From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama


Thomas Preston


CAMBISES, King of Persia. SMIRDIS, brother of the king. SISAMNES, the judge. OTIAN, his son. PRAXASPES, a couneellor. YOUNG CHILD, his son. LORDS,
KNIGHTS, in attendance on the king.
QUEEN, wife of Cambises.
WAITING-MAID, attending the queen.
WIFE of Praxaspes.



SNUF, ruffianly soldiers.
MERETRIX, their companion.

LOB, clownish countrymen.


THE SCENE: Persia.]


PRAXASPES For one man.


PROOF For one man.

EPILOGUS For one man.

CRUELTIE For one man.

AMBIDEXTER For one man.

QUEENE For one man.

CUPID For one man.

[PROLOGUE] The Prologue entreth. Agathon, he whose counsail wise to princes weale I extended, By good advice unto a prince three things he hath commended:
First is, that he hath government and ruleth over men;
Secondly, to rule with lawes, eke justice, saith he, then;
Thirdly, that he must wel conceive he may not alwaies raigne.
Lo, thus the rule unto a prince Agathon squared plaine!
Tullie the wise, whose sapience in volumes great doth tell,
Who in wisedome in that time did many men excel,--
"A prince," saith he, "is, of himselfe, a plaine and speaking law;
The law, a schoolmaister devine,"--this by his rule I draw.
The sage and wittie Seneca his words therto did frame:
"The honest exercise of kings, men wil insue the same;
But, contrariwise, if that a king abuse his kingly seat,
His ignomie and bitter shame in fine shalbe more great."
In Percia there raignd a king, who Cirus hight by name,
Who did deserve, as I do read, the lasting blast of fame;
But he, when Sisters Three, had wrought to shere his vital threed,
As heire due, to take the crowne Cambises did proceed.
He in his youth was trained up by trace of vertues lore;
Yet, being king, did cleane forget his perfect race before;
Then, cleaving more unto his wil, such vice did immitate
As one of Icarus his kind; forewarning then did hate,
Thinking that none could him dismay, ne none his fact could see.
Yet at the last a fall he tooke, like Icarus to be.
Els, as the fish, which oft had take the pleasant bait from hooke,
In safe did spring and pearce the streams when fisher fast did looke
To hoist up from the watry waves unto the dried land,
Then skapte, at last by suttle bait come to the fishers hand;
Even so this King Cambises heere. When he had wrought his wil,
Taking delight the innocent his guiltlesse blood to spil,
Then mighty Iove would not permit to procecute offence,
But, what mesure the king did meat, the same did love commence,
To bring to end with shame his race, Two yeares he did not raign.
His cruelty we wil relate, and make the matter plaine.
Craving that this may suffice now your patience to win,
I take my way. Beholde, I see the players comming in.



First enter Cambises, the king, Knight,
[Lord], and Councell.
CAMBISES. My Counsaile grave and sapient, with lords of legall traine,
Attentive ears towards me bend, and mark what shalbe sain;
So you likewise, my valiant knight, whose manly acts doth flie
By brute of Fame, that sounding tromp doth perce the azur sky.
5 My sapient words, I say, perpend, and so your skil delate!
You know that Mors vanquished hath Cirus, that king of state,
And I, by due inheritance, possesse that princely crowne,
Ruling by sword of mighty force in place of great renowne.
You knowe, and often have heard tell, my fathers worthy facts,--
10 A manly Marsis , heart he bare, appearing by his acts.
And what? shall I to ground let fall my fathers golden praise?
No, no! I meane for to attempt this same more large to raise.
In that, that I, his sonne, succeed his kingly seat, as due,
Extend your councell unto me in that I aske of you:
15 I am the king of Persia, a large and fertile soile;
The Egyptians against us repugne as varlets slave and vile;
Therefore I mean with Marsis hart with wars them to frequent,
Them to subdue as captives mine,--this is my hearts intent;
So shall I win honors delight, and praise of me shall go.
20 My Councell, speake, and, lordings, eke: is it not best do so?
COUNCELL. O puisant king, your blisful words deserves abundant praise,
That you in this doo go about your fathers fame to raise. O blisful day, that king so yoong such profit should conceive, His fathers praise and his to win from those that wold deceive! 25 Sure, my true and soveraigne king, I fall before you prest,
Answere to give, as dutie mine, in that your Grace request.
If that your heart adicted be the Egyptians to convince,
Through Marsis aid the conquest wun, then deed of hapy prince
Shall pearce the skies unto the throne of the supernal seat,
30 And merite there a iust reward of Iupiter the Great.
But then your Grace must not turne backe from this pretenced will;
For to proceed in vertuous life imploy indevour stil;
Extinguish vice, and in that cup to drinke have no delight;
To martiall feats and kingly sport fix all your whole delight.
35 KING. My Councel grave, a thousand thanks with hart I do you render,
That you my case so prosperous intirely doo tender!
I wil not swerve from those your steps whereto you wold me train.
But now, my lord and valiant knight, with words give answer plain:
Are you content with me to go the Marsis games to try?
40 LORD. Yea, peerelesse prince! To aid your Grace my-selfe wil live and die.
KNIGHT. And I, for my hability, for feare will not turne backe,
But, as the ship against the rocks, sustaine and bide the wracke.
KING. O willing harts! A thousand thanks I render unto you!
Strik up your drums with corage great We wil martch foorth even now!

45 COUNCELL. Permit, O king, few wordes to heer,--my duty serves no Jesse;
Therefore give leave to Councel thine his mind for to expresse!
KING, Speake on, my Councel; what it be, you shal have favor mine.
COUNCELL. Then wil I speake unto your Grace as duty doth me bind.
Your Grace doth meane for to attempt of war the manly art;
50 Your Grace therein may hap receive, with others, for your part,
The dent of death,--in those affaires all persons are alike,
The heart couragious often times his detriment doth seeke:
Its best therefore for to permit a ruler of your land
To sit and iudge with equity when things of right are skand.
55 KING. My Grace doth yeeld to this your talke. To be thus now it shall.
My knight, therefore prepare your-selfe Sisamnes for to call:
A judge he is of prudent skil; even he shal beare the sway
In absence mine, when from the land I do depart my way.
KNIGHT. Your knight before your Grace even heer himself hath redy prest
60 With willing heart for to fulfill as your Grace made request.
Exit [Knight].
COUNCELL. Pleaseth your Grace, I iudge of him to be a man right fit;
For he is learned in the law, having the gift of wit;
In your Graces precinct I do not view for it a meeter man.
His learning is of good effect--bring proofe thereof I can;
65 I doo not know what is his life,--his conscience hid from me;
I dout not but the feare of God before his eies to be.
LORD. Report declares he is a man that to himselfe is nie,
One that favoureth much the world, and sets to much thereby.
But this I say of certainty: If hee your Grace succeed
70 In your absence but for a-while, he wil be warnd indeed
No iniustice for to frequent, no partiall iudge to proove, But rule all things with equitie, to win your Graces love. KING. Of that he shall a warning have my heasts for to obay;
Great punishment for his offence against him will I lay.
[Enter Sisamnes.]
75 COUNCELL. Behold, I see him now agresse and enter into place!
SISAMNES. O puissant prince and mighty king, the gods preserve your Grace!
Your Graces message came to me, your wil purporting forth;
With grateful mind I it receiv'd according to mine oath,
Erecting then my-selfe with speed before your Graces eies,
80 The tenor of your princely wil from you for to agnise.
KING. Sisamnes, this the whole effect the which for you I sent:
Our mind it is to elevate you to great preferment.
My Grace, and gracious Councel eke, hath chose you for this cause,--
In iudgement you do office beare, which have the skil in lawes,
85 We thinke that you accordingly by iustice rule wil deale,
That for offence none shal have cause, of wrong you to appeale.
SISAM, Abundant thankes unto your Grace for this benignity!
To you, his Councel, in like case, with lords of clemency!
What-so your Grace to me permits, if I therein offend,
90 Such execution then commence--and use it to this end--
That all other, by that my deed, example so may take,
To admonish them to flee the same by feare it may them make!
KING. Then, according to your words, if you therein offend,
I assure you, even from my brest correction shall extend.
95 From Persia I meane to go into the Egypt land,
Them to convince by force of armes, and win the upper hand.
While I therefore absent shall be, I doe you full permit,
As governour in this my right, in that estate to sit,
For to detect, and eke correct, those that abuse my grace.
100 This is the totall of my wil. Give answere in this case!
SISAMNES. Unworthy much, O prince, am I, and for this gift unfit;
But, sith that it hath pleasd your Grace that I in it must sit,
I do avouch, unto my death, according to my skil,
With equity for to observe your Graces mind and wil,
105 And nought from it to swarve, indeed, but sincerely to stay--
Els let me tast the penalty, as I before did say.
KING. Wel then, of this authoritie I give you ful possession.
SISAM. And I will it fulfil, also, as I have made profession.
KING. My Councel. then let us depart a final stay to make;
110 To Egypt land now forth with speed my voyage will I take.
Strike up your drums, us to reioyce to hear the warlike sound.
Stay you heere, Sisamnes, iudge, and looke wel to your bound!
Exeunt King, Lord, and Councell.
SISAMNES. Even now the king hath me extold, and set me up aloft;
Now may I weare the bordred guard, and lie in downe-bed soft;
115 Now may I purchase house and land, and have all at my wil;
Now may I build a princely place, my mind for to fulfil;
Now may I abrogate the law as I shall thinke it good; If any-one me now offend, I may demaund his blood. According to the proverhe old, my mouth I wil up-make.
120 Now it doth lie all in my hand to leave, or els to take, To deale with iustice to my bound, and so to live in hope.
But oftentimes the birds be gone while one for nest doth grope.
Doo well or il, I dare avouch some evil on me wil speake.
No, truly--yet I do not meane the kings precepts to breake;
125 To place I meane for to returne my duty to fulfil.
Enter the Vice, [Ambidexter,] with an old capcase on his head,
an olde paile about his hips for harnes, a scummer and a
potlid by his side, and a rake on his shoulder.
AMBIDEXTER. Stand away! stand away! for the passion of God!
Harnessed I am, prepared to the field!
I would have bene content at home to have bod,
But I am sent forth with my speare and shield.
130 I am appointed to fight against a snaile,
And Wilken Wren the ancient shal beare.
I dout not but against him to prevaile,--
To be a man my deeds shall declare!
If I overcome him, then a butter-flie takes his part.
135 His weapon must be a blew-specked hen;
But you shall see me overthrow him with a fart.
So, without conquest, he shal go home againe.
If I overcome him, I must fight with a file;
And a blacke-pudding the flies weapon must be.
140 At the first blow on the ground he shall lie;
I wil be sure to thrust him through the mouth to the knee!
To conquest these fellowes the man I wil play.
Ha, ha, ha! now ye wil make me to smile.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
145 To see if I can all men beguile.
Ha! my name? My name would ye so fame know?
Yea, iwis, shal ye, and that with al speed!-
I have forgot it, therefore I cannot show.
A! a! now I have it! I have it, indeed!
150 My name is Ambidexter. I signifie one
That with both hands finely can play;
Now with King Cambises, and by-and-by gone.
Thus doo I run this way, and that way.
For while I meane with a souldier to be,
155 Then give I a leape to Sisamnes the iudge,--
I dare avouch you shall his destruction see!
To all kinde of estates I meane for to trudge.
Ambidexter? Nay, he is a fellow, if ye knew all!
Cease for a while; heereafter heare more ye shall!
Enter [as if prepared for the war] three ruffins,
Huf, Ruf, and Snuf, singing.
160 HUF. Gogs flesh and his wounds, these warres reioyce my hart!
By His wounds, I hope to doo well, for my part!
By Gogs hart! the world shall goe hard if I doo not shift;
At some olde carIes budget I meane for to lift.

