Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CONSPIRACY OF CHARLES, DUKE OF BYRON, by GEORGE CHAPMAN (1559-1634)



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
THE CONSPIRACY OF CHARLES, DUKE OF BYRON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the uncivil civil wars of france
Last Line: With all his counsel, all conspiracy.
Subject(s): Freedom; Liberty


PROLOGUS

WHEN the uncivil civil wars of France
Had pour'd upon the country's beaten breast
Her batter'd cities; press'd her under hills
Of slaughter'd carcases; set her in the mouths
Of murderous breaches, and made pale Despair
Leave her to Ruin; through them all, Byron
Stept to her rescue, took her by the hand;
Pluck'd her from under her unnatural press,
And set her shining in the height of peace.
And now new cleansed from dust, from sweat, and blood,
And dignified with title of a Duke;
As when in wealthy Autumn, his bright star,
Wash'd in the lofty ocean, thence ariseth,
Illustrates heaven, and all his other fires
Out-shines and darkens: so admired Byron
All France exempted from comparison.
He touch'd heaven with his lance; nor yet was touch'd
With hellish treachery; his country's love
He yet thirsts, not the fair shades of himself;
Of which empoison'd spring, when policy drinks,
He bursts in growing great; and rising, sinks:
Which now behold in our Conspirator,
And see in his revolt how honour's flood
Ebbs into air, when men are great, not good.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

HENRY IV., King of France.
ALBERT, Arch-duke of Austria.
DUKE OF SAVOY.
DUKE BYRON.
D'AUVERGNE.
NEMOURS.
SOISSONS.
BELIEURE.
BRULART.
D'AUMALE.
ORENGE.
D'AUMONT.
CREQUIE.

RONCAS, attendants of Savoy.
ROCHETTE,
BRETON,

ROISEAU.
PICOTÉ.
LA FIN.
EPERNON.
VITRY.
JANIN.
MANSFIELD, a Count.
LA BROSSE, a Magician.
Three Ladies.

ACT THE FIRST

SCENE I

Enter SAVOY, RONCAS, ROCHETTE, BRETON.

SA. I would not for half Savoy, but have bound
France to some favour, by my personal presence
More than your self, my lord ambassador,
Could have obtain'd; for all ambassadors,
You know, have chiefly these instructions:
To note the state and chief sway of the Court
To which they are employ'd; to penetrate
The heart and marrow of the king's designs,
And to observe the countenances and spirits
Of such as are impatient of rest,
And wring beneath some private discontent.
But, past all these, there are a number more
Of these state criticisms that our personal view
May profitably make, which cannot fall
Within the powers of our instruction
To make you comprehend; I will do more
With my mere shadow than you with your persons.
All you can say against my coming here
Is that which I confess may for the time
Breed strange affections in my brother Spain;
But when I shall have time to make my cannons
The long-tongued heralds of my hidden drifts,
Our reconcilement will be made with triumphs.
Ron. If not, your highness hath small cause to care,
Having such worthy reason to complain
Of Spain's cold friendship, and his lingering succours,
Who only entertains your griefs with hope,
To make your medicine desperate.
Roc. My lord knows
The Spanish gloss too well; his form, stuff, lasting,
And the most dangerous conditions
He lays on them with whom he is in league.
Th'injustice in the most unequal dower,
Given with th'Infanta, whom my lord espoused,
Compared with that her elder sister had,
May tell him how much Spain's love weights to him;
When of so many globes and sceptres held
By the great king, he only would bestow
A portion but of six-score thousand crowns
In yearly pension, with his highness' wife,
When the Infanta, wedded by the Archduke,
Had the Franch County, and Low Provinces.
Br. We should not set these passages of spleen
'Twixt Spain and Savoy, to the weaker part;
More good by sufferance grows than deeds of heart;
The nearer princes are, the further off
In rites of friendship; my advice had never
Consented to this voyage of my lord,
In which he doth endanger Spain's whole loss,
For hope of some poor fragment here in France.
Sa. My hope in France you know not, though my counsel,
And for my loss of Spain, it is agreed
That I should slight it; ofttimes princes' rules
Are like the chymical philosophers';
Leave me then to mine own projection,
In this our thrifty alchemy of state;
Yet help me thus far, you that have been here
Our lord ambassador; and, in short, inform me,
What spirits here are fit for our designs.
Ron. The new-created Duke Byron is fit,
Were there no other reason for your presence,
To make it worthy; for he is a man
Of matchless valour, and was ever happy
In all encounters, which were still made good
With an unwearied sense of any toil,
Having continued fourteen days together
Upon his horse; his blood is not voluptuous,
Nor much inclined to women; his desires
Are higher than his state, and his deserts
Not much short of the most he can desire,
If they be weigh'd with what France feels by them.
He is past measure glorious; and that humour
Is fit to feed his spirits, whom it possesseth
With faith in any error, chiefly where
Men blow it up with praise of his perfections,
The taste whereof in him so soothes his palate,
And takes up all his appetite, that ofttimes
He will refuse his meat and company
To feast alone with their most strong conceit;
Ambition also cheek by cheek doth march
With that excess of glory, both sustain'd
With an unlimited fancy, that the King,
Nor France itself, without him can subsist,
Sa. He is the man, my lord, I come to win;
And that supreme intention of my presence
Saw never light till now, which yet I fear
The politic King, suspecting, is the cause,
That he hath sent him so far from my reach,
And made him chief in the commission
Of his ambassage to my brother Archduke,
With whom he is now; and, as I am told,
So entertain'd and fitted in his humour,
That ere I part, I hope he will return
Prepared, and made the more fit for the physic
That I intend to minister.
Ron. My lord,
There is another discontented spirit
Now here in Court, that for his brain and aptness
To any course that may recover him
In his declined and litigious state
Will serve Byron, as he were made for him
In giving vent to his ambitious vein,
And that is, de La Fin.
Sa. You tell me true,
And him I think you have prepared for me.
Ron. I have, my lord, and doubt not he will prove
Of the yet taintless fortress of Byron
A quick expugner, and a strong abider.
Sa. Perhaps the battery will be brought before him
In this ambassage, for I am assured
They set high price of him, and are inform'd
Of all the passages, and means for mines
That may be thought on, to his taking in.

Enter HENRY and LA FIN.

The King comes, and La Fin; the King's aspect
Folded in clouds.
He. I will not have my train,
Made a retreat for bankrouts, nor my Court
A hive for drones; proud beggars, and true thieves,
That with a forced truth they swear to me,
Rob my poor subjects, shall give up their arts,
And henceforth learn to live by their desarts;
Though I am grown, by right of birth and arms
Into a greater kingdom, I will spread
With no more shade than may admit that kingdom
Her proper, natural, and wonted fruits;
Navarre shall be Navarre, and France still France:
If one may be the better for the other
By mutual rites, so neither shall be worse.
Thou art in law, in quarrels, and in debt,
Which thou wouldst quit with countenance; borrowing
With thee is purchase, and thou seekest by me,
In my supportance, now our old wars cease
To wage worse battles, with the arms of peace.
La. Peace must not make men cowards, nor keep calm
Her pursy regiment with men's smother'd breaths;
I must confess my fortunes are declined,
But neither my deservings, nor my mind:
I seek but to sustain the right I found,
When I was rich, in keeping what is left,
And making good my honour as at best,
Though it be hard; man's right to everything
Wanes with his wealth, wealth is his surest king;
Yet Justice should be still indifferent.
The overplus of kings, in all their might,
Is but to piece out the defects of right:
And this I sue for, nor shall frowns and taunts,
The common scarecrows of all poor men's suits,
Nor misconstruction that doth colour still
Licentiary justice, punishing good for ill,
Keep my free throat from knocking at the sky,
If thunder chid me for my equity.
He. Thy equity is to be ever banish'd
From Court, and all society of noblesse,
Amongst whom thou throw'st balls of all dissension;
Thou art at peace with nothing but with war,
Hast no heart but to hurt, and eat'st thy heart,
If it but think of doing any good:
Thou witchest with thy smiles, suck'st blood with praises,
Mock'st all humanity; society poison'st,
Cozen'st with virtue; with religion
Betray'st and massacrest; so vile thyself,
That thou suspect'st perfection in others:
A man must think of all the villanies
He knows in all men, to decipher thee,
That art the centre to impiety:
Away, and tempt me not.
La. But you tempt me,
To what, thou Sun to judge, and make him see.
[Exit.
Sa. Now by my dearest Marquisate of Salusses,
Your Majesty hath with the greatest life
Described a wicked man; or rather thrust
Your arm down through him to his very feet,
And pluck'd his inside out, that ever yet
My ears did witness; or turn'd ears to eyes;
And those strange characters, writ in his face,
Which at first sight were hard for me to read,
The doctrine of your speech hath made so plain,
That I run through them like my natural language:
Nor do I like that man's aspect, methinks,
Of all looks where the beams of stars have carved
Their powerful influences; and (O rare)
What an heroic, more than royal spirit
Bewray'd you in your first speech, that defies
Protection of vile drones, that eat the honey
Sweat from laborious virtue, and denies
To give those of Navarre, though bred with you,
The benefits and dignities of France.
When little rivers by their greedy currents,
Far far extended from their mother springs,
Drink up the foreign brooks still as they run,
And force their greatness, when they come to sea,
And justle with the ocean for a room,
Oh, how he roars, and takes them in his mouth,
Digesting them so to his proper streams
That they are no more seen, he nothing raised
Above his usual bounds, yet they devour'd
That of themselves were pleasant, goodly floods.
He. I would do best for both, yet shall not be secure
Till in some absolute heirs my crown be settled;
There is so little now betwixt aspirers
And their great object in my only self,
That all the strength they gather under me
Tempts combat with mine own: I therefore make
Means for some issue by my marriage,
Which with the great duke's niece is now concluded,
And she is coming; I have trust in heaven
I am not yet so old, but I may spring,
And then I hope all traitors' hopes will fade.
Sa. Else may their whole estates fly, rooted up,
To ignominy and oblivion:
And (being your neighbour, servant, and poor kinsman)
I wish your mighty race might multiply,
Even to the period of all empery.
He. Thanks to my princely cousin: this your love
And honour shown me in your personal presence,
I wish to welcome to your full content:
The peace I now make with your brother Archduke,
By Duke Byron, our lord ambassador,
I wish may happily extend to you,
And that at his return we may conclude it.
Sa. It shall be to my heart the happiest day
Of all my life, and that life all employ'd
To celebrate the honour of that day. [Exeunt.

Enter ROISEAU.

