Enter Osric, Theodric, Theodwald, Eaufrid and attendants. 
Osric. (Carrying Bertha's portrait)
Let your dispatches instantly be sent
Through all the kingdom to incite the people
(As many as are mine, or would be thought so)
To express with me their joy, for the enjoying
Of the so long desired happiness, 5
In this  our beauteous and magnificent Queen.
Theodwald. (To Attendants)
See that through all the cities, towns and villages,
With solemn feasts and public sign of joy,
They celebrate a day for these glad tidings.
Eaufrid. (To Attendants)
Post every way, that the third day from this 10
The general joy may sound and shine through all
That's with bells and bonfires.
Theodwald and Eaufrid. (Together)
And now my lords, I must require your care
To set down a fit order for our journey
Unto this Queen, to perfect my world's bliss. 15
I would not fail in the least article
Of state or decency in this affair.
Provide so that we may in all appear
Worthy th' achievement of our fair ambition.
And let our followers be chosen such, 20
Whose inward worth no less than outward show,
May make us glorious in this expedition.
Do speedily and effectually. Good my lords,
The time hasts on.
Theodwald and Eaufrid. (Together)
Our duty shall prevent  it.
Methinks the silent picture seems to say, 25
'Tis fit I should anticipate a day, (Exeunt Theodwald and Eaufrid)
Rather than lose one minute from that light,
Whose very shadow is so angel bright. 
But when your Highness shall behold, nay more
Shall touch, nay more and nearer shall embrace, 30
Nay more and nearer yet, enfold and handle,
Nay more and nearest of all, enjoy
The lively (that's too little) heavenly substance
Of this poor imaginary, which is as short,
As far inferior to the life, 35
As a weak starlight to the sun.
O do not ravish me with expectation.
This is a way to make each hour until
I shall enjoy my bliss, a tedious night,
Each night a death. Yet can I not desire 40
To shift the argument off our discourse.
Did she appear so fair, so lovely?
Suppose you see a glorious firmament,
Bedecked with heavenly Stars: so shines her court
With ladies might be thought of matchless beauty, 45
Striking mere human sight with admiration.
Imagine now you see break through a veil
Amidst those stars, though heavenly lesser beauties,
So this no less to be comparèd Queen, 50
Shines above beauty to an human eye,
That is not mixed with powerful majesty.
You may behold her your divinity;
My King may comprehend what can befit
Me only to confess, I do admire. 55
O thou art mine. In such a Queen
And such a servant never was king so blessed.
But are there in her court (although inferior
To her, more excellent) such special beauties,
And in my Theodric's apprehension? 60
You have made choice of one, then?
I have seen one so agreeable to my affection
Above all the rest, I cannot but confess
I strove to be her servant.
She was a fair one. Theodric, never fear, 65
She is thine own: myself will be thy spokesman,
If she be worthy of thee.
For fair virtue,
With all the graces which adorn the mind,
In best opinion, she's unparalleled
By any subject lady (I must ever 70
Allow supremacy unto the Queen),
And for her person, it appears in all,
Most answerable to her face. Of which, here is
Th' exactest copy that I could get drawn,
And without flattery, by the Queen's own limner.  75
Pray let me see't. (Theodric
Indeed it is a sweet one.
Did he that drew this of the Queen, draw that?
With the same hand.
But not with the same colours.
Trust me, they're much unlike: he wrongs the Queen
And merits her displeasure even to death, 80
T' advance a servant's beauty 'bove her own.
What says your Majesty?
Keep off a little,
You stand just in my light. (Aside) And so he does,
'Twixt me and the prime beauty of the world.
To set this crown upon this head,  and then—
But now I note this forehead, and this brow,
This eye, this lip—
(lets fall the portrait of Bertha)
You have let fall the Queen, sir. 90
(takes up the portrait of Bertha)
I cry her mercy. (Aside) What a shame it is
That I should fall in his discovery?
Are courts so fraught with fraud and flattery?
And, can a king that governs such professors 
No whit dissemble,  to obscure his passions? 95
I must, and thus begin to practise it.
Theodric, didst thou note my contemplation
Over these pictures?
I could but perceive
Your Highness viewing them well. And I have learned
To make no search into my Sovereign's thoughts. 100
Thou art ever modest. Thus it was, Theodric.
First, to consider what an absolute beauty
This Queen has in herself; but then to gather
The circumstances, many such as this, 105
As thou affirmst, inferior lights to her,
That shine about her, rendering her more glorious,
Lights her above affection, to an height
That claims her adoration. Then, marvel not
That now, when this but in effigy 110
Was but placed by her, by which her majesty
So much the more appeared, I could not hold
This figure of that all to be commanding beauty
When my high thoughts were fled up to her presence.
Now take thy piece of craftsmanship again, 115
Which trust me is a pretty one, whilst I
Devote my service to this deity.
(Gives Theodric Bertha's portrait)
Sir, you have given me the Queen's picture.
Ha! What a mistake was here? But thou art honest,
And covetest but thy own; take it Theodric. 120
Now, tell me of what house or parentage
Your mistress is.
I told you first her virtues,
Her person next, and by this her beauty,
Which you are pleased to deem not much amiss.
