Page images
PDF
EPUB

Yourself, held precious in the world's esteem,
To parley with the sole inheritor
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
Than Aquitain; a dowry for a queen.
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace,
As nature was in making graces dear,
When she did starve the general world beside,
And prodigally gave them all to you.

Prin. Good lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise.
Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not uttered by base sale of chapmen's tongues.
I am less proud to hear you tell my worth,
Than you much willing to be counted wise
In spending your wit in the praise of mine.
But now to task the tasker, -Good Boyet,
You are not ignorant, all-telling fame
Doth noise abroad, Navarre hath made a vow,
Till painful study shall out-wear three years,
No woman may approach his silent court.
Therefore to us seemeth it a needful course,
Before we enter his forbidden gates,
To know his pleasure ; and in that behalf,
Bold' of your worthiness, we single you
As our best-moving fair solicitor.
Tell him the daughter of the king of France,
On serious business, craving quick despatch,
Impórtunes personal conference with his grace.
Haste, signify so much; while we attend,
Like humbly-visaged suitors, his high will.

Boyet. Proud of employment, willingly I go. [Exit.

Prin. All pride is willing pride ; and yours is so.-
Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke ?

1 Lord. Longaville is one.
Prin.

Know you the man? Mar. I know him, madam. At a marriage feast,

1 i. e. confident of it.

Between lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnized
In Normandy, saw I this Longaville.
A man of sovereign parts he is esteemed;
Well fitted in the arts, glorious in arms;
Nothing becomes him ilī, that he would well.
The only soil of his fair virtue's gloss
(If virtue's gloss will stain with any soil)
Is a sharp wit matched with too blunt a will;
Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills
It should none spare that come within his power.

Prin. Some merry mocking lord, belike; is't so ?
Mar. They say so most, that most his humors know.

Prin. Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow. Who are the rest ?

Kath. The young Dumain, a well-accomplished youth,
Of all that virtue love for virtue loved ;
Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill;
For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
I saw him at the duke Alençon's once ;
And much too little of that good I saw,
Is my report, to his great worthiness.

Ros. Another of these students at that time
Was there with him. If I have heard a truth,
Birón they call him; but a merrier man,
Wiihin the limit of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour's talk withal.
His eye begets occasion for his wit;
For every object that the one doth catch,
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest ;
Which his fair tongue (conceit's expositor)
Delivers in such apt and gracious words,
That aged ears play truant at his tales,
And younger hearings are quite ravished.
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.

Prin. God bless my ladies! are they all in love,
That every one her own hath garnished
With such bedecking ornaments of praise ?

Mar. Here comes Boyet.

Re-enter Boyet.
Prin.

Now, what admittance, lord ?
Boyet. Navarre had notice of your fair approach;
And he, and his competitors' in oath,
Were all addressed ? to meet you, gentle lady,
Before I came. Marry, thus much have I learnt;
He rather means to lodge you in the field,
(Like one that comes here to besiege his court,)
Than seek a dispensation for his oath,
To let you enter his unpeopled house.
Here comes Navarre.

[The ladies mask.

Enter King, Longaville, Dumain, Biron, and

Attendants. King. Fair princess, welcome to the court of

Navarre. Prin. Fair, I give you back again; and, welcome I have not yet. The roof of this court is too high to be yours; and welcome to the wild fields too base to be mine.

King. You shall be welcome, madam, to my court. Prin. I will be welcome then; conduct me thither. King. Hear me, dear lady; I have sworn an oath. Prin. Our lady help my lord! He'll be forsworn. King. Not for the world, fair madam, by my will. Prin. Why, will shall break it; will, and nothing

else. King. Your ladyship is ignorant what it is.

Prin. Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise, Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance. I hear your grace has sworn-out house-keeping. 'Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord, And sin to break it. But pardon me, I am too sudden-bold; To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me.

i Confederates.

2 Prepared.

Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,
And suddenly resolve me in my suit. [Gives a paper.

King. Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.

Prin. You will the sooner, that I were away;
For you'll prove perjured, if you make me stay.

Biron. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once ?
Ros. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once ?
Biron. I know you did..
Ros.

How needless was it then
To ask the question !
Biron.

You must not be so quick.
Ros. Tis ’long of you that spur me with such

questions.
Biron. Your wit's too hot; it speeds too fast; 'twill

tire.
Ros. Not till it leave the rider in the mire.
Biron. What time o' day?
Ros. The hour that fools should ask.
Biron. Now fair befall your mask !
Ros. Fair fall the face it covers !
Biron. And send you many lovers!
Ros. Amen, so you be none.
Biron. Nay, then will I be gone.

King. Madam, your father here doth intimate
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns;
Being but the one half of an entire sum,
Disbursed by my father in his wars.
But say, that he, or we, (as neither have,)
Received that sum ; yet there remains un paid
A hundred thousand more ; in surety of the which,
One part of Aquitain is bound to us,
Although not valued to the moncy's worth.
If then the king your father will restore
But that one half which is unsatisfied,
We will give up our right in Aquitain,
And hold fair friendship with his majesty.
But that, it seems, he little purposeth,
For here he doth demand to have repaid
A hundred thousand crowns; and not demands,
On payment of a hundred thousand crowns,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Prin.

To have his title live in Aquitain ;
Which we much rather had depart' withal,
And have the money by our father Jent,
Than Aquitain so gelded as it is.
Dear princess, were not his requests so far
From reason's yielding, your fair self should make
A yielding 'gainst some reason, in my breast,
And go well satisfied to France again.

Prin. You do the king my father too much wrong,
And wrong the reputation of your name,
In so unseeming to confess receipt
Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.

King. I do protest, I never heard of it;
And, if you prove it, I'll repay it back,
Or yield up Aquitain.

We arrest your word.
Boyet, you can produce acquittances,
For such a sum, from special officers
Of Charles his father. -
King.

Satisfy me so.
Boyet. So please your grace, the packet is not come,
Where that and other specialties are bound.
To-morrow you shall have a sight of them.

King. It shall suffice me; at which interview,
All liberal reason I will yield unto.
Mean time, receive such welcome at my hand,
As honor, without breach of honor, may
Make tender of to thy true worthiness.
You may not come, fair princess, in my gates ;
But here without you shall be so received,
As you shall deem yourself lodged in my heart,
Though so denied far harbor in my house.
Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell.
To-morrow shall we visit you again.
Prin. Sweet health and fair desires consort your

grace!
King. Thy own wish wish I thee in every place!

[Exeunt King and his Train.

i To depart and to part were anciently synonymous.

« PreviousContinue »