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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Act 4, Scene 3

— 4.3 —

King James IV of Scotland, the Bishop of Durham, and Pedro Hialas talked together. The Bishop of Durham and Pedro Hialas were trying to convince King James IV of Scotland to abandon his support of Perkin Warbeck.

Pedro Hialas said, “France, Spain, and Germany combine a league of amity with England: nothing is lacking for settling peace throughout Christendom, except love between the British monarchs: King James IV of Scotland and King Henry VII of England.”

The Bishop of Durham said, “The English merchants, sir, have been received with general procession into Antwerp. The Emperor confirms the alliance.”

Formerly, King Henry VII had banned all commercial activity with the Flemish because the Emperor supported Margaret of Burgundy, who supported Perkin Warbeck, but now he was making alliances, including joining the Holy League. Members of the Holy League included the Pope, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the rulers of Milan and of Venice. Commercial activity with the Flemish had been resumed.

Pedro Hialas said, “King Ferdinand of Spain is determined on a marriage for his daughter Katherine of Aragon with Prince Arthur, the oldest son of King Henry VII.”

The Bishop of Durham said, “France courts this early contract.”

Pedro Hialas asked King James IV, “What can hinder aquietness in England?”

The Bishop of Durham gave King James IV the answer, “Only your tolerance of such a silly creature, mighty sir, who is in effect only a ghostly sham, a shadow, a mere trifle.”

Pedro Hialas said, “To this union the good of both the church and the commonwealth invites you.”

The Bishop of Durham said, “In addition to this unity, a mystery of Providence points out a greater blessing for both these nations than our human reason can search into. King Henry VII has a daughter: the Princess Margaret Tudor. I need not urge what honor, what felicity can follow on such affinity between two Christian Kings allied by ties of blood, but I am sure that if you, sir, ratify the peace proposed, I dare both to promote and effect this marriage for the well-being of both the kingdoms.”

In fact, in 1503 King James IV of Scotland married King Henry VII of England’s daughter Margaret Tudor. In 1603, their great-grandson, King James VI of Scotland, became King James I of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

King James IV asked, “Do you dare to advise that, Lord Bishop?”

The Bishop of Durham replied, “Put it to the test, royal James, by sending some noble personage to the English court by way of embassy.”

Pedro Hialas said, “Part of the business shall suit my mediation.”

He was willing to go to the English court as an ambassador.

King James IV said, “This is well; what Heaven has ordained to be, must be. You two are the ministers, I hope, of blessed fate.

“But herein only I will stand acquitted: No blood of innocents shall buy my peace.”

As he would explain, he was unwilling to hand over Perkin Warbeck to them because he had guaranteed him safety and good treatment in his court.

King James IV continued, “Warbeck, as you call him, came to me, commended by the rulers of Christendom. He was a prince, although he was in distress. His fair demeanor, friendly behavior, and unappalled spirit proclaimed him to be not base in blood, however clouded.

“The brute beasts have both rocks and caves to fly to, and men have the altars of the church where they can find sanctuary. He came to us for refuge: Kings come near in nature to the gods in being touched with pity.

“Yet, noble friends, his mixture with our blood, even with our own, shall in no way interrupt a general peace.”

Both King James IV of Scotland and Lady Katherine were descended from King James I of Scotland; by marrying Lady Katherine, Perkin Warbeck had mixed blood with King James IV.

King James IV continued, “I will only dismiss him from my protection, throughout my dominions, in safety, but not ever to return.”

Pedro Hialas said, “You are a just King.”

The Bishop of Durham said, “You are wise, and therein happy.”

King James IV said, “Nor will we delay in affairs of weight.

“Lord Bishop, the Earl of Huntley shall go with you to England as ambassador from us. We will throw down our weapons; peace will be on all sides!

“Now repair to our council; we will soon be with you.”

“Delay shall question no dispatch,” Pedro Hialas said. “Delay shall not put a prompt settlement in jeopardy. May Heaven crown it.”

The Bishop of Durham and Pedro Hialasexited.

King James IV of Scotland said, “An alliance with King Ferdinand II of Aragon! A marriage with the English Margaret Tudor! A free release from restitution for the late affronts — we will not have to pay restitution for damages caused by our Scottish raid into England! Cessation from hostility! And all for Warbeck, not delivered, but dismissed! We could not wish for anything better.”

Perkin Warbeck would be dismissed from the Scottish court, but not delivered into the hands of his English enemies.

He called, “Dalyell!”

Lord Dalyell entered the room and said, “Here, sir.”

“Have the Earl of Huntley and his daughter been sent for?” King James IV asked.

“Sent for and come, my lord.”

“Say to the English prince that we want his company.”

“He is at hand, sir,” Lord Dalyell replied.

Perkin Warbeck, Lady Katherine, Jane, Frion, Heron, Skelton, John a-Water, and Astley entered the room.

King James IV of Scotland began talking:

“Cousin, our bounty, favors, gentleness, our benefits, and the risk of our person, our people’s lives, and our land have evidenced how much we have engaged and risked on your behalf.

“How paltry and how dangerous our hopes appear, how fruitless our attempts in war, how windy, or rather smoky, your assurance of partisanship in your favor shows, we might in vain repeat.”

Perkin Warbeck’s talk about English citizens flocking to his side had been “windy” — just talk. In addition, it had been “smoky” — it had clouded King James IV’s judgment.

King James IV of Scotland continued:

“But now obedience to the mother church, a father’s care for his country’s commonweal and well-being, and the dignity of state direct our wisdom to seal an oath of peace throughout Christendom. We have already sworn to this oath of peace.

“It is you alone who must seek new fortunes in the world and find a harbor elsewhere. As I promised on your arrival, you have met no treatment deserving repentance in your being here — you have been treated well. But yet I must live as master of what is my own. However, what is necessary for you at your departure, I am well content that you be accommodated with, provided that delay does not prove to be my enemy.”

“It shall not, most glorious prince,” Perkin Warbeck replied. “The fame of my goals and plans soars higher than rumors of my ‘ease’ and ‘sloth’ can aim at. I acknowledge all your boundless and singular favors, and I am only wretched in words as well as means to thank you for the grace that flowed so liberally.

“You’re firmly lord of two empires: Scotland and Duke Richard’s — my — heart. My claim to my inheritance shall sooner fail than my life shall fail to serve you, the best of Kings.

“And — witness King Edward IV’s blood in me! — I ammore loath to part with such a great example of virtue — you, King James IV — than all other mere respects.

“But, sir, my last suit is that you will not force from me what you have given — this chaste lady, who is resolute and determined to face all extreme circumstances.”

“I am your wife,” Lady Katherine said. “No human power can or shall divorce my faith from my duty.”

Perkin Warbeck said, “The earth is bankrupt of such another treasure. No one is the treasure that my wife, Lady Katherine, is.”

King James IV said to Perkin Warbeck, “I gave her away in marriage to you, cousin, and I must avow and affirm the gift. I will add to that gift, moreover, provisions becoming her high birth and her constancy and chastity that are not suspect to suspicion; I will also provide servants to attend you. We will part good friends.”

King James IV exited with Lord Dalyell.

Perkin Warbeck said, “The Tudor — Henry — has been cunning in his plots: His Fox of Durham — Richard Fox, Bishop of Durham — would not fail at last. But so what? Our cause and our courage are our own. Be men, my friends, and let our cousin-King see how we follow fate as willingly as malice follows us. You’re all resolved for the west parts of England?”

“Cornwall! Cornwall!” everyone cried.

“The inhabitants expect you daily,” Frion said.

Perkin Warbeck ordered, “Cheerfully draw all our ships out of the harbor, friends. Our time of stay seems too long; we must prevent intelligence of our movements reaching Henry Tudor. Moving quickly may prevent that, so let’s set about it at once.”

“A prince! A prince! A prince!” everyone cried.

This was a cry of support.

Heron, Skelton, Astley, and John a-Water exited. Left behind were Perkin Warbeck, Lady Katherine, Jane Douglas, and Frion.

Perkin Warbeck said to his wife, “Dearest, don’t admit into thy pure thoughts the least of scruples, which may charge their softness with a burden of distrust. Should I prove to be lacking the noblest courage now, here would be the test and trial: But I am perfectly assured, sweet; I fear no change more than thy being partner in my suffering.”

Lady Katherine replied, “My fortunes, sir, have armed me to encounter whatever chance they meet with.”

She then said to Jane Douglas, “Jane, it is fitting that thou stay behind, for whither will thou wander?”

“Never until death will I forsake my mistress, nor even then because I will gladly wish to die with you,” Jane Douglas replied.

“Alas, good soul!” Lady Katherine said.

“Sir, to your Aunt Margaret of Burgundy I will relate your present undertakings,” Stephen Frion said to Perkin Warbeck. “Expect welcome from her on all occasions. You cannot find me idle in your services.”

“Go, Frion, go,” Perkin Warbeck said. “Wise men know how to soothe Adversity, not serve it. Thou have served too long on expectation; never yet has any nation read of been so besotted in reason as to adore the setting sun.

“Fly to the Archduke Maximilian’s court, and say to the Duchess Margaret of Burgundy that her nephew — me — with fair Katherine his wife, are on their expectation to begin the raising of an empire.

“If they fail, the report and reputation of their attempt will yet never fail.

“Farewell, Frion!”

Stephen Frion exited.

Perkin Warbeck said to his wife about Stephen Frion, “This man, Kate, has been true, although now recently I fear he has been too much familiar with the Fox.”

Stephen Frion had spent much time talking with Bishop Fox of Durham.

Lord Dalyell returned, accompanied by the Earl of Huntley, Lady Katherine’s father.

The Earl of Huntley said to Perkin Warbeck, “I come to take my leave. You need not fear my interest in this former child of mine; she’s all yours now, good sir.”

He said to Lady Katherine, his daughter, “Oh, poor lost creature, may Heaven guard thee by giving thee much patience! If thou can, forget thy title to old Huntley’s family,as much of peace will settle in thy mind as thou can wish to taste but in thy grave. Yet accept my tears, please; they are tokens of Christian love and charity as truly as of parental affection.”

“This is the cruelest farewell!” Lady Katherine said.

The Earl of Huntley said to Perkin Warbeck, “Young gentleman, love this model of my griefs; she calls you husband.”

Both the Earl of Huntley and Lady Katherine were crying, and so she was modeling — copying — his griefs.

The Earl of Huntley added, “Then be not jealous of a parting kiss — it is a father’s, not a lover’s, offering.”

He then said to his daughter, “Take it — it is my last.”

He kissed her and said, “I am too much a child — I cry. Exchange of passionate grief is of little use; acting like this, I should grow too foolish. May Goodness guide thee!”

He exited, and Lady Katherine said, “I am a most miserable daughter!”

She asked Lord Dalyell, “Have you anything to add, sir, to our sorrows?”

