The Dumb Knight

by Gervase Markham and Lewis Machin

Edited by Kris Towse (2009)




The Dumb Knight.


A historical comedy, acted sundry times by the Children of his Majesties Revels.





Printed by Nicholas Okes, for John Bache, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Palace, near to the Royal Exchange. 1608.




Introduction to the play


            The Dumb Knight, first published in 1608 (and it is from this quarto the play is edited), is a troubled but entertaining play. The play has two authors, Gervase Markham and Lewis Machin, although evidence the two collaborated is minimal, leading to an incoherent play that nevertheless is highly entertaining.


The Authors:

            Gervase Markham (1568? -1637) is by far the more famous of the two authors, if only by virtue of the:


Astonishing variety of literary publications—poetry, drama, and prose…combined with an equally astonishing variety of non-literary works on topics such as horsemanship, veterinary medicine, husbandry, domestic economy, and even military training[1]


However, as F.N.L Poynter rather cruelly points out, Markham's brief interest in theatre during his previously successful literary career "is no substitute for dramatic talent"[2]. An attack that is somewhat justified by reading any plot summary of The Dumb Knight, as this reveals Markham's unfortunate affliction of "not knowing when to stop" as the play easily covers "enough material for two plays"[3]. Outside of theatre however Markham is an accomplished poet, and as Joseph Quincy Adams Jr. states, Markham is an "excellent classical scholar"[4].

            Lewis Machin, by contrast, is at best a "shadowy figure"[5] and knowledge of his career is almost entirely based on the plays we are relatively certain he was at least partly responsible for writing: The Insatiable Countess and Every woman in her Humour. These, alongside The Dumb Knight were performed by an acting company associated with Machin known as the 'Children of the King's Revels', a "controversial theatrical company"[6] with a penchant for performing a "generally bawdy repertoire"[7] of plays at the Whitefriars theatre, which "had a rather shadowy existence before 1613"[8].



The Main and Sub-plots

            Given their history of literary productions, the task of distinguishing the work of the two authors becomes quite simple: "The serious main plot, written in smooth blank verse that is sometimes illuminated with beautiful passages"[9] is almost certainly the work of Gervase Markham, whilst: "the comic sub-plot, written for the most part in prose, full of coarse humour and abounding in the most indelicate allusions"[10] is probably the work of Lewis Machin.

            The main plot is concerned not with wit and base comedy, but with exploring issues of "Love and honour, of the limits of oaths, and of the relationship between gender and power, wrapped up in a pleasingly violent storyline"[11]. This contrasts starkly with the sub-plot, and lends support to the almost certainly correct theory that the main plot was a play in its own right, before Machin was allowed to modify it for the early modern stage.

            The many classical allusions from the characters of the main plot solidify Markham's individual claim to it, as "Gervase's elder brother Francis was educated at Winchester and Cambridge, and it is probable that something similar was true of Gervase"[12]. Indeed Poynter goes on to doubt "whether it was a play [intended] to appeal to a Jacobean audience"[13] at all, a theory the above certainly supports.

             However dating when exactly the main plot was written has proven difficult: Lines such as "Heaven, in thy palm, this day the balance hinges!"[14] can do little more than date it as pre-1606, the date when the 'Act to restrain the Abuses of Players' came into force. That said:


We are on firmer ground in saying that The Dumb Knight was being performed, at some point after 1601, in Nuremberg by a group of touring English actors, the Englische Kömedianten.  There, Jakob Ayrer, a notary and amateur playwright, adapted it into a German version, which survives.  Ayrer died in 1605, so the adaptation was completed before then. [15]


Both these deductions, it is worth pointing out, lend a little credence to the theory that "Heywood took the idea from Markham" for the extremely similar card-scene in A Woman Killed with Kindness and not "Markham from Heywood"[16]. Although this is far from conclusive evidence as neither of these factors do not manage to date the main plots creation precisely.

            Whilst the main plot is influenced by the classics, and notably the "Bandello novels, which provided plots for so many English writers of the time"[17], the sub-plot, as Adams Jr. elaborates in his essay "Every Woman in her Humor" and "The Dumb Knight" clearly borrows heavily from Every Woman in her Humour: The two characters, "Lollia and Coloquintida, are identical with the Hostess and Citty Wife"[18] from Every Woman in her Humour. The first comic sub-plot scene beginning with Lollia's speech "Now fie upon't, who would be an orator’s wife and not a gentlewoman"[19]for example, is copied almost verbatim from Every woman in her Humour, and as The Dumb Knight is very likely the later of the two plays to reach Machin, it becomes highly improbable that Machin is copying these from another playwright. Indeed, Machin's signed address to the reader is evidence against this theory, even though Every Woman in her Humour is technically an anonymous play; the sheer improbability that Machin would write and sign a preface to a play where he had "been guilty of an extensive and impudent plagiarism of another playwright"[20] and then send it that play to print makes it near certain the plays share an author in Machin.


Issues and inconstancies of the play

            Here I shall be brief, as the play has a veritable myriad of inconsistencies: Initially, the play is described as a "historical comedy" on the title-page, however:


Evidently, Markham

was not pleased by the printing of The Dumb Knight without his name on, since a new title-page attributing the play solely to "Gervase Markham" was hastily printed and inserted into the unsold copies.[21]


And on this new title-page a new description is inserted, describing the play as a "pleasant comedy". In this disparity of description we have in microcosm the central problem that haunts The Dumb Knight : Markham's hand in this correction from "historical" (it's only claim for being historical is it's occasional borrowing from one of Shakespeare's history plays) to "pleasant" is by no means certain, however it still show's Markham clearly was not in collaboration with Machin at all during the plays revisions, as describing the base-comedy and frequently obscene puns of the sub-plot "pleasant" is possibly the cleanest source of humour to be found in the play.

            The failure of both descriptions to accurately summarise the play's content highlights both the scope of the play, and the lack of understanding between the authors (mainly, it has to be said, on the part of Machin). The inconsistency therefore provides an explanation for the play's lack of coherent message: The main plot's "pleasant" moral message of chastity and honesty rewarded is subverted by a separate author adding a subplot that celebrates flamboyant dress, and rejoices in the cuckoldry and deception of the unpopular.   The most noticeable issue however, as Poynter explains, is the "fact that the main plot occupies a time span of several weeks, while the sub-plot cannot last more than thirty-six hours" [22] . The two plots are at best described as "inartistically joined" [23] and at worst as blindly forced upon each other by Machin.


The play's contemporary reception and popularity

            There are two main sources available to give insight into the plays reception: The first being Machin's signed address to the reader, which refers to "sharp critical censures", which if nothing else "implies that its production was sufficiently successful to raise some publicity and some controversy."[24]

            The other clue as to the play's popularity is the 1633 folio, which would imply at least a resurgence of interest in the play, if not a continued popularity (although probably not with the same company, as the "Children of the Kings Revels" ran into financial difficulties and had to close in 1609), despite the plays length and jarring inconsistency's.


In Conclusion

            The play's frighteningly obvious lack of collaborations between the authors and the play's length may make it difficult for a modern reader to view The Dumb Knight as anything other than two plays who just so happen to share a title and a few characters. However it cannot be ignored, that despite this, the two plays combined "clearly touched a raw nerve in early modern culture" and "enjoyed success over thirty years or more, and in a range of forms and venues"[25] .

            The solution as to why this is the case, one suspects, comes from viewing the play the perspective of what it would deliver to a contemporary audience: Everything they could want in a comedy, bar complexity.

            Where Shakespeare is brilliant in creating complex characters and plots to hook an audience, The Dumb Knight goes for the far simpler approach of simply providing everything it's audience could want, and unsubtly cramming it into a single play. The Dumb Knight possesses larger than life characters, fanfare (each act is started with "music"), intrigue, poetic verse and suspense in the main plot and simple comic relief in the sub-plot. The key to the plays success appears to be that each scene does it's "job" well: The play is constantly providing entertainment and spectacle either via humour, drama, suspense or a fight whilst adhering to a single, simple (if not entirely coherent) plot.

            Even if the jigsaw does not fit together to form a complete enough picture for the critic's purposes, the pieces of the puzzle are entertaining and well executed enough to maintain even the modern reader's interest.





To the understanding reader,


Rumour, that hydra-headed monster, with more tongues than eyes, by help of his intelligencer Envy, hath made strange misconstructions on this dumb knight, which then could not answer for himself: But now this publication doth untie his tongue, to answer the objections of all sharp critical censures which heretofore have undeservedly past upon him. And for my part, I protest the wrongs I have received by some, whose worth’s I will not traduce. With a mild neglect I have laughed at their follies; for I think my self happy, because I have been envied, since the best now in grace have been subject to some slanderous tongues that want worth themselves, and think it great praise to them to detract praise from others that deserve it; yet having a partner in the wrong, whose worth hath been often approved, I count the wrong but half a wrong, because he knows best how to answer for himself: But I now in his absence, make this apology, both for him and me. Thus leaving you and the book together, I ever rest yours,


Lewis Machin.



Dramatis Personae



·        King of Cyprus.

·        Philocles, The Dumb Knight, and second in command to the King.

·        Alphonso, A wealthy and extravagantly dressed lord.

·        Duke of Epire, Brother to Mariana.

·        Lord Alphonso, A lord of the Queen’s.

·        Florio, A servant under Epire.

·        Caelio, High marshal for the Queen.

·        Prate, An orator.

·        Precedent, Prate’s Clerk.

·        Mechant

·        Velours                   Clients of Prate the orator.

·        Drap


·        Queen of Sicily.

·        Mariana, Friend of the Queen, and sister to Epire.

·        Lollia, Prate’s wife.

·        Coloquintida, Lollia’s friend.


Attendants, Chip, Doctor’s, Executioner, Gentleman-Usher, Heralds, Shaving, Watchmen and Jailor.


Scene: Sicily.




Act One.

Scene One. Music.

Enter the King of Cyprus, Philocles, Florio, and attendants in arms.



Enough! These loud sounds deafes my passions:

How long shall love make me a slave to hope,

And mix my calm desires with tyranny?

O Philocles, ‘tis heresy I hold,

Thought and affection cannot be controlled.


Yet may it be bent and suppled with extremes,

Sith[26] few dare see the end of violence.

What makes the skilful leech to use the fire[27],

Or war her engines, or states policy,

But to recover things most desperate?

Revolt is recreant when pursuit is brave,

Never to faint doth purchase what we crave.


True, my Philocles, yet my recreant soul,

Slaved to her beauty, would renounce all war

And yield her right to love. Did not thy spirit,

Mixed with my longing, fortify these arms?

But I am now resolved, and this sad hour

Shall give an end to my distemperature.

Summon a parley.


Enter aloft the Queen of Sicily, the Duke of Epire, Alphonso, [Mariana] and attendants.



What says our tyrant suitor, our disease in love,

That makes our thoughts a slave unto his sword;

What says my lord?


Madam attend me, this is my latest summons:

The many suns my sorrows have beheld,

And my sad nights of longings, all through hope

T'enjoy the eye of earth (your own dear self),

Are grown so infinite in length and weight,

That like to wearied Atlas[28], I enforce

These wars as Hercules to bear my load[29]:

Briefly I must enjoy you, or else lose

The breath of life. Which to prevent, behold!

My sword must be my Cupid, and with feathered steel,

Force pity from your breast. Your city’s walls,

Chidden with my cannons, have set open a path

And boldly bids[30] me enter. All your men of war,

Feebled with famine and a weary siege,

Take danger from mine actions. Only yourself,

Strong in your will, oppose even destiny:

And like the giant’s war[31] offend the heavens.

Which to prevent, do but descend and give

Peace to my love-suit, and as o’ercome thereby

I'll yield myself your prisoner, and be drawn

A thrall in your triumphant victory.

If otherwise, behold! These fatal swords

Shall never be sheathed ‘til we be conquerors:

And not respecting innocence nor sex,

The cries of infants, nor the prayers of age,

All things shall perish, ‘til within my arms

I fold yourself, my thrall and conqueror.


Thou may be master of my body’s tomb,

But for my soul and mind, they are as free

As their creation; and with angel’s wings

Can soar beyond thy reach. Trust me, King of Cyprus,

Those coals the Roman Porcia[32] did devour

Are not burnt out, nor have th' Egyptian worms

Yet lost their stings[33]; steel holds his temper still:

And these are ransoms from captivity.

But art thou noble? Hast thou one royal thought?


Approve me by your question.


Then briefly thus:

To shun the great effusion of their bloods,

Who feel no touch in mine affections,

Dare you to single combat, two to two,

Refer your right in love?


Who are your combatants? We love equality.


This is the first, the Epire duke, a man

Sprung from the line of famous Skanderbeg[34].

The next Alphonso, sprung from noble blood:

Who laden with rich Lusitanian[35] prize,

Hath rode through Syracuse twice in pomp.


Their likings to the motion?


They are like wrath,

Never unarmed to bear weak injury.


Nay, more! We are the sons of destiny,

Virtue's our guide, our aim is dignity.


‘Sfoot, king shalt not forsake them, this I see:

Love, fight, and death are ruled by destiny.


My spirit speaks thy motion.

Madam, although advantage might evade

And give my love more hope, yet my bent will,

Bowed to your pleasure, doth embrace your law.

We do accept the combat, and our self

Will with that duke try fortunes; this my friend,

The more part of my self, my dearest Philocles,

One of an angel’s temper, shall with that, that lord[36],

Try best and worst. The place? The time? The sword?


They are your rights; we claim as challengers.


And we would lose that vantage[37], but since fame

Makes virtue dulat[38], we embrace our rights[39]:

The place before these walls, the hour next sun,

The poleaxe and the hand axe for the fight.


It is enough.

My hostage is my person and my love.


And mine my hope, my faith and royalty.


They are of poise sufficient, and one light

Shall at one instant, give us day and night.


Exeunt Queen, Mariana, Alphonso [and Epire.]



She's gone, my Philocles: And as she goes, even so

The sun forsakes the heavens to kiss the sea;

Day in her beauty leaves us, and methinks,

Her absence doth exile all happiness…

Tell me my Philocles; nay pray thee tell me true,

Even from that love,

Which to us both should bend one sympathy,

Discharge an open breast: Dost thou not think,

She is the mirror of her beauteous sex?

Unparalleled, and uncompanioned?


Envy will say she's rare; then truth must vow

She is beyond compare, sith in her looks,

Each motion hath a speaking majesty,

She is herself, compared with herself:

For but herself, she hath no companion.

But when I think of beauty, wit and grace,

The elements of active delicacy:

Those all eye pleasing harmonies of sight

Which do enchant men’s fancies, and stir up

The life blood of dull earth; O then methinks

Fair Mariana hath an equal place,

And if not outshine, it shows more beautiful.


More than my queen?


More in the gloss of beauty, less in worth

Of wisdom and great thoughts. The one I find

As made for wonder, th' other for admire.


Thine equal praises makes my fancies rich,

And I am pleas’d with thy comparisons.

Things of like nature live in best consent:

Beauty with subjects, majesty with kings.

Then let those two ideas lively move,

Spirit beyond all spirit, in our breasts;

That in the end of our great victory,

We may attain both love and majesty.


Although my first creation and my birth,

My thoughts, and other tempers of my soul’s,

Took all their noble beings from the sword,

And made me only for the use of wars:

Yet in this combat, something methinks appears

Greater than greatest glory; and doth raise

My mind beyond herself.

‘Sfoot! Methinks Caesar’s Pharsalia[40],

Nor Scipio’s Carthage, nor Emilia’s[41] acts,

Were worthy chairs of triumph: They o’er men’s

Poor mangled bodies, and fire wasted climes

Made their triumphant passage, but we two

Must conquer thoughts and love; more than the gods can do!


[Enter Florio]



True, and therein

Consists the glorious garland of our praise:

But we neglect th' affairs of preparation. Florio, be it your charge

To see th' erection of the squared lists[42],

Fit ground for either army, and what else

Belongs unto such royal eminence.


How near will your majesty’s hand the lists extend

Unto the city’s walls?[43]


So as the dullest eye,

May see the most heedful passage in the fight.


What square or circuit?


Threescore pace each way.


Your majesty shall have your will performed.


Do, and you do us grace. And now, thou sun!

That art the eye of heaven, whose pure sight

Shall be our guide, and Jove’s great chronicler;

Look from thy sphere.

No guilt of pride, of malice, or of blood

Puts on our armour; only pure naked love

Tutors our hopes, and doth our actions move!


