Vortigern Studies

What's New I Sitemap I Bibliography I Vortigern I Vortigern Studies l Wansdyke I POLLS I LINKS l Sitemaster I FAQs
about Vortigern Studies l Messageboard I Games I Arthurian Collection I View Guestbook I Sign Guestbook l Webrings

  Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > Art & Literature > Play 2 > Act 1, scene 2

Vortigern Studies Index

VORTIGERNSTUDIES HOMEPAGE
VORTIGERNSTUDIES SITEMAP
VORTIGERN INDEX
VORTIGERNSTUDIES INFOPAGES
WHAT IS NEW IN VORTIGERN STUDIES
ABOUT VORTIGERN STUDIES
VORTIGERN STUDIES BIBLIOGRAPHY
VORTIGERN STUDIES LINKS
SEARCH VORTIGERN STUDIES
CONTACT US!

 

home l personae l act 1 l act 2 l act 3 l act 4 l act 5
chorus 1 l scene 1 l dumb show 1 l chorus 2 l scene 2

Scene 1.2. A hall in the palace

Enter Vortiger, Fellmonger, Buttonmonger, [Brazier,] Grazier[s], [and other] petitioners.

VORTIGER
This way his majesty comes.

ALL
Thank your good lordship.

VORTIGER
When you hear yon door open--

FELLMONGER
Very good, my lord.

VORTIGER
Be ready with your [several] suits; put forward.

FIRST GRAZIER
That's a thing every man does naturally, sir,
That's a suitor, if he mean to speed.

VORTIGER
'Tis well y'are so deep-learn'd; take no denials.

FELLMONGER
No, my good lord.

VORTIGER
Not any, if you love
The prosperity of your [suits]; you mar all utterly
And overthrow your fruitful hopes forever
If either fifth or sixth, nay, tenth repulse
Fasten upon your bashfulness.

BUTTONMONGER
Say you so, my lord?
We can be troublesome and
[1] we list.

VORTIGER
I know't.
[Aside] I felt it but too late in the [general] sum
Of your rank
[2] brotherhood, which now I'll thank you for.
While this vexation is in play, I'll study
To raise a second, then a third to that,
One still to back another. I'll make quietness
As dear and precious to him as night's rest
To a man in suits in law: he shall be glad
To yield up power; if not, it shall be had.

Exit.

BUTTONMONGER
Hark! I protest my heart was coming upward, I thought the door had open'd.

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Marry,
[3] would it had, sir.

BUTTONMONGER
I have such a treacherous heart of mine own, 'twill throb at the very fall of a farthingale.
[4]

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Not if it fall on the rushes.
[5]

BUTTONMONGER
Yes, truly, if there be no light in the room I shall throb presently. The first time it took me my wife was i' th' company; I remember the room was not half so light as this, but I'll be sworn I was a whole hour a-finding on her.

BRAZIER
Byrlady,
[6] y'had a long time of throbbing on't then!

BUTTONMONGER
Still I felt men, but I could feel no women; I thought they had been all sunk. I have made a vow for't, I'll never have a meeting by candlelight again.

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Yes, sir, in lanthorns.

BUTTONMONGER
Yes, sir, in lanthorns, but I'll never trust a naked candle again, take 't on my word.

Enter Constantius and two Gentlemen.

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Hark there, stand close! It opens now indeed.

BUTTONMONGER
Oh, majesty, what art thou! I'd give any man half my suit to deliver my petition now; 'tis in the behalf of button-makers, and so it seems by my flesh.

CONSTANTIUS
[To the Gentlemen] Pray do not follow me, unless you do't
To wonder at my garments; there's no cause
I give you why you should. 'Tis shame enough
Methinks for me to look upon myself;
It grieves me that more should: the other weeds
[7]
Became me better, but the lords are pleas'd
To force me to wear these; I would not else.
I pray be satisfied, I call'd you not.
Wonder of madness, can you stand so idle
And know [that] you must die?

FIRST GENTLEMAN
We are all commanded, sir;
Besides it is our duty to your grace
To give attendance.

CONSTANTIUS
What a wild thing's this!
We marvel though you tremble at death's name
When you'll not see the cause why you are [cowards].
All our attendances are far too little
On our own selves, yet you'll give me attendance
Who looks to you the whilst, and so you vanish
Strangely and fearfully. For charity's sake,
Make not my presence guilty of your sloth;
Withdraw, young men, and find you honest business.

SECOND GENTLEMAN
[Aside to First Gentleman] What hopes have we to rise by following him?
I'll give him over shortly.

FIRST GENTLEMAN
[Aside to Second Gentleman] He's too nice,
[8].
Too holy for young gentlemen to follow
That have good faces and sweet running fortunes.

Exeunt Gentlemen.

CONSTANTIUS
Eight hours a day in serious contemplation
Is but a bare allowance, no higher food
To th' soul than bread and water to the body,
And that's but needful then: more would do better.

