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And like as to open it I was to you faithful, G. Good, Sweet Custance, neither heart can
So of Dame Custance honest truth I am joyful. think, nor tongue tell,
For, God forfend that I should hurt her by false How much I joy in your constant fidelity.

Come now, kiss me, the pearl of perfect honesty. G. Good. Well, I will no longer hold her in C. Custance. God let me no longer to continue discomfort.

in life, C. Custance. Now come they hitherward: I Than I shall towards you continue a true wife.

trust all shall be well.

In the last scene Ralph is badgered, and at last pardoned, and allowed to take part in the general merrymaking.

Our last example of the early regular English drama, is Thomas Sackville's (Lord Buckhurst) Ferrex and Porrez, the oldest extant tragedy.

Dramatis Personx. GORBODUC, King of Great Britain.

PHILANDER, a Counsellor assigned by the VIDENA, Queen, and Wife to King Gor

King to his Youngest Son Porrex.

Both being of the old King's Council before. FERREX, Elder Son to King GORBODUC.

HERMox, a Parasite remaining with FERREX. Porrex, Younger Son to King GORBODUC. TYNDAR, a Parasite remaining with Porrex. Clotyx, Duke of Cornwall.

NUNTIUS, a Messenger of the Elder Brother's FERGUS, Duke of Albany.

Death. MANDUD, Duke of Loegris.

Nuntius, a Messenger of Duke Fergus rising GWENARD, Duke of Cumberland.

in arms. EUBULUS, Secretary to the King.

MARCELLA, a Lady of the Queen's Pricy AROSTUS, a Counsellor to the King.

Chamber. DORDAN, a Counsellor_assigned by the King Chorus, four ancient and sage men of to his Eldest Son FERREX.




Vid. Even to Porrex, his younger son;

Whose growing pride I do so sore suspect, VIDENA; FERREX.

That, being rais'd to equal rule with thee, Vid. The silent night that brings the quiet Methinks I see his envious heart to swell, pause,

Fill'd with disdain and with ambitious hope. From painful travails of the weary day,

Fer. Madam, leave care and careful plaint Prolongs my careful thoughts, and makes me

for me. blame

Just hath my father been to every wight: The slow Aurore, that so for love or shame His first injustice he will not extend Doth long delay to show her blushing face; To me, I trust, that give no cause thereof; And now the day renews my grieful plaint. My brother's pride shall hurt himself, not me.

Fer. My gracious lady, and my mother dear, Vid. So grant the gods! But yet, thy father Pardon my grief for your so grieved mind To ask what cause tormenteth so your heart. Hath firmly fixed his unmoved mind,

Vid. So great a wrong, and so unjust despite, That plaints and prayers can no whit avail; Without all cause against all course of kind! For those have I essay'd ; but even this day Fer. Such causeless wrong, and so unjust He will endeavour to procure assent despite,

Of all his council to his fond devise. May have redress, or, at the least, revenge. Fer. Their ancestors from race to race have Vid. Neither, my son; such is the froward borne will,

True faith to my forefathers and their seed: The person such, such my mishap and thine. I trust they eke will bear the like to me. Fer. Mine! know I none, but grief for your Vid. There resteth all. But if they fail distress.

thereof, Vid. Yes; mine for thine, my son. A father? And if the end bring forth an ill success, No:

On them and theirs the mischief shall befall, In kind a father, not in kindliness.

And so I pray the gods requite it them; Fer. My father? why, I know nothing at all, And so they will, for so is wont to be, Wherein I have misdone unto his grace. When lords and trusted rulers under kings, Vid. Therefore, the more unkind to thee and To please the present fancy of the prince,

With wrong transpose the course of goverFor, knowing well, my son, the tender love

nance, That I have ever borne, and bear to thee, Murders, mischief, or civil sword at length, He, grieved thereat, is not content alone

Or mutual treason, or a just revenge, To spoil thee of my sight, my chiefest joy, When right succeeding line returns again, But thee, of thy birthright and heritage, By Jove's just judgment and deserved wrath, Causeless, unkindly, and in wrongful wise, Brings them to cruel and reproachful death, Against all law and right, he will bereave: And roots their names and kindreds from the Half of his kingdom he will give away.

earth. Fer. To whom?

Fer. Mother, content you, you shall see the


Vid. The end! thy end I fear: Jove end me 1 kind-nature.



