Act III

 

Scene i

(Northumbria - the court)

                   

Enter Theodwald and Ethelswic separately, and meet.

 

Theodwald.

I have not known, nor read, nor heard, since I

Was of discretion to know anything

Worthy a man's capacity, of the like.

 

Ethelswic.

You are well met my lord.

 

Theodwald. [1]      

      And you as welcome

To the court my lord, although a sad one.                                                                      5

 

Ethelswic.

Came you now from the King, my Lord?

 

Theodwald.

     Even now.

 

Ethelswic.

How left you him, good my lord?

 

Theodwald.

As the physicians I fear must shortly

Do, not knowing what to say to him.

 

Ethelswic.

Heaven bless the King, is he so dangerously sick?                                                         10

 

Theodwald.

He's sick enough to be prayed for, my lord.

Although, I cannot properly call it

A sickness, I am sure 'tis a disease,

Both to himself and all that come about him.

I fear he's brain-cracked, lunatic and frantic mad;                                                          15

And all the doctors almost as mad as he,

Because they cannot find the cause. Something,

They guess, afflicts his mind, but of what nature

It is, or how the strong conceit may grow,

They can by no means win or wrest from him.                                                   20

Such is the obstinacy of his disease.

 

Ethelswic.

Where is Theodric then, his bosom friend,

His special favourite? He, methinks, might gain

The knowledge of his inmost thoughts.

 

Theodwald.

   'Tis thought

He put these wild tormenting thoughts into him.                                                  25

For which, the King has banished him the court

And, with a guard upon his person, sent him

To live confined at his house. Myself and all

The faithful body of the state, have moved

The King for his repeal, again to favour.                                                                        30

Even we, that for these two years' space have wished him

(For good state-reasons) favourless and headless,

Have begged for his enlargement, that the King

Might vent his troubled thoughts into his breast,

And so find way to ease; but all in vain,                                                                         35

He will not hear of him.

 

Ethelswic.

  You tell me wonders.

But, good my lord, how takes the King his rest?

 

Theodwald.

Troth, [2] as mad mortals do; we cannot tell

Whether he sleeps at all or not. Sometimes

He seems to sleep, but then his troubled thoughts                                                           40

Express themselves in sighs, in sudden starts,

In groans, and sometimes speech of odd confused

And indigested [3] matter; then he leaps

From off his bed, calls for his horse and armour,

Swords, spears and battle-axes. But anon,                                                                    45

Bids all be let alone, and calls for books,

Shoffels [4] divinity and poetry,

Philosophy and historical together, sports [5]

And throws all by. Then calls for merry, [6]

Which ere they be presented, he forbids,                                                                       50

With strong rebukes to all that spend their time

In any exercise but contemplation

In solitary places; then walks forth

Into the groves and thickets, charging those

That follow him (nor dare they disobey)                                                                         55

To keep aloof, at such proportioned distance

As he, unheard by all, may vent his passions

Unto the air, the woods, the rocks, the springs.

And twice in these retirements have we lost him

In those obscure meanders which his melancholy                                                           60

Has led him to; and when much industry

And care had found him out, 'twas double trouble [7]

To wind him and his fancies home again. [8]

 

Ethelswic.

It is most pitiful.

 

Enter Physician.

 

Theodwald.

   Now, how does the King?

 

Physician.

Full now, my lord, of a new fancy. He                                                               65

Is now becoming pilgrim.

 

Ethelswic.

      A pilgrim, why?

 

Physician.

I know not why, nor to what shrine, nor do

I hold it fit to ask him, but to give

Free way unto his fancy yet a while,

In all to please and play with his infirmity.                                                                       70

'Tis our best way to cool phrenetic humours [9]

Before we kill 'em, sir. His pilgrimage

Shall not be far, though he pretends a long one.

He has on his weeds [10] already.

 

Ethelswic. [11]

And who associates him?                                                                                              75

 

Physician.

Only myself, and his new fool, he says.

 

Theodwald.

Good, a fool and a physician.

 

Physician.

A physician and a fool, you would say.

