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And shew you her sitting in her fourm; I'll lay
My hand upon her; make her throw her scut
Along her back, when she doth start before us.
But you must give her law; and you shall see her
Make twenty leaps and doubles, cross the paths,
And then squat down beside us.
John. Crafty croan,
I long to be the sport, and to report it.
Scar. We'll make this hunting of the witch as famous,
As any other blast of venery.
Geo. If we should come to see her, cry so haw onceAlk. That I do promise, or I'm no good hag-finder.
BUSSY D'AMBOIS: A TRAGEDY.
BY GEORGE CHAPMAN.
A Nuntius (or Messenger) in the presence of KING HENRY THE THIRD of France and his Court tells the manner of a combat to which he was witness, of three to three; in which D'AMBOIS remained sole survivor: begun upon an affront passed upon D'AMBOIS by some Courtiers.
HENRY, GUISE, BEAUPRE, NUNTIUS, &c.
Nuntius. I saw fierce D'Ambois and his two brave friends
Enter the field, and at their heels their foes,
Which were the famous soldiers, Barrisor,
L'Anou, and Pyrrhot, great in deeds of arms:
All which arriv'd at the evenest piece of earth
The field afforded, the three challengers
Turn'd head, drew all their rapiers, and stood rank'd;
When face to face the three defendants met them, 20
Alike prepar'd, and resolute alike.
Like bonfires of contributory wood
Every man's look shew'd, fed with either's spirit;
As one had been a mirror to another,
Like forms of life and death each took from other : And so were life and death mix'd at their heights,
That you could see no fear of death (for life);
Nor love of life (for death): but in their brows
Pyrrho's opinion in great letters shone ;
That "life and death in all respects are one."
Henry. Passed there no sorts of words at their encounter?
Nuntius. As Hector 'twixt the hosts of Greece and Troy,
When Paris and the Spartan king should end
The nine years' war, held up his brazen lance
For signal that both hosts should cease from arms,
And hear him speak: so Barrisor (advis'd)
Advanc'd his naked rapier 'twixt both sides,
Ript up the quarrel, and compar'd six lives;
Then laid in balance with six idle words;
Offer'd remission and contrition too:
Or else that he and D'Ambois might conclude
The others' dangers. D'Ambois lik'd the last:
But Barrisor's friends (being equally engaged
In the main quarrel,) never would expose
His life alone to that they all deserv'd.
And (for the other offer of remission)
D'Ambois (that like a laurel put in fire
Sparkled and spit) did much much more than scorn,
That his wrong should incense him so like chaff,
To go so soon out, and, like lighted paper,
Approve his spirit at once both fire and ashes:
So drew they lots, and in them fates appointed
That Barrisor should fight with fiery D'Ambois;
Pyrhot with Melynell; with Brisac L'Anou:
And then like flame and powder they commixt,
So sprightly, that I wish'd they had been Spirits ; 30
That the ne'er-shutting wounds, they needs must
Might as they open'd shut, and never kill.*
But D'Ambois' sword (that light'ned as it flew)
Shot like a pointed comet at the face
Of manly Barrisor; and there it stuck:
Thrice pluck'd he at it, and thrice drew on thrusts
From him, that of himself was free as fire;
Who thrust still, as he pluck'd, yet (past belief)
* One can hardly believe but that these lines were written after Milton had described his warring angels.
He with his subtle eye, hand, body, 'scap'd;
At last the deadly bitten point tugg'd off,
On fell his yet undaunted foe so fiercely,
That (only made more horrid with his wound)
Great D'Ambois shrunk, and gave a little ground:
But soon return'd, redoubled in his danger,
And at the heart of Barrisor seal'd his anger.
Then, as in Arden I have seen an oak
Long shook with tempests, and his lofty top
Bent to his root, which being at length made loose 10
(E'en groaning with his weight) he 'gan to nod
This way and that, as loth his curled brows
(Which he had oft wrapt in the sky with storms)
Should stoop; and yet, his radical fibres burst,
Storm-like he fell, and hid the fear-cold earth:
So fell stout Barrisor, that had stood the shocks
Of ten set battles in your highness' war
'Gainst the sole soldier of the world, Navarre.