The second act is occupied with long speeches from Gorboduc, Arostus, Philander, and Eubulus, concerning the king's proposed division of the kingdom between his two sons. Gorboduc concludes thus :

Gor. I take your faithful hearts in thankful To you, my lord, and to his other son, part:

Lo, he resigns his realm and royalty ; But since I see no cause to draw my mind, Which never would so wise a prince have done, To fear the nature of my loving sons,

If he had once misdeem'd that in your heart Or to misdeem that envy or disdain

There ever lodged so unkind a thought. Can there work hate, where nature planteth But tender love, my lord, and settled trust love;

Of your good nature, and your noble mind, In one self purpose do I still abide.

Made him to place you thus in royal throne, My love extendeth equally to both,

And now to give you half his realm to gaide ; My land sufficeth for them both also.

Yea, and that half which, in abounding store Humber shall part the marches of their realms: Of things that serve to make a wealthy realm, The southern part the elder shall possess, In stately cities, and in fruitful soil, The northern Shall Porrex, the younger, rule. In temperate breathing of the milder heaven, In quiet I will pass mine aged days,

In things of needful use, which friendly sea Free from the travail, and the painful cares, Transports by traffic from the foreign parts, That hasten age upon the worthiest kings. In flowing wealth, in honour, and in force, But lest the fraud, that ye do seem to fear, Doth pass the double value of the part Of flattering tongues, corrupt their tender youth, That Porrex hath allotted to his reign. And writhe them to the ways of youthful lust, Such is your case, such is your father's love. To climbing pride, or to revenging hate,

Fer. Ah love, my friends! Love wrongs not Or to neglecting of their careful charge,

whom he loves. Lewdly to live in wanton recklessness,

Dor. Ne yet he wrongeth you, that giveth Or to oppressing of the rightful cause,

you Or not to wreak the wrongs done to the poor, So large a reign, ere that the course of time To tread down truth, or favour false deceit; Bring you to kingdom by descended right, I mean to join to either of my sons

Which time perhaps might end your time Some one of those, whose long approved faith before. And wisdom tried, may well assure my heart, Fer. Is this no wrong, say you, to reave That mining fraud shall find no way to creep

from me Into their fenced ears with grave advice. My native right of half so great a realm, This is the end; and so I pray you all

And thus to match his younger son with me To bear my sons the love and loyalty

In equal pow'r, and in as great degree? That I have found within your faithful breasts. Yea, and what son? The son whose swelling

[Exeunt. pride

Would never yield one point of reverence,

When I, the elder, and apparent heir,

Stood in the likelihood to possess the whole;

Yea, and that son which from his childish ago FERREX; HERMON; DORDAN.

Envieth mine honour, and doth hate my life, Fer. I marvel much what reason led the king, What will he now do, when his pride, his rage, My father, thus, without all my desert,

The mindful malice of his grudging heart To reave' me half the kingdom, which by course Is arm'd with force, with wealth, and kingly Of law and nature should remain to me.

state? Her. If you with stubborn and untamed pride Had stood against him in rebelling wise ;

Dor. Alas, 'my lord, what grieful thing is Or if, with grudging mind, you had envied

this, So slow a sliding of his aged years;

That of your brother you can think so ill ? Or sought before your time to haste the course I never saw him utter likely sign, Of fatal death upon his royal head;

Whereby a man might see or once misdeem Or stain'd your stock with murder of your kin; Such hate of you, nor such unyielding pride. Some face of reason might perhaps have seem'd Ill is their counsel, shameful be their end, To yield some likely cause to spoil ye thus. That raising such mistrustful fear in you,

Sowing the seed of such unkindly hate, Dor. Ne yet your father, ò most' noble Travail by reason to destroy you both. prince,

Wise is your brother, and of noble hope, Did ever think so foul a thing of you!

Worthy to wield a large and mighty realm.
For he, with more than father's tender love, So much a stronger friend have you thereby,
While yet the fates do lend him life to rule Whose strength is your strength if you 'gree in
(Who long might live to see your ruling well),

Hermon, in a long insidious speech, advises Ferrex to
Attempt redress by arms, and wreak yourself Ne list to take such vantage of the time,
Upon his life that gaineth by your loss,

But, though with peril of your own estate, Who now to shame of you, and grief of us,

You will not be the first that shall invade; In your own kingdom triumphs over you. Assemble yet your force for your defence,

And for your safety stand upon your guard. But if you like not yet so hot device,

Dor. O heaven! was there ever heard or


So wicked counsel to a noble prince ? reate-bereare of.