RUF. By His flesh, nose, eyes, and eares,
165 I will venter void of all cares!
He is not a souldier that doth feare any doubt
If that he would bring his purpose about.
SNUF. Fears that feare list, it shall not Be I.
By Gogs wounds, I will make some necke stand awry! 170 If I loose my share, I swears by Gogs hart, Then let another take up my parte! HUF. Yet I hope to come the richest souldier away. RUF. If a man aske ye, ye may hap to say nay.
SNUF. Let all men get what they can, not to leese I hope;
175 Wheresoever I goe, in eche corner I will grope.
AMBIDEXTER. What and ye run in the corner of some prittie maide?
SNUF. To grope there, good fellow, I will not be afraid.
[They spy Ambidexter.]
HUF. Gogs wounds, what art thou that with us doost mel?
Thou seemest to be a souldier, the truth to tel;
180 Thou seemest to be harnessed--I cannot tel how;
I thinke he came lately from riding some cow.
Such a deformed slave did I never see!
Ruf, doost thou know him? I pray thee, tel me!
RUF. No, by my troth, fellow Huf, I never see him before!
185 SNUF. As for me, I care not if I never see him more.
Come, let us run his arse against the poste!
AMBIDEXTER. A, ye slaves! I will be with you at oste!
Ah, ye knaves! I wil teach ye how ye shal me deride!
Heere let him swings them about.
190 Out of my sight! I can ye not abide!
Now, goodman poutchmouth, I am a slave with you?
Now have at ye a-fresh, againe, even now!
Mine arse against the poste you will run?
But I wil make you from that saying to turn!
HUF. I beseech ye hartely to be content.
195 RUF. I insure you, by mine honesty, no hurt we ment.
Beside that, againe, we do not know what ye are.
Ye know that souldiers their stoutnes will declare;
Therefore, if we have any thing offended,
Pardon our rudenes, and it shalbe amended.
200 AMBIDEXTER. Yea, Gods pittie, begin ye to intreat me?
Have at ye once againe! By the masse, I will beat ye!
Fight againe.
HUF. Gogs hart, let us kill him! Suffer no longer!
Draw their swords.
SNUF. Thou slave, we will see if thou be the stronger!
RUF. Strike of his head at one blow!
205 That we be souldiers, Gogs hart, let him know!
AMBIDEXTER. O the passion of God, I have doon! by mine honestie!
I will take your part heerafter, verily.
ALL. Then come, let us agree!
AMBIDEXTER. Shake hands with me, I shake hands with thee.
210 Ye are full of curtesie, that is the best.
And you take great paine, ye are a mannerly guest.
Why, maisters, doo you not know me? the truth to me tel!
ALL. No, trust us; not very well.
AMBIDEXTER. Why, I am Ambidexter, who[m] many souldiers doo love.
215 HUF. Gogs hart, to have thy company needs we must prove!
We must play with both hands, with our hostes and host,
Play with beth hands, and score on the poste; I
Now and then, with our captain, for many a delay,
We wil not sticke with both hands to play.
220 AMBIDEXTER. The honester man, ye may me trust!
Enter Meretrix, with a staffe on her shoulder.
MERETRIX. What! is there no lads heere that hath a lust
To have a passing trul to help at their need?
HUF. Gogs hart, she is come, indeed!
What, Mistres Meretrix, by His wounds, welcome to me!
225 MERETRIX. What wil ye give me? I pray you, let me see.
RUF. By His hart, she lookes for gifts by-and-by!
MERETRIX. What? Maister Ruf? I cry you mercy!
The last time I was with you I got a broken head,
And lay in the street all night for want of a bed!
230 SNUF. Gogs wounds, kisse me, my trullso white!
In thee, I sweare, is all my delight!
If thou shouldst have had a broken head for my sake,
I would have made his head to ake!
MERETRIX. What? Maister Ambidexter? Who looked for you?
235 AMBIDEXTER. Mistres Meretrix, I thought not to see you heere now.
There is no remedy,--at meeting I must have a kisse!
MERETRIX. What, man, I wil not sticke for that, by Gisse!
AMBIDEXTER. Go now, gramercy! I pray thee he gone!
MERETRIX. Nay, soft, my freend; I meane to have one!
[She kisses him.]
240 Nay, soft! I sweare, and if ye were my brother,
Before I let go, I wil have another!
Kisse, kisse, kisse.
RUF. Gogs hart, the whore would not kisse me yet!
MERETRIX. If I be a whore, thou art a knave; then it is quit!
HUF. But hearst thou, Meretrix? With who this night wilt thou lye?
245 MERETRIX. With him that giveth the most money.
HUF. Gogs hart, I have no money in purse, ne yet in clout!
MERETRIX. Then get thee hence and packe, like a lout!
HUT. Adieu, like a whore!
Exit Huf.
MERETRIX.. Farwell, like a knave!
RUF. Gogs nailes, Mistres Meretrix, now he is gone,
250 A match ye shall make straight with me:
I wil give thee sixpence to lye one night with thee.
MERETRIX. Gogs hart, slave, doost thinke I am a sixpeny iug?
No, wis ye, lack, I looke a little more smug!
SNUF. I will give her xviii pence to serve me first.
255 MEL. Gramercy, Snuf, thou art not the wiirst!
RUF. By Gogs hart, she werc better be hanged, to forsake me and take thee!
SNUF. Were she so? that shall we see!
RUF. By Gogs hart, my dagger into her I will thrust!
SNUF. A, ye boy, ye would doo it and ye durst!
260 AMBIDEXTER. Peace, my maisters; ye shall not fight.
He that drawes first, I will him smite.
RUF. Gogs wounds, Maister Snuf, are ye so lusty?
SNUF. Gogs sides, Maister Ruf, are ye so crusty?
RUF. You may happen to see!
265 SNUF. Doo what thou darest to me?
Heer draw and fight. Heere she must lay on and coyle
them both; the Vice must run his way for feare; Snuf
fling down his suerd and buckler and run his way.
MERETRIX. Gogs sides, knaves! seeing to fight ye be so rough,
Defend yourselves, for I will give ye both inough!
I will teach ye how ye shall fall out for me!
Yea, thou slave, Snuf! no more blowes wilt thou bide?
270 To take thy heeles a time hast thou spied?
Thou villains, seeing Snuf has gone away,
A little better I means thee to pay!
He falleth doune; she falleth upon him, and beats him,
and taketh away his weapons.
RUF. Alas, good Mistres Meretrix, no more!
My legs, sides, and armes with beating be sore!
275 MERETRIX. Thou a souldier, and loose thy weapon!
Goe hence, sir boy; say a woman hath thee beaten?
RUF. Good Mistres Meretrix, my weapon let me have;
Take pittie on me, mine honestie to save!
If it be knowne this repulse I sustaine,
280 It will redound to my ignomy and shame.
MERETRIX. If thou wilt be my man, and waite upon me,
This sword and buckler I wil give thee.
RUF. I will doo all at your commaundement;
As servant to you I wilbe obedient.
285 MERETRIX. Then let me see how before me you can goe.
When I speake to you, you shall doo so:
Of with your cap at place and at beord,--
Forsooth, Mistres Meretrix," at every word.
Tut! tut! in the campe such souldiers there be,
290 One good woman would beat away two or three!
Wel, I am sure customers tarry at home.
Manerly before, and let us be gone! Exeunt [with Ruf walking in advance as a gentleman usher].
Enter Ambidexter.
AMBIDEXTER. O the passion of God! be they bee! still or no?
I durst not abide to see her beat them so!
295 I may say to you I was in such a fright,
Body of me, I see the heare of my head stand upright!
When I saw her so hard upon them lay on,
O the passion of God! thought I, she wil he with me anon!
I made no more adoo but avoided the thrust,
300 And to my legs began for to trust; And fell a-laughing to my-selfe, when I was once gone. It is wisdome, quoth I, by the masse, to save one! Then into this place I intended to trudge, Thinking to meete Sisamnes the iudge. 305 Beholde where he commeth! I will him meet,
And like a gentleman I meane him to greet.
Enter Sisamnes.
SISAMNES. Since that the Kings Graces Maiestie in office did me set,
What abundance of wealth to me might I get!
Now and then some vantage I atchive; much more yet may I take,
310 But that I fear unto the king that some complaint will make.
AMBIDEXTER. Iesu, Maister Sisamnes, you are unwise!
SISAMNES. Why so? I pray thee let me agnise.
What, Master Ambidexter, is it you?
Now welcome to me, I make God a-vow!
315 AMBIDEXTER. Iesu, Maister Sisamnes, with me you are wel acquainted!
By me rulers may be trimly painted.
Ye are unwise if ye take not time while ye may;
If ye wil not now, when ye would ye shall have nay.
What is he that of you dare make exclamation,
320 Of your wrong-dealing to make explica tion?
Can you not play with both hands? and turn with the winde?
SISAMNES. Beleeve me, your words draw deepe in my minde.
In collour wise unto this day, to bribes I have inclined;
More the same for to frequent, of truth I am now minded.
325 Beholde, even now unto me suters doo proceed.
[Enter Small Habilitie.]
SMALL HABILITIE. I beseech you heer, good Maister Iudge, a poor mans cause to tender!
Condemne me not in wrongful! wise that never was offender.
You know right we! my right it is. I have not for to give.
You take away from me my due, that should my corps releeve.
330 The commons of you doo complaine from them you devocate;
With anguish great and grevos words their harts do penetrate;
The right you sell unto the wrong, your private gain to win;
You violate the simple man, and count it for no sinne.
SISAMNES. Hold thy tung, thou pratling knave! and give to me reward,
335 Els, in this wise, I tell thee truth, thy tale wil not be heard.
Ambidexter, let us goe hence, and let the knave alone!
AMBIDEXTER. Farwell, Small Habilitie, for helps now get you none;
Bribes hath corrupt him good lawes to polute.
Exeunt [Sisamnes and Ambidexter].
SMALL HABILITIE. A naughty man, that will not obay the kings constitute!
340 With hevy hart I wil return, til God re dresse my pain.
Enter Shame, with a trump blacke, [sounding a blast].
SHAME. From among the grisly ghosts I come, from tirants testy train.
Unseemely Shame, of sooth, I am, procured to make plaine
The odious facts and shameles deeds that Cambises king doth use.
All pietie and vertuous life he doth it cleans refuse;
345 Lechery and drunkennes be doth it much frequent;
The tigers kinde to imitate he hath given full consent;
He nought esteems his Counsel grave us vertuous bringing-up,
But dayly stil receives the drink of damned Vices cup;
He can bide no instruction, he takes so great delight
350 In working of iniquitie for to frequent his spight.
As Fame doth sound the royal trump of worthy men and trim,
So Shame doth blow with strained blast the trump of shame on him.
Exit [blowing the trum pot].
Enter the King, Lord, Praraspos, and Sisamnes.
KING. My ludge, since my departure hence, have you used iudgement right?
If faithful steward I ye finde, the same I wil requite.
355 SISAMNES. No doubt your Grace shal not once hear that I have done amis.
PRAXASPES. I much reioyce to heare so good newes as this.
Enter Commons Cry, running in, speake this eerse; and goe out againe hastily.
COMMONS CRY. Alas! alas! how are the commons oppressed
By that vile iudge, Sisamnes by name!
I doo not know how it should be redressed!
360 To amend his life no whit he dooth frame.
We are undoone and thrown out of doore,
His damnable dealing dooth us so torment!
At his hand we can finde no releefe nor succour.
God graunt him grace for to repent!
Run away crying.
365 KING. What doleful cries be these, my l[ord], that sound do in mine eare?
Intelligence if you can give, unto your king declare.
To me it seemeth my commons al they doo lament and cry
Out of Sisamnes, iudge most cheefe, even now standing us by.
PRAXASPES. Even so, O king, it seemd to me, as you rehearsall made.
370 I doubt the iudge culpable be in some respect or trade.
SISAMNES. Redouted king, have no mistrust!
No whit your minde dismay!
There is not one that can me charge, or ought against me lay. Enter Commons Complaint, with Proofe and Triall
COMMONS COMPLAINT. Commons Complaint I represent, with thrall of dolfull state.
My urgent cause erected foorth my greefe for to dilate.
375 Unto the king I wil prepare my miserie to tell,
To have releefe of this my greefe and fettered feet so fel.
[Kneels hefore Cambises.]
Redoubted prince and mighty king, myself I prostrat heere!
Vouchsafe, O king, with me to beare for this that I appeere!
With humble sute I pardon crave of your most Royall Grace,
380 To give me leave my minde to break befors you in this place.
KING. Commons Complaint, keep nothing back! Fear not thy tale to tel.
What-ere he be within this land that hath not used thee wel,
As princes mouth shal sentence give, he shal receive the same.
Unfolde the secrets of thy brest, for I extinguish blame.
385 COMMONS COMPLAINT. God preserve your Royall Grace, and send you blisfull daies,
That all your deeds might stil accord to give the god[s] the praise!
My complaint is, O mighty king, against that iudge you by,
Whose careles deeds, gain to receive, hath made the commons cry.
He, by taking bribes and gifts, the poore he doth oppresse,
390 Taking releefe from infants yong, widows, and fatherles.
KING [to Sisamnes]. Untrustfull traitor and corrupt iudge, how likest thou this complaint?
Forewarning I to thee did give of this to make restraint.
And hast thou doon this divelish deed mine ire for to augment?