The physician ever before the fool, my lord.

 

Theodwald.

And why the fool before my lord, I pray?                                                                      80

 

Physician.

Your lordship's pardon, we must have no lord

Along with us; though I was sent to enquire

If you, Lord Ethelswic, were come to court?

Whom the King sent for.

                                       

Exit Physician.

 

 

Theodwald.

Sent the King for you,

After your long retirement in the country?                                                                      85

 

Ethelswic.

He did indeed, my lord.

 

Theodwald.

   There's something in't then

That savours not of madness altogether.

That having put by your antagonist,

The trouble of the court, his favourite,

He sends for you immediately upon't.                                                                90

 

Enter Osric, Jeffrey, Eaufrid, [12] Alfrid and Edelbert.

 

Here comes our pilgrim King.

 

Osric.

Stand all apart!

(Aside) To be completely armed from head to foot

Cannot advance the spirit of a king

Above the power of love, nor to be clad

In poorest habit of humility                                                                                            95

Can mortify the least of the desires

That love enflames man with. No outward dress

Can change or make affection more or less.

I have tried all the ways I can to conquer

Or to humiliate my raging passion,                                                                                 100

Which still grows more predominant o'er my reason.

I find it in myself, and know my error,

Though no means to correct it. I do know

'Tis foully done to slight the Queen that loves me.

And, it was an act no less unprincely                                                                             105

To cast into suspense my friendly servant,

For what transgression was't in him to love

One fairer than my choice? Before he knew

My wavering inconstancy, I know,

Withal, my punishment is just, howe'er                                                               110

My sufferings make me wish it less severe.

For my unjust removing of Theodric,

I lose all helpful counsel, all relief,

That my o'erburdened breaking heart cries out for.

Into his breast I could unload my grief,                                                              115

Were it composed of aught but his abuse;

I must not, dare not trust him with this story,

Lest for redress I meet revenge. Who's there?

 

All.

My lord the King.

 

Osric.

O you are welcome, Ethelswic, I am now                                                                      120

To trust you in a serious affair.

 

Ethelswic.

My duty binds me to your Highness' service. (Kisses Osric's hand)

 

 

Osric.

We will walk forth together, Ethelswic.

Let none presume to follow. Not a man

Give the least motion this way, on your lives.                                                     125

 

Jeffrey.

Not I, neam [13] King? Wilt thou not take me with thee?

 

Osric.

Pull the fool off me.

 

Jeffrey.

        O but they shall not, neam,

'Tis more than they can do.

 

Eaufrid.

       No sir, we'll try.

 

Osric.

Again, I charge you all that none presume

To follow us.                                                                                                                130

 

Exeunt King and Ethelswic.

 

Jeffrey.

All? Wilt thou leave all thy fools behind thee, neam? [14]

 

Theodwald.

All fools, sir, shall be whipped.

 

Jeffrey.

And where will you find wise men to whip 'em all? We shall make

whipping one another shortly. Trust me, a trim court-compliment.

I am advanced to high promotion, [15] am I not? To wear long coats [16]                 135

again, and feed on whipping cheer? [17] But hark you, cousin lord, do

you reward fools at court?

 

Theodwald.

Yes, fool, if they deserve it.

 

 

Jeffrey.

And is desert rewarded here too?

 

Theodwald.

Yes.                                                                                                                             140

 

Jeffrey.

Then 'tis desert gets whipping, and fooling gets reward. I'll not forsake

the court for that yet, where I hope to get enough to raise half my country.

 

Eaufrid.

By what project, I pray thee?

 

Jeffrey.

By begging a monopoly, [18] cousin lord. You know fools will always be begging,

they are naturally inclined to it, else none would be courtiers.                              145

 

Edelbert.

And what is your monopoly?

 

Jeffrey.

I hope the King will give it me, if the lord that walked with him bring

him in again as wise as he went out.

 

Alfrid.

What is it thou wouldst beg?

 

Jeffrey.