“I resolve, fair lady, with your permission, to wait on all your fortunes in my person, if your lord will grant me acceptance,” Lord Dalyell replied.

He was offering to accompany and serve Perkin Warbeck and Lady Katherine on their travels.

“We will be bosom friends, most noble Dalyell,” Perkin Warbeck said, “for I accept this tender of your love beyond my ability to speak my thanks for it.”

He said to his wife, Lady Katherine, “Clear thy drowned eyes, my fairest. Time and industry will show us better days, or end the worst.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Act 4, Scenes 1-2

— 4.1 —

The Earl of Surrey talked with the Bishop of Durham in the English military camp near Ayton, on the Borders. Some soldiers, with drums and colors, were present. King James IV of Scotland had made a raid into England, and so the Earl of Surrey had in response made a raid into Scotland.

They were at the Old Ayton Castle, which had been just demolished.

“Are all our boasting and defying enemies shrunk back, hidden in the fogs of their distempered climate, not daring to see our colors wave in hatred of this intemperate air?” the Earl of Surrey asked.

He then listed a number of Scottish castles that he had overthrown: “Can they look on the strength of Cundrestine defaced? The glory of Hedonhall devastated? That of Edington cast down? The Pile — small castle — of Fulden overthrown? And this the strongest of their forts, Old Ayton Castle, yielded and demolished?”

He continued, “And yet they do not peep abroad? The Scots are bold and hardy in battle, but it seems the cause they undertake, considered, appears unjointed in the frame of it.”

In other words, Perkin Warbeck’s cause wasn’t worth fighting for.

The Bishop of Durham said, “Noble Surrey, our royal master’s wisdom is at all times his fortune’s harbinger: His wise decisions lead to his success and good fortune. For when he draws his sword to threaten war, his providence and foresight settle on peace, the crowning — the fulfillment — of an empire.”

A trumpet sounded.

“Put the ranks of soldiers in order,” the Earl of Surrey commanded. “It is a herald’s sound: The herald carries some message from King James IV. Keep a fixed station.”

Marchmont and another Scottish herald arrived. They were wearing sleeveless coats that were traditional garb for heralds.

“From Scotland’s awe-inspiring majesty we come to the English general,” Marchmont said.

“To me?” the Earl of Surrey said. “Say on.”

“This is my message, then,” Marchmont said. “Because the waste and prodigal effusion of so much guiltless blood as two powerful armies fighting must necessarily glut the earth’s dry womb, King James IV’s sweet compassion has found a way to prevent that bloodshed. Thus he says to thee, great Earl of Surrey, that in a single fight he offers his own royal person, fairly proposing only these conditions. First, that if victory settles our master’s right, the Earl shall deliver for his ransom the town of Berwick to him, with the fishgarths.”

Berwick was located on the Tweed River; both Scotland and England wanted control of this strategic town.

A garth is an enclosure. A fishgarth is an enclosure in a river or sea that keeps fish in an area where they can easily be caught. The fishgarth at Berwick was for salmon.

Marchmont continued, “Second, if Surrey shall prevail, then King James IV will pay a thousand pounds down immediately for his freedom, and silence further arms and not engage in battles. So speaks King James.”

The single combat need not end in death.

“‘So speaks King James’!” the Earl of Surrey said. “So like a King he speaks. Heralds, the English general returns a deeply felt devotion from his heart, his very soul, to this unequalled grace.”

King James IV was offering to meet in single combat a mere Earl. Normally, Kings would offer to fight in single combat only other Kings, so this was an honor to the Earl of Surrey.

The Earl of Surrey continued, “For let the King know, noble heralds, truly, how his descent from his great throne, to honor a foreign subject with so high a title as his compeer and fellow in arms, has conquered me more than any sword could do; for which — my loyalty excepted and adhered to — I will serve his virtues ever in all humility.

“But tell him that Berwick is not mine to part with; in affairs of princes subjects cannot traffic in rights inherent to the crown. My life is mine, and that life I dare to freely risk, and — with pardon to some unbribed vainglory — if his majesty shall taste a change of fate, his liberty shall meet no articles. He will be set at liberty with no conditions made.”

The “change of fate” that King James IV could suffer would be losing to the Earl of Surrey, who was respectful enough to James IV in his speech not to say that openly. He, of course, did say that indirectly — not even the “bribe” of the honor of a King’s offering to meet him in single fight was enough to keep him from saying that.

He continued, “If I fall, falling so splendidly to a King, I refer me to his pleasure without condition.”

If the Earl of Surrey would win the single combat, he would release King James IV without making any conditions for his release. If King James IV would win the single combat, he could do what he wanted with the Earl of Surrey.

The Earl of Surrey continued, “And for this dear favor, say that if I am not countermanded by my King, Henry VII, I will cease hostilities, unless provoked.”

Marchmont replied, “This answer we shall relate to our King impartially.”

The Bishop of Durham said, “I beg your pardon. Please do me the favor of having a little patience. Wait a moment, please.”

He then said quietly to the Earl of Surrey, “Sir, you find by these gay flourishes how wearied travail makes one desire a willing rest; here’s but a prologue, however confidently uttered, meant for some ensuing acts of peace.

“Consider the time of year, unseasonableness of weather, expense, and barrenness of profit; and an opportunity presents itself for an honorable treaty, which we may make good use of. I will go back, sent from you in point of noble gratitude, to King James, with these his heralds. You shall shortly hear from me, my lord, with orders either for continuing to take a break from war or for proceeding to fight against Scotland. King Henry VII, fear not, will be thankful for this service.”

The Earl of Surrey replied quietly to the Bishop of Durham, “To your wisdom, Lord Bishop, I refer it. Do as you wish to do.”

“Be it so, then,” the Bishop of Durham replied quietly.

The Earl of Surrey said loudly, “Heralds, accept this chain and these few crowns.”

Tradition required that heralds and messengers receive gifts. The chain was made of gold or silver.

Marchmont said, “We offer you our duty, noble general.”

The Bishop of Durham said, “In partial repayment for such princely love, my lord the general is pleased to show the King your master his sincerest zeal with further treaty negotiations by no common man: I myself will return with you to your King James IV.”

The Earl of Surrey said, “You bind my most faithful affections to you, Lord Bishop.”

Marchmont said, “May all happiness attend your lordship!”

The Bishop of Durham and the heralds exited.

The Earl of Surrey said, “Come, friends and fellow-soldiers. We, I suspect, shall meet no enemies but woods and hills to fight with, so then it would be as good to feed and sleep at home. We may be free from danger without being carelessly overconfident.”

— 4.2 —

Perkin Warbeck and Frion talked together.

“Frion, oh, Frion, all my hopes of glory are at a standstill! The Scottish King grows dull in purpose, frosty, and wayward, since this Spanish agent, Pedro Hialas,has mixed discourses with him; they are often in private conference together. I am not called to council now — may ruin fall on all Hialas’ crafty shrugs of the shoulders! I feel that the edifice of my plans is tottering.”

Frion said about King Henry VII, “Henry’s policies stir with too many plots and snares.”

Perkin Warbeck replied,“Let his mines filled with explosives, shaped in the bowels of the earth, blow up works raised for my defense, yet they never can toss into air the freedom of my birth, or deny that my blood is Plantagenet’s: I am my father’s son still.

“But, oh, Frion, when I bring into reckoning with my disasters my wife’s co-partnership, my Kate’s, my life’s, then, then my frailty — my body — feels like an earthquake.

“May evil damn Henry’s plots! Either I will be England’s King, or let my aunt Margaret of Burgundy report my fall in the attempt rightfully deserved by our ancestors!”

Perkin Warbeck continued to not refer to Henry Tudor as King Henry VII of England.

“You grow too wild in emotion,” Frion said. “If you will appear to be a prince indeed, confine your emotion to moderation.”

This society believed that Kings and nobles should keep their emotions under control.

“What a saucy rudeness prompts this distrust!” Perkin Warbeck said. “If? If I will appear! Appear a prince!”

His point was that he wasa prince and not imitating one.

He continued, “May Death throttle such deceits even in their birth of utterance! Cursed deceit of trust! We deceive ourselves by trusting others!

“You make me mad. It would be best, it seems, that I should turn impostor to myself, be my own counterfeit, belie the truth of my dear mother’s womb, the sacred bed of a prince murdered and a living prince disgraced and treated badly!”

Perkin Warbeck was referring to the two princes in the Tower of London. According to him, one prince — King Edward V — was murdered, and the other prince — the Duke of York, aka Perkin Warbeck himself — survived but was being kept from his rightful place on the throne of England.

“Nay, if you have no ears to hear,” Frion said, “I have no breath to spend in vain.”

“Sir, sir, take heed!” Perkin Warbeck said. “Gold and the promise of promotion rarely fail in temptation.”

He was accusing Frion of being bribed to lack loyalty to him.

“Why are you saying this to me?” Frion asked.

“I mean nothing by saying it,” Perkin Warbeck said, calming down. “Speak what you will; we are not sunk so low but that your advice may piece together again the heart that many cares have broken. You have been accustomed in all extremities to talk of comfort; have you no comfort for me left now? I’ll not interrupt you.

“Good sir, bear with my mental disturbances! If King James should deny us dwelling here, whither must I go next? I ask you not to be angry.”

Frion replied, “Sir, I told you about letters that have come from Ireland, telling how the Cornish resent their last defeat by the armies of Henry, and the Cornish humbly request that you would in person, with such forces as you could raise, land in Cornwall, where thousands will gladly maintain your title.”

Perkin Warbeck now used the familiar “thee” and “thou” used by close friends in referring to Frion rather than the formal “you”:

“Let me embrace thee, hug thee; thou have revived my comforts.

“Even if my cousin-King James IV may fail us, our cause will never fail.”

John a-Water the politician, Heron the dealer in textile fabrics, Astley the legal clerk, and Skelton the tailor entered the scene.

“Welcome, my tested friends!” Perkin Warbeck said. “You keep your brains awake in our defense.

“Frion, with them carefully consider these affairs, in which all of you be wondrously secret. I will listen to and for what else concerns us here. Be quick and wary.”

He exited.

Astley the legal clerksaid, “Ah, sweet young prince!

“Secretary Frion, my fellow-counselors and I have consulted, and we all agree in one opinion precisely: If these Scotch garboils, aka tumults, do not fadge, aka come off as we wish, we will pell-mell and in disorder run among the Cornish choughs immediately and in a trice.

A chough is 1) a chattering bird, or 2) a rustic.

“In a trice” means “without delay.”

Skelton the tailor said, “It is but going to sea and leaping ashore in order to cut ten or twelve thousand unnecessary throats, set fire to seven or eight towns, take half a dozen cities, get into the marketplace, crown Perkin Warbeck King Richard IV, and the business is finished.”

