David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBCK: A Retelling — Act 2, Scene 1

— 2.1 —

The Countess of Crawford, Lady Katherine, Jane Douglas, and some other ladies were gathered in a balcony overlookingKing James IV of Scotland’s presencechamber in his palace in Edinburgh.

The Countess of Crawford’s husband was the Earl of Crawford, the man who had summoned the Earl of Huntley to the King’s presence.

The Earl of Huntley and the Earl of Crawford had seemed skeptical that Perkin Warbeck was the real Duke of York. These ladies’ conversation would make it clear that they were also skeptical.

The Countess of Crawford said, “Come, ladies, here’s a solemn preparation for the reception of this English prince. Our King of Scotland intends to show him more than ordinary grace. It would be a pity now if the English prince should prove to be a counterfeit.”

“Bless the young man,” Lady Katherine said. “If he should prove to be a counterfeit, our nation would be laughed at throughout Christendom for being innocent, naive souls! My father has a weak stomach — a disinclination — for the business, madam, were it not that the King must not be crossed and thwarted.”

Lady Katherine’s father, the Earl of Huntley, wanted no part of Perkin Warbeck.

The Countess of Crawford now ironically praised Perkin Warbeck’s followers for hiding their identities as princes under the cover of being members of the working class.

She said, “The English prince, Perkin Warbeck,brings a goodly troop, they say, of gallants with him. But they are very modest people, for they strive not to spread abroad their names too much; their godfathers may be beholden to them, but their fathers scarcely owe them thanks.”

She, being cynical, meant this: While in “hiding,” Perkin Warbeck’s followers had taken different names from their fathers, pleasing their godfathers because they could deny being associated with them but displeasing their fathers because they had denied their fathers’ names.

The Countess of Crawford added, “They are disguised princes, brought up, it seems, to work in honest trades, but it doesn’t matter: They will break forth in season.”

She meant that they would reveal their “true” princely natures at the right time. Or she meant that their true identities as non-princes would be revealed at the right time.

Jane Douglas said, “If they do not break forth, they will break out, for most of them are broken — bankrupt — according to reports.”

She may have meant that they would break out in rebellion. Being bankrupt, they had much to gain and little to lose. Or she may have meant that, being bankrupt, they would break out of debtors’ prison.

A flourishof trumpets sounded.

Jane Douglassaid, “The King is arriving.”

“Let us observe them and be silent,” Lady Katherine said.

King James IV of Scotland, the Earl of Huntley, the Earl of Crawford, Lord Dalyell, and other noblemen entered the presence chamber.

King James IV said, “The right of Kings, my lords, extends not only to the safe conservation of their own crowns and subjects, but also to the aid of such allied sovereigns as change of time and state has often hurled down from full-of-care crowns to undergo an exercise of endurance in both kinds of fortunes: good and bad.

“So the English King Richard I, surnamed Coeur-de-Lion, and so Robert Bruce, our royal ancestor,forced by the trial of the wrongs they felt, both sought and found supplies and reinforcements from foreign Kings to help repossess what was their own.”

Richard I the Lionheart (1157-1199) reigned as King of England from 1189 to 1199. In the 1180s, King Richard I sought help from King Philip II (known also as Philip Augustus) of France in defending the Duchy of Aquitaine, which Richard had ruled since 1172.

Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) reigned as King of Scotland from 1306 to 1329. In 1295 King Robert I sought and received refuge from King Edward I of England.

King James IV continued, “Then don’t grudge, lords, to help a much distressed prince: Perkin Warbeck.

“King Charles VIII of France and Maximilian of Bohemia both have ratified his credit and authenticity by their letters. Shall we, then, be distrustful? No. Compassion is one rich jewel that shines in our crown, and we will continue to have it shine there.”

“Do as you will, sir,” the Earl of Huntley said.

“The young Duke is at hand,” King James IV said. “Dalyell, from us first greet him, and conduct him here. Then the Earl of Crawford shall meet him next, and the Earl of Huntley shall meet him last of all.

“Present him to our arms.”

Lord Dalyellexited to carry out his orders.

King James IV ordered, “Let sprightly music sound while majesty encounters majesty.”

Music played.

Lord Dalyell returned with Perkin Warbeck, followed at a distance by Frion, Heron, Skelton, Astley, and John a-Water.

The Earl of Crawford advanced and received Perkin Warbeck at the door, and then the Earl of Huntley saluted Perkin Warbeck and presented him to King James IV. The Scottish King and Perkin Warbeck embraced. The Scottish noblemen slightly saluted Perkin Warbeck’s followers.

Perkin Warbeck said, “Most high, most mighty King! That now there stands before your eyes, in presence of your peers, a subject — myself — of the rarest kind of pity that has in any age touched noble hearts, the widely known story of a prince’s ruin has made too apparent. Europe knows, and all the western world knows, what persecution has raged in malice against us” — he was using the royal plural — “the sole heir to the great throne of the old Plantagenets.”

The first Plantagenet King was King Henry II (1154-1189). From 1154 until 1485, when King Richard III died, all English Kings were Plantagenets. The Lancaster family and the York family were Plantagenets.

King Henry VII was the first Tudor King. His father was Edmund Tudor, and so King Henry VII was a member of the House of Tudor. However, through the female line he could trace his ancestry back to King Edward III of the House of Plantagenet. His mother was Lady Margaret Beaufort, a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who was the fourth son of King Edward III.

