Act IV


Scene i

(England of the West Saxons - Offa's household) [1]



Enter Offa and two outlaws.



You are sure they both are dead?


Second outlaw. [2]

     Both dead and buried;

The mould is not more dead from which

The gold was tane, which we attend for,

Than are their corps. [3]


Third outlaw.

         Nor is the mine so deep,

As we laid them in grave, not out                                                                                   5

Of charity, but for our own security

That none might find or know them.



That was well, but are they dead indeed?


Second outlaw.

You saw the old one dead before your sword

Failed you, and you gave ground.


Third outlaw.

      When a man's sword                                              10

Is tane away, it fails him. And when he

Runs away, he gives ground, in our language.


Second outlaw.

Then we being two against one, we soon dispatched him.


Third outlaw.

Alas, he was e'en spent before, you saw

The worst of him.



     But he's dead too, y'are sure?                                                          15


Second outlaw.

Dead? 'Sblood, [4] I have told you threescore times

They are both dead; so is our fellow too, poor rogue:

He bid us take his share betwixt us, and drink it

To the health of all the Furies [5] in hell, to use

Him the more kindly. Will you discharge us, sir? We have                                              20

Waited for our hire, while we have lost another bargain

Of blood worth two on't.



    They are both dead you say?


Third outlaw.

Give us our money, sir, and find 'em you alive, we'll kill

'Em again for nothing; and you or any friend of yours into

The bargain if you please.



      Stay, let me think.                                                   25


Second outlaw.

What's the matter? Your conscience sure is crop-sick. [6]



My conscience tell me 'twas a bloody business, and that

To pay the price of their dear blood were to

Augment my sin.


Third outlaw.

    Is't come to this?—draw. (All draw their weapons)



Nay, here's your money, gentlemen, but you                                                                  30

Must stoop for't: I dare not look upon the

Giving of it.


Second outlaw. (The outlaws stoop for the money)

        If that be all, the sight

Of it shall never trouble you (Offa pushes them through a trap-door)

          —oh. (The outlaws sink) [7]



Ha, ha, ha. You have made my conscience whole

Again, with laughing. Why took ye not your money with ye to                            35

Drink among the Furies? Ha, ha, ha. D'ye hear my friends?

Pray, stay, take your money; are you so

Quickly out of hearing? What shallow rogues were

These till now? Now they are deep enough, men of

Profound understanding; this gimcrack [8] I devised for                                        40

Their entertainment. Where you shall fast, and welcome

Gentlemen, till you have tried the conclusion, whether famine

Can break stone walls; I am sure they are thick enough

To drown your cries, though they be louder than the

Voice of vengeance. So ends their scene.                                                                      45

Some conscience now would ask me, why hast thou

Dispatched thy father and thy brother thus?

But mine informs me, I did very well.

Your reason, sir, replies the scrupulous conscience?

Mine roundly answers that my brother was                                                                    50

Elder than I, and by right to inherit

My father's fair possessions, of which

I have so sweetly tasted. But your father

By a most dear and supernatural love

Gave you the greater blessing; and in time                                                                      55

Might have conferred all on you by your policy.

To this again I answer, that my father,

Whose dotage merely, and not my deserts,

Made him so good to me, might in my absence

Have idly grown as fond on t'other side.                                                                         60

For to speak truth, and not to wrong the dead,

My brother was religious, pious, honest,

And was endued with all these unknown gifts,

Which holy men call virtues; which, in the end,

If they be suffered to run on, will find                                                                 65

Double reward, they say. His could not be

Found here, but in my loss, and by my father.

Now, if they may be had i' th' tother world,

I am so far from being their hinderance, [9]

That I have sent them both the nighest [10] way.                                                    70

Many good reasons more I could deliver,

But that I am prevented.


Enter Mildred and Edith.



    'Od's [11] my pity,

Be comforted, good madam, can you think

By casting down yourself to raise them up

From death again? What? You have yet a brother                                                         75

May stead you for a father, husband,

Friend, or what you will.



    Gentle nurse, forbear me.