I sentence give, thou ludas iudge. Thou shalt thy deed repent!
395 SISAMNES. O pusant prince, it is not so! His complaint I deny.
COMMONS COMPLAINT. If it be not so, most mighty king, in place then let me dye! Behold that I have brought with me both Proof and Triall true,
To stand even heere, and sentence give what by him did insue.
PROOF. I, Proof, do him in this appeal: he did the commons wrong;
400 Uniustly he with them hath delt, his greedy was so strong;
ais hart did covet in to get, he cared not which way;
The poor did leese their due and right, because they want to pay
Unto him for bribes, indeed,--this was his wanted use;
Whereas your Grace good lawes did make, he did the same abuse.
405 TRIALL. I, Triall, heer to verifie what Proof dooth now unfolde,
To stand against him in his wrong, as now I dare be bolde.
KING. How likest thou this, thou caitive vile? Canst thou the same deny?
SISAMNES. O noble king, forgive my fact!' I yeeld to thy mercy.
KING. Complaint and Proof, redresse will I all this your misery.
410 Depart with speed from whence you came; and straight commaund by me
The execution-man to come before my Grace with haste.
ALL. For to fulfill this your request no time we meane to waste.
KING. My lord, before my Grace goe call Otian, this iudges sonne,
And he shal heare and also see what his father hath doon.
415 The father he shal suffer death, the sonne his roome succeed;
And, if that he no better prove, so likewise shall he speed.
PRAXASPES. As your Grace hath commaundment given, I mean for to fulfil.
Step aside and fetch him.
KING. Accursed iudge, couldst thou consent to do this cursed ill?
According unto thy demaund, thou shalt, for this thy gilt,
420 Receive thy death before mine eyes. Thy blood it shalbe spilt.
[Re-nter Praxispes bringing in Otian.]
PRAXASPES. Beholde, O king, Sisamnes sonne before you doth appere.
KING. Otian, this is my minde, therefore to me come neere:
Thy father heer for iudgment wrong procured hath his death,
And thou, his son, shalt him succeed when he hath lost his breth;
425 And, if that thou dost once offend, as thou seest thy father have,
In like wise thou shalt suffer death No mercy shal thee save!
OTIAN. O mighty king, vouchsafe your grace my father to remit.
Forgive his fault. His pardon I doo aske of you as yet.
Alas! although my father hath your princely hart offended,
430 Amends for misse he wil now make, and faults shalbe amended.
In-stead of his requested life, pleaseth your Grace take mine!
This offer I as tender childe, so duty doth me binde.
KING. Doo not intreat my grace no more, for he shal dye the death!
Where is the execution-man him to bereave of breath?
Enter Execution.
Exeunt they three.
435 EXECUTION. At hand, and if it like your Grace, my duty to dispatch,
In hope that I, when deede is doone, a good reward shall catch.
KING. Dispatch with sword this iudges life; extinguish fear and cares:
So doon, draw thou his cursed skin strait over both his eares.
I wil see the office done, and that before mine eyes.
440 EXECUTION. To doo the thing my king commaunds I give the enterprise.
SISAMNES. Otian, my sonne, the king to death by law hath me condemned,
And you in roome and office mine his Graces wil hath placed;
Use iustie, therefore, in this ease, and yeeld unto no wrong,
Lest thou do purchase the like death ere ever it be long.
445 OTIAN. O father deer, these words to hear,--that you must dye by force,--
Bedews my cheeks with stilled teares. The king hath no remorce.
The greevous greefes and strained sighes my hart doth breake in twaine,
And I deplore, most woful childe, that I should see you slaine.
O false and fickle frowning dame, that turneth as the winde,
450 Is this the ioy in fathers age thou me as signest to finde?
O dolefull day, unhappy houre, that loving childe should see
His father deer before his face thus put to death should be!
Yet, father, give me blessing thine, and let me once imbrace
Thy comely corps in foulded arms, and kisse thy ancient face
455 SISAMNES. O childe, thou makes my eyes to run, as rivers doo, by streame.
My leave I take of thee, my sonne. Be-ware of this my beame!
KING. Dispatch even now, thou man of death; no longer seem to stay!
EXECUTION. Come, M[aster] Sisamnes, come on your way.
My office I must pay; forgive therefore my deed.
460 SISAMNES. I doo forgive it thee, my freend; dispatch therefore with speed!
Smite him in the neck with a sword to signifie his death.
PRAXASPES. Beholde, O king, how he dooth bleed, being of life bereft!
KING. In this wise he shall not yet be left.
Pull his skin over his eares to make his death more vile.
A wretch he was, a cruell theefe, my commons to beguile!
Flea him with a faise skin.
465 OTIAN. What childe is he of natures mould could bide the same to see,--
His father fleaed in this wise? Oh, how it greeveth me!
KING. Otian thou seest thy father dead, and thou art in his roome:
If thou beest proud, as he hath beene, even thereto shalt thou come.
OTIAN. O king, to me this is a glasse: with greefe in it I view
470 Example that unto your Grace I doo not prove untrue.
PRAXASPES. Otian, convay your father hence to tomb where he shall lye.
OTIAN. And if it please your lordship, it shall be done by-and-by.
Good execution-man, for need, helpe me with him away.
ExIle. I wil fulfill, as you to me did say. They take him away.
475 KING. My l[ord], now that my Grace hath seen that finisht is this deed,
To question mine give tentive care, and answere make with speed:
Have not I doon a gratious deed, to redresse my commons woe?
PRAXASPES. Yea, truly, if it please your Grace, you have indeed doon so.
But now, O king, in freendly wise I councel you in this,--
480 Certain vices for to leave that in you placed is:
The vice of drunkennes, Oh king, which doth you sore infect,
With other great abuses, which I wish you to detect.
KING. Peace, my lord! What needeth this? Of this I will not heare!
To pallace now I will returne, and thereto make good cheere.
485 God Baccus he bestows his gifts, we have good store of wine,
And also that the ladies be both passing brave and fine.
But stay! I see a lord now come, and eke a valiant knight.
What news, my lord? To see you heer my hart it doth delight.
Enter Lord and Knight to meet the King.
LORD. No news, O king; but of duty come to wait upon your Grace.
490 KING. I thank you, my l[ord] and loving knight. I pray you with me trace.'
My lords and knight, I pray ye tel,--I wil not be offended,
Am I worthy of any crime once to be reprehended?
PRAXASPES. The Persians much doo praise your Grace, but one thing discommend,
In that to wine subiect you be, wherein you doo offend.
495 Sith that the might of wines effect doth oft subdue your brain,
My counsel is, to please their harts from it you would refrain.
LORD [to Praxaspss]. No, no, my lord! it is not so! For this of prince they tel,
For vertuous proofe and princely facts Cirus he doth excel.
By that his Grace by conquest great the Egiptians did convince,
500 Of him report abroad doth passe to be a worthy prince.
KNIGHT. In person of Cresus I answer make: we may not his Grace compare
In whole respect for to be like Cirus, the kings father,
In-so-much your Grace hath yet no childe as Cirus left behinde,
Even you I meane, Cambises king, in whom I favour finde.
505 KING. Cresus said well in saying so. But, Praxaspes, tel me why
That to my mouth in such a sort thou should avouch a lye,
Of drunkenes me thus to charge! But thou with speed shalt see
Whether that I a sober king or els a drunkard be.
I know thou hast a blisfull babe, wherein thou doost delight;
510 Me to revenge of these thy words I wil go wreke this spight:
When I the most have tasted wine, my bow it shalbe bent,--
At hart of him even then to shoote is now my whole intent;
And, if that I his hart can hit, the king no drunkard is;
If hart of his I doo not kill, I yeeld to thee in this.
515 Therefore, Praxaspes, fetch to me thy yongest son with speed.
There is no way, I tell thee plaine, but I wil doo this deed!
PRAXASPES. Redoubted prince, spare my sweet childe. He is mine only ioy!
I trust your Grace to infants hart no such thing will imploy.
If that his mother hear of this, she is so nigh her flight,
520 In clay her corps wil soone be shrinde to passe from worlds delight.
KING. No more adoe! Go fetch me him! It shalbe as I say.
And if that I doo speak the word, how dare ye once say nay?
PRAXASPES. I wil go fetch him to your Grace; but so, I trust, it shall not be!
KING. For feare of my displeasure great, goe fetch him unto me.
[Exit Praxaspes.]
525 Is he gone? Now, by the gods, I will doe aslsay!
My lord, therefore fill me some wine, I hartely you pray;
For I must drinke to make my braine somwhat intoxicate.
When that the wine is in my head, O, trimly I can prate!
LOan. Heere is the cup, with filled wine, thereof to take repast.
530 KING. Give it me to drinke it off, and see no wine be wast.
Once againe inlarge this cup, for I must tast it stil.
Drink. By the gods, I think of plesant wine I cannot take my fill! Now drink is in, give me my bow and arrows from sir knight; At hart of childe I meane to shoot, hoping to cleve it right. 535 KNIGHT. Behold, O king, where he doth come, his infant yong in hand.
[Re-nter Praxaspes, leading in the Child.]
PRAXASPES. O mighty king, your Grace behest with sorrow I have scand,
And brought my childe fro anothers knee before you to appeer,
And she thereof no whit doth know that he in place is heer.
KING. Set him up, my marke to be! I will shoot at his hart.
540 PRAXASPES. I beseech your Grace not so to doo! Set this pretence a-part!
Farewel, my deer and loving babe! Come, kisse thy father deer!
A greevous sight to me it is to see thee slaine even heere.
Is this the game now from the king for giving councell good,--
Before my face with such despight to spil my sons hart-blood?
545 O heavy day to me this is, and mother in like case!
YONG CHILDE. O father, father, wipe your face;
I see the teares run from your eye.
My mother is at home sowing of a band. Alas! deere father, why doo you cry? 550 KING. Before me as a mark now let him stand! I wil shoot at him my minde to fulfill. YONG CHILDE. Alas, alas, father, wil you me kill?
Good Master king, doo not shoot at me; my mother loves me best of all.
KING. I have despatched him! Down he doth fall!
555 As right as a line his hart I have hit.
Nay, thou shalt see, Praxaspes, stranger newes yet.