Let me, my lord, disclose unto your grace



This heinous tale, what mischief it contains; Think

ye it safety to return again? Your father's death, your brother's, and your In mischiefs, such as Ferrex now intends, own,

The wonted courteous laws to messengers Your present murder, and eternal shame. Are not observ'd, which in just war they use. Hear me, o king, and suffer not to sink

Shall I so hazard any one of mine?
So high a treason in your princely breast. Shall I betray my trusty friends to him,

Fer. The mighty gods forbid that ever I That have disclosed his treason unto me? Should once conceive such mischief in my Let him entreat that fears; I fear him not. heart.

Or shall I to the king, my father, send?

Yea, and send now, while such a mother lives, The gods forbid, I say:

That loves my brother, and that hateth me? Cease you to speak so any more to me;

Shall I give leisure, by my fond delays, Nor you, my friend, with answer once repcat To Ferrex to oppress me all unaware? So foul a tale : in silence let it die.

I will not; but I will invade his realm,

And seek the traitor prince within his court. But, since I fear my younger brother's rage, Mischief for mischief is a due reward. And since, perhaps, some other man may give His wretched head shall pay the worthy price Some like advice, to move his grudging head Of this his treason and his hate to me. At mine estate; which counsel may perchance Shall I abide, and treat, and send, and pray, Take greater force with him, than this with And hold my yielding throat to traitor's knife, me;

While I, with valiant mind and conquering I will in secret so prepare myself,

force, As, if his malice or his lust to reign

Might rid myself of foes, and win a realm? Break forth in arms or sudden violence,

Yet rather, when I have the wretch's head, I may withstand his rage and keep mine own. Then to the king, my father, will I send.

[Exeunt. The bootless case may yet appease his wrath: If not, I will defend me as I may.

[Exeunt PorreX and TYNDAR. ACT II.-SCENE !I.

Phil. Lo, here the end of these two youthful


The father's death! the ruin of their realms! Por. And is it thus ? and doth he so prepare

But I will to the king, their father, haste,
Against his brother as his mortal foe?

Ere this mischief come to the likely end.
And now, while yet his aged father lives,
Neither regards he him, nor fears he me?
War would he have? and he shall have it so.

Tyn. I saw myself the great prepared store
Of horse, of armour, and of weapons there.

ACT IIL-SCENE I. The rascal numbers of unskilful sort

GORBODUC; EUBULUS; AROSTUS. Are filled with monstrous tales of you and yours.

Gor. O cruel fates, O mindful wrath of gods, In secret, I was counsell'd by my friends Whose vengeance neither Simois' stained To haste me thence, and brought you, as you streams know,

Flowing with blood of Trojan princes slain, Letters from those that both can truly tell, Nor Phrygian fields made rank with corpses And would not write unless they knew it well. dead Phil. My lord, yet ere you move unkindly Of Asian kings and lords, can yet appease; war,

Nor slaughter of unhappy Priam's race, Send to your brother, to demand the cause. Nor Ilion's fall, made level with the soil, Perhaps some traitorous tales have filled his Can yet suffice: but still continued rage

Pursues our lives, and from the farthest seas With false reports against your noble grace; Doth chase the issues of destroyed Troy. Which, once disclos'd, shall end the growing 'Oh, no man happy till his end' be seen. strise,

If any flowing wealth and seeming joy That else, not stay'd with wise foresight in In present years might make a happy wight, time,

Happy was Hecuba, the wofull'st wretch Shall hazard both your kingdoms and your That ever lived to make a mirror of; lives.

And liappy Priam, with his noble sons; Send to your father eke, he shall appease And happy I, till now, alas ! I see Your kindled minds, and rid you of this fear. And feel my most unhappy wretchedness.

Por. Rid me of fear! I fear him not at all; Behold, my lords, read yo this letter here; Nor will to him, nor to my father send.

Lo, it contains the ruin of our realm, If danger were for one to tarry there,

If timely speed provide not hasty help.