John a-Water the politician said, “I grant you, say I, so far forth as men may do, no more than men may do; for it is good to consider when consideration may be to the purpose, otherwise — still you shall pardon me — little said is soon amended.”

Frion asked, “Then you conclude that the Cornish action is surest?”

Heron the dealer in textile fabrics said, “We do so, and we don’t doubt that we shall thrive abundantly. Ho, my masters, had we known of the commotion — the Cornish rebellion — when we set sail out of Ireland, the land had been ours before this time.”

Skelton the tailor said, “Bah! Bah! It is but forbearing being an Earl or a Duke a month or two longer. I say, and I say it again, if the work does not go on apace, let me never see new fashion more. I warrant you, I warrant you; we will have it so, and so it shall be.”

Astley the legal clerk said, “This is just a cold phlegmatic country, not stirring enough for men of spirit. Give me the heart of England for my money!”

Skelton the tailor said, “A man may batten and grow fat in England in only a week, with hot loaves and butter, and a lusty cup of muscatel wine and sugar at breakfast, though he make never a meal all the month after.”

John a-Water the politician said, “Surely, when I bore office I found by experience that to be much troublesome was to be much wise and busy. I have observed how filching, aka stealing, and bragging have been the best service in these last wars; and therefore conclude peremptorily on the design in England. If things and things may fall out, as who can tell what or how — only the end will show it.”

Frion said, “Resolved like men of judgment! To linger here a longer time is only to lose time. Cheer the prince, Perkin Warbeck, and hasten him on to this; on this depends fame in success, or glory in our ends.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

Buy the Paperback: John Ford’s Perkin Warbeck: A Retelling

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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Act 3, Scenes 3-4

— 3.3 —

King Henry VII, Pedro Hialas, and Christopher Urswick talked together in the palace at Westminster.

Many countries took an interest in the King Henry VII-Perkin Warbeck conflict. France had invaded Italy, and Spain, Venice, and the Holy Roman Emperor hoped that King Henry VII of England would join them in their opposition to France. In addition, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain were hoping to marry their daughter Katherine of Aragon to Prince Arthur, King Henry VII’s oldest son. Because of that, they wanted Henry VII to keep his crown.

“Your name is Pedro Hialas, and you are a Spaniard?” King Henry VII asked.

“Sir, I am a Castilian born,” he replied.

In 1469, Ferdinand married Isabella. He was the heir to the King of Aragon, and in 1469 she became the Queen of Castile. In 1479, Ferdinand’s father died, and the two kingdoms became unified and Ferdinand and Isabella became the first monarchs to rule a unified Spain. Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon are collectively known in history as the Catholic Monarchs.

“King Ferdinand and wise Queen Isabel, his royal consort, have written that you are a man worthy of trust and candor. Heaven holds dear princes who meet with subjects who are sincere in their employments. Your recommendation, sir, declares you to be such a subject.

“Let me declare how joyful I consider the amity and friendship I have with your most fortunate master, who almost seems to have experienced a miracle in his success against the Moors, who had devoured his country, but which is now entirely under the control of his scepter.”

In 1492, Spain became completely under the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella.

King Henry VII continued, “We, for our part, will imitate his foresight in governing, in hope of sharing in his success in governing.

“We attribute the secrecy of his advice to us by you, who are intended to be an ambassador to Scotland, to create a peace between our kingdoms, to be a policy of love, which well becomes His wisdom and our care.”

Pedro Hialas was being sent to Scotland in an attempt to turn King James IV against Perkin Warbeck, but he had first stopped to secretly meet with King Henry VII, a secret meeting that Henry VII told Pedro Hialas that he attributed to King Ferdinand’s concern for him and for the two Kingdoms.

“Your majesty understands him rightly,” Pedro Hialas said.

King Henry VII replied, “If not, your knowledge can instruct me, wherein, sir, to have recourse to ceremony would seem useless, which we shall not need, for I will be as studious of your concealment in our secret meeting as any council shall advise. I will be very careful not to reveal that we have met.”

Any kind of ceremony would make public Pedro Hialas’ visit to the court of King James IV.

“Then, sir, my chief request is that on notice sent by me when I am in Scotland, you will send some learned man of power and experience to join in negotiations with me,” Pedro Hialas said.

“I shall do it, being that way well provided by a servant who may attend you always,” King Henry VII said.

Events would show that the servant would be Richard Fox, the Bishop of Durham.

Pedro Hialas said, “If King James IV of Scotland, by any roundabout or devious means, should perceive my coming near your court, I fear the outcome of my employment. I am afraid that if King James IV knows that I have met with you, then my negotiations with him will fail.”

“Don’t be your own herald,” King Henry VII said. “I learn sometimes without a teacher.”

He meant that he already understood the need for secrecy: It was obvious.

“May good days guard all your princely thoughts!” Pedro Hialas said.

King Henry VII ordered, “Urswick, accompany him no further than the nearest public corridor.”

This would help keep Pedro Hialas’ visit to the court secret.

He then said to Pedro Hialas, “A hearty love go with you!”

“I am your vowed beadsman,” Pedro Hialas said.

A beadsman is a person who is paid to pray for another person. Pedro Hialas was saying that he was King Henry VII’s humble servant.

Christopher Urswick and Pedro Hialasexited.

“King Ferdinand is not so much a fox but that a cunning huntsman may in time fall on the scent,” King Henry VII said to himself. “In honorable actions safe, free-from-risk imitation best deserves a praise.”

Christopher Urswick returned, and King Henry VII asked, “Has the Castilian departed?”

“He has, and secretly — without his presence being known,” Christopher Urswick replied. “The two hundred marks your majesty conveyed to him, he gently pocketed with a very modest gravity.”

“What was it he muttered in the earnest of his wisdom?” King Henry VII said. “He spoke not to be heard; it was about …?”

“Warbeck,” Christopher Urswick answered. “How if you, King Henry VII, were only assured of the loyalty of your subjects, such a wild vagabond as Perkin Warbeck might soon be caged, with no great ado arising against his caging.”

“Nay, nay,” King Henry VII said. “He said something about my son Prince Arthur’s marriage match.”

“Right, right, sir,” Christopher Urswick replied. “He hummed and hawed it out, how that King Ferdinand swore that the marriage between the Lady Katherine of Aragon, his daughter, and the Prince of Wales, your son Arthur, should never be consummated as long as any Earl of Warwick lived in England, except by new creation.”

Edward, Earl of Warwick, was the only surviving son of George, Earl of Clarence, the brother of King Edward IV and King Richard III.

Edward, Earl of Warwick, was first cousin to King Edward V, one of the two Princes of the Tower of London who vanished in 1483, presumed murdered by their uncle, Duke Richard of York, who became King Richard III.

The Earl of Clarence was King Edward IV’s and King Richard III’s brother; therefore, many people considered Edward, Earl of Warwick, to have a better claim to the throne of England than King Henry VII. Because of this, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were leery about marrying their daughter Katherine of Aragon to King Henry VII’s oldest son, Arthur. The Spanish monarchs wanted to be sure that King Henry VII’s grasp on the English crown was secure; one way to help that happen would be if Edward, Earl of Warwick, were dead and another, newly created Earl of Warwick took his place.

Of course, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were also concerned about King James IV’s support for Perkin Warbeck. They had sent Pedro Hialas to Scotland to convince King James IV to abandon his support of Warbeck.

“I remember it was so, indeed,” King Henry VII said. “The King his master swore it?”

“That is exactly what he said,” Christopher Urswick said.

“An Earl of Warwick!” King Henry VII said.

King Henry VII was quick to make decisions; he knew that it was important to convince King James IV of Scotland to abandon his support for Perkin Warbeck.

He ordered, “Provide a messenger for letters instantly for Richard Fox, Bishop of Durham.”

The Bishop of Durham was in the north of England, preparing the border castle at Norham to resist the coming Scottish invasion.

King Henry VII added,“Our news from Scotland creeps. It comes so slowly that we must have spirits that travel quickly through the air rather than slowly on land. Our time requires dispatch.”

He then said to himself, “The Earl of Warwick! Let him be son to the Earl of Clarence, younger brother to Edward! Edward’s daughter is, I think, mother to our Prince Arthur.”

Prince Arthur was a grandson to King Edward IV, as was the Earl of Warwick. Prince Arthur’s relationship to King Edward IV was more direct than the Earl of Warwick’s, but Prince Arthur’s relationship to King Edward IV came through the female line, while the Earl of Warwick’s relationship to King Edward IV came through the male line.

Prince Arthur’s parents were King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV.

The Earl of Warwick’s father was the Duke of Clarence, brother of King Edward IV and King Richard III.

King Henry VII ordered, “Get a messenger.”

— 3.4 —

King James IV of Scotland, Perkin Warbeck, the Earl of Crawford, Lord Dalyell, Heron, Astley, John a-Water, and Skelton met before the castle of Norham. Some soldiers were present.

King James IV and the others were besieging the castle of Norham. Inside the castle was the Bishop of Durham, who was defending it.

Norham Castle is located on the River Tweed, part of which is traditionally the boundary between England and Scotland.

“We waste time against these castle walls,” King James IV of Scotland said. “The English prelate will not surrender. Give him a summons once more.”

A trumpet sounded a distinctive call to request a meeting between the two sides.

Wearing armor, theBishop of Durham appeared on the walls of the castle, holding a truncheon that represented commandin his hand. Some English soldiers appeared with him.

“Look, the jolly clergyman appears, dressed like a ruffian!” Perkin Warbeck said.

King James IV said, “Bishopof Durham, yet set open the castle gates, and to your lawful sovereign, Richard of York — Perkin Warbeck — surrender this castle, and he will take thee to his grace. Otherwise, the Tweed River shall overflow its banks with English blood, and wash the sand that cements those hard stones from their foundation.”

The Bishop of Durham ignored Perkin Warbeck as he said, “Warlike King of Scotland, permit a few words from a man forced to lay his Bible aside, and clap on armor and weapons unsuitable to my age or my profession.

“Courageous prince, consider on what grounds you rend the face of peace, and break a league with an allied King — Henry VII — who courts your amity and friendship. And for whom do you do this? For a vagabond, a straggler, not noted in the world by birth or name, an obscure peasant, by the rage of hell loosed from his chains to set great Kings at strife.

“What nobleman, what common man of note, what ordinary subject has come in to join your side, since first you set foot on our territories, to even pretend you have a welcome?

“Children laugh at your proclamations, and the wiser people pity so great a potentate’s being taken advantage of by one who deceives completely with the fawning behavior and newness of an instructed compliment — he had to be taught how to act toward royalty rather than learning naturally through being born royal.

“Such spoils, such slaughters as the rapine of your soldiers already have committed, is enough to show your zeal in an imagined just cause. Yet, great King, don’t wake my master’s vengeance but instead shake off that viper that gnaws your entrails.”