Ro. The wondrous honour done our Duke Byron
In his ambassage here, in th'Archduke's court,
I fear will taint his loyalty to our King.
I will observe how they observe his humour,
And glorify his valour: and how he
Accepts and stands attractive to their ends,
That so I may not seem an idle spot
In train of this embassage, but return
Able to give our King some note of all,
Worth my attendance; and see, here's the man,
Who (though a Frenchman, and in Orleans born
Serving the Archduke) I do most suspect,
Is set to be the tempter of our Duke;
I'll go where I may see, although not hear.

Enter PICOTÉ with two others, spreading a carpet.

Pi. Spread here this history of Catiline,
That earth may seem to bring forth Roman spirits,
Even to his genial feet; and her dark breast
Be made the clear glass of his shining graces.
We'll make his feet so tender, they shall gall
In all paths but to empire; and therein
I'll make the sweet steps of his state begin. [Exit.

Loud music; and enter BYRON.

BY. What place is this? what air? what region?
In which a man may hear the harmony
Of all things moving? Hymen marries here
Their ends and uses, and makes me his temple.
Hath any man been blessed, and yet lived?
The blood turns in my veins, I stand on change,
And shall dissolve in changing; 'tis so full
Of pleasure not to be contain'd in flesh.
To fear a violent good, abuseth goodness;
'Tis immortality to die aspiring,
As if a man were taken quick to heaven;
What will not hold perfection, let it burst;
What force hath any cannon, not being charged,
Or being not discharged? To have stuff and form,
And to lie idle, fearful, and unused,
Nor form nor stuff shows; happy Semele,
That died compress'd with glory! Happiness
Denies comparison of less or more,
And not at most, is nothing; like the shaft
Shot at the sun by angry Hercules,
And into shivers by the thunder broken,
Will I be if I burst; and in my heart
This shall be written: "Yet 'twas high and right."
[Music again.
Here too! they follow all my steps with music,
As if my feet were numerous, and trod sounds
Out of the centre, with Apollo's virtue,
That out of every thing his ech-part touch'd,
Struck musical accents; wheresoe'er I go,
They hide the earth from me with coverings rich,
To make me think that I am here in heaven.

Enter PICOTÉ in haste.

Pi. This way, your highness.
By. Come they?
Pi. Ay, my lord. [Exeunt.

Enter the other Commissioners of France, BELIEURE, BRULART,
D'AUMALE,
ORENGE.

Be. My Lord D'Aumale, I am exceeding sorry
That your own obstinacy to hold out
Your mortal enmity against the King,
When Duke Du Maine, and all the faction yielded,
Should force his wrath to use the rites of treason
Upon the members of your senseless statue,
Your name and house, when he had lost your person,
Your love and duty.
Br. That which men enforce
By their own wilfulness, they must endure
With willing patience and without complaint.
D'A. I use not much impatience nor complaint,
Though it offend me much to have my name
So blotted with addition of a traitor,
And my whole memory with such despite
Mark'd and begun to be so rooted out.
Br. It was despite that held you out so long,
Whose penance in the King was needful justice.
Be. Come, let us seek our Duke, and take our leaves
Of th' Archduke's grace. [Exeunt.

Enter BYRON and PICOTÉ.

By. Here we may safely breathe.
Pi. No doubt, my lord, no stranger knows this way;
Only the Archduke, and your friend Count Mansfield
Perhaps may make their general scapes to you,
To utter some part of their private loves,
Ere your departure.
By. Then I well perceive
To what th'intention of his highness tends;
For whose, and others here, most worthy lords,
I will become, with all my worth, their servant,
In any office but disloyalty;
But that hath ever show'd so foul a monster
To all my ancestors, and my former life,
That now to entertain it I must wholly
Give up my habit, in his contrary,
And strive to grow out of privation.
Pi. My lord, to wear your loyal habit still,
When it is out of fashion, and hath done
Service enough, were rustic misery;
The habit of a servile loyalty
Is reckon'd now amongst privations,
With blindness, dumbness, deafness, silence, death,
All which are neither natures by themselves
Nor substances, but mere decays of form,
And absolute decessions of nature;
And so 'tis nothing, what shall you then lose?
Your highness hath a habit in perfection,
And in desert of highest dignities,
Which carve yourself, and be your own rewarder.
No true power doth admit privation
Adverse to him; or suffers any fellow
Join'd in his subject; you, superiors;
It is the nature of things absolute
One to destroy another; be your highness
Like those steep hills that will admit no clouds,
No dews, nor least fumes bound about their brows;
Because their tops pierce into purest air,
Expert of humour; or like air itself
That quickly changeth, and receives the sun
Soon as he riseth, everywhere dispersing
His royal splendour, girds it in his beams,
And makes itself the body of the light;
Hot, shining, swift, light, and aspiring things,
Are of immortal and celestial nature;
Cold, dark, dull, heavy, of infernal fortunes,
And never aim at any happiness;
Your excellency knows that simple loyalty,
Faith, love, sincerity, are but words, no things;
Merely devised for form; and as the legate,
Sent from his Holiness, to frame a peace
'Twixt Spain and Savoy, labour'd fervently,
For common ends, not for the Duke's particular,
To have him sign it; he again endeavours,
Not for the legate's pains, but his own pleasure,
To gratify him; and being at last encounter'd,
Where the flood Ticin enters into Po,
They made a kind contention, which of them
Should enter th'other's boat, one thrust the other;
One leg was over, and another in;
And with a fiery courtesy, at last
Savoy leaps out, into the legate's arms,
And here ends all his love, and th'other's labour.
So shall these terms and impositions
Express'd before, hold nothing in themselves
Really good, but flourishes of form;
And further than they make to private ends
None wise, or free, their proper use intends.
By. Oh, 'tis a dangerous and a dreadful thing
To steal prey from a lion; or to hide
A head distrustful, in his open'd jaws;
To trust our blood in other's veins; and hang
'Twixt heaven and earth, in vapours of their breaths;
To leave a sure pace on continuate earth,
And force a gate in jumps, from tower to tower,
As they do that aspire from height to height.
The bounds of loyalty are made of glass,
Soon broke, but can in no date be repair'd;
And as the Duke D'Aumale, now here in Court,
Flying his country, had his statue torn
Piece-meal with horses, all his goods confiscate,
His arms of honour kick'd about the streets,
His goodly house at Annet razed to th'earth,
And, for a strange reproach of his foul treason,
His trees about it, cut off by their waists;
So, when men fly the natural clime of truth,
And turn themselves loose, out of all the bounds
Of justice, and the straight way to their ends;
Forsaking all the sure force in themselves
To seek without them that which is not theirs,
The forms of all their comforts are distracted,
The riches of their freedoms forfeited,
Their human noblesse shamed; the mansions
Of their cold spirits eaten down with cares;
And all their ornaments of wit and valour,
Learning, and judgment, cut from all their fruits.

Enter ALBERT.

Al. Oh, here were now the richest prize in Europe,
Were he but taken in affection.
Would we might grow together, and be twins
Of either's fortune; or that still embraced
I were but ring to such a precious stone.
By. Your highness' honours, and high bounty shown me,
Have won from me my voluntary power;
And I must now move by your eminent will
To what particular objects, if I know
By this man's intercession, he shall bring
My utmost answer, and perform betwixt us
Reciprocal and full intelligence.
Al. Even for your own deserved royal good,
'Tis joyfully accepted; use the loves
And worthy admirations of your friends,
That beget vows of all things you can wish,
And be what I wish: danger says, no more. [Exit.

Enter MANSFIELD, at another door.
Exit PICOTÉ.

Ma. Your highness makes the light of this Court stoop
With your so near departure; I was forced
To tender to your excellence, in brief,
This private wish, in taking of my leave,
That in some army royal, old Count Mansfield
Might be commanded by your matchless valour
To the supremest point of victory;
Who vows for that renown all prayer and service:
No more, lest I may wrong you. [Exit MANSFIELD.
By. Thank your lordship.

Enter D'AUMALE and ORENGE.

D'A. All majesty be added to your highness,
Of which I would not wish your breast to bear
More modest apprehension than may tread
The high gait of your spirit; and be known
To be a fit bound for your boundless valour.
Or. So Orenge wisheth, and to the deserts
Of your great actions their most royal crown.

Enter PICOTÉ.

Pi. Away, my lord, the lords inquire for you.
[Exit BYRON.
Manet ORENGE, D'AUMALE, ROISEAU.
Or. Would we might win his valour to our part.
D'A. 'Tis well prepared in his entreaty here,
With all state's highest observations;
And to their form and words are added gifts.
He was presented with two goodly horses,
One of which two was the brave beast Pastrana,
With plate of gold, and a much prized jewel,
Girdle and hangers, set with wealthy stones,
All which were valued at ten thousand crowns.
The other lords had suits of tapestry,
And chains of gold; and every gentleman
A pair of Spanish gloves, and rapier blades:
And here ends their entreaty, which I hope
Is the beginning of more good to us
Than twenty thousand times their gifts to them.

Enter ALBERT, BYRON, BELIEURE, MANSFIELD, ROISEAU, with others.

Al. My lord, I grieve that all the setting forth
Of our best welcome made you more retired;
Your chamber hath been more loved than our honours,
And therefore we are glad your time of parting
Is come, to set you in the air you love.
Commend my service to his Majesty,
And tell him that this day of peace with him
Is held as holy. All your pains, my lords,
I shall be always glad to gratify
With any love and honour your own hearts
Shall do me grace to wish express'd to you.
Ro. Here hath been strange demeanour, which shall fly
To the great author of this ambassy.

ACT THE SECOND

SCENE I

Enter SAVOY, LA FIN, RONCAS, ROCHETTE, BRETON.