My knight, with speed his hart cut out and give it unto me.
KNIGHT. It shalbe doon, O mighty king, with all seleritie.
LORD. My lord Praxaspes, this had not been but your tung must be walking!
560 To the king of correction you must needs be talking!
PRAXASPES. No correction, my lord, but councel for the best.
[The knight presents the child's heart to the king.]
KNIGHT. Heere is the hart, according to your Graces behest.
KING. Beholde, Praxaspes, thy sonnes owne hart! O, how well the same was hit!
After this wine to doo this deed I thought it very fit.
565 Esteem thou maist right well therby no drunkard is the king
That in the midst of all his cups could doo this valiant thing.
My lord and knight, on me attend; to pallace we will goe,
And leave him heer to take his son when we are gone him fro.
ALL. With al our harts we give consent to wait upon your Grace.
[Exeunt all except Praxaspes.]
570 PRAXASPES. A wofull man, O Lord, am I, to see him in this case!
My daies, I deem, desires their end. This deed wil help me hence.
To have the blossoms of my feeld destroyed by violence!
Enter Mother.
[MOTHER.] Alas, alas! I doo heare tell the king hath kild my sonne!
If it be so, wo worth the deed that ever it was doone!
575 It is even so! My lord I see, how by him he dooth weepe.
What ment I, that from hands of him this childe I did not keepe?
Alas! husband and lord, what did you meane to fetch this childe away?
PRAXASPES. O lady wife, I little thought for to have seene this day.