This society believed that the offspring of vipers gnawed their way out of their mother’s body. Vipers were symbols of ingratitude.

The Bishop of Durham continued, “I and my fellow-subjects are resolved, if you persist, to withstand your utmost fury until our last drop of blood falls from us.”

Perkin Warbeck said to King James IV, “Oh, sir, lend no ear to this traducer and slanderer of my honor!”

He said to the Bishop of Durham, “What shall I call thee, thou gray-bearded scandal, who kicks against the sovereign — me — to whom thou owes allegiance?”

He then said to King James IV, “Treason is bold-faced and eloquent in mischief. Sacred King, be deaf to his known malice.”

The Bishop of Durham continued to ignore Perkin Warbeck as he said to King James IV, “Rather yield to those holy impulses that inspire the sacred heart of an anointed body.”

During their coronations, Kings were anointed with oil.

He continued, “It is the surest policy in princes to govern well their own than seek encroachment upon another’s right.”

King James IV of Scotland thought hard.

“The King is serious, deep in his thoughts,” the Earl of Crawford said quietly to Lord Dalyell.

“May his better genius lift his thoughts up to Heaven!” Lord Dalyell replied quietly.

A genius is a protective spirit: a guardian angel.

“Can you ponder while such a devil raves?” Perkin Warbeck said. “Oh, sir!”

“Well, bishop, you’ll not be drawn to mercy?” King James IV asked.

“Construe me in like case by a subject of your own,” the Bishop of Durham said. “I am acting as you would expect one of your own subjects to act in a similar situation.

“My resolution’s fixed. I will remain loyal to my King: Henry VII.

“King James IV, be advised: A greater fate waits on thee. You were born to do better and greater things than this.”

TheBishop of Durham and his soldiers exited from the walls.

King James IV of Scotland said, “Plunder through the country; spare no prey of life or goods.”

“Oh, sir, then give me leave to yield to natural feelings and weep,” Perkin Warbeck said. “I am most miserable. Had I been born what this clergyman would by defamation baffle and confound belief with, I would have never sought the truth of my inheritance with women raped, infants murdered, virgins deflowered, old men butchered, dwellings fired, my land depopulated, and my people afflicted with a kingdom’s devastation! Show more pity, great King, or I shall never endure to see such havoc with dry eyes. Spare, spare, my dear, dear England!”

King James IV replied, “You make your piety foolish by being ridiculously anxious about an interest another man possesses. Where’s your faction? Where are your supporters? Shrewdly the Bishop of Durham guessed the ‘support’ of your adherents. When not a citizen of some town, no, not a villager has yet appeared in your assistance, that should make you whine, and not your country’s suffering, as you term it.”

Not one Englishman had come out to support Perkin Warbeck’s claim to the throne of England.

“The King is angry,” Lord Dalyell said.

“And the overly emotional Duke is effeminately grieving,” the Earl of Crawford replied.

Perkin Warbeck said, “The experience in former trials, sir, both of my own or of other princes cast out of their thrones, have so acquainted me with how misery is destitute of friends or of relief, that I can easily submit to taste and experience the lowest reproof — the basest ignominy — without contempt or angry words.”

“A humble-minded man!” King James IV said sarcastically.

Frion entered the scene.

King James IV asked him, “Now, what news does Master Secretary Frion bring?”

“King Henry VII of England has in open field overthrown the armies of the Cornish rebels who opposed him in the right of this young prince: Perkin Warbeck,” Frion said.

“His taxes, you mean,” King James IV said.

He knew that the Cornish rebels had not risen up in support of Perkin Warbeck’s claim to the throne, but rather they had rebelled because of excessive taxation.

“Do you have more news?” King James IV asked.

“Howard, Earl of Surrey, backed by twelve earls and barons of the north, a hundred knights and gentlemen of name, and twenty thousand soldiers, is at hand to raise your siege. Baron Willoughby de Broke, with a splendid navy, is admiral at sea; and Giles Dawbeney follows with an intact and undefeated army in support.”

“That is false!” Perkin Warbeck said. “They come to side with us.”

King James IV immediately showed that he did not believe Perkin Warbeck.

“Retreat,” he ordered. “We shall not find them stones and walls to cope with. Fighting them will be more difficult than laying siege to a castle.”

He then said to Perkin Warbeck, “Yet, Duke of York, for such thou say thou are, I’ll try thy fortune to the height: I will test your luck to the utmost.”

Previously, King James IV had used the respectful “you” when talking to Perkin Warbeck; now he used the less respectful “thou.” Previously, King James IV had shown that he believed that Perkin Warbeck was the Duke of York; now he said, “Duke of York, for such thou say thou are.”

King James IV of Scotlandadded, “By my herald Marchmont, I will send a brave challenge for single combat between the Earl of Surrey and me; for once a King will risk his person fighting against an Earl, with the condition of spilling less blood: The soldiers will not fight and shed their blood. Surrey is bold, and James IV is resolved.”

“Oh, rather, gracious sir, advance me to this glory and give me the honor of fighting the single combat, since my cause is involved in this fair quarrel,” Perkin Warbeck said. “Even valued at the least, I am King Henry VII’s equal.”

“I will be the man,” King James IV said.

He then ordered, “March quietly off.

“Where victory can reap a harvest crowned with triumph, toil is cheap.”

***

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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Act 3, Scene 2

— 3.2 —

TheEarl of Huntley and Lord Dalyell talked together in the palace at Edinburgh. The wedding of Perkin Warbeck and Lady Katherine was being celebrated.

The Earl of Huntley and Lord Dalyell were both unhappy, but only the Earl of Huntley was putting on a grotesque imitation of a happy man.

“Now, sir, a modest word with you, sad gentleman,” the Earl of Huntley said to Lord Dalyell. “Isn’t this fine, I suppose, to see the gambols, hear the jigs, observe the frisks, be enchanted with the excellent discord of bells, pipes, and the small drums called tabors and the confused hotch-potch of Scotch and Irish twingling-twangling harpists, which are similarto so many insane choristers at Bedlam Hospital singing a round of a song!

“The feasts, the manly, hearty appetites, the pledging of healths in usquebaugh, aka whisky, and bonny-clabber, aka beer and buttermilk, the ale in dishes never fetched from China, the hundred-thousand delicacies not to be spoken of — and all this for King Oberon and Queen Mab of the fairies — should put a soul into you.”

Perkin Warbeck and Lady Katherine were figuratively King Oberon and Queen Mab of the fairies.

The Earl of Huntley continued, “Look, good man, how youthful I am grown, but if you don’t mind my saying so, this new Queen-bride must henceforth be no more my daughter — no, by our lady, it is unfit.

“And yet you see how I bear this change. I think I do so courageously, and so you should then shake off your cares and worries in such a time of jollity.”

“Alas, sir,” Lord Dalyell replied, “how can you cast a mist upon and cover up your griefs?

“Your griefs, howsoever you conceal them in shadow, still present to any judging eye the perfect substance of grief, of which my griefs are but counterfeits.”

“Bah, Dalyell!” the Earl of Huntley said. “Thou interrupt the part I bear in music to this rare bridal-feast. Let us be merry, while flattering calms make us feel overconfident about storms. Tempests, when they begin to roar, put out the light of peace and cloud the sun’s bright eye in darkness of despair; as of right now, we are safe.”

Mist, which is less dense than fog, conceals grief, but a tempest blots out the sun and causes grief. A light mistiness in the eyes can conceal grief, but a tempest of tears reveals grief.

“I wish you could as easily forget the justice of your sorrows as my hopes can yield to destiny,” Lord Dalyell said.

“Bah!” the Earl of Huntley said. “Then I see thou do not know the flexible condition of my apt — and aped — nature.”

His nature was apt in that it could adapt to bad conditions — or so he claimed. It was aped in that it was imitative: He did not feel happy, but he was imitating — badly — a happy man.

The Earl of Huntley continued:

“I can laugh, laugh heartily, when the gout cramps my joints.

“Just let the kidney stone stop in my bladder, and I am immediately singing.

“The quartan-fever that strikes every fourth day, shrinking every limb, sets me capering and dancing right away.

“Betray me, and you bind me as a friend forever.

“Indeed, I trust that the losing of a daughter, although I doted on every hair that grew to trim her head, does not allow the presence of any pain like one of these.

“Come, thou are deceived in me when you think that I feel pain and grief.

“Give me a blow, a sound blow on the face, and I’ll thank thee for it.

“I love the wrongs that are done to me. Thou are deceived in me if you think that I do not.”

He was saying that he felt no pain and no grief.

It was more accurate, however, to say that no other pain and grief could compare to the pain and grief of losing his daughter. The pain and grief of losing his daughter made every other pain and grief seem pleasurable.

“Deceived!” Lord Dalyell said. “Oh, noble Huntley, my few years have learnt experience of too ripe an age to forfeit fit credulity. I know what is believable and what is unbelievable.

“I do not believe that you feel no pain and no grief.

“Forgive my rudeness; I am bold.”

He was rude and bold because he was calling the Earl of Huntley — an older man — a liar.

The Earl of Huntley said, “Forgive me first a madness of ambition.

“Through your example teach me humility, for patience and calmness scorn lectures, which schoolmen are accustomed to read to boys who are incapable of injuries.”

Schoolboys are too young to have daughters old enough to be married to an impostor by the King, and so they are incapable of being injured by such a deed.

In order to learn how to deal with such a bad situation as this, it would take the example of another person. Simply hearing advice about how to deal with such a calamity is worthless. In such a bad situation, the positive example of someone with experience is much more worthwhile.

The Earl of Huntley continued, “Although I am old, I could grow tough in fury, and disclaim allegiance to my King. I could fall at odds with all my fellow peers who dared not stand up as defenders against the rape done on my honor.

“But Kings are earthly gods, so there is no meddling with their anointed bodies; as for their actions, Kings are accountable only to Heaven.

“Yet in the puzzle of my troubled brain, one antidote’s kept in reserve against the poison of my temporary madness; it lies in thee to apply the antidote.”

“Name it,” Lord Dalyell said. “Oh, name it quickly, sir! Tell me what the antidote is!”

“The antidote is a pardon for my most foolish slighting thy deserts; I have culled out this time to beg your pardon. Please, be generous; had I been so, thou had owned a happy bride, but now she is a castaway, and she is never a child of mine anymore.”

The Earl of Huntley now regretted not using his power as a father to make his daughter marry Lord Dalyell, and he was begging Lord Dalyell to forgive him. Because the Earl of Huntley had been ambitious for a socially reputable marriage for his daughter, he had missed the opportunity to have her married to a good man: Lord Dalyell.

“Don’t say that, sir,” Lord Dalyell said. “Lady Katherine is not at fault here.”