If Perkin Warbeck’s claim to be the Duke of York, King Edward IV’s son, had been true, he would have a stronger claim to the throne of England than King Henry VII. Perkin Warbeck, however, was wrong when he claimed to be “the sole heir to the great throne of the old Plantagenets.” One son of the Earl of Clarence, brother to King Edward IV and King Richard III, still lived: the Earl of Warwick.

Perkin Warbeck introduced his story, in which he would explain why he — the “Duke of York” — was still alive and where he had been for the past fourteen years:

“How from our nursery we have been hurried to the sanctuary, from the sanctuary forced to the prison, from the prison dragged by cruel hands to the tormentor’s fury, is registered already in the book of all men’s tongues, whose true telling draws compassion, melted into weeping eyes and bleeding souls, but our misfortunes since have ranged a larger journey through foreign lands, protected in our innocence by Heaven.”

Perkin Warbeck first explained why he was still alive. This was necessary since most people thought that King Edward V and the Duke of York (whom Perkin Warbeck was pretending to be) had been murdered in the Tower of London by the order of the future King Richard III:

“King Edward V, our brother, in his tragedy quenched his murderers’ hot thirst of blood, whose contract to commit murder paid them their wages of despair and horror. The softness of my childhood smiled upon the roughness of their task, and robbed them farther of hearts to dare or hands to execute. Great King, they spared my life; the butchers spared it. They reported to the tyrant, my unnatural and inhuman uncle, King Richard III, an oath concerning my ‘death.’”

He meant that the murderers told King Richard III a partial truth — they had killed the young King Edward V — but then they had lied and said that they had also killed the young Duke of York. However, the real truth (as far as historians know) is that murderers killed both boys, probably in 1483, when they disappeared. King Edward V was then twelve years old, and the Duke of York was nine years old.

Perkin Warbeck next explained where he had been raised after his life was “spared”:

“I was conveyed with secrecy and speed to Tournai, where I was fostered by a common family, and taught to forget myself and not reveal my true identity.”

Perkin Warbeck finally explained why he had chosen to reveal his “true” identity recently:

“But as I grew in years, I grew in sense both of fear and of disdain. I was in fear of the tyrant Richard III whose power swayed the throne then: I was afraid that he would again attempt to kill me.

“But when disdain of living so unknown, in such a servile and abject lowness, prompted me to thoughts of recollecting who I was, I shook off my bondage, and made haste to let my aunt of Burgundy acknowledge me as her kinsman, heir to England’s crown, which was snatched by Henry from Richard III’s head — a thing scarcely known in the world.”

Perkin Warbeck declined to refer to King Henry VII as King, preferring to call him simply “Henry.”

King James IV said, “My lord, it is not consistent with your counsel and purpose now to fly upon and use invective. If you can provide convincing evidence of what you have discoursed in every circumstance, we will not delay by meditating on ouranswer, but instead be ready to help you in your cause.”

Perkin Warbeck replied, “You are a wise and just King, by the powers above reserved and set apart, beyond all other aids, to plant me in my own inheritance, to marry these two kingdoms as allies in a love never to be divorced while time is time.

“As for the manner, first of my escape, of my transportation elsewhere next, of my life since then, the means and persons who were instruments of my escape, great sir, it is fit I pass all this over in silence, reserving the relation to the secrecyof your own princely ear, since it concerns some great ones yet living, and others dead, whose descendants might be questioned. In return for your bounty, your royal munificence to him who seeks it, we vow hereafter to conduct ourself as if we were your own and natural brother, omitting no occasion in our person to express a gratitude beyond precedent.”

King James IV said, “He who can utter the language of a King must be more than just a subject, and such language is thine. Take this for your answer: Be whatever thou are, thou never shall repent that thou have put thy cause and person into my protection. Cousin of York, thus once more we embrace thee. Welcome to James of Scotland!”

Kings called other Kings “cousin.” This did not necessarily imply a biological relationship.

King James IV continued, “Asfor thy safety, know that such people as do not love thee shall never wrong thee.

“Come, we will taste a while our court-delights, pleasantly daydream away past afflictions, and then proceed to high adventures of honor on the battlefield.

“On, lead on!

“Both thou and thine are ours, and we will guard all of you.

“Lead on!”

Everyone exited except the ladies on the balcony.

The Countess of Crawford said, “I have not seen a gentleman of braver appearance or better carriage. His bad fortune in life so far does not dismay him.”

She then said to Lady Katherine, “Madam, you’re very emotional.”

“Beshrew me, but his words have touched me deeply, as if his cause concerned me,” Lady Katherine said. “I would pity him if he would prove to be someone other than he seems to be.”

She meant that she would pity Perkin Warbeck if he turned out to be a fraud.

The Earl of Crawford returned and said, “Ladies, the King commands your presence immediately for the reception of the Duke of York.”

“The Duke of York must then be entertained and the King obeyed,” Lady Katherine said. “It is our duty.”

“We will all attend on him,” the Countess of Crawford said.

All went to the reception for Perkin Warbeck.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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

— 1.3 —

The Bishop of Durham, Sir Robert Clifford, and Christopher Urswick talked together in an apartment in the Tower of London. The apartment was lit with torches.

Sir Robert Clifford had supported Perkin Warbeck, but he turned against him and was now about to reveal to King Henry VII details of the plot to make Perkin Warbeck King of England. The interrogation was taking place in the Tower of London, where King Henry VII had temporarily moved his court, in part because if Sir Robert Clifford named some high-ranking nobles in the court as traitors, they could be arrested quickly.