FIRST GRAZIER
Let's all kneel together; ['twill] move pity:
I have been at begging a hundred suits.

[The petitioners kneel.]

CONSTANTIUS
How happy am I in the sight of you!
Here are religious souls that lose no time.
With what devotion do they kneel to heaven
And seem to check me that am so remiss!
I bring my zeal amongst you, holy men;
[If I see any kneel and I sit out,]
That hour is not well serv'd, methinks. Strict souls,
You have been of some order in your times?

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Graziers and braziers some, and this a fellmonger.

BRAZIER
Here's my petition.

BUTTONMONGER
Mine, an't like your grace.

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Look upon mine, I am the longest suitor:
I was undone seven years ago, my lord.

CONSTANTIUS
I have mock'd my good hopes. Call you these petitions?
Why, there's no form of prayer among 'em all!

BUTTONMONGER
Yes, i' th' [bottom] there's [some] half a line
Prays for your majesty if you look on mine.

CONSTANTIUS
Make your request to heaven, not to me.

BUTTONMONGER
'Las, mine's a supplication for brass buttons, sir.

FELLMONGER
There's a great enormity).
[9] in wool, I beseech your grace consider 't.

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Pastures rise to twopence an acre,
[10] my lord. What will this world come to?

BUTTONMONGER
I do beseech your grace!

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Good your grace!

CONSTANTIUS
Oh, this is one of my afflictions
That with the crown enclos'd me! I must bear it.

[FIRST] GRAZIER
Your grace's answer to my supplication!

BRAZIER
To mine, my lord!

CONSTANTIUS
No violent storm lasts ever,
That's all the comfort on't.

FELLMONGER
Your highness' answer!

[FIRST] GRAZIER
We are almost half undone, the country beggar'd!

BRAZIER
See, see, he points to heaven, as who should say
There's enough there; but 'tis a great way thither.
There's no good to be done here, I see that; we may all spend our mouths like a company of hounds in the chase of a royal deer,
[11] and go home and fall to cold mutton bones, when we have done.

BUTTONMONGER
My wife will hang me; that's my destiny.

Exeunt [all but Constantius].

CONSTANTIUS
Thanks, heaven, 'tis over; we should never know rightly
The sweetness of a calm but for a tempest.
Here's a [wish'd] hour for contemplation now,
All still and silent; this is a true kingdom.

Enter Vortiger.

VORTIGER
My lord.

CONSTANTIUS
Again?

VORTIGER
Alas, this is but early
And gentle to the troops of businesses
That flock about authority, my lord.
You must forthwith settle your mind to marry.

CONSTANTIUS
To marry!

VORTIGER
Suddenly there's no pause given;
The peoples' wills are violent,
And covetous of succession from your loins.

CONSTANTIUS
From me there can come none: a profess'd abstinence
Hath set a virgin [seal] upon my blood
And alter'd all the course; the heat I have
Is all enclos'd within a zeal to [virtue],
And that's not fit for earthly propagation.
Alas, I shall but forfeit all their hopes;
I'm a man made without desires, tell 'em.

VORTIGER
This gives no satisfaction to their wills, my lord:
I prov'dos.
[12] them with such words, but all were fruitless;
Their sturdy voices blew 'em into clouds.
A virgin of the highest subject's blood
They have pick'd out for your embrace, and send her
Bless'd with their general wishes into fruitfulness.

Enter Castiza.

See where she comes, my lord.

CONSTANTIUS
[Moving aside] [I] never felt
Unhappy hand of misery till this touch;
A patience I could find for all but this.

CASTIZA
My lord, your vow'd love ventures me but dangerously.

VORTIGER
'Tis but to strengthen a vexation politicly.

CASTIZA
That's an uncharitable practice, trust me, sir.

VORTIGER
No more of that.

CASTIZA
But say he should affect me, sir,
How should I 'scape him then? I have but one faith, my lord,
And that you have already; our late contract's
A divine witness to't.

VORTIGER
Leave it to me still;
I am not without shifting rooms and helps
For all my projects [I] commit with you.

Exit Vortiger.

CASTIZA
[Aside] 'Tis an ungodly way to come to honour;
I do not like 't; I love Lord Vortiger,
But not these practices; th'are too uncharitable.

CONSTANTIUS
Are you a virgin?

CASTIZA
Never yet, my lord,
Known to the will of man.

CONSTANTIUS
Oh, blessed creature!
And does too much felicity make you surfeit?
Are you in soul assured there is a state
Prepared for you, for you, a glorious one,
In midst of heaven, now in the state you stand?
And had you rather, after much known misery,
Cares and hard labours, mingled with a curse,
Throng but to th' door and hardly get a place there?
Think, has the world a folly like this madness?
Keep still that holy and immaculate fire,
You chaste lamp of eternity; 'tis a treasure
Too precious for death's moment to partake,
This twinkling of short life. Disdain as much
To let mortality know you as stars
To kiss the pavements; y'have a substance
As excellent as theirs, holding your pureness:
They look upon corruption, as you do,
But are stars still; be you a virgin too.