Enough my Philocles, thine orisons are heard.

Come let’s away.




[Scene Two]

Enter Lollia[44], the wife of Prate[45] the orator.



Now fie upon't, who would be an orator’s wife and not a gentlewoman if she could choose? A Lady is the most sweet lascivious life, conveys and kisses, the tire, O the tire, made castle upon castle, jewel upon jewel, knot upon knot, crowns, garlands, gardens, and what not? The hood, the rebato[46], the French fall, the loose bodied gown, the pin in the hair; now clawing the pate, then picking the teeth, and every day change; when we poor souls must come and go for every man’s pleasure, and what's a lady more than another body? We have legs and hands, and rolling eyes, hanging lips, sleek brows, cherry cheeks and other things as ladies have; but the fashion carries it away.


Enter Mistress Coloquintida[47].



Why how now mistress Prate? I'the old disease still, will it never be better, cannot a woman find one kind man amongst twenty? O, the days that I have seen! When the law of a woman’s wit could have put her husband’s purse to execution.


O mistress Coloquintida, mine is even the most unnatural man to his wife.


Faith, for the most part, all scholars are so, for they take so upon them to know all things, that indeed they know nothing. And besides they are with study and ease grown so unwieldy, that a woman shall ne’er want a sore stomach that's troubled with them.


And yet they must have the government of all!


True, and great reason they have for it, but a wise man will put it in a woman’s hand. What! She’ll save what he spends.


You have a pretty ruff, how deep is it?


Nay this is but shallow! Marry I have a ruff is a quarter deep, measured by the yard[48].


Indeed, by the yard?


By the standard I assure you! You have a pretty set too, how big is the steele[49] you set with?


As big as a reasonable sufficient. Pity of my life! I have forgot myself! If my husband should rise from his study and miss me, we should have such a coil[50]!


A coil? Why, what coil? If he were my husband and did but thwart me, I would ring him so many alarms, sound him so many brass trumpets, beat him so many drums to his confusion, and thunder him such a peal of great shot, that I would turn his brain in the pan, and make him mad with an eternal silence.


O mistress Coloquintida, but my husbands anger is the worst favour’dest without all conscience of any man’s in all Sicily. He is even as peevish as a sick monkey, and as waspish as an ill pleased bride the second morning!


Let your wrath be reciprocal, and pay him at his own weapon. But to the purpose for which I came: The party you wrote of commends him to you in this diamond, he that met the party you know, and said the party’s party was a party of a partly pretty understanding.


O, the Lord Alphonso?


The very same, believe it! He loves you, and swears he so loves you, that if you do not credit him you are worse then an infidel.


Indeed mistress Coloquintida, he hath the right garb for apparel, the true touch with the tongue in the kiss, and he dances well but falls heavily: But my husband, woman, my husband! If we could put out his cats eyes, there were something to be said, but they are ever peeping and prying, that they are able to pierce through a millstone. Besides, I may say to you, he is a little jealous too…and see where he comes? We shall have a coil now.


Enter Prate the orator.



Begin you to pout first, for that’s a woman’s prevention.


What, Lollia I say, where are you? My house looks you, my men lack you, I seek you, and a whole quest of inquiry cannot find you! Fie, fie, fie, fie, idleness is the whip of thrift! A good housewife should ever be occupied.


Indeed I have much joy to be occupied in anybody’s company.


Why, what’s the matter?


Why, orator’s wives shortly will be known like images on water stairs; ever in one weather-beaten suit, as if none wore hoods but monks and ladies; nor feathers but fore-horses and waiting gentlewomen; nor chains but prisoners and lord’s officers; nor periwigs but players and hot brains: But the weakest must to the walls still[51].


Go to, you shall have what you will.


Nay, nay, 'twas my hard fortune to be your wife…Time was I might have done otherwise, but it matters not; you esteem me as you do yourself and think all things costly enough that covers shame, and that a pair of silken fore-sleeves to a satin breastplate, is a garment good enough for a capitol: But is master Wrangle, master Tangle, or master Trolbeare of that opinion? In faith sir, no.


[52]There’s never a gallant in our state,

That goes more rich in gaudy bravery:

And yet I hope for quality of speech,

Audacious words or quirks or quiddities[53],

You are not held their much inferior.

Fie, fie, I am ashamed to see your baseness.


Indeed master Prate, she tells you truly; I wonder that you, being a proper man and an orator, will not go brave[54] according to the custom of the country!


Go to, neighbour: He that will rise to the top of a high ladder must go up, not leap up. But be patient wench, and thou shalt shortly see me gallant it with the best, and for thyself, my Lollia,


Not Lollia Paulina, nor those blazing stars,

Which makes the world the apes of Italy:

Shall match thyself in sun-bright splendour!


Nay, verily for myself I care not, ‘tis you that are my pride, if you would go like yourself I were appeased.


Believe it, wench, so I will, but to the purpose for which I came, the end of this great war is now brought to a combat, two to two, the duke of Epire and Alphonso for our Queen, against the King and Prince Philocles: Now wench if thou wilt go see the fight, I will send and provide thee of a good standing.


Indeed, for you have never a good one of your own.


What, Precedent I say?

Precedent. [From within]

Anon, anon sir.


Why, when I say! The villain’s belly is like a bottomless pit, ever filling and yet empty! At your leisure, sir!


Enter Precedent[55], Prate’s man eating.



I can make no more haste than my teeth will give me leave.


Well sir, get you without the town to the place for the combat, and provide me for my wife some good standing to see the conflict.


How master? How must I provide a good standing for you for my mistress? Truly master I think a marrow-bone pie, candi'd erringoes, preserv'd dates, or marmalade of cantharides were much better harbingers; cock sparrows stew'd, doves brains or swan’s pizzles[56] are very provocative; roasted potatoes or boiled skirrets[57] are your only lofty dishes, methinks these should fit you better than I can do.


What’s this? What’s this I say? Provide me a standing for my wife upon a scaffold!


And truly master, I think a private chamber were better!


I grant you, if there were a chamber convenient.


Willing minds will make shift in a simple hole: Close windows, strong locks, hard bed and sure posts are your only ornaments.


I think the knave be mad, sirrah! You chop logic, blockhead, you that have your brain-pan made of dry leather, and your wit ever wetshod: Pack about your business, or I’ll pack your pen and inkhorn about your ears!


Well sir, I may go or so, but would my mistress take a standing of my preferment, I would so mount her, she should love strange things the better all her life after.


Why, when sir?


Exit Precedent.

[From offstage]

And come, sweet wife. Nay, neighbour! Let us have your company too.




[Scene Three]

Enter at one door a herald and Florio, marshal for the King, with officers bearing the lists, at the other door a herald and Caelio, marshal for the Queen.



Holla, what are you?


High marshal for the King, your character?


I likewise for the Queen, where lies your equal ground?


Here underneath these walls, and there and there ground for the battles.


Place there the Queen’s seat,

And there and there chairs for the combatants.


Place here the lists, fix every joint as strong

As ‘twere a wall, for on this foot of earth

This day shall stand two famous monuments:

The one a throne of glory bright as gold,

Burnish’d with angel’s lustre, and with stars

Plucked from the crown of conquest, in which shall sit

Men made half gods through famous victory;

The other a rich tomb of memorable fame,

Built by the curious thoughts of noble minds,

In which shall sleep these valiant souls in peace,

Whom fortune’s hand shall only overthrow.

Heaven[58], in thy palm, this day the balance hinges!

Which makes kings gods, or men more great than kings.


So now let the heralds give the champions sign

Of ready preparations.


Exeunt Heralds.


The cornets sound, and enter at one end of the stage a herald, two pages, one with pollaxes, the other with hand axes, the Duke of Epire, and Alphonso like combatants, the Queen, Mariana, Prate, Lollia, Coloquintida and Precedent aloft.



What are you that appear, and what desire

Draws you within these lists?


I am the Duke of Epire, and the desire

Which doth attract my spirit to run this marshal course,

Is the fair guard of a distressed queen;

Would wed to hate and inequality and brutish force,

Which to withstand I boldly enter thus,

And will defail[59], or else prove recreant[60].


And what are you or your intendiments[61]?


I am Alphonso, marshal of this realm,

Who of like tempered thoughts and like desires,

Have grounded this, my sanctimonious zeal,

And will approve the Duke’s assertions,

Or in this field lie slain and recreant.


Enter and prosper as your cause deserves.


The cornets sound, and enter at the other end of the stage a herald, two pages with axes and pollaxes, then the King of Cyprus and Philocles, like combatants and their army.



What are you that appear, and what desire

Draws you within these lists?


I am the King of Cyprus, who led on

By the divine instinct of heavenly love,

Come with my sword to beg that royal maid,

And to approve by gift of heaven and fate,

She is a one to me appropriate:

Which to maintain I challenge entrance here,

Where I will live a king or recreant.


And what are you or your intendiments?


I am less than my thoughts, more than myself,

Yet nothing but the creature of my fate.

By name my nature only is obscur'd,

And yet the world baptis'd me Philocles.

My entrance here is proof of holy zeal,

And to maintain that no severe disdain,

False shape of chastity, nor woman’s will,

Neglective petulance, or uncertain hope,

Foul wizard coyness, nor seducing fame

Should rob the royal temper of true love

From the desired aim of his desires,

Which my best blood shall witness, or this field

Entomb my body made a recreant.


Enter and prosper as your cause deserves.


Draws 2 swords.



Princes, lay your hands on these sword’s points:

Here you shall swear by hope, by heaven, by Jove[62];

And by the right you challenge in true fame,

That here you stand not arm'd with any guile,

Malignant hate, or usurpation

Of philtres charms, of night-spells characters,

Or other black infernal vantages;

But even with thoughts as pure

As your pure valour’s, or the sun’s pure beams,

T' approve the right of pure affection;

And howsoe're your fortunes rise or fall,

To break no faith in your conditions,

So help you Jove.


We swear.


How often doth my maiden thoughts correct

And chide my forward will, for this extreme

Pursuit of blood! Believe me, fain[63] I would

Recall mine oath’s vow, did not my shame

Hold fast my cruelty, by which is taught

Those gems are prized best, are dearest bought.

Sleep, my love’s softness then, waken my flame,

Which guards a vestal sanctity. Princes behold,

Upon those weapons sits my god of love,

And in their powers my loves severity.

If them you conquer, we are all your slaves,

If they triumph, we’ll mourn upon your graves.


Now by my maiden modesty I wish

Good fortune to that Philocles. My mind

Presages virtue in his eaglet’s eyes.

‘Sfoot! He looks like a sparrow-hawk, or a wanton fire,

A flash of lightning, or a glimpse of day;

His eye steals to my heart, and lets it see

More than it would – peace! Blab no secrecy,

He must have blows.


Sound cornets, princes, respect your guards.


Here they fight, and Philocles overthrows Alphonso, and Epire overthrows Cyprus.



I crave the Queen’s conditions, or this blow

Sends this afflicted soul to heaven or hell.

Speak madam, will you yield or shall he die?


Neither bold prince, if thou but touch a hair,

The King’s breath shall redeem it: Madam your love

Is safe in angels guarding, let no fear

Shake hands with doubtfulness, you are as safe

As in a tower of diamonds!


O ‘tis but glass,

And cannot bear this axe’s massiness!

Duke, thy brave words that second thy brave deeds,

Fills me with emulation: Only we two

Stand equal victors; then if thou hast that tie

And bond of well knit valour, which unites

Virtue and same together; let us restore

Our captives unto freedom, and we two,

In single combat try out the mastery.

Where whoso falls each other, shall subscribe

To every clause in each condition.


Thou art the index of mine ample thought,

And I am pleas'd with thine election.

Speak madam, if e’er I deserved grace,

Grace me with your consent.


‘Tis all my will,

Thy noble hand erect and perfect me.


What says his majesty?

My stars are writ in heaven, nor death nor fate

Are slaves to fear, to hope, or human state.


I neither fear thy fortune nor my ruin,

But hold them all beyond all prophesy.

Thou hast my free consent, and on thy power

Lies my life’s date or my death’s hour.


Then rise and live with safety.


Alphonso, here my hand,

Thy fortune lends thy peace no infamy.

And now, thou glorious issue of Jove’s brain,

That burnt the Telamonian ravisher[64],

Look from thy sphere, and if my heart contain

An impure thought of lust, send thy monsters forth

And make me more than earthly miserable.


Here the cornets sound, they fight, and Philocles overcomes the Duke, the Queen descends.



Yield, recant or die.


Thine axe hath not the power to wound my thought,

And yields a word my tongue could never sound.

I say th'art worthy valiant, for my death,

Let the Queen speak it, ‘tis an easy breath.


Not for the world’s large circuit. Hold, gentle prince,

Thus I do pay his ransom, low as the ground,

I tender mine unspotted virgin love,

To thy great will’s commandment: Let not my care,

My woman tyranny, or too strict guard,

In bloody purchase take away those sweets

Till now have governed your amazed desires;

For trust me, King, I will redeem my blame,

With as much love as Philocles hath fame.


Thus comes a calm unto a sea-wrecked soul,

Ease to the pained, food unto the starv'd,

As you to me, my best creation.

Trust me my queen, my love’s large chronicle

Thou never shalt over read, because each day

It shall beget new matter of amaze:

And live to do thee grace eternally.

Next, whom my Philocles, my bounteous friend,

Author of life, and sovereign of my love,

My heart shall be thy throne, thy breast the shrine,

Where I will sit to study gratefulness.

To you and you my lords, my best of thoughts,

Whose loves have showed a duteous carefulness.

To all, free thanks and graces; this unity

Of love and kingdoms is a glorious sight.

Mount up the royal champion, music and cornets sound,

Let shouts and cries make heaven and earth rebound!


Exeunt [Everyone except Epire.]



How like the sun’s great bastard o’er the world,

Rides this man mounted engine, this proud prince

And with his breath singes our continents!

Sit fast proud Phaeton[65], for by heaven I’ll kick

And plunge thee in the sea: If thou'lt needs ride,

Thou should’st have made thy seat upon a slave,

And not upon mine honours firmament!

Thou hast not heard the god of wisdom’s tale,

Nor can thine youth curb greatness, till my hate,

Confound thy life with villain policy.

I am resolv'd since virtue hath disdained

To clothe me in her riches; henceforth to prove

A villain fatal, black and ominous.             

Thy virtue is the ground of my dislike

And my disgrace. The edge of envy’s sword,

Which like a razor shall unplume thy crest;

And rob thee of thy native excellence.

When great thoughts give their homage to disgrace,

There’s no respect of deeds, time, thoughts or place.[66]





Act Two.

Scene One. Music.

Enter Prate, Lollia, Coloquintida, and Precedent.



Come wife, methought our party stood stiffly to it.


Indeed they were stiff whilst they stood, but when they were down, they were like men of a low world; a man might have wound their worst anger about his finger.


Go to sirrah, you must have your fool’s bolt in everybody’s quiver!


Indeed mistress, if my master should break his arrow with foul shooting or so, I would be glad if mine might supply the whole.


I find you kind, sir.


True sir, according to my kind, and to pleasure my kind mistress.


Go to sirrah! I will not have your kindness to intermeddle with her kind; she is meat for your master.


And your man sir, may lick your foul trencher[67].


Aye, but not eat of his mutton.


Yet I may dip my bread in the wool, mistress Coloquintida!


Go to sirrah! You will be obscene, and then I shall knock you. But to the combat, methought our side were the more proper men.


True, and therefore they had the worse fortune: But see here is the Lord Florio.


Enter Florio.



Master orator, it is the King and Queen’s majesty’s pleasure that you presently repair unto the court, touching the drawing out of certain articles for the benefit of both the kingdoms.


My lord, I will instantly attend their majesties.


Do, for they expect you seriously.


Exit Florio.



Wife, you can have my service no longer. Sirrah, Precedent, attend you upon your mistress home: And wife, I would have you to hold your journey directly homeward, and not to imitate princes in their progress, step not out of your way to visit a new gossip, to see a new garden-house, to smell the perfumes of court jerkins, or to handle other tools than may fit for your modesty. I would not have you to step into the suburbs, and acquaint yourself either with monsters or motions, but holding your way directly homeward, show yourself still to be a rare housewife.


I'faith, I'faith, your black out-side will have a yellow lining[68].


Content thee wife, it is but my love that gives thee good council. But here comes one of my clients.


Enter Drap, a country gentleman.



Sir, master orator, I am bold to trouble you about my suit.