'Tis a monopoly of fools, my lords. That the King would carry no fools              150

with him but of my election, and by my allowance, and that when he comes

back into his own country, he bring no new ones from thence, but by the same authority.

 

Theodwald.

And what price or fee will you set upon a fool's head for his admittance?

 

Jeffrey.

According to the degree, or estate, or quality of the fool, cousin lord.                 155

 

Eaufrid.

This is a covetous and a politic fool.

 

Jeffrey.

Not so politic, cousin lord, as a statesman that paid his head for his

learning, nor so covetous as a churchwarden may be, when I am dead and

gone. But as I was a saying, I'll use my fools according to their quality or breed.

If he be a poor fool, I'll make him pay the more for't. If he be rich, I may                        160

be beholding to him another way. If he be a fool natural [19] and poorly born,

he's sure to pay enough for't. But if he have more breeding than capacity,

and be a nobly descended fool, I'll use him the better for your sakes, cousin

lords, and the rather because I hope you will further my suit to the King.

And so I'll wait his coming in at the back stairs.                                                  165

 

Exit Jeffrey.

 

Alfrid.

This is a precious [20] fool.

 

Theodwald.

The King (would his infirmity give leave) [21]

Would be delighted in him.

 

Eaufrid.

        I am glad

The King has chosen one yet to impart

(I hope) his grief unto.

 

Alfrid.

But is it true,                                                                             170

The King sent for Lord Ethelswic to court?

 

Edelbert.

Now in his melancholy, and so presently

On the removing of his loved Theodric.

 

Theodwald.

It is most true, in which we may observe

A turn of state. Good Ethelswic was dear,                                                                     175

Dearly beloved indeed by our late King,

And worthily deserved his royal favour.

But with his son, our sovereign Lord that is,

Youthful Theodric was prime man in grace,

And quickly shouldered Ethelswic from court.                                                   180

Theodric's absence now resigns new place

For Ethelswic to reassume the grace.

Thus the court-wheel goes round like Fortune's ball, [22]

One statesman rising on another's fall.

Let's wait the coming of the King, my lord.                                                                    185

 

Alfrid.

We are for the woods to make a flight or two

At the pheasant, Edelbert.

 

Edelbert.

      Alfrid,  agreed. [23]

 

Exeunt omnes. [24]

 

 

 

Scene ii [25]

(Northumbria - beyond the court)

 

Enter Anthynus.

 

Anthynus.

To fast and watch is duty, and no penance,

When such affairs as mine are in pursuit.

How dare I think of meat or sleep, which are

Such hindrances to a devotion,

Whose least neglect would pull down thunder on me;                                         5

And to take sense of weariness were a sin

Unpardonable. But to have lost three days

And tedious nights in painful diligence,

In such a search as this, for such a father,

And now to lose the hope of finding him,                                                                       10

Is torment unexpressible. Where? Which way

Shall I make further inquisition?

Yes, I will on to the Northumbrian court,

And make my griefs appear unto the King.

My wand'ring steps have almost led me now                                                    15

Unto his court; where, if I may find grace,

Nay but humanity, I shall prevail

To have these woods, the dens of barbarous outlaws,

In which I lost my father, strictly searched. (The sound of recorders) [26]

Ha! Do I hear or dream? Is this a sound,                                                                       20

Or is it but my fancy? 'Tis the music,

The music of the spheres [27] that do applaud

My purpose of proceeding to the King;

I'll on. But stay! How? What a strange benumbedness

Assails and seizes my exterior parts?                                                                             25

And what a chaos of confusèd thoughts

Does my imagination labour with?

Till all have wrought themselves into a lump

Of heaviness, that falls upon mine eyes

So ponderously that it bows down my head,                                                                  30

Begins to curb the motion of my tongue,

And lays such weight of dullness on my senses,

That my weak knees are doubling under me.

There is some charm upon me. Come thou forth,

Thou sacred relic, [28] suddenly dissolve it.                                                                       35

I sleep with deathless, [29] for if thus I fall,

My vow falls on me, and smites me into ruin.