SA. Admit no entry, I will speak with none.
Good signior de La Fin your worth shall find
That I will make a jewel for my cabinet
Of that the King, in surfeit of his store,
Hath cast out, as the sweepings of his hall.
I told him, having threaten'd you away,
That I did wonder this small time of peace
Could make him cast his armour so securely
In such as you, and, as 'twere, set the head
Of one so great in counsels, on his foot,
And pitch him from him with such guardlike strength.
La. He may, perhaps, find he hath pitch'd away
The axle-tree that kept him on his wheels.
Sa. I told him so, I swear, in other terms,
And not with too much note of our close loves,
Lest so he might have smoked our practices.
La. To choose his time, and spit his poison on me,
Through th'ears and eyes of strangers.
Sa. So I told him,
And more than that, which now I will not tell you:
It rests now then, noble and worthy friend,
That to our friendship we draw Duke Byron,
To whose attraction there is no such chain
As you can forge, and shake out of your brain.
La. I have devised the fashion and the weight;
To valours hard to draw, we use retreats;
And, to pull shafts home, with a good bow-arm,
We thrust hard from us; since he came from Flanders
He heard how I was threaten'd with the King,
And hath been much inquisitive to know
The truth of all, and seeks to speak with me;
The means he used, I answered doubtfully,
And with an intimation that I shunn'd him,
Which will, I know, put more spur to his charge;
And if his haughty stomach be prepared
With will to any act, for the aspiring
Of his ambitious aims, I make no doubt
But I shall work him to your highness' wish.
Sa. But undertake it, and I rest assured:
You are reported to have skill in magic,
And the events of things, at which they reach
They are in nature apt to overreach,
Whom the whole circle of the present time,
In present pleasures, fortunes, knowledges,
Cannot contain; those men, as broken loose
From human limits, in all violent ends
Would fain aspire the faculties of fiends,
And in such air breathe his unbounded spirits,
Which therefore well will fit such conjurations.
Attempt him then by flying; close with him,
And bring him home to us, and take my dukedom.
La. My best in that, and all things, vows your service.
Sa. Thanks to my dear friend, and the French Ulysses. [Exit
SAVOY.

Enter BYRON.

By. Here is the man: my honour'd friend, La Fin,
Alone, and heavy countenanced! On what terms
Stood th'insultation of the King upon you?
La. Why do you ask?
By. Since I would know the truth.
La. And when you know it, what?
By. I'll judge betwixt you.
And, as I may, make even th'excess of either.
La. Alas! my lord, not all your loyalty,
Which is in you more than hereditary,
Nor all your valour (which is more than humane)
Can do the service you may hope on me
In sounding my displeased integrity.
Stand for the King, as much in policy
As you have stirr'd for him in deeds of arms,
And make yourself his glory, and your country's,
Till you be suck'd as dry and wrought as lean,
As my flea'd carcass; you shall never close
With me, as you imagine.
By. You much wrong me
To think me an intelligencing instrument.
La. I know not how your so affected zeal
To be reputed a true-hearted subject,
May stretch or turn you; I am desperate;
If I offend you, I am in your power;
I care not how I tempt your conquering fury,
I am predestined to too base an end
To have the honour of your wrath destroy me,
And be a worthy object for your sword.
I lay my hand and head too at your feet,
As I have ever, here I hold it still;
End me directly, do not go about.
By. How strange is this! the shame of his disgrace
Hath made him lunatic.
La. Since the King hath wrong'd me
He thinks I'll hurt myself; no, no, my lord;
I know that all the kings in Christendom,
If they should join in my revenge, would prove
Weak foes to him, still having you to friend;
If you were gone (I care not if you tell him)
I might be tempted then to right myself. [Exit.
By. He has a will to me, and dares not show it;
His state decay'd, and he disgraced, distracts him.

Redit LA FIN.

La. Change not my words, my lord; I only said,
"I might be tempted then to right myself;"
Temptation to treason, is no treason;
And that word tempted was conditional too;
"If you were gone;" I pray inform the truth.
[Exiturus.
By. Stay, injured man, and know I am your friend,
Far from these base and mercenary reaches;
I am, I swear to you.
La. You may be so;
And yet you'll give me leave to be La Fin,
A poor and expuate humour of the Court;
But what good blood came out with me, what veins
And sinews of the triumph, now it makes,
I list not vaunt; yet will I now confess,
And dare assume it; I have power to add
To all his greatness; and make yet more fix'd
His bold security; tell him this, my lord,
And this, if all the spirits of earth and air
Be able to enforce, I can make good;
If knowledge of the sure events of things,
Even from the rise of subjects into kings,
And falls of kings to subjects, hold a power
Of strength to work it, I can make it good;
And tell him this too: if in midst of winter
To make black groves grow green, to still the thunder,
And cast out able flashes from mine eyes
To beat the lightning back into the skies,
Prove power to do it, I can make it good;
And tell him this too; if to lift the sea
Up to the stars, when all the winds are still,
And keep it calm, when they are most enraged;
To make earth's driest palms sweat humorous springs,
To make fix'd rocks walk, and loose shadows stand,
To make the dead speak, midnight see the sun,
Mid-day turn midnight, to dissolve all laws
Of nature and of order, argue power
Able to work all, I can make all good:
And all this tell the King.
By. 'Tis more than strange,
To see you stand thus at the rapier's point
With one so kind and sure a friend as I.
La. Who cannot friend himself is foe to any,
And to be fear'd of all, and that is it
Makes me so scorn'd; but make me what you can,
Never so wicked, and so full of flends,
I never yet was traitor to my friends:
The laws of friendship I have ever held
As my religion; and for other laws
He is a fool that keeps them with more care
Than they keep him safe, rich, and popular.
For riches, and for popular respects
Take them amongst ye, minions; but for safety,
You shall not find the least flaw in my arms
To pierce or taint me; what will great men be
To please the King, and bear authority! [Exit.
By. How fit a sort were this to hansel fortune!
And I will win it though I lose my self;
Though he prove harder than Egyptian marble,
I'll make him malleable as th' Ophir gold;
I am put off from this dull shore of East,
Into industrious and high-going seas;
Where, like Pelides in Scamander's flood,
Up to the ears in surges I will fight,
And pluck French Ilion underneath the waves.
If to be highest still, be to be best,
All works to that end are the worthiest:
Truth is a golden ball, cast in our way,
To make us stript by falsehood: and as Spain
When the hot scuffles of barbarian arms
Smother'd the life of Don Sebastian,
To gild the leaden rumour of his death
Gave for a slaughter'd body, held for his,
A hundred thousand crowns; caused all the state
Of superstitious Portugal to mourn
And celebrate his solemn funerals;
The Moors to conquest thankful feasts prefer,
And all made with the carcass of a Switzer:
So in the giantlike and politic wars
Of barbarous greatness, raging still in peace,
Shows to aspire just objects are laid on
With cost, with labour, and with form enough,
Which only makes our best acts brook the light,
And their ends had, we think we have their right,
So worst works are made good, with good success,
And so for kings, pay subjects carcasses. [Exit.

Enter HENRY, ROISEAU.

He. Was he so courted?
Ro. As a city dame,
Brought by her jealous husband to the Court,
Some elder courtiers entertaining him,
While others snatch a favour from his wife:
One starts from this door; from that nook another,
With gifts and junkets, and with printed phrase,
Steal her employment, shifting place by place
Still as her husband comes; so Duke Byron
Was woo'd and worshipp'd in the Archduke's Court;
And as th'assistants that your Majesty
Join'd in commission with him, or myself,
Or any other doubted eye appear'd,
He ever vanish'd; and as such a dame,
As we compared with him before, being won
To break faith to her husband, lose her fame,
Stain both their progenies, and coming fresh
From underneath the burthen of her shame,
Visits her husband with as chaste a brow
As temperate and confirm'd behaviour,
As she came quitted from confession:
So from his scapes would he present a presence;
The practice of his state adultery,
And guilt that should a graceful bosom strike
Drown'd in the set lake of a hopeless cheek.
He. It may be he dissembled, or suppose
He be a little tainted: men whom virtue
Forms with the stuff of fortune, great and gracious
Must needs partake with fortune in her humour
Of instability; and are like to shafts
Grown crook'd with standing, which to rectify
Must twice as much be bow'd another way.
He that hath borne wounds for his worthy parts,
Must for his worst be borne with: we must fit
Our government to men, as men to it:
In old time they that hunted savage beasts
Are said to clothe themselves in savage skins;
They that were fowlers when they went on fowling,
Wore garments made with wings resembling fowls;
To bulls we must not show ourselves in red,
Nor to the warlike elephant in white.
In all things govern'd their infirmities
Must not be stirr'd, nor wrought on; Duke Byron
Flows with adust and melancholy choler,
And melancholy spirits are venomous,
Not to be touch'd, but as they may be cured.
I therefore mean to make him change the air,
And send him further from those Spanish vapours,
That still bear fighting sulphur in their breasts,
To breathe a while in temperate English air,
Where lips are spiced with free and loyal counsels,
Where policies are not ruinous, but saving;
Wisdom is simple, valour righteous,
Humane, and hating facts of brutish forces;
And whose grave natures scorn the scoffs of France,
The empty compliments of Italy,
The any-way encroaching pride of Spain,
And love men modest, hearty, just, and plain.

SAVOY, whispering with LA FIN.