'Tis such, Theodric, that had I not seen 125
This  so much above it (pardon my hypocrisy)
I should have envied any man but thee
In such a choice. But speak her parentage.
That's all her blemish.
Is she of tainted blood?
You search with kingly wisdom. She is daughter 130
To that bold obstinate baron I informed you of,
Whom the Queen, in her just displeasure, banished.
Thy love to her may hereafter plead for him.
But soft,  I am not well.
Heaven bless the King.
Who waits within  there?
Tarry,  let me see 135
That picture once again. It wants exceedingly
Of this in many things.
I should want judgement
Not to grant that.
Here it wants palpably:
The drooping of the brow; and here again
The dullness of the eye, which here shows deadly, 140
But for a little squint it has. Good Queen
You look asquint.  Then look you sir, your wants.
You shall not hear me neither, cause I will not
Spoil your conceit of it. Your lady wants
The furious sharpness of the nose, which here 145
My Queen has very shrewly.  And again,
You haven't the hanging of the nether lip,
Which the best physiognomists  do tell us
Shows women apt to lust, and strong incontinence. 
Phew! This is all too sweet for mortal sense. 150
Here, take't again, and keep mine for me with it.
Lay 'em together, th' one may mend the tother. 
I have known women oft marry one another;
Their pictures may perhaps have greater virtue.
I am not well. What kind of changeling  am I? 155
A wild confusion rumbles in my brain,
My thoughts are all at strife.
How fares your Highness?
Sick, sick, Theodric.
Retire, sir, to your couch.
Enter Theodwald and Eaufrid.
Theodwald and Eaufrid. (Together)
Where is my lord the King?
Here yet, my lords.
The King's not well. 160
We have provided for your Highness's journey,
In such a sort as never King went forth.
Whither, to Heaven my lords?
Yes, to the Queen.
Lovers count marriage Heaven before they wed,
But afterwards I know what some have said. 165
Oh, this is your honeymoon. Yes, yes, you
Shall to Heaven, your Heaven as you call it,
In such a royal manner. See the order.
You do not well to vex the King;
You see he's sick.
Sick? Marry!  Heaven forbid! 170
Sick o' the wife before he has her.
Come, a very troth-plight qualm,  into your chamber,
And as we find you, we'll ourselves bestir.
Who waits within there? Call the King's physicians.
Scene ii 
(Northumbria - beyond the court)
A shout within, the sound of music and bells. Enter Four clowns  with tools.
And what's the reason of all this merry glee?
The King's, the King, man,  must be married.
And must he have a wife?
A wife? A Queen, man, and all the wives in her dominion must be his
commonwealth, and under us.  5
O brave. 
And we must son and daughter it  upon their nation.
That will be brave indeed.
O but where is Jeffrey, jolly Jeffrey, now? The prick  and praise, the
very prick and praise, and prime spark of our parish, to set our bonfires 10
and our mirth a blazing.
The bells a ringing, and the bowls a trowling,  the fiddlers fumbling
and tumbling. O Jeffrey, where art thou Jeffrey?
He's at hand I warrant you, he went but to church e'en now.
What, to pray at such a time as this? 15
That's to be born withal. It is indeed a devilish lop-heavy  bell.
I would the churchwarden that should have mended it when he robbed
the poor, were hanged in its place.
There said you well. The curate could say almost as much when 'twas.  20
But it makes no matter what he says, I see little amended.
Whoop! Here comes Jeffrey, sweating in these affairs.
Enter Jeffrey. 
The great bells of our town, they tingle, they tangle, they jingle, they
jangle, the tenor of them  goes merrily.
O Jeffrey, welcome Jeffrey. 25
And shall we have a Queen?
So they say, Jeffrey. O the bravest  woman!
Take heed o' that, woman did you say? Take heed, I give you warning:
no man must know she is a woman but the King himself. But, a brave
Queen she is they say, and loves a man with all her heart. Where art 30
working days out of our almanac.  It shall be said that we will work no
more till thy seventh son,  O Queen, who must be born a prophet, shall
foretell the age to come, shall not have a true labourer or honest workman in it.
So, we may make a long holiday indeed. 35
Let work no more be thought on, we will revel it out of remembrance,
we will not cease our joy to sleep, for fear we dream of work again.
Down with your profane tools and implements of husbandry,  the very
sight of 'em dishonours our new holy day.
But Jeffrey, our masters grudge to give us wood enough to make a 40
beaking  bonfire.
They say 'tis waste.
Not wood to make a bonfire? Your sheeplocks,  flails, spades, shovels,
rakes and pitchforks, shall all be made a bonfire. 45
And so we may be sure to make holiday till we get new ones.
their pails and buttocks.
Buckets, thou wouldst say.
Where was my mind? Their buckets shall they bring, wash-bowls and 50
made a bonfire for the Queen.
My mother will not let her household stuff go so.
We'll burn her for a witch  then with all her trash, and her thatched
mansion too about her ears, but we will show our zeal unto the Queen 55
in fire sufficient.
Ah, good boy.