The Bishop of Durham said, “You see, Sir Robert Clifford, how confidently King Henry VII, our great master, commits his personal safety to your loyalty; you taste his bounty and his mercy even in this: that at a time of night so late, a place so private as his own chamber, he is pleased to admit you to his favor. Do not falter in your disclosure of the conspiracy; but as you covet aliberal grace and pardon for your follies, so labor to deserve it by revealing all the plots and all the persons who contrive against it.”

Christopher Urswick said to Sir Robert Clifford, “Don’t remember the witchcraft or the magic, the charms and incantations, which the sorceress of Burgundy — Margaret of Burgundy — cast upon your reason. Sir Robert, be your own friend now and do what is best for you: Tell all you know and free your conscience from guilt. All who respect you stand as guarantees for your honesty and truth. Take care that you do not dally with the King: He is as wise as he is gentle.”

“I am miserable, if King Henry VII will not be merciful,” Sir Robert Clifford replied.

“The King is coming,” Christopher Urswick said.

King Henry VII entered the apartment and said, “Clifford!”

Sir Robert Clifford knelt and said, “Let my weak knees root on the earth, if I appear as leprous in my treacheries before your royal eyes, as to my own eyes I seem to be a monster as a result of my breach of truth.”

He had sworn to be loyal to King Henry VII, but he had broken his oath by plotting to help make Perkin Warbeck King.

“Clifford, stand up,” King Henry VII said. “For evidence of thy safety, I offer thee my hand.”

“It is a sovereign balm for my bruised soul,” Sir Robert Clifford said. “I kiss it with greediness.”

He kissed the King’s hand, rose, and said, “Sir, you’re a just master, but I —”

Wanting to get down to business quickly, King Henry VII interrupted, “Tell me, is every detail thou has set down with thine own hand within this paper true? Is it accurate information of all the progress of our enemies’ intentions without corruption by anything that is not true?”

“It is as true as I wish Heaven or as I wish my infected honor to be white and morally pure again,”Sir Robert Clifford replied.

“We know all, Clifford, fully, since this comet, this airy and insubstantial apparition first discradled himself and moved from Tournai in Belgium into Portugal, and thence advanced his fiery blaze for adoration to the superstitious Irish,” King Henry VII said. “Thereupon the tail of this wild comet, conjured into France, sparkled in grotesque flames in the court of King Charles VIII of France. But it shrunk again from there, and, hidden in darkness, stole into Flanders and then landed in England, flourishing the rag — his so-called standard — of counterfeit power on the shore of Kent, from where he was beaten back with shame and scorn, contempt, and slaughter of some naked outlaws.”

In July of 1495, Perkin Warbeck sailed to Deal, Kent, with a small force of men, but the citizens of Deal fought and defeated his men. He then sailed to Ireland, as Sir Robert Clifford will inform King Henry VII. For 11 days, he unsuccessfully besieged the Irish port of Waterford, resisted by its citizens. Perkin Warbeck then sailed for Scotland, and in November of 1495, King James IV of Scotland received him.

King Henry VII added, “But tell me what new course now shapes ‘Duke’ Perkin?”

His use of “Duke” when referring to Perkin Warbeck was sarcastic.

Sir Robert Clifford said, “His new course is for Ireland, mighty Henry; he was so instructed by Stephen Frion, who was formerly a secretary in the French tongue to your sacred excellence, but who is Perkin’s tutor now.”

“He is a crafty villain, that Frion, Frion,” King Henry VII said.

He then said, “You, my Lord of Durham, knew the man well.”

The Bishop of Durham said, “He is French both in his heart and in his actions.”

This was not a compliment.

King Henry VII said to Sir Robert Clifford, “Some Irish heads work in this mine of treason and support Perkin Warbeck. Name them.”

Sir Robert Clifford replied, “They are not any of the best; your good fortune has dulled their spirits. Never has a fraud had such a confused rabble of lost bankrupts for counselors. First is Heron, a bankrupt dealer in textile fabrics. Then are John a-Water, who is sometimes Mayor of Cork, Ireland, and a tailor named Skelton and a legal clerk called Astley. Whatever these wish to speak about, Perkin must listen to; but Frion, who is more cunning and intelligent than these dull capacities, still prompts Perkin to fly to Scotland to young King James IV and appeal to him for aid. This is the most recent of all their resolutions.”

“Still more Frion!” King Henry VII said. “Pestilent adder, he will hiss out poison that is as dangerous as it is infectious. We must equal him in cunning.

“Clifford, thou have spoken well and to the heart of the matter and given us good information; we give thee life. But, Clifford, there are unknown conspirators of our own people who remain behind in England; who are they, Clifford? Name those conspirators who are in England, and we are friends, and then we will rest. This is thy last task.”

“Oh, sir, here I must break a most unlawful oath to keep a just one,” Sir Robert Clifford said.

The very unlawful oath was the oath of allegiance he had made to the conspirators; the just oath was the oath of allegiance he had made to King Henry VII.

“Well, well, be brief, be brief,” King Henry VII said.

Naming the conspirators who supported Perkin Warbeck, Sir Robert Cliffordsaid, “The first in rank shall be John Ratcliffe, Lord Fitzwater. Then are Sir Simon Mountford and Sir Thomas Thwaites, with William Dawbeney, Chessoner, Astwood, Worseley the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathredral, two other friars, and Robert Ratcliffe.”

“Churchmen are turned devils,” King Henry VII said, and then he asked, “These are the principal conspirators?”

“One more remains unnamed, whom I could willingly forget,” Sir Robert Clifford said.

“Ha, Clifford!” King Henry VII said. “One more?”

“Great sir, do not hear him,” Sir Robert Clifford said.

He meant 1) Do not hear his name, or 2) Do not listen to what he will want to tell you.