But who can stand against the power of Fate? [30]

Though we foreknow, repentance comes too late. (Falls)

 

Enter six Saxon kings' ghosts, crowned, with sceptres in their hands, etc. They

come one after another to Anthynus, then fall into a dance; loud music sounds. After

the dance, the first leads away the second, he the third, and so on; the last takes

up Anthynus and leaves him standing upright. [31]

 

Anthynus.

Am I among the dead? Or in what region,                                                                     40

Either of earth or air? Heaven? Hell? Or whither?

Or into what am I translated? Am I

Alive, or dead, awake, asleep, a man,

Or airy ghost? Or did I see or dream?

If now I be awake, and am Anthynus,                                                               45

That grieved Anthynus, who has lost a father,

Then did I see, in apparition,

The ghosts of our six last West Saxon kings,

As each succeeded other, now passed by me?

Of which, the last, Kenwalcus, our late king,                                                      50

And father to the tyranness [32] that banished

Mine, seemed to take me up to his succession;

It were more idle than a dream can be

For me awake to think it possible

I should become a king, and of that land                                                                        55

From which my father was exiled; it must

Be then a dream. As I have heard of men

That sleeping stand, nay walk and talk as I do,

At least as I suppose. Now, if I sleep

Not having seen my father, I have broke                                                                        60

My vow; I'll rather think me dead; then why

Was I not blest with my dead father's sight?

Why was not he with King Kenwalcus now,

That living loved him so? O my wild thoughts!

You are become a whirlwind in my brain                                                                       65

Lifting me up to hurl me down again. (Falls; sleeps.)

 

Enter to him, Alfrid, Edelbert, and two followers, as from hawking. [33]

 

Alfrid.

Go, carry home your hawks; they are as good

As e'er made flight.

 

Edelbert.

        I would the King had seen

(His melancholy set apart) our princely sport.

 

Alfrid.

I hope my good Lord Ethelswic by this time                                                                  70

Has tane [34] the burden of his discontent

(The cause of his strong malady) from his mind.

 

Edelbert.

I rather think the King has lost him too

Among the bushes, as he did us last night.

 

 

Alfrid.

'Tis a strange humour in a king; and as                                                               75

Unheard of a disease that works it in him

To hide himself in by-walks, caves and thickets.

 

 

Edelbert.

We shall search hollow trees and crows nests, shortly,

For him, if these fits hold him.

 

Alfrid.

  Bless us? Look here,

Is not this he? A witch could not guess righter                                                    80

Than thou hast done. Old Ethelswic has lost him,

And here's the King asleep.

 

Edelbert.

        This is the habit,

The pilgrim's weed he went in; has he not

Ended his pilgrimage here? Is he not dead?

 

Alfrid.

No, he is warm; and breathes like health itself.                                                   85

 

Edelbert.

'Tis so, my lord, I vow he sleeps as if

All the seven sleepers [35] had tane up their lodging

In his fantastic [36] brain-pan. [37]

 

Alfrid.

         He has not slept

We know these four nights.

 

Edelbert.

       Hear you, my lord the King?

I think he sleeps for them four, and four more.                                                   90

I'll undertake a drum, or a whole kennel

Of scolds [38] cannot wake him.

 

Alfrid.

 'Tis the better for us.

 

Edelbert.

I do conceive you, for we'll take him home,

And have him put in bed before he wakes,

If it be possible. Up with him! (Both lift Anthynus) And there                            95

When he has slept it out, he will perhaps

Be cured, and give us answerable thanks.

If not, and that he be offended for

The breach of his command, in coming near him,

He shall ne'er know who did it.

 

Alfrid.

   Be it so.                                                                     100

 

 

Edelbert.

Away then, softly, softly, so, so, softly.

                                       

Exeunt, with Anthynus asleep.

 

 

Scene iii

(Northumbria - the court)

 

Enter Osric as though to bed, and Ethelswick.

 

Osric.

