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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