MOTHER. O blisful babe! O ioy of womb! Harts comfort and delight!
580 For councel given unto the king is this thy iust requite?
O hevy day and dolefull time, these mourning tunes to make!
With blubred eies, into mine armes from earth I wil thee take,
And wrap thee in mine apron white. But, oh my heavy hart!
The spiteful pangs that it sustains wold make it in two to part,
585 The death of this my sonne to see! O hevy mother now,
That from thy sweet and sugred by to sorrow so shouldst bow!
What greef in womb did I retain before I did thee see!
Yet at the last, when smart was gone, what ioy wert thou to me!
How tender was I of thy food, for to preserve thy state!
590 How stilled I thy tender hart at times early and late!
With velvet paps I gave thee suck with issue from my brest,
And danced thee upon my knee to bring thee unto rest.
Is this the ioy of thee I reap? O king, of tigers brood!
Oh tigers whelp, hadst thou the hart to see this childs hart-blood?
595 Nature inforseth me, alas! in this wise to deplore,
To wring my hands. O welaway, that I should see this houre!
Thy mother yet wil kisse thy lips, silk-soft, and pleasant white,
With wringing hands lamenting for to see thee in this plight!
My lording deer, let us goe home our mourning to augment.
600 PRAXASPES. My lady deer, with heavy hart to it I doo consent,
Between us both the childe to here unto our lordly place.
Exeunt [bearing the body].
Enter Ambidexter. [He addresses the audience.]
AMBIDEXTER. Indeed, as ye say, I have been absent a long space.

But is not my cosin Cutpurse with you in the meane-time? To it! to it, cosin, and doo your office fine! 605 How like you Sisamnes for using of me?
He plaid with both hands, but he sped il-favourdly! The king himselfe was godly up trained; He professed vertue--but I think it was fained.
He plaies with both hands, good deeds and ill;
610 But it was no good deed Praxaspes sonne for to kill.
As he for the good deed on the iudge was commended,
For all his deeds els he is reprehended.
The most evill-disposed person that ever was
All the state of his life he would not let passe--
615 Some good deeds he will doo, though they be but few:
The like things this tirant Cambises doth shew.
No goodnes from him to none is exhibited,
But still malediction abroad is distributed;
And yet ye shall see in the rest of his race
620 What infamy he will work against his owne grace.
Whist! no more words! heere comes the kings brother.
Enter Lord Smirdis, with Atteaditnos and Diligence.
SMIRDIS. The kings hrother by birth am I, issued from Cirus loynes;
A greefe to me it is to heare of this the king repines.
I like not well of those his deeds that he dooth still frequent;
625 I wish to God that other waies his minde he could content.
Yong I am, and next to him; no moe of us there be.
I would be glad a quiet realme in this his reign to see.
ATTENDANCE. My lord, your good a[nd] willing hart the gods wil recompence,
In that your minde so pensive is for those his great offence. 630 My lord, his Grace shall have a time to paire and to amend. Happy is he that can escape and not his Grace offend.
DILIGENCE. If that wicked vice he could refraine, from wasting wine forbere,
A moderate life he would frequent, amending this his square.
AMBIDEXTER. My lord, and if your Honor it shall please,
635 I can informe you what is best for your ease:
Let him alone, of his deeds doo not talke,
Then by his side ye may quietly walke;
After his death you shal be king,
Then may you reforme eche kinde of thing;
640 In the meane-time live quietly, doo not with him deale;
So shall it redound much to your weale.
SMIRDIS. Thou saist true, my freend; that is the best.
I know not whether he love me or doo me detest.
ATTENDANCE. Leane from his company all that you may.
645 I, faithfull Attendance, wil your Honor obay;
If against your Honor he take any ire,
His Grace is as like to kindle his fire
To your Honors destruction as otherwise.
DILIGENCE. Therefore, my lord, take good advise,
650 And I, Diligence, your case wil so tender
That to his Grace your Honor shalbe none offender.
SMIRDIS. I thank you both, intire freends.
With my Honor stil remaine.
AMBIDEXTER. Beholde where the king doth come with his train!
Enter King, and a Lord.
KING. O lording deer and brother mine, I ioy your state to see,
655 Surmising much what is the cause you absent thus from me.
SMIRDIS. Pleaseth your Grace, no absence I, but redy to fulfill,
At all assaies, my prince and king, in that your Grace me will.
What I can doo in true defence to you, my prince, aright,

