my blind pilgrimage?

[Aside to Roxano] Whist! Roxano!

You are at your-- [Aside to Mazeres] In, my lord,
Away; I'll help you to a disguise.

[Aside to Roxano] Enough.


Methinks I walk in a vault all underground.

And now your long lost eyes again are found.
Good morrow, sir.

Pulls off the hood.

By the mass, the day breaks!

Rest here, my lord, and you shall find content;
Catch your desires, stay here, they shall be sent.

[Aside] Though it be night, 'tis morning to that night which brought me hither.
Ha! The ground spread with arras? What place is this?
Rich hangings? Faire room gloriously furnish'd?
Lights and their lustre? Riches and their splendour?
'Tis no mean creature, these dumb token witness;
Troth, I begin t' affect my hostess better:
I love her in her absence, though unknown,
For courtly form that's here observ'd and shown.

Loud music. Enter [the four Servants masked,] two with a banquet, other two with lights; they set 'em down and depart, making observance. Roxano takes one of them [Valesta] aside.

Valesta? Yes, the same; 'tis my lady's pleasure
You give to me your coat, and vizarded attend without
Till she employ you.

[Exit Valesta.]

So now this [disguise]
Serves for my Lord Mazeres, for he watches
[For] fit occasion. Lecher, now beware:
Securely sit and fearlessly quaff and eat;
You'll find sour sauce still after your sweetmeat.


The servants all in vizards? By this light,
I do admire the carriage of her love,
For I account that woman above wife
Can sin and hide the shame from a man's eyes.
They never do their easy sex more [wrong]
Than when they venture fame upon man's tongue.
Yet I could swear concealment in love's plot,
But happy woman that believes me not.
Whate'er is spoke or to be spoke seems fit;
All still concludes her happiness and wit.

Loud music. Enter Roxano, Mazeres [masked and wearing Valesta's coat], and the [three other] Servants with dishes of sweetmeats; Roxano places them. Each having delivered his dish makes low obeisance to Tymethes. [Exeunt Servants.]

This banquet from her own hand received grace:
Herself prepar'd it for you, as appears
By the choice sweets it yields, able to move
A man past sense to the delights of love.
I bid you welcome as her most priz'd guest,
First to this banquet, next to pleasure's feast.

Whoe'er she be, we thank her, and commend
Her care and love to entertain a friend.

That speaks her sex's rareness, for to woman
The darkest path love treads is clear and common;
She wishes your content may be as great
As if her presence fill'd that other seat.

Convey my thanks to her, and fill some wine.

[Offering wine] My lord?

[Aside] My Lord Mazeres caught the office:
I can't but laugh to see how well he plays
The devil in a vizard, damns where he crouches.
Little thinks the prince
Under that face lurks his life's enemy,
Yet he but keeps the fashion: great men kill
As flatterers stab, who laugh when they mean ill.

[Aside] Now could I poison him fitly, aptly, rarely!

Enter a Lady with wine.

My vengeance speaks me happy: there it goes.

Some wine?

It comes, my lord.

My lady begun to you, sir, and doth commend
This to your heart, and with it her affection.

I'll pledge her thankfully.

Spills the wine.

There, remove that.

[Aside] And in this my revenge must be remov'd
Where first I left it; now my abused wrath
Pursues thy ruin in this dangerous path.

[Aside] That cup hath quite dash'd my Lord Mazeres.

[To the Lady] Return my faith, my reverence, my respect,
And tell her this, which courteously I find:
She hides her face, but lets me see her mind.

[Exit Lady.]

[Aside] I would not taste of such a banquet to feel that which follows it, for the love of an empress. 'Tis more dangerous to be a lecher than to enter upon a breach. Yet how securely he munches!
His thoughts are sweeter than the very meats before him;
He little dreams of his destruction,
His horrible, fearful ruin which cannot be withstood:
The end of venery is disease or blood.

Soft music. Enter the [Young] Queen masked in her nightgown, her maid with a shirt and a nightcap. [Maid gives Roxano the shirt and nightcap; the Young Queen and maid exeunt.]

[Aside] I have not known one happier for his pleasure
Than in that state we are; 'tis a strange trick
And [sweetly] carried. By this light, a delicate creature,
And should have a good face if all hit right,
For they that have good bodies and bad faces
Were all mismatch'd and made up in blind places.

The wind and tide serve, sir; you have lighted upon a sea of pleasure. Here's your sail, sir, and your top streamer, a fair wrought shirt and a nightcap.

I shall make a sweet voyage of this.

Ay, if you knew all, sir.

Is not all known yet? What's to be told?

Five hundred crowns in the shirt sleeve of gold.


'Tis my good lady's pleasure:
No clouds eclipse her bounty; she shines clear.
Some like that pleasure best that costs most dear;
Yet I think your lordship is not of that mind now:
You like that best that brings a banquet with it,
And five hundred crowns.

Ay, by this light, do I,
And I think thou art of my mind.

We jump somewhat near, sir.

But what does she mean to reward me aforehand?
I may prove an eunuch now for ought she knows.

Oh, sir, I ne'er knew any of your hair
But he was absolute at the game.

We are much of a colour. But here's a note; what says it?

He reads.

"Our love and bounty shall increase
So long as you regard our peace;
Unless your life you would forgo,
Who we are seek not to know.
Enjoy me freely: for your sake
This dangerous shift I undertake.
Be therefore wise, keep safe your breath;
You cannot see me under death."
I'd be loath to venture so far for the sight
Of any creature under heaven.

Nay, sir,
I think you may see a thousand faces better.

Well, I will shift me instantly, and be content
With my groping fortune.


Oh, sir, you'll grope to purpose.


I'll after thee, and see the measure of my vengeance unheap'd.
His ruin is my charge; I have seen that
This night would make one blush through this vizard:
Like lightning in a tempest her lust shows,
Or drinking drunk in thunder, horrible,
For on this act a thousand dangers wait.
The king will seize him in his burning fury
And seal his vengeance on his reeking breast,
Though I make pander's use of ear and eye,
No office vile to damn mine enemy.
This course is but the first, 'twill not rest there:
The next shall change him into fire and air.


IV.i. [A room in the castle]

Enter Tymethes and Zenarchus.

Nay, did e'er subtly match it?

'Slight, led to a lady hoodwink'd,
Placed in state, and banqueted in vizards!

All, by this light! But all this nothing was
To the delicious pleasures of her bed.

Who should this be?

Nay, enquire not, brother;
I'd give one eye to see her with the other.
Seest thou this jewel? In the midst of night
I slipp'd it from her veil, unfelt of her;
'T may be so kind unto me as to bring
Her beauty to my knowledge.

Canst not guess at her, nor at the place?

At neither for my heart; why, I'll tell thee, man,
'Twas handled with such art, such admir'd cunning,
What with my blindness and their general darkness,
That when mine eyes receiv'd their liberty,
I was ne'er the nearer.
To them in full form I appear'd unshrouded,
But all their lights to me were mask'd and clouded.

Enter tyrant [Armatrites] and Mazeres, observing.