Sir, master country gentleman, I am now for present business of the King’s.


You may the better remember me.


Hey day, I shall mix your business with the King’s!


No but you may let his majesty know my necessity.


Sir, sir, you must not confine me to your seasons, I tell you I will collect mine own leisures.


Enter Velours a citizen.



Master orator, is it your pleasure I attend you about my dispatches?


Sir, it is my pleasure you dispatch yourself from mine encumbrance, I tell you I am for instant business of the King’s.


Sir, I have borne mine attendance long.


Bear it till your bones ache! I tell you, I cannot bear it now; I am for new business!

Drap. Velours.

Yet the old would be dispatched, it was first paid for.


If you be gentlemen do not make me mad!

Drap. Velours.

Sir, our suits are of great weight!


If you be Christians, do not make me an atheist! I shall profane if you vex me thus!


Enter the lord Mechant[69].


What, more vexation? My lord, my lord, save your breath for your broth; I am not now at leisure to attend you.


A word good Mr. Orator.


Not a word, I beseech your lordship; I am for the King’s business, you must attend me at my chamber.


Exit Prate.


Mechant. Drap. Velours.

And every where else, we will not leave you!




[Scene Two]

Enter Precedent, Lollia and Coloquintida.



Now methinks my master is like a horse-leech, and these suitors so many sick of the gout, that come to have him suck their blood: O, ‘tis a mad world.


Go to, sirrah! You will never leave your crab-tree similes[70]. But pity of me, who have we here?


Enter Alphonso.


O ‘tis the Lord Alphonso.


Mistress, God save: Nay your lip, I am a stranger. And how doth mistress Coloquintida? O you are an excellent seasoner of city stomachs.


Faith my lord, I have done my best to make somebody relish your sweet meats; but hark you my lord! I have struck the stroke, I have done the deed, there wants nothing but time, place and her consent…


Call you that nothing?


A trifle, a trifle, upon her, upon her my lord, she may seem a little rough at the first; but if you stand stiffly to her, she’ll fall: A word with you, Mr. Precedent!


They whisper.



Mistress Prate, I am a soldier, and can better act my love than speak it. My suit you know by your neighbour, my love you shall prove by my merit, to both which my tokens have been petty witnesses, and my body shall seal and deliver upon thee such a brave confirmation, that not all the orators in Sicily shall be able to cancel the deed.


Truly my lord, methinks you being witty should be honest.


Nay wench, if I were a fool, there's no question but I would be honest. But to the purpose; say wench, shall I enjoy, shall I possess?


To enjoy my love, is not to possess my body.


Tut, wench, they be words of one signification, and cannot be separated.


Nay then I should wrong my husband.


‘Sfoot! Thou should’st but do for him as he does for the whole world; why an orator were a needle name, if it were not to defend wrong: Then wench, do as he doth, write by a precedent.


O my lord, I have a husband,

A man who's waking jealousy survives,

And like a lion, sleeps with open eyes[71];

That not a minute of mine hours are free

From the intelligence of his secret spies.

I am a very toward Danae[72]:

Sorrow whose roof, suspicion will not let

Gold showers have passage, nor can I deceive

His Argus[73] eyes with any policy:

And yet I swear I love you.


Death of affection! If thou lov'st me as thou says thou dost,

Thou canst invent some means for our delight.

The rather sith it ever hath been said:

That walls of brass withstand not willing minds?

And women when th'are prone make love admir'd

For quaint endeavours. Come, instruct thy wit,

And find some scale to our high height of bliss.


Then briefly thus, my lord:

Tomorrow doth the senate sit to judge,

Causes both criminal and of the state;

Where of necessity my husband’s place

Must be filled by himself, because his tongue

Must gild his client’s causes. Now if you please,

All that self hour, when he is turmoil'd

About those serious trifles, to vouchsafe

To visit me, his absence and my care

Shall give us liberty of more delight.

You know my meaning, and I am asham'd

My love should thus betray my modesty;

But make the use according to your fancy.


What hour assures his absence?


Eight is the latest time.


This kiss leave my faith with thee, farewell.

Th'ast given me double glory from thy breath,

Nothing shall lose me time but certain death.


[They kiss] Exit Alphonso.



Truly mistress Coloquintida, you are an excellent piece of sweet gall[74].


Well sir, will you lead the way homeward?


To your bed chamber mistress, or your privy lodging!




[Scene Four]

Enter Philocles alone.



Night, clad in black, mourns for the loss of day;

And hides the silver spangles of the air,

That not a spark is left to light the world.

Whilst quiet sleep, the nourisher of life

Takes full possession on mortality.

All creatures take their rest in soft repose

Save malcontents, and we accursed lovers,

Whose thoughts perturbed, makes us passion’s slave:

And robs us of the juice of happiness.

Dear Mariana, shaped in an angel’s mould,

Thou thrall'st my senses, and inflam'st my blood,

Love, power, by wisdom cannot be withstood.

But see, the morning star breaks from the east,

To tell the world her great eye is awak'd,

To take his journey to the western vales:

And now the court begins to rise with him.


Here passes over the stage a physician, a gentleman usher, and a waiting maid.


There goes the physician, the waiting maid,

And a fine straight legg'd gentleman usher,

The preface to a kirtle all puff paste[75].

One that writes sonnets in his lady’s praise,

And hides her crimes with flattering poesy.


Enter Mariana.


But peace, amazement! See the day of life,

Nature’s best work, the world’s chief paragon!

Madam, one word!


Aye; so now farewell!


You do mistake me.


That yourself can tell,

You ask'd me one word, which I gave; said aye,

A word of least use in a virgin’s breath!

Urge not my patience then with fond reply.


Dear lady, lend an ear unto my voice,

Sith each were made for other’s happiness:

My tongue’s not oiled with courtly flatterings,

Nor can I paint my passions to the life:

But by that power which shaped this heavenly form,

I am your bond-slave, forc'd by love’s command:

Then let soft pity with such beauty dwell –

Madam I love you.


As I am a virgin so do I.


But madam whom?


Myself, no lady better!


But will you love me?


No, by my chastity.


I hope you do but jest.


Nay, I’ll keep mine oath.

Men shall abandon pride and jealousy

Ere[76] I’ll be bound to their captivity.

They shall live continent[77], and leave to range,

But men like to the moon, each month must change.

Yet we must seek that naught their sight displeases,

And mix our wedlock sweets with loathed diseases:

When we consume ourselves and our best beauty,

All our reward is “why, ‘twas but our duty!”


Judge not so hard of all for some offenders,

For you are subject to the self same crimes;

Of men and women always have been had

Some good of each.


But for the most part bad:

Therefore I’ll have none at all but die a perfect maid.


That humour, like a flower soon will fade,

Once did mine own thoughts sing to that delight,

Till love and you reformed my barbarousness:

Therefore dear lady, pity my wounded heart.


A surgeon here for this love-wounded man!

How deep's your ulcer'd orifice, I pray you tell?


Quite through my heart.


‘Tis strange and look so well;

Yet ladies’ eyes have power to murder men,

And with one smile to make them whole again;

Achilles’ lance to a hare[78]. But do you love me, Prince?


Dearer than my soul.


Would I could love you.


Madam so you may.


As yet I cannot, therefore let me go.


O do not leave me; grant me but one request,

And here I vow by that divinest power,

The salt-sea’s glorious issue[79], who's bright sphere

Rules my sick heart, and knows my chaste intent,

That if you please t'impose on me that task

Which neither men nor monster can achieve,

Which even angels have a dread to touch,

Deeds which outstretch all possibility,

‘Sfoot! More than can be thought, and I'll effect,

Or else I’ll perish in th'accomplishment.


Let your request fit virgin modesty,

And you obey your vow, I am content

To give your thoughts contented happiness.


‘Tis but a kiss I ask, a minute’s joy.


Now, Cupid help thee! Is thy grief for this?

Keep thy strong vow, and freely take a kiss.


He kisses her.



I have obtained my heaven, and in this touch

I feel the breath of all deliciousness:

Then freely give the sentence of my work,

Muster up all the engines of your wit,

Teach Juno[80] rules beyond maliciousness;

Whate’er it be, I'll die but I’ll perform it.


Thou shalt not kill thyself, nor fight with monsters,

Nor bring the Great Turk’s[81] beard to show thy zeal:

Thy life thou shalt not hazard for my love,

Nor will I tie thee to an endless task:

But even with ease, and gentle wrangled knots,

Thou shalt unwind thy clew[82] of miseries.


Let it have passage, madam, give me my doom.


Then Philocles, knit silence to my words,

And mark thy doom: For thus my stricter will

Loads grief upon thy vainer levity.

Hence, for the space and compass of one year,

Thou shalt abjure the liberty of speech.

Thou shalt not speak for fully twelve months space,

For friend nor foe, for danger nor for death;

But live like air, with silent emptiness.

Break thou this vow, I'll hold thee for a villain,

And all the world shall know thy perjury.


Be heaven and earth a witness of my vow,

And mine eternal silence, I am dumb.


Why so, now shall I not be troubled with vain chat

Or idle prate of idle wantonness:

For love I cannot, therefore ‘tis in vain.

Would all my suitors’ tongues I thus could reign,

Then should I live free from feigned sighs and groans,

With “O take pity”, “’tis your servant moans”,

And such harsh stuff, that frets me to the heart:

And sonnets made of Cupid’s burning dart,

Of Venus’s lip, and Juno’s majesty,

Then were I freed from fools and foolery.

In May the cuckoo sings, then she’ll come hither,

Her voice and yours will rarely tune together.[83]


Exit Mariana. Enter Florio.



Prince Philocles, the King would speak with you:


Speaks louder and louder.


Prince Philocles, the King would speak with you,

Prince Philocles, the King would speak with you.


Philocles strikes Florio and fells him [then exits].



The pox rot off your fingers for this blow!

It is coronation day, through all my skull,

There’s such a fatal ringing in my brain,

Has won the selt[84], has laid five fingers on;

But ‘twas a knavish part of him to play so.

Hear me you gods for this my open wrong,

Make short his fingers as you have his tongue!


Exit Florio.


[Scene Five]

Enter Mechant alone.



‘Tis not mans fortune, envy or neglect,

Which makes him miserable, but ‘tis mean fate,

Even sole predestination, a firm gift,

Fix’d to his birth before the world was made.

For were it otherwise, then within our lives,

We should find some distractions, errors change,

And other toys of much uncertainty:

But my mishaps are fix’d so to my blood,

They have no sire but my creation:

The Queen, out of suspicion that my love

First set an edge upon the King’s desires,

And made him woo her with a victor’s sword,

Casts me from favour, seizes all my lands,

And turns my naked fortunes to the cold.

The King, made proud with purchase of his wish,

Neglects my sufferance for him, and o’er looks

The low-tide of my fortunes; lest my woes

Should speak my wrongs to his ingratitude.

The whilst those lords whose supple hams have bow'd

To do me formal reverence, now despise

And slight me in their meanest compliments:

O ‘tis a torment more than hell yet knows,

To be an honest flatterer, or to live

A saint in limbo, which that I may prevent,

I’ll be nor best nor worst, but all indifferent.

But here comes a noble man, I must turn petitioner.


Enter Florio.


My lord, may I not see the King?


You may not.

His majesty is now down pressed with seriousness:

As for your suit it is with Prate the orator.

I heard his highness give him a special charge

For your dispatch with favour.


O but he doth neglect,

And slights me like his weak orations,

And by your lordship’s leave, I do not think

His wisdom worthy of the conference.


Nay, if you will correct the King’s coin[85] you are not for my conference, fare you well.


Exit Florio.



Why, and fare you well, ‘sfoot! This is more than strange!

That being griev'd I may not say I’m pained.


Enter Alphonso.


But here comes another: Mine honourable lord,

May I not have some conference with the King?


You may not, business of greater weight

Imports both him and us: Nay, pray you, cease;

As for your suit ‘tis with the orator.


Yet methinks ‘twere meet –


That you would rather trouble him than me.


It’s strange.


It’s strange indeed, to see you wrong your ease.

I am not now for idle conferences, adieu.


Exit Alphonso.



Why, this is court grace to men in misery,

And thus these tail-less lions with their roar

Affright the simple herd: O I could now

Turn rebel ‘gainst their pride.


Enter Epire.


But here comes the Duke:

My gracious lord, vouchsafe to hear my griefs?


For God’s love cease your trouble! We are all

Troubled with griefs of stranger qualities.


Words are no heavy burden.


No, had I no other weight;

But we are all down pressed with other poise:

As for your suit it is referr'd to Prate:

And he must give you fair dispatch with favour;

Which if he slight for envy or for bribe,

Repair to me, and I will not forget

To give you ease, and chide his negligence.

Mean space I pray you leave me, for we all

Are troubled now with greatest miracles.


Your grace doth do me comfort, and I will

Study with service to deserve your favours,

And so I take my leave.


Exit Mechant. Enter 2 doctors.



Your own contentment's follow you.

Now gentlemen what news within? Can this dumb wonder speak?

Have you cut off those lets[86] that tied his speech.

And made your fames to sound through Sicily?

First Doctor.

All hopeful means that man or art can find,

Have we made trial of, but ‘tis in vain:

For still my lord, the cure’s invincible.

Second Doctor.

Those organs nature gave to move the tongue,

He fully doth possess as well as we.

Which makes us think his sudden apoplexy,

Is either will, vow, or a miracle.


I should think strangely, had we strange things on earth;

But wonders now are most familiar:

But here comes his majesty, now we shall see

If this dumb beast can speak before the King.


Cornets, and enter Cyprus, Queen, Philocles, Mariana and attendants.



My best of friends, my dearest Philocles,

Thy grief’s run in my spirit, make me sad,

And dulls my sense with thine affliction.

My soul with thine doth sympathize in woe,

And passion governs him that should rule all.

What say our doctors, is there no hope of help?

First Doctor.

No hope my lord, the cure is desperate.


Then I am king of grief, for in his words

Found I more music than in choirs of angels:

It was as silver as the chime of spheres,

The breath of lutes, or love’s deliciousness:

Next to my queen, he is my joy on earth:

Nor shall the world contain that happy good

Which with my tears I will not woo for him.

My lord of Epire, let it be straight proclaim'd

Through all the cities in our kingdom’s verge,

That who so will avow to cure this prince,

And bring his work to wished effectualness,

Shall have ten thousand crowns and our best love.

But if he fail in his great enterprise,

His daring is the loss of present life.

Since no man hitherto could do him good,

The next shall help him or else lose his blood!


Your majesty shall have your will performed.


Not all so soon dear brother, what if a woman now

Should turn Asclepius[87], and restore

This dumb Hippolytus?[88] Nay do not look strange,

I dare avow and undertake the cure.


You, sister, are you in your wits?


Faith, of the outside of them brother, yet a woman’s tongue

Whose burden still is superfluity,

May lend a man an age’s complement.


Madam, I would not have you with the bark

Play yourself into danger[89]. This great cure,

I fear is far beyond your physic’s help.


My lord, you know not how Apollo[90] loves me,

I have been thought as fair as Oenone[91] was,

And dare be bold to claim this miracle.


Mariana attend, glory and ruin compass thee about

This hand shall raise thee to a golden throne,

And grace thee with all styles of dignity;

This cast thee down.

Lower than lives misfortune and o’erwhelm

Thy beauties with thy grave. Perform, be great,

Fail and be worse than worst calamity.


Stay gentle friend, my love doth bid thee stay!

Attempt not, and be safe from misery.


Sister you shall not grasp with mischief thus,

My blood doth challenge interest in your ill,

And I conjure you from this desperateness.


Brother content yourself, words but augment our strife,

I will perform or else my pawn's[92] my life.


Proceed fair virgin.


Vouchsafe me privacy: Now Venus[93], be my speed,

Speak gentle Philocles, thine oath’s bond I untie,

And give thy vows a free enfranchisement.

Thy well kept league hath show'd thy strength of truth,

And doth confirm me in my virtuousness:

Thy martyrdom and sufferance is too long,

And I restore it to new liberty.

Then speak my Philocles, speak gentle prince,

To her whose love respects and honours thee.


How now, what virtue from thy charms?


No hope is left…dear Philocles, regard my miseries!

Untie that wilful let which holds in speech,

And make me happy through thy noble pity.

I see the face of mine ill-shaped contempt,

Where like with like, hath quit most injury:

Then speak my lord, utter one angel breath

To give me joy, and save me from strange death.

What, not a word? Hath this small silence brought

An utter detestation to thy speech?