A letter is read from Eubulus making known the resolution taken by Ferrex, immediately after which Philander enters and announces that Porrex

In haste prepareth to invade
His brother's land, and with unkindly war
Threatens the murder of your eldest son.

After some tedious speechifying, a messenger enters and tells the king,

Porrex, your younger son,
With sudden force in vaded hath the land

That you to Ferrex did allot to rule;
And with his own most bloody hand he hath

His brother slain, and doth possess his realm.
Gor. O heavens, send down the flames of

Gor. We marvel much, whereto this ling'ring

stay your revenge! Destroy, I say, with flash of wreakful fire

Falls out so long. . The traitor son, and then the wretched sire!

Aros. Lo, where he comes, and Eubulus with

him. But let us go, that yet perhaps I may Die with revenge, and pease täie hateful gods.

Enics: IIBULUS and Porrex. [Exeunt.

Eub. According to your highness's hest to me,

Here have I Porrex brought, even in such sort ACT IV.-SCENE I.

As from his wearied horse he did alight,

For that your grace did will such haste therein. VIDENA sola.

Gor. We like and praise this speedy will in Why should I live, and linger forth my time

you, In longer life to double my distress?

To work the thing that to your charge we

gave. But whereunto waste I this ruthful speech, Porrex, if we so far should swerve from kind, To thee that hast thy brother's blood' thus And from those bounds which law of nature shed?

sets, Shall I still think that from this womb thou As thou hast done by vile and wretched deed, sprung?

In cruel murder of thy brother's life; That I thee bare? or take thee for my son ? Our present hand could stay no longer time, No, traitor, no; I thee refuse for mine:

But straight should bathe this blade in blood Murderer, 1 theo renounce; thou art not mine.

of thee, Never, O wretch, this womb conceived thee; As just revenge of thy detested crime. Nor never bode I painful throes for thee. No; we should not offend the law of kind, Changeling to me thou art, and not my child, If now this sword of ours did slay thee here: Nor to no wight that spark of pity knew. For thou hast murder'd him, whose heinous Ruthless, unkind, monster of nature's work,

death Thou never suck'd the milk of woman's breast; Even nature's force doth move us to revenge But, from thy birth, the cruel tiger's teats By blood again ; and justice forceth us Have nursed thee; nor yet of flesh and blood To measure death for death, thy due desert. Form'd is thy heart, but of hard iron wrought; Yet since thou art our child, and since as yet And wild and desert woods breed thee to life. In this hard case what word thou canst allege But canst thou hope to 'scape my just revenge? For thy defence, by us hath not been heard, Or that these hands will not be wrókel on thee? We are content to stay our will for that Dost thou not know that Ferrex' mother lives, Which justice bids us presently to work, That loved him more dearly than herself ? And give thee leave to use thy speech at full, And doth she live, and is not 'venged on thee? If ought thou have to lay for thine excuse.

Porrex then, in a long speech, endeavours to exculpate himself by urging that what he had done was purely in self-defence.


Gor. Oh cruel wight, should any cause prevail | Than as the naked hand whose stroke essays To make thee stain thy hands with brother's The armed breast where force doth light in vain. blood?

Gor. Many can yield right sage and grave But what of thee we will resolve to do

advice Shall yet remain unknown. Thou in the mean Of patient spirit to others wrapp'd in woe, Shalt from our royal presence banish'd be, And can in speech both rule and conquer kind; Until our princely pleasure further shall Who, if by proof they might feel nature's force, To thee be show'd. Depart therefore our sight, Would show themselves men as they are indeed, Accursed child! [Exit PORREX.] What cruel Which now will needs be gods. But what doth

destiny, What froward fate hath sorted ? us this chance, The sorry cheer of her that here doth come ? That even in those, where we should comfort

Enter MARCELLA. find, Where our delight now in our aged days

Mar. Oh where is ruth? or where is pity now? Should rest and be, even there our only grief Whither is gentle heart and mercy fled ? And deepest sorrows to abridge our life, Are they exil'd out of our stony breasts, Most pining cares and deadly thoughts do grow. Never to make return ? is all the world Aros. Your grace shall now, in these grave Drowned in blood, and sunk in cruelty ? years of yours,