'Fore heaven, I do admire the cunning of't!

Nay, you cannot outvie my admiration:
I had a feeling of't beyond your passion.

Enter Amphridote.

Well, blow this over; see, our sister comes.

Art sure, Mazeres, that he courts our daughter?

I'm sure of more, my lord: she favours him.

That beggar?

Worse, my lord, that villain traitor,
And yet worse, my lord.


Pardon, my lord; a riper time
Shall bring him forth.

Tymethes kisses her.

Behold him there, my lord.

Dares she so far forget respect to us
And dim her own lustre to give him grace?

Favours are grown to custom 'twixt them both:
Letters, close banquets, whisperings, private meetings.

I'll make them dangerous meetings.

In faith, my lord, I'll have this jewel.

'Tis not my gift, lady.

What's that, Mazeres?

Marry, my lord, she courtly begs a jewel of him
Which he keeps back as courtly, with fair words.

I have sworn, my lord.

Why, upon that condition
You'll keep it safe and close from all strange eyes,
Not wronging me, 'tis yours.

I swear.

It shall suffice.

[They kiss. Exit Zenarchus and Amphridote.]

'Tis hers, my lord, at which they part in kisses.

I'll make those meetings bitter; both shall rue.
We have found Mazeres to this minute true.

Exit [cum] Mazeres.

No trick to see this lady? Heart of ill fortune!
The jewel that was begg'd from me too was
The hope I had to gain her, wish'd for knowledge.
Well, here's a heart within will not be quiet.
The eye is the sweet feeder of the soul
When the taste wants: that keeps the memory whole.
'Tis bad to be in darkness, all know well,
Than not to see what doth it want of hell.
What says the note?
"Unless your life you would forgo,
[Who] we are seek not to know."
Pish, all idle.
As if she'd suffer death to threaten me
Whom she so bounteously and firmly loves!
No trick? Excellent, 'twill fit; make use of that.

Enter Mazeres and Roxano.

[Aside to Roxano] Enough; th'art honest. I affect thee much.
Go, train him to his ruin.

[Aside to Mazeres] Let me alone, my lord; doubt not I'll train him:
Perhaps, sir, I have the art.

Exit [Mazeres].

Oh, I know thy mind.

The further lodge?

Enough; I'll meet thee presently.

[Aside] Why, so. I like one that will make an end of himself at few words. A man that hath a quick perseverance in ill, a leaping spirit, he'll run through horror's jaws to catch a sin, but to o'ertake a virtue, he softly paces, like a man that's sent some tedious, dark, unprofitable journey. Corrupt is nature: she loves nothing more than what she most should hate. There's nothing springs apace in man but gray hairs, cares, and sins.


I'll see her, come what can; but what can prove?
She cannot seek my death that seeks my love.


IV.ii. [Another room in the castle]

Enter Amphridote and Mazeres.

My lord, what is the matter?

I know not what;
The king sent.

Well, we obey.

Enter tyrant [Armatrites].

Here comes his highness.

How now, what's she?

I, my lord? Your highness
Knew me once, your most obedient daughter.

They lie that tell me so; this is not she.

No, my lord?

No, for as thou art I know thee not,
And I shall strive still to forget thee more.
Thou neither bear'st in memory my respects
Nor thy own worths; how can we think of thee
But as of a dejected, worthless creature,
So far beneath our grace and thy own lustre,
That we disdain to know thee?
Was there no choice 'mong our selected nobles
To make thy favourite besides Tymethes,
Son to our enemy, a wretch, a beggar,
Dead to all fortunes, honours, or their hopes,
Besides his breath worth nothing? Abject wretch,
To place thy affection so vigourously
On him can ne'er requite it! Deny 't not;
We know the favours thou hast given him:
Pledges of love, close letters, private meetings,
And whisperings are customary 'twixt you.
Come, which be his gifts? Whereabout lie his pledges?

Your grace hath been injuriously inform'd;
I ne'er receiv'd pledge.

Impudent creature,
When in our sight and hearing,
Shamefully undervaluing thy best honours
And setting by all modesty of blood,
Thou begg'dst a jewel of him.

Oh, pardon me, my lord, I had forgot. Here 'tis;
That is the same, and that e'er was his.

Ha! This! How came this hither?

I gave it you, my lord.

Who gave it thee?


He! Who gave it him?

I know
Not that, my lord.

Then here it sticks, Mazeres!

My lord!

'Tis my queen's, my queen's, Mazeres!
How to him came this?

I can resolve your highness.

Can Mazeres?

He is some ape; the husk falls from him now,
And you shall know his inside: he's a villain,
A traitor to the pleasures of your bed.

Oh, I shall burst with torment!

He's receiv'd this night
Into her bosom.

I feel a whirlwind in me
Ready to tear the frame of my mortality!

I trac'd him to the deed.

And saw it done?

I abus'd my eyes in the true survey of't,
Tainted my hearing with lascivious sounds;
My loyalty did prompt me to be sure
Of what I found so wicked and impure.

'Tis spring-tide in my gall; all my blood's bitter,
Puh, lungs too!

This night.


Enter [Lodovicus].

My lord.

How cam'st thou up? Let's hear.

My lord, my first beginning was a broker.

A knave from the beginning; there's no hope
Of him. [Sextorio]?

Enter [Sextorio].

Here, my lord.

We know thee just; how cam'st thou up? Let's hear.

From no desert that I can challenge
But your highness' favour.

Thou art honest in that answer.
Go, report we are forty leagues off:
Ride forth; spread it about the castle cunningly.

I'll do it faithfully, my lord.

Do't cunningly,
Go; if thou shouldst do't faithfully, thou liest.

[Exit Sextorio.]

I'm lost by violence through all my senses;
I'm blind with rage, Mazeres. Guide me forth:
I tread in air, and see no foot nor path;
I have lost myself, yet cannot lose my wrath.

Exeunt all but Amphridote.

What have I heard? It dares not be but true.
Tymethes taken in adulterate trains,
And with the queen my mother? Now I hate him,
As beauty abhors years or usurers charity;
He does appear unto my eye a leper,
Full of sin's black infection, foul adultery.

Enter Mazeres.

Cursed be the hour in which I first did grace him,
And let Mazeres starve in my disdain
That hath so long observ'd me with true love,
Whose loyalty in this approves the same.


My love?
My lord, I should say, but would say my love.

I do beseech your grace for what I have done.
Lay no oppressing censure upon me;
I could not but in honesty reveal it,
Not envying in that he was my rival,
Nor in the force of any ancient grudge,
But as the deed in its own nature crav'd.
So 'mong the rest it was reveal'd to me,
Appearing so detested that yourself,
Gracious and kind, had you but seen the manner
Would have thrown by all pity and remorse
And took my office or one more in force.

Rise, dear Mazeres, in our favours, rise;
So far am I from censure to reprove thee
That in my hate to him I choose and love thee.

If constant service may be call'd desert,
I shall deserve.

Man hath no better part.

Why, this was happily observ'd and follow'd;
The king will to the castle late tonight
And tread through all the vaults. I must attend.

