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

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
THE TRAGEDY OF CHARLES, DUKE OF BYRON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Byron fall'n in so traitorous a relapse
Last Line: ^1^ now first printed.


HENRY IV., King of France.
Lord Ambassador of Spain.
BRUN, a Captain.

HARLEY, Judges.

Captain of Guard.
Bishops, Ushers, Soldiers, Guards, &c.

Mademoiselle D'ENTRAGUES, the King's Mistress.
Cupid, in the Mask.




HE. Byron fall'n in so traitorous a relapse,
Alleged for our ingratitude; what offices,
Titles of honour, and what admiration
Could France afford him that it pour'd not on?
When he was scarce arrived at forty years,
He ran through all chief dignities of France.
At fourteen years of age he was made Colonel
To all the Suisses serving then in Flanders;
Soon after he was Marshal of the camp,
And shortly after, Marshal General:
He was received High Admiral of France
In that our Parliament we held at Tours;
Marshal of France in that we held at Paris.
And at the siege of Amiens he acknowledged
None his superior but ourself, the King:
Though I had there the Princes of the blood,
I made him my Lieutenant-General,
Declared him jointly the prime Peer of France,
And raised his barony into a duchy.
Ja. And yet, my lord, all this could not allay
The fatal thirst of his ambition;
For some have heard him say he would not die
Till on the wings of valour he had reach'd
One degree higher; and had seen his head
Set on the royal quarter of a crown:
Yea, at so unbelieved a pitch he aim'd
That he hath said his heart would still complain
Till he aspired the style of Sovereign.
And from what ground, my lord, rise all the levies
Now made in Italy? from whence should spring
The warlike humour of the Count Fuentes?
The restless stirrings of the Duke of Savoy?
The discontent the Spaniard entertain'd,
With such a threatening fury, when he heard
The prejudicial conditions
Proposed him, in the treaty held at Vervins?
And many other braveries this way aiming,
But from some hope of inward aid from hence?
And that all this directly aims at you,
Your highness hath by one intelligence
Good cause to think; which is your late advice,
That the sea army, now prepared at Naples,
Hath an intended enterprise on Provence;
Although the cunning Spaniard gives it out
That all is for Algiers.
He. I must believe,
That without treason bred in our own breasts
Spain's affairs are not in good estate,
To aim at any action against France;
And if Byron should be their instrument,
His alter'd disposition could not grow
So far wide in an instant; nor resign
His valour to these lawless resolutions
Upon the sudden; nor without some charms
Of foreign hopes and flatteries sung to him:
But far it flies my thoughts that such a spirit,
So active, valiant, and vigilant,
Can see itself transform'd with such wild furies.
And like a dream it shows to my conceits,
That he who by himself hath won such honour,
And he to whom his father left so much,
He that still daily reaps so much from me,
And knows he may increase it to more proof
From me than any other foreign king;
Should quite against the stream of all religion,
Honour, and reason, take a course so foul,
And neither keep his oath, nor save his soul.
Can the poor keeping of a citadel
Which I denied to be at his disposure,
Make him forego the whole strength of his honours?
It is impossible; though the violence
Of his hot spirit made him make attempt
Upon our person for denying him,
Yet well I found his loyal judgment served
To keep it from effect; besides being offer'd
Two hundred thousand crowns in yearly pension,
And to be general of all the forces
The Spaniards had in France; they found him still
As an unmatch'd Achilles in the wars,
So a most wise Ulysses to their words,
Stopping his ears at their enchanted sounds;
And plain he told them that although his blood
Being moved by Nature, were a very fire
And boil'd in apprehension of a wrong;
Yet should his mind hold such a sceptre there
As would contain it from all act and thought
Of treachery or ingratitude to his prince.
Yet do I long, methinks, to see La Fin,
Who hath his heart in keeping; since his state
Grown to decay and he to discontent,
Comes near the ambitious plight of Duke Byron.
My Lord Vidame, when does your lordship think
Your uncle of La Fin will be arrived?
Vi. I think, my lord, he now is near arriving;
For his particular journey and devotion
Vow'd to the holy Lady of Loretto,
Was long since past and he upon return.
He. In him, as in a crystal that is charm'd,
I shall discern by whom and what designs
My rule is threaten'd; and that sacred power
That hath enabled this defensive arm,
When I enjoy'd but an unequal nook
Of that I now possess, to front a king
Far my superior; and from twelve set battles
March home a victor, ten of them obtain'd
Without my personal service; will not see
A traitorous subject foil me, and so end
What his hand hath with such success begun.

Enter a Lady, and a Nurse bringing the Dauphin.

Ep. See the young dauphin brought to cheer your highness.
He. My royal blessing, and the King of heaven
Make thee an aged and a happy king.
Help, nurse, to put my sword into his hand.
Hold, boy, by this; and with it may thy arm
Cut from thy tree of rule all traitorous branches
That strive to shadow and eclipse thy glories.
Have thy old father's angel for thy guide,
Redoubled be his spirit in thy breast;
Who when this state run like a turbulent sea
In civil hates and bloody enmity,
Their wraths and envies like so many winds
Settled and burst; and like the halcyon's birth,
Be thine to bring a calm upon the shore,
In which the eyes of war may ever sleep;
As overwatch'd with former massacres,
When guilty, made noblesse feed on noblesse;
All the sweet plenty of the realm exhausted;
When the naked merchant was pursued for spoil,
When the poor peasants frighted neediest thieves
With their pale leanness, nothing left on them
But meagre carcases sustain'd with air,
Wandering like ghosts affrighted from their graves;
When with the often and incessant sounds
The very beasts knew the alarum bell,
And, hearing it, ran bellowing to their home:
From which unchristian broils and homicides
Let the religious sword of justice free
Thee and thy kingdoms govern'd after me.
O heaven! or if th'unsettled blood of France,
With ease and wealth, renew her civil furies,
Let all my powers be emptied in my son
To curb and end them all, as I have done.
Let him by virtue, quite out of from fortune
Her feather'd shoulders and her winged shoes,
And thrust from her light feet her turning-stone,
That she may ever tarry by his throne.
And of his worth, let after ages say,
(He fighting for the land, and bringing home
Just conquests, laden with his enemies' spoils),
His father pass'd all France in martial deeds,
But he his father twenty times exceeds. [Exeunt.

Enter the Duke of BYRON, D'AUVERGNE, and LA FIN.

By. My dear friends, D'Auvergne and La Fin,
We need no conjurations to conceal
Our close intendments, to advance our states
Even with our merits, which are now neglected;
Since Bretagne is reduced, and breathless war
Hath sheathed his sword and wrapt his ensigns up;
The King hath now no more use of my valour,
And therefore I shall now no more enjoy
The credit that my service held with him;
My service that hath driven through all extremes,
Through tempest, droughts, and through the deepest floods,
Winters of shot, and over rocks so high
That birds could scarce aspire their ridgy tops.
The world is quite inverted: virtue thrown
At vice's feet, and sensual peace confounds
Valour and cowardice, fame and infamy;
The rude and terrible age is turn'd again,
When the thick air hid heaven, and all the stars
Were drown'd in humour, tough and hard to pierce;
When the red sun held not his fixed place,
Kept not his certain course, his rise and set,
Nor yet distinguish'd with his definite bounds,
Nor in his firm conversions were discern'd
The fruitful distances of time and place,
In the well-varied seasons of the year;
When th'incomposed incursions of floods
Wasted and eat the earth, and all things show'd
Wild and disorder'd, nought was worse than now.
We must reform and have a new creation
Of state and government, and on our chaos
Will I sit brooding up another world.
I who, through all the dangers that can siege
The life of man, have forced my glorious way
To the repairing of my country's ruins,
Will ruin it again, to re-advance it.
Roman Camillus saved the state of Rome
With far less merit than Byron hath France,
And how short of this is my recompense.
The King shall know I will have better price
Set on my services, in spite of whom
I will proclaim and ring my discontents
Into the farthest ear of all the world.
La. How great a spirit he breathes! how learn'd! how wise!
But, worthy prince, you must give temperate air
To your unmatch'd and more than humane wind,
Else will our plots be frost-bit in the flower.
D'A. Betwixt ourselves we may give liberal vent
To all our fiery and displeased impressions;
Which nature could not entertain with life
Without some exhalation; a wrong'd thought
Will break a rib of steel.
By. My princely friend,
Enough of these eruptions; our grave counsellor
Well knows that great affairs will not be forged
But upon anvils that are lined with wool;
We must ascend to our intentions' top
Like clouds, that be not seen till they be up.
La. Oh, you do too much ravish, and my soul
Offer to music in your numerous breath,
Sententious, and so high, it wakens death:
It is for these parts that the Spanish King
Hath sworn to win them to his side
At any price or peril; that great Savoy
Offers his princely daughter, and a dowry
Amounting to five hundred thousand crowns,
With full transport of all the sovereign rights
Belonging to the State of Burgundy;
Which marriage will be made the only cement
T'effect and strengthen all our secret treaties.
Instruct me therefore, my assured prince,
Now I am going to resolve the King
Of his suspicions, how I shall behave me.
By. Go, my most trusted friend, with happy feet;
Make me a sound man with him; go to Court
But with a little train, and be prepared
To hear, at first, terms of contempt and choler,
Which you may easily calm, and turn to grace,
If you beseech his highness to believe
That your whole drift and course for Italy
(Where he hath heard you were) was only made
Out of your long well-known devotion
To our right holy Lady of Loretto,
As you have told some of your friends in Court;
And that in passing Milan and Turin,
They charged you to propound my marriage
With the third daughter of the Duke of Savoy;
Which you have done, and I rejected it,
Resolved to build upon his royal care
For my bestowing, which he lately vow'd.
La. Oh, you direct, as if the god of light
Sat in each nook of you, and pointed out
The path of empire, charming all the dangers
On both sides, arm'd with his harmonious finger.
By. Besides, let me entreat you to dismiss
All that have made the voyage with your lordship,
But specially the curate; and to lock
Your papers in some place of doubtless safety,
Or sacrifice them to the god of fire;
Considering worthily that in your hands
I put my fortunes, honour, and my life.
La. Therein the bounty that your grace hath shown me,
I prize past life, and all things that are mine,
And will undoubtedly preserve and tender
The merit of it, as my hope of heaven.
By. I make no question; farewell, worthy friend.