If not in women mercy may be found, Have found ere this the price of mortal joys; If not, alas, within the mother's breast, How short they be, how fading here in earth, To her own child, to her own flesh and blood; How full of change, how brittle our estate, If ruth be banish'd thence, if pity there Of nothing sure, save only of the death,

May have no place, there no gentle heart To whom both man and all the world doth owe Do live and dwell, where should we seek it then? Their end at last; neither shall nature's power Gor. Madam, alas, what means your woful In other sort against your heart prevail,


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Mar. O silly woman I! why to this hour And straight pale death pressing within his face, Have kind and fortune thus deferr'd my breath, The flying ghost his mortal corpse forsook! That I should live to see this doleful day? Aros. Never did age bring forth so vile a fact. Will ever wight believe that such hard heart Mar. Oh hard and cruel hap, that thus Could rest within the cruel mother's breast,

assigned With her own hand to slay her only son ? Unto so worthy a wight so wretched end ; But out, alas! these eyes beheld the same: But most hard cruel beart, that could consent They saw the dreary sight, and are become To lend the hateful destinies that hand, Most ruthful records of the bloody fact.

By which, alas, so heinous crime was wrought. Porrex, alas, is by his mother slain,

O queen of adamant, О marble breast, And with her hand, a woful thing to tell, If not the favour of his comely face, While slumbering on his careful bed he rests, If not his princely cheers and countenance, His heart stabb'd in with knife is reft of life. His valiant active arms, his manly breast,

Gor. O Eubulus, oh draw this sword of ours, If not his fair and seemly personage, And pierce this heart with speed! O hateful His noble limbs in such proportion cast light,

As would have wrapt a silly woman's thought; O loathsome life, O sweet and welcome death! If this might not have moved thy bloody heart, Dear Eubulus, work this we thee beseech! And that most cruel hand the wretched weapon

Eub. Patience, your grace; perhaps he liveth Even to let fall, and kissed him in the face, yet,

With tears for ruth to reave such one by death; With wound receiv'd, but not of certain death. Should nature yet consent to slay her son?

Gor. Oh let us then repair unto the place, Oh mother, thou to murder thus thy child! And see if Porrex live, or thus be slain.

Ah, noble prince, how oft have I beheld [Exeunt GORBODUC and EUBULUS. Thee mounted on thy fierce and trampling steed, Mar. Alas, he liveth not! it is too true, Shining in armour bright before the tilt, That with these eyes, of him a peerless prince, And with thy mistress' sleeve tied on thy helm, Son to a king, and in the flower of youth, And charge thy staff to please thy lady's eye, Even with a twink a senseless stock I saw. That bowed the headpiece of thy friendly foé! Aros. Oh damned deed!

How oft in arms on horse to bend the mace, Mar. But hear this ruthful end :

How oft in arms on foot to break the sword, The noble prince, pierc'd with the sudden wound, which never now these eyes may see again! Out of his wretched slumber hastily start,

Aros. Madam, alas, in vain these plaints are Whose strength now failing straight he over

shed; threw,

Rather with me depart, and help to swage When in the fall his eyes, e'en new unclos'd, The thoughtful griefs that in the aged king Beheld the queen, and cried to her for help. Must needs by nature grow by death of this We then, alas, the ladies which that time His only son, whom he did hold so dear. Did there attend, seeing that heinous deed, Mar. What wight is that which saw that I And hearing him oft call the wretched name Of mother, and to cry to her for aid,

And could refrain to wail with plaint and Whose direful hand gave him the mortal wound, tears? Pitying, alas (for nought else could we do), Not I, alas, that heart is not in me: His ruthful end, ran to the woful bed,

But let us go, for I am grieved anew, Dispoiled straight his breast, and all we might To call to mind the wretched father's woe. Wiped in vain, with napkins next at hand,

[Ereunt. The sudden streams of blood that flushed fast

Chorus. Out of the gaping wound. Oh what a look! Oh happy wight, that suffers not the snare Oh what a ruthful steadfast eye methought Of murderous mind to tangle him in blood! He fixed upon my face, which to my death And happy he that can in time beware Will never part from me, when with a braid! By other's harms, and turn it to his good. A deep-fetched sigh he gave, and therewithal But woe to him that, searing not to offend, Clasping his hands, to heaven he cast his sight, Doth serve his lust, and will not see the end.

did see,

The fifth act concludes with the following couplet, Tennysonian in style and sentiment:

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