I wish that at first sight th' hadst forc'd his end.


'Tis better thus; so my revenge imports.
Now thrive my plots; the end shall make me great:
She mine, the crown sits here; I am then complete.


IV.iii. [A drawing-room in the lodge]

Enter [Young] Queen and her maid with a light.

So, leave us here awhile; bear back the light:
I would not be discovered if he come.
You know his entertainment, so be gone.

[Exit maid.]

I am not cheerful, troth, what point soe'er
My powers arrive at: I desire a league
With desolate [darkness] and disconsolate fancies;
There is no music in my soul tonight.
What should I fear when all my servants' faiths
Sleep in my bounty, and no bribes nor threats
Can wake them from my safety? For the king,
He's forty leagues rode forth; I heard it lately.
Yet heaviness, like a tyrant, proud in night,
Usurps my power, rules where it hath no right.

She sleeps. [Enter Roxano with Tymethes hoodwink'd.]

Methinks this a longer voyage than the first.

Pleasure once tasted makes the next seem worse.

Is that the trick?

Oh, sir, experience proves it:
You came at first to enjoy what you ne'er knew;
Now all is but the same, whate'er you do.

[Aside] I'll prove that false; the sight of her is new.

[Taking off Tymethes's hood] I have forgot a business to my Lord Mazeres;
My safety to the king relies upon't.
You are in the house, my lord; this is the withdrawing-room.

I see nothing.

No matter, sir, as long as you have
Feeling enough.

Is the hood off?

'Tis here in my hand, sir.
I must crave pardon, leave you here awhile,
But as you love my safety and your own,
Remove not from this room till my return.

Well, here's my hand I will not.

'Tis enough, sir.


Hist! Art gone? Then boldly I step forth,
Cunning discoverer of an unknown beauty
As subtle as her plot. Thou art mask'd too.
Show me a little comfort in this condensive darkness;
Play the flatterer, laugh in my face.

Opens a dark lanthorn.

Why, here's enough to perfect all my wishes;
With this I taste of that forbidden fruit
Which, as she says, death follows: death, 'twill sting.
Soft, what room's this? Let's see, 'tis not the former
I was entertain'd in; no, it somewhat differs:
Rich hangings still, court deckings, ay, and all--

He spies the [Young] Queen.

Oh, all that can be in man's wish compris'd
Is in thy love immortal, in thy graces!
I am not the same flesh; my touch is alter'd.

She awakes.

Hast thou betray'd me? What hast thou attempted?

Nothing that can be prejudicial
To the sweet peace of those illustrious graces.

Oh, my most certain ruin!

Admired lady, hear me, hear my vow.

Oh, miserable youth, none saves thee now!

By that which man holds dearest, dreadful queen,
And all that can be in a vow constrain'd,
I'll prove as true, secret, and vigilant
As ever man observ'd with serious virtue
The dreadful call of his departing soul.
Your own soul to your secrets shall not prove more true
Than mine to it, to them, to all, to you.

Oh, misery of affection built on breath!
Were I as far past my belief in heaven
As in man's oaths, I were the foulest devil.

May I eat and ne'er be nourished, live and know nothing,
Love without enjoying, if ever--

Come, this is more than needs.

There's comfort then.

You that profess such truth, shall I enjoin you
To one poor penance then to try your faith?

Be't what it will, command it.

Spend but this hour, wherein you have offended,
In true repentance of your sin and all
Your hasty youth stands guilty of, and being clear,
You shall enjoy that which you hold most dear.

And if this penance I perform not truly,
May I henceforth ne'er be received to favour.

Why, then I'll leave you to your tasks awhile.
[Aside] Most wretched, doubtful, strange, distracted woman,
E'en drawn in pieces betwixt love and fear,
I weep in thought of both. Bold, venturous youth!
Twice I writ death, yet would he seek to know me;
He'll make no conscience where his oaths bestow me.


I'm glad all's so well past, and she appeas'd;
I swear I did expect a harder penance
When she began to enjoin me. Why, this is wholesome
For soul and body, though I seldom use it:
Her wisdom is as pleasing as her beauty;
I never knew affection hastier borne,
With more true art and less suspicion.
It so amaz'd me to know her my mistress,
I had no power to close the light again,
Unhappy that I was--

Enter the [Young] Queen with two pistols.

Peace, here she comes;
Down to thy penance.--Think of thy whole youth,
From the first minute that the womb conceiv'd me
To this full-heaped hour; I do repent me,
With heart as penitent as a man dissolving,
Of all my sins, born with me and born of me,
Dishonest thoughts and sights, the paths of youth:
So thrive in mercy as I end in truth.

She shoots him dead.

Fly to thy wish; I pray it may be given:
Man in a twinkling is in earth and heaven.
I dealt not like a coward with thy soul,
Nor took it unprepar'd;
I gave him time to put his armour on,
And sent him forth like a celestial champion.

I lov'd thee with more care and truer moan,
Since thou must die to taste more deaths than one;
Too much by this pity and love confesses
Had any warning fasten'd on thy senses.
Rash, unadvised youth, whom my soul weeps for,
How oft I told thee this attempt was death;
Yet wouldst thou venture on, fond man, and knew.
But what destruction will not youth pursue?
Here long mightst thou have liv'd, been lov'd, enjoy'd,
Had not thy will thy happiness destroy'd.
Thoughtst thou by oaths to have thy deeds well borne?
Thou shouldst have come when man was ne'er forsworn:
They are dangerous now; witness this breach of thine.
Who's false to his own faith will ne'er keep mine.
We must be safe, young man; the deed's unknown:
There are more loves, honours, no, more than one.
Yet spite of death, I'll kiss thee. [Kisses him.] Oh, strange ill,
That for our fears we should our comforts kill!
Whom shall I trust with this poor bleeding body?
Yonder's a secret vault runs through the castle;
There for a while convey him. Hapless boy,
That never knew how dear 'twas to enjoy!

Enter tyrant [Armatrites] with a torch.

[Aside] Oh, I'm confounded everlastingly,
Damn'd to a thousand tortures in the sight!
What shall I frame?--My lord!

She runs to him.

What's she?

Oh, my sweet, dearest lord!

Thy name?

Thy poor, affrighted and endangered queen.

Oh, I know thee now!

Did not your majesty hear the piteous shrieks
Of an enforced lady?

Yes, whose were they?

Mine, my most worthy lord: behold this villain,
Seal'd with his just desert. Light here, my king:
This violent youth, whom till this night I saw not,
Being, as it seems, acquainted with the footsteps
Of that dark passage, broke through the vault upon me,
And with a secret lanthorn search'd me out,
And seized me at my orisons alone,
And bringing me by violence to this room,
Far from my guard or any hope of rescue,
Intending here the ruin of my honour;
But in the strife, as the good gods ordain'd it,
Reaching for succour, I lighted on a pistol,
Which I presum'd was not without his charge.
Then I redeemed mine honour from his lust,
So he that sought my fall lies in the dust.