Sir Robert Clifford continued, “For when Sir William Stanley, your Lord Chamberlain, shall come into the list, as he is chief, I shall lose credit with you — yet this lord who is the last named is the first conspirator against you.”

“Urswick, bring the torch!” King Henry VII said.

He brought the torch.

King Henry VII then said, “View well my face, sirs; is there any blood left in it?”

“You alter strangely, sir,” the Bishop of Durham said.

“Alter, Lord Bishop!” King Henry VII said. “Why, Clifford stabbed me, or I dreamed he stabbed me.”

He said to Sir Robert Clifford, “Sirrah, it is a custom with the guilty to think that they remove their own moral stains by laying aspersions on some people nobler than themselves. Lies accompany and serve treasons, as I find it here. Thy life again is forfeit; I recall and take back my word of mercy, for I know thou dare to repeat the name no more.”

“I dare, and once more, upon my knowledge, name Sir William Stanley both in his counsel and his financial support the chief assistant to the feigned Duke of York,” Sir Robert Clifford replied.

“Most strange!” the Bishop of Durham said.

“Most wicked!” Christopher Urswick said

“Yet again, tell me once more,” King Henry VII said to Sir Robert Clifford.

“Sir William Stanley is your secret enemy, and, when the time is fit, he will openly profess it,” Sir Robert Clifford replied.

“Sir William Stanley! Who? Sir William Stanley! My Lord Chamberlain, my counselor, the love and the pleasure of my court, my bosom friend, the charge and the control of access to me and the provider of my own personal security, the keys and secrets of my treasury, the all of all I am!” King Henry VII said. “I am unhappy. Misery of confidence, let me turn traitor to my own person and yield my scepter up to Edward’s sister and her bastard Duke!”

Edward’s sister and her bastard Duke were Margaret of Burgundy and Perkin Warbeck.

“You lose your steadiness of temper,” the Bishop of Durham said.

“Sir William Stanley!” King Henry VII said. “Oh, do not blame me; he, it was only he, who, having rescued me in the Battle of Bosworth Field from Richard’s bloody sword, snatched from his head the Kingly crown, and placed it first on my head.”

At the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, Sir William Stanley, who had supported King Richard III, a Yorkist, brought in his soldiers at the last moment to support Henry Tudor, who won the battle and became King Henry VII, the first Tudor King.

“He never failed me,” King Henry VII said. “In what way have I deserved to lose this good man’s heart, or he his own?”

“The night wastes away,” Christopher Urswick said. “This passion ill becomes you. Prepare against your danger.”

“Let it be so,” King Henry VII said. “Urswick, command Stanley to go immediately to his chamber — it is well we are in the Tower of London — and set a guard on him.”

King Henry VII had moved himself and his court to the Tower of London in order to question Sir Robert Clifford.

He continued, “Clifford, go to bed. You must lodge here tonight. We’ll talk with you tomorrow.”

He then said to all present, “My sad soul divines strange troubles.”

Lord Giles Dawbeney called from outside the apartment, “Ho! The King! The King! I must have entrance to the King.”

“That is Dawbeney’s voice,” King Henry VII said. “Admit him. What new tumultuous conflagrations pile up now and keep our eyes from rest?”

Lord Giles Dawbeney entered the apartment.

“What is the news?” King Henry VII askedLord Giles Dawbeney.

“Ten thousand Cornishmen, begrudging to pay your taxes for war against Scotland, have gathered together an army. Led by a blacksmith and a lawyer, they make their way for London, and to them is joined Lord Audley. As they march, their number daily increases; they are —”

Michael Joseph, a blacksmith; Thomas Flammock, a lawyer; and Lord Audley were the leaders of the Cornish rebellion.

King Henry VII finished Lord Giles Dawbeney’s sentence, “— rascals! Talk no more. Such rascals are not worthy of my thoughts tonight. Let’s all go to bed, and if I cannot sleep, I’ll stay awake.

“When counsels fail, and there’s in man no trust, even then an arm from Heaven fights for the just.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE’S COMPLETE PLAYS: RETELLINGS

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

— 1.2 —

The Earl of Huntley and Lord Dalyell talked together in an apartment in the Earl of Huntley’s house in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lord Dalyell wanted permission to court Lady Elizabeth, the Earl of Huntley’s daughter.

“You are wasting your time, sir,” the Earl of Huntley said.

“Oh, my noble lord,” Lord Dalyell said, “you construe my griefs to so hard and unfeeling a sense that where the text provides evidence that deserves pity, being a matter of earnest love, your interpretation corrupts it with too much ill-placed mirth.”

“Much mirth!” the Earl of Huntley said. “Lord Dalyell! That is not so, I vow. Observe me, thou sprightly gallant. I know thou are a noble and handsome lad, descended from an honorable ancestry. I know that thou are spiritedand active, and that you resolve to wrestle and do battle in the world by doing noble deeds so that you are splendidly remembered by posterity.”

“I don’t scorn thy affection for my daughter, not I, by good Saint Andrew — Scotland’s patron saint. But this bugbear, this whoreson tale of honor — honor, Dalyell! — so hourly chats and tattles in my ear about the piece of royalty that is stitched-up in my Kate’s blood that it is as dangerous for thee, young lord, to perch so near an eaglet as foolish for a man of my gravity and social standing to allow it: I have spoken all at once — I have said what necessity required me to say.”