Sa. I'll sound him for Byron; and what I find
In the King's depth, I'll draw up, and inform
In excitations to the Duke's revolt,
When next I meet with him.
La. It must be done
With praising of the Duke; from whom the King
Will take to give himself; which told the Duke,
Will take his heart up into all ambition.
Sa. I know it, politic friend, and 'tis my purpose.
[Exit LA FIN.
Your Majesty hath miss'd a royal sight:
The Duke Byron, on his brave beast Pastrana,
Who sits him like a full-sail'd argosy,
Danced with a lofty billow, and as snug
Plies to his bearer, both their motions mix'd;
And being consider'd in their site together,
They do the best present the state of man
In his first royalty ruling, and of beasts
In their first loyalty serving; one commanding,
And no way being moved; the other serving,
And no way being compell'd; of all the sights
That ever my eyes witness'd; and they make
A doctrinal and witty hieroglyphic
Of a blest kingdom: to express and teach,
Kings to command as they could serve, and subjects
To serve as if they had power to command.
He. You are a good old horseman, I perceive,
And still out all the use of that good part;
Your wit is of the true Pierean spring,
That can make anything of anything.
Sa. So brave a subject as the Duke, no king
Seated on earth can vaunt of but your highness,
So valiant, loyal, and so great in service.
He. No question he sets valour in his height,
And hath done service to an equal pitch,
Fortune attending him with fit events,
To all his venturous and well-laid attempts.
Sa. Fortune to him was Juno to Alcides;
For when or where did she but open way
To any act of his? what stone took he
With her help, or without his own lost blood?
What fort won he by her? or was not forced?
What victory but 'gainst odds? on what commander,
Sleepy or negligent, did he ever charge?
What summer ever made she fair to him?
What winter, not of one continued storm?
Fortune is so far from his creditress
That she owes him much; for in him, her looks
Are lovely, modest, and magnanimous,
Constant, victorious; and in his achievements
Her cheeks are drawn out with a virtuous redness,
Out of his eager spirit to victory,
And chaste contention to convince with honour;
And, I have heard, his spirits have flow'd so high
In all his conflicts against any odds,
That, in his charge, his lips have bled with fervour.
How served he at your famous siege of Dreux?
Where the enemy, assured of victory,
Drew out a body of four thousand horse,
And twice six thousand foot, and like a crescent,
Stood for the signal, you, that show'd yourself
A sound old soldier, thinking it not fit
To give your enemy the odds, and honour
Of the first stroke, commanded de la Guiche
To let fly all his cannons, that did pierce
The adverse thickest squadrons, and had shot
Nine volleys ere the foe had once given fire;
Your troop was charged, and when your duke's old father
Met with th'assailants, and their grove of ritters
Repulsed so fiercely, made them turn their beards
And rally up themselves behind their troops;
Fresh forces, seeing your troops a little sever'd
From that part first assaulted, gave it charge,
Which then, this duke made good, seconds his father,
Beats through and through the enemy's greatest strength,
And breaks the rest like billows 'gainst a rock,
And there the heart of that huge battle broke.
He. The heart but now came on, in that strong body
Of twice two thousand horse, led by du Maine;
Which, if I would be glorious, I could say
I first encounter'd.
Sa. How did he take in,
Beaune in view of that invincible army
Led by the Lord Great Constable of Castile,
Autun and Nuis, in Burgundy, chased away
Viscount Tavannes' troops before Dijon,
And puts himself in, and there that was won.
He. If you would only give me leave, my lord,
I would do right to him, yet must not give.
Sa. A league from Fontaine Françoise, when you sent him
To make discovery of the Castile army,
When he discern'd 'twas it, with wondrous wisdom
Join'd to his spirit, he seem'd to make retreat,
But when they press'd him, and the Baron of Lux,
Set on their charge so hotly, that his horse
Was slain, and he most dangerously engaged,
Then turn'd your brave duke head, and, with such ease
As doth an echo beat back violent sounds
With their own forces, he, as if a wall
Start suddenly before them, pash'd them all
Flat as the earth, and there was that field won.
He. Y'are all the field wide.
Sa. Oh, I ask you pardon,
The strength of that field yet lay in his back,
Upon the foe's part; and what is to come
Of this your Marshal, now your worthy duke,
Is much beyond the rest; for now he sees
A sort of horse troops issue from the woods,
In number near twelve hundred; and retiring
To tell you that the entire army follow'd,
Before he could relate it, he was forced
To turn head, and receive the main assault
Of five horse troops; only with twenty horse;
The first he met, he tumbled to the earth,
And brake through all, not daunted with two wounds,
One on his head, another on his breast,
The blood of which drown'd all the field in doubt;
Your Majesty himself was then engaged,
Your power not yet arrived, and up you brought
The little strength you had; a cloud of foes,
Ready to burst in storms about your ears;
Three squadrons rush'd against you, and the first
You took so fiercely, that you beat their thoughts
Out of their bosoms, from the urged fight;
The second all amazed you overthrew,
The third dispersed, with five and twenty horse
Left of the fourscore that pursued the chase;
And this brave conquest, now your marshal seconds
Against two squadrons, but with fifty horse
One after other he defeats them both,
And made them run, like men whose heels were tripp'd,
And pitch their heads in their great general's lap;
And him he sets on, as he had been shot
Out of a cannon; beats him into rout,
And as a little brook being overrun
With a black torrent, that bears all things down,
His fury overtakes, his foamy back,
Loaded with cattle and with stacks of corn,
And makes the miserable plowman mourn;
So was du Maine surcharged, and so Byron
Flow'd over all his forces; every drop
Of his lost blood, bought with a worthy man;
And only with a hundred gentlemen
He won the place from fifteen hundred horse.
He. He won the place?
Sa. On my word, so 'tis said.
He. Fie, you have been extremely misinform'd.
Sa. I only tell your highness what I heard;
I was not there; and though I have been rude
With wonder of his valour, and presumed
To keep his merit in his full career,
Not hearing you, when yours made such a thunder;
Pardon my fault, since 'twas t'extol your servant.
But is it not most true, that 'twixt ye both,
So few achieved the conquest of so many?
He. It is a truth must make me ever thankful,
But not perform'd by him; was not I there?
Commanded him, and in the main assault
Made him but second?
Sa. He's the capital soldier
That lives this day in holy Christendom,
Except your highness, always except Plato.
He. We must not give to one to take from many:
For (not to praise our countrymen) here served
The general, Mylor Norris, sent from England;
As great a captain as the world affords,
One fit to lead, and fight for Christendom;
Of more experience, and of stronger brain;
As valiant for abiding in command,
On any sudden; upon any ground,
And in the form of all occasions
As ready, and as profitably dauntless;
And here was then another, Colonel Williams,
A worthy captain; and more like the duke,
Because he was less temperate than the general;
And being familiar with the man you praise,
(Because he knew him haughty and incapable
Of all comparison) would compare with him,
And hold his swelling valour to the mark
Justice had set in him, and not his will;
And as in open vessels fill'd with water,
And on men's shoulders borne, they put treene cups
To keep the wild and slippery element
From washing over; follow all his sways
And tickle aptness to exceed his bounds,
And at the brim contain him; so this knight
Swum in Byron, and held him, but to right.
But leave these hot comparisons; he's mine own,
And than what I possess, I'll more be known.
Sa. All this shall to the duke; I fish'd for this.
[Exeunt.

ACT THE THIRD

SCENE I

Enter LA FIN, BYRON following, unseen.

LA. A feigned passion in his hearing now
(Which he thinks I perceive not), making conscience,
Of the revolt that he hath urged to me,
(Which now he means to prosecute) would sound,
How deep he stands affected with that scruple.
As when the moon hath comforted the night,
And set the world in silver of her light,
The planets, asterisms, and whole state of heaven,
In beams of gold descending; all the winds,
Bound up in caves, charged not to drive abroad
Their cloudy heads; an universal peace
Proclaim'd in silence, of the quiet earth:
Soon as her hot and dry fumes are let loose,
Storms and clouds mixing suddenly put out
The eyes of all those glories; the creation
Turn'd into chaos, and we then desire,
For all our joy of life, the death of sleep:
So when the glories of our lives, men's loves,
Clear consciences, our fames, and loyalties,
That did us worthy comfort, are eclipsed,
Grief and disgrace invade us; and for all
Our night of life besides, our misery craves
Dark earth would ope and hide us in our graves.
By. How strange is this!
La. What! did your highness hear?
By. Both heard and wonder'd that your wit and spirit,
And profit in experience of the slaveries
Imposed on us in those mere politic terms
Of love, fame, loyalty, can be carried up
To such a height of ignorant conscience,
Of cowardice, and dissolution,
In all the free-born powers of royal man.
You that have made way through all the guards
Of jealous state; and seen on both your sides
The pikes' points charging heaven to let you pass,
Will you, in flying with a scrupulous wing,
Above those pikes to heavenward, fall on them?
This is like men, that, spirited with wine,
Pass dangerous places safe; and die for fear
With only thought of them, being simply sober;
We must, in passing to our wished ends,
Through things call'd good and bad, be like the air
That evenly interposed betwixt the seas
And the opposed element of fire,
At either toucheth, but partakes with neither;
Is neither hot nor cold, but with a slight
And harmless temper mix'd of both th'extremes
La. 'Tis shrewd.
By. There is no truth of any good
To be discern'd on earth: and by conversion,
Nought therefore simply bad: but as the stuff
Prepared for Arras pictures, is no picture
Till it be form'd, and man hath cast the beams
Of his imaginous fancy through it,
In forming ancient kings and conquerors,
As he conceives they look'd and were attired,
Though they were nothing so: so all things here
Have all their price set down, from men's concepts,
Which make all terms and actions good or bad,
And are but pliant and well-colour'd threads
Put into feigned images of truth:
To which, to yield and kneel as truth pure kings,
That pull'd us down with clear truth of their Gospel,
Were superstition to be hiss'd to hell.
La. Believe it, this is reason.
By. 'Tis the faith
Of reason and of wisdom.
La. You persuade,
As if you could create: what man can shun
The searches and compressions of your graces?
By. We must have these lures when we hawk for friends,
And wind about them like a subtle river,
That, seeming only to run on its course,
Doth search yet as he runs, and still finds out
The easiest parts of entry on the shore;
Gliding so slyly by, as scarce it touch'd,
Yet still eats something in it: so must those
That have large fields and currents to dispose.
Come, let us join our streams, we must run far,
And have but little time: the Duke of Savoy
Is shortly to be gone, and I must needs
Make you well known to him.
La. But hath your highness
Some enterprise of value join'd with him?
By. With him and greater persons.
La. I will creep
Upon my bosom in your princely service;
Vouchsafe to make me known. I hear there lives not
So kind, so bountiful, and wise a prince
But in your own excepted excellence.
By. He shall both know and love you: are you mine?
La. I take the honour of it, on my knee,
And hope to quite it with your Majesty. [Exeunt.

Enter SAVOY, RONCAS, ROCHETTE, BRETON.

Sa. La Fin is in the right, and will obtain;
He draweth with his weight, and like a plummet
That sways a door, with falling off, pulls after.
Ron. Thus will La Fin be brought a stranger to you
By him he leads; he conquers that is conquer'd,
That's fought, as hard to win, that sues to be won.
Sa. But is my painter warn'd to take his picture,
When he shall see me, and present La Fin?
Roc. He is, my lord, and, as your highness will'd,
All we will press about him, and admire
The royal promise of his rare aspect,
As if he heard not.
Sa. 'Twill inflame him:
Such tricks the Archduke used t'extol his greatness,
Which compliments though plain men hold absurd,
And a mere remedy for desire of greatness,
Yet great men use them as their state potatoes,
High coolisses, and potions to excite
The lust of their ambition: and this duke
You know is noted in his natural garb
Extremely glorious; who will therefore bring
An appetite expecting such a bait;
He comes; go instantly, and fetch the painter.

Enter BYRON, LA FIN.