Wilt thou nor hear, nor speak, nor pity me?

The gentle gods move thee to more remorse!


What, wilt not be?

Fond maid thou hast drawn affliction on thy head,

And thrall’d thy self to worst calamity!

Till morrow sun thy incantations use:

But then effectless, all hopes desperate,

Wert thou my bosom love thou die’st the death,

Best ease for madness is the loss of breath.


Exeunt all but Philocles and Marianna.



O Philocles, I am no court’s disgrace,

No cities prostitution, country’s shame,

Nor one shall bring Troy’s fire unto thy house.

Turn not away, hard hearted Myrmidon[94],

See, on my knees I’ll follow thee in court,

And make the world condemn thy cruelty!

Yet, if my tears may mollify thy heart,

Receive them as the floods of strangest tides,

Turn not thy face from her that dotes on thee!

Love now hath made me subject to thy will,

And pale disdain hath take revenge on me.

Behold my nerves I’ll wear upon this earth,

And fill this roof with lamentations.

What, dost thou smile? Hath fury so much sway

As even to banish poor civility?

Then be thy self, and break thine itching spleen[95]:

For I disdain thy ransom’s victory,

Life thou art weary brought, welcome my death,

Sweet because wish’d for, good because my choice:

Yet when I am dead, this of me shall be said,

A cruel prince murdered a loving maid.

And after ages to th'unborn shall tell,

Thy hate, my love, thy envy and my hell.

Nay, do not speak! I charge thee, go! Let nothing move thee,

Death is my glory, since thou wilt not love me.


Exeunt Omnes.



Act Three.

Scene One. Music.

Enter the Duke of Epire and Alphonso.



Grief, which controls the motions of our thoughts,

Reigns in my blood and makes me passion’s slave.

My sister's misery torments my soul,

And breaks my gall when I but think of her:

She was bewitched with spells to her misfortune,

Or else born hapless under a lowering star,

And ‘tis her fate to be thus miserable.

O Philocles hadst thou no other scale

To mount thy heaven but by our miseries?

Must all the noble fame of our great house

Waste down her royal pillars, to make steps

For thee to climb to glory? Well, I see,

Thou plots our shames in thy great dignity.


Patience great lord, methinks these ill raised storms

Have not more violence than may be borne:

Come we will both go sue unto the King.

We there will kneel and pray eternally,

And never rise till he remit his dome:

It shall be so, I will unto the King,

To beg great favour for a small offence:

But if she die for this, then king take heed,

Thee and thy fortunes by this hand shall bleed!




[Scene 2]

Enter Chip, Shaving[96] and others with a scaffold.



Come my hearts, let’s make all things ready for the execution, here's a maiden head must be cut off without a featherbed.


It’s a sign she deals with sharp tools and a cruel headsman.


If I had been her judge, she should have been tossed to death in a blanket.


No, I would have had her smothered in a featherbed!


They say she would not plead at her trial.


No that’s true, for she had a great desire to be pressed[97].


And I have known some of her sex, have got that favour to be pressed for speaking.


Then she was unwise to hold her tongue being a woman.


What is her crime that she must lose her head?


Because she lived honest, contrary to the statute.


There is a great number of my neighbours will never suffer for that fault.


No nor thou neither if the truth were known, for my part I shun that danger.


I think we are all out of danger of the law for that crime.


I know I am free, for I am a knave if I have not forgot what wench had my maidenhead.


Enter Florio.



Make room there, his majesty is coming to the execution.


Come, now all things are ready. Let’s away.



[Scene Three]

Enter Epire and Alphonso.



Mercy is banished, courts; the King, like flint,

Hardens his royal temper against our ‘plaints,

And makes our woes most unavoidable.

What inauspicious star reigned at her birth,

That heaven thus frowns upon her misery?

And my good lord, now innocence must die.

As white as un-trod snow, or culver down[98].

Kings words are laws, and cannot be withstood;

Yet ‘tis false greatness, which delights in blood!


Patience my lord, I do not think this ill

Is yet so big as unrecoverable.

The King doth hold you in most choice respect,

And whom kings love, they study to oblige.

Then call your reason home, make not this civil war,

To suffer makes woes lesser than they are.


How well the sound can salve the sick-mans grief!

But O, how ill he can digest his pills![99]

O my good lord, you shall not lose a sister,

That is the joy and comfort of your breath!

‘Tis not your blood shall issue from her wounds,

But mine, that runs in rivers from her tears,

And rounds my face in her calamity!

Well, let her perish, since her soul is clear,

And for her death, I’ll make a massacre!


Enter Cyprus, Queen, Philocles, Mariana bound, a guard of halberds and a Executioner.



Your suits are bootless: For my vows have glued

And closed mine ears that they retain no sound

Of your entreaties, and even now the time

Doth run upon his latest minutes, and

Save but by speech, there’s no recovery.


Have mercy good my lord, O let my tears intrude

Betwixt your vows and her calamity.

In her you take from me my best of life,

My joy, my comfort and my play-fellow.


Content you madam, for my vow is past,

And is like fate still unrevocable:

Ascend poor model of calamity!


As lightly burdened with the weight of crimes,

As spotless infants, or poor harmless lambs,

Thus I ascend my heaven, this first step lower,

Mounts to this next, this, thus and thus hath brought

My bodies frame unto its highest throne;

Here doth her office end, and hence my soul

With golden wings of thought shall mount the sky,

And reap a palace of pure sanctity.

Farewell my sovereign, madam within your thoughts

Make me a tomb, and love my memory.

Brother farewell, nay, do not mourn my death,

It is not I that die to spot our house,

Or make you live in after obloquy[100].

Then weep no more, but take my last adieu,

My virtues not my faults preserve with you.

Lastly, to you that are my last of hope,

Nay do not hide your eyes, I love them still:

To part friends now is greatest charity.

O be thy days as fruitful in delights,

As Eden in choice flowers, thine honours such

As all the world may strive to imitate.

Be master of thy wishes: only this,

When the sad nurse to still the wrangling babe,

Shall sing the careful story of my death,

Give me a sigh, from thy hearts purest breath:

And so farewell.


Madam kneel here; forgive me for your death.


With all my heart, thou art but law’s poor hand,

Thus to my death I bow, and yet arise,

Angels, protect my spirits in the skies.


He offers to strike.



Hold, or thine own hand shall be thine own destruction!


Never did music sound with better voice!

Unbind the lady!


The fear of death hath brought her to a swound[101].


Endeavour her recovery.


Sister, dear sister, call thy spirits back;

Sister, O sister, hearken to my woes,

Recover breath and live with happiness.


She stirs, give way to air that she may breathe.

Speak Mariana, thy woes are cancelled!


You are not charitable unto my moans,

Thus to afflict me with a double punishment:

One death for one poor fault might well suffice,

They are most wretched who twice lives and dies.


Madame to save your life I kill my soul:

And speckle that which was immaculate.

Black perjury, that open eyed disease,

Which is the plague-sore of society,

Brands me with mischief, and protests I hold

Nothing within me but unworthiness:

And all these ills are your creation.


Which to wash off; lo! Here I yield myself

An humble sacrifice to love and thee:

All my best hopes, my fortunes, and my love,

My faith, my service, and my loyalty,

Shall as thy slaves attend on thy commands,

And make me famous in my suffrages.


Receive her Philocles, for it pleases us.


But not me, my thrice royal sovereign.

I'll rather wed a sooty Blackamoor[102],

A leper, monster, incubus or hag,

A wretch deformed in nature, loath’d of men

Than her that hath be-monster'd my pure soul.

Her scorn and pride had almost lost her life,

A maid so faulted, seldom proves good wife.


What is the reason you not love her now,

And were so passionate in love before?


Not that I love her less, but rather more,

Run I this backward course; only my vow,

Sith unperform'd craves satisfaction;

Which thus I reconcile: When this fair maid,

Shall with as strong a love, as firm a zeal,

A faith as constant, and a shame as strong,

Requite my care, and show as ample proof

In mine extremes, as I have in her death,

Then will I love, enjoy and honour her.

Till when, I will not think a loving thought;

Or give the easy temper of my mind

To love-sick passion, or deliciousness,

Only with those which do adore the sun:

I'll give her all respect and reverence[103].


I am well pleas'd, and with a doubtful foe

You have good reason thus to capitulate.

Then hang your colours forth; extend your thought,

Muster your strongest powers, of strictest wit,

And when your reasons best artillery’s bent,

Love not my love, if it be not excellent.


I have not seen a war breed better wit,

Or passion draw on more delightfulness:

Proceed in your contention, for we boast,

That love is best which is approved most.

But now to revels, since our tragic scene

Is turned to comic mirthful constancy;

Instead of mourning we will dance and banquet,

And fill our empty veins with all delights:

For oft we find that storms and sorrows prove

The best forerunners of a happy love.


Exeunt all but Epire.



He will, but he will not. Loves, but cannot like.

Will and affection in this prince are like

Two buckets which do never both ascend[104]:

Or those star twins which shine not in one sphere.

O Philocles, I see thy soul grows fat,

And feeds upon the glories of my same;

But I'll forestall thine epileptic fits[105];

And by my plots breed thy destruction.

Revenge now rules as sovereign of my blood,

And others ruins shall advance my good.

Which once attained to, I will prove ambitious,

Great men like gods, are ne’er thought vicious.

Now Philocles, stand fast, King guard thy crown,

For by this brain, you both shall tumble down!




[Scene Four]

Enter Velours and Drap. Precedent sitting at his desk [reading a book].



This is his chamber! Let’s enter…here’s his clerk.


“Fondling, said he, since I have hemm'd thee here,

Within the circuit of this ivory pale.”[106]


I pray you sir, help us to the speech of your master.


“I’ll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer:”

He is very busy in his study:

“Feed where thou wilt, in mountain or on dale.”

Stay a while he will come out anon:

“Graze on my lips, and when those mounts are dry,

Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.”

Go thy way, thou best book in the world. [Puts down book]


I pray you sir, what book do you read?


A book that never an orator’s clerk in this kingdom but is beholden unto: It is called maid’s philosophy, or Venus and Adonis: Look you, gentlemen, I have divers[107] other pretty books.


You…are very well stored sir, but I hope your master will not stay long?


No he will come presently. [Begins reading again]


Enter Mechant.



Who have we here? Another client, sure; crows flock to carcasses! O, ‘tis the Lord Mechant.


Save you, gentlemen. Sir, is your master at any leisure?


“Here sit thee down where never serpent hisses,

And being set I’ll smother thee with kisses.”

His businesses yet are many, you must needs attend a while.


We must attend? Um, even snails keep state

When with slow thrust, their horns peep forth the gate!

We must attend? ‘Tis custom’s fault not mine,

To make men proud on whom great favours shine.

It’s somewhat ‘gainst my nature to attend,

But when we must, we must be patient;

A man may have admittance to the King

As soon as to these long robes, and as cheap.

Come gentlemen, shall we walk?


[They leave the room]


Thus are the pavement stones before the doors

Of these great tongue gilt orators; worn smooth

With clients dancing for them!


It's strange to see how the world waits upon them, therein they are the only men now.


O only; they of all men in request.

Your physician is the lawyer for your health;

And moderate unruly humours best.

Others are nobody compared with him,

For all men neglect their health in regard of their profit.


True, and that’s it makes these men grow so fat,

Swell with rich purchases.


Yea with golden fees

And golden titles too, they can work miracles;

And like creators, even of empty nothing,

Erect a world of goodly livings, fair demeans,

And gallant manors, heap’d one on another.


They gain indeed excessively, and are not like us citizens,

Expos'd to hazard of the seas and traffic!


Why, here’s a fellow now, this orator.

Even Prate, you would little think it, his father was

An honest proiner of our country vines[108];

Yet he's shot to his foot-cloth[109].


O he is; he proin’d him well and brought him up to learning.


Faith! Reasonable learning? A smattering in the Latin tongue,

A little rhetoric with wrangling sophistry[110],

Were his preparatives unto his art.


After these preparatives (if you call them so),

The physic[111] wrought well for a few years practise,

Brought him in wondrous credit, and preferments

Came tumbling in: O, such a sudden rise

Hath fortune for her minions! Blame him not then,

Though he look high on't.


Nay, for his pride, of weaker souls term’d state,

It hurts none but himself.


Yet, to my seeming it is very strange,

That from so base beginning, men can breathe

Such soaring fames.


Strange? It's not strange a whit!

Dunghills and marish[112] bogs, dart store of vapours,

And viscous exhalations against heaven;

Which borrowing lustre there,(though basely bred),

Seem yet like glorious planets fairest stars,

To the weak eyes of wondering ignorance,

When wise men know they are but meteors[113]

But here comes the orator!


Enter Prate.



What, Precedent I say, come and attend me to the senate house.


I am ready sir, if you have copia verborum[114], I have copia rerum[115] in a buckram bag here.


Your lordship’s pleasure.


Master orator, ‘tis not unknown my suit.


Nay your lordship must be brief! I’ll not attend

The shallow sleight of words; your suit, your suit!


The restoration of my lands and honours.


They are confiscated.


My lands confiscated, and my body free?


My lord, my lord, the Queen's more merciful.


Sir, you forget my place.


Sir, you forget your faith!

‘Twas known unto the Queen, the state and us,

Your mal-contented spirit, your disease in duty,

Your diligent perturbance[116] of the peace;

Your passages, occurrences and –


Sir! –


Sir me no sirs!

Do not I know you were the chief of those

Which raised the wars in Sicily? And long since

Wrought in the King’s loves bloody business?

Did not you hold fair quarter and commerce

With all the spies of Cyprus? Fie! I am asham'd,

Blind impudence should make you be so bold,

To bear your face before authority!


But hear me –


I will hear no reply! Go home, repent, pray and die.

Come gentlemen, what's your businesses?


Your confirmation to his highness’s grant, touching our trade with Spain; in which if it please you to assist us, we have a thousand crowns which shall attend you.


O, I have you in my memory! The suit is great:

And I must squeeze forth more than a thousand crowns.

Well, attend me to the senate, you shall have fair dispatches.


Exeunt all but Mechant.



“I not attend the shallow sleight of words”,

“Go home, repent, pray and die”…

Excellent precepts for an orator’s chamber!

Where speech must bathe a handful deep in gold,

Till the poor givers conduit being dry,

The wretch goes home, doth curse, repent and die.

It is thy counsel orator, thy tale breath,

Good only but to season infamy.

From this reproach, this incarressing humour

Hath taught my soul a new philosophy:

I will “go home”, and there repent all good

Done to thy name or thy profession!

I will “go home”, and there new frame myself

More thirstily pernicious to thy state,

Than war or unabated mutiny.

As for my prayers, orator, they are for thee!

Thou hast a pretty, lovely, witty wife…

O! May’st thou live, both to be known and know

Thyself the greatest cuckold in our land;

And yet not dare to amend or grieve at it!

May’st thou embrace thy shame with thankful arms,

Hug thy disgrace, make thy black poison wine,

And cap and crouch to thy dishonour!

May thy remembrance live, upon my knees I pray,

All night in bellmen’s mouths, with Pasquil in the day![117]


Enter Alphonso, unbraced[118]. [Mechant hides].



Day be my speed, night shall not cloak my sin,

If I have naught to do, it’s by the sun,

The light gives leave to all mine idleness.

Quick business and open eyes cease on mine orator,

Whilst I create him horny precedents!


Enter Coloquintida.


But here’s my bed broker! Now, my great armful of good intelligence, where is my mistress?


Fast lock’d in her bed, with a close ward to devour thee my brave paraquito[119]; but hush, no words, there is a calm before the tempest.


Tut, tell me of no storms, but direct me to her bedchamber, my noble firelock of a flesh pistol!


Follow thy colours, my brave worthy, mount up thy standard, so enter and prosper.


She puts Alphonso into the orator’s house.


Thou hast a rich room, safe locks, sweet sheets, a choice armful, with O the rare, rare thought of imagination.

Mechant. [Aside]

What’s this, what’s this? Doth this Lord Alphonso turn the

orator to an antelope? ‘Tis more than excellent,

And from the juice of this despite I suck

Delight more great than all my miseries!

Observe, dear eyes, observe!