Now, my good Ethelswic, I have told thee all,

By which I find much ease, and hope to sleep,

But not to take a thought unto my fancy

By my soft dreams, but of my beauteous Mildred.                                                         105

Nor will I, in sleep or waking, think of any

Other adventure, till I do attain

The sight of her, and prithee Ethelswic,

Help me, and suddenly, in my device

How to contrive a journey secretly,                                                                               110

Not with above one or two trusty servants

To make this blissful visit.

 

Ethelswic.

       There are ways

Enough considerable, by which your Highness

May pass, and be received there undiscovered.

Seeming a private gentleman, or a pilgrim.                                                                     115

But here will rise the difficulty, how

The miss of you at home will be received

By your nobility and doubtful people;

Who cannot long, not knowing where you are,

But rage in high desire to see your Majesty.                                                                   120

 

Osric.

For that, I'll give command before I go,

That no affairs of state or otherwise,

No not my diet nor attendants,

Shall pass to me but by your hands; pretending

For twenty days a studious privacy,                                                                               125

To which yourself shall only have admittance,

And take for all that come my answers, which

Frame you as you think fit. And who shall dare

To think me from my closet or my bed,

When you avouch me there? As for example,                                                    130

We are now in private, answer you all comers,

I am busy, or asleep; see how they'll take it. (One knocks)

 

Ethelswic.

That trial is soon made, there's one already.

Who's there? What's your business?

 

Theodwald. (Within)

My business is to wait upon the King,                                                                135

My lord. You know me, I am Theodwald.

 

Ethelswic.

My lord, the King is private, and desires to be so,

And needs now no attendance but mine own.

 

Theodwald.

How fares his Majesty?

 

Ethelswic.

 Reasonable well.

 

Theodwald.

That's well; he was unreasonable well today.                                                     140

Goodnight, my lord; let the King know, I pray,

I gave attendance. You understand court-service

If it be not i'th' eye, 'tis half lost.

 

Ethelswic.

Your service, my lord, though the King take it not in

At the eye, shall have entrance at the next                                                                      145

Door, the ear; I'll make it known to him.

Goodnight.

 

Exit Theodwald.

 

Osric.

You see how easily he's answered now;

So will the rest hereafter when they find

It is my pleasure to be thus retired. (Another knocks, within)                           150

 

Ethelswic.

Who are you?

 

Physician.

One that must have entrance: the physician,

One that brings the King a preparative to sleep.

 

 

Ethelswic.

What is't composed of, prayers and meditations?

 

Physician.

My books yield no such reading.                                                                                   155

 

Ethelswic.

Nor your coat any such practice.

 

Physician.

I come not to be mocked, but as you tender

His Highness rest, let me approach him presently.

 

Ethelswic.

Good sir, the King's at rest already.

 

Physician.

Not asleep?

 

Ethelswic.

       Fast, fast, and welcome, Mr Doctor.                                                         160

 

Physician.

My lord, you'll let him know my care, I hope.

 

Ethelswic.

I'll wake him with it, when he has slept enough.

 

Physician.

Believe't, my lord, it was my care that charmed him.

 

Ethelswic.

He had not slept this fortnight else, I warrant.

 

Physician.

Pray, let him know so much.                                                                                         165

 

Exit Physician.

 

Osric.

Ha, ha, they all desire to have their care considered,

Although, in real act, they merit nothing. (Jeffrey knocks hard, within)

 

Ethelswic.

How now? What saucy knave is that?

 

Jeffrey.

You are cosened, [39] cousin lord, it is the fool, cousin; how does my neam, [40]

the King? [41]                                                                                                                  170

 

Ethelswic.

Go fool; follow the physician, he can tell you.

 

Jeffrey.

I asked my cousin doctor already, and he says, my neam King's asleep.

 

Ethelswic.

And would not you be whipped to come to trouble him then?

 

Jeffrey.

No, cousin lord, I come to sing him a lullaby out of the dream of the

Devil and Dives, [42] shall make him sleep till he wakes again, and't be                  175

this month.

 

Ethelswic.

Away you fool; I'll set you a going.

 

Jeffrey.

O lord, O cousin lord, I cannot go for running.

 

Exit Jeffrey.

 

Ethelswic.