Oh, let me embrace thee for a brave, unmatchable,
Precious, unvalued, admirable whore!

Ha! What says my lord?

Come hither; yet draw nearer. How came this man
To's end? I would hear that; I would learn cunning.
Tell me that I may wonder and so [love] thee.
There is no art like this; let me partake
A subtly no devil can imitate.
Speak, why is all so contrary to time?
He down and you up? Ha, why thus?

I am sorry for my lord, I understand him not.

The deed is not so monstrous in itself
As is the art which ponders home the deed;
The cunning doth amaze me past the sin,
That he should fall before my rage begin.

My lord.

Come hither yet, one of those left hands give me:
Thou hast no right at all. [I will do nought,]
Nothing [but] put a ring upon a finger.

That's a wrong finger for a ring, my lord.

And what was he on whom you bounteously
Bestow'd this jewel?

I do not like that word.

Look well upon't: dost know it? Ay, and start.

Oh, heaven, how came this hither?
Your highness gave me this; this is mine own.

'Tis the same ring, but yet not the same stone.
Mystical strumpet, dost thou yet presume
Upon thy subtle strength? Shak'st thou not yet?
Or is it only art makes women constant,
Whom nature makes so loose?
I look'd for gracious lightning from thy cheeks,
I see none yet, for a relenting eye,
I see no such sight: lust keeps in all.
My witness? Where's my witness? Rise in the same form.

Enter from below Mazeres habited like Roxano.

Oh, I'm betrayed!

Is not yon woman an adulteress?

Yes, my good lord.

Was not this fellow catch'd for her desire?
Brought in a mist? Banqueted and received
To all her amplest pleasures?

True, my lord;
I brought him, saw him feasted and receiv'd.

Down, down, we have too much!

Oh, 'tis Roxano!

[Aside] So, by this sleight I have deceiv'd them both;
I'm took for him I strive to make her loathe.


Needs here more witnesses? I'll call up more.

Oh, no, here lies a witness 'gainst myself,
Sooner believed than all their hired faiths.
Doom me unto my death, only except
The lingering execution of your look;
Let me not live tormented in that brow:
I do confess.

Oh, I felt no quick till now!
All witnesses to this were but dead flesh;
I was insensible of all but this.
Would I had given my kingdom so condition'd
That thou hadst ne'er confessed it!
Now I stand by the deed, see all in action:
The close conveyance, cunning passages,
The artful fetch, the [whispering], close disguising,
The hour, the banquet, and the bawdy tapers;
All stick in mine eye together. Yet thou shalt live.

Torment me not with life; it asks but death.

Oh, hadst thou not confess'd? Hadst thou no sleight?
Where was thy cunning there?
I see it now in thy confession.
Thou shalt not die as long as this is meet:
Thou kill'dst a buck, which thou thyself shalt eat.

Dear sir?

Here's deer struck dead with thy own hand:
'Tis venison for thy own tooth; thou know'st the relish.
A dearer place hath been thy taster. Ho!
[Sextorio]! [Lodovicus]!

They enter.

Here, sir.

Drag hence that body, see it quarter'd straight;
No living wrath can I extend upon't,
Else torments, horrors, gibbets, racks and wheels
Had with a thousand deaths presented him
Ere he had tasted one.

[Exit Sextorio and Lodovicus with the body.]

Yet thou shalt live.
Here, take this taper lighted, kneel and weep;
I'll try which is spent first, that or thine eye.

[The Young Queen kneels.]

I'll provide food for thee; thou shalt not die.
If there be hell for sins that men commit,
Marry a strumpet and she keeps the pit.


I fear'd this misery long before it came;
My ominous dreams and fearful dreadfulness
Promis'd this issue long before 'twas born.

Enter Mazeres.

[Aside] Yonder she kneels, little suspecting me
The neat discoverer of her venery.
I were full safe had I Roxano's life,
Which in this stream I fish for.--How now, lady?
So near the earth suits not a living queen.

Under the earth were safer and far happier.

What is't that can drive you to such discomforts
To prize your glories at so mean a rate?

The treachery of my servants, good my lord.

Dare they prove treacherous? Most ignoble vassals,
To the sweet peace of so divine a mistress?

I'm sure one villain, whom I dearly lov'd,
Of whom my trust had made election chief,
Perfidiously betray'd me to the fury
Of my tempestuous, unappeased lord.

Let me but know him, that I may bestow
My service to your grace upon his heart
And thence deserve a mistress like yourself.

Enter Roxano from below.

Oh, me, too soon behold him!

Madam, stand by; let him not see the light.

[Aside] Now I expect reward.

He dies were he my kinsman for that guilt,
Though 'twere as far to's heart as 'tis to th' hilt.

Runs at Roxano.

Ha? What was that? There's a reward with a vengeance.

Fall, villain, for betraying of thy lady;
Such things must never creep about the earth
To poison the right use of service. A treacher!

[Kills Roxano.]

This is some poor revenge; thanks, good my lord.
Into that cave with him from whence he rose
Not long since and betray'd me to the king.

Oh, villain, in and overtake thy soul.

[Drops Roxano's body through the trapdoor.]

Here's a perplexed breast; let that warm steel
Perform but the like service upon me
And live the rarest friend to a queen's wish.

Oh, pardon me, that were too full of evil;
I threat not angels, though I smite the devil.
Doubt not your peace: the king will be appeas'd;
There I'll bestow my service.

We are pleas'd.

[Aside] As much as comes to nothing; I'll not sue
To urge the king from that he urg'd him to.


Betray'd where I repos'd most trust? Oh, heaven,
There is no misery, fit match for mine!

Enter tyrant [Armatrites, Sextorio, Lodovicus], bringing in Tymethes' limbs.

So, bring 'em forward yet; there, there bestow them,
Before her eyes lay the divided limbs
Of her desired paramour. So, y'are welcome,
Lady; you see your cheer, fine flesh, course fare:
Sweet was your lust; what can be bitter there?
By heaven, no other food thy taste shall have
Till in thy bowels those corpes find a grave,
Which, to be sure of, come, I'll lock thee safe
From the world's pity. Hang those quarters up;
The bottom drinks the worst in pleasure's cup.

Exeunt omnes.

V.i. [A room in the castle]

Enter Zenarchus solus.

Oh, my Tymethes! Truest joy on earth!
Hath thy fate prov'd so flinty, so perverse
To the sweet spring both of thy youth and hopes?
This was Mazeres' spite, that cursed rival,
And if I fail not, his own plot shall shower
Upon his bosom like a falling tower.

Enter tyrant [Armatrites].

My worthy lord.

Oh, you should have seen us sooner.

Why, my lord?

The quarters of your friend passed by in triumph,
A sight that I presume had pleas'd you well.

I call a villain to my father's pleasure
No friend of mine; the sight had pleas'd me better
Had I, not like Mazeres, run my hate
Into the sin before it grew to act
And kill'd it ere 't had knotted
. 'Twas rare service,
If your vex'd majesty conceive it right,
In politic Mazeres, serving more
In this discovery his own vicious malice
Than any true peace that should make you perfect,
Suffering the hateful treason to be done
He might have stopp'd in his confusion.