By. All honour to your highness.
Sa. 'Tis most true.
All honours flow to me, in you their ocean;
As welcome, worthiest duke, as if my marquisate
Were circled with you in these amorous arms.
By. I sorrow, sir, I could not bring it with me,
That I might so supply the fruitless compliment
Of only visiting your excellence,
With which the King now sends me t'entertain you;
Which, notwithstanding, doth confer this good
That it hath given me some small time to show
My gratitude for the many secret bounties
I have, by this your lord ambassador,
Felt from your highness; and in short, t'assure you,
That all my most deserts are at your service.
Sa. Had the King sent me by you half his kingdom,
It were not half so welcome.
By. For defect
Of whatsoever in myself, my lord,
I here commend to your most princely service
This honour'd friend of mine.
Sa. Your name, I pray you, sir?
La. La Fin, my lord.
Sa. La Fin? Is this the man,
That you so recommended to my love?
Ron. The same, my lord.
Sa. Y'are, next my lord the duke,
The most desired of all men. O my lord,
The King and I have had a mighty conflict
About your conflicts, and your matchless worth
In military virtues; which I put
In balance with the continent of France,
In all the peace and safety it enjoys,
And made even weight with all he could put in
Of all men's else, and of his own deserts.
By. Of all men's else? would he weigh other men's
With my deservings?
Sa. Ay, upon my life,
The English General, the Mylor Norris,
That served amongst you here, he parallel'd
With you, at all parts, and in some preferr'd him,
And Colonel Williams, a Welsh Colonel,
He made a man, that at your most contain'd you;
Which the Welsh herald of their praise, the cuckoo,
Would scarce have put, in his monology,
In jest, and said with reverence to his merits.
By. With reverence? Reverence scorns him: by the spoil
Of all her merits in me, he shall rue it.
Did ever Curtian Gulf play such a part?
Had Curtius been so used, if he had brook'd
That ravenous whirlpool, pour'd his solid spirits
Through earth-dissolved sinews, stopp'd her veins,
And rose with saved Rome, upon his back.
As I swum pools of fire, and gulfs of brass,
To save my country, thrust this venturous arm
Beneath her ruins; took her on my neck,
And set her safe on her appeased shore:
And opes the King a fouler bog than this,
In his so rotten bosom, to devour
Him that devour'd what else had swallow'd him
In a detraction, so with spite embrued
And drown such good in such ingratitude?
My spirit as yet, but stooping to his rest,
Shines hotly in him, as the sun in clouds
Purpled and made proud with a peaceful even:
But when I throughly set to him, his cheeks,
Will, like those clouds, forego their colour quite,
And his whole blaze smoke into endless night.
Sa. Nay, nay, we must have no such gall, my lord,
O'erflow our friendly livers; my relation
Only delivers my inflamed zeal
To your religious merits; which methinks
Should make your highness canonized a saint.
By. What had his armies been, without my arm,
That with his motion made the whole field move?
And this held up, we still had victory.
When overcharged with number, his few friends,
Retired amazed, I set them on assured,
And what rude ruin seized on I confirm'd;
When I left leading, all his army reel'd,
One fell on other foul, and as the Cyclop
That having lost his eye, struck every way,
His blows directed to no certain scope:
Or as the soul departed from the body,
The body wants coherence in his parts,
Cannot consist, but sever, and dissolve:
So I removed once, all his armies shook,
Panted, and fainted, and were ever flying,
Like wandering pulses 'spersed through bodies dying.
Sa. It cannot be denied, 'tis all so true
That what seems arrogance, is desert in you.
By. What monstrous humours feed a prince's blood,
Being bad to good men, and to bad men good?
Sa. Well, let these contradictions pass, my lord,
Till they be reconciled, or put in form,
By power given to your will, and you present
The fashion of a perfect government:
In mean space but a word; we have small time
To spend in private, which I wish may be
With all advantage taken: Lord La Fin—
Ron. Is't not a face of excellent presentment?
Though not so amorous with pure white and red,
Yet is the whole proportion singular.
Roc. That ever I beheld
Br. It hath good lines,
And tracts drawn through it; the purfle, rare.
Ron. I heard the famous and right learned earl,
And archbishop of Lyons, Pierce Pinac,
Who was reported to have wondrous judgment
In men's events and natures, by their looks,
Upon his death-bed, visited by this duke,
He told his sister, when his grace was gone,
That he had never yet observed a face
Of worse presage than this; and I will swear
That, something seen in physiognomy,
I do not find in all the rules it gives
One slenderest blemish tending to mishap,
But, on the opposite part, as we may see
On trees late-blossom'd, when all frosts are past,
How they are taken, and what will be fruit:
So on this tree of sceptres, I discern
How it is loaden with appearances,
Rules answering rules; and glances crown'd with glances. [He snatches away
the
picture.
By. What! does he take my picture?
Sa. Ay, my lord.
By. Your highness will excuse me; I will give you
My likeness put in statue, not in picture;
And by a statuary of mine own,
That can in brass express the wit of man,
And in his form make all men see his virtues;
Others that with much strictness imitate
The something-stooping carriage of my neck,
The voluble and mild radiance of mine eyes,
Never observe my masculine aspect
And lion-like instinct, it shadoweth;
Which envy cannot say, is flattery;
And I will have my image promised you,
Cut in such matter as shall ever last;
Where it shall stand, fix'd with eternal roots,
And with a most unmoved gravity;
For I will have the famous mountain Oros,
That looks out of the duchy where I govern
Into your highness' dukedom, first made yours,
And then with such inimitable art
Express'd and handled; chiefly from the place
Where most conspicuously he shows his face,
That though it keep the true form of that hill
In all his longitudes and latitudes,
His height, his distances, and full proportion,
Yet shall it clearly bear my counterfeit,
Both in my face and all my lineaments;
And every man shall say, This is Byron.
Within my left hand I will hold a city,
Which is the city Amiens; at whose siege
I served so memorably; from my right,
I'll pour an endless flood into a sea
Raging beneath me; which shall intimate
My ceaseless service, drunk up by the King
As th'ocean drinks up rivers, and makes all
Bear his proud title; ivory, brass, and gold,
That thieves may purchase, and be bought and sold,
Shall not be used about me; lasting worth
Shall only set the Duke of Byron forth.
Sa. O that your statuary could express you
With any nearness to your own instructions;
That statue would I prize past all the jewels
Within my cabinet of Beatrice,
The memory of my grandame Portugal.
Most royal duke, we cannot long endure
To be thus private; let us then conclude
With this great resolution, that your wisdom
Will not forget to pass a pleasing veil
Over your anger, that may hide each glance
Of any notice taken of your wrong,
And show yourself the more obsequious.
'Tis but the virtue of a little patience;
There are so oft attempts made 'gainst his person,
That sometimes they may speed, for they are plants
That spring the more for cutting, and at last
Will cast their wished shadow: mark ere long.

Enter NEMOURS, SOISSONS.

See who comes here, my lord, as now no more,
Now must we turn our stream another way:
My lord, I humbly thank his Majesty
That he would grace my idle time spent here
With entertainment of your princely person;
Which, worthily, he keeps for his own bosom,
My lord the Duke Nemours, and Count Soissons,
Your honours have been bountifully done me
In often visitation: let me pray you
To see some jewels now, and help my choice
In making up a present for the King.
Ne. Your highness shall much grace us.
Sa. I am doubtful
That I have much incensed the Duke Byron
With praising the King's worthiness in arms
So much past all men.
So. He deserves it highly.
[Exit: manet BYRON, LA FIN.
By. What wrongs are these, laid on me by the King,
To equal others' worths in war with mine;
Endure this, and be turn'd into his moil
To bear his sumptures; honour'd friend, be true,
And we will turn these torrents hence.
[Enter the. King. Exit LA FIN.

Enter HENRY, EPERNON, VITRY, JANIN.

He. Why suffer you that ill-aboding vermin
To breed so near your bosom? be assured
His haunts are ominous; not the throats of ravens
Spent on infected houses, howls of dogs,
When no sound stirs, at midnight; apparitions
And strokes of spirits, clad in black men's shapes,
Or ugly women's; the adverse decrees
Of constellations, nor security
In vicious peace, are surer fatal ushers
Of femall mischiefs and mortalities
Than this prodigious fiend is, where he fawns:
Lafiend, and not La Fin, he should be call'd.
By. Be what he will, men in themselves entire,
March safe with naked feet on coals of fire:
I build not outward, nor depend on props,
Nor choose my consort by the common ear,
Nor by the moonshine, in the grace of kings;
So rare are true deservers loved or known,
That men loved vulgarly are ever none:
Nor men graced servilely, for being spots
In princes' trains, though borne even with their crowns;
The stallion power hath such a besom tail
That it sweeps all from justice, and such filth
He bears out in it that men mere exempt
Are merely clearest; men will shortly buy
Friends from the prison or the pillory
Rather than honour's markets. I fear none
But foul ingratitude and detraction
In all the brood of villany.
He. No? not treason?
Be circumspect, for to a credulous eye
He comes invisible, veil'd with flattery,
And flatterers look like friends, as wolves like dogs.
And as a glorious poem fronted well
With many a goodly herald of his praise,
So far from hate of praises to his face,
That he prays men to praise him, and they ride
Before, with trumpets in their mouths, proclaiming
Life to the holy fury of his lines;
All drawn, as if with one eye he had leer'd
On his loved hand, and led it by a rule;
That his plumes only imp the muses' wings,
He sleeps with them, his head is napt with bays,
His lips break out with nectar, his tuned feet
Are of the great last, the perpetual motion,
And he puff'd with their empty breath believes
Full merit eased those passions of wind,
Which yet serve but to praise, and cannot merit,
And so his fury in their air expires:
So de La Fin, and such corrupted heralds,
Hired to encourage and to glorify,
May force what breath they will into their cheeks
Fitter to blow up bladders than full men;
Yet may puff men too, with persuasions
That they are gods in worth, and may rise kings
With treading on their noises; yet the worthiest,
From only his own worth receives his spirit,
And right is worthy bound to any merit;
Which right shall you have ever; leave him then,
He follows none but mark'd and wretched men.
And now for England you shall go, my lord,
Our Lord Ambassador to that matchless Queen.
You never had a voyage of such pleasure,
Honour, and worthy objects; there's a Queen
Where nature keeps her state, and state her Court,
Wisdom her study, continence her fort,
Where magnanimity, humanity,
Firmness in counsel and integrity;
Grace to her poorest subjects; majesty
To awe the greatest, have respects divine,
And in her each part, all the virtues shine.
[Exit HEN. and SAV.: manet BYRON.
By. Enjoy your will awhile, I may have mine.
Wherefore, before I part to this ambassage,
I'll be resolved by a magician
That dwells hereby, to whom I'll go disguised,
And show him my birth's figure, set before
By one of his profession, of the which
I'll crave his judgment, feigning I am sent
From some great personage, whose nativity
He wisheth should be censured by his skill:
But on go my plots, be it good or ill. [Exit.

Enter LA BROSSE.

