Page images
PDF
EPUB

MORD. Must I to gaine renowne, incurre my plague:
Or hoping prayse sustaine an exiles life?

Must I for Countries ease disease my selfe,
Or for their loue dispise my owne estate:' 1)

No. Tis my happe that Brytain serues my tourne,
That feare of me doth make the Subiects crouch,
That what they grudge, they do constrayned yeeld.
If their assents be slowe, my wrath is swift,
Whom fauour failes to bende, let furie breake.
If they be yet to learne, let terrour teach,
What Kings may doe, what Subiects ought to beare.
Then is a Kingdome at a wished staye,
When whatsoeuer the Souereigne wills, or nilles,
Men be compelde as well to praise, as beare,
And Subiects willes inforc'd against their willes.
CONA. But who so seekes true praise, and iust renowme,
Would rather seeke their praysing heartes, then

tongues.

MORD. True praise may happen to the basest groome,
A forced prayse to none, but to a Prince.
I wish that most, that Subiects most repine.
CONA. But yet where warres doe threaten your estate,
There needeth friendes to fortifie your Crowne.
MORD. Ech Crowne is made of that attractiue moulde.

That of it selfe it drawes a full defence.

CONA. That is a iust, and no vsurped2) Crowne.
And better were an exiles life, then thus

1) Slip in G:

The first Art in a Kingdome is, to scorne
The Enuie of the Realme. He cannot rule,

That feares to be enuide. What can diuorce

Enuie from Soueraigntie:' Must my deserts:'

The slip is pasted on-to the leaf at one end so as to cover ll. 67-70. The slip can be easily lifted to disclose the under-reading. Vid. Introduc. p. 100. There is no slip in K.

70

75

80

85

90

2) Qq. vsupred.

Disloyally to wronge your Sire and Liedge. Thinke not that impious crimes can prosper long, A time they scape, in time they be repaide. MORD. The hugest crimes bring best successe to some. CONA. Those some be rare. MORD. Why may not I be

rare?

CONA. It was their hap. MORD. It is my hope. CONA. But hope

May misse, where hap doth hurle. MORD. So hap

may hit,

Where hope doth aime. CONAN. But hap is last,

The stearne.

and rules MORD. So hope is first, and hoists the saile.

CONA. Yet feare: the first and last doe sielde agreé.
MORD. Nay dare: the first and last haue many meanes.

95

100

But cease at length: your speach molests me much:
My minde is fixt. Giue Mordred leaue to doe, 105
What Conan neither can allow, nor like.

CONA. But loe an Herault sent from Arthurs hoast:
Gods graunt his message may portend our good.

The third scene.

Herault. Gawin. Mordred.

HERA. YOVR Sire (0 Prince) considering what distresse
The Realme sustaines by both your mutuall warres,
Hath sent your brother Gawin Albane King
To treate of truce, and to imparle of peace.

MORD. Speake brother: what commaundment sends my
Sire:'

What message doe you bring:' My life, or death:' GAWI. A message farre vnméete, most néedefull tho.

The Sire commaunds not, where the Sonne rebels:
His loue descends too deépe to wish your death.

MORD. And mine ascends to high to wish his life.

5

10

GAWI. Yet thus he offreth: though your faults be great,
And most disloyall to his deepe abuse:

Yet yéelde your selfe: he'il be as prone to grace,
As you to ruth: An Uncle, Sire, and Liedge.
And fitter were your due submission done,
Then wrongfull warres to reaue his right and Realme.
MORD. It is my fault, that he doth want his right:

It is his owne, to vexe the Realme with warres.
GAWI. It is his right, that he attempts to seéke:

It is your wrong, that driueth him thereto.
MORD. T'is his insatiate minde, that is not so content,
Which hath so many Kingdomes more besides.

GAWI. The more you ought to tremble at his powre.
MORD. The greater is my conquest, if I winne.