Go prate [12] among the servants.



I have a mind to watch you though a little.


Exit Edith.



Y' have heard the news, and mourn for't I perceive,                                                       80

Of the unfortunate ends of our dear

Father, and our belovèd brother.



E'en drowned in grief too, brother.



       Troth, I was

Sunk over head and ears; but am crept out

Of sorrow's lake e'en dropping dry, [13] as they say;                                                         85

And have done what I can to shake it off.

And would now counsel thee, my beauteous sister,

To clear those looks again, that only can

Revive my drooping heart, we only are

Left now to be each other's comforter.                                                              90

I have made known my love to you.



          O my brother,

That knowledge is a grief of no less horror,

Than was the bloody news that pierced my heart.

Mention that love no more, nor call it love,

Which is but foul desire. [14]



    Peace! Hear but this,                                                            95

D'you think it is not love? Would I desire

You in that nearest kind, if I not loved you?



What? Love a sister so? Are you a man?



Sure I do hope so, and that you shall find it.



Can you unto your shame seek my dishonour?                                                   100

To damn us both, in that abhorrèd way,

Which by avoiding, man is best distinguished

From the most brutish beasts.



Peace, again.



I cannot, may not peace, nor suffer word

Importing such a purpose pierce mine ears.                                                                   105

Twice have I beaten back your monstrous lust,

(Could I but call it lust, it were too much

Though in a monarch to my virgin honour;

But in you, beastly incest) and before

I'll live in danger of one offer more,                                                                                110

I'll die by mine own hand.



        You shall not rob

Me so of my revenge, if you deny me.

And 'tis another argument of my love,

If't please you to collect it, that you have lived

Till now, still obstinate. But be you warned,                                                                   115

And take withal to your consideration,

Your provident father, and your valiant brother,

(Whom you so prized above me) are not now

To oversee or side you.



He, indeed, was a most virtuous brother.                                                                       120



Therefore take this for your latest warning:

This night to meet me in my full desires,

In your as free embraces, or pale death.

Go clear your eyes, and think on't; but be sure

You think to do withal as I command you,                                                                     125

I'll pitch thee headlong into Hell else. Come,

I know thou wilt affect me; can there be

A nearer or more requisite love indeed

Than the sweet mixture of a brother and sister?

Well said, there was a blushing smile that gave me                                                         130

Thy full consent. O thou wilt ravish me.



Pray, let me think a little.



     Prithee do.



H'as taught me to dissemble; Heaven, that knows

My thoughts are chaste and pure, will pardon me

I hope, if to preserve my life and him                                                                 135

From greater sin, I use a little of

The art too too much practised among women,

Of smooth hypocrisy. I know his heart is bloody;

And he may be too sudden, if I win not

Time on him, by some subtler shift to wave                                                                    140

His foul attempts, until I get free

Out of this grip, to use my liberty.



What says my sister now?




       My lord and brother.


Offa. (Aside)

Ay marry, this begins well.



        That I love

Your noble person, nay, am taken with it,                                                                      145

With more than sisterly affection, is

A truth no way to be dissembled; you

Already like a well-read scholar find it,

In Cupid's love-letters my friend, my maiden blushes.


Offa. (Aside)

This has some sound in't.



     But when I consider,                                                            150

What scandal, or what too near affinity

In noble blood, and the nobility of our house

(Unfit to fall within the centre of the law,

Or the constructions of men's ruder manners),

May cast upon us -



     Stay, my lovely Mildred;                                                                  155

What? Or whose eye, or thought, shall glance at us?

Whilst we in safest privacy enjoy

The bliss of mutual pleasure.



           It is yet

Too intricate a doubt for me to find

A resolution in. But, my sweet lord                                                                                160

(Oh that I could not call you brother), then

I would be nearer to you then a sister.

So eager and so equal is my love

With yours, if you please but to give me time,

But one week's liberty, to frame myself                                                              165

Obedient to your will in all, I now

Will give you a faithful pledge to render

The satisfaction you demand.



A week; what pledge?