“The world would prate about how she was beautiful,” the Earl of Huntley said. “I know she was young, tender, and sweet in her obedience. But she is lost now. What a bankrupt am I now, fallen from a full stock of blessings!

“Must I hope for a mercy from thy heart?”

“You shall receive it,” Lord Dalyell said. “You shall receive a love, a service, and a friendship to posterity.”

“May good angels reward thy charity!” the Earl of Huntley replied. “I have nothing more except prayers left to me now.”

“I’ll lend you mirth, sir, if you will be in harmony with me and with yourself,” Lord Dalyell said.

No such mirth would be forthcoming. Such harmony was not possible at this time. At best, they could endure their sorrow together.

“Thank you truly,” the Earl of Huntley said. “I must; yes, yes, I must.

“Here’s yet some ease: a partner in affliction. Do not look angry.”

“Good, noble sir!” Lord Dalyell said.

He was not angry; instead, he felt pity.

Trumpets sounded.

“Oh, listen!” the Earl of Huntley said. “We must be quiet. The King and all the others are coming.

“Here is a meeting of festive sights. This day is the last of the revels.

“Tomorrow sounds of war; then we will see a new exchange: Fiddles must turn to swords.

“Unhappy marriage!”

Trumpets again sounded.

King James IV, Perkin Warbeck and Lady Katherine, the Earl of Crawford and his Countess, and Jane Douglas and other ladies entered the scene.

The Earl of Huntley and Lord Dalyell fell in among them.

King James IV said to Perkin Warbeck, “Cousin of York, you and your princely bride have liberally enjoyed such soft delights as a new-married couple could anticipate, nor has our generosity shorted expectation.But after all those pleasures of repose, of amorous safety, we must rouse the ease of dalliance with achievements of more glory than sloth and sleep can furnish; yet, for farewell, we gladly entertain a truce with time in order to grace the joint endeavors of our servants.”

Perkin Warbeck replied, “My royal cousin, in your princely favor the extent of bounty has been so unlimited that an acknowledgment in words only would breed suspicion of our state and quality. When we shall, in the fullness of our Fate — completed by its minister, Necessity — sit on our own throne as King of England, then our arms, laid open in gratitude, in sacred memory of these large benefits, shall entwine our benefactors closely, even to our thoughts and heart, without distinction. Then James IV and Richard IV, being in effect one person, shall unite and rule one people, divisible in titles only.”

Perkin Warbeck was saying that he would thank King James IV of Scotland with more than words when he became King Richard IV of England. His thanks would include peace between England and Scotland and a close relationship with King James IV of Scotland.

“Be seated,” King James IV said.

He then asked, “Are the performers ready?”

“All are entering,” the Earl of Crawford replied.

“Dainty entertainment is approaching, Dalyell!” the Earl of Huntley said. “Sit; come, sit. Sit and be quiet; here are kingly bug’s-words!”

Bug’s-words were the pompous, overly courtly words that the Earl of Huntley expected to be spoken by Perkin Warbeck.

Four grotesque performers costumed as Scotchmen entered through one door. Warbeck’s followers, costumed as four long-haired wild Irishmen in trousers, entered through another door.

Music played, and the performers danced.

“To all a general thanks!” King James IV said.

“In the next room put on your own clothing again; you shall receive the particular and individual acknowledgment of a gift of money,” Perkin Warbeck said.

Theperformers exited.

“Enough of merriments,” King James IV said.

He then asked, “Crawford, how far’s our army upon the march?”

“The soldiers are at Hedonhall, great King,” the Earl of Crawford answered. “They number twelve thousand well-prepared soldiers.”

“Crawford, tonight travel there posthaste,” King James IV said. “We in person, with the prince, by four o’clock tomorrow after dinner will be with you; speed away!”

“I fly, my lord,” the Earl of Crawford said, and then he exited.

“Our business grows to a head — a critical point — now,” King James IV said to Perkin Warbeck. “Where’s Frion, your secretary? Why isn’t he present to serve you?”

“He is with Marchmont, your herald,” Perkin Warbeck replied.

“Good,” King James IV said. “The proclamation’s ready. By that it will appear how the English feel about your title.”

The purpose of the proclamation was to announce publicly to the English that their true King — Perkin Warbeck — was coming. The reaction to the proclamation would help King James IV and Perkin Warbeck gauge the English reaction to Perkin Warbeck: Did they support him or not?

“Huntley, comfort your daughter in her husband’s absence,” King James IV said. “Fight with prayers at home for us, who for your honors must toil in fight abroad.”

“Prayers are the weapons that men so near their graves as I am use,” the Earl of Huntley said. “I’ve little else to do.”

“To rest, young beauties!” King James IV said.

He added, “We must be early stirring; we must quickly part. A kingdom’s rescue craves both speed and art.”

The kingdom being “rescued” and returned to its “true King” was England.

“Art” in this context meant “skill and cunning.”

“Cousins, goodnight,” King James IV said to Perkin Warbeck and Lady Katherine.

“We wish rest to our cousin-King,” Perkin Warbeck said.

“Your blessing, sir,” Lady Katherine said to her father.

The Earl of Huntley said, “Fair blessings on your highness! To be sure, you need them.”

Everyone except PerkinWarbeck, Lady Katherine, and Jane Douglas exited.

“Jane, set the lights down, and from us give to the performers in the next room this little purse of money,” Perkin Warbeck said, giving her money. “Tell them that we’ll deserve their loves.”

Jane Douglas replied, “It shall be done, sir,” and then she exited.

Now Perkin Warbeck and his new wife, Lady Katherine, were alone.

He said, “Now, dearest, before sweet sleep shall seal your eyes, which are love’s precious taper — lights — give me permission to engage in a parting ceremony now; for tomorrow it would be sacrilege to intrude upon the temple of thy peace. Swift as the morning I must break from the soft down of thy embraces in order to put on hard steel and tread the paths that lead through various hazards to a full-of-worries throne.”

“Down” consists of the soft feathers of a bird. Lady Katherine’s embraces were soft.

“My lord, I’d be delighted to go with you,” Lady Katherine said. “There’s little benefit in staying behind here.”

“The churlish brow of war, fair dearest, is a sight of horror when it comes to ladies’ entertainment,” Perkin Warbeck said.

He did not want her to witness war.

He continued, “If thou should hear a report of my sad ending by the hand of some English subject who against nature fights against his true King, thou in addition shall hear how I died worthy of my right to the crown by falling like a King; and in the close of my life, my last breath shall sound this cadence: thy name.

“Thy name, thou fairest, shall sing a requiem to my soul, unwilling to move on only to greater glory, because in the Heavenly Paradise it will be divided from such a Heaven on Earth as life with thee.

“But these are chimes for funerals. My business now turns to fortune of a sprightlier triumph: For love and majesty are reconciled, and both of them vow to crown thee Empress of the west.”

“You have a noble language, sir,” Lady Katherine said. “Your right in me is without question, and however events of time may shorten my deservings of others’ pity, yet it shall not stagger and daunteither constancy or duty in a wife.”

Events could quickly make her deserving of others’ pity if her husband were to soon die on the battlefield.

She concluded, “You must be King of me; and my poor heart is all I can call mine.”

“But we will live, live, beauteous virtue, by the living proof of our own blood, to let the counterfeit be known as the world’s object of contempt,” Perkin Warbeck said.

He meant the word “counterfeit” to mean King Henry VII, but it accurately referred to himself.

“Please, do not use that word,” Lady Katherine said. “It carries fate in it.”

She added, “I now make the first request I ever made to you, and I trust that your love for me will grant it.”

“I will make no denial, dearest.”

“My request is that hereafter, if you return safely, no adventure may sever us in tasting and experiencing any fortune,” Lady Katherine said. “I never can stay behind again.”

“You’re lady of your desires, and you shall command whatever you will,” Perkin Warbeck said. “Yet it is too hard to promise.”

“What our destinies have decreed in their books we must not probe and examine, but kneel to,” Lady Katherine said. “We must accept what is written in the Book of Fate.”

“Then to fear when hope is fruitless would be to be desperately miserable,” Perkin Warbeck said. “This poverty of spirit our greatness dares not dream of, and much more our greatness scorns to stoop to.

“Some few minutes remain yet before I go; let’s be thriving and successful in our hopes.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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Dante’s DIVINE COMEDY: A Retelling in Prose

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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Act 3, Scene 1

— 3.1 —

King Henry VII, wearing his gorget (armor protecting the throat) and carrying his sword, plume of feathers for his headgear, and truncheon (staff representing command), talked with Christopher Urswick in the palace at Westminster. On this day, 17 June 1497, King Henry VII’s army would meet the Cornish rebels in the Battle of Deptford Bridge (also known as the Battle of Blackheath).

“How runs the time of day?” King Henry VII asked. “What time is it?”

“Past ten, my lord,” Christopher Urswick answered.

“A bloody hour will it prove to some whose disobedience, like the sons of the earth, throws a defiance against the face of Heaven,” King Henry VII said.

The sons of the earth were the mythological Giants, who rebelled — unsuccessfully — against the Olympian gods.

King Henry VII said, “Oxford, with Essex and brave De la Pole, have quieted the Londoners, I hope, and set them safe from fear.”

King Henry VII had sent these men and their soldiers to oppose the rebels.

“The Londoners are all silent,” Christopher Urswick said.

“From their own battlements — the city walls — they may behold the big open space of Saint George’s fields overspread with armed men, among whom our own royal standard threatens destruction to opposers. We must learn to practice war again in time of peace, or lay our crown before our subjects’ feet, Urswick, mustn’t we?”

“The armed forces who seated King Henry VII — you — on his lawful throne will forever rise up in his defense,” Christopher Urswick said.

“Rage and violence shall not frighten the bosom of our confidence,” King Henry VII said. “Our Cornish rebels, deceived in their hopes of getting aid in Kent, met brave resistance there by that country’s Earl, George Abergeny, and by Cobham, Poynings, Guilford, and other loyal hearts.

“Now, if Blackheath must be preserved in order to be the fatal tomb to swallow such stiff-necked, obstinate, downtrodden people as with weary marches have travelled from their homes, their wives, and children, to pay, instead of taxes, their lives, we may continue as sovereign. Yet, Urswick, we’ll not abate one penny of what in Parliament has freely been contributed; we must not. Money gives soul to action.

“Our competitor, the Flemish counterfeit, with King James IV of Scotland, will prove through experience what courage can be nourished by need and want, lacking the food of fit supplies.”

King Henry VII believed that soon Perkin Warbeck would learn through experience that unsatisfied need and shortage of supplies take away courage. Well-equipped, well-nourished soldiers fight more courageously.

He continued, “But, Urswick, I have a secret charm that shall unloose the witchcraft wherewith young King James IV is bound, and free it at my pleasure without bloodshed.”

Skilled at political maneuvering, King Henry VII was saying that he had a secret plan that would make King James IV of Scotland abandon Perkin Warbeck.