15

20

GAWI. The more your foile. if you should hap to loose. 25
For Arthurs fame, and vallure's such, as you

Should rather imitate, or at the least
Enuie, if hope of better fansies failde.
For whereas Enuie raignes, though it repines,
Yet doth it feare a greater then it selfe.
MORD. He that enuies the valure of his foe,

Detects a want of valure in himselfe.

He fondly fights, that fights with such a foe,
Where t'were a shame to loose, no praise to winne:
But with a famous foe, succéede what will,

To winne is great renowne, to loose lesse foile.
His conquests, were they more, dismaie me not:
The oftner they haue beéne, the more they threat.
No danger can be thought both safe, and oft:
And who hath oftner waged warres then he:'
Escapes secure him not: he owes the price:
Whom chaunce hath often mist, chaunce hits at
length

Or, if that Chaunce haue furthered his successe.
So may she mine: for Chaunce hath made me king.

30

35

40

GAWI. As Chaunce hath made you King, so Chaunce may change.

Prouide for peace: that's it the highest piers,
No state except, euen Conquerours ought to seéke.
Remember Arthurs strength, his conquestes late,
His fierie mynde, his high aspiring heart.

Marke then the oddes: he expert, you vntried:
He ripe, you gréene: yeelde you, whiles yet you

may,

He will not yeelde: he winnes his peace with warres. MORD. If Chaunce may chaunge, his Chaunce was last to winne.

The likelier now to loose: his hautie heart

And minde I know: I feéle mine owne no lesse. 5
As for his strength, and skill, I leaue to happe:
Where many meéte, it lies not all in one.
What though he vanquisht haue the Romaine

troupes :' That bootes him not: himselfe is vanquisht here. Then waigh your wordes againe: if Conquerours

ought

To seéke for peace: The Conquered must perforce. [GAWI.] But he'ill not yeélde, he'il purchase peace with

warres.

[MORD.] Well: yeelde that will: I neither will, nor can: Come peace, come warres, chuse him: my danger's

6

his,

6

His saffetie mine, our states doe stande alike. If peace be good, as good for him, as me: If warres be good, as good for me, as him. GAWI. What Cursed warres (alas) were those, wherein Both sonne and sire shoulde so oppose themselues:' Him, whom you nowe, vnhappie man,1) pursue,

70

1) Qq. No commas after nowe and man.

If you should winne, your selfe would first bewayle.
Giue him his Crowne, to keepe it perill breeds.
MORD. The Crowne Ile keepe my selfe: insue what will:
Death must be once: how soone, I lest respect.
He best prouides that can beware in time,
Not why, nor when: but whence, and where he fals.
What foole, to liue a yeare or twaine in rest,
Would loose the state, and honour of a Crowne:"
GAWI. Consider then your Fathers griefe, and want:

75.

Whom you bereaue of Kingdome, Realme and Crowne. 80 MORD. Trust me: a huge and mightie kingdome tis,

85

To beare the want of Kingdome, Realme, and Crowne. GAWI. A common want, which woorkes ech worldlings woe, That many haue too much, but none inough. It were his praise, could he be so content, Which makes you guiltie of the greater wrong. Wherefore thinke on the doubtfull state of warres, Where Mars hath sway, he keepes no certayne course. Sometimes he lettes the weaker to preuaile, Some times the stronger stoupes; hope, feare, and rage 90 With eylesse lott rules all, vncertayne good, Most certaine harmes, be his assured happes.

No lucke can last, nowe here, now their it lights: No state alike, Chaunce blindly snatcheth all, And Fortune maketh guiltie whom she listes. MORD. Since therefore feare, and hope, and happe in

warres

Be all obscure, till their successe be seene:
Your speach doth rather driue me on to trie,
And trust them all, mine onely refuge now.

95

GAWI. And feare you not so strange and vncouth warres: 100
MORD. No, were they warres that grew from out the ground.
GAWI. Nor yet your sire so huge, yourselfe so small:
MORD. The smallest axe may fell the hugest oake.

GAWI. Nor that in felling him, your selfe may fall:'

« PreviousContinue »