'Sfoot,  if our masters do rebel against us now majesty's on our side,
and not give fuel, when we mean to give fire, as duty binds, we'll have
harrows, and the whips, because the beasts shall play too; only, we'll spare
Their racks  and mangers. All that's made of wood belonging to our work
besides, shall perish, shall perish, I have said it. Not the politic 
molecatcher's staff shall 'scape the flame. Not low us wood? We'll drink
up all the drink to the Queen's health, And burn the hogsheads, barrels, 65
for't in our bonfire for the Queen.
Good boy, again.
But where shall we make this huge and monstrous bonfire?
Here, here, just here, in this very place, I come to mark the ground. 70
Here it shall blaze up to the heavens, and we will roast our town bull at it,
with a thousand puddings in his belly.
Ah, good Jeffrey still.
Nothing too dear to signify our loves to the King and Queen. Let
us bestir us therefore, and enact this as a law amongst us, that he that 75
does not gall  his hands today with ringing shall be hanged up in the bell
rope; and he that is not soundly liquored by night shall be made fuel for our
bonfire; such dry rascals will burn better than heretics.  And last of all, he
shall be nameless  in a cleft stick. And so God save the Queen.
And the King too.
The King we make no doubt of, we have prayed for him these seven years. 
A Jeffrey, a Jeffrey. 
Enter a Constable and Alfrid.
Whither away my friends? 85
To make the bravest bonfire that ever blazed since Troy,  or that which
the tyrant emperor warmed his hands at. 
You must forbear.
We must forbear, what Hebrew's  that? We understand not what must
forbear means. 90
You must forbear to make your bonfire.
Must? That word had never been named had all been Jeffrey. We must
forbear to set our loves on fire unto the King? Dost thou not feel thyself,
O man, whate'er thou art, becoming a traitor? Knowst thou the words thou
speakest against the King? 95
I know what I do speak, and what I am.
It is the Constable.
I know my office too, by virtue whereof I charge you in the King's name,
lay by your sports and pastimes; I'll lay you by the heels else. Will you, sir,
know a reason? The King is sick. 100
Then let us drink his health.
He is sick exceedingly.
Then let us drink exceedingly.
He's sick even unto death.
Then let us ring our bells for that, and make a funeral bonfire. 105
I say no drinking at all, no bells, nor no bonfires; it is his Majesty's command.
I say his Majesty's first word shall stand for bells and bonfires, though
we set the town a fire, and ring the bells backwards.
Ye will not be all hanged, will ye? See, here's a gentleman and a courtier
that so signifies his Majesty's pleasure. 110
A gentleman and a courtier, where be they? I see but one.
Sir, I am both.
What monsters are bred in Africa? I take you but for one at most; well,
for the gentleman that you are, thus I salute you; now for the courtier that
is within you, I must wait upon it here; this posterior posture  did I learn
of a spaniel  whose name was 'Courtier'. Now let me tell you, master 115
gentleman and courtier, that we are sorry that sickness should make our
King and master so fickle-headed as to cross our sports thus, that we meant
to have made him such an holiday as might, have proved more worth to him
than a wife and twenty sicknesses besides. Yet, can we not be so sorry for
his sickness as that it was his mishap to play mock holiday with us. 120
The King shall know your loves, and for your part master speaker.
Your friend and Jeffrey.
Then Jeffrey be it, I'll promise you preferment, if you will up to court with me.
Up to the gallows, shall I not? 
My life for thine. And thou shalt not deny me; here's gold in earnest, take it. 125
The King's disease is melancholy, and thou mayst do him more good than a
whole college of physicians.
He takes me for a fool, I'll make a venture on't. The best is, many a fool has
thrived at court, and the worst is, I am not the first that has forsaken his
country.  I'll along with you, sir, and if I rise by you, I shall quickly learn 130
courtship enough to forget to thank you. And for your parts my old friends,
what need soever you may have of me, you must be sure I'll be a stranger to you.
Wilt thou forsake us, Jeffrey? Then who shall dance the hobbyhorse 
at our next revel rout?
The hobbyhorse of preferment gallops me from you; if you chance to 135
see me in my robes hereafter, when I come to be the fool-royal, you may
admire my garments and whisper to your acquaintance very softly that you
knew me once, but on your allegiance look not that I should know you then. 
Nay, we are not such clowns but we have heard that courtiers in favour
will know nobody. 140
'Tis true, for when they are in disgrace the silliest clown will not know them.
You were best look to your fast footing  then when you are high in favour.
High in fooling, thou wouldst say, silly constable. Yet, there's no great danger.
One fool may outstand six favourites.
Away then, as thou art. 145
I, sir, I'll take no shift  with me, I shall shift the better when I come there.
Well, farewell Jeffrey, thy like will never come here.
Commend me to all the lasses, and let not them, nor do not you grieve
for my departure, nor for the holiday that here is lost; instead of which,
that you may have a new one. I wish that one of you, even he that loves 150
me best, as speedily as may be, would deserve hanging, that the rest may
make holiday for him. Sic valete valetote. 
Now, the Dee'l brast crag of him. 
He's a right courtier already.
I'm glad he used us no better. If he had, I should have cried out mine 160
eyes for him.
(Northumbria - beyond the court)
Enter Segebert and Anthynus.