He. Are these proofs of that purely Catholic zeal
That made him wish no other glorious title,
Than to be call'd the scourge of Huguenots?
Ch. No question, sir, he was of no religion;
But, upon false grounds, by some courtiers laid,
Hath oft been heard to mock and jest at all.
He. Are not his treasons heinous?
All. Most abhorr'd.
Ch. All is confirm'd that you have heard before,
And amplified with many horrors more.
He. Good de La Fin, you were our golden plummet,
To sound this gulf of all ingratitude;
In which you have with excellent desert
Of loyalty and policy express'd
Your name in action; and with such appearance
Have proved the part of his ingrateful treasons,
That I must credit more than I desired.
La. I must confess, my lord, my voyages
Made to the Duke of Savoy and to Milan
Were with endeavour that the wars return'd
Might breeed some trouble to your Majesty,
And profit those by whom they were procured;
But since, in their designs, your sacred person
Was not excepted, which I since have seen,
It so abhorr'd me, that I was resolved
To give you full intelligence thereof;
And rather choosed to fail in promises
Made to the servant, than infringe my fealty
Sworn to my royal sovereign and master.
He. I am extremely discontent to see
This most unnatural conspiracy;
And would not have the marshal of Byron
The first example of my forced justice;
Nor that his death should be the worthy cause
That my calm reign (which hitherto hath held
A clear and cheerful sky above the heads
Of my dear subjects) should so suddenly
Be overcast with clouds of fire and thunder;
Yet on submission, I vow still his pardon.
Ja. And still our humble counsels, for his service,
Would so resolve you, if he will employ
His honour'd valour as effectually
To fortify the state against your foes
As he hath practised bad intendments with them.
He. That vow shall stand, and we will now address
Some messengers to call him home to Court;
Without the slenderest intimation
Of any ill we know; we will restrain
(With all forgiveness, if he will confess)
His headlong course to ruin; and his taste
From the sweet poison of his friendlike foes;
Treason hath blister'd heels, dishonest things
Have bitter rivers, though delicious springs.
D'Escures, haste you unto him and inform,
That having heard by sure intelligence
Of the great levies made in Italy
Of arms and soldiers, I am resolute
Upon my frontiers to maintain an army,
The charge whereof I will impose on him;
And to that end expressly have commanded
De Vic, our Lord Ambassador in Suisse,
To demand levy of six thousand men;
Appointing them to march where Duke Byron
Shall have directions; wherein I have follow'd
The counsel of my Constable his gossip;
Whose liked advice, I made him know by letters,
Wishing to hear his own from his own mouth,
And by all means conjure his speediest presence;
Do this with utmost haste.
De. I will, my lord. [Exit D'ESCURES.
He. My good Lord Chancellor, of many pieces,
More than is here, of his conspiracies
Presented to us by our friend La Fin,
You only shall reserve these seven-and-twenty,
Which are not those that most conclude against him;
But mention only him; since I am loth
To have the rest of the conspirators known.
Ch. My lord, my purpose is to guard all these
So safely from the sight of any other
That in my doublet I will have them sew'd;
Without discovering them to mine own eyes,
Till need or opportunity requires.
He. You shall do well, my lord; they are of weight;
But I am doubtful that his conscience
Will make him so suspicious of the worst
That he will hardly be induced to come.
Ja. I much should doubt that too, but that I hope
The strength of his conspiracy as yet
Is not so ready, that he dare presume
By his refusal to make known so much
Of his disloyalty.
He. I yet conceive
His practices are turned to no bad end;
And, good La Fin, I pray you write to him,
To hasten his repair; and make him sure
That you have satisfied me to the full
For all his actions, and have utter'd nought
But what might serve to banish bad impressions.
La. I will not fail, my lord.
He. Convey your letters
By some choice friend of his, or by his brother;
And for a third excitement to his presence,
Janin, yourself shall go, and with the power
That both the rest employ to make him come,
Use you the strength of your persuasions.
Ja. I will, my lord, and hope I shall present him.
[Exit JANIN.


Ep. Will't please your Majesty to take your place?
The Mask is coming.
He. Room, my lords; stand close.

Music and a song above, and Cupid enters with a table written hung
about his neck; after him two torch bearers; after them MARIE, D'ENTRAGUES,
and four ladies more with their torchbearers, &c. Cupid speaks.

Cu. My lord, these nymphs, part of the scatter'd train
Of friendless Virtue (living in the woods
Of shady Arden, and of late not hearing
The dreadful sounds of war, but that sweet peace
Was by your valour lifted from her grave,
Set on your royal right-hand; and all virtues
Summon'd with honour, and with rich rewards,
To be her handmaids): these I say, the Virtues,
Have put their heads out of their caves and coverts,
To be your true attendants in your Court;
In which desire I must relate a tale
Of kind and worthy emulation
'Twixt these two Virtues, leaders of the train;
This on the right hand is Sophrosyne,
Or Chastity; this other Dapsyle,
Or Liberality; their emulation
Begat a jar, which thus was reconciled.
I (having left my goddess mother's lap,
To hawk and shoot at birds in Arden groves,)
Beheld this princely nymph with much affection,
Left killing birds, and turn'd into a bird;
Like which I flew betwixt her ivory breasts,
As if I had been driven by some hawk,
To sue to her for safety of my life;
She smiled at first, and sweetly shadow'd me
With soft protection of her silver hand;
Sometimes she tied my legs in her rich hair,
And made me (past my nature, liberty)
Proud of my fetters. As I pertly sat
On the white pillows of her naked breasts,
I sung for joy; she answer'd note for note,
Relish for relish, with such ease and art
In her divine division, that my tunes
Show'd like the god of shepherds' to the sun's,
Compared with hers; ashamed of which disgrace,
I took my true shape, bow, and all my shafts,
And lighted all my torches at her eyes,
Which (set about her in a golden ring)
I follow'd birds again, from tree to tree,
Kill'd and presented, and she kindly took.
But when she handled my triumphant bow,
And saw the beauty of my golden shafts,
She begg'd them of me. I, poor boy, replied
I had no other riches; yet was pleased
To hazard all and stake them 'gainst a kiss,
At an old game I used, call'd penny-prick.
She, privy to her own skill in the play,
Answer'd my challenge, so I lost my arms;
And now my shafts are headed with her looks,
One of which shafts she put into my bow,
And shot at this fair nymph, with whom before,
I told your Majesty she had some jar.
The nymph did instantly repent all parts
She play'd in urging that effeminate war,
Loved and submitted; which submission
This took so well, that now they both are one;
And as for your dear love their discords grew,
So for your love they did their loves renew.
And now to prove them capable of your Court,
In skill of such conceits and qualities
As here are practised, they will first submit
Their grace in dancing to your highness' doom,
And play; the prease to give their measures room.

Music, dance, &c., which done, Cupid speaks.

If this suffice for one Court compliment,
To make them gracious and entertain'd,
Behold another parcel of their courtship,
Which is a rare dexterity in riddles,
Shown in one instance, which is here inscribed.
Here is a riddle, which if any knight
At first sight can resolve, he shall enjoy
This jewel he annex'd, which though it show
To vulgar eyes no richer than a pebble,
And that no lapidary nor great man
Will give a sou for it, 'tis worth a kingdom;
For 'tis an artificial stone composed
By their great mistress, Virtue, and will make
Him that shall wear it live with any little
Sufficed, and more content than any king,
If he that undertakes cannot resolve it,
And that these nymphs can have no harbour here
(It being consider'd that so many virtues
Can never live in Court), he shall resolve
To leave the Court, and live with them in Arden.
Ep. Pronounce the riddle; I will undertake it.
Cu. 'Tis this, sir.
What's that a fair lady most of all likes,
Yet ever makes show she least of all seeks?
That's ever embraced and affected by her,
Yet never is seen to please or come nigh her:
Most served in her night-weeds; does her good in a corner,
But a poor man's thing, yet doth richly adorn her;
Most cheap and most dear, above all worldly pelf,
That is hard to get in, but comes out of itself?
Ep. Let me peruse it, Cupid.
Cu. Here it is.
Ep. Your riddle is good fame.
Cu. Good fame? how make you that good?
Ep. Good fame is that a good lady most likes, I am sure.
Cu. That's granted.
Ep. "Yet ever makes show she least of all seeks": for she likes it
for virtue, which is not glorious.
He. That holds well.
Ep. 'Tis "ever embraced and affected by her," for she must
persevere in
virtue or fame vanishes; "yet never seen to please or come nigh her," for fame
is invisible.
Cu. Exceedingly right.
Ep. "Most served in her night-weeds," for ladies that most wear their
night-weeds come least abroad, and they that come least abroad serve fame
according to this: Non forma sed fama in publicum exire debet.
He. 'Tis very substantial.
Ep. "Does her good in a corner"—that is, in her most
retreat from
the world, comforts her; "but a poor man's thing:" for every poor man may
purchase it, "yet doth richly adorn" a lady.
Cu. That all must grant.
Ep. "Most cheap," for it costs nothing, "and most dear," for gold
cannot buy it; "above all worldly pelf," for that's transitory, and fame
eternal. "It is hard to get in;" that is hard to get; "but comes
out of itself,"
for when it is virtuously deserved with the most inward retreat
from the world,
it comes out in spite of it. And so, Cupid, your jewel is mine.
Cu. It is: and be the virtue of it yours.
We'll now turn to our dance, and then attend
Your highness' will, as touching our resort,
If virtue may be entertain'd in Court.
He. This show hath pleased me well, for that it figures
The reconcilement of my Queen and mistress:
Come, let us in and thank them, and prepare
To entertain our trusty friend Byron. [Exeunt.

[A portion of the play, and the division between Acts I. and II. are



Enter the Duke of BYRON, D'AUVERGNE, BRUN.

BY. Dear friend, we must not be more true to kings,
Than kings are to their subjects; there are schools
Now broken ope in all parts of the world,
First founded in ingenious Italy,
Where some conclusions of estate are held
That for a day preserve a prince, and ever
Destroy him after; from thence men are taught
To glide into degrees of height by craft,
And then lock in themselves by villany.
But God, who knows kings are not made by art,
But right of nature, nor by treachery propt,
But simple virtue, once let fall from heaven
A branch of that green tree, whose root is yet
Fast fix'd above the stars, which sacred branch
We well may liken to that laurel spray
That from the heavenly eagle's golden seres
Fell in the lap of great Augustus' wife;
Which spray once set grew up into a tree
Whereof were garlands made, and emperors
Had the estates and foreheads crown'd with them;
And as the arms of that tree did decay,
The race of great Augustus wore away;
Nero being last of that imperial line,
The tree and emperor together died.
Religion is a branch, first set and blest
By heaven's high finger in the hearts of kings,
Which whilom grew into a goodly tree;
Bright angels sat and sung upon the twigs,
And royal branches, for the heads of kings,
Were twisted of them; but since squint-eyed envy
And pale suspicion dash'd the heads of kingdoms
One 'gainst another, two abhorred twins,
With two foul tails, stern War and Liberty,
Enter'd the world. The tree that grew from heaven
Is overrun with moss; the cheerful music
That heretofore hath sounded out of it
Begins to cease, and as she casts her leaves,
By small degrees the kingdoms of the earth
Decline and wither; and look, whensoever
That the pure sap in her is dried-up quite,
The lamp of all authority goes out,
And all the blaze of princes is extinct.
Thus, as the poet sends a messenger
Out to the stage, to show the sum of all
That follows after; so are kings' revolts,
And playing both ways with religion,
Fore-runners of afflictions imminent,
Which (like a chorus) subjects must lament.
D'A. My lord, I stand not on these deep discourses
To settle my course to your fortunes; mine
Are freely and inseparably link'd,
And to your love, my life.
By. Thanks, princely friend;
And whatsoever good shall come of me,
Pursued by all the Catholic Princes' aids
With whom I join, and whose whole states proposed
To win my valour, promise me a throne,
All shall be, equal with my myself, thine own.
Brun. My lord, here is D'Escures, sent from the King,
Desires access to you.