La. This hour by all rules of astrology
Is dangerous to my person, if not deadly.
How hapless is our knowledge to foretell,
And not be able to prevent a mischief.
O the strange difference 'twixt us and the stars;
They work with inclinations strong and fatal
And nothing know; and we know all their working
And nought can do, or nothing can prevent.
Rude ignorance is beastly, knowledge wretched,
The heavenly powers envy what they enjoin;
We are commanded t'imitate their natures,
In making all our ends eternity;
And in that imitation we are plagued,
And worse than they esteem'd that have no souls
But in their nostrils, and like beasts expire;
As they do that are ignorant of arts,
By drowning their eternal parts in sense
And sensual affections: while we live
Our good parts take away, the more they give.

BYRON solus, disguised like a carrier of letters.

By. The forts that favourites hold in princes' hearts,
In common subjects' loves, and their own strengths
Are not so sure and unexpugnable
But that the more they are presumed upon,
The more they fail; daily and hourly proof
Tells us prosperity is at highest degree
The fount and handle of calamity:
Like dust before a whirlwind those men fly
That prostrate on the grounds of fortune lie;
And being great, like trees that broadest sprout,
Their own top-heavy state grubs up their root.
These apprehensions startle all my powers,
And arm them with suspicion 'gainst themselves.
In my late projects, I have cast myself
Into the arms of others, and will see
If they will let me fall, or toss me up
Into th'affected compass of a throne.
God save you, sir.
La. Y'are welcome, friend: what would you?
By. I would entreat you, for some crowns I bring,
To give your judgment of this figure cast,
To know, by his nativity there seen,
What sort of end the person shall endure,
Who sent me to you, and whose birth it is.
La. I'll herein do my best in your desire;
The man is raised out of a good descent,
And nothing older than yourself, I think;
Is it not you?
By. I will not tell you that:
But tell me on what end he shall arrive.
La. My son, I see that he whose end is cast
In this set figure, is of noble parts,
And by his military valour raised
To princely honours, and may be a king;
But that I see a caput algol here,
That hinders it, I fear.
By. A caput algol?
What's that, I pray?
La. Forbear to ask me, son;
You bid me speak what fear bids me conceal.
By. You have no cause to fear, and therefore speak.
La. You'll rather wish you had been ignorant,
Than be instructed in a thing so ill.
By. Ignorance is an idle salve for ill;
And therefore do not urge me to enforce
What I would freely know; for by the skill
Shown in thy aged hairs, I'll lay thy brain
Here scatter'd at my feet, and seek in that
What safely thou may'st utter with thy tongue,
If thou deny it.
La. Will you not allow me
To hold my peace? What less can I desire?
If not, be pleased with my constrained speech.
By. Was ever man yet punish'd for expressing
What he was charged? Be free, and speak the worst.
La. Then briefly this: the man hath lately done
An action that will make him lose his head.
By. Cursed be thy throat and soul, raven, screechowl, hag!
La. Oh, hold; for heaven's sake, hold!
By. Hold on, I will.
Vault, and contractor of all horrid sounds,
Trumpet of all the miseries in hell,
Of my confusions; of the shameful end
Of all my services; witch, fiend, accursed
For ever be the poison of thy tongue,
And let the black fume of thy venom'd breath
Infect the air, shrink heaven, put out the stars,
And rain so fell and blue a plague on earth,
That all the world may falter with my fall.
La. Pity my age, my lord.
By. Out, prodigy,
Remedy of pity, mine of flint,
Whence with my nails and feet I'll dig enough
Horror and savage cruelty to build
Temples to massacre: dam of devils take thee!
Hadst thou no better end to crown my parts?
The bulls of Colchos, nor his triple neck,
That howls out earthquakes: the most mortal vapours
That ever stifled and struck dead the fowls,
That flew at never such a sightly pitch,
Could not have burnt my blood so.
La. I told truth;
And could have flatter'd you.
By. O that thou hadst!
Would I had given thee twenty thousand crowns
That thou hadst flatter'd me; there's no joy on earth,
Never so rational, so pure, and holy,
But is a jester, parasite, a whore
In the most worthy parts, with which they please
A drunkenness of soul and a disease.
La. I knew you not.
By. Peace, dog of Pluto, peace,
Thou knew'st my end to come, not me here present:
Pox of your halting humane knowledges;
O death! how far off hast thou kill'd! how soon
A man may know too much, though never nothing.
Spite of the stars, and all astrology,
I will not lose my head; or if I do
A hundred thousand heads shall off before.
I am a nobler substance than the stars,
And shall the baser overrule the better?
Or are they better, since they are the bigger?
I have a will, and faculties of choice,
To do, or not to do: and reason why,
I do, or not do this; the stars have none.
They know not why they shine more than this taper,
Nor how they work, nor what; I'll change my course.
I'll piece-meal pull the frame of all my thoughts,
And cast my will into another mould:
And where are all your Caput Algols then?
Your planets all, being underneath the earth
At my nativity: what can they do?
Malignant in aspects? in bloody houses?
Wild fire consume them! one poor cup of wine,
More than I use, that my weak brain will bear,
Shall make them drunk and reel out of their spheres
For any certain act they can enforce.
O that mine arms were wings, that I might fly,
And pluck out of their hearts my destiny!
I'll wear those golden spurs upon my heels,
And kick at fate; be free, all worthy spirits,
And stretch yourselves, for greatness and for height:
Untruss your slaveries: you have height enough
Beneath this steep heaven to use all your reaches;
'Tis too far off to let you or respect you.
Give me a spirit that on this life's rough sea
Love's t'have his sails fill'd with a lusty wind,
Even till his sail-yards tremble, his masts crack,
And his rapt ship run on her side so low
That she drinks water, and her keel plows air.
There is no danger to a man that knows
What life and death is; there's not any law
Exceeds his knowledge; neither is it lawful
That he should stoop to any other law.
He goes before them, and commands them all,
That to himself is a law rational. [Exit.

ACT THE FOURTH

SCENE I

Enter D'AUMONT, with CREQUIE.

D'AU. The Duke of Byron is return'd from England,
And, as they say, was princely entertain'd,
School'd by the matchless queen there, who, I hear,
Spake most divinely; and would gladly hear
Her speech reported.
Cr. I can serve your turn,
As one that speaks from others, not from her,
And thus it is reported at his parting.
"Thus, Monsieur Du Byron, you have beheld
Our Court proportion'd to our little kingdom
In every entertainment; yet our mind,
To do you all the rites of your repair,
Is as unbounded as the ample air.
What idle pains have you bestow'd to see
A poor old woman; who in nothing lives
More than in true affections borne your king,
And in the perfect knowledge she hath learn'd
Of his good knights, and servants of your sort.
We thank him that he keeps the memory
Of us and all our kindness; but must say
That it is only kept, and not laid out
To such affectionate profit as we wish;
Being so much set on fire with his deserts
That they consume us; not to be restored
By your presentment of him, but his person:
And we had thought that he whose virtues fly
So beyond wonder and the reach of thought,
Should check at eight hours' sail, and his high spirit
That stoops to fear, less than the poles of heaven,
Should doubt an under-billow of the sea,
And, being a sea, be sparing of his streams:
And I must blame all you that may advise him;
That, having helped him through all martial dangers,
You let him stick at the kind rites of peace,
Considering all the forces I have sent,
To set his martial seas up in firm walls,
On both his sides for him to pass at pleasure;
Did plainly open him a guarded way
And led in Nature to this friendly shore.
But here is nothing worth his personal sight,
Here are no walled cities; for that crystal
Sheds with his light, his hardness, and his height,
About our thankful person and our realm;
Whose only aid we ever yet desired;
And now I see the help we sent to him,
Which should have swum to him in our own blood,
Had it been needful (our affections
Being more given to his blood than he himself),
Ends in the actual right it did his state,
And ours is slighted; all our worth is made
The common stock and bank; from whence are served
All men's occasions; yet, thanks to heaven,
Their gratitudes are drawn dry, not our bounties.
And you shall tell your King that he neglects
Old friends for new, and sets his soothed ease
Above his honour; marshals' policy
In rank before his justice; and his profit
Before his royalty; his humanity gone,
To make me no repayment of mine own."
D'A. What answered the duke?
Cr. In this sort.
"Your highness' sweet speech hath no sharper end
Than he would wish his life, if he neglected
The least grace you have named; but to his wish
Much power is wanting: the green roots of war
Not yet so close cut up, but he may dash
Against their relics to his utter ruin,
Without more near eyes, fix'd upon his feet,
Than those that look out of his country's soil.
And this may well excuse his personal presence,
Which yet he oft hath long'd to set by yours;
That he might imitate the majesty
Which so long peace hath practised, and made full,
In your admired appearance; to illustrate
And rectify his habit in rude war.
And his will to be here must needs be great,
Since heaven hath throned so true a royalty here,
That he thinks no king absolutely crowned
Whose temples have not stood beneath this sky,
And whose height is not harden'd with these stars,
Whose influences for this altitude,
Distill'd, and wrought in with this temperate air
And this division of the element,
Have with your reign brought forth more worthy spirits
For counsel, valour, height of wit, and art,
Than any other region of the earth,
Or were brought forth to all your ancestors.
And as a cunning orator reserves
His fairest similes, best adorning figures,
Chief matter, and most moving arguments
For his conclusion; and doth then supply
His ground-streams laid before, glides over them,
Makes his full depth seen through; and so takes up
His audience in applauses past the clouds.
So in your government, conclusive nature
(Willing to end her excellence in earth
When your foot shall be set upon the stars)
Shows all her sovereign beauties, ornaments,
Virtues, and raptures; overtakes her works
In former empires, makes them but your foils,
Swells to her full sea, and again doth drown
The world in admiration of your crown."
D'A. He did her, at all parts, confessed right.
Cr. She took it yet but as a part of courtship,
And said "he was the subtle orator
To whom he did too gloriously resemble
Nature in her, and in her government."
He said "he was no orator, but a soldier,
More than this air in which you breathe hath made me,
My studious love of your rare government
And simple truth, which is most eloquent.
Your empire is so amply absolute
That even your theatres show more comely rule,
True noblesse, royalty, and happiness
Than others' courts: you make all state before
Utterly obsolete; all to come, twice sod.
And therefore doth my royal sovereign wish
Your years may prove as vital as your virtues,
That (standing on his turrets this way turn'd,
Ordering and fixing his affairs by yours)
He may at last, on firm grounds, pass your seas,
And see that maiden-sea of majesty,
In whose chaste arms so many kingdoms lie."
D'A. When came she to her touch of his ambition?
Cr. In this speech following, which I thus remember:
"If I hold any merit worth his presence,
Or any part of that your courtship gives me,
My subjects have bestow'd it; some in counsel,
In action some, and in obedience all;
For none knows with such proof as you, my lord,
How much a subject may renown his prince,
And how much princes of their subjects hold.
In all the services that ever subject
Did for his sovereign, he that best deserved
Must, in comparison, except Byron;
And to win this prize clear, without the maims
Commonly given men by ambition,
When all their parts lie open to his view,
Shows continence, past their other excellence;
But for a subject to affect a kingdom,
Is like the camel that of Jove begg'd horns.
And such mad-hungry men as well may eat
Hot coals of fire to feed their natural heat,
For, to aspire to competence with your King,
What subject is so gross and giantly?
He having now a dauphin born to him,
Whose birth, ten days before, was dreadfully
Usher'd with earthquakes in most parts of Europe;
And that gives all men cause enough to fear
All thought of competition with him.
Commend us, good my lord, and tell our brother
How much we joy in that his royal issue,
And in what prayers we raise our heart to heaven,
That in more terror to his foes, and wonder
He may drink earthquakes, and devour the thunder.
So we admire your valour and your virtues,
And ever will contend to win their honour."
Then spake she to Crequie, and Prince D'Auvergne,
And gave all gracious farewells; when Byron
Was thus encounter'd by a councillor
Of great and eminent name and matchless merit:
"I think, my lord, your princely Dauphin bears
Arion on his cradle through you kingdom,
In the sweet music joy strikes from his birth.
He answer'd: "And good right; the cause commands it."
"But," said the other, "had we a fifth Henry
To claim his old right, and one man to friend,
Whom you well know, my lord, that for his friendship
Were promised the vice-royalty of France,
We would not doubt of conquest, in despite
Of all those windy earthquakes." He replied:
"Treason was never guide to English conquests,
And therefore that doubt shall not fright our Dauphin;
Nor would I be the friend to such a foe
For all the royalties in Christendom."
"Fix there your foot," said he, "I only give
False fire, and would be loth to shoot you off:
He that wins empire with the loss of faith
Out-buys it, and will bank-rout; you have laid
A brave foundation, by the hand of virtue,
Put not the roof to fortune: foolish statuaries,
That under little saints suppose great bases
Make less to sense the saints; and so, where Fortune
Advanceth vile minds to states great and noble,
She much the more exposeth them to shame,
Not able to make good and fill their bases
With a conformed structure: I have found
(Thanks to the Blesser of my search), that counsels
Held to the line of justice still produce
The surest states and greatest, being sure;
Without which fit assurance, in the greatest,
As you may see a mighty promontory
More digg'd and under-eaten than may warrant
A safe supportance to his hanging brows;
All passengers avoid him, shun all ground
That lies within his shadow, and bear still
A flying eye upon him: so great men,
Corrupted in their ground, and building out
Too swelling fronts for their foundations;
When most they should be propt are most forsaken;
And men will rather thrust into the storms
Of better-grounded states than take a shelter
Beneath their ruinous and fearful weight;
Yet they so oversee their faulty bases,
That they remain securer in conceit:
And that security doth worse presage
Their near destruction than their eaten grounds;
And therefore heaven itself is made to us
A perfect hieroglyphic to express
The idleness of such security,
And the grave labour of a wise distrust,
In both sorts of the all-inclining stars,
Where all men note this difference in their shining,
As plain as they distinguish either hand;
The fix'd stars waver, and the erring stand."
D'A. How took he this so worthy admonition?
Cr. "Gravely applied," said he, "and like the man,
Whom all the world says overrules the stars;
Which are divine books to us; and are read
By understanders only, the true objects
And chief companions of the truest men;
And, though I need it not, I thank your counsel,
That never yet was idle, but, spherelike,
Still moves about, and is the continent
To this blest isle."