“Your majesty’s a wise King sent from Heaven, the Protector of the just,” Christopher Urswick replied.

“Let dinner cheerfully be served in,” King Henry VII said. “This day of the week is ours, our day of providence; for Saturday has never yet failed in all my undertakings to yield me rest at night.”

Saturday was his lucky day.

Trumpets sounded.

King Henry VII asked, “What is the meaning of this warning? Good fate, speak peace to Henry VII!”

Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney, the Earl of Oxford, and some attendants entered the scene.

“Live the King, triumphant in the ruin of his enemies!”Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney said.

“The head of strong rebellion is cut off, and the body hewed in pieces,” the Earl of Oxford said.

“Giles Dawbeney, Oxford, favorites to noblest fortunes, how yet stands the comfort of your wishes?” King Henry VII asked. “What has happened in the battle?”

“Briefly thus,” Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney said.“The Cornish under Audley, disappointed in their exaggerated expectation of aid from the Kentish — who are your majesty’s right-trusty liegemen and faithful subjects — flew, feathered and winged by rage and heartened by presumption, to take the field even at your palace-gates, and face you in your royal chamber. Arrogance aggravated their ignorance; for they, supposing, misled by rumor, that the day of battle would fall on Monday, they instead defied your armed forces with bravado rather than feared any onset of battle.”

King Henry VII had spread the rumor that he would attack on Monday; instead, he had attacked two days earlier, on Saturday.

Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney continued, “Yet this morning, when in the dawning I, by your direction, strove to get Deptford-strand bridge, there I found such a resistance as might show what strength could make. Arrows hailed in showers upon us a full yard long at least, but we prevailed.”

The arrows were shot from longbows.

He continued, “My Lord of Oxford circling round the hill with his fellow peers, fell fiercely on them on the one side, and I on the other, until, great sir — pardon my oversight — eager of doing some memorable act, I was engaged almost a prisoner, but was freed as soon as became sensible of danger.”

He was unclear in his speech due to glossing over his error: He had attempted to do a notable deed on the battlefield, and almost became a prisoner (actually, he was briefly captured), but when he and/or other soldiers on his side became aware of the danger, he moved away from the danger (actually, the enemy freed him, perhaps because they were losing the battle and were hoping for clemency after the battle).

Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney continued, “Now the fight began in heat, which was then quenched in the blood of two thousand rebels. As many more rebels are reserved to test your mercy — they are our prisoners. This battle has brought back a victory with safety.”

“Have we lost a number of soldiers equal to the number the rebels lost?” King Henry VII asked.

“In the total we have lost scarcely four hundred,” the Earl of Oxford said.

He added, “Audley, Flammock, and Joseph — the ringleaders of this rebellion — are tied up in a line in ropes, which are fit ornaments for traitors since ropes can be used as nooses. They await your sentencing.”

King Henry VII said, “We must pay our thanks where they are alone due, to God and Heaven.

“Oh, lords, here is no victory, nor shall our people conceive that we can triumph in their falls. Alas, poor souls! Let such as have escaped steal back to the country without pursuit. There’s not a drop of blood spilt but has drawn as much of mine; their swords could have wrought wonders on their King’s part — their swords that half-heartily were unsheathed against their prince, but which wounded their own breasts.

“Lords, we are debtors to your care; our payment shall be both sure and befitting your merit.”

Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney asked, “Sir, will you please to see those rebels who were the heads and leaders of this wild monster-like multitude?”

King Henry VII replied, “Dear friend, my faithful Giles Dawbeney, no.”

King Henry VII had been merciful to the common soldiers, but he would not be merciful to their leaders.

He continued, “On the leaders, our justice must frown in terror. I will not deign to cast an eye of pity on them. Let false, traitorous Audley be drawn upon a hurdle — a frame or sled — from the Newgate Prison to Tower Hill in his own coat of arms painted on paper, with the arms reversed, defaced and torn; there let him lose his head.”

Nobles such as Lord Audley were beheaded after being found guilty of treason. Commoners suffered different fates.

King Henry VII continued, “The lawyer and the blacksmith shall be hanged and cut into four quarters; their quarters shall be sent into Cornwall to be examples to the rest, whom we are pleased to pardon and dismiss from further pursuit and from further judicial inquiry.”

He then ordered, “My Lord of Oxford, see that it is done.”

“I shall, sir,” the Earl of Oxford replied.

“Urswick!” King Henry VII said.

“My lord?” he replied.

“Say to Dinham, our High Treasurer, that we command commissions be newly granted for the collection of our taxes through all the west, and that very speedily.”

He was sending tax collectors to Cornwall.

King Henry VII then said, “Lords, we acknowledge our obligations due for your most constant and loyal services.”

Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney gave credit where credit was due — the common soldiers had fought well: “Your soldiers have manfully and faithfully acquitted their several and individual duties.”

“And for it we will throw a largess — a gift of money — freely among them, which shall hearten and encourage their loyalties,” King Henry VII said. “More yet remains of this kind of employment; not a man can be dismissed until our enemies abroad — Perkin Warbeck and his supporters — who are more dangerous than these at home, have felt the puissance and force of our arms.

“Oh, happy are the Kings whose thrones are raised in their subjects’ hearts!”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE’S COMPLETE PLAYS: RETELLINGS

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***

Dante’s DIVINE COMEDY: A Retelling in Prose

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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Act 2, Scene 3

— 2.3 —

The Earl of Crawford and Lord Dalyell talked together in an apartment in the palace at Edinburgh. Neither man believed that Perkin Warbeck was the Duke of York.

“It is more than strange,” the Earl of Crawford said. “My reason cannot answer such an argument made from fine imposture, expressed in such a witchcraft of persuasion that it fashions impossibilities as if appearance could deceive truth itself.”

He was saying that he could not rationally believe that Perkin Warbeck had succeeded in making King James IV believe that he, Perkin Warbeck, was the Duke of York and the rightful heir to the English throne.

He added, “This dukeling mushroom has doubtless charmed and put a spell on the King.”

The word “mushroom” was used to describe someone who came out of nowhere to achieve high status. The word was appropriate because mushrooms grow overnight.

According to the Earl of Crawford, the best explanation for King James IV’s belief in Perkin Warbeck was that Perkin Warbeck had put a magic spell on him.

Lord Dalyell said, “He courts the ladies as if his strength of language chained attention by power of prerogative — by the privilege of royalty.”

“It maddened my very soul to hear our master King James IV’s proposal,” the Earl of Crawford said.

King James IV wanted to marry a high-ranking Scottish woman to Perkin Warbeck. This was a way of ensuring loyalty between two Kings and peace between two countries.

The Earl of Crawford continued, “What guarantee both of friendship and honor must of necessity ensue upon a match between some noble of our nation and this ‘brave prince,’ indeed!”

“It will prove too fatal,” Lord Dalyell said. “Wise Huntley fears the threatening. May God bless and protect the lady from such a ruin!”

Events would show that the lady being mentioned as a wife for Perkin Warbeck was Lady Katherine, the Earl of Huntley’s daughter.

The Earl of Crawford said, “How the ‘Privy Council’ of this young Phaëthon screw their faces into a gravity their trades, good people, were never guilty of! The meanest of them dreams of at least an office in the state.”

Phaëthon went to his father, the god Apollo, and asked to be allowed to drive the Sun-chariot across the sky and bring light to the world. But Phaëthon, doomed youth, was unable to control the stallions, and they ran wildly away with the Sun-chariot, wreaking havoc and destruction upon Humankind and the world by making the chariot come so close to the Earth that it set the Earth on fire. The King of the gods, Jupiter, saved Humankind and the world by throwing a thunderbolt at Phaëthon and killing him.

By calling Perkin Warbeck “Phaëthon,” the Earl of Crawford was saying the he had suddenly risen high but that the rise would end with a sudden fall.

The use of “Privy Council” to refer to Perkin Warbeck’s followers was also ironic. The members of the Privy Council were a King’s closest and most trusted advisors. To the Earl of Crawford, Perkin Warbeck’s followers were greedy, ambitious common people.

“Surely, they don’t seek the hangman’s office,” Lord Dalyell said. “That office is already spoken for — the executioner will do service to their rogueships.”

Lord Dalyell agreed with the Earl of Crawford that Perkin Warbeck’s followers were greedy, ambitious lowlifes, and so he used “rogueships” rather than “lordships” to refer to them.

Seeing King James IV and the Earl of Huntley coming, Lord Dalyell said, “Silence!”

King James IV and the Earl of Huntley arrived. The Earl of Huntley had been trying to convince the King that Perkin Warbeck was a fraud. The Earl of Huntley certainly did not want his daughter — Lady Katherine — to marry a fraud.

“Do not argue against our will,” King James IV said, using the royal plural. “We have descended somewhat — as we may term it — too familiarly and unceremoniously from the justice of our birthright, to examinethe strength of your allegiance — sir, we have — but we find the strength of your allegiance short of duty.”

“Break my heart,” the Earl of Huntley said. “Do, do, King! Have my services, my loyalty — Heaven knows that they are always untainted — draw upon me contempt now in my old age, when I lacked only a minute before I enjoyed a peace that would not be troubled — my last peace, my long peace that will follow my death! Let me be a dotard, a senile old man, a bedlamite, a madman, a poor sot, or whatever you please to have me, so long as you will not stain your blood, your own blood, royal sir, though mixed with mine, by marriage of this girl — Katherine, my daughter — to a vagabond. Take, take my head, sir — as long as my tongue can wag, it cannot call him — Perkin Warbeck — anything other than a vagabond.”

“Kings are counterfeits in your opinion, grave oracle, if they are not here and now set on their thrones with scepters in their fists,” King James IV said. “But perpetuate your own loss of reputation; it is our pleasure to give our cousin York our kinswoman the Lady Katherine as his wife. My royal instinct that Perkin Warbeck is truly of royal birth points out the honor that she shall be married to, although you, her peevish father, are attempting to usurp our already-made decision and want to make a different decision regarding her.”

“Oh, it is well, exceeding well!” the Earl of Huntley said. “I never was ambitious of using congees — bowing ceremonially — to my daughter-Queen. A Queen? Perhaps a quean!”

A quean is a whore.

The Earl of Huntley said to Lord Dalyell, whom he knew loved Lady Katherine and would not want to hear her called a whore, “Forgive me, Dalyell, thou honorable gentleman.”

He then asked, “Does anyone here dare to speak even one word to support what I am saying?”

“Cruel misery!” Lord Dalyell said.

“The lady, gracious prince, maybe has settled her affection on some former choice,” the Earl of Crawford said. “She may love someone other than Perkin Warbeck.”

“Forcing her to marry someone would prove to be tyranny,” Lord Dalyell said.