By. Attend him in.
D'E. Health to my lord the duke.
By. Welcome, D'Escures:
In what health rests our royal sovereign?
D'E. In good health of his body, but his mind
Is something troubled with the gathering storms
Of foreign powers, that, as he is inform'd,
Address themselves into his frontier towns;
And therefore his intent is to maintain
The body of an army on those parts,
And yield their worthy conduct to your valour.
By. From whence hears he that any storms are rising?
D'E. From Italy; and his intelligence
No doubt is certain, that in all those parts
Levies are hotly made; for which respect,
He sent to his ambassador, De Vic,
To make demand in Switzerland for the raising
With utmost diligence of six thousand men,
All which shall be commanded to attend
On your direction, as the Constable,
Your honour'd gossip, gave him in advice,
And he sent you by writing; of which letters
He would have answer and advice from you
By your most speedy presence.
By. This is strange,
That when the enemy is t'attempt his frontiers
He calls me from the frontiers; does he think
It is an action worthy of my valour
To turn my back to an approaching foe?
D'E. The foe is not so near but you may come
And take more strict directions from his highness
Than he thinks fit his letters should contain,
Without the least attainture of your valour.
And therefore, good my lord, forbear excuse,
And bear yourself on his direction;
Who, well you know, hath never made design
For your most worthy service, where he saw
That anything but honour could succeed.
By. I will not come, I swear.
D'E. I know your grace
Will send no such unsavoury reply.
By. Tell him, that I beseech his Majesty
To pardon my repair till th'end be known
Of all these levies now in Italy.
D'E. My lord, I know that tale will never please him,
And wish you, as you love his love and pleasure,
To satisfy his summons speedily,
And speedily I know he will return you.
By. By heaven, it is not fit, if all my service
Makes me know anything: beseech him, therefore,
To trust my judgment in these doubtful charges,
Since in assured assaults it hath not fail'd him.
D'E. I would your lordship now would trust his judgment.
By. God's precious, y'are importunate past measure,
And, I know, further than your charge extends.
I'll satisfy his highness; let that serve;
For by this flesh and blood, you shall not bear
Any reply to him but this from me.
D'E. 'Tis nought to me, my lord; I wish your good,
And for that cause have been importunate.
Brun. By no means go, my lord; but with distrust
Of all that hath been said or can be sent,
Collect your friends, and stand upon your guard;
The King's fair letters, and his messages
Are only golden pills, and comprehend
Horrible purgatives. [Exit BRUN.
By. I will not go,
For now I see the instructions lately sent me,
That something is discover'd, are too true,
And my head rules none of those neighbour nobles
That every pursuivant brings beneath the axe:
If they bring me out, they shall see I'll hatch
Like to the blackthorn, that puts forth its leaf,
Not with the golden fawnings of the sun,
But sharpest showers of hail, and blackest frosts.
Blows, batteries, breaches, showers of steel and blood,
Must be his downright messenger for me,
And not the mizzling breath of policy.
He, he himself, made passage to his crown
Through no more armies, battles, massacres,
Than I will ask him to arrive at me;
He takes on him my executions,
And on the demolitions that this arm
Hath shaken out of forts and citadels,
Hath he advanced the trophies of his valour;
Where I, in those assumptions may scorn
And speak contemptuously of all the world,
For any equal yet I ever found;
And in my rising, not the Syrian star
That in the lion's mouth undaunted shines,
And makes his brave ascension with the sun,
Was of th'Egyptians with more zeal beheld,
And made a rule to know the circuit
And compass of the year, than I was held
When I appear'd from battle; the whole sphere,
And full sustainer of the state we bear;
I have Alcides-like gone under th'earth,
And on these shoulders borne the weight of France:
And for the fortunes of the thankless King,
My father, all know, set him in his throne,
And if he urge me, I may pluck him out.

Enter Messenger.

Me. Here is the president, Janin, my lord;
Sent from the King, and urgeth quick access.
By. Another pursuivant? and one so quick?
He takes next course with me, to make him stay:
But let him in, let's hear what he importunes.

Enter JANIN.

Ja. Honour, and loyal hopes to Duke Byron!
By. No other touch me: say, how fares the King?
Ja. Fairly, my lord; the cloud is yet far off
That aims at his obscuring, and his will
Would gladly give the motion to your powers
That would disperse it; but the means, himself
Would personally relate in your direction.
By. Still on that haunt?
Ja. Upon my life, my lord,
He much desires to see you, and your sight
Is now grown necessary to suppress
(As with the glorious splendour of the sun)
The rude winds that report breathes in his ears,
Endeavouring to blast your loyalty.
By. Sir, if my loyalty stick in him no faster
But that the light breath of report may loose it,
So I rest still unmoved, let him be shaken.
Ja. But these aloof abodes, my lord, bewray
That there is rather firmness in your breath
Than in your heart. Truth is not made of glass,
That with a small touch, it should fear to break,
And therefore should not shun it; believe me
His arm is long, and strong; and it can fetch
Any within his will, that will not come:
Not he that surfeits in his mines of gold,
And for the pride thereof compares with God,
Calling (with almost nothing different)
His powers invincible, for omnipotent,
Can back your boldest fort 'gainst his assaults.
It is his pride, and vain ambition,
That hath but two stairs in his high designs;
The lowest envy, and the highest blood,
That doth abuse you; and gives minds too high,
Rather a will by giddiness to fall
Than to descend by judgment.
By. I rely
On no man's back nor belly; but the King
Must think that merit, by ingratitude crack'd,
Requires a firmer cementing than words.
And he shall find it a much harder work
To sodder broken hearts than shiver'd glass.
Ja. My lord, 'tis better hold a Sovereign's love
By bearing injuries, than by laying out
ir his displeasure; princes' discontents,
Being once incensed, are like the flames of Etna,
Not to be quench'd, nor lessen'd; and be sure,
A subject's confidence in any merit
Against his Sovereign, that makes him presume
To fly too high, approves him like a cloud
That makes a show as it did hawk at kingdoms,
And could command all raised beneath his vapour:
When suddenly, the fowl that hawk'd so fair,
Stoops in a puddle, or consumes in air.
By. I fly with no such aim, nor am opposed
Against my Sovereign; but the worthy height
I have wrought by my service I will hold.
Which if I come away, I cannot do;
For if the enemy should invade the frontier,
Whose charge to guard, is mine, with any spoil,
Although the King in placing of another
Might well excuse me, yet all foreign kings,
That can take note of no such secret quittance,
Will lay the weakness here, upon my wants;
And therefore my abode is resolute.
Ja. I sorrow for your resolution,
And fear your dissolution will succeed.
By. I must endure it.
Ja. Fare you well, my lord. [Exit JANIN.

Enter BRUN.

By. Farewell to you;
Captain, what other news?
Brun. La Fin salutes you.
By. Welcome, good friend; I hope your wish'd arrival
Will give some certain end to our designs.
Brun. I know not that, my lord; reports are raised
So doubtful and so different, that the truth
Of any one can hardly be assured.
By. Good news, D'Auvergne; our trusty friend La Fin
Hath clear'd all scruple with his Majesty,
And utter'd nothing but what served to clear
All bad suggestions.
Brun. So he says, my lord;
But others say, La Fin's assurances
Are mere deceits; and wish you to believe
That when the Vidame, nephew to La Fin,
Met you at Autun, to assure your doubts,
His uncle had said nothing to the King
That might offend you; all the journey's charge
The King defray'd; besides, your truest friends
Will'd me to make you certain that your place
Of government is otherwise disposed:
And all advise you, for your latest hope,
To make retreat into the Franche Comte.
By. I thank them all, but they touch not the depth
Of the affairs betwixt La Fin and me;
Who is return'd contented to his house,
Quite freed of all displeasure or distrust;
And therefore, worthy friends, we'll now to Court.
D'A. My lord, I like your other friend's advices
Much better than La Fin's; and on my life
You cannot come to Court with any safety.
By. Who shall infringe it? I know all the Court
Have better apprehension of my valour
Than that they dare lay violent hands on me;
If I have only means to draw this sword,
I shall have power enough to set me free
From seizure by my proudest enemy. [Exeunt.


Ep. He will not come, I dare engage my hand.
Vi. He will be fetch'd then, I'll engage my head.
Pr. Come, or be fetch'd, he quite hath lost his honour
In giving these suspicions of revolt
From his allegiance; that which he hath won
With sundry wounds, and peril of his life,
With wonder of his wisdom, and his valour,
He loseth with a most enchanted glory;
And admiration of his pride and folly.
Vi. Why, did you never see a fortunate man
Suddenly raised to heaps of wealth and honour?
Nor any rarely great in gifts of nature,
As valour, wit, and smooth use of the tongue,
Set strangely to the pitch of popular likings?
But with as sudden falls the rich and honour'd
Were overwhelm'd by poverty and shame,
Or had no use of both above the wretched.
Ep. Men ne'er are satisfied with that they have;
But as a man, match'd with a lovely wife,
When his most heavenly theory of her beauties
Is dull'd and quite exhausted with his practice;
He brings her forth to feasts, where he, alas!
Falls to his viands with no thought like others
That think him blest in her, and they, poor men,
Court, and make faces, offer service, sweat
With their desires' contention, break their brains
For jests and tales; sit mute, and lose their looks
(Far out of wit, and out of countenance),
So all men else do; what they have, transplant,
And place their wealth in thirst of what they want.


He. He will not come: I must both grieve and wonder
That all my care to win my subjects' love,
And in one cup of friendship to commix
Our lives and fortunes, should leave out so many
As give a man (contemptuous of my love,
And of his own good, in the kingdom's peace)
Hope, in a continuance so ungrateful,
To bear out his designs in spite of me.
How should I better please all, than I do?
When they supposed I would have given some
Insolent garrisons, others citadels,
And to all sorts, increase of miseries;
Province by province, I did visit all
Whom those injurious rumours had dissway'd,
And show'd them how I never sought to build
More forts for me than were within their hearts;
Nor use more stern constraints that their good wills
To succour the necessities of my crown;
That I desired to add to their contents
By all occasions, rather that subtract;
Nor wish'd I that my treasury should flow
With gold that swum-in in my subjects' tears;
And then I found no man that did not bless
My few years' reign, and their triumphant peace;
And do they now so soon complain of ease?
He will not come?

Enter BYRON, D'AUVERGNE, brother, with others.

Ep. O madness, he is come!
Ch. The Duke is come, my lord.
He. Oh, sir, y'are welcome,
And fitly, to conduct me to my house.
By. I must beseech your Majesty's excuse,
That, jealous of mine honour, I have used
Some of mine own commandment in my stay,
And came not with your highness' soonest summons.
He. The faithful servant right in Holy Writ,
That said he would not come and yet he came.
But come you hither, I must tell you now
Not the contempt you stood to in your stay,
But the bad ground that bore up your contempt,
Makes you arrive at no port but repentance,
Despair, and ruin.
By. Be what port it will,
At which your will will make me be arrived,
I am not come to justify myself,
To ask you pardon, nor accuse my friends.
He. If you conceal my enemies you are one,
And then my pardon shall be worth your asking,
Or else your head be worth my cutting off.
By. Being friend and worthy fautor of myself,
I am no foe of yours, nor no impairer,
Since he can no way worthily maintain
His prince's honour that neglects his own;
And if your will have been to my true reason
(Maintaining still the truth of loyalty)
A check to my free nature and mine honour,
And that on your free justice I presumed
To cross your will a little, I conceive
You will not think this forfeit worth my head.
He. Have you maintain'd your truth of loyalty?
When since I pardon'd foul intentions,
Resolving to forget eternally
What they appear'd in, and had welcomed you
As the kind father doth his riotous son,
I can approve facts fouler than th'intents
Of deep disloyalty and highest treason.
By. May this right hand be thunder to my breast,
If I stand guilty of the slenderest fact,
Wherein the least of those two can be proved;
For could my tender conscience but have touch'd
At any such unnatural relapse;
I would not with this confidence have run
Thus headlong in the furnace of a wrath,
Blown, and thrice kindled; having way enough
In my election both to shun and slight it.
He. Y'are grossly and vaingloriously abused:
There is no way in Savoy nor in Spain,
To give a fool that hope of your escape;
And had you not, even when you did, arrived,
With horror to the proudest hope you had,
I would have fetch'd you.
By. You must then have used
A power beyond my knowledge, and a will
Beyond your justice. For a little stay
More than I used would hardly have been worthy
Of such an open expedition;
In which to all the censures of the world
My faith and innocence had been foully soil'd;
Which I protest by heaven's bright witnesses
That shine far, far, from mixture with our fears,
Retain as perfect roundness as their spheres.
He. 'Tis well, my lord; I thought I could have frighted
Your firmest confidence: some other time,
We will, as now in private, sift your actions,
And pour more than you think into the sieve;
Always reserving clemency and pardon
Upon confession, be you ne'er so foul.
Come, let's clear up our brows: shall we to tennis?
By. Ay, my lord, if I may make the match.
The Duke Epernon and myself will play
With you and Count Soissons.
Ep. I know, my lord,
You play well, but you make your matches ill.
He. Come, 'tis a match. [Exit.
By. How like you my arrival?
Ep. I'll tell you as a friend in your ear.
You have given more perferment to your courage
Than to the provident counsels of your friends.
D'A. I told him so, my lord, and much was grieved
To see his bold approach, so full of will.
By. Well, I must bear it now, though but with th' head,
The shoulders bearing nothing.
Ep. By Saint John,
'Tis a good headless resolution. [Exeunt.