Most certain.

Good your majesty, bethink you
In manly temper and considerate blood,
Went he the way of loyalty or your quiet
After he saw the courtesies exceed
T' abuse your peace and trust them with the deed?

Oh, no, none but a traitor would have done it.

For, my lord, weigh 't indifferently.

I do, I do.

What makes it heinous, [burthensome], and monstrous,
Fills you with such distractions, breeds such furies
In your incensed breast, but the deed doing?


Th' intent had been sufficient for his death,
And that full satisfaction, but the act--

[Sextorio!] Where's [Sextorio]?

Enter [Sextorio].

My lord.

Seek out Mazeres suddenly.

[Exit Sextorio.]

Peace, Zenarchus;
Let me alone to trap him.

[Zenarchus withdraws.]

[Aside] It may prove.
Behold, my friend, how I express my love.

[Aside] Oh, villain, had he pierc'd him at first sight,
Where I have one grief, I had miss'd ten thousand by't!

Enter Mazeres and [Sextorio].

[Aside] I dreamt of some new honours for my late service,
And I wonder'd how he could keep off so long from my desert.


My lov'd lord.

I am forgetful;
I am in thy debt some dignities, Mazeres.
What shift shall we make for thee? Thy late service
Is warm still in our memory and dear favour:
Prithee discover to's the manner how
Thou tookest them subtly.

I was received
Into a waiter's room, my lord.

Thou wast!

And in a vizard help'd to serve the banquet.

Ha, ha!

Saw him convey'd into a chamber privately.

And still thou let'st him run?

I let him play, my lord.

Ha, ha, ha!

I watch'd still near till her arms clasp'd him.

And there thou let'st him rest?

There he was caught, my lord.

So art thou here;
Drag him to execution: he shall die
With tortures 'bove the thought of tyranny.

[Exeunt Armatrites, Sextorio with Mazeres.]

No words are able to express my gladness;
'Tis such a high-born rapture that the soul
Partakes it only.

Enter Amphridote and [Lodovicus].

My Lord Mazeres led
Unto his death?

It proves too true, dear princess.

[Exit Lodovicus.]

[Aside] Curs'd be the mouth that doom'd him, and forever
Blasted the hand that parts him from his life!
Was there none fit to practice tyranny on
But whom our heart elected? Misery of love!
I must not live to think on't!

[Aside] Here's my sister;
I could not bring that news will please her better.--
My news brings that command over your passions:
You must be merry.

Have you warrant for't, brother?

Yes, strong enough, i'faith. Hear me: Mazeres
By this time is at his everlasting home,
Where'er his body lies. I struck the stroke;
I wrought a bitter pill that quickly chok'd him.

[Aside] Oh, me, my soul will out!--Some wine there, ho!

Wine for our sister, for the news is worth it!

Enter Lodovicus with wine.

[Aside] It will prove dear to both.--So, give it me; now leave us.

Exit [Lodovicus].

Revenge ne'er brought forth a more happy issue
Than I think mine to be.

She poisons the wine.

[Aside] I'm setting forth, Mazeres.--Here, Zenarchus.

Thou art not like this hour, jovial.

I shall be after this.

That does't if any;
Wine doth both help defects and causeth many.
Here's to the deed, faith, of our last revenge.

[They drink.]

Dying men prophesy; faith, 'tis our last end.
Now I must tell you, brother, that I hate you
In that you have betray'd my lov'd Mazeres.

What's this?

His deed was loyal, his discovery just;
He brought to light a monster and his lust.

Nay, if you grow
So strumpet-like in your behaviour to me,
I'll quickly cool that insolence.

Peace, peace:
There is a champion fights for me unseen;
I need not fear thy threats.

Indeed, no harlot
But has her champion, besides bawd and varlet--

Why, law you now, such gear will ne'er thrive with you.

I'm sick of thy society, poison to mine eyes!

'Tis lower in thy breast the poison lies.


'Tis for Mazeres.

Oh, you virtuous powers,
What a right strumpet! Poison under love?

That man can ne'er be safe that divides love.

She dies.

Nor she be honest can so soon impart.
Oh, 'ware that woman that can shift her heart!


V.ii. [The same]

Thunder and lightning. A blazing star appears. Enter tyrant [Armatrites].

Ha? Thunder? And thou, marrow-melting blast,
Quick-winged lighting? And thou, blazing star,
I like not thy prodigious, bearded fire;
Thy beams are fatal. Ha? Behold the influence
Of all their malice in my children's ruins!
Their states malignant powers have envy'd,
And for some hath struck with their envies, died.
'Tis ominous! Within there!

Enter [Sextorio] and [Lodovicus].

Here, my lord.

Convey those bodies awhile from my sight.

Both dead, my lord.

Yes, and we safe; our death we need less fear.

[Sextorio and Lodovicus carry off the bodies of Zenarchus and Amphridote.]

Usurpers' issue oft proves dangerous:
We depose others, and they poison us;
I have found it on records. 'Tis better thus.

Enter the old King, Lapyrus, Fidelio, Amorpho, all disguised like pilgrims. [They stand aside.]

My lord, this castle is but slightly guarded.

'Tis as I hop'd and wish'd. Now bless us, heaven,
What horrid and inhuman spectacle
Is yonder that presents itself to sight?

It seems three quarters of a man hung up.

What tyranny hath been exercis'd of late?
I dare not venture on.

Fear not, my lord; our habits give us safety.

Behold, the tyrant maketh toward us.

Holy and reverent pilgrims, welcome.

Bold strangers, by the tempest beaten in.

Most welcome still;
We are but stewards for such guests as you.
What we possess is yours, to your wants due;
We are only rich for your necessities.

A generous, free, [and] charitable mind
Keeps in thy bosom to poor pilgrims kind.

'Tis time of day to dine, my friends. [Sextorio]?

Enter [Sextorio].

My lord?

Our food.

'Tis ready for your highness.

[Loud] music. A banquet brought in, and by it a small table for the [Young] Queen. [Exit Sextorio.]

Sit, pray sit, religious men right welcome
To our cates. Grave sir, I have observ'd
You waste the virtue of your serious eye
Too much on such a worthless object as that is.
A traitor when he liv'd call'd that his flesh;
Let hang. Here's to you; we are the oldest here.


Round let it go; feed, if you like your cheer.

Enter [Sextorio].

My lord.

How now?

Ready, my lord.

Sit merry.

Exit [with Sextorio].

Where'er I look, these limbs are in mine eyes.

Some wretch on whom he wrought his tyranny.

Hard was his fate to light into his mercy.

Peace, he comes.

Soft music. Enter the tyrant [Armatrites] with the [Young] Queen, her hair loose; she makes a curtsey to the table. [Sextorio] brings in the flesh with a skull all bloody; they all wonder. [Exit Sextorio.]

I perceive strangers more desire to see
An object than the fare before them set;
But since your eyes are serious suitors grown,
I will discourse: what's seen shall now be known.

Your bounty every way conquers poor strangers.