Lord Dalyell wanted to marry Lady Katherine, the Earl of Huntley’s daughter, but Dalyell, although he was a lord, lacked royal blood. The Earl of Huntley’s wife, Annabella, was the daughter of King James I of Scotland, and therefore Lady Katherinehad royal blood and so was expected to marry someone of her own social class.Lord Dalyell was too far below Lady Katherine’s social class to marry her, although in all other respects he was qualified and the Earl of Huntley would welcome him as a son-in-law.

“Sir, with this truth you mix such bitter wormwood that you leave no hope for my disordered palate ever to relish a wholesome taste again,” Lord Dalyell replied. “Alas, I know, sir, what an unequal distance lies between great Huntley’s daughter’s birth and Dalyell’s fortunes. She’s the King’s kinswoman, placed near the crown, a princess of the blood, and I am a subject.”

“Right, but you are a noble subject,” the Earl of Huntley said. “Don’t neglect to mention that.”

“I could add more,” Lord Dalyell replied. “In the rightest line I derive my pedigree from Adam Mure, a Scottish knight whose daughter was the mother to him who first begot the race of Jameses, who sway the scepter to this very day.”

He was connecting his genealogy to Scottish royalty, going from the Scottish knight Adam Muir to King James I of Scotland and his descendants.

Adam Muir’s daughter Elizabeth married the High Steward of Scotland. Elizabeth died before 1355, and the High Steward became King Robert II of Scotland in 1370. The son of Elizabeth and Robert was born in 1337, and he became King Robert III of Scotland. King Robert III’s son became King James I of Scotland, who ruled from 1406 to 1437.

He continued, “But lineages are not ours when once the period of many years have swallowed up the memory of their originals. Similarly, pasture-fields neighboring too near the ocean are swept up and swallowed and known no more. If I stood in my first and native greatness, and had the social status that my ancestors had, then if the princely woman I love — your daughter — would not acknowledge me as her servant who loves her, it would be as good to me to be nothing, as to be raised to a throne of wonder.”

The Earl of Huntley thought, Now, by Saint Andrew, he is a spark of mettle! He is a gallant young man, and he has a brave fire in him: I wish that he would marry my daughter, as long as I didn’t know that they were married. But it must not be so — it must not.

He said out loud, “Well, young lord, this will not do. Yet, if the girl were to be headstrong and not listen to good counsel and advice, then steal her and run away with her; dance lively galliards, do, and frisk about the world to learn the languages. It will be a thriving trade; you may set up by it.”

“Set up” meant “set up housekeeping” and possibly “set up a business.”

He was advising Lord Dalyell to run away with Elizabeth and travel the world outside of Scotland.

“Begging your pardon, noble Gordon, this disdain does not suit your daughter’s virtue or my constancy,” Lord Dalyell said.

The Earl of Huntley’s family name was Gordon.

“You’re angry,” the Earl of Huntley said.

He thought,I wish he would beat me; I deserve it.

He then said out loud, “Dalyell, give me thy hand; we’re friends. Pursue thy courtship of my daughter. Take thine own time and speak to her about marriage. If thou prevail more with her with thine passion than I can with my counsel, then she’s thine. Indeed, she is thine — it is a fair match, free and allowed.

“I’ll use only my tongue when advising her to marry someone of her own social status, and I will not use a father’s power and force her not to marry thee. Use thine tongue and persuade her to marry you.”

The Earl of Huntley was telling Lord Dalyellthat he would tell Elizabeth not to marry him, but that he would not force her not to marry him. If Lord Dalyell could convince Elizabeth to marry him, then he could marry her.

The Earl of Huntleycontinued with some proverbs: “Self do, self have; no more words; win her and wear her.”

“You bless me,” Lord Dalyell said. “I am now too poor in thanks to pay the debt I owe you.”

The Earl of Huntley said, “Nay, thou are poor enough.”

Lord Dalyell may have lacked wealth.

The Earl of Huntley thought about Lord Dalyell, I love his spirit infinitely.

He then said, “Look, she is coming. To her now, to her, to her!”

“To her!” meant “Woo her strongly!”

Lady Katherine andJane Douglas, her attendant, entered the room.

Lady Katherine said to her father, the Earl of Huntley, “The King commands your presence, sir.”

The King was James IV, King of Scotland.

The Earl of Huntley replied, “The gallant” — he motioned toward Lord Dalyell — “this, this, this lord, this servant, Kate, of yours, desires to be your master.”

A “servant” could be a wooer, a devotee, or a lover. A “master” in this context was a husband.

“I acknowledge him to be a worthy friend of mine,” Lady Katherine replied.

A “friend” could be a well-wisher, a wooer, or a lover.

“I am your humblest creature,” Lord Dalyell said to Lady Katherine.

The Earl of Huntley thought, So! So! The game’s a-foot. I’m in cold hunting and have lost the scent. The hare and hounds are parties who are on the same side: They are partners.

The Earl of Huntley suspected that the wooing process had begun earlier and was more advanced than he had thought.

Lord Dalyell said to Lady Katherine, “Princely lady, how most unworthy I am to employ my services in honor of your virtues, how hopeless my desires are to enjoy your fair opinion, and much more your love, are only matter of despair, unless your goodness will give large warrant to my boldness, my feeble-winged ambition.”

The Earl of Huntley thought, This is scurvy.

He wanted the Lord Dalyell’s wooing of Lady Katherine to be less stilted and less formal and less fawning.

Lord Dalyell paused and Lady Katherine said, “My lord, I am not interrupting you.”

The Earl of Huntley thought, Indeed! Now, on my life, she’ll court him.

He believed that Elizabeth would make a better wooer than Lord Dalyell.

He said to Lord Dalyell, “Go on, sir.”