Enter the Duke of BYRON, D'AUVERGNE.

BY. O the most base fruits of a settled peace!
In men I mean; worse than their dirty fields,
Which they manure much better than themselves:
For them they plant and sow, and ere they grow
Weedy and choked with thorns, they grub and proin,
And make them better than when cruel war
Frighted from thence the sweaty labourer;
But men themselves, instead of bearing fruits,
Grow rude and foggy, overgrown with weeds,
Their spirits and freedoms smother'd in their ease;
And as their tyrants and their ministers
Grow wild in proesecution of their lusts,
So they grow prostitute, and lie, like whores,
Down, and take up, to their abhorr'd dishonours;
The friendless may be injured and oppress'd,
The guiltless led to slaughter, the deserver
Given to the beggar; right be wholly wrong'd,
And wrong be only honour'd till the strings
Of every man's heart crack, and who will stir
To tell authority that it doth err?
All men cling to it, though they see their bloods
In their most dear associates and allies,
Pour'd into kennels by it, and who dares
But look well in the breast whom that impairs?
How all the Court now looks askew on me!
Go by without saluting, shun my sight,
Which, like a March sun, agues breeds in them,
From whence of late 'twas health to have a beam.
D'A. Now none will speak to us; we thrust ourselves
Into men's companies, and offer speech
As if not made for their diverted ears,
Their backs turn'd to us, and their words to others.
And we must, like obsequious parasites,
Follow their faces, wind about their persons
For looks and answers, or be cast behind,
No more view'd than the wallet of their faults.


By. Yet here's one views me, and I think will speak.
So. My lord, if you respect your name and race,
The preservation of your former honours,
Merits, and virtues, humbly cast them all
At the King's mercy; for beyond all doubt
Your acts have thither driven them; he hath proofs
So pregnant and so horrid, that to hear them
Would make your valour in your very looks
Give up your forces, miserably guilty;
But he is most loth (for his ancient love
To your rare virtues); and in their impair,
The full discouragement of all that live
To trust or favour any gifts in nature,
T'expose them to the light, when darkness may
Cover her own brood, and keep still in day
Nothing of you but that may brook her brightness.
You know what horrors these high strokes do bring,
Raised in the arm of an incensed king.
By. My lord, be sure the King cannot complain
Of anything in me but my true service,
Which in so many dangers of my death
May so approve my spotless loyalty,
That those quite opposite horrors you assure,
Must look out of his own ingratitude,
Or the malignant envies of my foes,
Who pour me out in such a Stygian flood,
To drown me in myself, since their deserts
Are far from such a deluge, and in me
Hid like so many rivers in the sea.
So. You think I come to sound you: fare you well.

couples, &c.

D'A. See, see, not one of them will cast a glance
At our eclipsed faces.
By. They keep all
To cast in admiration on the King;
For from his face are all their faces moulded.
D'A. But when a change comes we shall see them all
Changed into water, that will instantly
Give look for look, as if it watch'd to greet us;
Or else for one they'll give us twenty faces,
Like to the little specks on sides of glasses.
By. Is't not an easy loss to lose their looks
Whose hearts so soon are melted?
D'A. But methinks,
Being courtiers, they should cast best looks on men
When they thought worst of them.
By. Oh no, my lord,
They ne'er dissemble but for some advantage;
They sell their looks and shadows, which they rate
After their markets, kept beneath the State;
Lord, what foul weather their aspects do threaten!
See in how grave a brake he sets his vizard:
Passion of nothing, see, and excellent gesture!
Now courtship goes a ditching in their foreheads,
And we are fall'n into those dismal ditches.
Why even thus dreadfully would they be rapt,
If the King's butter'd eggs were only spilt.

Enter HENRY.

He. Lord Chancellor.
Ch. Ay, my lord.
He. And Lord Vidame.
[Exit, with CHANCELLOR, &c.
By. And not Byron? here's a prodigious change!
D'A. He cast no beam on you.
By. Why, now you see
From whence their countenances were copied.

Enter the Captain of BYRON'S Guard, with a letter.

D'A. See, here comes some news, I believe, my lord.
By. What says the honest captain of my guard?
Ca. I bring a letter from a friend of yours.
By. 'Tis welcome, then.
D'A. Have we yet any friends?
Ca. More than ye would, I think: I never saw
Men in their right minds so unrighteous
In their own causes.
By. See what thou hast brought.
He will us to retire ourselves, my lord,
And makes as if it were almost too late.
What says my captain? shall we go or no?
Ca. I would your dagger's point had kiss'd my heart,
When you resolved to come.
By. I pray thee, why?
Ca. Yet doth that senseless apoplexy dull you?
The devil or your wicked angel blinds you,
Bereaving all your reason of a man,
And leaves you but the spirit of a horse
In your brute nostrils, only power to dare.
By. Why, dost thou think my coming here hath brought me
To such an unrecoverable danger?
Ca. Judge by the strange ostents that have succeeded
Since your arrival; the kind fowl, the wild duck
That came into your cabinet, so beyond
The sight of all your servants, or yourself;
That flew about, and on your shoulder sat,
And which you had so fed and so attended
For that dumb love she show'd you; just as soon
As you were parted, on the sudden died.
And to make this no less than an ostent,
Another that hath fortuned since confirms it:
Your goodly horse, Pastrana, which the Archduke
Gave you at Brussels, in the very hour
You left your strength, fell mad, and kill'd himself;
The like chanced to the horse the great Duke sent you,
And, with both these, the horse the Duke of Lorraine
Sent you at Vimie, made a third presage
Of some inevitable fate that touch'd you,
Who, like the other, pined away and died.
By. All these together are indeed ostentful,
Which, by another like, I can confirm:
The matchless Earl of Essex, whom some make
(In their most sure divinings of my death)
A parallel with me in life and fortune,
Had one horse likewise that the very hour
He suffer'd death (being well the night before)
Died in his pasture. Noble, happy beasts,
That die, not having to their wills to live;
They use no deprecations nor complaints,
Nor suit for mercy; amongst them, the lion
Serves not the lion, nor the horse the horse,
As man serves man: when men show most their spirits
In valour, and their utmost dares to do
They are compared to lions, wolves, and boars;
But by conversion, none will say a lion
Fights as he had the spirit of a man.
Let me then in my danger now give cause
For all men to begin that simile.
For all my huge engagement I provide me
This short sword only, which, if I have time
To show my apprehender, he shall use
Power of ten lions if I get not loose. [Exeunt.


He. What shall we do with this unthankful man?
Would he of one thing but reveal the truth
Which I have proof of underneath his hand,
He should not taste my justice. I would give
Two hundred thousand crowns that he would yield
But such means for my pardon as he should;
I never loved man like him; would have trusted
My son in his protection, and my realm;
He hath deserved my love with worthy service,
Yet can he not deny but I have thrice
Saved him from death; I drew him off the foe
At Fontoine Françoise, where he was engaged,
So wounded, and so much amazed with blows,
That, as I play'd the soldier in his rescue,
I was enforced to play the Marechal,
To order the retreat, because he said
He was not fit to do it, nor to serve me.
Ch. Your Majesty hath used your utmost means
Both by your own persuasions, and his friends,
To bring him to submission, and confess
(With some sign of repentance) his foul fault:
Yet still he stands prefract and insolent.
You have in love and care of his recovery
Been half in labour to produce a course
And resolution what were fit for him.
And since so amply it concerns your crown,
You must by law cut off, what by your grace
You cannot bring into the state of safety.
Ja. Begin at th'end, my lord, and execute,
Like Alexander with Parmenio.
Princes, you know, are masters of their laws,
And may resolve them to what forms they please,
So all conclude in justice; in whose stroke
There is one sort of manage for the great;
Another for inferior: the great mother
Of all productions, grave Necessity,
Commands the variation; and the profit,
So certainly foreseen, commends the example.
He. I like not executions so informal,
For which my predecessors have been blamed:
My subjects and the world shall know my power,
And my authority by law's usual course
Dares punish; not the devilish heads of treason,
But their confederates, be they ne'er so dreadful.
The decent ceremonies of my laws,
And their solemnities, shall be observed
With all their sternness and severity.
Vi. Where will your highness have him apprehended?
He. Not in the Castle, as some have advised,
But in his chamber.
Pr. Rather in your own,
Or coming out of it; for 'tis assured
That any other place of apprehension,
Will make the hard performance end in blood.
Vi. To shun this likelihood, my lord, 'tis best
To make the apprehension near your chamber;
For all respect and reverence given the place,
More than is needful, to chastise the person,
And save the opening of too many veins,
Is vain and dangerous.
He. Gather you your guard,
And I will find fit time to give the word
When you shall seize on him and on D'Auvergne.
Vi. We will be ready to the death, my lord.
He. O Thou that govern'st the keen swords of kings,
Direct my arm in this important stroke,
Or hold it being advanced; the weight of blood,
Even in the basest subject, doth exact
Deep consultation, in the highest king;
For in one subject, death's unjust affrights,
Passions, and pains, though he be ne'er so poor,
Ask more remorse than the voluptuous spleens
Of all kings in the world deserve respect;
He should be born grey-headed that will bear
The sword of empire; judgment of the life,
Free state, and reputation of a man,
If it be just and worthy, dwells so dark
That it denies access to sun and moon;
The soul's eye sharpen'd with that sacred light
Of whom the sun itself is but a beam,
Must only give that judgment; O how much
Err those kings then, that play with life and death,
And nothing put into their serious states
But humour and their lusts; for which alone
Men long for kingdoms; whose huge counterpoise
In cares and dangers, could a fool comprise,
He would not be a king, but would be wise.

Enter BYRON, talking with the Queen; EPERNON with D'ENTRAGUES;
D'AUVERGNE with another lady; MONTIGNY; others attending.

He. Here comes the man, with whose ambitious head
(Cast in the way of treason) we must stay
His full chase of our ruin and our realm;
This hour shall take upon her shady wing
His latest liberty and life to hell.
D'A. We are undone. [Exit D'AUVERGNE.
Qu. What's that?
By. I heard him not.
He. Madam, y'are honour'd much that Duke Byron
Is so observant: some, to cards with him;
You four, as now you come, sit to Primero;
And I will fight a battle at the chess.
By. A good safe fight, believe me; other war
Thirsts blood and wounds, and his thirst quench'd is thankless.
Ep. Lift, and then cut.
By. 'Tis right the end of lifting;
When men are lifted to their highest pitch,
They cut off those that lifted them so high.
Qu. Apply you all these sports so seriously?
By. They first were from our serious acts devised,
The best of which are to the best but sports,
(I mean by best the greatest) for their ends
In men that serve them best, are their own pleasures.
Qu. So in those best men's services, their ends
Are their own pleasures; pass.
By. I vie't.
He. I see't,
And wonder at his frontless impudence.
[Exit HENRY.
Ch. How speeds your majesty?
Qu. Well; the Duke instructs me
With such grave lessons of morality
Forced out of our light sport, that if I lose,
I cannot but speed well.
By. Some idle talk,
For courtship's sake, you know, does not amiss.
Ch. Would we might hear some of it.
By. That you shall;
I cast away a card now, makes me think
Of the deceased worthy King of Spain.
Ch. What card was that?
By. The king of hearts, my lord;
Whose name yields well the memory of that king,
Who was indeed the worthy king of hearts,
And had, both of his subjects' hearts and strangers',
Much more than all the kings of Christendom.
Ch. He won them with his gold.
By. He won them chiefly
With his so general piety and justice;
And as the little, yet great Macedon,
Was said, with his humane philosophy
To teach the rapeful Hyrcans marriage,
And bring the barbarous Sogdians to nourish,
Not kill, their aged parents as before;
Th'incestuous Persians to reverence
Their mothers, not to use them as their wives;
The Indians to adore the Grecian gods;
The Scythians to inter, not eat their parents;
So he, with his divine philosophy
(Which I may call it, since he chiefly used it),
In Turkey, India, and through all the world,
Expell'd profane idolatry, and from earth
Raised temples to the highest: whom with the word
He could not win, he justly put to sword.
Ch. He sought for gold and empire.
By. 'Twas religion,
And her full propagation that he sought;
If gold had been his end, it had been hoarded,
When he had fetch'd it in so many fleets,
Which he spent not on Median luxury,
Banquets, and women, Calidonian wine,
Nor dear Hyrcanian fishes, but employ'd it
To propagate his empire; and his empire
Desired t'extend so, that he might withal
Extend Religion through it, and all nations
Reduce to one firm constitution
Of piety, justice, and one public weal;
To which end he made all his matchless subjects
Make tents their castles and their garrisons;
True Catholics countrymen; and their allies,
Heretics, strangers, and their enemies.
There was in him the magnanimity.
Mon. To temper your extreme applause, my lord,
Shorten and answer all things in a word,
The greatest commendation we can give
To the remembrance of that king deceased,
Is that he spared not his own eldest son,
But put him justly to a violent death,
Because he sought to trouble his estates.
By. Is't so?
Ch. That bit, my lord; upon my life,
'Twas bitterly replied, and doth amaze him.