'Twas a miraculous escape. Good Heaven
Is with me still. I have not heard
That any of these native salvages, 
These home-bred monsters in humanity,
These outlaws, these detested thieves and robbers, 5
Have enterprised a villainy like this:
To set with such a violence on men
Of our weak seeming, poor and needy pilgrims,
When I did offer them to shun their blows,
All that we had, even to our bare apparel. 10
It seems their aim was at our blood, not means.
And doubtless they were some that knew our persons
Through our disguises, and pursued us hither,
With an inveterate malice to destroy us
In this wild desert.
Was it not enough, 15
Thou impious Queen, and more unnatural  country,
To banish me unjustly, but thou must
Pursue my life by treacherous cruelty?
Art thou not hurt at all, my son?
To the least danger of one drop of blood. 20
They are three sturdy knaves, and strongly weaponed.
Had they been forty, sir, while I was armed
By your white innocence and holy prayers,
Heaven's justice lent me hands to beat them off.
Yet give me leave, dear sir, to ask you now, 25
Why you have bent your pilgrimage this way?
Leading into a country of more danger
Unto your life and safety than your own:
Northumberland, whose King cannot but rage
In greater heat against you than the Queen, 30
That so unjustly banished you; you may fall
(Though you escape the danger of this forest)
Into the reach of his revengeful fury.
It was and is my purpose to appear
In person to that King, at my life's price, 35
Which I am no more fond of than my country
Is of my truth. And when I have made known
Th' unfitness of the match, by the dishonour
He'll run into if he proceed in it;
If then he take my life, I am at home, 40
Eternally at home. 
But made you none
Acquainted that you meant to travel this way?
None but my dear son Offa.
Then sure the Queen
Sent her bloodhounds after you; I perceive
They could not be mere thieves.
Good angels guard us; 45
They have made head  again in greater numbers.
Enter Offa (disguised) and outlaws.
Take greater courage then.
Must I give hire and do the task myself?
'Tis not amiss to help for expedition.
Upon 'em all at once.  50
They fight. Anthynus knocks down First outlaw and Offa wounds Segebert in the head; he sinks. Anthynus disarms Offa.
Anthynus. (Offa runs off while Anthynus speaks)
This sword thou never handlest more. Take you it and fresh courage, sir.
(Anthynus beats off First outlaw and speaks on)
May you not cease your flight till you reach Hell,
That bred ye, villains; to pursue ye further
Were to neglect a nearer duty.
Dear honoured Sir, look up; father, how do you? 55
Even almost well I hope.
He means with death, 
Alas, he's deeply wounded and bleeds much.
But what do I in this? I have not tears
Enough to wash these wounds, although some linen
To bind them up. But merely to bewail him 60
With looks and lamentations is as fruitless
As here to leave him languishing to death,
And run in pursuit of his enemies
To work revenge; neither of these bring ease.
Mount up my thoughts to Heaven then, for a blessing 65
Upon my ready industry, and let each faculty
Of mine as prompt to works and prayers be.
How is it now, sir? Do I not bind it too hard?
Pray, sir, speak to me.
Offa! Oh, son Offa!
Offa is not here, sir; 'tis I, your son Anthynus. 70
Why look you on that sword so?
O son Offa!
Pray sir, look on me. I fear his memory fails him.
And, as his mind was ever on Offa
Before unfortunate me, so now he gives
The merit that belongs (if any be) 75
Due to the duty of a son in this
From me to him. But envy be thou from me.
Why look you on that sword, and not on me?
'Twas I that won it for you.
That's well said, sir, speak though but faintly to me: 80
I had rather hear your groans than find you speechless;
Better will come, I hope.
Help me to rise.
That's comfortably spoken; so, well done,
Like a strong man again.
Oh, I am weak.
Rest upon me, my strength, my all is yours. 85
Aeneas, that true Trojan son, whose fame
For piety ever crowns his name,
Had not a will (although my means be poor)
Exceeding mine to answer nature more.
Well said, that step became you, we shall on 90
I see, apace. Give me your sword, it troubles you.
No, not this sword.
That's the best sign of all.
Keep it and hold it fast, sir, we will back
A little to the spring we came by, where
I'll somewhat more accommodate your wounds. 95
Heaven, which men's honest pains doth ever bless,
Will, when we least can hope, afford redress.
Exeunt Segebert and Anthynus.
Oh, oh, some help, oh.
Enter an Hermit  and Servant with a basket.
Hark, didst thou not hear a cry?
Of nothing but
My guts that cry within me, sir, for meat. 100
I hear no other cry, nor have not done…
Almost these five years. 
Peace, thou belly-god! 'Twas there again.
It is a belly-devil rather, that has tormented me 105
E'er since I served you underground hereby.
No man above ground  could have fasted like me.
Hast thou not daily food, thou caterpillar?
Yes, such as caterpillars eat: blossoms and buds,
Many green growing things, such as you make 110
Your medicines of, and roots; would I could get
Some of the caterpillars. A dish of caterpillars fried,
Let me see in what? In usurers' grease,  if one
Knew where to get it, might serve to feast an emperor.
But we live out o' th' world, by prayer and fasting. 115
Thou farest as I fare, feedest as oft as I.