Yon creature whom your eyes so often visit
Held mighty sway over our powers and thoughts;
Indeed, we were all hers--
Besides her graces there were all perfections,
Unless she speaks, no music--till her wishes
Brought forth a monster, a detested issue
Poisoning the thoughts I held of her.

The old King sends forth [Fidelio].

She did from her own ardour undergo
Adulterous baseness with my professed foe;
Her lust strangely betray'd, I ready to surprise them,
Set on fire by the abuse, I found his life
Cunningly shifted by her own dear hand
And far enough convey'd from my revenge:
Unnaturally the first abus'd my heart,
And then prevented my revenge by art.
Yet there I left not: though his trunk were cold,
My wrath was flaming, and I exercis'd
New vengeance on his carcass, and gave charge
The body should be quarter'd and hung up; 'twas done.
This as a penance I enjoin'd her to,
To taste no other sustenance, no, nor dares
Till her love's body be consum'd in hers.

The sin was great, so is the penance grievous.

Our vow is sign'd.

And was he Lydian born?

He was no less son to mine enemy,
A banish'd king; Tymethes was his name.

[Aside] Oh me, my son Tymethes!

[Aside to King] Passion may spoil us.--Sir, we oft have heard
Of that old king his father, and that justly
This kingdom was by right due to his sway.

It was, I think it was, till we, call'd in,
By policy and force deceiv'd his confidence,
Show'd him a trick of war and turn'd him out.

[Aside] Sin's boast is worse than sin!

Enter Fidelio.

All's sure; the guards are seiz'd on.


The passage strongly guarded.

Holy sir, what's he?

Our brother, a poor pilgrim, that gives notice
Of a religious father that attends
To bear us company in our pilgrimage.

Oh ho, 'tis good, 'tis very good.

Alas, poor lady;
It makes me weep to see what food she eats.
I know your mercy will remit this penance.

Never, our vow's irrevocable, never!
The lecher must be swallowed rib by rib;
His flesh is sweet, it melts, it goes down merrily.

They discover themselves.

Ha? What are these?



Villain, this minute [loses] thee, thou tyrant.

Pilgrims wear arms? The old king? And Lapyrus?
Betray'd? Confounded? Oh, I must die forsworn!
Break, vow! Bleed, whore! There is my jealousy flown!

He kills his Queen.

Oh, happy man, 'tis more revenge to me
Than all your aims; I have kill'd my jealousy.
I have nothing now to care for more than hell;
'T had been if you had struck me ere she fell.
I had left her to your lust, the thought is bitterness,
But she first fall'n. Ha, ha, ha!

Die, cruel, murtherous tyrant!

They all discharge at him.

So laugh away this breath;
My lust was ne'er more pleasing than my death.


As full possess'd as ever, and as rich
In subjects' hearts and voices, we present thee
The complete sway of this usurped kingdom.

I am so borne betwixt the violent streams
Of joy and passion, I forget my state;
To all our thanks and favours, and what more
We are in debt to all your free consent
We will discharge in happy government.

Enter the Old Queen disguised, a boy with her.

The peacefull'st reign that ever prince enjoy'd.

Already a petition? Suitors begin betimes.
We are scarce warm in our good fortune yet. What are you?

Unworthiest of all the joys this hour brings forth.

She discovers.

Our dearest queen?

Your poor, distressed queen.

Oh, let me light upon that constant breast
And kiss thee till my soul melt on thy lips.
Our joys were perfect stood Tymethes there.
We are old; this kingdom wants a hopeful heir.

Your joys are perfect though he stand not there,
And your wish blest: [behold], a hopeful heir.
Stand not amaz'd; 'tis Manophes.

How just the gods are, who in their due time
Return what they took from us.

Happy hour!
Heaven hath not taken all our happiness,
For though your elder met ill fate, good heaven
Hath thus preserv'd your younger for your heir.

Prepare those limbs for honourable burial,
And noble nephew, all your ill is lost
In your late newborn goodness, which we'll reward.
No storm of fate so fierce but time destroys,
And beats back misery with a peal of joys.

Exeunt omnes.



The Bloody Banquet was first printed in a quarto of 1639, but because of a lack of topical allusions or contemporary external references, the date of composition is highly questionable. The identity of the "T. D." on the title page of the quarto has traditionally been linked to four candidates: 1) Thomas Drue (fl. 1616-53), primarily because his initials match, although recent studies have discounted him. 2) Robert Davenport (fl. 1623): there are some linguistic parallels between The Bloody Banquet and some, but not all, of his plays, an inconsistency David Lake believes is due to scribal particularities. 3) Thomas Dekker: a play-list of 1656 attributed The Bloody Banquet to Thomas Barker (fl. 1620), a name not connected with playwrighting but one often confused with Dekker's, which might be the case here. Furthermore, the second title-page motto also appears prefixed to his Satiromastix. 4) Middleton, a connection first raised by E. H. C. Oliphant in 1925. There are "highly suggestive" linguistic parallels, especially with The Revenger's Tragedy, but many inconsistencies as well. (See my notes for the Middleton/Tourneur authorship of RT.)

Lake's textual analyses have led him to conclude that two scenarios are the most likely, the play in both instances ultimately passing through the hands of the scribe responsible for the Davenport parallels. First, The Bloody Banquet was extensively revised, but originally written by Middleton with help from Dekker about 1600-02. (This is at the beginning of Middleton's "apprenticeship," a time of frequent collaboration with Dekker.) The text then passed through the hands of the scribe responsible for the Davenport parallels. Second, the play was written by someone as yet unknown, but heavily influenced by The Revenger's Tragedy. For further investigation, I recommend David Lake's The Canon of Thomas Middleton's Plays and MacD. P. Jackson's Studies in Attribution: Middleton and Shakespeare. For my own part, I hear Middleton in many of Roxano's observations, his unblinking acceptance of the patency of human motives: "Here's gold to bring Tymethes, and here's gold to kill Tymethes. Ay, let me see, which weighs heaviest?" Roxano, by the way, is the only character who does not appear in the play's source, William Warner's romance Pan his Syrinx (1584).

I have used the Malone Society reprint, edited by Samuel Schoenbaum (1962), as the copy-text.

Illustration: a detail from a German woodcut of 1572, "The Horrible Murder Committed in Halle."
Hector adest secumque deos in proelia ducit: "Hector appears and he himself leads the gods in battles."

Nos haec novimus esse nihil: "We have known these to be nothing."

Dramatis Personae

The King of Lycia...his daughter: These characters appear only in the Inductio and have no lines. This is just one of the play's features that have led critics, such as J. G. McManaway to conjecture that it comes from a bad quarto (i.e., significant textual corruption); Schoenbaum believes rather it was abridged, and, comparing it to its source, finds that many features of Pan (e.g. the story of the King in the forest) are not present in The Bloody Banquet.

[ROXANO]: Roxona (Q)

FIDELIO: "faithful one"

AMORPHO: "shapeless"

SEXTORIO, LODOVICUS: In Acts IV and V, their names become Sertorio and Lodovico in (Q).