Lord Dalyell said to Lady Katherine, “Often have I tuned my sorrows as if they were a musical instrument to sweeten discord and enrich your pity and sympathy for me, but all in vain — here my comforts would have sunk, and never risen again to tell a story of the despairing lover, had not now, even now, the Earl your father —”

The Earl of Huntley thought, He means me, surely.

Lord Dalyell continued, “— after some appropriate statements concerning your social rank, your highness and my lowness, has given me license and permission to woo you that did not more embolden than encourage my faulting tongue.”

It was true that the Earl of Huntley had encouraged Lord Dalyell to court Elizabeth, but the Earl of Huntley had wanted Lord Dalyell to keep that secret.

The Earl of Huntley said, “What! What! What’s that! Embolden! Encourage! I encourage you! Do you hear me, sir?”

He thought,That was a subtle trick, an ingenious one.

Lord Dalyell had let Lady Katherine know that her father supported his wooing of her.

The Earl of Huntley continued, “Will you hear me, man? What did I say to you? Come, come, to the point.”

“It is not necessary to hear that, my lord,” Lady Katherine said to her father.

The Earl of Huntley said, “Then listen to me, Kate.”

He said to Lord Dalyell, “Keep on that side of her; I will be on this side.”

He then said to Lady Katherine, “Thou stand between a father and a suitor, both striving for an interest in thy heart.

“He courts thee for affection, I for duty.

“He as a wooer pleads, but although I by the privilege of nature might command you to obey my wishes as a father, yet my loving concern for you shall only counsel what it shall not force.

“Thou can make only one choice: The ties of marriage cannot be broken at will, but will last during all thine life.

“Consider whose thou are, and who: a princess — a princess of the royal blood of Scotland, in the full spring of youth and fresh in beauty.

“The King who sits upon the throne is young and as yet unmarried, and he is too eager to engage in endeavors on any least occasion that do endanger his person.”

It was possible for Lady Katherine to marry the young King James IV of Scotland, but the Earl of Huntley carefully mentioned a reason for why his daughter might not want to marry him. His recklessness could make her a young widow.

The Earl of Huntley continued, “Wherefore, Kate, as I am confident thou dare not wrong thy birth and education by yielding to a common servile, slave-like passion of female wantonness, so I am confident thou will proportion all thy thoughts to match thy equals, if not equal thy superiors.

“My Lord of Dalyell, young in years, is old in honors, but he is neither eminent in titles nor in estate that may support or add to the expectation of thy fortunes. Settle thy will and reason by a strength of judgment, for, in a word, I give thee freedom — take it. If impartial fates have not ordained to pitch thy hopes above my height, then don’t let thy passion lead thee to shrink my honor in oblivion.

“Thou are thine own person. I have finished speaking.”

The Earl of Huntley had made it clear that his daughter was free to decide whom to marry, although he had also fulfilled societal expectations by advising her not to marry below her social standing.

Lord Dalyell said to the Earl of Huntley, “Oh, you are all oracle: You are the living stock and root of truth and wisdom!”

Lord Dalyellwas saying without sarcasm that the Earl of Huntley had spoken truth.

Lady Katherine said, “My worthiest lord and father, the kindness of your sweet composition — your personal qualities and the words you just spoke — thus commands the lowest of obedience.”

She curtsied to him, and then continued, “You have granted me a liberty so large that I lack skill to choose without the direction of precedent. From precedent I daily learn that by how much more you take off from the roughness of a father, by so much more I am engaged to tender the duty of a daughter.”

She meant that the gentler he was as a father, the more dutiful she believed she ought to be as a daughter.

Lady Katherine continued, “As for consideration of birth, degrees of title, and advancement, I neither admire nor slight them. All my efforts shall always aim only at achieving this perfection: To live and die in such a way that you may not blush in any course of mine to acknowledge me as yours.”

She wanted her father to never be ashamed of her, and she wanted to act in such a way that he would feel no need to be ashamed of her.

“Kate, Kate, thou grow upon my heart like peace, creating every other hour a jubilee of rejoicing,” her father, the Earl of Huntley, replied.

She then said, “To you, my lord of Dalyell, I address some few remaining words. The general public opinion that affirms your merit, even in common tongues proclaims it to be clear and without stain, but in the best tongues, it is proclaimed to be an example that ought to be followed.”

“Good wench, good girl, in faith!” the Earl of Huntley said.

He used the word “wench” affectionately.

“As for my part, trust me, I value my own worth at a higher rate because you are pleased to prize it,” Lady Katherine said to Lord Dalyell. “If the stream of your professed and solemnly affirmed service — as you term it — runs in a constancy more than a mere compliment, it shall be my delight that your worthy love will lead you to perform worthy actions, and these will powerfully guide you to metaphorically wed a name of honor so every virtuous praise in after-ages shall be your heir, and I in the records of your brave deeds shall be chronicled the spiritual mother of that issue, that glorious issue.”

“Issue” is literally a child or children.

Lady Katherine was saying metaphorically that she hoped to be mentioned as the motivation for Lord Dalyell’s future performance of splendid deeds.

“Oh, I wish that I were young again!” the Earl of Huntley said. “She’d make me court proud danger, and suck spirit from the famous and honorable reputation I would get by serving her.”

Lady Katherine said, “To the present proposal here’s all that I dare answer: When I have a ripeness of more experience and some experience of time and I resolve to bargain away the freedom of my youth upon the exchange of wedding vows, I shall desire no surer promise of a match with virtue than such as lives in you.”

In other words, when she is more mature and more experienced and decides to marry, she will want to marry someone with Lord Dalyell’s virtues and good qualities.