This will become a business.

 

Osric. [43]

But Ethelswic, when I have declared my pleasure,                                                         180

As I'll appear, and publicly tomorrow,

To give command that none upon their lives

Shall give you less respect in this behalf

Than I myself might claim, it will be easy. (Knock, Eaufrid within)

 

Ethelswic.

Again?                                                                                                                          185

 

Eaufrid.

 Where are you, my lord Ethelswick?

 

Ethelswic.

Your pleasure, my lord Eaufrid.

 

Eaufrid.

    May I not see the King?

 

Ethelswic.

If you dare take my word, the King commands

The contrary to all men but myself

For this night; tomorrow you may know                                                                        190

His Highness' further pleasure.

 

Eaufrid.

   May you enjoy

This night the greatness of your office;

Tomorrow, if I have a king, I'll see and speak with him.

 

Ethelswic.

Not if he sleep, my lord.

 

Eaufrid.

   You say he sleeps,

Go to! [44] Sleep (quoth a! [45]), yes, perhaps he sleeps,                                                     195

'Tis with his ancestors, I fear.

 

Ethelswic.

What shall I say, my lord?

 

Eaufrid.

I say, you do not well, my lord, to keep

Our duties back from's Majesty, that have

As well been trusted— I will keep the rest,                                                                    200

But 'tis not well.

 

Ethelswic.

   I say, that you do worse,

Officiously to interrupt his rest.

 

Eaufrid.

I wish his rest as well as you, my lord,

Nay more; but I will keep the rest till morning,

And so joy to the greatness of your office.                                                                     205

                                       

Exit Eaufrid.

 

Ethelswic.

How thinks your Majesty of this? How will

Such as he is, be satisfied in your absence? (Knock)

 

Osric.

I'll school 'em all.

 

Ethelswic.

     Yet more?

 

Alfrid and Edelbert. (Together)

           My lord, my lord.

 

Ethelswic.

What would you have?

 

 

Alfrid.

   Open the door, and quickly.

 

Ethelswic.

I may not.

 

Edelbert.

     But you must; 'tis for the King.                                                                     210

 

Osric.

How's that?

 

Alfrid.

       Delay not, as you'll answer't;

The King's here.

 

Osric.

Is the King there? What traitor's voice is that?

Let 'em appear! (Enter Alfrid and Edelbert) Ha! Who made you king-makers?

 

Edelbert.

God save the King, and bless us all from witchcraft.                                           215

 

Alfrid.

We durst have sworn we had had him fast enough here.

 

Osric.

How?

 

Edelbert.

Fast asleep, sir. Asleep, sir, look you here.

 

Osric.

Let's see your May-game. [46]

 

Alfrid.

      Look you, my lord, and judge.

 

Edelbert.

Or if your Majesty will know yourself,                                                               220

(A lesson which a king should not disdain

To learn) look here, and read the difference,

If you can find it.

 

Osric.

Is he so like me to your apprehension?

 

Ethelswic.

I am amazed to see't: your own eyes, sir,                                                                       225

Cannot in likeness answer each the other,

More than this face doth yours; his hands, his legs,

All his dimensions bear the same proportion

To outward seeming as your royal person.

Nature herself, were she now to behold                                                                         230

Her work on both of you, could scarce distinguish,

By an exterior view, a difference.

Where did you find this sleeper?

 

Osric.

    Peace! No more;

Ne'er question that; Cupid [47] has heard my prayers.

Who saw you take him up?

 

Edelbert.

        None but our servants,                                                      235

Whom we dismissed in the same faith that we

Were of ourselves, that 'twas your Majesty;

And as we passed the court, none saw our carriage,

Which we brought thus obscured that none might take

Notice of your infirmity.

 

Osric.

    'Twas well done;                                                                   240

Be secret still. Nay, I must charge you strongly,

And if my power be not a spell sufficient

To work your secrecy, I'll take your heads

To mine own custody.

 

Alfrid and Edelbert. (Together)

Sir.                                                                                                                               245

 

Osric.