A loving kiss.                                                                                                                170



You could not name a better, short of the

Further happiness I covet. Give me't.



But you shall swear by't that you will not

Abridge my liberty, nor urge your suit

Further these seven days.



      By this kiss, I swear.                                                           175


Mildred. (Aside)

My patience never bought a kiss so dear.

(To Offa) But keep your vow.



Well, well, I'll do my best.


Mildred. (Aside)

He's not yet perfect. (To Offa) You must strive, my love,

To curb your hot desires, as I do mine.

I could myself dwell ever on your lips,                                                               180

Never outgo the circle of your arms.

Could I but hope to be your wife? But, O

What I have promised you, I must allow

At the time limited. Till then urge it not.

For take my vow with yours, if you dare break it,                                                          185

I dare to kill myself; and by that time,

If I not yield myself unto your will,

My life is yours, either to save or kill.



Go, th' art a noble wench, enjoy thy liberty.


Exit Mildred, and enter Edith, unnoticed.


Edith. (Aside)

I have enough, listening is good sometimes.                                                                    190

Good Heaven! Who would have thought it? Stay,

Let me not be too hasty.


Offa. (Aside)

   Yet I fear,

I shall hardly hold out a week;

'Tis a great while, believe't, in such a case

As this, for one to forbear his own sister,                                                                       195

That has so good a mind to't. And perhaps

This may be cunning in her to delude me.

Were not I better take her by surprise,

In a soft sleep tonight? Sure I shall keep her

From killing of herself, till I be satisfied.                                                                         200

And then if she be weary of her life,

I may be kind enough to help her out on't,

Because she says she loves me. (To Edith) Out you beldame, [15]

How in the name of Lucifer cam'st thou hither?



O my good lord, I do beseech your honour,                                                                  205

Forbear your fury; I have such a business.



To eavesdrop have you not? I am not safe,

Unless I kill this witch.



  My lord, my lord,

You are the lord that I do look to live by.

And if I die, my lord, you lose the knowledge                                                    210

Of such a secret.



  Pox upon your secret.



'Tis such a privity. [16]



      Hell take your privity.



You will repent in Hell, my lord, if you or I

Should leave the world before you know the thing

That I can open to you; which when I have unfolded,                                         215

Kill me if you please. I did but watch occasion

To find you private to reveal it to you.



Will you be brief then?



  Thus it is, my lord.

My lord, your father's dead.



         And what of that?




So is your elder brother.



    So they say, forsooth.                                                           220



But are you sure th' are dead?



I fear this jade [17]

Has overheard me.



       For d'ye see, my lord,

I would not in their lifetime have disclosed

This hidden matter for a whole world's good.

And thus it is, your father and your brother                                                                    225

Being dead, Heaven rest their souls...



What's that to me?



Nothing, my lord. But now comes that concerns you:

Your father and your brother being gone (Heaven rest

Their souls), there I begin.



       You began there

Before, if that be the beginning, your                                                                              230

Forever world without end, we shall never

Come at it.



       Now that concerns you: you think

You have a sister.



     Do I but think so?



No truly, my good lord, you do but think so.



Is Mildred dead? Has she destroyed herself?                                                                 235

Now, since she left me here, to spite my love?



You hear me not say so; I saw her not

Since I left both of you together here.



Unfold your riddle Sphinx, [18] I'll dig it else

Out of your rotten belly. What's your meaning?                                                  240



Mildred is not your sister.



      How? Not my sister?



Not your own natural sister.




She is unnatural: didst thou but know [19]

What a poor easy request she denied me,

Thou wouldst say she were unnatural indeed.                                                     245



I mean, she was not born of the same mother,

Nor got by the same father, that you were.



Speak that again; make but that good, I'll saint thee.



My lord, I can and will maintain it, I,

Not only for some wrong she did me lately,                                                                   250

Nor for the good my lord, that you may do me,

Though all the estates your own when she's discarded,

But to let truth appear, which has been long

A burden, and an heavy burden, though I say't;

And so will any woman say, 'tis to keep counsel                                                            255

So many years together as I have done;

I had much a do to keep it in, I wis, [20]

In my good old lord's days. Lord how he loved her!