Nay, go thy way for a camel or a chameleon; thou may’st compare with all Europe, Africa and Asia, and one that will change tricks, though thou wert worthy to be schoolmaster either to Proteus[120] or Aritine[121]: What an excellent gift did God give unto man when he gave him woman; but how much more when that woman was made fair? But O, the most of all when she had wit to use every member of her creation. Well I’ll stand to it, there’s nothing but beauty, use, and old age that puts women of my rank out of request; and yet like old bucklers, though few of your gallant cavaliers will wear us, yet many of your stale ruffians will employ us, and that’s our comfort still.

Mechant. [Aside]

Was ever heard a bawd more damnable?

A very mountebank of wench flesh[122], an Empiric[123]!

A dog-leech for the putrefied sores,

Of these lust-canker’d great ones! O! I could

Even mad myself with railing at their vices!


Prate knocks at the door.


But hark! One knocks, O for the orator!

Heavens I beseech thee, O for the orator!


How now, who knocks so rudely at the door?


‘Tis I, I say! Open the door, I am in haste!

Mechant. [Aside]

‘Tis he, just heavens, ‘tis he! ‘Fore God, the orator…


Soul of my bawdy office, how are we betrayed,

Anon, anon sir, what? Mistress Prate I say!

Arise, for shame, your husband’s at the door!


[More knocking].


I come, I come! Lord God, how dull you are

When danger's at your heels! Rise quickly!


Open the door, or I will break it open!


I come, I come, I think he's mad with haste.

What John, what Thomas, Robert, where's these knaves?

What Julian, Mary, Cicely, ne’er a maid within?


For God’s love stay, I’ll find the key straight way.


Enter Lollia and Alphonso in his shirt.


O mistress Coloquintida, what shall become of us?


Nay, I am at my wits end, and am made

Duller then any spur-gall’d[124], tired jade[125].


‘Sfoot! If he enter, I will break his neck!


Not for a world, dear love, step into my closet.


Did ever slave come thus unluckily?


Nay now's no time for passion, good lord, in!


Exit Alphonso, and enter Prate.



Fie! I have almost broke my heart with running.


How now dear husband? What hath moved this haste?


I think I was not blest this morning when I rose; for through my forgetfulness I have left behind me in my study the breviates[126] of all my causes; and now the senate is fain[127] to dance attendance on my leisure! Fie Fie Fie!


Exit Prate.



Nay if he smell nothing but papers, I care not for his dry-foot hunting[128], nor shall I need to puff pepper in his nostrils, but see he comes again.


Enter Prate, and stumbling at his wife’s bed, sees Alphonso’s rich apparel laying thereon.



I think the devil have laid his horns in my way.

Mechant. [Aside]

Yes, and if you had wit you might conjure him out of your wives closet!


Sancte Benedicite[129]! What have we here? Hath the golden snake cast his skin upon my bed? Go to, wife! I smell, I smell, methinks your plain rug should not agree with this rich counterpoint!


Husband, either I have fitted you now, or else I shall never fit you whilst I breathe.


You oft have told me, that like those of your rank,

Who both adorn their credits and themselves,

Yea, even their causes with their costly clothes,

Yourself in like sort would strive to imitate;

And now my neighbour here hath brought this suit,

Which if you please to buy, ‘tis better cheap

Then e’er t'was made by full five thousand crowns.


Say’st thou me so, wench, a kiss for that I’faith.


‘Fore God, it is a delicate, fine, suit!

Rich stuff, rare work, and of the newest fashion!

Nay, if the senate’s business were never so hasty; I will stay to try it on. Come! Help, good wenches, help! So there, there, there.[130]


The orator puts on Alphonso’s apparel.


Mechant. [Aside]

‘Sfoot! Will the ox put on the lion’s hide?

He will! He will! ‘Tis more than excellent!

So guild the tomb which holds but rottenness,

Laughter I fear will burst me; look how he struts!

O God, that ever any man should look

Upon this maumet[131] and not laugh at him!


Fit, fit, excellent fit as though,

The body it was made for wore my mould,

Wife, I will have it! We’ll dispute no price.


Enter Velours.



Master orator, the senate are set, and can dispatch no causes through your absence, therefore they earnestly entreat your presence.


I come, I come. Good friend go say I come!

And wife see that you pay for this suit, whatsoe’re it cost.


Exit Prate, [with Aphonso’s clothes on under his gown].


Mechant. [Aside]

Not above making you cuckold, that’s the most.


What, is he gone?


He is.


Enter Alphonso in his shirt.



Why then come forth, poor naked lord!


What, is he gone? May the devil and his horns both follow him!


He is gone, but yet he hath discovered your treason.




Yes, and in revenge thereof, hath vow'd that in this naked sort as you are, you shall do penance through the city for your sin of unchastity.


I pray thee, leave thy woman’s phrase, and speak like a man, plainly, plainly.


Then plainly thus, he is gone and hath taken away your apparel.


Upon what accident?


This, when your negligence had left your clothes upon my bed, he espied them, task’d me for the owner; I in excuse told him it was a suit, brought by my gossip to be sold. He, straight like a child proud of a new coat, presently puts it on, presently is sent for to the senate, and at this present hath left you that the world may behold your naked doings.


I would it were wash’d in the blood of a centaur[132], that when he puts it off, his skin might follow it! But how shall I get to my chamber?


Truly I know not, except you will wear a smock’s[133] upper-coat.


What, a petticoat? You mad me with your mirth!


Then seriously thus, as he hath ta’en your clothes, you must take his, and let the world know you have had more than fiddler’s fare[134], for you have meat, money and cloth.


‘Sfoot! How shall I look in this devil’s suit? Sure I shall grow sick to see my shape.


Well extremity must then be your physic, but come, you shall attire yourself in my chamber.


Exeunt Alphonso, Lollia and Coloquintida.



Are these the winding turns of female shames,

Loose woman’s gambols[135], and the tricks of sin?

And are we born to bear these suffrages?

O he that’s tied unto a brothel bed,

Feels his worst hell on earth, and may presume

There is no sickness like his pestilence.

Well, what the issue of this jest will prove,

My wit but yet conceives, and, after time,

Shall perfect it and give it liberty.

In such sort, that if it true, fire strike!

A world of apes shall study for the like![136]





[Scene five]

Enter the Duke of Epire alone.



My thoughts are troubled, joy forsakes me quite,

And all my meditations are revenge:

Ambition and fell murder join in me,

And aid each other to untwine a state,

And make whole millions prove unfortunate.

Now must I practise court art, flattery,

And wisely temporise with blackest deeds:

I’ll smile and stab, now weep, then laugh, then frown,

And with sly tricks of state kill all suspicion.

Devils must seem like angels, saith ambition!

The blackest thoughts I’ll study to excel,

Crowns and revenge have made men dive to hell.

My plot is current, and it cannot miss

Whilst wisdom winds me on the clew[137] of bliss.

The King shall kill the Queen, that acted right,

I soon will turn his brightest day to night.

He’s simple, honest, and loves downy rest,

Then he must fall; ‘tis policy in state,

To hurl them down are blest with happy fate.

Thus each shall scourge himself with his own rod,

Who is all policy, avows no God.

Who is within there, ho?


Enter Florio.



Did your grace call?


I did: Where is the King?


He is in his privy chamber playing at chess.


Go straight, and tell him I must speak with him,

And say my business doth import great haste.


I go my lord.


Be a blest Mercury[138], now mount thee up my spirit,

And show thy self a politician:

Let slander rule thy tongue, envy thy heart,

And let destruction be thy period

Of what thou speak’st; For this my maxim is,

But rule no heaven, and but revenge no bliss.


Enter Cyprus, Florio and attendants.



Here comes the King…My lord, we must be private.


Remove your hearings from our conference.


[Exit Florio and attendants]


Now speak my Lord, speak freely as to heaven.


First, with my knee I kiss this prostrate earth,

And humbly beg that which my tongue shall speak.

So it proceed from love and vassalage,

May bear a pardon or forgetfulness.


You have it: Arise, discharge an open breast.


O my dread liege, my speech will make you sad;

(And kings do seldom relish their distastes),

And from that sadness such a storm will rise,

As will even drown up all credulity.

O, that my loyal heart could cover sin,

Or that my tongue inured[140] unto grief,

Might lose his spleen ere it distemper you!

But love and mine allegiance bid me speak.


Then speak, and do not rack me with delay!


Women, why were you made for man’s affliction?

The first that ever made us taste of grief,

And last of whom in torments we complain.

You devils shap’d like angels, through whose deeds,

Our forked shames are made most visible.

No soul of sense would wrong bright majesty,

Nor stain their blood with such impurity.


Nay good lord, leave this allegoric speech,

And give me knowledge from a plainer phrase.


Then plainly thus: Your bed is press’d with lust.

I know you do not credit! Nay, what’s more,

I know you hate me for my virtuousness.

Your Queen behaves her like a courtesan,

I know you hold me for a vile imposter.

O foolish zeal! That makes me be so fond

To leave my faith unto black censuring.

O! She hath sinn'd and done a double wrong,

To you, to her, and sacred chastity.


Duke thou art valiant, and with a valiant mind:

Slander is worse than theft or sacrilege,

Nay, more than murder, or the height of treason,

A step beyond the utmost plagues in hell!

Then thou which in that nature wrong’st a queen,

Deserv'st a scourge beyond their punishments!

Virtue should kill thee now.


Nay do, my breast is bare unto thy steel,

Kill me because I love thee and speak true.

Is this the merit of a Roman faith[141]?

For this have I observ'd, pried in unto,

And search’d each secret shift of vanity?

Nay, pray you kill me, faith I’ll patient stand,

Live still a monster, hold shame in your hand!


Speak a word more, a king shall be thy death!


Death is a slave to him that is resolv’d,

And my soul loathes this servile flattery;

Nor will I cover such intemperate sin,

But to the world make them and that transparent,

Unless yourself will seek to right yourself?


Thou hast awak’d me, and thy piercing words

Have split my sense in sunder: Yet what ground, ha,

Remains whereon to ground suspicion? A cuckold, cuckold…


Your absence is the bawd to her desires,

For their masks, dancings, gaming, banqueting,

Strange private meetings and all toils in love;

As wanton speeches to stir appetite,

And all enchantments that inflame desire!

When you return, then all is hush’d and still,

And she demurely walks like virtue’s ghost.

Before your face she’s like a puritan,

Behind your back a blushless courtesan.


O I have drunk in poison at mine ears,

Which makes my blood boil with unquenched flames,

But speak, who is it that dishonours me?


He that you prize a line before your life;

I know you will not credit, faith, you will not.


Nay, if thou cease to speak, thou hate’st my life!

Tak'st thou delight to kill me? Then forbear.

‘Sfoot! I am mortal, man kill me, do, do, do!


Your best of friends, your dearest Philocles,

Usurps your bed and makes you a cornute[142]!

A creature uncreate in paradise,

And one that’s only of a woman’s making.


Is’t possible? Can I give faith to this?


Nay, be but patient, smooth your brow a little,

And you shall take them as they clip each other

Even in their height of sin; then damn them both;

And let them sink before they ask God’s pardon,

That your revenge may stretch unto their souls.


To be a cuckold doth exceed all grief!


To have a pleasant scoff at majesty.


To taste the fruit forbidden from my tree!


But he shall lose his paradise for that.


The slave will make base songs in my disgrace!


And wound your reputation in strange lands.


This injury sads all my joys on earth.


Horns are not shunn’d by wisdom, wealth or birth.


Watch their close meetings, and then give us notice.

Mean space[143], my love shall in thy bosom rest,

My grief is like my birth: Great, great and high!

Give close intelligence, till then farewell,

Lust is the broadest path which leads to hell.


Exit Cyprus.



He's gone with black suspicion in his heart:

And made his soul a slave to jealousy,

My plots shall drive him to his own destruction;

And I gain both revenge and dignity.

He shall no sooner put his queen to death,

But I’ll proclaim her spotless innocence.

All men will hate him for so vile an act,

And mad with rage depose him from his crown.

Then I will be his death, his state doth give,

Kings once depos’d, long after must not live;

For like a phoenix, rare in jealousy,

He shall consume himself in scorching flames,

Whilst from his ashes, I a phoenix spring:

Many renounce their god to be a king.

And I’ll be one to kill men with a frown,

None dare dispute the actions of a crown!




Act Four.

Scene One. Music.

Enter Florio and Mechant.



The Queen is all for revels, her light heart,

Unladen from the heaviness of state,

Bestows itself upon delightfulness.


She follows her creation and her sex:

In my conceit it is as vile a thing,

To see the worthy model of a woman,

Who had not been at all but to give life,

And stirring spleen to man’s alacrity,

To sit o’rewhelmd with thought, with dark amuse,

And the sad sullenness of a grieved dislike:

As to behold an old man in his furs,

Whose well spent youth hath given his age full strength

To be his country’s best physician,

To caper to his grave, and with vain gauds[144]

Trick up his coffin, and upon his tomb

To leave no knowledge but his levity![145]


‘Tis true indeed, and nature in herself,

Doth give us still distaste in contraries.

And in my thoughts it is as base to see a woman man[146],

As see a man a long rob'd feminine.


Well, we forget ourselves my lord…What? is the music ready? I pray you command the guard to take their halberds in their hands, the ushers should have seen this room perfum'd, in faith they are too negligent: Here comes the Queen!


Enter the Queen, Mariana, and waiting women, Philocles and other lords, the King disguised like one of the guard at the one end of the stage, and the Duke so likewise disguised at the other end of the stage.



Loud music there, and let the god of harmony

Ravish our senses with delightful airs,

Tun'd to the music of the higher sphere;

And with that mortal sign rarely show

The joys in Jove’s high court, to feast the gods,

Making that place abound in happiness!

Come, noble Philocles, I seize you first,

(Mariana, there are choice of other lords)

In gracing you, it is the King I grace.


Come, honest lord, ‘tis you must stand to me,

The Queen in mine doth challenge interest,

And I must fly for shelter to my friends.


And I’ll be glad to be your coverture[147].


O no my lord, not till the weather change.


Well, when you please, mean time you do me grace.


Nay my lord, there's a lady worth the handling.

Sound music then, fill earth with heaven’s pleasure!

Cyprus. [Aside]

My queen is out of time, though she keep measure.


Here they dance the first strain.


Epire. [Aside]

Be lucky villainy, hit now the mark

That mine ambition aims at; methinks I see

That lean Italian devil, jealousy,

Dance in his eyes; possess him, spirit of rage,

Muffle his understanding with black thoughts.

Let passion govern reason, falsehood truth,

Oblivion hide his age, hate kill his youth!

Cyprus. [Aside]

Thou dance’st on my heart, lascivious Queen,

Even as upon these rushes which thou tread’st.

See how her motions wind about his eyes,

And doth present to him her passions?

Now doth her moistening palm glow in his hand,

And courts him unto dalliance: She dies, ‘tis just,

She's slave to murder, that is slave to lust.

Epire. [Aside]

Thou curse of greatness, waking eye'd suspicion.

Now help thy poor friends, murder and ambition.


The first strain ends.



This strain contain'd a pretty change,

Proceed unto the next.!


They dance the second.


Cyprus. [Aside]

Sin follows sin, and change on change doth wait,

Thy change doth change my love to cruel hate.


Here in this strain, Mariana came to Philocles.



Madam, methinks this change is better than the first.


Ay, if the music would not alter it.


Methinks ‘tis worse, come, we will have another strain!


They dance again.



I’m pleas'd, let us proceed.

Cyprus. [Aside]

Rivals in crowns and beds of kings must bleed.

Can that fair house contain so foul a guest

As lust? Or cloak inordinate and base desires,

Under so fair a coverture? O yes,

Women can blind our sense when we see best,

And set fair landskips[148] on inconstancy,

Making us blind with seeing. The dance ends,

Your sins are blackest, breach of love and friends.

Epire. [Aside]

Now to the King, blow rage till it flame hate,

A politician thrives the best in state.


Exit Epire, and enter to the King again.



Come, sweet Prince Philocles,

Devise some new delights to shorten time.

This dullness hath no relish in my sense,

It hath no pith; and sloth in my conceit,

Is but a type of pride in best constructions.


Madam, I’ll stand[149], that a fair woman must be proud or else a fool.


I would fain hear that, I'faith.


Thy reason wench, I pray thee come disburse.


A woman fair is like a full blown rose.


Which holds the fair no longer then it grows.


A woman fair is like the finest gold.


Which kept from use is good, though ne’re so old.


Nay good lord, leave a little.

She that is fair is wise, and ought to know it:

For to that end did nature first bestow it.

Now of this knowledge if we be not proud,

We wrong the author, and we are allow’d

To rank with senseless beasts; sith[150] careless, we

For want of pride detract our dignity.