The King suddenly enters, having determined what to do.

He. It is resolved; a work shall now be done,
Which, while learn'd Atlas shall with stars be crown'd,
While th'ocean walks in storms his wavy round,
While moons at full repair their broken rings;
While Lucifer foreshows Aurora's springs,
And Arctos sticks above the earth unmoved,
Shall make my realm be blest, and me beloved.
Call in the Count D'Auvergne.


A word, my lord.
Will you become as wilful as your friend,
And draw a mortal justice on your heads,
That hangs so black and is so loth to strike?
If you would utter what I know you know
Of his inhumane treason, one strong bar
Betwixt his will and duty were dissolved,
For then I know he would submit himself.
Think you it not as strong a point of faith
To rectify your loyalties to me,
As to be trusty in each other's wrong?
Trust that deceives ourselves is treachery,
And truth that truth conceals an open lie.
D'A. My lord, if I could utter any thought
Instructed with disloyalty to you,
And might light any safety to my friend,
Though mine own heart came after, it should out.
He. I know you may, and that your faiths affected
To one another are so vain and false
That your own strengths will ruin you: ye contend
To cast up rampires to you in the sea,
And strive to stop the waves that run before you.
D'A. All this, my lord, to me is mystery.
He. It is? I'll make it plain enough, believe me:
Come, my Lord Chancellor, let us end our mate.

Enter VARENNES, whispering to BYRON.

Va. You are undone, my lord.
By. Is it possible?
Qu. Play, good my lord: whom look you for?
Ep. Your mind
Is not upon your game.
By. Play, pray you play.
He. Enough, 'tis late, and time to leave our play,
On all hands; all forbear the room. My lord,
Stay you with me; yet is your will resolved
To duty and the main bond of your life?
I swear, of all th'intrusions I have made
Upon your own good and continued fortunes,
This is the last; inform me yet the truth,
And here I vow to you (by all my love,
By all means shown you, even to this extreme,
When all men else forsake you), you are safe.
What passages have slipt 'twixt Count Fuentes,
You, and the Duke of Savoy?
By. Good my lord,
This nail is driven already past the head;
You much have overcharged an honest man;
And I beseech you yield my innocence justice,
(But with my single valour) 'gainst them all
That thus have poison'd your opinion of me,
And let me take my vengeance by my sword:
For I protest I never thought an action
More than my tongue hath utter'd.
He. Would 'twere true;
And that your thoughts and deeds had fell no fouler.
But you disdain submission, not remembering
That (in intents urged for the common good)
He that shall hold his peace being charged to speak
Doth all the peace and nerves of empire break,
Which on your conscience lie; adieu, good night.
By. Kings hate to hear what they command men speak;
Ask life, and to desert of death ye yield.
Where medicines loathe, it irks men to be heal'd.

Enter VITRY, with two or three of the Guard, EPERNON, VIDAME,
following. VITRY lays hand on BYRON'S sword.

Vi. Resign your sword, my lord; the King commands it.
By. Me to resign my sword? what King is he
Hath used it better for the realm than I?
My sword! that all the wars within the length,
Breadth, and the whole dimensions of great France
Hath sheathed betwixt his hilt and horrid point,
And fix'd ye all in such a flourishing peace?
My sword, that never enemy could enforce,
Bereft me by my friends! Now, good my lord,
Beseech the King, I may resign my sword
To his hand only.

Enter JANIN.

Ja. You must do your office,
The King commands you.
Vi. 'Tis in vain to strive,
For I must force it.
By. Have I ne'er a friend,
That bears another for me? All the guard?
What, will you kill me? will you smother here
His life that can command and save in field
A hundred thousand lives? For manhood sake,
Lend something to this poor forsaken hand;
For all my service, let me have the honour
To die defending of my innocent self,
And have some little space to pray to God.

Enter HENRY.

He. Come, you are an atheist, Byron, and a traitor
Both foul and damnable. Thy innocent self?
No leper is so buried quick in ulcers
As thy corrupted soul. Thou end the war,
And settle peace in France? What war hath raged
Into whose fury I have not exposed
My person, which is as free a spirit as thine?
Thy worthy father and thyself combined
And arm'd in all the merits of your valours,
Your bodies thrust amidst the thickest fights,
Never were bristled with so many battles,
Nor on the foe have broke such woods of lances
As grew upon my thigh, and I have marshall'd.
I am ashamed to brag thus; where envy
And arrogance their opposite bulwark raise,
Men are allow'd to use their proper praise:
Away with him. [Exit HENRY.
By. Away with him! live I,
And hear my life thus slighted? Cursed man,
That ever the intelligencing lights
Betray'd me to men's whorish fellowships,
To princes' Moorish slaveries; to be made
The anvil on which only blows and wounds
Were made the seed and wombs of other honours;
A property for a tyrant to set up,
And puff down with the vapour of his breath.
Will you not kill me?
Vi. No, we will not hurt you;
We are commanded only to conduct you
Into your lodging.
By. To my lodging? where?
Vi. Within the Cabinet of Arms, my lord.
By. What! to a prison? Death! I will not go.
Vi. We'll force you then.
By. And take away my sword;
A proper point of force; ye had as good
Have robb'd me of my soul; slaves of my stars,
Partial and bloody; O that in mine eyes
Were all the sorcerous poison of my woes,
That I might witch ye headlong from your height,
So trample out your execrable light.
Vi. Come, will you go, my lord? This rage is vain.
By. And so is all your grave authority;
And that all France shall feel before I die.
Ye see all how they use good Catholics.
Ep. Farewell for ever! so have I discern'd
An exhalation that would be a star
Fall when the sun forsook it, in a sink.
Shoes ever overthrow that are too large,
And hugest cannons burst with overcharge.

Enter D'AUVERGNE, PRÂLIN, following with a Guard.

Pr. My lord, I have commandment from the King
To charge you go with me, and ask your sword.
D'Au. My sword! who fears it? it was ne'er the death
Of any but wild boars; I prithee take it;
Hadst thou advertised this when last we met,
I had been in my bed, and fast asleep
Two hours ago. Lead; I'll go where thou wilt.
Vi. See how he bears his cross, with his small strength
On easier shoulders than the other Atlas.
Ep. Strength to aspire is still accompanied
With weakness to endure; all popular gifts
Are colours, it will bear no vinegar;
And rather to adverse affairs betray
Thine arm against them; his state still is best
That hath most inward worth; and that's best tried
That neither glories, nor is glorified. [Exeunt.




HE. What shall we think, my lords, of these new forces
That, from the King of Spain, hath past the Alps?
For which, I think, his Lord Ambassador
Is come to Court, to get their pass for Flanders?
Ja. I think, my lord, they have no end for Flanders;
Count Maurice being already enter'd Brabant
To pass to Flanders, to relieve Ostend,
And th'Archduke full prepared to hinder him;
For sure it is that they must measure forces,
Which (ere this new force could have past the Alps)
Of force must be encounter'd.
So. 'Tis unlikely
That their march hath so large an aim as Flanders.
D'E. As these times sort, they may have shorter reaches,
That would pierce further.
He. I have been advertised
How Count Fuentes (by whose means this army
Was lately levied; and whose hand was strong
In thrusting on Byron's conspiracy)
Hath caused these cunning forces to advance,
With colour only to set down in Flanders;
But hath intentional respect to favour
And countenance his false partisans in Bresse,
And friends in Burgundy; to give them heart
For the full taking of their hearts from me.
Be as it will; we shall prevent their worst;
And therefore call in Spain's Ambassador.

Enter Ambassador with others.

What would the Lord Ambassador of Spain?
Am. First, in my master's name, I would beseech
Your highness' hearty thought that his true hand,
Held in your vowed amities, hath not touch'd
At any least point in Byron's offence,
Nor once had notice of a crime so foul;
Whereof, since he doubts not you stand resolved,
He prays your league's countinuance in this favour,
That the army he hath raised to march for Flanders
May have safe passage by your frontier towns,
And find the river free that runs by Rhone.
He. My lord, my frontiers shall not be disarm'd,
Till, by arraignment of the Duke of Byron
My scruples are resolved, and I may know
In what account to hold your master's faith,
For his observance of the league betwixt us.
You wish me to believe that he is clear
From all the projects caused by Count Fuentes,
His special agent; but where deeds pull down,
Words may repair no faith. I scarce can think
That his gold was so bounteously employ'd
Without his special counsel and command:
These faint proceedings in our royal faiths
Make subjects prove so faithless; if because
We sit above the danger of the laws,
We likewise lift our arms above their justice,
And that our heavenly Sovereign bounds not us
In those religious confines out of which
Our justice and our true laws are inform'd;
In vain have we expectance that our subjects
Should not as well presume to offend their earthly,
As we our heavenly Sovereign; and this breach
Made in the forts of all society,
Of all celestial, and humane respects,
Makes no strengths of our bounties, counsels, arms,
Hold out against their treasons; and the rapes
Made of humanity and religion,
In all men's more than Pagan liberties,
Atheisms, and slaveries, will derive their springs
From their base precedents, copied out of kings.
But all this shall not make me break the commerce
Authorised by our treaties. Let your army
Have the directest pass; it shall go safe.
Am. So rest your highness ever, and assured
That my true Sovereign hates all opposite thoughts.
He. Are our despatches made to all the kings,
Princes, and potentates of Christendom,
Ambassadors and province governors,
T'inform the truth of this conspiracy?
Ja. They all are made, my lord, and some give out
That 'tis a blow given to religion,
To weaken it, in ruining of him
That said he never wish'd more glorious title
Than to be call'd the scourge of Huguenots.
So. Others that are like favourers of the fault,
Said 'tis a politic advice from England
To break the sacred javelins both together.
He. Such shut their eyes to truth; we can but set
His lights before them, and his trumpet sound
Close to their ears; their partial wilfulness,
In resting blind and deaf, or in perverting
What their most certain senses apprehend,
Shall not discomfort our imperial justice,
Nor clear the desperate fault that doth enforce it.

Enter VITRY.