CASTIZA
I'll never marry, what though my troth be engag'd
To Vortiger. Forsaking all the world
I save it well and do my faith no wrong.
Y'have mightily prevail'd, great virtuous lord;
I'm bound eternally to praise your goodness.

Enter Vortiger and [First] Gentleman.

I carry thoughts away as pure from man
As ever made a virgin's name immortal.

CONSTANTIUS
I will do that for joy I never did
Nor ever will again.

[He kisses her.] Exit Castiza.

[FIRST] GENTLEMAN
My lord, he's taken.

VORTIGER
I'm sorry for't; I like not that so well:
They're somewhat too familiar for their time methinks;
This way of kissing is no course to vex him.
Why, I that have a weaker faith and patience
Could endure more than that coming from woman.
Dispatch and bring his answer speedily.

Exit Vortiger.

[FIRST] GENTLEMAN
My lord, my gracious lord.

CONSTANTIUS
Beshrew thy heart.

[FIRST] GENTLEMAN
They all attend your grace.

CONSTANTIUS
I would not have 'em;
'Twould please me better and they'ld all depart
And leave the court to me, or put me out
And take it to theirselves.

[FIRST] GENTLEMAN
The noon is past, my lord;
Meat's upon the table.

CONSTANTIUS
Meat! Away, get from me;
Thy memory's diseas'd. What saint's eve's this?

[FIRST] GENTLEMAN
Saint Agatha,
[13] I take [it].

CONSTANTIUS
Oh, is it so?
I am not worthy to be serv'd before her,
And so return I pray.

[FIRST] GENTLEMAN
He'll starve the guard and this be suffer'd; if we set court bellies by a monastery clock, he that breaks a fellow's pate now will scarce be able to crack a louse within this twelvemonth.
[14]

[Exit.]

CONSTANTIUS
Sure 'tis forgetfulness and not man's will
That leads him forth into licentious ways;
He cannot certainly commit such errors
And think upon 'em truly as they are acting.
Why's abstinence ordain'd but for such seasons?

Enter Vortiger, Devonshire and Stafford.

VORTIGER
My lord, y'have pleas'd to put us to much pains,
But we confess 'tis portion of our duties.
Will your grace please to walk? Dinner stays for you.

CONSTANTIUS
I have answer'd that already.

VORTIGER
But, my lord,
We must not so yield to you, pardon me:
'Tis for the general good; you must be rul'd, sir.
Your health and life is dearer to us now;
Think where you are, at court: this is no monastery.

CONSTANTIUS
But, sir, my conscience keeps still where it was;
I may not eat this day.

VORTIGER
We have sworn you shall,
And plentifully too; we must preserve you, sir,
Though you'll be wilful: 'tis no slight condition
To be a king.

CONSTANTIUS
Would I were less than man.

VORTIGER
What, will you make the people rise, my lord,
In great despair of your continuance
If you neglect the means that must sustain you?

CONSTANTIUS
I never eat on [eves].

VORTIGER
But now you must:
It concerns others' healths that you take food;
Y'have chang'd your life, you well may change your mood.

CONSTANTIUS
This is beyond all cruelty.

VORTIGER
'Tis our care, my lord.

Exeunt omnes. Music.

NOTES

[1] and: if
[2] rank: 1) arrant, notorious, 2) foul-smelling
[3] Marry: an oath derived from the name of the Virgin Mary
[4] farthingale: a woman's hooped petticoat
[5] rushes: straw, which was used to cover the floors.
[6] Byrlady: by our Lady, an oath (appears variously as berlady and be-lady.
[7] weeds: garments
[8] nice: scrupulous, precise.
[9] enormity: quantity, surplus. Probably a reference to the glut of English dyed wool cloth in the late 1610's, after foreign countries banned its importation to retaliate against England's own ban on exporting undyed cloth to be dyed overseas.
[10] Pastures rise to twopence an acre: "I cherished a hope for a short time that this passage might also help to throw some light on the date of the play, but reference to J. E. Thorold Roger's History of Agriculture and Prices in England soon showed how scantly are the surviving data for forming any conclusions as to the fluctuations in pastoral rents at this period" (Bald).
[11] royal deer: deer that escaped a hunt led by a king or queen; hunting dogs were traditionally given the deer's entrails as a reward, but only if it didn't escape, of course.
[12] prov'd: reproved
[13] Saint Agatha: St. Agatha's day is February 5.
[14] he that breaks a fellow's pate...crack a louse: i.e., because the court will not only adopt a monastic eating schedule but will also tonsure their hair, where lice could no longer hide.

home l personae l act 1 l act 2 l act 3 l act 4 l act 5
chorus 1 l scene 1 l dumb show 1 l chorus 2 l scene 2

Previous Page l Next Page


VortigernStudies is copyright Robert Vermaat 1999-2002. All rights reserved