“I thank you heartily for speaking up,” the Earl of Huntley said. “Let any yeoman — any respectable commoner landowner — of our nation demand as a right an interest in the girl. If that should happen, then the King may add a marriage settlement of promotion in titles, worthy a free consent; but now he pulls down what old merit and desert have built.”

The Earl of Huntley believed that if a yeoman were to want to marry Lady Katherine, King James IV could make the marriage desirable by giving honorable titles to the yeoman and raising his social status, but by making Lady Katherine marry Perkin Warbeck, he was lowering her because although Perkin Warbeck appeared to be noble, his “nobility” would disappear as soon as he were revealed to be an imposter.

Of course, the Earl of Huntley vastly preferred Lord Dalyell rather than Perkin Warbeck as a husband for his daughter. That could happen if King James IV were to give honorable titles to Lord Dalyell.

“Cease your attempts at persuasion,” King James IV said. “I violate no pawns of faith, no pledges of betrothal, and no promises of marriage, and I do not intrude on private loves.”

King James IV was unaware that Lord Dalyell loved Lady Katherine.

He continued, “Virtuous Kate’s consent can justify my having played the orator for the kingly Duke of York: She can give her consent to handing over her future happiness to a husband of our providing. The Welsh Harry henceforth shall therefore know, and tremble to acknowledge, that the counterfeit idol of his political machinations shall not frighten the lawful owner from a kingdom. We are resolved — we have made up our mind.”

The Welsh Harry was King Henry VII, whose family — the Tudors — had Welsh origins. King Henry VII’s grandfather, Owen Tudor, was Welsh. King James IV of Scotland, like Perkin Warbeck, declined to call Henry the King of England.

“Some of thy subjects’ hearts, King James, will bleed for this,” the Earl of Huntley said.

Backing Perkin Warbeck’s claim to be King of England meant war against King Henry VII.

“Then their bloods shall be nobly spent,” King James IV said.

Using the royal plural, he said, “No more disputes; whoever contradicts us is not our friend.”

“Farewell, daughter!” the Earl of Huntley said. “My care by one is lessened — I thank the King for it. I and my griefs will dance now.”

Several people entered the scene. Perkin Warbeck led them as he and Lady Katherine held hands and exchanged courteous words. The others were the Countess of Crawford, Jane Douglas, Frion, Astley, John a-Water, Heron, and Skelton.

“Look, lords, look,” the Earl of Huntley said. “Here they are, hand in hand already!”

King James IV said to the Earl of Huntley, “Silence, old frenzied man!”

He then said about Perkin Warbeck, “How like a King he looks! Lords, just observe the confidence of his aspect; dross cannot cleave to so pure a metal — royal youth! Plantagenet undoubted!”

When metal is purified, the impurities known as dross are left behind.

The Earl of Huntley said sarcastically to himself, “Ho, splendid! Youth, but no Plantagenet, by our lady the Virgin Mary, yet, whether by the red rose or by the white rose.”

In the Wars of the Roses, the emblem of the Yorkists was the white rose, while the emblem of the Lancastrians was the red rose. Margaret of Burgundy was a Yorkist, while King Henry VII was a Lancastrian through the female line. The Earl of Huntley believed that Perkin Warbeck was a fraud and therefore had no rose of either color as an emblem. Both the Yorkists and the Lancastrians were Plantagenets.

Perkin Warbecksaid to Lady Katherine, “A union between us settles possession in a monarchy of love — this possession will be established as rightly as is my inheritance of the crown of England. Acknowledge me as sovereign of this kingdom that is your heart, fair princess, and the hand of Providence shall crown you Queen of me and my best fortunes.”

“That is where my obedience is a duty, my lord,” Lady Katherine replied. “Love owes true service.”

“Shall I?” Perkin Warbeck asked the King.

He meant, “Shall I marry her?”

“Cousin, yes,” King James IV answered. “Enjoy her; from my hand accept your bride.”

King James IV joined their handstogether, and then said, “And may all who grieve at such an equal pledge of marriage vows live at enmity with comfort!”

He then said to Lady Katherine, “You are the prince’s wife now.”

“By your gift, sir,” Lady Katherine said.

“Thus I take seizure of my own,” Perkin Warbeck said.

“I lack yet a father’s blessing,” Lady Katherine said. “Let me find it.”

She knelt and said, “Humbly upon my knees I seek it.”

Her father, the Earl of Huntley, said, “I am Huntley, old Alexander Gordon, a plain subject, neither more nor less; and, lady, if you wish for a blessing, you must bend your knees to Heaven, for Heaven did give you to me.

“Alas, alas — what would you have me say?

“May all the happiness my prayers ever asked to fall upon you preserve you in your virtues!”

Lady Katherine rose.

“Please, Dalyell, come with me,” the Earl of Huntley said, “for I feel thy griefs are as great as mine; let’s steal away and cry together.”

“My hopes are in their ruins,” Lord Dalyell said.

TheEarl of Huntley and Lord Dalyellexited.

“Good, kind Huntley is overjoyed,” King James IV said. “A fitting ceremonial observance shall perfect these delights.

“Crawford, await our order for the preparation of the fitting ceremonial observance.”

Everyone exitedexcept Frion, Heron, Skelton, John a-Water, and Astley. These were Perkin Warbeck’s followers and advisors.

“Now, worthy gentlemen,” Frion said, “haven’t I followed my undertakings with success? Here’s entrance into a certainty above a hope.”

The entrance was into King James IV’s court. The certainty was of success, and certainty of success was better than a hope of success.

The other followers’ language used the words of the trades they had learned.

John Heron, a dealer in textile fabrics, said, “Hopes are but hopes; I was always confident, when I traded just in remnants of cloth, that my stars had reserved me for the title of a Viscount at least. Honor is honor, whatever materials it is cut out of.”

Edward Skelton, a tailor, said, “My brother Heron has very wisely delivered his opinion, for he who threads his needle with the sharp eyes of industry shall in time go like a through-stitch goes through cloth with the new suit of preferment and advancement.”

“That was spoken to the purpose, my fine-witted brother Skelton,” Nicholas Astley, a legal clerk, said, “for as no indenture, aka contract, but has its counterpane, aka counterpart or copy of a contract, no noverint, aka contract,but his condition, aka way of validating a contract, or defeasance, aka way of nullifying a contract, so no right but may have claim, no claim but may have possession, any act of Parliament to the contrary notwithstanding.”

The noverint(legal bond or contract) got its name from the opening Latin words of the legal document: noverint universi. This means, “Let everyone know.”

Frion said, “You are all read and learned in mysteries of state, and you are all quick of understanding, deep in judgment, and active in resolution; and it is a pity that such counsel should lie buried in obscurity.

“But why, in such a time and cause of triumph, stands the judicious Mayor of Cork so silent? Believe it, sir, as English Richard prospers, you must not miss out on employment of a high nature.”

The “English Richard” Frion mentioned was Perkin Warbeck, who was impersonating Richard, the Duke of York.

John a-Water, a politician, said, “If men may be credited in their mortality — that is, if merely mortal men may be believed — which I dare not peremptorily aver but they may or may not be, presumptions by this marriage are then, truly, of fruitful expectation. Or else I must not justify and uphold other men’s belief, more than others should rely on mine.”

“Pith of experience!” Frion said. “Those who have borne office weigh every word before it can drop from them. But, noble counselors, since now the present circumstances require in point of honor — please don’t misunderstand me — some service to our lord, it is fitting that the Scots should not monopolize all the glory to themselves at this so grand and eminent solemnity — the wedding of Perkin Warbeck and Lady Katherine.”

Often, guests would perform a masque, a dramatic presentation often including music and dance, on such occasions.

By saying “please don’t misunderstand me,” Frion was apologizing for using the word “honor” — the people he was talking to did not deserve the honor of the nobility that they claimed to possess.

Skelton the tailor said, “The Scots! The proposal that they get all the honor is defied. I had rather, for my part, without trial of my country, suffer persecution under the pressing-iron of reproach; or let my skin be punched full of eyelet-holes — holes for shoelaces — with the bodkin of derision.”

Bodkins were used to pierce holes in cloth or leather.

Astley the legal clerk said, “I would sooner lose both my ears on the pillory of forgery.”

A punishment for forgery was cropping the forger’s ears.

Heronthe textile dealer said, “Let me first live a bankrupt, and die in the lousy Hole of hunger, without settling with my creditors for sixpence in the pound.”

The Counter was a prison in London for debtors, and the Hole was the place in that prison where the poorest prisoners were kept. Prisoners with some money could pay the jailers for better accommodations.

John a-Waterthe politician said, “If men fail not in their expectations, there may be spirits also that digest no rude affronts, Master Secretary Frion, or I am deceived, which is possible, I grant.”

“Resolved like men of knowledge,” Frion said, applauding their decision to put on a masque.

He continued, “At this feast, then, in honor of the bride, the Scots, I know, will in some show, some masque, or some other entertainment, present their homage. Now it would be uncomely if we were to be found less eager to perform for our prince than they are for their lady; and by how much we outshine them in the eyes of persons of account, by so much more will our endeavors meet with a livelier applause. Great emperors have for their recreations undertaken such kind of pastimes. As for the idea for the masque, refer it to my study; you all shall share thanks in the performance. It will be pleasurable.”

Heronthe textile dealersaid, “The proposal is allowed. I have stolen away to a dancing school when I was an apprentice.”

Astley the legal clerk said, “There have been noisy, tumultuous, Irish hubbubs when I have made an actor, too.”

Skelton the tailor said, “As for fashioning of shapes and cutting a cross-caper in a dance, turn me off to my trade again.”

A shape can be 1) an attitude in dancing, or 2) a costume. A cross-caper is a move in dancing, and it may be a reference to the traditional tailors’ custom of working while sitting cross-legged.

John a-Water the politician said, “Surely there is, if I am not deceived, a kind of gravity in merriment; as there is, or perhaps ought to be, respect of persons in the quality of bearing, which is as it is construed, either so or so.”

“Always you come home to me and understand my meaning,” Frion said. “As opportunity arises I find you relish — taste and appreciate — court-conduct with discretion, and court-conduct and discretion are fit for statesmen of your merits. Please wait for the prince and in his ear acquaint him with this plan. I’ll follow and direct you.”

Everyone except Frion exited.

Alone, he said to himself, “Oh, the toil of humoring this abject scum of mankind, muddy-brained peasants! Princes feel a misery beyond impartial sufferance.”

“Impartial sufferance” is the suffering that is dealt out impartially to members of the human species.

Frion continued, “Princes in extreme circumstances must yield to such abettors — yet now our tide runs smoothly, without adverse winds. Run on! Flow to a full sea! Time alone abates the quarrels that are forewritten in the Book of Fates.”