Now knowing it, we know truth in the same,

Not to be proud of truth asks folly’s name.

This lesson still is read in beauty’s school,

She that is fair and humble is a fool:

For neither know she how to hold her good,

Or to keep safe the treasure of her blood.


A notable declamation!


Nay madam, by your leave:

Pride gives a lustre to a woman’s fair,

Things that are highest prized, are ever dear.

Why is the diamond the sapphire’s king,

But for esteem and rareness? Both which spring

From the stone’s pride, which is so chaste and hard,

Nothing can pierce it, Itself is itself’s guard,

Now what is pride? Self love, our own esteem,

A strength to make us of ourselves well deem:

From whence this maxim I collect ‘mongst other,

Who hates herself, can never love another.

And to conclude, man’s appetite grows dull

To what it may have, empty hope is full.

To all our sex on earth, maid, widow, wife and bride,

They happy live, when they live with chaste pride.

Cyprus. [Aside]

My Queen will speak as much for lust as she for pride, if the toy take her.


Your ladyship sows dangerous seed abroad.


But I hope, my lord, all grounds are not fruitful.


Well, wench shalt be the proud woman’s champion.


And I’ll defend them against all men, as at single tongue.


I had rather fight with a giant, then you at that weapon.

Cyprus. [Aside, to Epire]

My lord go forth, return in your own shape, say I am coming.


I go, my lord.


Exit Epire.


Cyprus. [Aside]

I’ll note their countenance when they hear of me.

Kings often see that which they would not see.


Dancing hath made me weary, what sport is next?


What your highness will command.

Cyprus. [Aside]

She will command you sir to play with her!


Enter Epire.



Madam, his majesty is returned to court.


Nay then, away with revels and with sports,

Lie hush’d, and still this vainer idleness;

It now hath lost his spleen. Come lords, away!

My sun is risen, brings a brighter day.


Exeunt all but Cyprus and Epire.



Darkness is thy delight, lascivious Queen,

And thou wouldst have thy sun pent up in clouds,

If I be he. O falseness! Did I for this,

In single opposition hand to hand,

Hazard my royal blood for thee to be

My greatest shame? The scandal of my blood,

Whilst rumour crowns me king of infamy?

But I will be reveng'd! Watch gentle lord,

When next I see them, they shall taste of death!

Such power hath baseness over great defame,

That monarchs cannot cover their own shame.


Exit Cyprus.



My plot yet holds a true proportion,

And I do see an even way to rule.

A crown, like a bold champion bids me on,

And fame shall chronicle mine enterprise:

The Queen being dead, I must oppose myself

Against her tyrant husband, that’s my claim!

And with strong courage, stand the shock of war.

If of myself I can withstand the King,

Then all the land will flock unto mine aid. If not,

The King is God’s anointed, my head fits the block,

And that’s the worst. Yet, future times will tell:

I sunk not slightly, for a crown I fell!


Exit Epire.


[Scene Two]

Enter Mechant, and a guard of watchmen.



Come on my masters, you know the tenor of the King’s command,

And what in this great business you must do,

Which is to keep him safe, and not vouchsafe

That any creature speak or visit him,

Till he be brought to the presence of the King.

You must not start for bounty, nor for threats.

No, though he say he is a nobleman,

As it may be, he may prove mighty born.

Yet what for that? You must perform your office

Or else expect to taste sharp punishment.

First Watch.

Tut, fear not my lord, we that have had Cerberus[151] office so many years under a gate, are not to learn now to play either devils or tyrants. Let us but see him, and then take no care for his safety.

Second Watch.

Nay, he shall be put into safe keeping, for my wife shall take charge of him.


Enter Alphonso in the orator’s clothes.



‘Tis well devis’d, see where he comes?

He may not see my presence. Think upon't,

Your charge is trusty, and of mighty weight!



Exit Mechant.


First Watch.

Fear not! Come my hearts, compass him about, and seize on him all at once, like so many ravens on a dead horse.


Now an eternal sleep, an apoplex[152], a swound,

Seize on their senses, who in this disguise

Shall view or note my vile deformity.

I was bewitch’d with spells to my misfortune,

Or else star-cross’d with some hag’s hellishness…

Sure, I said my prayers, ris'd on my right side,

Wash'd hands and eyes, put on my girdle last…

Sure, I met no splay-footed[153] baker,

No hare did cross me, nor no bearded witch,

Nor other ominous sign. O then why

Should I be thus damn'd in the devil’s nets?

Is’t possible this habit which I wear

Should become any man? Now of my soul,

I loathe to see myself, and willingly

I would even vomit at my countenance.

First Watch.

Stand sir, we arrest you.


Arrest me? Why I injure no man but myself!

Second Watch.

You are the more unkind! He that wrongs himself, will not stick to wrong the whole world also.

First Watch.

Nay, strive not, for we arrest you by virtue of the king’s commission.


Well, my masters be careful, you may mistake me.

Second Watch.

Indeed it is no marvel, you are so like other men.


Indeed at this time, I am hardly like one of God’s making.

First Watch.

Faith, and I am sure you are no man of a good tailors making! You are but piec’d work.[154]


Well, yet I may-hap to prove a nobleman.

Second Watch.

A whoremaster or an unthrift, away with him! And let no-man man chastise him, upon pain of my displeasure.




[Scene Three]

Enter the Duke of Epire, alone.



Roll on the chariot wheels of my dear plots,

And bear mine ends to their desired marks:

As yet there’s not a rub of wit, a gulf of thought,

No rocky misconstruction, thorny amaze[155],

Or other let of any doubtfulness.

As yet thy way is even, smooth and plain,

Like the green ocean, in a silent calm.

Blessed credulity, thou great god of error,

That art the strong foundation of huge wrongs,

To thee give I my vows and sacrifice.

By thy great deity he doth believe

Falsehoods, that falsehood’s self could not invent,

And from that misbelief doth draw a course

To overwhelm even virtue, truth and sanctity.

Let him go on, blest stars, ‘tis meet[156] he fall

Whose blindfold judgement, hath no guide at all.

But O! These shadows have bewitched long[157],

To threat and not to do doth malice wrong;

And see? Here comes the Queen.


Enter the Queen, Mariana and other ladies.



My lord the duke! Your presence and my wish

Jump in an even line together! Come we must to cards,

I have some crowns I needs must lose to you.


I humbly beseech your highness pardon me,

I have important business of the King’s,

Which doth command mine instant diligence.


Brother, indeed you shall attend the Queen,

Another time will serve those state dispatches.


Sister content you, the affaires of state

Must give their best attendance on the times,

And great occurrents must not lose their minutes.


Now I’ll stand to it, that to be a statesman or a lawyer, is to be of the most thankless occupation that ever was deriv'd from human invention.


Why, I pray thee wench?


Because they bestow all the laborious toil of the mind until they be forty, that they may live imprison'd in a study chamber till they be fourscore. Only this world’s Mammon[158], which is great name and riches, like a string between a galley slaves legs, is the only ease of their fetters.


A notable construction of a noble labour: But shall we not have your company my lord?


My service, madam, but my presence the King hath employ’d, only if you please, I will send Prince Philocles to your majesty.


No creature better! For his skill in play

Is equal with our knowledge, good my lord,

Send him to my privy chamber presently.


Exit Queen and Mariana. Enter Philocles.


Epire. [Aside]

I will, and send affliction after him,

And see where he comes… [Aloud]

My lord! Your presence hath

Saved me much labour, and a little care,

I was in quest for your fair company:

The Queen, my lord, entreats you earnestly,

You will attend her in her privy chamber.


Unto what end?


Only to waste some time at cards with her,

The lazy hours stick heavy on her thoughts,

Which she would lose with some forgetfulness.


Faith, and play ne’er relish’d worse within my thoughts.

I know not how, but laden heaviness

Draws me to be in love with melancholy.


The fitter for you! With more light sports

To chase that blood consumer from your breast,

Who with a honey poison doth devour,

And kill the very life of livelihood.


‘Tis true, and therefore shall your counsel tutor me.

Where is her majesty?


Gone to her privy chamber where she doth expect you.


I will attend her presently.


Exit Philocles.



Do, and I will attend thee to thy grave.

Poor shallow lord, by much too virtuous –

Ho! Who’s within there?


Enter Florio.



Your grace’s pleasure.


Go tell his majesty that I must speak with him.


I go.


Enter aloft to cards the Queen and Philocles [159].



Come my lord take your place, here are cards, and here are my crowns.


And here are mine, at what game will your majesty play?


At mount-saint[160].


A royal game, and worthy of the name,

And meetest even for saint’s to exercise:

Sure it was of a woman’s first invention.


It is not saint, but cent, taken from hundreds.


True, for ‘mongst millions hardly is found one saint![161]


Indeed you may allow a double game[162],

But come, lift for the dealing! It is my chance to deal.


An action most, most proper to your sex.


Enter Cyprus.



How now, my waking dragon, thou whose eyes

Do never fall or close through Lethean[163] sleep,

What? Is there a Hercules that dare to touch,

Or enter the Hesperian rosaries[164]?


Speak softly gentle lord, behold, behold

The silly birds are tangled in your snare,

And have no way to ‘scape your punishment.

See how her eyes do court him, and his looks pay to her

love a double interest. Fie, fie, they are to blame!



What are you my lord?


Your highness’s servant, but misfortunes slave.


Your game I mean!


Nothing in show, yet somewhat in account,

Madam I am blank.


You are a double game! And I am no less, there’s an hundred, and all cards made but one knave.



Mark that, of my life she means your majesty!


True, I know she holds me as her varlet[165],

And that I am imperfect in her game.

But my revenge shall give me better place,

Beyond the hate of her foul impudence!


Nay, good my lord observe, they will confirm you better.



What’s your game now?


Four kings as I imagine.


Nay I have two, yet one doth me little good.


Indeed mine are two queens, and one I’ll throw away.



Doth your majesty mark that?

You are the king that she is weary of,

And my sister the queen that he will cast away!



Can you de-card madam?


Hardly, but I must do hurt.


But spare not any to confirm your game.



Would you have more plain proof of their foul treason?

They do not plot your highness’s death alone.


But others which they think depend on me...


Myself, and those which do you services

They are bloody minded! Yet for myself,

Were it not for your safety, I could wish

You would remit and blot these errors out,

In hope that time would bring them to more virtue.


O then thou didst not love me, nor thy faith

Took hold upon my scandals, fie! I am mad,

Sham'd and disgrac'd, all wit-stung, wisdomless –

Within there! Ho?


Enter Florio.



Did your majesty call?


Go instantly, (nay do not look sad or pale,

Neither dispute with me nor with thy thoughts,

But as thou lov'st thy life, effect my will).

Call all my guard; ascend the Queen’s privy chamber,

And in my name arrest her and Prince Philocles of treason.

Make no delay but in thy diligence,

Show how thou dost respect me; once arrested,

Convey them unto straitest[166] prison: Away!


Exit Florio.


For you my lord, go instantly, prepare

And summon all the princes of our land

Unto an instant parliament; Where we

Will have them both condemn'd immediately,

Without their answers, ‘plaints or pitiousness.

Since women’s tears do blunt revenge’s sword,

I will not see nor hear them speak one word!


Exit Cyprus and Epire.

Enter Florio and a guard aloft to the Queen and Philocles



Madam and Prince Philocles, in the King’s name I arrest you both of high treason.


He lies that saith I ever knew the word![167]


I pray thee, do not affright me gentle lord,

Thy words do carry death even in their sound.


Madam, I am most sorry ‘tis my fortune,

But what I do is by the King’s commission.


Whence is that warrant grounded, or what’s our treason?


I am his instrument, but not his counsellor.


Witness my tears that I am innocent!


Madam be patient, that we do not know,

We have no cause to grieve at. As for envy’s toil,

Let her even break her own gall with desire,

Our innocence is our prevention.

Be cheerful madam, ‘tis but some villains sound,

Made only to amaze, not to confound.

And what must we do, my Lord?


To prison are the words of my commission.


Then lead the way: He hath of grief no sense,

Whose conscience doth not know of his offence.



Act Five.

Scene One. Music.

Enter at one door Epire, at another Mariana.



How now mad sister? Your dear love is condemn'd,

A sweet adulterer.


How? Condem’d before their trial?


No, they were condemn’d by act of parliament.


I do not hold thee, brother, for a man;

For it is reasonless to mock calamity.

If he die innocent, thrice happy soul;

If guilty, weep, that man should so transgress;

Nature of reason thus much doth importune,

Man should partake in grief with man’s misfortune.


For him, if e’er mine eyes weep, may they drop out

And leave my body blinder than my sense!

Pity my foe? The ruin of my house?

My valour’s scandal, and mine honours poison?

No! Let him fall, for blood must still quench lust,

Law hath condem’d him, then his death is just.


Spit out that monster envy, it corrupts you,

And mildly hear me answer for my love.

What did he ‘gainst you was not honourable,

Which you ‘gainst him, would not have gladly done?

Will you hate him for acting your own thoughts?

Can it be ill in him yet good in you?

Let reason weigh this difference, then you’ll find

His honour poises down his infamy.


Canst thou love him that brought thee to thy death?


No, like a god he made me with his breath[168].


Did he not win thy love and then reject thee?


His honour, not his love doth now neglect me.


Fond maid, thy foolish dotage doth mistake him.


Hell shall have mercy, ere I will forsake him!


Farewell then sister, friend to my greatest foe;

Revenge strikes home, being ended with one blow.


Exit Epire.



Prevention, thou best midwife to misfortune,

Unfold this ugly monster’s treachery!

And let his birth be ominous, struck dead,

Ere it have being in this open world:

Love commands nature; brother pardon me,

Thine envy dies by my love’s liberty.

Invention (heart of wit) possess my brain,

For treason is to treason her own bane.

And you, bright heavens, now aid me in my plots,

That truth may shine through falsehood’s leprous spots.

My life I’ll hazard to redeem my love,

Firm constancy like rocks can never move[169].

Be bold then, maiden heart, in his defence;

He saved thy life, thy life's his recompense.

My wit and hopes have furnish’d me with all

The helps of art, to bring forth treason’s fall.

Now to the means: Some say that gold hath power,

To enter without force a gateless tower;

And I’ll try that, which if it take fast hold,

I’ll never blame them more that dote on gold.

Ho, who’s within there?


Enter Jailor.



Who calls? What would you have? I thought you were a woman! You were so hasty: O! Madam, is it you? I cry you mercy!


My grief speaks loud sir, and my swift desire

O’errules my tongue, makes it keep time with thought.

I long to see a prisoner in this ill built house.


What prisoner, madam?


The worthy prince, the famous Philocles.


Madam I dare not, without especial warrant.


I have my brother’s strong commission, hold there is gold.


[She hands him the gold]



This golden calf is an excellent idol; and few of my profession but serves it…This dumb god gives tongue to all men, wit to all men, honour to any man, but honesty to no man: And therefore as for honesty I mean not to deal with so dear a commodity, but leave it to my betters! Madam, those stairs direct you to his lodging.


I thank you sir!


Exit Mariana.



This is a worthy lady, to give thus much for the bare sight of a man in affliction. If he were at liberty, it were nothing; but being as it is, it is most bountiful, but it may be it is for the past hours of former recreations. Well let it be what it shall be, I am sure it was not that I should hold this disputation! But see here, she comes again.


Enter Philocles in Mariana’s attire, and Mariana in his.


Philocles. [Aside to Mariana]

Madam, my soul cannot consent to leave

Your life in this great hazard, nor can death

Carry such ugly shape as doth the thought

That you are left in this extremity:

Indeed, I will not leave you.

Mariana. [Aside to Philocles]

Will you grow mad? What, shall your nobler spirit,

Which is the school of wisdom, grow so fond

As to revolt from all our happiness?

Our plots you know, and how to manage cares,

Whose true events have true proportions.

Then dear lord rest resolv'd, the jailer overhears:[Aloud]

Live you with safety, most worthy maid farewell.


Farewell fair prince, thanks, master Jailor, and a kind commend.


As much unto your ladyship. So now I’ll lock my doors.


Exeunt Mariana, Philocles and Jailor.


[Scene Two]

Enter Cyprus, Mechant, Florio and attendants.



Is our commission, as we gave in charge,

Delivered o’er to the corigidors[170]?


It is, and with such strictness and advice,

For speedy execution of the same,

That by this time I know they are in the way

Unto their execution; for the hour

Of death doth run upon his latest minutes.