In readines I alwaies am to offer foorth my might.
660 KING. And I the like to you againe doo heer avouch the same.
ALL. For this your good agreement heer, now praised be Gods name!
AMBIDEXTER. [to Smirdis]. But heare ye, noble prince; harke in your eare:
It is best to doo as I did declare.
KING. My lord and brother Smirdis, now this is my minde and will:
665 That you to court of mine returne, and there to tary still
Till my returne within short space your Honor for to greet.
SMIRDIS. At your behest so wil I doo till time againe we meet.
My leave I take from you, O king; even now I doo departe.
Exeunt Smirdis, Attendance and Diligence.
KING. Farwel, lord and brother mine! farwel with all my hart!
670 My lord, my brother Smerdis is of youth and manly might,
And in his sweet and pleasant face my hart doth take delight.
LORD. Yea, noble prince, if that your Grace before his Honor dye,
He wil succeede, a vertuous king, and rule with equitie.
KING. As you have said, my lord, he is cheefe heire next my Grace,
675 And, if I dye to-morrow, next he shall succeed my place.
AMBIDEXTER. And if it please your Grace, O king, I heard him say,
For your death unto the god[s] day and night he did pray;
He would live so vertuously and get him such a praise
That Fame by truimp his due deserts in honor should upraise;
680 He said your Grace deserved had the cursing of all men;
That ye should never after him get any praise againe.
KING. Did he speake thus of my Grace in such despightful wise?
Or els doost thou presume to fill my princely eares with lyes?
LORD. I cannot think it in my hart that he would report so. 685 KING. How saist thou? Speake the truth: was it so or no?
AMBIDEXTER. I thinke so, if it please your Grace, but I cannot tell. KING. Thou plaist with both hands, now I perceive well!
But, for to put al doubts aside, and to make him leese his hope,
He shall dye by dint of swoord or els by choking rope.
690 Shall he succeed when I am gone, to have more praise then I?
Were he father, as brother, mine, I swere that he shal dye!
To pallaice mine I will therefore, his death for to pursue.
Exit [King with the Lord].
AMBIDEXTER. Are ye gone? Straightway I will follow you.
[Turning to the audience.]
How like ye now, my maisters? Dooth not this geere cotten?
695 The proverbe olde is verified: "soone ripe, and soone rotten!"
He wil not be quiet til his brother be kild;
His delight is wholly to have his blood spild.
Mary, sir, I tolde him a notable lye!
If it were to doo againe, I durst [not] doo it, I!
700 Mary, when I had doon, to it I durst not stand;
Thereby ye may perceive I use to play with eche hand.
But how now, cosin Cutpursse, with whom play you?
Take heed, for his hand is groping even now!
Cosin, take heed, if you doo secretly grope;
705 If ye be taken, cosin, ye must looke through a rope.
Enter Lord Smirdie alone.
[SMIRDIS] I am wandring alone, heere and there to walke;
The Court is so unquiet, in it I take no ioy. Solitary to my-selfe now I may talke. If I could rule, I wist what to say.
Enter Cruelty and Murder acith bloody hands.
710 CRUELTY. My coequall partner, Murder, come away;
From me long thou maist not stay.
MURDER. Yes, from thee I may stay, but not thou from me;
Therefore I have a prerogative above thee.
CRUELTY. But in this case we must togither abide.
Come, come! Lord Smirdis I have spide.
715 Lay hands on him with all festination,
That on him we may worke our indignation!
[They lay hands upon him.]
SMIRDIS. How now, my freends? What have you to doo with me?
MURDER. King Cambises hath sent us unto thee,
720 Commaunding us straightly, without mercy or favour,
Upon thee to bestow our behaviour,
With cruelty to murder you and make you away.
SMIRDIS. Yet pardon me, I hartely you pray!
Consider, the king is a tirant tirannious,
725 And all his dooings be damnable and parnitious:
Favour me therfore; I did him never offend.
CRUELTY. No favour at all! Your life is at an end!
Even now I strike, his body to wound.
Strike him in divers places.
Beholde, now his blood springs out on the ground!
A little bladder of vineger prickt.
730 MURDER. Now he is dead, let us present him to the king.
CRUELTY. Lay to your hand, away him to, bring.
Exeunt (bearing the body].
Enter Ambidexter. AMBIDEXTER. O the passion of God, yonder is a hevy Court! Some weepes, some wailes--and some make great sport.
Lord Smirdis by Cruelty and Murder is slaine;
735 But, lesus! for want of him how some doo complaine!
If I should have had a thousand pound I could not forbeare weeping.
Now Iesus have his blessed soule in keeing!
Ah good Lord! to think on him, how it dooth me greeve!
I cannot forbeare weeping, ye may me beleeve.
740 O my hart! how my pulses doo beate,
With sorrowfull lamentations I am in such a heate!
Ah, my hart, how for him it doth sorrow!
[He begins to laugh.]
Nay, I have done, in faith, now. And God give ye good morrow!
Ha, ha! Weep? Nay, laugh, with both hands to play!
745 The king through his cruelty hath made him away;
But hath not he wrought a most wicked deed,
Because king after him he should not proceed,--
His owne naturall brother, and having no more,
To procure his death by violence sore?
750 In spight, because his brother should never be king,
His hart, being wicked, consented to this thing.
Now he hath no more brothers nor kinred alive.
If the king use this geere still, he cannot long thrive.
Enter Hob and Lob.
HOB. Gods hat, neighbour, come away! Its time to market to goe!
755 LOB. Gods vast , naybor, zay ye zo? The clock hath stricken vive, ich think, by Laken! Bum vay, vrom sleep cham not very well waken!
But, naybor Hob, naybor Hob, what have ye to zel?
HOB. Bum troth, naybor Lob, to you I chil tel:
760 Chave two goslings, and a chine of porke
There is no vatter between this and Yorke;--
Chave a pot of strawberies, and a calves head
A zennight zince, to-morrow, it hath been dead.
LOB. Chave a score of egges, and of butter a pound;
765 Yesterday a nest of goodly yong rabits I vound;
Chave vorty things mo, of more and of lesse,--
My brain is not very good them to expresse.
But, Gods hat, naybor, wotst what?
HOB. No, not wel, naybor; whats that?
770 LOB. Bum vay, naybor, maister king is a zhrode lad!
Zo God help me, and holidam, I think the vool be mad!
Zome zay he deale cruelly: his brother he did kill,
And also a goodly yung lads hart-blood he did spill.
HOB. Vorbod of God, naybor! Has he plaid zuch a volish deed?
775 AMBIDEXTER. Goodman Rob and goodman Lob, God be your speed!
As you two towards market doo walke,
Of the kings cruelty I did heare you talke:
I insure you he is a king most vile and parnitious,--
His dooings and life are odious and vicious.
780 LOB. It were a good deed zomehody would break his head.
HOB. Bum vay, naybor Lob, I chuld he were dead!
AMBIDEXTER. So would I, Lob and Hob, with all my hart! [To the audience] Now with both hands will you see me play my parte.--
A, ye whorson traitorly knaves,
785 Hob and Lob, out upon you, slaves!
LOB. And thou calst me knave, thou art another!
My name is Lob, and Hob my next naybor.
AMBIDEXTER. Hob and Lob! a, ye cuntry patches!
A, ye fooles! ye have made wrong matches!
790 Ye have spoken treason against the kings Grace!
For it I will accuse ye before his face;
Then for the same ye shalbe martered.
At the least ye shalbe hangd, drawne, and quartered!
Hon. O gentleman, ye shal have two
peare-pyes, and tel not of me!
795 LOB. By God, a vat gooce chil give thee.
I think no hurt, by my vathers soule I zweare!
HOB. Chave lived wel all my life-time, my naybors among;
And now chuld be loth to come to zuch wrong--
To be hanged and quartered--the greefe would be great!
800 LOB. A foule evil on thee, Hob! Who bid thee on it treat?
Vor it was thou that first did him name.
HOB. Thou lyest like a varlet and thou zaist the zame!
It was zuch a foolish Lob as thou.
LOB. Speak many words, and, by Cods nailes I vow,
805 Upon thy pate my staffe I will lay!
AMBIDEXTER. [aside]. By the masse, I will cause
them to make a fray.--
Yea, Lob, thou saist true: all came ibrough him.
LOB. Bum vay, thou Hob, a little would make me thee trim!
Give thee a zwap on thy nose till thy hart ake!
810 HOB. If thou darest, doo it! Els, man, cry creke!
I trust, before thou hurt me,
With my staffe chil make a Lob of thee!
Heer let them fight with their staves, not come neer
an-other by three or foure yardes; the Vice set them
on as hard as he can; one of their wives come out, and
all to-beat the Vice; he run away.
Enter Marian-may-be-good, Hobs wife, running in with
a broome, and parte them.
MARIAN. O the body of me! husband Hob, what meane ye to fight?
For the passion of God, no more blowes smite!
815 Neighbours and freends so long, and now to fallout?
What! in your age to seeme so stout?
If I had not parted ye, one had kild another.
LOB. I had not cared, I swere by Gods Mother!
MARIAN. Shake hands againe at the request of me;
820 As ye have been freends, so freends still be.
HOB. Bum troth, cham content and zaist word, neighbour Lob.
LOB. I am content; agreed, neighbor Hob!
Shake hands and laugh hartily one at another.
MARIAN. So, get you to market; no longer stay.
And with yonder knave let me make a fray.
825 HOB. Content, wife Marian; chill doo as thou doost say.
But busse me, ich pray thee, at going away!
Exeunt Hob, Lob.
MARIAN. Thou whorson knave, and prickeard boy, why didst thou let them fight?
If one had kild another heer, couldst thou their deaths requite?
830 It beares a signe by this thy deed a cowardly knave thou art,
Els wouldst thou draw that weapon thine, like a man, them to parte.
AMBIDEXTER. What, Marian-may-be-good, are you come prattling?
Ye may hap get a box on the eare with you talking!
If they had kild one another, I had not cared a pease.
Heer let her swinge him in her brome; she gets him
down, and he her down,--thus one on the top of another
make pastime.
MARIAN. A, villain! my-selfe on thee I must ease!
835 Give me a box on the eare? that will I try.
Who shalbe maister, thou shalt see by-and-by!
AMBIDEXTER. O, no more! no more, I beseech you hartily!
Even now I yeeld, and give you the maistry.
Run his way out while she is down.
MARIAN. A, thou knave! doost thou throw me down and run thy way?
840 If he were heere againe, oh, how I would him pay!
I will after him; and, if I can him meet,
With these my nailes his face I wil greet.
Enter Venus leading out her sonne, Cupid blinde: he must have a bow and two shafts, one headed with golde and th'other headed with lead.
VENUS. Come foorth, my sonne. Unto my words attentive eares resigne;
What I pretend, see you frequent, to force this game of mine.
845 The king a kinswoman hath, adornd with beauty store;
And I wish that Dianas gifts they twain shal keep no more,
But use my silver sugred game their ioyes for to augment.
When I doo speak, to wound his hart, Cupid my son, consent.
And shoot at him the shaft of love that beares the bead of golde,
850 To wound his hart in lovers wise, his grade for to unfolde.
Though kin she be unto his Grace, that nature me expel!,
Against the course thereof he may in my game please me wel.
Wherfore, my sonne, doo not forget; forthwith pursue the deed!
CUPID. Mother, I meane for to obay as you have whole decreed;
855 But you must tel me, mother deere, when I shal arrow draw,
Els your request to be attaind wil not be worth a straw;
I am blinde and cannot see, but stil doo shoot by gesse,--
The poets wel, in places store, of my might doo expresse.
VENUS. Cupid my son, when time shall serve that thou shalt do this deed,
860 Then warning I to thee wil give; but see thou shoot with speed.
Enter a Lord, a Lady, and a Waiting-maid.
LORD. Lady deer, to king a-kin, forthwith let us proceed
To trace abroad the beauty feelds, as erst we had decreed.
The blowing buds whose savery sents our sence wil much delight,
The sweet smel of musk white-rose to please the appetite,
865 The chirping birds whose pleasant tunes therein shal hear record,
That our great ioy we shall it finde in feeld to walk abroad,
On lute and cittcrn there to play a heavenly harmony:
Our eares shall heare, hart to content, our sports to beautify.
LADY. Unto your words, most comely lord, my-selfe submit doo I;
870 To trace with you in feeldso green I meane not to deny.
Heere trace up and downe playing [on the lute and cittern].
MAID. And I, your waiting-maid, at hand with diligence will be,
For to fulfil with hart and hand, when you shal commaund me.
Enter King, Lord, and Knight.
KING. Come on, my lord and knight; abroad our mirth let us imploy.
Since he is dead, this hart of mine in corps I feel it ioy.
875 Should brother mine have raigned king when I had yeelded breth?
A thousand brothers I rather had to put them all to death. But, oh beholde, where I doo see a lord and lady faire! For beauty she most worthy is to sit in princes chaire. VENUS. Shoot forth, my son! Now is the time that thou must wound his hart.
880 CUPID. Content you, mother; I will doo my parte.
Shoots there; and goe out, Venus and Cupid.
KING. Of truth, my lord, in eye of mine all ladies she doth excel!.
Can none reporte what dame she is, and to my Grace it tell?
LORD. Redouted prince. pleaseth your Grace, to you she is a-kin,
Cosin-iarmin, nigh of birth, by mothers side come in.
885 KNIGHT. And that her waiting-maiden is, attending her upon.
He is a lord of princes court, and wil be there anon.
They sport themselves in pleasant feeld, to former used use.
KING. My lord and knight, of truth I speak: my hart it cannot chuse
But with my lady I must speake and so expresse my minde.
[He calls to the lady and her attenoants.] 890 My lord and ladyes, walking there, if you wil favour finde,
Present your-selves unto my Grace, and by my side come stand.
FIRST LORD. We wil fulfil, most mighty king, as your Grace doth commaund.
KING. Lady deere, intelligence my Grace hath got of late,
You issued out of mothers stocke and kin unto my state.
895 According to rule of birth you are cosin iarmin mine;
Yet do I wish that farther of this kinred I could finde;
For Cupid he, that eylesse boy, my hart hath so enflamed
With beauty you me to content the like cannot be named;
For, since I entred in this place and on you fixt mine eyes, 900 Most burning fits about my hart in ample wise did rise.
The heat of them such force doth yceld, my corps they scorch, alas! And burns the same with wasting heat, as Titan doth the gras.
And, sith this heat is kindled so and fresh in hart of me,
There is no way but of the same the quencher you must be.
905 My meaning is that beauty yours my hart with love doth wound;
To give me love minde to content; my hart hath you out found;
And you are she must be my wife, els shall I end my daies.
Consent to this--and be my queen, to weare the crown with praise!
LADY. If it please your Grace, O mighty king, you shall not this request.
910 It is a thing that Natures course doth utterly detest,
And high it would the god[s] displease,--of all that is the woorst.
To graunt your Grace to marry so, it is not I that durst.
Yet humble thanks I render now unto you, mighty king,
That you vouchsafe to great estate so gladly would me bring.
915 Were it not it were offence, I would it not deny,
But such great honor to atchive my hart I would apply.
Therefore, O king, with humble hart in this I pardon crave;
My answer is: in this request your minde ye may not have.
KING. May I not? Nay, then, I will! by all the gods I vow!
920 And I will mary thee as wife. This is mine answere now!
Who dare say nay what I pretend? Who dare the same withstand
Shal lose his head, and have reporte traitor through my land.
There is no nay. I wil you have, and you my queene shalbe!
LADY. Then, mighty king, I crave your Grace to heare the words of me:

925 Your councel take of lordings wit, the lawes aright peruse;
If I with safe may graunt this deed, I will it not refuse.
KING. No, no! What I have said to you, I meane to have it so.
For councel theirs I mean not, I, in this respect to goe;
But to my pallaice let us gee, the mariage to prepare;
930 For, to avoid my wil in this, I can it not forbeare.
LADY. O God, forgive me, if I doo amisse!
The king by compultion inforceth me this.
MAID. Unto the gods for your estate I will not cease to pray,
That you may be a happy queen, and see most ioyfull day.
935 KING. Come on, my lords; with gladsome harts let us reioyce with glee!
Your musick shew to ioy this deed at the request of me!
BOTH. For to obey your Graces words our Honors doo agree.
Enter Ambidexter.
AMBIDEXTER. 0 the passion of me! Mary, as ye say, yonder is a royal court!
There is triumphing, and sporte upon sporte,
940 Such loyal lords, with such lordly exercise,
Frequenting such pastime as they can devise,
Running at tilt, iusting, with running at the ring,
Masking and mumming, with eche kinde of thing,
Such daunsing, such singing, with musicall harmony,--
945 Beleeve me, I was loth to absent their company.
But wil you belceve? Iesu, what hast they made till they were maried!
Not for a milion of pounds one day longer they would have tar[i]ed!
Oh! there was a banquet royall and super excellent!
Thousands and thousands at that banquet was spent.

950 I muse of nothing but how they can be maried so soone;
I care not if I be maried before to-morrow at noone, If manage be a thing that so may be had.
[To one in the audience.]
How say you, maid? to marry me wil ye be glad?
Out of doubt, I beleeve it is some excellent treasure,--
955 Els to the same belongs abundant pleasure.
Yet with mine eares I have heard some say:
"That ever I was maried, now cursed be the day!"
Those be they [that] with curst wives be matched.
That husband for haukes meat of them is up-snatched,
960 Head broke with a bedstaffe, face all to-be scratched,
"Knave!" "slave!" and "villain!" acoylde cote now and than,--
When the wife hath given it, she wil say, "Alas, good man!"
Such were better unmarried, my maisters, I trow,
Then all their life after he matched with a shrow.
Enter Preparation.
965 PREPARATION. With speed I am sent all things to prepare,
My message to doe as the king did declare.
His Grace doth meane a banquet to make,
Meaning in this place repast for to take.
We!, the cloth shalbe laid, and all things in redines,
970 To court to return. when doon is my busines.
AMBIDEXTER. A proper man and also [a] fit
For the kings estate to prepare a banquet!
PREPARATION. What, Ambidexter? Thou art not unknowen!
A mischeefe on all good faces, so that I curse not mine owne!
975 Now, in the knaves name, shake hands with me,
AMBIDEXTER. We! said, goodman pouchmouth; your reverence I see. I will teach ye, if your manners no better be! A, ye slave! the king doth me a gentleman allow; Therefore I looke that to me ye should bow.
980 PREPARATION. Good Maister Ambidexter, pardon my behaviour;
For this your deeds you are a knave, for your labour!
AMBIDEXTER. Why, ye stale counterly yillain, nothing but "knave"?
PREPARATION. I am sorry your maistership offended I have;
Shake hands, that betweene us agreement may be.
985 I was over-shot with my-selfe, I doo see.
Let me have your helpe this furniture to provide.
The king from this place wil not long abide.
Set the fruit on the boord.
AMBIDEXTER.. Content; it is the thing that I would wish.
I my-selfe wil goe fetch one dish.
Let the Vice fetch a dish Of nuts, and let them fall
in the bringing of them in.
990 PREPARATION. Clenly, Maister Ambidexter; for faire on the ground they lye.
AMBIDEXTER. I will have them up againe by-and-by.
PREPARATION. To see all in redines I will put you in trust;
There is no nay, to the court needs I must.
Exit Preparation.