But sir, there's difference in our exercises. If I
Could spend my time, whole days in prayer, as
You do, this kind of fare, or fasting
Rather, would not be so bitter to me. 120
Didst thou not hear it now?
Yes, something like the croaking of a frog,
Me thought. If it were one, I would wade up to
The waste for't, for my supper. Here, here sir, 125
Here 'tis, here's more work for you. Once a week
We are commonly troubled either to cure or
Bury one or other; thank the outlaws, they make
Us work for nothing here, as if we dwelt
Here for the purpose, nor do I know other, 130
Look up, man, canst thou speak?
There's great hope of recovery, you hear, he says he cannot speak.
Canst thou hold up thy hands and lift up thine eyes?
He does, he does; hang't, he'll do well enough.
Help up his body, then down into my cave. 135
And tomorrow, up with him again, and then down
Into a grave. Better let him lie now, sir.
You'll ne'er do good on him I doubt: he looks
So damnably as if the Devil were at my elbow
Peace knave! In charity, I'll do my best. 140
Heaven, hitherto, my labours well has blessed.
Servant. (Lifts First outlaw)
Nay, had I his weight in venison so
Near killed, and might be allowed to eat it,
I would ask no more flesh while I lived.
Exeunt Hermit, Servant and First outlaw.
Enter Offa and the outlaws; the outlaws are assuring Offa that Segebert and Anthynus are dead.  Exeunt Offa and the outlaws.
Enter Anthynus carrying Segebert in his arms.
Can no release be had? Is this the place, 145
That cursèd piece of ground which nature meant
Should be called Hell on earth? Where outrage reigns,
Murder and cruelty, beyond it deep despair
(To a poor remnant of distressèd life)
Of all reviving comforts, food, or medicine? 150
Oh, set me down.
And must we needs be set
By the malicious ignorance of Fortune 
On this infernal  way?
Patience, good son.
Where ill abounds, and every good is wanting,
Was't not enough that so much blood was spilt 155
From this white reverend head, from which hath flowed
Counsels that have preserved the blood of nations?
And fitter now to wear a diadem 
Itself, than thus be stained with his own wrong.
Had it not been enough to have left him so, 160
Thou tyrant Fortune, but to take away
All means of succour? No relief? No comfort?
Good Son, be not impatient.
And see, see,
Accursèd Fate!  He bleeds afresh again,
As if his blood, I now but washed away, 165
Cried for the rest to follow it.
Son, this impatience hurts thyself and me.
Better let me bleed still (bleeding's an easy death)
Than thou displease the awful power of Heaven,
Me you have justly chidden, and I beg
Pardon of Heaven and you, and now, methinks,
I am inspired unto a further duty
Of seeking remedy. I'll leave no way untried
To find it, if I may. And though my absence 175
Will sore perplex me, I will, with your grief,
Leave you a while to forage for relief.
But first, pray let me change a sword with you, sir;
Not that I think yours better, but because
I fear some charm is in't, or secret ill 180
'Gainst you, you sigh so when you view it still.
Good son, forbear't, and me unto my thoughts,
Till thou returnst. Heaven's and my blessing with thee.
So strengthened, I shall sure find remedy
To raise you out of this calamity. 185
This sword, Anthynus? No! Shouldst thou but know
This sword as I do, it would raise thy fury
Unto an execution of that horror
Would shake me in my grave: this sword
Which now I cannot but with tears remember, 190
Was once mine own. I gave it to thy brother,
(I will not call him so) but to my son,
(Why should I call him so?) but to Offa,
And so I fear I name my murtherer. 
For when I gave it him, I charged him never 195
To part with it; he firmly vowed the same,
And that whilst I or he should live, no man
Should ever give it motion but himself.
Were't thou so greedy of my life, my Offa,
To snatch it from me thus? When as the wounds 200
Are not so bitter as the wronged thoughts,
Though they are deep and overflow their brinks;
I have two wounds within me that are deeper,
Which have discovered in my heart and bowels 205
A trebled spring of dearer blood than this.
One pricks me with compassion for thee,
My good, my charitable, pious son.
All blessing due to sanctimonious virtue
Be ever thy companion, till thou art crowned, 210
'Mongst sons of men, the pattern of true piety.
What foul mistrusts, puddles of jealousy,
Were lodged in this dark bosom against thee?
And of affection, what a pure stream did run,
By a false current, to my second son? 215
Who by thy truth appears not now thine own?
Which makes my other wound, in that so long
I cherished him by doing of thee wrong.
Now, from my heart issue two streams of blood:
One thick and clotty, th' other clean vermilion. 220
In the gross blood, I vent the wrong conceit
I swallowed against thee, my good Anthynus.
And, in the clear I see Offa's falsehood; may 
In both, my blood runs forth apace. O
My thick blood, Anthynus be forgiven by thee, 225
And the clear cleanse my Offa's treachery.
Enter Hermit and Servant.
Didst thou not hear a groan? A dying groan?
Not I, sir, I heard nothing.
Hark, look about,
I am sure I heard a groan.
Here, sir, here's
Something that perhaps has groaned. But it's out 230
Of hearing now.