Vi. The peers of France, my lord, refuse t'appear
At the arraignment of the Duke of Byron.
He. The Court may yet proceed; and so command it.
'Tis not their slackness to appear shall serve
To let my will t'appear in any fact
Wherein the boldest of them tempts my justice.
I am resolved, and will no more endure
To have my subjects make what I command
The subject of their oppositions;
Who evermore make slack their allegiance,
As kings forbear their penance. How sustain
Your prisoners their strange durance?
Vi. One of them,
Which is the Count d'Auvergne, hath merry spirits,
Eats well and sleeps: and never can imagine
That any place where he is, is a prison;
Where on the other part, the Duke Byron,
Enter'd his prison as into his grave,
Rejects all food, sleeps not, nor once lies down;
Fury hath arm'd his thoughts so thick with thorns
That rest can have no entry: he disdains
To grace the prison with the slenderest show
Of any patience, lest men should conceive
He thought his sufferance in the best sort fit;
And holds his bands so worthless of his worth,
That he impairs it, to vouchsafe to them
The best part of the peace that freedom owes it:
That patience therein is a willing slavery,
And like the camel stoops to take the load,
So still he walks; or rather as a bird,
Enter'd a closet, which unawares is made
His desperate prison, being pursued, amazed
And wrathful beats his breast from wall to wall,
Assaults the light, strikes down himself, not out,
And being taken, struggles, gasps, and bites,
Takes all his taker's strokings to be strokes,
Abborreth food, and with a savage will
Frets, pines, and dies for former liberty:
So fares the wrathful Duke; and when the strength
Of these dumb rages break out into sounds,
He breathes defiance to the world, and bids us
Make ourselves drunk with the remaining blood
Of five and thirty wounds received in fight
For us and ours; for we shall never brag
That we have made his spirits check at death.
This rage in walks and words; but in his looks
He comments all, and prints a world of books.
He. Let others learn by him to curb their spleens,
Before they be curb'd; and to cease their grudges.
Now I am settled in my sun of height,
The circular splendour and full sphere of state,
Take all place up from envy: as the sun,
At height, and passive o'er the crowns of men,
His beams diffused, and down-right pour'd on them,
Cast but a little or no shade at all:
So he that is advanced above the heads
Of all his emulators, with high light,
Prevents their envies, and deprives them quite.

Enter the CHANCELLOR, HARLEY, POTIER, FLEURY, in scarlet gowns; LA
D'ESCURES, with other officers of state.

Ch. I wonder at the prisoner's so long stay.
Ha. I think it may be made a question
If his impatience will let him come.
Po. Yes, he is now well staid: time and his judgment
Have cast his passion and his fever off.
Fl. His fever may be past, but for his passions,
I fear me we shall find it spiced too hotly,
With his old powder.
D'E. He is sure come forth;
The carosse of the Marquis of Rosny
Conducted him along to th'arsenal,
Close to the river-side: and there I saw him
Enter a barge cover'd with tapestry,
In which the King's guards waited and received him.
Stand by there, clear the place.
Ch. The prisoner comes:
My Lord La Fin, forbear your sight awhile;
It may incense the prisoner: who will know,
By your attendance near us, that your hand
Was chief in his discovery; which as yet,
I think he doth not doubt.
La. I will forbear
Till your good pleasures call me. [Exit LA FIN.
Ha. When he knows
And sees La Fin accuse him to his face,
The Court I think will shake with his distemper.

Enter VITRY, BYRON, with others and a Guard.

Vi. You see, my lord, 'tis in the golden chamber.
By. The golden chamber? where the greatest kings
Have thought them honour'd to receive a place,
And I have had it: am I come to stand
In rank and habit here of men arraign'd,
Where I have sat assistant, and been honour'd
With glorious title of the chiefest virtuous,
Where the King's chief solicitor hath said
There was in France no man that ever lived
Whose parts were worth my imitation;
That but mine own worth I could imitate none:
And that I made myself inimitable
To all that could come after; whom this Court
Hath seen to sit upon the flower-de-luce
In recompense of my renowned service.
Must I be sat on now by petty judges?
These scarlet robes, that come to sit and fight
Against my life dismay my valour more,
Than all the bloody cassocks Spain hath brought
To field against it.
Vi. To the bar, my lord.
[He salutes and stands to the bar.
Ha. Read the indictment.
Ch. Stay, I will invert,
For shortness' sake, the form of our proceedings,
And out of all the points the process holds,
Collect five principal, with which we charge you.
I. First you conferr'd with one, called Picoté
At Orleans born, and into Flanders fled,
To hold intelligence by him with the Archduke,
And for two voyages to that effect,
Bestow'd on him five hundred fifty crowns.
2. Next you held treaty with the Duke of Savoy,
Without the King's permission; offering him service and assistance 'gainst all
In hope to have in marriage his third daughter.
3. Thirdly, you held intelligence with the Duke,
At taking in of Bourg, and other forts;
Advising him, with all your prejudice,
'Gainst the King's army and his royal person.
4. The fourth is, that you would have brought the King
Before Saint Katherine's fort, to be there slain;
And to that end writ to the governor,
In which you gave him notes to know his highness.
5. Fifthly, You sent La Fin to treat with Savoy,
And with the Count Fuentes, of more plots,
Touching the ruin of the King and realm.
By. All this, my lord, I answer, and deny.
And first for Picoté: he was my prisoner,
And therefore I might well confer with him;
But that our conference tended to the Archduke
Is nothing so: I only did employ him
To Captain La Fortune, for the reduction
Of Severre to the service of the King,
Who used such speedy diligence therein,
That shortly 'twas assured his Majesty.
2. Next, For my treaty with the Duke of Savoy;
Roncas, his secretary, having made
A motion to me for the Duke's third daughter,
I told it to the King, who having since
Given me the understanding by La Force
Of his dislike, I never dream'd of it.
3. Thirdly, For my intelligence with the Duke,
Advising him against his highness' army:
Had this been true I had not undertaken
Th'assault of Bourg, against the King's opinion,
Having assistance but by them about me;
And, having won it for him, had not been
Put out of such a government so easily.
4. Fourthly, For my advice to kill the King;
I would beseech his highness' memory
Not to let slip that I alone dissuaded
His viewing of that fort; informing him
It had good mark-men, and he could not go
But in exceeding danger, which advice
Diverted him; the rather since I said
That if he had desire to see the place
He should receive from me a plot of it;
Offering to take it with five hundred men,
And I myself would go to the assault.
5. And lastly, For intelligences held
With Savoy and Fuentes; I confess
That being denied to keep the citadel,
Which with incredible peril I had got,
And seeing another honour'd with my spoils,
I grew so desperate that I found my spirit
Enraged to any act, and wish'd myself
Cover'd with blood.
Ch. With whose blood?
By. With mine own;
Wishing to live no longer, being denied,
With such suspicion of me, and set will
To rack my furious humour into blood.
And for two months' space I did speak and write
More than I ought, but have done ever well,
And therefore your informers have been false
And, with intent to tyrannize, suborn'd.
Fl. What if our witnesses come face to face,
And justify much more than we allege?
By. They must be hirelings, then, and men corrupted
Po. What think you of La Fin?
By. I hold La Fin
An honour'd gentleman, my friend and kinsman.
Ha. If he then aggravate what we affirm
With greater accusations to your face,
What will you say?
By. I know it cannot be.
Ch. Call in my Lord La Fin.
By. Is he so near,
And kept so close from me? Can all the world
Make him a treacher?

Enter LA FIN.

Ch. I suppose, my lord,
You have not stood within, without the ear
Of what hath here been urged against the Duke;
If you have heard it, and upon your knowledge
Can witness all is true, upon your soul,
Utter your knowledge.
La. I have heard, my lord,
All that hath pass'd here, and upon by soul,
(Being charged so urgently in such a Court)
Upon my knowledge I affirm all true;
And so much more as, had the prisoner lives
As many as his years, would make all forfeit.
By. O all ye virtuous powers, in earth and heaven,
That have not put on hellish flesh and blood,
From whence these monstrous issues are produced,
That cannot bear in execrable concord,
And one prodigious subject, contraries;
Nor (as the isle that of the world admired,
Is sever'd from the world) can cut yourselves
From the consent and sacred harmony
Of life, yet live; of honour, yet be honour'd;
As this extravagant and errant rogue,
From all your fair decorums and just laws
Finds power to do, and like a loathsome wen
Sticks to the face of nature and this Court;
Thicken this air, and turn your plaguy rage
Into a shape as dismal as his sin;
And with some equal horror tear him off
From sight and memory. Let not such a Court,
To whose fame all the kings of Christendom
Now laid their ears, so crack her royal trump,
As to sound through it, that her vaunted justice
Was got in such an incest. Is it justice
To tempt and witch a man to break the law,
And by that witch condemn him? Let me draw
Poison into me with this cursed air
If he bewitch'd me and transform'd me not;
He bit me by the ear, and made me drink
Enchanted waters; let me see an image
That utter'd these distinct words: Thou shalt die,
O wicked king; and if the devil gave him
Such power upon an image, upon me
How might he tyrannize? that by his vows
And oaths so Stygian had my nerves and will
In more awe than his own. What man is he
That is so high but he would higher be?
So roundly sighted, but he may be found
To have a blind side, which by craft pursued,
Confederacy, and simply trusted treason,
May wrest him past his angel and his reason?
Ch. Witchcraft can never taint an honest mind.
Ha. True gold will any trial stand untouch'd.
Po. For colours that will stain when they are tried,
The cloth itself is ever cast aside.
By. Sometimes the very gloss in anything
Will seem a stain; the fault not in the light,
Nor in the guilty object, but our sight.
My gloss, raised from the richness of my stuff,
Had too much splendour for the owly eye
Of politic and thankless royalty;
I did deserve too much; a pleurisy
Of that blood in me is the cause I die.
Virtue in great men must be small and slight,
For poor stars rule where she is exquisite.
'Tis tyrannous and impious policy
To put to death by fraud and treachery;
Sleight is then royal when it makes men live,
And if it urges faults, urgeth to forgive.
He must be guiltless that condemns the guilty.
Like things do nourish like and not destroy them;
Minds must be found that judge affairs of weight,
And seeing hands, cut corrosives from your sight.
A lord intelligencer? hangman-like,
Thrust him from human fellowship to the desert,
Blow him with curses; shall your justice call
Treachery her father? would you wish her weigh
My valour with the hiss of such a viper?
What have I done to shun the mortal shame
Of so unjust an opposition?
My envious stars cannot deny me this,
That I may make my judges witnesses;
And that my wretched fortunes have reserved
For my last comfort; ye all know, my lords,
This body, gash'd with five and thirty wounds,
Whose life and death you have in your award,
Holds not a vein that hath not open'd been,
And which I would not open yet again
For you and yours; this hand that writ the lines
Alleged against me hath enacted still
More good than there it only talk'd of ill.
I must confess my choler hath transferr'd
My tender spleen to all intemperate speech,
But reason ever did my deeds attend.
In worth of praise, and imitation,
Had I borne any will to let them loose,
I could have flesh'd them with bad services
In England lately, and in Switzerland;
There are a hundred gentlemen by name
Can witness my demeanour in the first,
And in the last ambassage I adjure
No other testimonies than the Seigneurs
De Vic and Sillery, who amply know
In what sort and with what fidelity
I bore myself, to reconcile and knit
In one desire so many wills disjoin'd
And from the King's allegiance quite withdrawn.
My acts ask'd many men, though done by one;
And I were but one I stood for thousands,
And still I hold my worth, though not my place:
Nor slight me, judges, though I be but one.
One man, in one sole expedition,
Reduced into th'imperial power of Rome,
Armenia, Pontus, and Arabia,
Syria, Albania, and Iberia,
Conquer'd th'Hyrcanians, and to Caucasus
His arm extended; the Numidians
And Afric to the shores meridional
His power subjected; and that part of Spain
Which stood from those parts that Sertorius ruled,
Even to the Atlantic sea he conquered.
Th'Albanian kings he from the kingdoms chased,
And at the Caspian sea their dwellings placed;
Of all the earth's globe, by power and his advice,
The round-eyed ocean saw him victor thrice.
And what shall let me, but your cruel doom,
To add as much to France as he to Rome,
And to leave justice neither sword nor word
To use against my life; this senate knows
That what with one victorious hand I took
I gave to all your uses with another;
With this I took and propt the falling kingdom,
And gave it to the King; I have kept
Your laws of state from fire, and you yourselves
Fix'd in this high tribunal, from whose height
The vengeful Saturnals of the League
Had hurl'd ye headlong; do ye then return
This retribution? can the cruel King
The kingdom, laws, and you, all saved by me,
Destroy their saver? what, ay me! I did
Adverse to this, this damn'd enchanter did,
That took into his will my motion;
And being bank-rout both of wealth and worth,
Pursued with quarrels and with suits in law,
Fear'd by the kingdom, threaten'd by the King,
Would raise the loathed dunghill of his ruins
Upon the monumental heap of mine;
Torn with possessed whirlwinds may he die,
And dogs bark at his murderous memory.
Ch. My lord, our liberal sufferance of your speech
Hath made it late, and for this session
We will dismiss you; take him back, my lord.
[Exit VIT. and BYRON.
Ha. You likewise may depart. [Exit LA FIN.
Ch. What resteth now
To be decreed 'gainst this great prisoner?
A mighty merit and a monstrous crime
Are here concurrent; what by witnesses,
His letters, and instructions we have proved,
Himself confesseth, and excuseth all
With witchcraft and the only act of thought.
For witchcraft, I esteem it a mere strength
Of rage in him, conceived 'gainst his accuser,
Who being examined hath denied it all.
Suppose it true, it made him false; but wills
And worthy minds witchcraft can never force.
And for his thoughts that brake not into deeds,
Time was the cause, not will; the mind's free act
In treason still is judged as th'outward fact.
If his deserts have had a wealthy share
In saving of our land from civil furies,
Manlius had so that saved the Capitol;
Yet for his after traitorous factions
They threw him headlong from the place he saved.
My definite sentence, then, doth this import:
That we must quench the wild-fire with his blood
In which it was so traitorously inflamed;
Unless with it we seek to incense the land.
The king can have no refuge for his life,
If his be quitted; this was it that made
Louis th'Eleventh renounce his countrymen,
And call the valiant Scots out of their kingdom
To use their greater virtues and their faiths
Than his own subjects, in his royal guard.
What then conclude your censures?
Omnes. He must die.
Ch. Draw then his sentence formally, and send him;
And so all treasons in his death attend him. [Exeunt.