Nay, I must trust ye; hark you, Ethelswic.

 

Ethelswic.

I understand your course.

 

Osric.

Come, into our bed with him, gently, so.

Nay, sir, you shall have noble kingly usage;

Never had stranger entertainment like him.                                                                     250

I'll give him all I have during his stay:

Exchange myself with him, and be beholding

To him besides, for th' use I'll make of him.

I'll tell you all within. Love, [48] that has sent

This blessing in my way, when I was in                                                              255

So great a strait (I cannot think enough on't),

To bring new life unto my fainting hopes,

If now I serve thee not with strength and skill,

Remove me as a rebel to thy will.

Exeunt omnes.

 



[1] This name tag is missing from the quarto, but it is clearly Theodwald who speaks in reply to Ethelswic's welcome.

[2] Troth] 'In troth': truly, verily (OED 4.b).

[3] indigested] 'Not ordered in the mind' (OED 1.b).

[4] Shoffels] variant of 'shuffle': 'to put or throw together in one mass indiscriminately, incongruously, or without order; to huddle or jumble together' (OED 4.a).

[5] sports] 'To take or cast away in or as in sport; to throw away wantonly or recklessly; to scatter or squander (OED 7).

[6] merry] entertainments.

[7] double trouble] This expression echoes the incantations of the witches in Macbeth, IV.i.10, 20, 35: 'Double, double toil and trouble'; this may suggest an association between Osric's condition and the effects of witchcraft.

[8] The king's madness, especially his railing at the elements, is another element of the play that is comparable with King Lear; cf. King Lear, III.ii.1-3: 'Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow! / You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout / Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!'

[9] phrenetic humours] 'phrenetic': 'consisting of or attended by delirium or temporary madness' (OED 3.a); 'humours': 'the mental qualities or disposition arising from' the 'humours' (OED 2.c), that is, 'one of the four chief fluids of the body (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black choler), by the relative proportions of which a person's physical and mental qualities and disposition were held to be determined' (OED 2.b).

[10] weeds] garments, usually those associated with mourning.

[11] This name tag is missing from the quarto; Ethelswic is the likely speaker.

[12] Eaufrid] Although not included in the quarto, the scene requires all the lords other than Theodric (Theodwald and Ethelswic are already present).

[13] neam] variant of 'mine eme', 'eme' meaning uncle, friend, or gossip (OED); cf. King Lear, I.iv.103-4: '…How now, / nuncle?'; a fool's term of address for his superior.

[14] After the exit of the King, the scene continues in prose.

[15] high promotion] Jeffrey's reference to height may be an indication that, consistent with the proposed allusion to Henrietta Maria's dwarf in the name 'Jeffrey', he is played by an actor lacking in height.

[16] long coats] the 'long coats' warn by young children of both sexes in this period.

[17] feed on whipping cheer] 'whipping cheer' refers to the chastisement given to children; also see the fool's speech on the lot of a fool in King Lear: 'I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. / They'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou'lt / have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I am / whipped for holding my peace' (I.iv.173-6).

[18] monopoly] 'The monopoly system…was the granting to certain individuals the right of manufacture of and exclusive trade in certain things, often articles of the most common utility' (Clarence Edward Andrews, Richard Brome: A Study of his Life and Works (New York: Yale University Press, 1913, reprint Archon, 1972), p. 131); a common subject for satire; cf. Brome, Antipodes, IV.ix; Damoiselle, I.i; Jonson, Volpone; The Devil is an Ass; The Masque of Augurs; and numerous others.

[19] fool natural] 'A person who is deficient in intelligence from birth' (OED); as opposed to an 'artificial fool' or professional fool, exemplified by Jeffrey.

[20] precious] A play on words: 'precious', meaning, ironically, 'of little worth, worthless, good-for-nothing' (OED 4.b), and also, with reference to Jeffrey's money-making project, valuable.

[21] This line marks the return of verse in this scene, pointedly after the fool has left and the courtiers remain.

[22] Fortune's ball] 'Fortune', the Roman goddess (whose emblem is usually a wheel), is said to blindly 'distribute the lots of life according to her own humour' (OED).

