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  Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > Art & Literature > Play 3 > Act 3, scene 1

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ACT III.

SCENE I. - AN ASSEMBLY OF BARONS.

Vor. To you have been explained our late despatches:
Say; did we not invite these princes home,
And tender them the crown? Yet do we find
They come with foreign aid and civil war,
To bear the sway and empire over us.
Can any present say why this should be?

1st Bar. No! they're the sons of our late king, 'tis true;
As such, the elder doth, by right, inherit
The crown and kingdom; and, in their defence,
Our lives, yea, and our very best heart's blood,
Were truly offer'd, which we now revoke:
And, since they tear the bowels of our land,
And come with blood and naked sword to court us,
We'll to the field; and when bright victory
Hath with the sacred laurel bound our brows,
The princes' heads in triumph shall be borne
Throughout our ranks; rebellion's just reward!

2nd Bar. Then are they traitors to their God and country.

3rd Bar. And as the crown is now untenanted,
'Tis fit the most deserving brow should wear it.

1st Bar. If any one there be that doth deserve it,
'Tis he that hath it even now in trust.

All. Then be it his!

1st Bar. Girt tight the drum, and sound yon brazen
trump!
Let it proclaim aloud our firm decree:
Aurelius and his brother, both are traitors,
And 'gainst their mother country do rebel! [Trumpet sounds.

2nd Bar. Nay; stop not there, but let them bellow on,
Till with their clamorous noise they shame the thunder;
And o'er the earth, and e'en to heaven, proclaim
Vortigern our king, ourlawful sovereign!

Vor. The exigencies of the state demand
My quick consent; I, therefore, give it you.
And when the crown shall on my front be bound,
My faithful soul shall prize the sacred trust;
My arm be nerv'd to fight in its defence.

Barons. All hail, great Vortigern, of Britain King!

[Trumpet sounds.

Vor. My lords, vain compliment would suit but ill
The present time; I, therefore, briefly thank you.
But, ere we part, I fain would crave your hearing:
Our troops have now been long disus'd to war;
Yet, do not think I mean their fame to tarnish,
Or on a Briton throw the damned slur
Of shameful cowardice; no, my good lords!
But, though their ribs do serve as castle walls,
And fast imprison their strong, lion hearts,
Yet e'en the lion, when full gorg'd with food,
Will bask, and tamely lay him down to sleep;
Then in such sort, hath undisturbed peace,
And want of custom, (nature's substitute,
That changes e'en our very properties,)
Soften'd their manhood. Then 'twere policy
That we should court the Saxons to our aid.
This, too, will in our Britons raise the flame
Of bright and generous emulation.
Say, lords! doth this my proposition please you?

1st Bar. We do approve, and thank its noble author.

Vor. You, my good lord, then do I here depute,
Jointly with Catagrine, our second born,
That you with speed repair to Saxony;
Our eldest shall, at home, command the Britons:
Time needs your haste, therefore use no delay;
Your country calls, so, look you, quick obey. [Exeunt.

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