Vid. I joy you had so good a day, my lord.
By. I won it from them all; the Chancellor
I answer'd to his uttermost improvements;
I moved my other judges to lament
My insolent misfortunes, and to loathe
The pocky soul and state-bawd, my accuser.
I made reply to all that could be said
So eloquently, and with such a charm
Of grave enforcements, that methought I sat,
Like Orpheus, casting reins on savage beasts;
At the arm's end, as 'twere, I took my bar
And set it far above the high tribunal,
Where, like a cedar on Mount Lebanon,
I grew, and made my judges show like box-trees;
And box-trees right their wishes would have made them,
Whence boxes should have grown, till they had strook
My head into the budget; but, alas!
I held their bloody arms with such strong reasons,
And, by your leave, with such a jerk of wit,
That I fetch'd blood upon the Chancellor's cheeks.
Methinks I see his countenance as he sat,
And the most lawyerly delivery
Of his set speeches; shall I play his part?
Ep. For heaven's sake, good my lord.
By. I will, i'faith.
"Behold a wicked man, a man debauch'd;
A man contesting with his King; a man
On whom, my lord, we are not to connive,
Though we may condole; a man
That Læsa Majestate sought a lease
Of plus quam satis. A man that vi et armis
Assail'd the King, and would per fas et nefas
Aspire the kingdom;" here was lawyer's learning.
Ep. He said not this, my lord, that I have heard.
By. This, or the like, I swear. I pen no speeches.
So. Then there is good hope of your wish'd acquittal.
By. Acquittal? they have reason; were I dead
I know they cannot all supply my place.
Is't possible the King should be so vain
To think he can shake me with fear of death?
Or make me apprehend that he intends it?
Thinks he to make his firmest men his clouds?
The clouds, observing their aërial natures,
Are borne aloft, and then to moisture changed,
Fall to the earth; where being made thick, and cold,
They lose both all their heat and levity;
Yet then again recovering heat and lightness,
Again they are advanced: and by the sun
Made fresh and glorious: and since clouds are rapt
With these uncertainties, now up, now down,
Am I to flit so with his smile or frown?
Ep. I wish your comforts and encouragements
May spring out of your safety; but I hear
The King hath reason'd so against your life,
And made your most friends yield so to his reasons
That your estate is fearful.
By. Yield t'his reasons?
Oh, how friends' reasons and their freedoms stretch
When power sets his wide tenters to their sides!
How like a cure, by mere opinion,
It works upon our blood! like th'ancient gods
Are modern kings, that lived past bounds themselves,
Yet set a measure down to wretched men;
By many sophisms they made good deceit;
And, since they pass'd in power, surpass'd in right:
When kings' wills pass, the stars wink, and the sun
Suffers eclipse: rude thunder yields to them
His horrid wings: sits smooth as glass engazed;
And lightning sticks 'twixt heaven and earth amazed:
Men's faiths are shaken, and the pit of truth
O'erflows with darkness, in which Justice sits,
And keeps her vengeance tied to make it fierce;
And when it comes, th'increased horrors show
Heaven's plague is sure, though full of state, and slow.
Sister. O my dear lord and brother! O the Duke!
By. What sounds are these, my lord? hark, hark, methinks
I hear the cries of people.
Ep. 'Tis for one,
Wounded in fight here at Saint Anthony's gate.
By. 'Sfoot, one cried the Duke: I pray hearken
Again, or burst yourselves with silence, no:
What countryman's the common headsman here?
So. He's a Burgonian.
By. The great devil he is!
The bitter wizard told me, a Burgonian
Should be my headsman; strange concurrences:
'Sdeath! who's here?

Enter four Ushers, bare; CHANCELLOR, HARLEY, POTIER, FLEURY,
PRÂLIN, with others.

Oh, then I am but dead, Now, now ye come all to pronounce my sentence.
I am condemn'd unjustly: tell my kinsfolks
I die an innocent: if any friend
Pity the ruin of the State's sustainer,
Proclaim my innocence; ah, Lord Chancellor,
Is there no pardon? will there come no mercy?
Ay, put your hat on, and let me stand bare.
Show yourself a right lawyer.
Ch. I am bare:
What would you have me do?
By. You have not done
Like a good Justice, and one that knew
He sat upon the precious blood of virtue;
Y'ave pleased the cruel King, and have not borne
As great regard to save as to condemn;
You have condemn'd me, my Lord Chancellor,
But God acquits me. He will open lay
All your close treasons against him, to colour
Treasons laid to his truest images;
And you, my lord, shall answer this injustice,
Before his judgment-seat: to which I summon
In one year and a day your hot appearance.
I go before, by men's corrupted dooms,
But they that caused my death shall after come
By the immaculate justice of the Highest.
Ch. Well, good my lord, commend your soul to him
And to his mercy; think of that, I pray.
By. Sir. I have thought of it, and every hour
Since my affliction, ask'd on naked knees
Patience to bear your unbelieved injustice:
But you, nor none of you, have thought of him
In my eviction: y'are come to your benches
With plotted judgments; your link'd ears so loud
Sing with prejudicate winds, that nought is heard
Of all poor prisoners urge 'gainst your award.
Ha. Passion, my lord, transports your bitterness
Beyond all colour and your proper judgment;
No man hath known your merits more than I,
And would to God your great misdeeds had been
As much undone as they have been conceal'd;
The cries of them for justice, in desert,
Have been so loud and piercing that they deafen'd
The ears of mercy; and have labour'd more
Your judges to compress than to enforce them.
Po. We bring you here your sentence; will you read it?
By. For heaven's sake, shame to use me with such rigour;
I know what it imports, and will not have
Mine ear blown into flames with hearing it.
Have you been one of them that have condemn'd me?
Fl. My lord, I am your orator: God comfort you!
By. Good sir, my father loved you so entirely
That if you have been one, my soul forgives you.
It is the King (most childish that he is,
That takes what he hath given) that injures me:
He gave grace in the first draught of my fault,
And now restrains it: grace again I ask;
Let him again vouchsafe it. Send to him,
A post will soon return: the Queen of England
Told me that if the wilful Earl of Essex
Had used submission, and but ask'd her mercy,
She would have given it, past resumption.
She, like a gracious princess, did desire
To pardon him: even as she pray'd to God,
He would let down a pardon unto her;
He yet was guilty, I am innocent:
He still refused grace, I importune it.
Ch. This ask'd in time, my lord, while he besought it,
And ere he had made his severity known,
Had, with much joy to him, I know been granted.
By. No, no, his bounty then was misery,
To offer when he knew 'twould be refused;
He treads the vulgar path of all advantage,
And loves men for their vices, not for their virtues.
My service would have quicken'd gratitude
In his own death, had he been truly royal;
It would have stirr'd the image of a king
Into perpetual motion; to have stood
Near the conspiracy restrain'd at Mantes;
And in a danger, that had then the wolf
To fly upon his bosom, had I only held
Intelligence with the conspirators,
Who stuck at no check but my loyalty,
Nor kept life in their hopes but in my death.
The siege of Amiens would have soften'd rocks,
Where cover'd all in showers of shot and fire,
I seem'd to all men's eyes a fighting flame
With bullets cut, in fashion of a man;
A sacrifice to valour, impious king!
Which he will needs extinguish with my blood.
Let him beware: justice will fall from heaven.
In the same form I served in that siege,
And by the light of that, he shall discern
What good my ill hath brought him; it will nothing
Assure his state: the same quench he hath cast
Upon my life, shall quite put out his fame.
This day he loseth what he shall not find
By all days he survives; so good a servant,
Nor Spain so great a foe; with whom, alas!
Because I treated, am I put to death?
'Tis but a politic glose; my courage raised me,
For the dear price of five and thirty scars,
And that hath ruin'd me, I thank my stars:
Come, I'll go where ye will, ye shall not lead me.
Ch. I fear his frenzy; never saw I man
Of such a spirit so amazed at death.
Ha. He alters every minute: what a vapour
The strongest mind is to a storm of crosses. [Exeunt.


Ep. Oh of what contraries consists a man!
Of what impossible mixtures! vice and virtue,
Corruption, and eternnesse, at one time,
And in one subject, let together, loose!
We have not any strength but weakens us,
No greatness but doth crush us into air.
Our knowledges do light us but to err,
Our ornaments are burthens: our delights
Are our tormentors; fiends that, raised in fears,
At parting shake our roofs about our ears.
So. O Virtue, thou art now far worse than Fortune:
Her gifts stuck by the Duke when thine are vanish'd;
Thou bravest thy friend in need: necessity,
That used to keep thy wealth, contempt, thy love,
Have both abandon'd thee in his extremes;
Thy powers are shadows, and thy comfort, dreams.
Vid. O real Goodness, if thou be a power,
And not a word alone, in humane uses,
Appear out of this angry conflagration,
Where this great captain, thy late temple, burns,
And turn his vicious fury to thy flame:
From all earth's hopes mere gilded with thy fame:
Let piety enter with her willing cross,
And take him on it; ope his breast and arms,
To all the storms necessity can breathe,
And burst them all with his embraced death.
Ja. Yet are the civil tumults of his spirits
Hot and outrageous: not resolved, alas!
(Being but one man) render the kingdom's doom;
He doubts, storms, threatens, rues, complains, implores;
Grief hath brought all his forces to his looks,
And nought is left to strengthen him within,
Nor lasts one habit of those grieved aspects;
Blood expels paleness, paleness blood doth chase,
And sorrow errs through all forms in his face.
D'E. So furious is he, that the politic law
Is much to seek, how to enact her sentence:
Authority back'd with arms, though he unarm'd,
Abhors his fury, and with doubtful eyes
Views on what ground it should sustain his ruins,
And as a savage boar that (hunted long,
Assail'd and set up) with his only eyes
Swimming in fire, keeps off the baying hounds,
Though sunk himself, yet holds his anger up,
And snows it forth in foam; holds firm his stand,
Of battalous bristles; feeds his hate to die,
And whets his tusks with wrathful majesty:
So fares the furious Duke, and with his looks
Doth teach death horrors; makes the hangman learn
New habits for his bloody impudence,
Which now habitual horror from him drives,
Who for his life shuns death, by which he lives.