[with]: vith (Q)

This Lord Lapyrus entertain'd and welcom'd: As Schoenbaum suggests, text seems to be missing after this line.


Speranza: hope, expectation (Ital.)

OMNES: The s.d. do not mention extra lords and/or soldiers, but clearly there are more here than listed when Armatrites reveals his coup d'etat.

politic: crafty, cunning, scheming; cf. The Changeling V.ii, No Wit, No Help like a Woman's V.i, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside II.ii, The Phoenix, The Revenger's Tragedy V.i, A Yorkshire Tragedy iii.

venture: risk

unload victory's...drones feed: cf. The Family of Love V.iii: "Come home crura thymo plena [legs full of honey], and lodge among hornets, is't not so?"

are: are are (Q)

[MAZERES]: Max. (Q)

The devil! The dukedom, the kingdom, Lydia: As David Lake points out, there is no dukedom in question, that word having been inserted for the sake of alliteration with "devil," and there is a similar alliterative construction in The Revenger's Tragedy II.i.

monstrous: unnatural because of his blood relationship, as opposed to Armatrites's deceit, which is just good old military opportunism.

I have: Ihave (Q)

All these, my lord.: The s.p. is possibly a misprint and the line Amorpho's.

cum suis: with them (Lat.)

glass: eye

painted: famed, but with the sense superfluous or artificial; cf., e.g., The Family of Love II.ii, Anything for a Quiet Life I.i.

And: if (a common substitution)

princes: i.e., Zenarchus and Amphridote

[ ]: Even though this line scans iambic pentameter, some text seems to have dropped out.



[country]: Counttey (Q)

Earth, stretch...own will: This imagery is used again at the end of the scene by Lapyrus, and foreshadows his falling into the shepherds' pit.

stock: supply (of blessings)

falls: veils, with the pun on "falls" from grace; cf. Your Five Gallants I.i, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside III.ii.

[your]: you (Q)

treacher: treacherous one

Small th' fiends: Cf. Hamlet's second thoughts, Hamlet III.iii.

honour: honours (Q)


As your son and heir at his father's funeral: A favorite joke of Middleton's ("son and heir" is a frequent linguistic combination); cf. The Puritan I.i, The Revenger's Tragedy IV.ii.

affects: loves, has affection for, is disposed towards; cf. The Phoenix I.iv &, A Trick to Catch the Old One passim, No Wit, No Help like a Woman's I.i, The Puritan II.i.

censure: judgment; cf. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside V.iv, The Family of Love Preface, Anything for a Quiet Life Epilogue, Your Five Gallants II.i, A Trick to Catch the Old One III.i, The Changeling II.i.

has an excellent preference for: looks exactly like

pander: Panders (Q)

Italian padlocks: Cf. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside IV.ii.

lock: lockes (Q)

Begin to me: i.e., toast me, pledge my health

suspect: suspicion; the stress is on the second syllable. Cf. The Phoenix II.ii, The Changeling III.ii, No Wit, No Help like a Woman's I.i.

I speak strange words against my fantasy: Schoenbaum cites this line as evidence of missing text, but this utterance, albeit abrupt, is explicable. The Young Queen has been trying to convince herself in her asides that she has not fallen in love with Tymethes; in this line she admits to herself she is in denial.

make my shame...her name: i.e., a cunning device by which to seduce a non-aristocratic woman

[Armatrites]: From here on, the s.d. and s.p. list Armatrites as Tyrant.

Suffer her alone?: i.e., allow her to be alone

dial: compass

Tethys: in Greek mythology, the wife of Oceanus, daughter of Uranus and Gaea

mettle: spirit, courage, with the pun on "metal" (coins); cf. The Witch IV.iii.

no lady can with more, beside a monkey: i.e., a lady can't expect someone to keep her secrets better than I can, except for a trained monkey

smock sentinels: smock = woman's undergarment, hence, guardians of her chastity

venter: venture, risk

joint: limb, as in a joint of meat (appropriate for this play)

'Sfoot: by God's foot; cf. The Phoenix I.ii, A Yorkshire Tragedy ix, Blurt, Master Constable I.i.

[enough]: enongh (Q)

[safety]: fafety (Q)

mere impossibles: i.e., I am so love-struck, it is impossible for me to assure my own safety. Cf. The Revenger's Tragedy I.iii for a linguistic parallel.

spider-catching: "Spider-catcher" is a vague term of abuse.

[that]: than (Q)

crotchets: fanciful devices

Die in the trade: succumb to diseases contracted in brothels, with the pun die = achieve orgasm

eke: moreover


mutton: pun on "strumpets;" cf. Your Five Gallants III.iii; A Chaste Maid in Cheapside I.i, II.i, IV.i; Blurt, Master Constable I.ii, No Wit, No Help Like a Woman's I.i.

belly: pun on "vagina;" for other sexual connotations of "belly," cf. The Changeling IV.iii, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside II.i.

is not the dam worse than the devil: The insult "devil's dam" appears frequently

murrain: plague, pestilence

cast: vomit; cf. Your Five Gallants II.iv, The Witch I.ii, III.ii, The Changeling II.ii, The Phoenix III.ii, The Old Law III.i, The Family of Love V.iii, The Puritan III.i.

[work]: weeke (Q)

sirens: nymphs who, by their sweet singing, lured sailors to destruction upon the rocks

angel: a gold coin worth ten shillings, with the figure of St. Michael defeating the dragon; for Middleton's frequent punning, cf. A Trick to Catch the Old One II.i, The Phoenix, Blurt, Master Constable II.i, A Yorkshire Tragedy ii, The Old Law IV.ii, No Wit, No Help like a Woman's I.ii, The Puritan III.iv.

halter: noose

corn-cutters: one who harvests grain, although usually defined as a chiropodist, one who cuts the corns of the foot

routs: packs, herds. Brokers, usurers, scriveners, lawyers, all those involved with the legal machinery of debt were often described as wolves: cf. A Trick to Catch the Old One I.iii, The Family of Love III.i.

Long Lane: at this time, recently built tenements to the northwest (above Newgate) that housed brokers and, later in the 17th century, second-hand clothes; cf. The Puritan I.ii.

gudgeon: any small, easily-caught fish, therefore a fool; cf. the character Gudgeon in The Family of Love, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside IV.ii.

damask: a rich silk fabric woven with elaborate designs and figures, with the pun on damask (damson) prune, and probably with a further pun on rosy-cheeked harlot (for damask/rosy-cheeked, cf. Love's Labours Lost V.ii, Twelfth Night II.iv; for "stewed" prune/harlot, cf. Measure for Measure II.i, 2 Henry IV II.iv, The Merry Wives of Windsor) I.i.

rule my young prodigal first in wax: i.e., by the bond of debt he signs, certified with a stamp in wax; cf. A Yorkshire Tragedy i, The Changeling IV.iii.

against a Christmas day or a running at tilt: i.e., when they have a lot of business

monster-monger: a trafficker in monstrosities?

green: fresh

balsam: balm, something that soothes or heals, as opposed to physic, or strong (i.e., painful) medicine; cf. The Phoenix V.i, A Trick to Catch the Old One I.iii.