And so is pity
Amongst men. Ay me! An old man murthered!
A seeming simple innocent old man,
And yet, he holds a sword.
So, more work still.
Whilst we are gathering simples  to cure one, 235
Here's another John Simple  laid in our way to bury.
He is yet warm.
Ay, but he has no breath,
Not so much I'll undertake as a scolding
Wife that has been nine days in the grave.
Alas, he's gone indeed; what ruthless villains 240
Could have done this on such an aged man,
In this so harmless habit?
Let it warn you: though we have hitherto
Passed by these man-tigers, these wolvish outlaws, safely,
Early and late, as not worth their malice, 245
Yet, pray sir, now since they begin to kill
Men of this coat, and these years, let us
Forsake this salvage habitation,
And live in the world of meat again.
How ill are these white hairs bestained with red? 250
Methinks I should have known this face; nothing
To wipe the blood off? Come, help away with him.
He's holp  away, and made away enough already, methinks.
Why dost not lift?
Sure they have blown their sins
Into him that killed him, he's so heavy, he's 255
Deadly heavy. Pray sir, let me fetch my grave
Instruments and your book and bestow him here.
You will not bury him in your cave, I'm sure.
I say I'll have him down. Perhaps the wounded
Man that's there may know him.
Servant. (Lifts Segebert)
I would I 260
Had but this fellow's weight in buttock beef.
Exeunt Hermit, Servant and Segebert. Enter Anthynus.
I come, my father. Chide not now my stay,
In which I was more tardy, I confess,
Than e'er I was in duty. I have brought you—
Where are you, sir? Ha! This was sure the place, 265
And this the very oak at which I left him;
I marked it carefully, and took due heed,
Even to the number of my steps in my
Departure, how to make my back return,
Nor was my tarriance  such that in that space 270
He could recover strength to shift his ground.
I wish it were so well with him. My lord,
My father, what a mist of doubts stand I
Amazed in? And my unspeakable amazement
Is such that I begin to call my sight 275
And memory in question. Whither this place?
Or whither he? Or I? Or anything
Be, or be not? Good senses do not leave me,
My search will be in vain if you forsake me.
Father, my lord! Where are you? How? Or where? 280
That was well said, speak on. (Exits and speaks from within) Now where?
Anthynus. (From within)
Now here? Where is that here?
I hear and follow, but I know not where.
At the same place again?
If there be place, or I know anything, 285
How is my willingness in search deluded?
It is the wood that rings with my complaint,
And mocking Echo makes her merry with it.
Cursed be thy babbling, and mayst thou become
A sport for wanton boys in thy fond answers; 290
Or stay,  perhaps it was some gentle spirit
Hovering i' th' air, that saw his flight to heaven,
And would direct me thither after him.
Good reason, leave me not, but give me leave
A little to consider nearer home; 295
Say his diviner part  be taken up
To those celestial joys, where blessèd ones
Find their inheritance of immortality.
I cannot think his earthly properties
So soon could find the passage to that height. 300
His body would be here, poor martyred body,
That though it yet did live, could not part hence
Without the help of others' legs and hands.
And here haunt none, but such whose cruelty
Would toss him into further misery. 305
Wild beasts, if here were any half so ravenous
As those inhuman mankind-monsters were,
(That drew his blood and these unusual tears),
Could not devour him all, some particle,
Some remnant would be left to bless a son with. 310
But here is none but that too sure a sign
For me to know the place by, where I left him.
Part of the blood I saw run from him. O
Dear hallowed blood  inspire me with this kiss (kisses the ground)
To find the fountain whence this stream did flow.  315
I will not eat, nor sleep until I know.
No? Canst thou tell me nothing? Then I'll take
A sample of the precious store was spilt, (removes some of the blood-stained earth)
To keep me still in memory of the guilt,
And of my vow, never to feed or rest, 320
Until I find him here, or with the blessed.
 Not included in the quarto. There are no indications of setting in the quarto other than 'Scene England' at the beginning of the play.
 The 1657 quarto has, 'Enter Osriick the King, Theodrick, Theodwald, Eaufrid, Alfrid, Edelbert, 2. Lords'. However, the only lords to speak in this scene (other than Theodric) are '1. Lord' and '2. Lord'; 'The Persons in the Play' lists just four lords (other than Theodric and Ethelswic), and by the evidence of III.i.186-7, the lords given the tags 1. Lord, 2. Lord, 3. Lord, 4. Lord are indeed, in the order of the dramatis personae, Theodwald, Eaufrid, Alfrid and Edelbert. Hence, Alfrid and Edelbert play no part in this scene, and are clearly not present when Osric is taken ill; the 'attendants' are present, and so are added to the list of characters entering.
 this] referring to Bertha's portrait.
 bells and bonfires] the ringing of bells and burning of bonfires: a common practice during celebrations in sixteenth and seventeenth century England; see Introduction for a discussion of their political significance.
 prevent] anticipate.
 Two rare rhyming couplets that reflect Osric's joyful mood.
 Cynthia] One of the Roman names for the goddess of the moon; see Act I. Scene i. l. 196.
 limner] portrait painter.
 be even with him] 'get even with him'.
 picturer] portrait painter.
 this crown upon this head] i.e. crown Mildred as his Queen.