But few men know their children; that's the truth on't,

And let that go.



 Ay, quickly to the point.                                                                       260



The point is this: I loved my old lord well,

Therefore was loath to grieve him; and I loved

My good old lady better, therefore I kept

Her counsel to this hour. You now are all

That's left of 'em, and whom should I love now,                                                             265

But your sweet self, my lord? I'll tell you all:

This Mildred, whom you so long called sister,

Was not your father's, nor your mother's child.

But in the absence of your father, when,

Sixteen years since, he was sent by the King                                                                  270

Upon an embassy, your mother, then with child,

By sad mischance brought forth a stillborn babe.

At the same time a lady, nobly born,

Whose husband was in exile, brought forth this,

This Lady Mildred.



         Then she is nobly born?                                                   275



Yes. And by woman's sleight, [21] of which this is

Not first example, th' infants were exchanged;

Because your loving father might find joy

In a fair daughter at his home-return.



Canst thou prove this?



 If in three days I do not                                                            280

Make it appear most plain to you, multiply

Your wrath upon me.



          Do so. And dost hear?

I'll never call old woman witch hereafter,

Whate'er I think. We may be married now,

And Mildred's love may freely answer mine.                                                                  285

We now may safely mix, and to't again,

Strange strong events are labouring in my brain.

Come you with me.


Exeunt ambo. [22]




Scene ii

(Northumbria - the court)


Enter Ethelswic, and Edelbert.




What fury has possessed 'em? All our art,

And the King's policy, will be prevented

By the brain-giddiness of these wilful lords.



We have no way, my lord, but to give way

Unto their violent rage, and quit the court.                                                                      5



And since we can make good our place no longer,

Post after our King, master, and leave them

With their new king at home here, that's as mad

As they.



  And madder too; I cannot wonder

More what he is than at the fate that sent him.                                                    10


Enter Theodwald, Eaufrid, a guard, the physician, and two attendants.



My lord, both in the King and state's behalf,

In which you may excuse us.



Sh't, sh't, [23] let him take it

How he or will or dare, we have agreed.

The body of the council have decreed it,

You must depart the court.






      Must and shall,                                                       15

You and your trim confederate; you have had

The rule here over your ruler, till you have made him

Wild, frantic, mad, and us too; God forgive me

For saying so, almost as mad as he.

I hope it is no treason.



 No, 'cause you said almost;                                                      20

But had you said you had been full as mad,

You had passed a subject's boldness.



Take 'em hence.

Thrust 'em out o' th' court.




Nay, without violence.



Well, my lord, when we see the King in's wits,

We'll tell him of our usage, that he may thank you.                                                         25


(Exeunt Ethelswic, Edelbert and the guard) [24]



In the mean time go travel on adventures,

Whilst we do our endeavour to amend

What you have marred, by screwing the King's brain

Into the nick of order once again.


(Exeunt the attendants, and return carrying a bed, Anthynus on it, bound)


See, see, my lord, how they have kept him dark, [25]                                                        30

Manacled and bound on's bed? Was ever king

Used thus? For pity's sake unbind him quickly.



What fiends or fairies are ye?



Let his passion

A little vent itself, ere you unbind him.



What? New tormentors? Or into what way                                                                   35

Of further mischief do ye mean to throw me?



We come to bring your Highness comfort.




Have you that mockery for me too? I told

The rest that slaved me with that attribute,

From whence I came, who, what I was, and all                                                             40

The story of my father's wrongs, and mine

(Too many ever to have been, but Heaven

Marked 'em out for us). And, I told 'em too

What I had undertane by watching, fasting,

Prayers too (unfit to boast of) with the industry                                                  45

I practised to have found my wounded father.

For which (as though I durst have faith in merits),

They mocked me with the title of a king,

And bound me here as they thought to believe it.

'Tis a new way of punishment; and were due                                                     50

To one that thought his duty meritorious.

But I will break these gyves, [26] and with my teeth

Tear off these manacles.