Guise. O piteous and horrid murder!
Beaupre. Such a life
Methinks had metal in it to survive
An age of men.
Henry. Such often soonest end.
Thy felt report calls on; we long to know
On what events the others have arrived.
The friend of D'Ambois, before fierce L'Anou;
Which D'Ambois seeing, as I once did see,
In my young travels through Armenia,
An angry unicorn in his full career
Charge with too swift a foot a Jeweller
That watched him for the treasure of his brow
And, ere he could get shelter of a tree,
Nail him with his rich antler to the earth:
So D'Ambois ran upon reveng'd L’Anou,
Who eyeing th' eager point borne in his face,
And giving back, fell back, and in his fall
His foe's uncurb'd sword stopped in his heart :
Nuntius. Sorrow and fury, like two opposite fumes Met in the upper region of a cloud, At the report made by this worthy's fall,
Brake from the earth, and with them rose Revenge, Ent'ring with fresh pow'rs his two noble friends: 30 And under that odds fell surcharg'd Brisac,
By which time all the life-strings of the tw' other
Were cut, and both fell, as their spirit flew,
Upwards; and still hunt honour at the view.
And now, of all the six, sole D'Ambois stood
Untouched, save only with the others' blood.
Henry. All slain outright but he?
Nuntius. All slain outright but he :
Who kneeling in the warm life of his friends,
(All freckled with the blood his rapier rain'd)
He kissed their pale lips, and bade both farewell. 10
As cedars beaten with continual storms,
So great men flourish; and do imitate
Unskilful statuaries, who suppose,
In forming a Colossus, if they make him
Straddle enough, strut, and look big, and gape,
Their work is goodly: so men merely great,
In their affected gravity of voice,
Sourness of countenance, manners' cruelty,
Authority, wealth, and all the spawn of fortune, 19
Think they bear all the kingdom's worth before them;
Yet differ not from those colossic statues,
Which, with heroic forms without o'erspread,
Within are nought but mortar, flint, and lead.
as great seamen using all their wealth
And skills in Neptune's deep invisible paths,
In tall ships richly built and ribb'd with brass,
To put a girdle round about the world;
When they have done it, coming near the haven,
Are fain to give a warning piece, and call
A poor staid fisherman that never passed
His country's sight, to waft and guide them in :
So when we wander furthest through the waves
Of glassy Glory, and the gulfs of State,
Lopped with all titles, spreading all our reaches,
As if each private arm would sphere the earth,
We must to Virtue for her guide resort,
Or we shall shipwreck in our safest port.
Nick of Time.
There is a deep nick in Time's restless wheel
For each man's good, when which nick comes,
As Rhetoric yet works not persuasion,
But only is a mean to make it work:
So no man riseth by his real merit,
But when it cries clink in his Raiser's spirit.
Difference of the English and French Courts.
HENRY. GUISE. MONTSURRY.
Guise. I like not their Court* fashion, 'tis too crestfall'n
In all observance, making demigods
Of their great Nobles, and of their old Queen †
An ever young and most immortal Goddess.
Mont. No question she's the rarest Queen in
Guise. But what's that to her immortality? Henry. Assure you, cousin Guise; so great a Courtier,
So full of majesty and royal parts,
No Queen in Christendom may vaunt herself.
Her Court approves it. That's a Court indeed;
Not mix'd with clown'ries us'd in common houses:
But, as courts should be, th' abstracts of their king-
In all the beauty, state, and worth they hold;
So is hers amply, and by her inform'd.
The world is not contracted in a Man,
With more proportion and expression,
Than in her Court her Kingdom. Our French Court
Is a mere mirror of confusion to it.
The King and Subject, Lord and every Slave,
Dance a continual hay. Our rooms of state
Kept like our stables: no place more observ'd
Than a rude market-place; and though our custom
Keep this assur'd confusion from our eyes,
"Tis ne'er the less essentially unsightly.
* The English.
† Q. Elizabeth.