 Fie!] Shame!
 fancy's] 'fancy': amorous inclination, love (OED 8.b).
 professors] adherents.
 No whit] 'Not in the least degree' ('whit': OED 2.b).
 Protest] profess.
 rapt] enraptured.
 this] i.e. Bertha's portrait.
 soft] wait.
 within] In another room or part of the room, i.e. off-stage or behind the scenes; 'within' referring to off-stage also occurs in stage directions.
 Tarry] Delay going (OED 3).
 asquint] not only with reference to Bertha's squint, but also with connotations of 'looking unfavourably or suspiciously' upon the king; cf. King Lear, V.iii.73: 'That eye that told you so looked but asquint.'
 shrewly] like a shrew: 'a woman given to railing or scolding' (OED 3) or a small mammal; also a variant of shrewdly: maliciously, wickedly, severely, sharply. The negative connotations are particularly ironic considering Osric's preference for Mildred's portrait.
 physiognomists] 'one who reads character or disposition from the face' (OED).
 incontinence] lacking self-restraint.
 tother] the other.
 changeling] fickle person; also with the connotation of 'substitute', presaging the 'exchange' that gives the play its title.
 Marry!] 'By Mary': an example of swearing without using the name of God, which was illegal on the stage after 1606.
 troth-plight qualm] ailment of the betrothed.
 This scene appears to be in prose: the line-lengths and metre are irregular and defy relineation to Brome's usual 'roughly' iambic pentameter; the few lines that do conform seem to do so incidently. Prose would be consistent with the 'low' nature of the scene.
 clowns] As becomes clear as the scene advances, these characters represent a farming community in the Northumbria of the play; as comic parts, they would have been played by actors whose speciality was 'clowning'; cf. 2 Henry VI, IV.ii.: the characters of Jack Cade, Dick the Butcher, Smith the Weaver et al; as such, they are examples of the tradition of anti-authority clowning in early modern theatre.
 man] A vocative 'used to address a person parenthetically without emphasis to indicate familiarity, amicability, or equality between the speaker and the person addressed' (OED 16.b). This is a particularly northern English and Scottish usage, and, as such, could indicate an attempt by Brome to mimic Northumbrian dialect.
 under us] a bawdy reference to sexual intercourse.
 brave] good, excellent, worthy (OED 3).
 son and daughter it] either another bawdy reference to procreation: 'make sons and daughters'; or, 'become sons and daughters' (subjects) of their nation.
 prick] inciter; also continuing the bawdy theme.
 trowling] an obsolete form of the verb 'troll': 'to move (a ball, bowl, round body) by or as by rolling' (OED 2).
 rear] raise.
 tenor] tenor bell.
 lop-heavy] 'heavy with a weight which causes lopping, hanging down, or drooping' (OED).
 The curate could say almost as much when 'twas] 'The curate said as much when it happened'.
 Jeffrey] It is possible that the name 'Jeffrey' is an allusion to 'Queen Henrietta Maria's dwarf', Jeffrey Hudson, who appeared in masques at court. Also see the Introduction for a more detailed discussion of this possibility.
 tenor of them] a play on words, referring to both the tenor bell and the tone of the bells in general.
 bravest] a play on words, involving the meanings 'worthy' and 'courageous'.
 holy day] the archaic version (rather than 'holiday') is preferred for Jeffrey's speech (here and l. 39), to retain the sacred connotation, and so make the contrast with the 'profane' of l. 38 more explicit.
 justle] the usual seventeenth-century variant of 'jostle' (OED).
 almanac] 'a book of tables, containing a calendar of months and days, with astronomical data and calculations, ecclesiastical and other anniversaries, besides other useful information' (OED).
 seventh son] A superstition that attributes magical powers of healing and foresight to the seventh son. Its origins are obscure, but it echoes numerous other magical associations with the number seven.
 husbandry] farming; also, further bawdy connotations.
 beaking] A variant form of the verb, 'beek': 'to warm'. This is another example of a northern English or Scottish dialect word.
 sheeplocks] obscure farming implement, possibly similar to a 'hobble or shackle on a horse's (or other animal's) foot to prevent it from straying' ('lock': OED 3).
 rocks] distaff(s): 'a cleft staff about 3 feet long, on which, in the ancient mode of spinning, wool or flax was wound' (OED).
 wheels and reels] Further implements for spinning.
 bucking-tubs] Tubs for 'bucking': 'the operation of steeping or boiling yarn, cloth, or clothes in a lye of wood ashes' (OED).
 battledores] Wooden ‘bats’ used in washing clothes and baking (OED 1).
 burn her for a witch] Richard Brome, in collaboration with Thomas Heywood, wrote a play, The Witches of Lancashire (1634), that draws on real contemporary cases of alleged witchcraft in Lancashire.