    O do not strive, my liege.



Thy liege, dog-leech? [27] Are you at that garb [28] too?

I wish I had one finger loose to fillip [29] out                                                                     55

Thy brains and skill together, for the rat-catchers.



He thinks my skull's made but of urinal [30] metal.



Be patient, sir.



Sir, yet may be endured.



Have but a little patience, we'll unloose you.



A grave persuasion to a man that's tied to't.                                                                   60

Humb, humb, humb.



Beshrew [31] their heads that used him thus to vex him.

How do you like him doctor?



Did you mark

His talk of wrongs, and of a wounded father?

And how he will not hear of being a king?                                                                      65



Ay, all, all, I know all; such fancies fall

Naturally into this disease, which now

Is almost a wild frenzy, that will seldom

Suffer the patient think himself to be

The person that he is, nor oftentimes the creature,                                                          70

But some four-footed beast, or feathered fowl;

But could I fasten but a slumber on him,

Which must be the first entrance to my work.



Have you concluded yet your barbarous counsel?

If not, take my advice with ye: call the King,                                                      75

The King with whose authority you scorn me.

Let him but hear (for you will never tell him)

From my own lips how willingly I'll give

My voice unto his marriage; and I'm sure

He'll set me free, at least by death.



        Alas,                                                                    80

What king? What freedom would you have?

You are our king, and shall command your freedom,

And all our lives, would you but sleep a while.



Sleep? Make no doubt of that; look, I can sleep,

With as much ease as one bound in a cart,                                                                     85

Driving to execution. But do you hear?

My vow was not to sleep nor eat until

I had performed a work, which I shall never,

Never accomplish, now my vow is broken.

For they by witchcraft charmed me into sleep,                                                   90

And tempted me with meat, at unawares,

Before my sleep-drowned senses were collected;

And put me on these unknown garments here,

With an hail master; so betrayed me into

This irksome folly, or this foolish thraldom. [32]                                                     95



'Twas a rash vow, and so well broke; you now

Shall be released: unbind him at my peril.

These rigorous courses have done hurt upon him.

We have provided otherwise, to please you.

For we have called Theodric home again,                                                                      100

Your favourite, whose absence was a grief to you;

Nay more, because 'tis thought your languishing love

Bred your distemper, we have taken care

For hastening of your marriage; your fair queen

Is sent for, and at hand to ease your sorrow.                                                                 105



My favourite, and my queen! Leave these abuses;

My hands and feet are now at liberty. (Strikes and kicks)



So is our duty, and if your Majesty

Will tread our due allegiance into dust,

We are prepared to suffer.



       Would to heaven,                                                  110

I could unfold this mystery.




See, my lord,

Theodric is come.


Enter Theodric.



  Most gracious sir,

That I have suffered under your displeasure,

In being barred your presence, which no less

Than the all-cheering sun gave life to me,                                                                       115

Was not so much my grief, as not to know

What my transgression was; and let me now

Implore your mercy so far as to name it,

Which if I cannot clear me of, I'll lose my life, and willingly.



If I could think this serious, 'twere enough,                                                                     120

Almost, to turn my sorrows into laughter.



O turn not from me royal, sir, t'augment

Your Highness' displeasure. But in case you will not

Be pleased to name my trespass, give me leave

To speak what I suppose has troubled you,                                                                   125

And caused me causelessly to be suspended.


Enter genius [33] whispering to Anthynus.


Anthynus. (Aside)

I feel a secret instigation in me,

I hope by some good angel that inclines me,

At last to yield a little to these men.

What wouldst thou say?



    My lords, and all, forbear                                                      130

The presence. Never fear, all shall be well.



Heaven grant it.



   Was not this my policy,

To send for him? More, was it not my wit

To fashion letters as with's own hand

To fetch the Queen? You'll see more at her coming.                                                       135


Exeunt all but Theodric and Anthynus.




May't please you now but to review these pictures. (Gives portraits to Anthynus)


Anthynus. (Aside)

Good memory help me; this is of the Queen,

The cruel Queen that banished my good father;

And this, the lively image of my sister.