‘Tis well: For till their shameless lives have end,

There can no comfort creep into my thoughts,

Or ought save mischief keep me company.

Why was I born to this malignity

And lowness of base fortune, yet my place

Above the level of the vulgar’s sight?

O, it is but to let me know thus much:

That those which lie within the richest graves

Were at the best but fortune’s glorious slaves.

But see, here comes my shame.


Enter Corigidors, Queen and [Mariana, disguised as] Philocles, bound, and a guard of halberds with the executioner.



My dearest lord!


Pass and respect me not, lascivious woman!

Thy tears are of the spears of Crocodiles[172],

See how I stop mine ears against thy ‘plaints,

And glue mine understandings from thy charms?

Nay, call on him thou hast offended most,

Mercy from me were worse then cruelty.


My dearest dread, my best, best sovereign,

Whom I have ne’er offended but with zeal

And constant love, loyal and honourable.

Vouchsafe me, though a queen, a subject’s right,

And let me know for what offence I perish.


For thine adulterate and monstrous lust,

Shameful and gross, and most unsufferable.


Who doth accuse us?


Ourself, and our own soul that have beheld

Your vile and most lascivious passages.

Mariana. [Aside]

O! That my tongue would not betray my knowledge,

Then would I amaze them all with mine assertions! [Aloud]

Madam, challenge the law!


My gracious lord, since no desert[173] in me

Can merit your belief, nor that your eye,

Can rightly judge my pure complexion:

Yet as your handmaid, let me beg the right

Due unto wretches from our country’s laws.


The tenure of the law you do demand?


That in the case of slander, where the proof

Proceeds as much from envy as from truth,

We are allow'd our champions to defend

Our innocence with a well ordered sword.


I look’d for this objection, and allow it,

Nor am I unprovided for your best

And strongest hope in any victory:

Lords, attend in my champion.


Here the noble men go forth, and bring in the Duke of Epire like a combatant.



Will you, my lord, approve the King’s assertion?


Madam, although against the nature of my spirit,

And my first duty, bound to your allegiance,

Yet now compel’d by duty and by truth;

I must of force become your opposite.


Thou art no true Italian, nor true gentleman,

Thus to confound the glory of thy judgement.

Hath not that arm which now is arm'd against me,

That valour, spirit, judgement and that worth,

Which only makes you worthy, stood t'approve

More than myself will challenge to my virtues?

And are you now basely turn’d retrograde?

Well, I perceive ther's nought in you but spleen,

And times observance still to hold the best!

Still I demand the law.


And you shall have it in the amplest manner! Sound, cornets!


Here the cornets sound thrice, and at the third sound, enters Philocles disguised like a combatant.



There is a combatant on the defendants part; your Majesty’s pleasure?


Give him his oath according to the laws.


Are the fair ends of this your warlike posture

To prove the innocence of these two condemn’d,

So help you Jove?


They are.


Then give the warlike signal to the fight.


Here the combat being fought, Philocles overcomes the Duke.



Thou art my slave, either confess or die!


Did’st thou speak true, I would not sound a word

To save the world from cinders; yet that thou may’st

With more resolved fury murder me,

This I confess: ‘Twas I that only stir’d,

Out of strong falsehoods, hate and jealousy,

The King’s eternal wrath, and made him think

Untruths that even untruth would not suggest:

And all my malice sprung from that Prince Philocles.


No ‘twas from me, that still am Philocles!


My Philocles, my queen, O double pardon me!

My jealousy, his envy, and your virtues

Are sprung from such impatient contraries,

I cannot reconcile them. Yet O pardon me!

My faith in life shall make you recompense:

For thee, rare Mariana; thou hast wrought

A work of noble constant magnitude.

As for this monster, this, my tempting devil,

Whose forfeit life is witness to his shame,

I give his life and fortunes to the Queen:

She whom his malice would have brought to death,

Shall now be judge and juror of his breath.


In which commission, (madam) let it be enroll’d,

He is my brother and my best of blood.


And only that is charter for his life.

Live, envious lord, more envious then th'art great.

Live to lament thy worst of wretchedness,

Live to repent, since this I certain know,

Thine own gall’d conscience will be thy worst woe.


Enter a guard of watchmen with Alphonso.


First Watch.

Come bring him away, thrust him forward, though favour and a great purse were against him.


How now, what tumult have we there?

Second Watch.

And it please your Majesty, we have brought you here a slip[174], a piece of false coin: One that is neither stamp’d with true coin for his excuse, nor with good clothes for his redemption.


Alphonso, in the name of madness how comes this metamorphosis? Nay, stand forth. Discourse; if thou dost lie, thou art mine enemy.

Mechant. [Aside]

Nay, more, if thou stick in any bog, and by a trick seek to wind out, I will discover you!


This conjuration (believe it my lord) shall make me leap out of all fetters, and briefly thus: I have long time loved the fair wife of the orator, and having no opportunity but his absence at the senate, I took that season. He out of negligence, omitting his papers return’d unseasonably, found me insufficiently, and forc’d me to take sanctuary strangely, which however I purchas’d. Yet, he found mine apparel, and mistaken in the tenure, reach’d it presently, put it on immediately: And now in the senate house is pleading in it seriously.


I cannot blame him, you having got so much within his inward garment.


Of all which, my lord, I being (in a strict conceit) a bawdy witness: And having both from the orator’s scorns and delays received many indignities; thought by this discovery to cry quittance with my proud enemy.


And you have amply done, yet this jest,

So perfect doth deserve more memory…

Florio, go bid the orator attend us presently.


Exit Florio.


And now to you Drap and Velours, I did

Refer you long since to the orator,

Yet I note your attention: Come, there is

Some too close fisted hardness in your hearts,

You gripe too hard, your bribes will not disburse[175]:

Come tell me truly, as you look for heaven,

What must you pay for your dispatches?

Drap and Velours.

A thousand crowns we offer’d willingly.


And will your suit avail with such disbursement?

Drap and Velours.

It will, and we most richly satisfied.


Will you bestow the money on our self?

We will see the business perfected.

Drap and Velours.

With all our hearts, and be full joy'd thereat[176], here are the crowns.


[They give the money]



You shall have your dispatches.


Enter Prate and Florio.


See here comes the orator! Prate, come hither.

These gentlemen, whom long since I refer’d

To your dispatches, are yet unsatisfied.


Alas, my lord, the state –


I know employs you, yet there’s many minutes

May give your best cares leisure. Come there is

Some odd disburse, some bribe, some gratulance

Which makes you lock up leisure. Come tell true,

What bribe must they give, what is your utmost price?


But five hundred crowns of my best conscience.


Tut, it is nothing, hold here is the coin,

And let them have their patents presently:

Or look to lose both place and sovereignty.


Legions of devils haunt their diligence.


Fie, I would not have a man of your high place,

Or for respect of wealth, or base observance

In smallest things thus to, neglect your credit.

Why, look you my lords! This orator is not like others of his rank,

Who from their ganish[177] and fantastic humours,

Go through the streets, spotted in peacock's plumes!

Wearing all colours, laces, broideries,

Satins and silks, so antique garnished,

That when their gowns are off, you cannot find

In Italy a master shap’d more nice.

But this fellow Prate, here's of another sort,

Cloth'd like himself, demure and soberly:

Nay you shall see him for a precedent.


Ungowns the orator.


Passion of mine eyesight, who have we here?

This is Alphonso! There's the orator!


Heart of impatience, I am then a cuckold,

A scorn, a byword and a laughing stock.

What, is my wife turn’d whore? And must her depth

Be sounded by the plumes of foreigners?

Well, the revenge that I will take for this, my shame,

Shall make all whores hereafter dread my name.


Not for thy life, not for my love, I charge thee:

Thy wife is honest, chaste and virtuous:

Only this wanton lord, with lust and coin,

Hath much attempted, but prevailed in nought.

For proof see here the crowns he would have given

T'have purchas'd her bed’s honour. But she would not,

Which I bestow on you for recompense.

Therefore as thou dost hope my grace to find,

So to thy wife, be loving, gentle, kind.


Your majesty may mould me to your pleasure.


I thank you, and will quittance it.

Now Mechant, we restore to you your lands,

Your honours and near places. Next, our self:

To all that feel distaste in any sore,

We give to cure them all our grace and favour.

Thus storms bring gentle sunshine, and our hands

May, after shipwreck, bring us to safe lands.


[Exeunt Omnes]














Adams, Quincy Jr. "Every Woman in Her Humor" and "The Dumb Knight" in Modern Philology, Vol. 10, No. 3 (The University of Chicago Press; 2001) <> p 1-19


The Medieval Bestiary (April 10, 2009) Last accessed: 22/4/2009 <>


Partidge, Eric, Shakepeares Bawdy (Routledge; 2001) p 290.


Bentley, Gerald Eades, The Jacobean and Caroline stage vol. VI (Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1961) p 115


Kolin, Philip C. Venus and Adonis: Critical Essays (Routledge; 1997) p 12.


Machin, Lewis and Markham, Gervase The Dumbe Knight (1608) Early English Books Online <>


New World Encyclopaedia Online <>


Oxford English Dictionary Online <>


Poynter, F.N.L A bibliography of Gervase Markham 1568?–1637 (1962). pp 56-61


Scripture Text Online Genesis, 2:7 Last accessed: 22/4/2009 <>


Steggle, Matthew ‘Markham, Gervase (1568?–1637)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2006


Steggle, Matthew "Unpublished typescript" pp 90-93.


Wikipedia Online <>


[1] Steggle, Matthew ‘Markham, Gervase (1568?–1637)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 <>  accessed 21 April 2009

[2] Poynter, F.N.L A bibliography of Gervase Markham 1568?–1637 (1962). p 56

[3] Ibid. p 58

[4] Adams, Quincy Jr. "Every Woman in Her Humor" and "The Dumb Knight" in Modern Philology, Vol. 10, No. 3 (The University of Chicago Press) <> p 5

[5] Unpublished typescript of M. Steggle.

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Bentley, Gerald Eades, The Jacobean and Caroline stage vol. VI (Oxford: Oxford University Press) p 115

[9] Adams, "Every Woman in Her Humor" and "The Dumb Knight" p 2

[10] Ibid

[11] Unpublished manuscript of M. Steggle.

[12] Steggle, Matthew ‘Markham, Gervase (1568?–1637)

[13] Poynter, F.N.L A bibliography of Gervase Markham 1568?–1637 (1962). p 58

[14] Markham, Gervase et al The Dumb Knight 1.3 ed. Kristian Towse.

[15] Unpublished typescript of M. Steggle.

[16] Poynter, F.N.L A bibliography of Gervase Markham 1568?–1637 (1962). p 58

[17] Ibid

[18] Adams, "Every Woman in Her Humor" and "The Dumb Knight" p6

[19] Gervase, Markham et al. The Dumb Knight 1.2.

[20] Adams, "Every Woman in Her Humor" and "The Dumb Knight" p 9

[21] Unpublished typescript of M. Steggle.

[22] Poynter, F.N.L A bibliography of Gervase Markham 1568?–1637 (1962). p 57

[23] Adams, "Every Woman in Her Humor" and "The Dumb Knight" p3

[24] Unpublished typescript of M. Steggle.

[25] Unpublished typescript of M. Steggle.

[26] Sith: “Since” (OED)

[27] Leech: “A physician; one who practises the healing art” (OED)

[28] Atlas – A Greek mythological figure tasked with holding up the heavens. <>

[29] Hercules, when tasked to retrieve golden apples in a garden guarded by a dragon, requested the aid of Atlas, who agrees to obtain the apples on his behalf. However Hercules is needed to hold up the heavens in his place while he is gone. Atlas, upon obtaining the apple’s offers to deliver them for Hercules as well, but Hercules suspects he shall never return, and so tricks Atlas into holding the heavens up for just a second, in which Hercules then takes the apples and runs away. Cyprus is claiming that his loneliness is a burden like Atlas’s, and like Atlas he must use a vehicle to escape it (the war) so he can obtain what he wants. However the comparison fails beyond this point, as Cyprus seems to think Atlas wants the golden apples (or for Cyprus in this analogy, a wife) however Atlas does not, it is Hercules who wants them. Cyprus later corrects this analogy. < Atlas_(mythology)>

[30] This is a common grammatical inversion in the early modern period.

[31] Giant’s war – A reference to the Titans, the elder gods who ruled before the Olympians overthrew them - <>

[32] Roman Porcia – The wife to the most famous assassin of Julius Caesar, Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis, who committed suicide by eating hot coals. <>

[33] Possibly a reference to Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra where Cleopatra commits suicide using the venom of an asp. <>

[34] Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg (6 May 1405 – 17 January 1468): Prominent figure in the founding of Albania and holy warrior against the Ottoman Empire. < /Albania>

[35] An ancient people of western Iberian Peninsula - < /Portugal.>

[36] It is presumably due to Alphonso’s comically flamboyant attire Cyprus is forced to stutter here.

[37] Vantage: “To profit or benefit” (OED)

[38] Probably a rare form of ‘dullard’, in this case meaning “Inert” (OED).

[39] Cyprus, after acknowledging his “rights” in this fight, claims that he would like to forfeit the advantage of stating the time, place and weapons. However here he has decided to take hold of this advantage.

[40] Pharsalia – An epic Roman poem by the poet Lucan that tells of the civil war between Julius Caesar and the Roman senate (led by Pompey the Great). Pharsalia is a reference to the Battle of Pharsalus that occurred in 48 BC, in which Caesar decisively turned the war in his favour over Pompey.

 < >

[41] Possibly a reference to Lucius Aemilius Paullus, who’s eventful life lead him to twice becoming a Roman senator, advancing the field of medicine and also that of engineering. <>

[42] List: “Border, edging, strip” (OED)

[43] A curious sentence, however the meaning appears to be clear. Florio is enquiring as to how close to the cities walls he wants the lists to be. The word “hand” here is best taken to mean “Concur” (OED).

[44] Lollia’s name may be a reference to 'Lollard': “A name of contempt given in the 14th c. to certain heretics” (OED). Lollia’s adulterous behaviour would back up this connection in the play.

[45] Prate himself is rather unfortunately named for an orator; however his name fits his character: “The act or action of prating…idle, profitless, or irrelevant talk; chatter, prattle” (OED).

[46] Rebato – “A kind of stiff collar worn by both sexes from about 1590 to 1630” (OED)

[47] The name Coloquintida is analogous to the bitterness of a colocynth : “referring to its bitterness” (OED)

[48] According to Eric Partidge’s Shakepeares Bawdy this is an innuendo for penis: “Yard was perhaps the most generally used literary term for ‘penis’; and, obsolete by Ca. 1850” <>

[49] A “setting steel” used for the setting of ruffs. Could also be an obscene pun.

[50] Coil: "Noisy disturbance, ‘row’; ‘tumult, turmoil, bustle, stir, hurry, confusion"  (OED)

[51] i.e. the poorest have it hardest.

[52] This sudden change to verse from prose is a possible indicator that more than one author was involved in the formation of the comic subplot, or that this verse is lifted from other sources.

[53] Quiddities: "A quibble." (OED)

[54] Brave: “Finely-dressed” (OED).

[55] Precedent’s name, as will later be made obvious, is an insult to Prate from a Shakespearian coinage meaning: “An original of which a copy is made." From Shakespeare's "Richard III III. vi. 7 This is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings,..Eleuen houres I spent to wryte it ouer..The Precedent was full as long a doing.” (OED).

[56] These foodstuffs were believed to be potent aphrodisiac’s.

[57] Skirret: “A perennial umbelliferous plant, Sium sisarum, a species of water parsnip, formerly much cultivated in Europe for its esculent tubers; the root of this plant” (OED)

[58] This passage may be used as proof that at least some parts of this play were constructed before the 1606 “Act to Restrain Abuses of Players” which banned direct reference to God onstage, and thus many pre-1606 plays had to be hastily reworded, “heaven” being a rather common replacement for God.

[59] Defail: "Used in various senses of fail (the prefix adding little to the force of the word)" (OED)

[60]Recreant: "Unfaithful to duty; false, apostate" (OED)

[61]Intendiments: "Intention, purpose" (OED)

[62] Jove: Also known as Jupiter, in Roman mythology Jove was the king of the gods. <>

[63] Fain: “Gladly” (OED).