ACT THE FIFTH

SCENE I

Enter BYRON, D'AUVERGNE, LA FIN.

BY. The circle of this ambassy is closed,
For which I long have long'd, for mine own ends;
To see my faithful, and leave courtly friends,
To whom I came, methought, with such a spirit
As you have seen a lusty courser show,
That bath been long time at his manger tied;
High fed, alone, and when, his headstall broken,
He runs his prison, like a trumpet neighs,
Cuts air in high curvets, and shakes his head,
With wanton stoppings 'twixt his forelegs, mocking
The heavy centre; spreads his flying crest,
Like to an ensign hedge and ditches leaping,
Till in the fresh meat, at his natural food,
He sees free fellows, and hath met them free.
And now, good friend, I would be fain inform'd
What our right princely lord, the Duke of Savoy
Hath thought on, to employ my coming home.
La. To try the king's trust in you, and withal
How hot he trails on our conspiracy,
He first would have you beg the government
Of the important citadel of Bourg;
Or to place in it any you shall name;
Which will be wondrous fit to march before
His other purposes; and is a fort
He rates in love above his patrimony;
To make which fortress worthy of your suit,
He vows, if you obtain it, to bestow
His third fair daughter on your excellence,
And hopes the king will not deny it you.
By. Deny it me? deny me such a suit?
Who will he grant it, he deny it me?
La. He'll find some politic shift to do't, I fear.
By. What shift, or what evasion can he find?
What one patch is there in all policy's shop,
The botcher-up of kingdoms, that can mend
The brack betwixt us, any way denying?
D'A. That's at your peril.
By. Come, he dares not do't.
D'A. Dares not? presume not so; you know, good duke,
That all things he thinks fit to do, he dares.
By. By heaven, I wonder at you; I will ask it,
As sternly, and secure of all repulse,
As th'ancient Persians did when they implored
Their idol fire to grant them any boon;
With which they would descend into a flood,
And threaten there to quench it, if they fail'd
Of that they ask'd it.
La. Said like your king's king;
Cold hath no act in depth, nor are suits wrought,
Of any high price, that are coldly sought;
I'll haste, and with your courage comfort Savoy.
[Exit La Fin.
D'A. I am your friend, my lord, and will deserve
That name, with following any course you take;
Yet, for your own sake, I could wish your spirit
Would let you spare all broad terms of the King;
Or, on my life, you will at last repent it.
By. What can he do?
D'A. All that you cannot fear.
By. You fear too much; be by, when next I see him,
And see how I will urge him in this suit;
He comes; mark you, that think he will not grant it.

Enter Henry, EPERNON, SOISSONS, JANIN.

I am become a suitor to your highness.
He. For what, my lord, 'tis like you shall obtain.
By. I do not much doubt that; my services,
I hope, have more strength in your good conceit
Than to receive repulse in such requests.
He. What is it?
By. That you would bestow on one whom I shall name
The keeping of the Citadel of Bourg.
He. Excuse me, sir, I must not grant you that.
By. Not grant me that?
He. It is not fit I should:
You are my governor in Burgundy,
And province governors, that command in chief,
Ought not to have the charge of fortresses;
Besides, it is the chief key of my kingdom.
That opens towards Italy, and must therefore
Be given to one that hath immediately
Dependence on us.
By. These are wondrous reasons:
Is not a man depending on his merits
As fit to have the charge of such a key
As one that merely hangs upon your humours?
He. Do not enforce your merits so yourself;
It takes away their lustre and reward.
By. But you will grant my suit?
He. I swear I cannot,
Keeping the credit of my brain and place.
By. Will you deny me, then?
He. I am enforced:
I have no power, more than yourself, in things
That are beyond my reason.
By. Than myself?
That's a strange slight in your comparison;
Am I become th'example of such men
As have least power? Such a diminutive?
I was comparative in the better sort;
And such a King as you would say, I cannot
Do such or such a thing, were I as great
In power as he; even that indefinite "he"
Express'd me full: this moon is strangely changed.
He. How can I help it? Would you have a king
That hath a white beard have so green a brain?
By. A plague of brain! what doth this touch your brain?
You must give me more reason, or I swear_____
He. Swear? what do you swear?
By. I swear you wrong me,
And deal not like a king, to jest and slight
A man that you should curiously reward;
Tell me of your grey beard? It is not grey
With care to recompense me, who eased your care.
He. You have been recompensed, from head to foot.
By. With a distrusted dukedom? Take your dukedom
Bestow'd on me again; it was not given
For any love; but fear and force of shame.
He. Yet 'twas your honour; which, if you respect not,
Why seek you this addition?
By. Since this honour
Would show you loved me too, in trusting me,
Without which love and trust honour is shame;
A very pageant and a property:
Honour, with all its adjuncts, I deserve,
And you quit my deserts with your grey beard.
He. Since you expostulate the matter so,
I tell you plain, another reason is
Why I am moved to make you this denial,
That I suspect you to have had intelligence
With my vow'd enemies.
By. Misery of virtue,
Ill is make good with worse! This reason pours
Poison for balm into the wound you made;
You make me mad, and rob me of my soul,
To take away my tried love and my truth.
Which of my labours, which of all my wounds,
Which overthrow, which battle won for you,
Breeds this suspicion? Can the blood of faith,
Lost in all these to find it proof and strength,
Beget disloyalty? All my rain is fall'n
Into the horse-fair, springing pools and mire,
And not in thankful grounds or fields of fruit;
Fall then before us, O thou flaming crystal,
That art the uncorrupted register
Of all men's merits, and remonstrate here
The fights, the dangers, the affrights and horrors,
Whence I have rescued this unthankful King:
And show, commix'd with them, the joys, the glories
Of his state then; then his kind thoughts of me,
Then my deservings, now my infamy;
But I will be mine own king; I will see
That all your chronicles be fill'd with me,
That none but I, and my renowned sire,
Be said to win the memorable fields
Of Arques and Dieppe; and none but we of all
Kept you from dying there in an hospital;
None but myself, that won the day at Dreux;
A day of holy name, and needs no night;
Nor none but I at Fontaine Françoise burst
The heart-strings of the leaguers; I alone
Took Amiens in these arms, and held her fast
In spite of all the pitchy fires she cast,
And clouds of bullets pour'd upon my breast,
Till she show'd yours, and took her natural form;
Only myself (married to victory)
Did people Artois, Douay, Picardy,
Bethune and Saint Paul, Bapaûme and Courcelles,
With her triumphant issue.
He. Ha, ha, ha! [Exit.
[Byron drawing, and is held by D'AUVERGNE.
D'A. O hold, my lord; for my sake, mighty spirit!
[Exeunt.

Enter BYRON, D'AUVERGNE following, unseen.