Now may it please your Grace, to recollect                                                                   140

How when I told you this was my fair mistress,

Your passion first seized on you; and pardon, royal sir,

If I have since conjectured my transgression

Was merely this, that I loved one so fair,

I dare not yet say fairer than your choice.                                                                      145

But freely thus, to expiate my trespass,

As I resign the picture, I give up

All interest in her person, never more,

Beyond your free consent, to see that beauty.


Anthynus. (Aside)

I have found all the error, and am taught                                                                        150

By hidden inspiration to make use on't. (Genius still whispers to him.)

Give me fresh raiment, I'll take all upon me,

Their crown if they will give it, yet, methinks

This is so like a dream— where else can be

King Osric all this while, that he comes not                                                                    155

To throw me out of this usurped right?

Strange and new thoughts possess me. (Genius whispers) Now I call

To mind the vision that I had of being

Called to the throne of the West Saxon's kings.

It must be by this queen, whom how to love                                                                  160

I cannot find. My genius prompts me, yes

I hear it now, as by an angel spoke,

And that my vow was rashly made, well broke;

I am confirmed, and come she, I am for her. (Puts on hat, feather, and cloak)


Exit genius.


(To Theodric) Well said, Theodric (Theodric is his name?).

How do I look, Theodric?



     I can find                                                                             165

But little change, which I allow to sickness.



Well said, thou never flatterest.


Enter Jeffrey, winding an horn. [34]



News, neam King, news, news;

News that will make thee well, beest thou never so sick.

News that beest thou never so well, will make thee sick.                                                170

News that will make thee mad, beest thou never so tame.

News that beest thou never so mad, will make thee tame.



What's thy news?



A wife, a wife, a wife can do all this.

The Queen is come, and all my cousin lords                                                                   175

Are gone to fetch her in, in pomp: [35] oh ho,

Knight me, oh knight me quickly for my news.



Away, you fool.



 Away, you favourite.

Hinder me not, unless I prophesy,

Kings, fools and favourites never shall agree.                                                     180

And many years after we are in our graves,

Fools shall be knights, and favourites shall be— known

From black sheep, I prophesy. Oh ho,

She comes, she comes; now neam King, bear up stiff [36]

Before and meet her. Here's a day, And a night                                                             185

Towards, indeed. Oh ho, the house begins to

Reel already, and all our brains turn round; oh ho.


Enter ushers bare, [37] Celeric and Elkwin, Theodwald and Eaufride, a cardinal, Bertha, two ladies bearing up her train, and followers. Bertha kneels,

Anthynus, as king, takes her up; kisses her; they confer; the four lords salute

and confer; Theodwald and Eaufrid give their supposed king's hand to the

cardinal. Celeric and Elkwin give their queen's hand to the cardinal; the

cardinal joins their hands; Anthynus and Bertha kiss; all the lords embrace;

they exeunt in state, as before. [38]



Oh what a night will here be? What a night will here be?

What a beast am I, that I have not at least half a score of my

wholesome country lasses with child now, that forty weeks [39]                             190

hence the Queen might have her choice of nurses? [40] There had been

a thriving way to raise my fortunes indeed. Oh what a night will here be!




[1] This scene takes place in Offa's house: it involves Mildred and her nurse, who have not left their home territory; and the outlaws are eventually imprisoned in an underground stronghold in Offa's house (as is clear from the events in Act V), hence, Offa and the outlaws must have returned from Northumbria; the reference made by Anthynus to 'them that robbed my brother's / Jewel-house' (V.ii.125-6) is supportive of this location.

[2] The quarto names the outlaws as '1. Outl.' and '2. Outl.'; to distinguish these outlaws from the outlaw carried away by the Hermit and his servant (First outlaw) in Act II Scene iii, these are named as 'Second outlaw' and 'Third outlaw', respectively.

[3] corps] corpses.

[4] 'Sblood] God's blood; a form of swearing.