AMBIDEXTER. Have ye no doubt but all shalbe we!.
995 Mary, sir, as you say, this geer dooth excell!
All things is in a readines, when they come hither,--
The kings Grace and the queene both togither.
[To the audience.] I heseech ye, my maisters, tell me, is it not best
That I be so bolde as to hid a guest?
1000 He is as honest a man as ever spurd cow,--
My cosin Cutpursse, I meane; I beseech ye, iudge you.
Beleeve me, cosin, if to be the kings guest ye could be taken,
I trust that offer will never be forsaken.
But, cosin, because to that office ye are not like to come,
1005 Frequent your exercises--a horne on your thum,
A quick eye, a shaxpe knife, at hand a receiver.
But then take heed, cosin, ye he a clenly convayour.
Content your-selfe, cosin; for this banquet you are unfit,
When such as I at the same am unworthy to sit.
Enter King, Queene, and his traine.
1010 KING. My queen and lords, to take repast, let us attempt the same.
Heer is the place; delay no time, but to our purpose frame.
QUEENE. With willing harts your whole behest we minde for to obay.
ALL. And we, the rest of princes traine, will doo as you doo say.
Sit at the banquet.
KING. Me think mine eares doth wish the sound of musicks harmony;
1015 Heer, for to play before my Grace, in plaee I would them spy.
Play at the banguet.
AMBIDEXTER. They be at hand, sir, with sticke and fiddle;
They can play a new daunce, called Hey-diddle-diddle.
KING. My queene, perpend. What I pronounce, I wil not violate,
But one thing which my hart makes glad I minde to explicate: 1020 You know in court uptrained is a lyon very yong;
Of one litter two whelps beside, as yet not very strong.
I did request one whelpe to see and this yong lyon fight;
But lion did the whelpe convince by strength of force and might.
His brother whelpe, perceiving that the lion was too good,
1025 And he by force was like to see the other whelp his blood,
With force to lyon he did run, his brother for to belpe.
A wonder great it was to see that freendship in a whelpe!
So then the whelps between them both the lyon did convince.
Which thing to see before mine eyes did glad the hart of prince.
At this tale tolde, let the Queene weep.
1030 QUEENE. These words to heare makes stilling teares issue from christall eyes.
KING. What, doost thou meane, my spouse? to weep for losse of any prise?
QUEENE. No, no, O king; but, as you see, freendship in brothers whelp:
When one was like to have repuise, the other yeelded helpe.
And was this favour shewd in dogs, to shame of royall king?
1035 Alack, I wish these eares of mine had not once heard this thing!
Even so should you, O mighty king, to brother beene a stay,
And not, without offence to you, in such wise him to slay.
In all assnies it was your part his cause to have defended,
And, who-so-ever had him misused, to have them reprehended.
1040 But faithfull love was more in dog then it was in your Grace.
KING. O cursed caitive, vicious and vile! I hate thee in this place! This banquet [now] is at an end; take all these things away. Before my face thou shalt repent the words that thou dost say. O wretch most vile! didst thou the cause of brother mine so tender
1045 The losse of him should greeve thy hart,--he being none offender?
It did me good his death to have--so will it to have thine!
What freendship he had at my hands, the same even thou shalt finde.
I give consent, and make a-vow, that thou shalt dye the death!
By Cruels sword and Murder fel even thou shalt lose thy breth.
1050 Ambidexter, see with speed to Cruelty ye goe;
Cause him hither to approche, Murder with him also.
AMBIDEXTER. I am redy for to fulfil,
If that it be your Graces will.
KING. Then nought oblight my message given; absent thy-selfe away.
1055 AMBIDEXTER. Then in this place I will no longer stay.
[whispering to the Queen] If that I durst, I would mourne your case;
But, alas! I dare not, for feare of his Grace.
Exit Ambidex.
KING. Thou cursed Iill! by all the gods I take an othe and sweare,
That flesh of thine these hands of mine in peeces small could tere!
1060 But thou shalt dye by dent of sword: there is no freend ne fee
Shall finde remorce at princes hand to save the life of thee!
QUEENE. O mighty king and husband mine, vouchsafe to heare me speak,
And licence give to spouse of thine her patient minde to breake.
For tender love unto your Grace my words I did so frame;
1065 For pure love doth hart of king me violate and blame.
And to your Grace is this offence that I should purchase death? Then cursed time that I was queene to shorten this my breth!
Your Grace doth know by mariage true I am your wife and spouse,
And one to save anothers helth at troth-plight made our vowes;
1070 Therefore, O king, let loving queen at thy hand finde remorse,
Let pitie be a meane to quench that cruell raging force,
And pardon, plight from princes mouth, yeeld grace unto your queen,
That amity with faithfull zeal may ever be us between.
KING. A, caitive vile! to pitie thee my hart it is not bent;
1075 Ne yet to pardon your offence it is not mine intent.
FIRST LORD. Our mighty prince, with humble sute of your Grace this I
That this request it may take place, your favour for to have.
Let mercy yet aboundantly the life of queen preserve,
Sith she in most obedient wise your Graces will doth serve.
1080 As yet your Grace but while with her hath had cohabitation,
And sure this is no desert why to yeeld her indignation.
Therefore, O king, her life prolong, to ioy her daics in blisse!
SECOND LORD. Your Grace shal win immortall fame in graunting unto this.
She is a queene whose goodly hue I excelles the royall rose,
1085 For beauty bright Dame Nature she a large gift did dispose.
For comelines who may compare? Of all she beares the bell.
This should give cause to move your Grace to love her very wel.
Her silver brest in those your armes to sing the songs of love,--
Fine qualities most excellent to he in her you prove;
1090 A precious pearle of prise to prince, a iewell passing all!
Therefore, O king, to beg remorce on both my knees I fall;
To graunt her grace to have her life, with hart I doo desire.
KING. You villains twain! with raging force ye set my hart on fire!
If I consent that she shall dye, how dare ye crave her life?
1095 You two to aske this at my hand dooth much inlarge my strife.
Were it not for shame, you two should dye, that for her life do sue!
But favour mine from you is gone; my lords, I tell you true.
I sent for Cruelty of late; if he would come away,
I would commit her to his hands his cruell part to play.
1100 Even now I see where he dooth come; it dooth my hart delight.
Enter Cruelty and Murder.
CRUELTY. Come, Murder, come; let us goe foorth with might;
Once againe the kings commaundement we must fulfill.
MURDER. I am contented to doo it with a good will.
KING. Murder and Cruelty, for both of you I sent,
1105 With all festination your offices to frequent.
Lay holde on the queene; take her to your power,
And make her away within this houre!
Spare for no feare; I doo you full permit.
So I from this place doo meane for to flit.
1110 BOTH. With couragious harts, O king, we will obay.
KING. Then come, my lords, let us departe away.
BOTH THE LORDS. With hevy harts we will doo all your Grace dooth say.
Exeunt King and Lord[s].
CRUELTY. Come, lady and queene; now art you in our handling;
In faith, with you we will use no dandling.
1115 MURDER. With all expedition I, Murder, will take place;
Though thou be a queene, ye be under my grace.
QUEENE. With patience I will you both obay.
CRUELTY. No more wourds, but goe with us away!
QUEENE. Yet, before I dye, some psalme to God let me sing.
1120 BOTH. We be content to permit you that thing.
QUEENE. Farwell, you ladies of the court,
With all your masking hue!
I doo forsake these brodered gardes
And all the fashions new,
1125 The court and all the courtly train
Wherin I had delight;
I banished am from happy sporte,
And all by spitefull spite;
Yet with a ioyfull hart to God
1130 A psaline I meane to sing,
Forgiving all [men] and the king
Of eche kinde of thing.
Sing, and exeunt.
Enter Ambidexter weeping.
AMBIDEXTER. A, a, a, a! I cannot chuse but weepe for the queene!
Nothing but mourning now at the court there is seene.
1135 Oh, oh! my hart, my hart! O, my bum will break!
Very greefe so torments me that scarce I can speake.
Who could but weep for the losse of such a lady?
That cannot I doo, I sweare by mine honestie.
But, Lord! so the ladies mourne, crying "Alack!"
1140 Nothing is worne now bot onely black:
I beleeve all [the] cloth in Watling Street to make gowns would not serve,--
If I make a lye, the devill let ye sterve!
All ladyes mourne, both yong and olde;
There is not one that weareth a points woorth of golde.
1145 There is a sorte for feare for the king doo pray
That would have him dead, by the masse, I dare say.
What a king was he that hath used such tiranny!
He was akin to Bishop Bonner, I think verily!
For both their delights was to shed blood,
1150 But never intended to doo any good.
Cambises put a iudge to death,--that was a good deed,--
But to kill the yong childe was worse to proceed,
To murder his brother, and then his owne wife,--
So help me God and holidom, it is pitie of his life!
1155 Heare ye? I will lay twenty thousand pound
That the king himselfe dooth dye by some wound;
He hath shed so much blood that his will be shed.
If it come to passe, in faith, then he is sped.

Enter the King, without a gowne, a swoord thrust
up into his side, bleeding.
KING. Out! alas! What shal I doo? My life is finished!
1160 Wounded I am by sodain chaunce; my blood is minished.
Gogs hart, what meanes might I make my life to preserve?
Is there nought to be my helpe? nor is there nought to serve?
Out upon the court, and lords that there remaine!
To help my greefe in this my case wil none of them take paine?
1165 Who but I, in such a wise, his death wound could have got?
As I on horseback up did leap, my sword from scabard shot,
And ran me thus into the side--as you right well may see.
A marvels chaunce unfortunate, that in this wise should be!
I feele my-selfe a-dying now; of life bereft am I;
1170 And Death hath caught me with his dart, for want of blood I spy.
Thus, gasping, heer on ground I lye; for nothing I doo care.
A iust reward for my misdeeds my death doth plaine declare.
Heere let him quake and stir.
AMBIDEXTER. How now, noble king? Pluck up your hart!
What! will you dye, and from us depart?
1175 Speake to me and ye be alive!
He cannot speak. But beholde, how with Death he doth strive.
[The king dies.]
Alas, good king! Alas, he is gone!
The devil! take me if for hirn I make any mone.
I did prognosticate of his end, by the masse!
1180 Like as I did say, so is it come to passe.
I wil be gone. If I should be found heere,
That I should kill him it would appeer.
For feare with his death they doo me charge,
Farwell, my maisters, I will goe take barge;
1185 I meane to be packing; now is the tide; Farwell, my maisters, I will no longer abide!
Exit Ambidexter.
Enter three Lords.
FIRST LORD. Beholde, my lord[s], it is even so as he to us did tell!
His Grace is dead, upon the ground, by dint of sword most fel.
SECOND LORD. As he in saddle would have lept, his sword from sheath did goe,
1190 Goring him up into the side,--his life was ended so.
THIRD LORD. His blood so fast did issue out that nought could him prolong;
Yet, before he yeelded up the ghost, his hart was very strong.
FIRST LORD. A iust reward for his misdeeds the God above hath wrought,
For certainly the life he led was to be counted nought.
1195 SECOND LORD. Yet a princely buriall he shall have, according to his estate;
And more of him heere at this time we havenot to dilate.
THIRD LORD. My lords, let us take him up, and carry him away!
BOTH. Content we are with one accord to doo as you doo say.
Exeunt all [bearing out the body of Cambises].

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Proper Citation: Preston, Thomas. Cambises. At From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. NeCastro, Gerard, ed. Date Visited.