 'Sfoot] 'God's foot': an example of swearing.
 by th' arfs] Obscure; 'arf' is possibly a dialect variant of 'argh' (as a noun), meaning 'wretch', 'betrayer' or 'enemy' (OED 4); i.e. 'by the betrayers': an interjection expressing anger. Nevertheless, the context suggests a farm implement.
 hardles] hurdles.
 racks] 'frame(s) made with upright bars of wood or metal to hold fodder for horses and cattle' (OED 3.a).
 politic] cunning.
 kilderkins] 'Cask(s) for liquids, fish, etc. of a definite capacity (half a barrel). By the statute of 1531-2 the kilderkin for beer had to contain 18 gallons, that for ale 16 gallons' (OED 1).
 rundlets] Variant of 'runlet': 'a cask or vessel of varying capacity' (OED).
 gall] to make sore (OED 1).
 burn better than heretics] The medieval European punishment of death by burning for heresy persisted into the seventeenth century, and was a particular feature of the Marian era (1553-1558) in England.
 wot] know (OED).
 gelt] castrated.
 that which shall be nameless] i.e. penis.
 seven years] It is possible that this may refer to the length of the reign of Charles I as well as that of the Northumbrian king; that would date the play to 1632 (for a discussion of dating see the Introduction).
 A Jeffrey] An example of the use of 'a' as a particle before a proper name as part of a supportive cry (Crystal).
 At the culmination of the Trojan War (as described in Homer's Iliad), the city of Troy was set alight and destroyed by fire.
 The 'tyrant emperor' in question is likely to be Nero (full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus), emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 A.D., who, it is alleged, started a fire that almost completely destroyed the city.
 Hebrew's] A colloquial expression for unintelligible speech (OED 2.b).
 posterior posture] This possibly indicates a movement, by Jeffrey, to show subordination, perhaps mimicking that of a dog.
 spaniel] a breed of dog associated with slavish behaviour.
 Jeffrey is playing on the judicial meaning of 'court'.
 forsaken his country] a play on words that suggests exile rather than movement from country to court.
 hobbyhorse] a morris dance.
 not that I should know you then] Cf. 2 Henry IV, V.v.47: 'I know thee not, old man'. Jeffrey's treatment of his friends has comic echoes of Prince Hal's rejection of Falstaff when Prince Hal becomes King Henry.
 footing] 'foothold', but also 'dance'.
 shift] change of clothing (OED 9.a).
 Sic valete valetote] Latin: 'So farewell, farewell to all'.
 the Dee'l brast crag of him] 'Dee'l' or Deil meaning 'Devil' (OED); 'brast' being an obsolete form of 'brassed' (OED); 'crag' meaning 'neck' (OED 1); literally: 'the Devil brassed neck of him'; 'brassed neck' being a figurative expression denoting impudence, derived from the rigidity of neck to do something impudent or withstand censure ('neck': OED 11.b).
 salvages] savages; cf. The Tempest, II.ii.58: it is the Folio that has 'salvages', often emended by editors (as it is in the Arden Complete Works).
 unnatural] 'At variance with natural feeling or moral standards; excessively cruel or wicked' (OED 3).
 Eternally at home] i.e. in Heaven.
 head] 'A body of people gathered; a force raised' (OED 30).
 The fighting coincides with a disruption to the verse.
 Segebert's apparent wish to die is in parallel with Gloucester's similar desire in King Lear, IV.vi.34-6: 'O you mighty gods, / This world I do renounce and in your sights / Shake patiently my great affliction off.'
 Aeneas, that true Trojan son] The Aeneas of Greek and Roman legend, the founder of Rome, who fled the Trojan war; the events of his life are described in Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid; significantly, Aeneas is said to have been the great-grandfather of Brutus, the legendary founder of 'Britain'; a more detailed discussion of the significance of this appears in the Introduction.
 hermit] 'One who from religious motives has retired into solitary life' (OED 1.a); rather ironically, this hermit has a servant.
 The servant continues the sentence he began above.
 above ground] i.e. alive.
 usurer's grease] 'usurer': 'money-lender'; 'grease': 'money given as a bribe' (OED 5.a); i.e. figurative 'grease': comically unsuitable for frying, but useful for buying food.
 This is done without scripted dialogue.
 Fortune] the capital letter for a proper name is kept because of the personification.
 infernal] 'internal' in the quarto; considering Anthynus' evocation of 'Hell on earth', 'infernal' is preferred.
 diadem] crown.
 Fate!] A personification.
 feigned] spurious, false.
 feigned ones] i.e. the powers of 'Fortune' and 'Fate'.
 murtherer] murderer.
 parricidial] patricidal.
 have] 'has' in the quarto.
 may] maybe; i.e. Segebert speculates that 'Offa's falsehood' could be in both 'streams of blood', because of his rapid bleeding.
 simples] 'A plant or herb employed for medical purposes' ('simple': OED B.6).
 John Simple] A generic name given to an undistinguished man of unknown name.
 holp] helped.
 tarriance] delay.
 Echo] The personification of the phenomenon of an echo; a mountain nymph in Greek mythology (OED 2).
 stay] 'To cease speaking, break off one's discourse; to pause, stop or hesitate before speaking' (OED 2.b).
 diviner part] soul.
 O / Dear hallowed blood] Anthynus apostrophises his father's blood.
 the fountain whence this stream did flow] The 'fountain' is, metaphorically, his father; the 'stream' is, likewise, his father's blood.