As time goes on, our complaints and our grievances lessen in intensity.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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SHAKESPEARE: 38 PLAYS

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CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE’S COMPLETE PLAYS: RETELLINGS

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THE TROJAN WAR: 4 Epic Poems (Iliad, Posthomerica, Odyssey, Aeneid)

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Dante’s DIVINE COMEDY: A Retelling in Prose

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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Act 2, Scene 2

— 2.2 —

King Henry VII, the Earl of Oxford, the Earl of Surrey, and the Bishop of Durham met in the Tower of London. They talked about Sir William Stanley — the Lord Chamberlain — who had been convicted of treason in a trial by his peers.

“Have you convicted my Lord Chamberlain?” King Henry VII asked.

“His treasons convicted him, sir,” the Bishop of Durham replied. “They were as clear and manifest as they were foul and dangerous; besides, the guilt of his conspiracy pressed and oppressed him so nearly and closely that it drew from him a freely made confession without persistent requests.”

“Oh, Lord Bishop, his willing confession argued shame and sorrow for his folly, and it must not stand in evidence against our mercy and the softness of our nature,” King Henry VII said. “The rigor and extremity of law is sometimes too, too bitter, but we carry a chancery court of equity, appeal, and pity in our bosom. I hope we may reprieve him from the sentence of death — I hope we may.”

“You may, you may,” the Bishop of Durham said, “and in so doing you may persuade your subjects that the title of York is better, and indeed more just and lawful, than your title of Lancaster! That is what Stanley believes. If that belief is not treason in the highest degree, then we are all traitors, and we are all perjured and false, all of us who have taken an oath to Henry and the justice of Henry’s title. Oxford, Surrey, Dawbeney, and all your other peers of state and church are forsworn and perjured, and Stanley alone is true to Heaven and England’s lawful heir!”

The Bishop of Durham was sarcastic: If King Henry VII were to fail to sentence Lord Stanley to death, then it would be evidence that Lord Stanley was right to support Perkin Warbeck’s claim to the throne of England and all the nobles who had sworn oaths of loyalty to Henry VII were wrong to have done so.

“By Vere’s old honors, I’ll cut the throat of anyone who dares to speak such treason,” the Earl of Oxford said.

“Vere” was the Earl of Oxford’s family name: The Earl of Oxford was referring to the honors of his family.

“It is a quarrel to engage a soul in,” the Earl of Surrey said.

“What a turmoil is here to keep my gratitude unadulterated and perfect!” King Henry VII said. “Stanley was once my friend, and he came in time to save my life at the Battle of Bosworth Field; yet, to say the truth, my lords, the man delayed his help long enough to endanger my life.

“But I could see no more into his heart than what his outward actions presented. And for his outward actions I have rewarded him so fully that there lacked nothing in our gift to reward his merit, so I thought, unless I should divide my crown with him, and give him half, although now I well perceive it would hardly have served his turn and satisfied him without the whole crown.

“But I am charitable, lords; let justice continue on in execution — both operation and capital punishment — while I mourn the loss of one whom I esteemed a friend.”

“Sir, he is coming this way,” the Bishop of Durham said.

“If he speaks to me, I could deny him nothing,” King Henry VII said. “To prevent it, I must withdraw. Please, lords, give him my best wishes for his last peace, which I will pray for, as will he. That done, it concerns us to consult about other following troubles.”

King Henry VII exited.

“I am glad he’s gone,” the Earl of Oxford said. “I swear upon my life that he would have pardoned the traitor, had he seen him.”

“He is a King composed of gentleness,” the Earl of Surrey said.

“Which is rare and unheard of,” the Bishop of Durham said. “But it is true that every man is nearest to himself and looks out for himself, and the King observes that truth, as is fitting that he should.”

Sir William Stanley, Christopher Urswick, and Lord Giles Dawbeney entered the scene. The executioner and the confessor accompanied them.

“May I speak with Clifford — the man who accused me of treason — before I shake off this piece of frailty that is my body?” Sir William Stanley asked.

“You shall,”Lord Giles Dawbeney replied. “He hasbeen sent for.”

“I must not see the King?” Sir William Stanley asked.

“These lords and I have been sent to you from him,” the Bishop of Durham replied. “He bade us say that he commends his compassion to your thoughts. He wishes that the laws of England could remit the forfeit of your life as willingly as he would in the sweetness of his nature forget your trespass, but however your body fall into dust, he vows — the King himself vows — to keep a requiem for your soul, as for a friend closely treasured in his bosom.”

“Without remembrance of your errors past, I come to take my leave, and wish you Heaven,” the Earl of Oxford said.

“And I do, too,” the Earl of Surrey said. “May good angels guard you!”

“Oh, the King, next to my soul, shall be the most immediate subject of my last prayers,” Sir William Stanley said. “My grave Lord of Durham, and my Lords of Oxford, Surrey, Giles Dawbeney, and all, accept from a poor dying man a farewell. I was once as you are now — I was great and stood hopeful of many flourishing years, but fate and time have wheeled about and revolved, to turn me into nothing.”

William Stanley had been high and fortunate on the Wheel of Fortune, but it had turned, and he was now low and unfortunate and about to die.

“Sir Robert Clifford comes — the man, Sir William, you so desire to speak with,” Lord Giles Dawbeney said.

“Closely observe their meeting,” the Bishop of Durham said quietly. The soon-to-be-beheaded Sir William Stanley was about to meet the man who had accused him of treason.

Sir Robert Clifford entered the scene and said, “Sir William Stanley, I am glad that your conscience before your end has with your confession so emptied every burden that weighed it down that you can clearly witness how far I have proceeded in a duty that concerned both my truth and the state’s safety.”

“Mercy, how dear is life to such as hug it!” Sir William Stanley said. “Come here; by this token think about me!”

He licked his finger and then made a cross on Clifford’s face with it.

“This token!” Sir Robert Clifford said. “What! I am abused and wronged!”

“You are not,” Sir William Stanley said. “I wet upon your cheeks a holy sign — the cross, which is the Christian’s badge and the traitor’s infamy.”

The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and crucifixion was the Roman penalty for treason.

“Wear, Clifford, to thy grave this painted emblem,” Sir William Stanley said. “Water shall never wash it off; all eyes that gaze upon thy face shall read there written a state-informer’s character — a sign that is uglier when stamped on a noble name than when stamped on a base name. May the heavens forgive thee!

“Please, my lords, let there be no exchange of words; this man and I have used too many.”

“Shall I be disgraced without making a reply?” Sir Robert Clifford said.

“Give losers such as Sir William Stanley permission to talk,” the Bishop of Durham said. “His soon-to-be loss of life is irrecoverable.”

“Once more, to all a long farewell!” Sir William Stanley said. “May the best of greatness — God — preserve the King! My next suit is, my lords, to be remembered to my noble brother, Derby, my much-grieved brother.”

Sir Thomas Stanley, first Earl of Derby, was Sir William Stanley’s older brother. He was also King Henry VII’s stepfather.

Sir William Stanley continued, “Oh, persuade him that I shall be no permanent blemish to his house in chronicles written in another age.”

He expected that future histories would treat his memory well.

He continued, “My heart bleeds for him and for his sighs: Tell him that he must not think the name and title of Derby, nor being husband to King Henry VII’s mother, the league with peers, and the smiles of Lady Fortune can secure his peace above the state of man.”

The natural state of man was one in which one could be high on the Wheel of Fortune and then be low on the Wheel of Fortune. The natural state of man was one of uncertainty.

Sir William Stanley continued, “I take my leave to travel to my dust. Subjects deserve their deaths whose Kings are just.”

He did not say that King Henry VII was just.

He continued, “Come, confessor.

“Onward with thy axe, friendly executioner, onward!”

He was led off to be beheaded.

“Was I called here by a traitor’s breath to be upbraided?” Sir Robert Clifford said. “Lords, the King shall know it.”

King Henry VII reentered, carrying a white staff that had been Lord William Stanley’s staff of office as Lord Chamberlain.

He said, “The King does know it, sir; the King has heard what he or you could say. We have given credit to every point of Clifford’s information, the only evidence against Stanley’s head. He dies for it.”

He then asked, sarcastically, “Are you pleased?”

“Am I pleased, my lord!” Sir Robert Clifford said.

“No echoes,” King Henry VII said. “As for your service, we dismiss you from further attendance on the court; take your ease, and live at home; but as you love your life, don’t stir away from London without first getting permission from us. We’ll think about your reward for the information you have provided us. Leave!”

“I go, sir,” Sir Robert Clifford said.

He exited.

King Henry VII said, “May all our griefs die with Stanley!

“Take this staff of office, Giles Dawbeney; henceforth, you shall be our Lord Chamberlain.”

“I am your humble servant,” Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney replied.

“We are followed by enemies at home, who will not cease to seek their own ruin,” King Henry VII said. “It is most true that the Cornish under Audley have marched on as far as Winchester — but let them come. Our forces are in readiness; we’ll catch them in their own snares.”

Winchester is within sixty miles of London.

Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney said, “Your army, being mustered, consists in all, of horsemen and footmen, in number at least twenty-six thousand. These are men who are daring and able, resolute to fight, and loyal in their vows to you.”

“We know it, Giles Dawbeney,” King Henry VII said. “For them we give these orders.

“Oxford in chief, assisted by bold Essex and the Earl of Suffolk, shall lead on the first division.

“That will be your charge.”

The Earl of Oxford replied, “I humbly thank your majesty.”

King Henry VII continued, “The next military division we assign to Giles Dawbeney. These must be men of action, for on those the fortune of our fortunes must rely.

“The last and main division ourself commands in person. It is as ready to turn the tide of battle at all times as it is to consummate an assured victory.”

“The King is as always oracular,” Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney said.

In other words, King Henry VII always told the truth just as if he were an oracle, according to Lord Chamberlain Giles Dawbeney.

“But, Surrey, we have employment of more toil for thee,” King Henry VII said. “For our intelligence comes swiftly to us that James IV of Scotland recently has welcomed Perkin the counterfeit with more than common grace and respect, indeed, he courts him with rare favors. The Scot is young and forward; we must look for a sudden storm coming to England from the north, from Scotland.

“In order to withstand the Scots, the Bishop of Durham shall go posthaste to Norham to fortify the border castle there and secure the frontiers against an invasion.

“The Earl of Surrey shall follow soon, with such an army as may relieve the bishop, and encounter at every opportunity the death-daring Scots. You all know your responsibilities; it is now a time to execute, not talk. Heaven is our guard still. War must breed peace; such is the fate of Kings.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

Buy the Paperback: John Ford’s Perkin Warbeck: A Retelling

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John Ford’s Perkin Warbeck: A Retelling

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***

SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

John Ford’s The Broken Heart: A Retelling, by David Bruce

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***

SHAKESPEARE: 38 PLAYS

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0725LV2P7

***

CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE’S COMPLETE PLAYS: RETELLINGS

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L61YJBN/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i54

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