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  Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > Art & Literature > Play 3 > Act 3, scene 6

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SCENE VI. - A CHAMBER IN THE PALACE.

Enter EDMUNDA and Attendants.

Edm. I will not to my chamber, then, I tell ye.

1st Maid. Beseech you, madam, to return again;
For so did your physician order.

Edm. Come hither, pretty maid, look at me well:
Now say, hath he so order'd it, or not?

1st Maid. Indeed, he hath.

Edm. Nay, get thee gone ; a maid, and still so false!
Go to, live I not yet ? Am I, then, call'd ?
And hath my sweetheart, death, yet fondly clasp'd me:
Say, hath the heavy passing bell yet sounded,
And hail'd me to my snug and chilly chamber ?

2nd Maid. Madam, I fear your reason wanders.

Edm. Ay, ay! I understand thee, it is flown;
My poor brain, alas! is sore distemper'd.
Sweet, sweet, come from yon branch, here's food for thee:
My pretty birds, come back, I will not harm ye;
My bosom, as your little nest, is warm,
And is as soft, ay, and full of comfort, too.
Nay, stop! it is too warm, come not! twill burn ye.

2nd Maid. My tears do flow for her so plenteously,
That I have left in me no power to help her.

Edm. 0! you great gods! why pelt ye thus my brain,
And with your thunders loud, cause such dire outrage
Within this little ball - this, 0! this nothing?
Tell me, high heaven! is this your justice ?
Did I not nourish them: ay, teach them, love them?
Yes, little drops, oh! come, cool my poor face:
Speak! ay, ye come, I know, to say I did.
Now, please your highness, and what would you more?
Say, are not here a host of witnesses ?
Longer, 0! let me not detain the court;
For in such plenty they do now rush forth,
That you, sir, you who fill yon seat of justice,
Must throw away your gown, and swim for life.

1st Maid. Will't please, we lead you in ?

Edm. I'gin, indeed, to think I need support;
For I am even weaker than a babe.
Hush! hush! come hither both, I'll tell ye something.
Now, then, your ears; I'm mad: ha! ha! ha!
Say! is not this Whitsuntide?

2nd Maid. Ay, an't please you, madam.

Edm. Then, listen.

She sings.
Last Whitsanday, they brought me
Roses, and lilies fair;
Violets, too, they gave me
To bind my auburn hair:
But, then, my face look'd smiling,
'Cause that my babes were near;
Now yon stinging nettle bring,
'Twill better suit this tear.

How like you this?

1st Maid. Excellently well, madam.

Edm. The time has been, when thus thou mightst have
said,
What, must these poor eyes never see them more ?
And have I need of these vile rags ? off! off!
I'll follow ye to th' extreme point o'the world;
And, naked, bear the icy mountains cold,
And the dread scorches o'that ball of fire,
Till I have found them i'the antipodes;
Should I not meet them there, I will rail so!
Pardon these starts! in troth I will not harm ye;
Indeed, indeed. I'm wrong'd! most sadly wrong'd!
Did these my warblings charm ye? then I'll die;
For look you, maiden, I'll sing sweeter far,
Than dying swan at ninety and nine years!
Lack, lack, a day! I'm faint! your arm, sweet maid.
There is my gage, farewell: good night, sweet! good
night! [Exeunt.

END OF THE THIRD ACT,

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