'Snails: by God's nails

Lap: run (obs. form of leap), used for the pun on Lapyrus's name


protested: professed

He may be hot in th' end: damned to hell, or more probably, suffering the burning sensation of venereal disease; for similar punning, cf. Firestone in The Witch, No Wit, No Help like a Woman's III.i, IV.ii, The Puritan I.ii

I am far enough from myself: I am disguised well enough; cf. The Revenger's Tragedy I.iii for a linguistic parallel.

[Roxano approaches them.]: Tymethes, Zenarchus, and Amphridote ignore Roxano and continue to talk about Mazeres (until "Why, what art thou?"), but Roxano, disguised as a beggar, pretends to think they're talking about him.

comfortable: comforting. "Comfort" is a favorite word of Middleton's; cf. The Changeling I.ii, The Witch I.i, The Phoenix I.v, The Puritan I.iv.

star-cross'd: see the blazing star gloss below

have my hat off: as a sign of respect

he would have my hair off too: i.e., because of the pox he wishes on him

shut your: shuty our (Q)

devotion: alms, with an unconscious pun on his amatory devotion to the Young Queen

puritanical: simply clad

white and red: The meaning is something like "the plain truth," and the phrase may derive from the red ink sometimes used in printing at that time, thus the equivalent of our modern "in black and white."

Always excepting and the tyrant's gem: The word "and" here is meaningless, used only to round out the meter.


We do forgive treachery: The King's haste in forgiving Lapyrus is in obvious contrast to the Old Queen's lengthy deliberation in I.iii, and Schoenbaum believes this evidence of abridgment. On the other hand, if the author wanted at this point to keep our attention focused on the Tymethes plot, and included this scene merely to show the development of the King-Lapyrus subplot, he might have foregone psychological realism (not at a premium in this play anyway) and deliberately avoided what he believed would be a repetition of I.iii. And yet why not telescope this plot point into the dumb show that follows?

Dumb Show

[nurse]: nu se (Q)


not a hair to choose betwixt: no difference between

[throat]: rhroate (Q)

make: do

Touch: test (as in touchstone)

my learned counsel: the devil; cf. The Phoenix V.i.

to betray: tobetray (Q)

Then thus: Thenthus (Q)

bastinadoed: beaten or caned, especially on the soles of the feet; cf. Anything for a Quiet Life I.i, The Puritan III.iv.

blanketing: the punishment of tossing in a blanket, to which Tymethes adds the sexual innuendo

blood: 1) passion, 2) ironically, his actual blood that is ultimately shed

jump upon a minute: i.e., they arrived within a minute of each other, with the sexual innuendo

follow'd: 1) reasoned, 2) attended

leave: 1) leave off resembling, 2) depart

do: with the sexual innuendo; cf. Your Five Gallants I.i, A Trick to Catch the Old One III.iv, The Phoenix I.ii, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside V.i.


needful: attentive to one's needs


creature: creatures (Q)

[disguise]: di guise (Q)

[For]: But (Q)

[wrong]: wong (Q)

friend: lover

flatterers stab: possibly an allusion to Julius Caesar III.i, performed at the Globe in 1599

breach: with the sexual innuendo; cf. All's Well that Ends Well I.i.

[sweetly]: swee ely (Q)

are seek: arese,eke (Q)

reeking: steaming (with the warmth of his own blood)


[cum]: come (Q)

[Who]: Whom (Q)


the husk falls from him now: cf. The Revenger's Tragedy I.i, "to open and unhusk me."

dejected: lowly, humbled; cf. The Revenger's Tragedy II.i.

spring-tide: a tide occurring on the days shortly after the new and full moon, in which the high-water level reaches its maximum (OED)

desert: merit

imports: signifies, betokens


[darkness]: darkedesse (Q)

Pleasure: Pleasures (Q)

withdrawing-room: drawing-room

condensive: dense

lanthorn: lantern

than needs: than is necessary

full-heaped: cf. The Revenger's Tragedy II.iii: "'Twill be glorious/To kill 'em doubled, when they're heap'd [having sexual intercourse]."

I dealt not...celestial champion: again, cf. Hamlet III.iii.

truer moan: i.e., I did not break my vows of love

taste more deaths than one: have sexual relations with than one lover

now: no w (Q)

frame: devise

[love]: lose (Q); Armatrites is being sarcastic.

ponders home: makes one deeply think about

[I will do nought,]: my addition; clearly some text has dropped out

[but]: bnt (Q)

Mystical: secretive; cf. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside III.i, Your Five Gallants V.i.

[whispering]: whisperlng (Q)

AMBO: both

Oh, villain, in and overtake thy soul: i.e., his body should overtake his soul descending into hell

those corpes: that corpse (obs.)


flinty: obdurate, hard-hearted; cf. All's Well that Ends Well IV.iv.

Had I, not like Mazeres...knotted: i.e., stopped the act of adultery before it happened. Although this play does not invest heavily in psychological subtleties, this line might be played as Zenarchus reacting to Armatrites's statement, and then realizing this is the way to turn him against Mazeres. Again, I disagree with Schoenbaum that a line may be missing here.

[burthensome]: burthen ome (Q)

threats: thereats (Q)

gear: business, with a pun on genitals; cf. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside II.i.


blazing star: a comet or meteor, an ill omen. According to medieval astrology, the stars that controlled men's fate were fixed and incorruptible--in II.ii, the "beggar" Roxano says he is "star-cross'd," or destined for poverty; on the other hand, meteors, which are sublunary, were corruptible and subject to change, and heralded or were provoked by evil events on earth. Cf. The Changeling V.iii, Julius Caesar I.iii & II.i. A "blazing star" also appears in the s.d. of The Revenger's Tragedy V.iii.

marrow-melting blast: It was believed that lightning melted the marrow in the bones while leaving the rest of the body free from disfigurement; cf. The Changeling V.ii.

prodigious: ill-omened; the comet in The Revenger's Tragedy is also "prodigious."

bearded: having a train or tail; hair imagery is also used for the comet in The Revenger's Tragedy.

What horrid and...sight?: Because Tymethes's body is carried on later, they must be seeing it somewhere offstage.

[and]: aad (Q)

[Loud]: Lond (Q)

cates: provisions, victuals

object: objects (Q)

[Fidelio]: Amorpho (Q); it is Fidelio who enters with news of the victory.

strangely: extremely, astonishingly

Speranza!: Lapyrus unknowingly echoes Armatrites's first line.

[loses]: looses (Q), which may be used in a number of metaphoric ways, e.g., "this minute loosens thee from thy power," but the spellings of the two words were often interchanged, and so I prefer "this minutes loses (forsakes) thee." For lose/loose, cf. No Wit, No Help like a Woman's I.ii, Anything for a Quiet Life II.i, The Puritan I.ii, I.iv, III.v.

discharge: i.e., fire pistols

[behold]: b hold (Q)

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Last modified: June 12, 1998
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