This was a gentle and complimentary way of saying no to Lord Dalyell’s proposal of marriage at this time.

“In the meantime my hopes are securely preserved in having you as a friend,” Lady Katherine said.

“You are a blessed lady, and you instruct ambition not to soar a farther flight than in the perfumed air of your soft voice,” Lord Dalyell replied.

He then said, “My noble Lord of Huntley, you have lent a full extent of generosity to this conversation you have allowed me to have with your daughter, and in return for it you shall command me, your humblest servant.”

“Enough,” the Earl of Huntley said. “We are still friends, and we will continue to have a hearty love for each other.”

He then said, “Oh, Kate, thou are my own!”

The Earl of Crawford, bearing a message from the King, entered the room.

Seeing him approaching, the Earl of Huntley said, “Let’s say no more.”

He then greeted the King’s messenger, “My Lord of Crawford.”

“From the King I come, my Lord of Huntley, who in council requires your immediate aid,” the Earl of Crawford said.

“Some weighty business?” the Earl of Huntley asked.

“A secretary from a Duke of York, the second son to the late English King Edward IV, concealed — I don’t know where — these fourteen years, craves a meeting with our master, and it is said that the Duke — Perkin Warbeck — himself is following the secretary and coming to the court.”

The Earl of Crawford’s “I don’t know where” subtly made the point that he was skeptical that Perkin Warbeck was the real Duke of York.

In fact, Perkin Warbeck was pretending to be one of the deceased sons of the late King Edward IV of England.

“Duke upon Duke,” the Earl of Huntley said. “It is well, it is well. Here’s contending for majesty.”

He could guess that Perkin Warbeck was seeking from King James IV of Scotland help that would install him — Perkin Warbeck — on the throne of England.

The Earl of Huntley’s “Duke upon Duke” subtly made the point that he was skeptical that Perkin Warbeck was the real Duke of York.

The Earl of Huntley said to the Earl of Crawford, “My lord, I will go along with you.”

The Earl of Crawford said to Lady Katherine, “My service, noble lady!”

Lady Katherine said to Lord Dalyell, “Does it please you to walk, sir?”

Lord Dalyell thought, Times have their changes; sorrow makes men wise. The sun itself must set as well as rise. So then, why not I?

 He replied out loud, “Fair madam, I wait on you.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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David Bruce: John Ford’s PERKIN WARBECK: A Retelling — Cast of Characters, Prologue, and Act 1, Scene 1

CAST OF CHARACTERS

THE ENGLISH

Henry VII, King of England.

Lord Giles Dawbeney.

Sir William Stanley, Lord Chamberlain (the chief officer of the royal household).

Earl of Oxford.

Earl of Surrey.

Richard Fox, Bishop of Durham.

Christopher Urswick, Chaplain to King Henry VII.

Sir Robert Clifford.

Lambert Simnel.

Pedro Hialas, a Spanish Ambassador for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. On the side of King Henry VII.

***

THE SCOTTISH

James IV, King of Scotland.

Earl of Huntley.

Lady Katherine Gordon, his Daughter.

Jane Douglas, Lady Katherine’s Attendant.

Earl of Crawford.

Countess of Crawford, his Wife.

Lord Dalyell.

Marchmont, a Herald.

***

THE REBELS

Perkin Warbeck.

Warbeck’s followers:

  • Stephen Frion, his secretary.
  • John a-Water, Mayor of Cork, Ireland, in 1490 and 1494.
  • John Heron, a Mercer, aka a Dealer in Textile Fabrics.
  • Edward Skelton, a Tailor.
  • Nicholas Astley, a Scrivener, aka a Legal Clerk. As a Scrivener, he copied legal documents.

***

MINOR CHARACTERS

Sheriff, Constable, Officers, Messenger, Guards, Soldiers, Masquers, and Attendants.

***

SCENE

Partly in England, and partly in Scotland.

***

NOTES

The full title of John Ford’s play is The Chronicle History of Perkin Warbeck: A Strange Truth. It was first acted in 1633.

When King Richard III fell at the Battle of Bosworth, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, became King Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509). A Lancastrian, he married Elizabeth of York — young Elizabeth of York in William Shakespeare’s Richard III— and united the two warring houses, York and Lancaster, thus ending the Wars of the Roses. His reign was troubled because many Pretenders to the throne, including Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, appeared.

Perkin Warbeck (born 1474, died 23 November 1499) was a Fleming (born in Tournai, Belgium) who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, who was the second son of King Edward IV. He was one of the two Princes in the Tower of London who may have been murdered (in 1483) so that Richard, Duke of Gloucester, could become King Richard III. Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, if still alive, would have been the rightful claimant to the throne if his elder brother King Edward V were dead.

John Ford’s play begins in 1495, when Perkin Warbeck was gaining support for his claim to the throne of England.

Margaret of Burgundy — the sister of King Edward IV and of King Richard III — helped train Perkin Warbeck to appear to be aristocratic and supported his attempt to become King of England.

Before this play begins, Lambert Simnel had claimed to be Edward, Earl of Warwick, the nephew of King Edward IV and the son of Edward IV’s brother George, Earl of Clarence. The Earl of Warwick was still alive and imprisoned in the Tower of London by order of King Henry VII, but he would be beheaded on 28 November 1499.

In the Prologue of this play, John Ford states that he does not introduce unnecessary comic scenes in an attempt to be popular.

In the Prologue of this play, John Ford states that by writing this play, he is trying to make popular again the kind of history plays that William Shakespeare used to write.