[5] Furies] 'The avenging deities, dread goddesses with snakes twined in their hair, sent from Tartarus to avenge wrong and punish crime' ('fury': OED 5); they appear in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, as well as in Virgil's Aeneid.

[6] crop-sick] 'Disordered in stomach, especially as a result of excess in eating and drinking' (OED); here used figuratively.

[7] As becomes clear in Act V, the outlaws are imprisoned in an underground stronghold; the trap-door, as a feature of the early modern stage, is discussed in note 14, V.i.122.

[8] gimcrack] 'a "dodge", underhand design' (OED 2.a).

[9] hinderance] hindrance; the older three syllable form fits the metre.

[10] nighest] nearest.

[11] 'Od's] God's; perhaps 'God save' (OED 1); a form of swearing.

[12] prate] chatter.

[13] dropping dry] 'dropping': dripping; the expression ought to be dripping 'wet'; Offa's dishonesty may be showing in his speech.

[14] The theme of incest between a brother and a sister is most notably found in John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, which was printed in 1633, and as such very likely to be the inspiration for this scene in Brome's play.

[15] beldame] 'A loathsome old woman, a hag; a witch; a furious raging woman (without the notion of age), a virago' (OED 3).

[16] privity] 'A thing that is kept hidden or secret' (OED 1).

[17] jade] 'A term of reprobation applied to a woman' (OED 2).

[18] Sphinx] The 'hybrid monster' of Greek Mythology, 'usually described as having the head of a woman and the (winged) body of a lion, which infested Thebes until the riddle it propounded was solved by Oedipus' (OED 1.a); as described in Sophocles' Oedipus the King and Hesiod's Theogony.

[19] didst thou but know] 'if you did know'.

[20] I wis] 'iwis': 'certainly, assuredly, indeed, truly' (OED B); cf. John Marston, The Metamorphosis of Pygmalion's Image, and Certain Satires (1598): 'Satire I', l. 97: 'And there (I wis) like no quaint stomack't man'.

[21] sleight] 'Craft or cunning employed so as to deceive' (OED 1).

[22] Exeunt ambo] A common stage direction, in Latin: 'both go out'.

[23] Sh't, sh't] 'Shush, shush'.

[24] There is no indication in the quarto that Ethelswic and Edelbert leave, but the dialogue and their lack of participation in the remainder of the scene suggests as much; the guard's presence can only be to eject them from the court.

[25] dark] Either 'hidden from view or knowledge' (OED 7.a) or 'in the dark': literally or figuratively.

[26] gyves] 'shackles, especially for the leg' (OED).

[27] dog-leech] 'An ignorant medical practitioner; a quack' (OED 2).

[28] garb] 'form of behaviour' (OED 3).

[29] fillip] 'To strike with a fillip; to tap smartly with the nail-joint of the finger' (OED 2).

[30] urinal] 'A vessel or phial employed to receive urine for medical examination or inspection' (OED 1).

[31] Beshrew] 'To invoke evil upon'; i.e. 'Evil befall, mischief take, devil take, curse, hang!' (OED 3).

[32] thraldom] 'bondage, servitude, captivity' (OED).

[33] genius] 'With reference to classical pagan belief: the tutelary god or attendant spirit allotted to every person at his birth, to govern his fortunes and determine his character' (OED 1); 'a person's good, evil genius: the two mutually opposed spirits, in Christian language angels, by whom every person was supposed to be attended throughout his life' (OED 1.c); 'a demon or spiritual being in general' (OED 2), that is, apparently, a continuation of the apparitions that Anthynus experienced in Act III Scene ii.

[34] winding an horn] Blowing a blast on a horn shaped musical instrument; also likely used for suggestive gestures by the fool.

[35] pomp] 'A triumphal or ceremonial procession' (OED 2).

[36] Bear up stiff] Stand up straight; also, with bawdy connotations.

[37] ushers bare] 'bare': possibly, 'bare-headed'.

[38] A dumb show not dissimilar to the procession of kings' ghosts in Act III Scene ii.

[39] forty weeks] The approximate duration of a pregnancy.

[40] nurses] wet-nurses.