By. Respect, revenge, slaughter, repay for aughter.
What's grave in earth, what awful, what abhorr'd,
If my rage be ridiculous? I will make it
The law and rule of all things serious.
So long as idle and ridiculous kings
Are suffer'd, soothed, and wrest all right to safety,
So long is mischief gathering massacres
For their cursed kingdoms, which I will prevent.
Laughter? I'll fright it from him, far as he
Hath cast irrevocable shame; which ever
Being found is lost, and lost returneth never;
Should kings cast off their bounties with their dangers?
He that can warm at fires where virtue burns,
Hunt pleasure through her torments, nothing feel
Of all his subjects suffer; but, long hid
In wants and miseries, and having past
Through all the gravest shapes of worth and honour,
For all heroic fashions to be learn'd
By those hard lessons, show an antique vizard,
Who would not wish him rather hew'd to nothing
Than left so monstrous? Slight my services?
Drown the dead noises of my sword in laughter?
My blows as but the passages of shadows,
Over the highest and most barren hills,
And use me like no man; but as he took me
Into a desert, gash'd with all my wounds,
Sustain'd for him, and buried me in flies;
Forth, vengeance, then, and open wounds in him
Shall let in Spain and Savoy.
[Offers to draw and D'AU. again holds him.
D'A. O my lord,
This is too large a licence given your fury;
Give time to it; what reason suddenly
Cannot extend respite doth oft supply.
By. While respite holds revenge the wrong doubles,
And so the shame of sufferance; it torments me
To think what I endure at his shrunk hands,
That scorns the gift of one poor fort to me,
That have subdued for him (O injury!)
Forts, cities, countries, ay, and yet my fury. [Exeunt.
He. Byron?
D'A. My lord, the King calls.
He. Turn, I pray;
How now? from whence flow these distracted faces?
From what attempt return they, as disclaiming
Their late heroic bearer? what, a pistol?
Why, good my lord, can mirth make you so wrathful?
By. Mirth? 'twas a mockery, a contempt, a scandal
To my renown for ever; a repulse
As miserably cold as Stygian water,
That from sincere earth issues, and doth break
The strongest vessels, not to be contain'd
But in the tough hoof of a patient ass.
He. My lord, your judgment is not competent;
In this dissension I may say of you
As fame says of the ancient Eleans,
That in th'Olympian contentions,
That ever were the justest arbitrators,
If none of them contended, nor were parties.
Those that will moderate disputations well,
Must not themselves affect the coronet;
For as the air contain'd within our ears,
If it be not in quiet, nor refrains,
Troubling our hearing with offensive sounds:
But our affected instrument of hearing,
Replete with noise, and singings in itself,
It faithfully receives no other voices;
So, of all judgments, if within themselves
They suffer spleen, and are tumultuous;
They cannot equal differences without them;
And this wind, that doth sing so in your ears,
I know is no disease bred in yourself,
But whisper'd in by others; who is swelling
Your veins with empty hope of much, yet able
To perform nothing; are like shallow streams
That make themselves so many heavens to sight;
Since you may see in them, the moon and stars,
The blue space of the air; as far from us,
To our weak senses, in those shallow streams,
As if they were as deep as heaven is high;
Yet with your middle finger only sound them,
And you shall pierce them to the very earth;
And therefore leave them, and be true to me,
Or you'll be left by all; or be like one
That in cold nights will needs have all the fire,
And there is held by others, and embraced
Only to burn him; your fire will be inward,
Which not another deluge can put out.
[BYRON kneels while the King goes on.
O innocence, the sacred amulet
'Gainst all the poisons of infirmity;
Of all misfortune, injury, and death,
That makes a man in tune still in himself;
Free from the hell to be his own accuser,
Ever in quiet, endless joy enjoying;
No strife nor no sedition in his powers;
No motion in his will against his reason,
No thought 'gainst thought, nor (as 'twere in the confines
Of wishing and repenting) doth possess
Only a wayward and tumultuous peace,
But (all parts in him, friendly and secure,
Fruitful of all best things in all worst seasons)
He can with every wish be in their plenty;
When the infectious guilt of one foul crime
Destroys the free content of all our time.
By. 'Tis all acknowledged, and, though all too late,
Here the short madness of my anger ends:
If ever I did good I lock'd it safe
In you, th'impregnable defence of goodness;
If ill, I press it with my penitent knees
To that unsounded depth whence nought returneth.
He. 'Tis music to mine ears; rise then, for ever
Quit of what guilt soever till this hour,
And nothing touch'd in honour or in spirit,
Rise without flattery, rise by absolute merit.

Enter EPERNON to the KING, BYRON, &c.
Enter SAVOY with three Ladies.

Ep. Sir, if it please you to be taught any courtship, take you to
your
stand; Savoy is at it with three mistresses at once; he loves each of them best
,
yet all differently.
He. For the time he hath been here, he hath talked a volume greater
than the Turk's Alcaron; stand up close; his lips go still.
Sa. Excuse me, excuse me; the King has ye all.
1st. True sir, in honourable subjection.
2nd. To the which we are bound by our loyalty.
Sa. Nay, your excuse, your excuse, intend me for affection; you are
all
bearers of his favours, and deny him not your opposition by night.
3rd. You say rightly in that; for therein we oppose us to his
command.
1st. In the which he never yet pressed us.
2nd. Such is the benediction of our peace.
Sa. You take me still in flat misconstruction, and conceive
not by me.
1st. Therein we are strong in our own purposes; for it were something
scandalous for us to conceive by you.
2nd. Though there might be question made of your fruitfulness, yet
dry
weather in harvest does no harm.
He. They will talk him into Savoy; he begins to hunt down.
Sa. As the King is, and hath been, a most admired, and most
unmatchable
soldier, so hath he been, and is, a sole excellent, and unparalleled courtier.
He. Pauvre amy mercy.
1st. Your highness does the King but right, sir.
2nd. And heaven shall bless you for that justice, with plentiful
store
of want in ladies' affections.
Sa. You are cruel, and will not vouchsafe me audience to any
conclusion.
1st. Beseech your grace conclude, that we may present our curtsies to
you, and give you the adieu.
Sa. It is said the King will bring an army into Savoy.
2nd. Truly we are not of his council of war.
Sa. Nay, but vouchsafe me.
3rd. Vouchsafe him, vouchsafe him, else there is no play in't.
1st. Well, I vouchsafe your grace.
Sa. Let the King bring an army into Savoy, and I'll find him sport
for
forty years.
He. Would I were sure of that, I should then have a long age, and a
merry.
1st. I think your grace would play with his army at balloon.
2nd. My faith, and that's a martial recreation.
3rd. It is next to impious courting.
Sa. I am not he that can set my squadrons overnight, by midnight leap
my horse, curry seven miles, and by three leap my mistress, return to mine
army
again, and direct as I were infatigable; I am no such tough soldier.
1st. Your disparity is believed, sir.
2nd. And 'tis a piece of virtue to tell true.
3rd. God's me, the King!
Sa. Well, I have said nothing that may offend.
1st. 'Tis hoped so.
2nd. If there be any mercy in laughter.
Sa. I'll take my leave.
After the tedious stay my love hath made,
Most worthy to command our earthly zeal,
I come for pardon, and to take my leave;
Affirming, though I reap no other good
By this my voyage, but t'have seen a prince
Of greatness in all grace so past report,
I nothing should repent me; and to show
Some token of my gratitude, I have sent
Into my treasury the greatest jewels
In all my cabinet of Beatrice,
And of my late deceased wife, th'Infanta,
Which are two basins and their ewers of crystals,
Never yet valued for their workmanship,
Nor the exceeding riches of their matter.
And to your stable, worthy Duke of Byron,
I have sent in two of my fairest horses.
By. Sent me your horses! upon what desert?
I entertain no presents but for merits
Which I am far from at your highness' hands,
As being of all men to you the most stranger;
There is as ample bounty in refusing
As in bestowing; and with this I quit you.
Sa. Then have I lost nought but my poor goodwill.
He. Well, cousin, I with all thanks welcome that,
And the rich arguments with which you prove it,
Wishing I could to your wish welcome you.
Draw, for your Marquisate, the articles
Agreed on in our composition,
And it is yours; but where you have proposed
(In your advices) my design for Milan,
I will have no war with the King of Spain
Unless his hopes prove weary of our peace;
And, princely cousin, it is far from me
To think your wisdom needful of my counsel,
Yet love oft-times must offer things unneedful;
And therefore I would counsel you to hold
All good terms with his Majesty of Spain:
If any troubles should be stirr'd betwixt you,
I would not stir therein, but to appease them;
I have too much care of my royal word
To break a peace so just and consequent,
Without force of precedent injury;
Endless desires are worthless of just princes,
And only proper to the swinge of tyrants.
Sa. And all parts spoke like the Most Christian King.
I take my humblest leave, and pray your highness
To hold me as your servant and poor kinsman,
Who wisheth no supremer happiness
Than to be yours. To you, right worthy princess,
I wish for all your favours pour'd on me
The love of all these ladies mutually,
And, so they please their lords, that they may please
Themselves by all means. And be you assured,
Most lovely princesses, as if your lives,
You cannot be true women if true wives. [Exit.
He. Is this he, Epernon, that you would needs persuade us courted so
absurdly?
Ep. This is even he, sir, howsoever he hath studied his parting
courtship.
He. In what one point seemed he so ridiculous as you would
present him?
Ep. Behold me, sir, I beseech you behold me; I appear to you as the
great Duke of Savoy with these three ladies.
He. Well, sir, we grant your resemblance.
Ep. He stole a carriage, sir, from Count d'Auvergne here.
D'A. From me, sir?
Ep. Excuse me, sir, from you, I assure you: here, sir, he lies at the
Lady Antoinette, just thus, for the world, in the true posture of Count
d'Auvergne.
D'A. Y'are exceeding delightsome.
He. Why, is not that well? it came in with the organ hose.
Ep. Organ hose? a pox on't! let it pipe itself into contempt; he hath
stolen it most feloniously, and it graces him like a disease.
He. I think he stole it from D'Auvergne indeed.
Ep. Well, would he have robbed him of all his other diseases, he were
then the soundest lord in France.
D'A. As I am, sir, I shall stand all weathers with you.
Ep. But, sir, he hath praised you above th'invention of rhymers.
He. Wherein? or how?
Ep. He took upon him to describe your victories in war, and where he
should have said, you were the most absolute soldier in Christendom (no ass
could have missed it), he delivered you for as pretty a fellow of your hands
as
any was in France.
He. Marry, God dild him!
Ep. A pox on him!
He. Well, to be serious, you know him well
To be a gallant courtier: his great wit
Can turn him into any form he lists,
More fit to be avoided than deluded.
For my Lord Duke of Byron here well knows
That it infecteth, where it doth affect;
And where it seems to counsel, it conspires.
With him go all our faults, and from us fly,
With all his counsel, all conspiracy.






Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net