[64] Ajax: A hero of Greek mythology. He is a major player in the Iliad and in order to distinguish him from Ajax, son of Oileus, he is called "Telamonian Ajax," "Greater Ajax," or "Ajax the Great" <>

[65] Phaeton: The son of Helios and Clymene, his only wish was to drive his father's chariot (which pulled the sun across the sky). Helios allows his son to drive his chariot, however Phaeton could not steer the wagon, and when Phaeton reached Earth, Zeus kills him, in order to protect the humans. < Pha%C3%ABton>

[66] This speech heavily echo’s Gloucester’s speech in Shakespeare’s Richard the 3rd, especially with the lines “I am determined to prove a villain” (1.1.38) “I am resolv'd since virtue hath disdained/

To clothe me in her riches, henceforth to prove/A villain”

[67] A trencher is an object on which meat was carved upon, therefore “to lick the trencher”  means “to toady; to play the parasite” (OED) however the sexualised undertones of this exchange are made obvious.

[68] Yellow lining: “Of the complexion in age or disease” (OED). It appears that the “black outside” would be his poor dress, and that the “yellow lining” would be his refusal to allow his wife to have any of the enjoyments available in the city.

[69] Mechant: “Miserable, wretched, unfortunate.” (OED).

[70] Crab tree similes: “Resembling a crab-tree; crooked, knotted.” (OED)

[71] An odd early modern belief that stretches as far back as the 7th century, where Isidore of Seville stated in his Etymologies, Book 12, 2:3-6 “They sleep with their eyes open” which later gained biblical significance - <>

[72] Danae: The beautiful daughter of King Acrisius, who was told Danae’s future child would kill him. Attempting to avoid this fate, he imprisons Danae in a bronze tower, however Zeus comes to her in the form of golden rain, impregnating her in the process.

[73] Argus: A giant in Greek mythology said to have over a hundred eyes. <>

[74] Gall: “with reference to the bitterness of gall” (OED) An allusion to the meaning behind Coloquintida’s name.

[75] Kirtle: “A man's tunic or coat, originally a garment reaching to the knees or lower, sometimes forming the only body-garment, but more usually worn with a shirt beneath and a cloak or mantle above.” (OED) It appears at this point there is a procession of people that causes Philocles to criticise the fashions of the day – puff paste meaning “a light, flimsy, or insubstantial character; (also) a frivolous or inconsiderable person” (OED). This section is borrowed from Machin's other play, Every Woman in her Humour.

[76] Ere: “Before” (OED)

[77] Continent: “Characterized by self-restraint in the matter of sexual indulgence; chaste” (OED).

[78] Achilles' lance, as mentioned in the first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Canto XXXI, has the power to both wound, and heal the wounds it inflicts: “So I have heard the lance that Achilles Had from his father used to be the cause First of a hurtful, then of a healing, stroke.” (lines 4-6)

[79] Salt-sea’s glorious issue: The mythological god Venus, who is often depicted being born from a clam, is amongst many other things, a goddess of love < Venus_(mythology)>

[80] Juno: The ancient roman goddess said to protect the state of Rome itself. She was a warlike figure, to whom sacrifices of lambs were made on a yearly basis. <>

[81] Great Turk: The title given to any sultan of the Ottoman Empire, after Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453. <>

[82] Clew: A round bunch or cluster of things. (OED)

[83] Mariana here may be quoting, adapting or punning from any number of popular early modern love songs. It may also be in place to give an indication as to what time of year the play is set (near the end of May).

[84]  Selt: “A seat, throne.” (OED)

[85] Exactly what Florio is referring to here is open to debate. He may be chastising Mechant for being unhappy with Prate when Cyprus has paid for his services. However the events at the end of the play would make more sense if Mechant attempts to bribe Florio at the end of the preceding speech (“His wisdom worth of the conference”) with a counterfeit coin, as it would explain where the incriminating fake money comes from, but not how Mechant gets this money to be on Alphonso’s person.

[86] Let – “Hindrance, stoppage, obstruction; also, something that hinders, an impediment” (OED)

[87] Asclepius: The god of healing in Greek mythology < /Asclepius>

[88] Hippolytus: Due to context, most likely to refer to could also refer to Saint Hippolytus, who was a prolific writer for the early Catholic Church who had frequent disputes with the Popes of his time.  <> However Hippolytus was also the name of a Greek mythological figure that was killed for spurning his stepmother, Phaedra. < /Hippolytus_(mythology)>

[89] This obscure sentence possibly means that Cyprus is unwilling to let Marianna talk (“bark”) herself into trouble.

[90] Apollo: In both Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo has been assigned many roles, including that of healing, truth and prophecy and archery. < /Apollo>

[91] Oenone: A mountain nymph who was the first wife of Paris of Troy, before he abandoned her for Helen of Sparta <>

[92] Pawn: “A thing (or person) given into another's keeping as security for a debt or for the performance of some action; a pledge, surety.” (OED)

[93] Venus – Roman goddess of love and beauty, often a representative of females. <>

[94] Myrmidon: “a member of a warlike people inhabiting ancient Thessaly, whom Achilles led to the siege of Troy” (OED)

[95] Spleen: “Violent ill-nature or ill-humour; irritable or peevish temper. SHAKES. Rich. III, II. iv. 64 O prepostorous And franticke outrage, end thy damned spleene.” (OED)

[96] These two characters have been given names from the field of carpentry, as opposed to their own proper nouns, an early modern comic theatre tradition.

[97] The act of pressing in court, where a defendant was crushed by the slow addition of heavy stones to those who do not enter a plea. The advantage was that people, who died in this manner instead of pleading, would be able to pass their possessions to their next of kin, however those found guilty and executed were not. <>

[98] Culver: “A dove, a pigeon;” (OED).

[99] Epire’s meaning here is that despite the intending soothing, salving effect of Alphonso’s speech (“sound can salve”), Epire is instead enraged by the pacifism of Alphonso’s  advice (“how ill he can digest his pills”).

[100] Obloquy: “Verbal abuse directed against a person or thing; detraction, calumny, slander. Formerly (also): an abusive or calumnious speech or utterance” (OED).

[101] Swound: “To swoon, faint.” (OED)

[102] Blackamoor: “A black-skinned African, an Ethiopian, a Negro; any very dark-skinned person.” (OED)

[103] It appears that Philocles’s solution to occupy his mind from his angry, passionate and lusting thoughts about Mariana is to simply concentrate on the sun; which in turn allows him to give Mariana “respect and reverence”.

[104] The metaphor resembles that in Shakespeare’s King Richard II Act 3 sc 1. “That owes two buckets, filling one another,/The emptier even dancing in the air,/The other down, unseen and full of water.”

[105] Epileptic fits – “Of or pertaining to epilepsy; of the nature of epilepsy” (OED) – Epire seems to be likening the rapid change of place between the “buckets” of “Will and affection” in Philocles’s mind with an epileptic fit.

[106] Precedent here, as he makes explicit later, is quoting from Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. Venus and Adonis, as Philip C. Kolin notes in his book, Venus and Adonis: Critical Essays “had sordidly descended into being an aphrodisiac” in the early modern period. Kolin, Philip C. Venus and Adonis: Critical Essays (Routledge, 1997) p 12

[107] Divers: “Differing from or opposed to what is right, good, or profitable; perverse” (OED)

[108] Proiner: The meaning of this word is obscure, however from context it appears to mean “picker”.

[109] Foot-Cloth: “A large richly-ornamented cloth laid over the back of a horse and hanging down to the ground on each side. It was considered as a mark of dignity and state.” (OED)

[110] Sophistry: “Specious but fallacious reasoning; employment of arguments which are intentionally deceptive” (OED)

[111] Physic: A “Healthy practice or habit” (OED). Here Velours is probably referring to Prate’s education.

[112] Marish: “marshy; found in, characteristic of, or containing a marsh” (OED)

[113] Mechant here appears to be making a comparison between the effects of bubbling and shimmering in marshes and Prate. First he notes how wondrous these effects can be (“Which borrowing lustre there”) whilst reminding Drap and Velours they are short lived (“but meteors”) as they are from low beginnings (“basely bred” refers to the marshes). Similarly he claims Prate’s brilliance is to be short lived, as the son of a low vine picker.

[114] Copia Verburum: “Plenty, a plentiful supply:…abundance of words, a copious vocabulary.” (OED)

[115] Precedent appears to be playing a joke at his master’s expense, by dividing the title of the popular textbook on rhetoric “De Duplici Copia Verborum et Rerum” (1511) by the famous scholar Desiderius Erasmus, he implies his master is overly verbose.

[116] Perturbance: “The action of disturbing the peace, public order, etc.; public unrest or disorder; trouble; commotion” (OED)

[117] Pasquil is a reference to the statue “Pasquin” in Rome, where the tradition was to write criticism and satire in verse or prose and attach it to the statute for all to see. Meschant therefore is hoping for a very public humiliation of Prate, with his cuckold status shouted out by town criers (“Bellmen’s mouths”) and written for all to see (“Pasquil in the day!”). <>

[118] i.e. unaware of Meschant’s presence.

[119] Paraquito: “a colourfully or sumptuously-dressed person.” (OED). A coinage probably from Shakespeare’s Henry IV Pt 1,(II.IV.83).

[120] Proteus was a Greek mythological figure who was capable of changing forms. Therefore the adjective protean “adopting or existing in various shapes, variable in form; variously manifested or expressed; changing, unpredictable” (OED) is implied, in order to imply Alphonso’s sexual prowess.

[121] A reference to Pierre Aretino (1492 – 1556) who was an influential Italian author, playwright, poet and satirist. His career was memorable for the controversy his pornographic productions caused in Rome. <>

[122]  Mountebank: “An itinerant charlatan who sold supposed medicines and remedies” (OED).

[123] Empiric: “A member of the sect among ancient physicians called Empirici who drew their rules of practice entirely from experience, to the exclusion of philosophical theory” (OED).

[124] Spur-Galled: “Sore from chafing” (OED) The sentence closely resembles Shakespeare’s Hamlet – “III. ii. 253 Let the galld iade winch: our withers are vnrung.” (OED).

[125] Jade: “A contemptuous name for a horse; a horse of inferior breed” (OED)

[126] Breviate: “A short account, brief statement; a summary, abridgement, compendium” (OED)

[127] Fain: “Glad, rejoiced, well-pleased” (OED) Although Prate here is being sarcastic.

[128] Dry foot hunting: “to track game by the mere scent of the foot” A phrase which seems to be borrowed from Shakespeare’s a comedy of error’s, referring to hunting hounds “IV. ii. 39 A hound that runs Counter, and yet draws drifoot well.” (OED)

[129] Sancte Benedicte: “as expressing astonishment or remonstrance: Bless us! Good gracious!” (OED)

[130] Originally entirely in prose, however given the typography of the folio and the pattern of Lollia and Prate discussing in verse to each other, I have converted the first two lines into verse.

[131] Maumet: “A false god; an image of a false god, an idol” (OED).

[132] A reference to the Greek myth of Deianara, where a crafty centaur upon dieing promised Deianara that her husband would be faithful, if she would smear a potion containing his blood onto his clothes. Once she does so however,  her husband (Heracles) is burnt terribly by the blood, and eventually is opts to burn himself alive in a funeral pyre. <>

[133] Smock: “A woman's undergarment; a shift or chemise.” (OED)

[134] Fiddler’s Fare: “One who plays on the fiddle; esp. one who does so for hire” (OED) I.E more than your set amount.

[135] Gambol: “Frolicsome movements or proceedings” (OED)

[136] Mechant here is scheming, and although he is unsure as to exactly what this “jest” of his will be, he is sure that if it works (“if it true”), it will be so brilliant that people will study it and try to imitate it.

[137] Clew here meaning: “A ball of thread, which in various mythological or legendary narratives (esp. that of Theseus in the Cretan Labyrinth) is mentioned as the means of ‘threading’ a way through a labyrinth or maze; hence, in many more or less figurative applications: that which guides through a maze, perplexity, difficulty, intricate investigation, etc.” (OED). To paraphrase Epire – “Wisdom is the thread which guides me through to my plots conclusion, bliss.”

[138] Mercury: “A god of the ancient Romans, the son of Jupiter and Maia, identified from an early period with the Greek Hermes.” (OED). Hermes was the messenger to the Gods in Greek mythology. < /Hermes>

[139] This line was wrongly attributed to Cyprus.

[140] Inure: “to accustom, habituate” (OED)

[141] Roman here meaning: “honesty, strictness, courage, or frugality.” (OED).

[142] Cornute: “One who is ‘horned’; a cuckold” (OED)

[143] Mean space: “Meanwhile” (OED).

[144] Gaud: “One of the larger and more ornamental beads placed between the decades of ‘aves’ in a rosary” (OED).

[145] Mechant here is using a long and drawn out example of what happens to a man if his wife does not engage in light hearted revelry.

[146] It is unclear here as to whether Florio means a woman dressed like a man, a woman who acts like a man although he most probably means both, as his example of a feminine man implies.

[147] Coverture: “Anything used to cover.” (OED) Although it is worth noting there is a sexual undertone to this statement, which Mariana promptly addresses.

[148] Landskips’s modern equivalent is Landscape: “A picture representing natural inland scenery, as distinguished from a sea picture, a portrait, etc.” (OED).

[149] Mariana here is suggesting public speaking as a method of entertaining the Queen.

[150] Sith: “Seeing that; Since.” (OED).

[151] Cerberus, in Greek mythology, guarded the gates of Hades. <>

[152] Apoplex: “To strike with apoplexy, paralyze, benumb.” (OED).

[153] Splay-foot: “A flat, spread out, clumsy foot, esp. one which turns outwards” (OED).

[154] i.e. Of inferior quality to a whole garment, one made from various pieces of old clothing – an insult based on how poorly Alphonso is attired.

[155] Amaze: “Bewilderment, mental confusion” (OED)

[156] Meet: “Suitable, fit, proper” (OED)

[157] i.e. It grows late.

[158] Mammon – The false god of riches and avarice: “more or less [a] personification [of] wealth, profit, possessions.” (OED)

[159] i.e. Settling down for a game of cards, aloft.

[160] Mount-cent: “A card game resembling piquet.” (OED).

[161] This exchange serves as affirmation of the Queen’s aforementioned superior knowledge of cards, making her mispronunciation “mount-saint” a deliberate trap, which Philocles playfully recognises he fell for.

[162] i.e. A game of wit as well as cards.

[163] Lethean: “Pertaining to the river Lethe; hence, pertaining to or causing oblivion or forgetfulness of the past” Lethe was one of the five rivers in Hades. (OED)

[164] Hesperian rosaries refers once more to the Greek myth of Hercules’s eleventh labor, to retrieve the golden apples from the gardens tended by the Hesperides. Here however Cyprus is correcting his initial analogy with a more complete one, by switching to the version of events which has Hercules himself raid the gardens for the apples. Alphonso here being Hercules, and wanting the apples (the Queen) and retrieving them himself from the garden that was guarded by Ladon the dragon (Cyprus).

[165] Varlet: “A man or lad acting as an attendant or servant; a menial, a groom” (OED)

[166] Cyprus here appears to be wishing they be taken to the most “confining, restrictive” prison Florio can find (OED).

[167] i.e. “He who says I ever know the meaning of the word treason, lies.”

[168] This line may be another victim of aforementioned “Act to Restrain Abuses” (1606), as despite clearly alluding to genesis 2:7 “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”. Mariana attempts to make which god she is referring to ambiguous, possibly as to fall within the restrictions of the new law, although also possibly to fit the metre. <>

[169] i.e. Her love is as tough and immovable as rock.

[170] Cyprus here means people who “corrige” meaning: “To correct, chastise, punish.” (OED).

[171] These lines, originally attributed to Mechant, do not make sense unless spoken by Florio as clearly they are describing Philocles and the Queen’s arrest, and not Alphonso’s.

[172]Cyprus here is likening the Queen’s tears to the teeth of crocodiles (implying they are dangerous, presumably as opposed to the common phrase “crocodile tears” which implies dishonesty).

[173] Desert: “Desert or deserted condition; desolation” (OED).

[174] Slip: “A counterfeit coin” (OED).

[175] Disburse: “to be in disburse, to be out of pocket.” (OED) Cyprus here is reassuring Drap and Velours that their bribe won’t be taken off them.

[176] Theareat: “Expressing attachment to a thing” (OED), the “thing” in this case being Cyprus’s proposal.

[177] This obscure word is almost certainly a misprint of some sort, possibly of “garish”, meaning: “Wanting in self-restraint, flighty” (OED). However also possibly of “gainish” which is the correction in the 1633 folio.