[23] L. 186 and the first part of l. 187 are addressed to Edelbert, who responds by addressing Alfrid; together with the evidence of the list of 'The Persons in the Play', this enables the names of the lords (1. Lord, 2. Lord, 3. Lord and 4. Lord in the quarto) to be clarified.

[24] Stage direction not included in the quarto.

[25] The quarto has no scene division here; there is no overlap between Anthynus entering and the lords leaving to go hunting, and when they return to find Anthynus asleep, it is 'as from hawking', suggesting some reasonable time has passed.

[26] recorders] 'recorder': a wind instrument.

[27] music of the spheres] 'spheres': 'the concentric, transparent, hollow globes imagined by the older astronomers as revolving round the earth and respectively carrying with them the several heavenly bodies (moon, sun, planets, and fixed stars)' (OED 2.a); 'music of the spheres': 'the harmonious sound supposed to be produced by the motion of these spheres' (OED 2.b).

[28] sacred relic] 'relic': 'some object, such as a part of the body or clothing, an article of personal use, or the like, which remains as a memorial of a departed saint, martyr, or other holy person' (OED 1.a); in this case, a sample of the earth stained with Segebert's blood (cf. II.iii.317-21).

[29] deathless] immortal; Anthynus' speech may be interrupted here as he falls.

[30] Fate] The personification of fate and destiny; also, possibly an allusion to the early Greek mythological goddess of fate (OED 2.a), later known as 'the Fates', being three goddesses (OED 2.b); Anthynus' reference to 'Fate' adds another level to the parallel between the parade of Saxon kings that follows and Macbeth: another word for 'fate' is 'weird' (OED 1), as in 'The Weïrd Sisters' (Macbeth, I.iii.32), who also have power over (or, at least, the power to foresee) fates and destinies.

[31] This dumb show parade of Saxon kings is reminiscent of the scene in Macbeth (IV.i), where eight kings, followed by Banquo's ghost, appear before Macbeth; as Banquo is suggested to be the ancestor of the line of Stuart monarchs in Scotland (and of Charles I, king of England and Scotland), this parallel parade of kings has possible significance for political readings of Brome's play.

[32] tyranness] female tyrant (OED).

[33] hawking] hunting with hawks.

[34] tane] taken.

[35] seven sleepers] 'Seven youths of Ephesus said to have hidden in a cave during the Decian persecution (Decius, Roman Emperor - A.D. 249-51, who persecuted Christians) and to have slept there for several hundred years' (OED).

[36] fantastic] fanciful, capricious (OED 4.b); with reference to his earlier mental state.

[37] brain-pan] skull.

[38] scolds] 'A common scold': 'A woman who disturbs the peace of the neighbourhood by her constant scolding' (OED 1.b)

[39] cosened] Variant of 'cozened': cheated, deceived.

[40] neam] 'mine uncle'; this meaning adds to Jeffrey's play on 'cousin' and 'cosened'.

[41] Jeffrey's arrival is accompanied by a turn to prose.

[42] the Devil and Dives] A biblical reference: to the parable of Lazarus and Dives ('dives': Latin, meaning 'rich man', was taken to be a proper name (OED 1)), where Lazarus is the poor man at the rich man's gate, 'desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table (Saint Luke's Gospel XVI.xxi); Lazarus goes to Heaven, and 'Dives' goes to Hell to be tormented; Jeffrey's lullaby is not intended as a restful song for a king, and he obviously likens himself to Lazarus.

[43] Osric continues in verse.

[44] Go to] 'Used to express disapprobation, remonstrance, protest, or derisive incredulity; 'also used to introduce a contemptuous concession' (OED 93.b).

[45] a!] he!

[46] May-game] '"sham, make-believe", alluding to the practice of appointing a mock king or the like to preside over May games' (OED 3); 'May games': 'the merrymaking and sports associated with May celebrations' (OED 1.b).

[47] Cupid] The god of love in Roman mythology.

[48] Love] Osric apostrophises the god.