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  Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > Art & Literature > Play 3 > Act 4, scene 6

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SCENE VI. - A MAGNIFICENT FEAST.

VORTIGERN on a Throne. HENGIST, WORTIMERVS,
CATAORINCS, Lords and Ladies, with Attendants.

Vor. To mirth we dedicate this noble feast!
And you, brave Hengist, do we greet withal.

Heng. O ! my most gracious King, I am unworthy.

Vor. Thou didst fight manfully, and bravely conquer.
Wine there! a health to Hengist! would that Horsus
Were here to grace the feast.

Lords. The King doth drink.

Heng. Thou sentest for me, noble sir, to fight;
I have done naught, save that I promis'd:
Had I play'd other than the soldier's part,
Then had I tarnish'd the true Saxon name.

[Hengist speaks to one of the Lords aside.

Vor. Thou, Hengist, at our hands, hast well deserv'd;
We will consider, and reward thy labours.

Enter ROWENA.

Ye heavenly powers! what lovely maid is this,
Whose form might raise the blush in Dian's cheek?

Heng. Rowena, sir; my daughter, and your slave.

Row. (Kneeling.) All hail, great King!

Vor. 0! thou most lovely maiden!
Here let me pledge thee in this golden cup.
On its smooth brim, I pray thee, print a kiss,
That so I may inhale the roseate sweets,
And taste the nectar of those vermil lips.

[Takes the cup and drinks.

This seat is empty; fair Rowena, take it:
Would it were that Jove's haughty wife doth grace!

Cata. It is Edmunda's place; the queen's, our mother's.

Vor. Peace! she is unworthy of that station.

Wort. She, sir, is our queen; and, though not present,
Most righteously, the law awards it her's.
Any usurping it, doth break the law.

Vor. How! do ye murmur? Must I then humble,
And stoop the neck to bear my children's yoke?
Begone, I say! lest that my present wrath
Make me forget the place by blood I hold,
And break the tie 'twixt father and his child.

Wort. We shall retire, my lord.

Vor. Here sit, fair maid! if I presage not vainly,
Thou shalt, ere long, by right assume this place.

Row. How can I merit love of such a King?
An humble vassal only.

Vor. Thy meekness and sweet looks have won my soul.
0! let thy tongue here title me thy lord I

Row. Already, sir, have I avow'd you King.

Vor. And, therefore, here I do proclaim thee Queen.
Good Hengist, speak! wilt thou consent hereto?

Heng. My lord, that honour is too weighty.

Vor. Then speak, my lords: what say ye to my choice ?
True, I am married, and my wife doth live;
Yet none, methinks, by law, can here be bound,
When the dread wrath of heaven doth show itself,
And on a wedded wife pours madness down.

1st Lord. The law, methinks, should, then, proclaim it
void.

Vor. Be it, then, void: and here I pledge myself,
To take this lovely maiden to my wife.
To thee, good Hengist, we resign all Kent,
As a sure earnest of our future bounty:
Proclaim it in the camp; and let each man
Receive in largess, from our royal coffers,
That massy ore, which long hath lain entomb'd,
And now shall well reward the soldiers' toils.

2nd Lord. The law allows not this; it is not justice.

3rd Lord. That power lies in the barons, not the
King.

Vor. What! dare ye, then, dispute it?

All but 1st Lord. We do.

3rd Lord. And while the power remains that's vested
in us,
We ne'er will countenance a vile injustice,
That tramples on our country's dearest rights.

Vor. Take heed, lest this your rashness ye repent.

[Exeunt Lords.

SCENE closes. VORTIQERN comes forward.

Vor. 0! these vile, petty kings, do make more uproar,
E'en than, above, the thund'ring god himself.
To-morrow be the nuptials loud proclaim'd :
And that Guorongus, that proud lord of Kent,
Who boldly in our presence cali'd for justice,
His lands, his property, and all his titles,
We here invest with Hengist and his line. [Hengist bows.

Vor. to Row. Give me thy hand; let us retire, my
Queen! [Exeunt.

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