Vi. Will not your lordship have the Duke distinguish'd
From other prisoners? where the order is
To give up men condemn'd into the hands
Of th'executioner; he would be the death
Of him that he should die by, ere he suffer'd
Such an abjection.
Ch. But to bind his hands,
I hold it passing needful.
Ha. 'Tis my lord,
And very dangerous to bring him loose.
Pr. You will in all despair and fury plunge him,
If you but offer it.
Po. My lord, by this
The prisoner's spirit is something pacified,
And 'tis a fear that th'offer of those bands
Would breed fresh furies in him, and disturb
The entry of his soul into her peace.
Ch. I would not that for any possible danger,
That can be wrought by his unarmed hands;
And therefore in his own form bring him in.

Enter BYRON, a Bishop or two, with all the Guards; Soldiers
with muskets.

By. Where shall this weight fall? on what region
Must this declining prominent pour his load?
I'll break my blood's high billows 'gainst my stars.
Before this hill be shook into a flat,
All France shall feel an earthquake; with what murmur,
This world shrinks into chaos!
Archbishop. Good my lord,
Forego it willingly; and now resign
Your sensual powers entirely to your soul.
By. Horror of death, let me alone in peace,
And leave my soul to me, whom it concerns;
You have no charge of it; I feel her free:
How she doth rouse, and like a falcon stretch
Her silver wings; as threatening death with death;
At whom I joyfully will cast her off.
I know this body but a sink of folly,
The ground-work and raised frame of woe and frailty;
The bond and bundle of corruption;
A quick corse, only sensible of grief,
A walking sepulchre, or household thief:
A glass of air, broken with less than breath,
A slave bound face to face to death, till death.
And what said all you more? I know, besides,
That life is but a dark and stormy night
Of senseless dreams, terrors, and broken sleeps;
A tyranny, devising pains to plague
And make man long in dying, racks his death;
And death is nothing; what can you say more?
I bring a long globe and a little earth,
Am seated like earth, betwixt both the heavens,
That if I rise, to heaven I rise; if fall,
I likewise fall to heaven; what stronger faith
Hath any of your souls? what say you more?
Why lose I time in these things? Talk of knowledge,
It serves for inward use. I will not die
Like to a clergyman; but like the captain
That pray'd on horseback, and with sword in hand,
Threaten'd the sun, commanding it to stand;
These are but ropes of sand.
Ch. Desire you then
To speak with any man?
By. I would speak with La Force and Saint Blancart.
Do they fly me?
Where is Prevost, controller of my house?
Pr. Gone to his house i'th' country three days since.
By. He should have stay'd here, he keeps all my blanks.
Oh, all the world forsakes me! wretched world,
Consisting most of parts that fly each other;
A firmness, breeding all inconstancy,
A bond of all disjunction; like a man
Long buried, is a man that long hath lived;
Touch him, he falls to ashes; for one fault,
I forfeit all the fashion of a man;
Why should I keep my soul in this dark light,
Whose black beams lighted me to lose my self?
When I have lost my arms, my fame, my wind,
Friends, brother, hopes, fortunes, and even my fury?
O happy were the man could live alone,
To know no man, nor be of any known!
Ha. My lord, it is the manner once again
To read the sentence.
By. Yet more sentences?
How often will you make me suffer death,
As ye were proud to hear your powerful dooms?
I know and feel you were the men that gave it,
And die most cruelly to hear so often
My crimes and bitter condemnation urged.
Suffice it I am brought here, and obey,
And that all here are privy to the crimes.
Ch. It must be read, my lord, no remedy.
By. Read, if it must be, then, and I must talk.
Ha. The process being extraordinarily made and examined by the Court,
and chambers assembled_____
By. Condemn'd for depositions of a witch?
The common deposition, and her whore
To all whorish perjuries and treacheries.
Sure he call'd up the devil in my spirits,
And made him to usurp my faculties:
Shall I be cast away now he's cast out?
What justice is in this? dear countrymen,
Take this true evidence, betwixt heaven and you,
And quit me in your hearts.
Ch. Go on.
Ha. Against Charles Gontaut of Byron, Knight of both the Orders, Duke
of Byron, Peer and Marshal of France, Governor of Burgundy, accused of
in a sentence was given the twenty-second of this month, condemning the said
Duke of Byron of high treason, for his direct conspiracies against the King's
person, enterprises against his state_____
By. That is most false; let me for ever be
Deprived of heaven, as I shall be of earth,
If it be true; know, worthy countrymen,
These two and twenty months I have been clear
Of all attempts against the king and state.
Ha. Treaties and treacheries with his enemies, being Marshal of the
King's army, for reparation of which crimes they deprived him of all his
estates, honours, and dignities, and condemned him to lose his head upon a
scaffold at the Greave.
By. The Greave? had that place stood for my dispatch
I had not yielded; all your forces should not
Stir me one foot; wild horses should have drawn
My body piecemeal ere you all had brought me.
Ha. Declaring all his goods, moveable and immoveable,
whatsoever, to be
confiscate to the King; the Seigneury of Byron to lose the title of Duchy and
Peer for ever.
By. Now is your form contented?
Ch. Ay, my lord,
And I must now entreat you to deliver
Your order up; the King demands it of you.
By. And I restore it, with my vow of safety
In that world where both he and I are one,
I never brake the oath I took to take it.
Ch. Well, now, my lord, we'll take our latest leaves,
Beseeching heaven to take as clear from you
All sense of torment in your willing death,
All love and thought of what you must leave here
As when you shall aspire heaven's highest sphere.
By. Thanks to your lordship, and let me pray too
That you will hold good censure of my life
By the clear witness of my soul in death
That I have never pass'd act 'gainst the King,
Which, if my faith had let me undertake,
They had been three years since amongst the dead.
Ha. Your soul shall find his safety in her own.
Call the executioner.
By. Good sir, I pray
Go after and beseech the Chancellor
that he will let my body be interr'd
Amongst my predecessors at Byron.
D'E. I go, my lord. [Exit.
By. Go, go! can all go thus,
And no man come with comfort? Farewell, world!
He is at no end of his actions blest
Whose ends will make him greatest, and not best;
They tread no ground, but ride in air on storms
That follow state, and hunt their empty forms;
Who see not that the valleys of the world
Make even right with mountains, that they grow
Green and lie warmer, and ever peaceful are,
When clouds spit fire at hills and burn them bare;
Not valleys' part, but we should imitate streams,
That run below the valleys and do yield
To every molehill; every bank embrace
That checks their currents; and when torrents come,
That swell and raise them past their natural height,
How mad they are, and troubled; like low streams
With torrents crown'd, are men with diadems.
Vi. My lord, 'tis late; will't please you to go up?
By. Up? 'tis a fair preferment—ha, ha, ha!
There should go shouts to upshots; not a breath
Of any mercy, yet? Come, since we must;
Who's this? [The HANGMAN enters.
Pr. The executioner, my lord.
By. Death! slave, down! or by the blood that moves me
I'll pluck thy throat out; go, I'll call you straight,
Hold, boy; and this—
Hang. Soft, boy, I'll bar you that. [Blindfolds him.
By. Take this then, yet, I pray thee, that again
I do not joy in sight of such a pageant
As presents death; though this life have a curse,
'Tis better than another that is worse.
Arch. My lord, now you are blind to this world's sight,
Look upward to a world of endless light.
By. Ay, ay, you talk of upward still to others,
And downwards look, with headlong eyes, yourselves.
Now come you up, sir; but not touch me yet;
Where shall I be now?
Hang. Here, my lord.
By. Where's that?
Hang. There, there, my lord.
By. And where, slave, is that there?
Thou seest I see not? yet I speak as I saw;
Well, now, is't fit?
Hang. Kneel, I beseech your grace,
That I may do mine office with most order.
By. Do it, and if at one blow thou art short,
Give one and thirty, I'll endure them all.
Hold; stay a little. Comes there yet no mercy?
High heaven curse these exemplary proceedings;
When justice fails, they sacrifice our example.
Hang. Let me beseech you I may cut your hair.
By. Out, ugly image of my cruel justice!
Yet wilt thou be before me? stay my will,
Or by the will of heaven I'll strangle thee.
Vi. My lord, you make too much of this your body,
Which is no more your own.
By. Nor is it yours;
I'll take my death with all the horrid rites
And representments of the dread it merits;
Let tame nobility and numbed fools
That apprehend not what they undergo,
Be such exemplary and formal sheep;
I will not have him touch me till I will;
If you will needs rack me beyond my reason,
Hell take me but I'll strangle half that's here,
And force the rest to kill me. I'll leap down
If but once more they tempt me to despair;
You wish my quiet, yet give cause of fury:
Think you to set rude winds upon the sea,
Yet keep it calm? or cast me in a sleep
With shaking of my chains about mine ears?
O honest soldiers, you have seen me free
From any care of many thousand deaths;
Yet of this one the manner doth amaze me.
View, view this wounded bosom, how much bound
Should that man make me that would shoot it through.
Is it not pity I should lose my life
By such a bloody and infamous stroke?
Soldier. Now by thy spirit, and thy better angel,
If thou wert clear, the continent of France
Would shrink beneath the burden of thy death
Ere it would bear it.
Vi. Who's that?
Sol. I say well,
And clear your justice, here is no ground shrinks;
If he were clear it would; and I say more,
Clear, or not clear, if he with all his foulness,
Stood here in one scale, and the King's chief minion
Stood in another, here, put here a pardon,
Here lay a royal gift, this, this in merit,
Should hoise the other minion into air.
Vi. Hence with that frantic.
By. This is some poor witness
That my desert might have outweigh'd my forfeit:
But danger haunts desert when he is greatest;
His hearty ills are proved out of his glances,
And kings' suspicions needs no balances;
So here's a most decretal end of me:
Which I desire, in me may end my wrongs.
Commend my love, I charge you, to my brothers,
And by my love and misery command them
To keep their faiths that bind them to the King,
And prove no stomachers of my misfortunes;
Nor come to Court till time hath eaten out
The blots and scars of my opprobrious death.
And tell the Earl, my dear friend of D'Auvergne,
That my death utterly were free from grief
But for the sad loss of his worthy friendship;
And if I had been made for longer life
I would have more deserved him in my service;
Beseeching him to know I have not used
One word in my arraignment that might touch him,
Had I no other want than so ill meaning.
And so farewell for ever. Never more
Shall any hope of my revival see me.
Such is the endless exile of dead men.
Summer succeeds the spring; autumn the summer;
The frosts of winter, the fall'n leaves of autumn:
All these, and all fruits in them yearly fade,
And every year return: but cursed man
Shall never more renew his vanish'd face.
Fall on your knees then, statists, ere ye fall,
That you may rise again: knees bent too late,
Stick you in earth like statues: see in me
How you are pour'd down from your clearest heavens;
Fall lower yet, mix'd with th'unmoved centre,
That your own shadows may no longer mock ye.
Strike, strike, O strike; fly, fly, commanding soul,
And on thy wings for this thy body's breath,
Bear the eternal victory of death.


^1^ Now first printed.

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net