In the Prologue of this play, John Ford states that he attempts to be both truthful and dramatic.

In this culture, a man of higher rank would use words such as “thee,” “thy,” “thine,” and “thou” to refer to a servant. However, two close friends or a husband and wife could properly use “thee,” “thy,” “thine,” and “thou” to refer to each other.

The word “sirrah” is a term usually used to address a man of lower social rank than the speaker. This was socially acceptable, but sometimes the speaker would use the word as an insult when speaking to a man whom he did not usually call “sirrah.”

The word “House,” as in House of York or House of Lancaster, means “Family.”

In Act 2 Scene 3, the Earl of Huntley calls himself “Alexander” one time, but his name was actually George Gordon, and he was the second Earl of Huntley. He died in 1524. The error in name appeared in some of John Ford’s sources.

As is frequent in historical plays of William Shakespeare’s time, the historical timeline is altered for dramatic reasons. These are the correct times:

  • Sir William Stanley — the Lord Chamberlain — was convicted of treason on 6 February 1495 in a trial by his peers. He was executed on 16 February 1495.
  • In November of 1495, King James IV of Scotland received Perkin Warbeck. (John Ford incorrectly has Sir William Stanley’s trial and death occurring after Perkin Warbeck was well received by King James IV of Scotland.)
  • The Scottish invasion into England took place in 1496.
  • The Cornish rebellion took place in late spring of 1497. (John Ford incorrectly has the Cornish invasion occurring before the Scottish invasion.)
  • The Battle of Blackheath, aka the Battle of Deptford Bridge, took place on 17 June 1497.
  • In history, Perkin Warbeck confessed to being an imposter. In this play, he never confesses to that and he may believe that he really is the Duke of York.

PROLOGUE

Studies have of this nature been of late

So out of fashion, so unfollowed, that

It is become more justice to revive

The antic follies of the times than strive

To countenance wise industry. No want

Of art doth render wit or lame or scant

Or slothful in the purchase of fresh bays;

But want of truth in them who give the praise

To their self­-love, presuming to out-do

The writer, or, for need, the actors, too.

But such This Author’s silence best befits,

Who bids them be in love with their own wits.

From him to clearer judgments, we can say,

He shows a history couched in a play,

A history of noble mention, known,

Famous, and true: most noble, ’cause our own:

Not forged from Italy, from France, from Spain,

But chronicled at home; as rich in strain

Of brave attempts as ever fertile rage

In action could beget to grace the stage.

We cannot limit scenes, for the whole land

Itself appeared too narrow to withstand

Competitors for kingdoms: nor is here

Unnecessary mirth forced, to endear

A multitude; on these two, rests the fate

Of worthy expectation: Truth and State.

***

This is the Prologue in Modern English:

Plays of this nature have been recently so out of fashion and so unfollowed [since William Shakespeare’s HENRY VIII (1613)] that it has become more judicious and more sensible to revive the grotesque follies of the times than strive to look favorably on wise industry.

No lack of art renders wit and intelligence either lame or scant or slothful in the purchase of fresh bay (laurel) garlands of distinction for poets, but lack of truth in them who give the praise to their own self­-love, presuming to out-do the writer, or, if necessary, the actors, too.

But such people this author’s — John Ford’s — silence best befits, for John Ford tells them to be in love with their own wits.

John Ford to clearer judgments, we can say, shows a history [Francis Bacon’s History of the Reign of King Henry VII(1622)] expressed in a play, a history of noble record, known, famous, and true: It is most noble because it is our own. It is not fashioned from Italy, from France, or from Spain, but is chronicled at home in our England, and it is as rich in ancestral line of brave attempts as always fertile strong emotion in performance could beget to grace the stage.

We cannot limit scenes to any one particular place, for the whole land itself appeared too narrow to withstand competitors for kingdoms, nor is here unnecessary mirth forced in order to endear and attract a multitude; the fate of worthy expectation rests on these two: Truth and State.

Note: By State is meant Matter of State, and Stateliness.

— 1.1 —

King Henry VII entered the royal Presence Chamber in the King’s palace at Westminster. The Bishop of Durham and Sir William Stanley (the Lord Chamberlain) followed him as he walked to the throne. The Earl of Oxford, the Earl of Surrey, Lord Giles Dawbeney, and some guards were also present.

King Henry VII began to complain about the Pretenders to the throne — they were disrupting the country.

The year was 1495, and the Pretender Perkin Warbeck was gaining support for his claim to the throne of England. Previously, the Pretender Lambert Simnel had caused trouble for King Henry VII.

King Henry VII said,“Always to be haunted, always to be pursued, always to be frightened with false apparitions of pageant — mimic — majesty and new-coined greatness, as if we were a mockery, counterfeit King in state, only ordained to lavish sweat and blood, in scorn and laughter, to the ghosts of York, is all below our merits — I don’t deserve this trouble!”

Richard, the third Duke of York, was the father of King Edward IV and King Richard III and of the Earl of Clarence. The “ghosts of York” were the various Pretenders to the throne — Pretenders who falsely claimed to be descendants of Richard, the third Duke of York. These Pretenders included Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck.

Using the royal plural, and comparing himself to a physician, King Henry VII said, “Yet, my lords, my friends and counselors, yet we sit fast in our own royal birthright; the rent face and bleeding wounds of England’s slaughtered people have been by us, as if by the best physician, at last both thoroughly cured and set in safety; and yet, for all this glorious work of peace, ourselves is scarcely secure.”

“Ourselves is” meant “I am.” He was using the royal plural.

“The rage of malice and hatred conjures fresh spirits with the spells of York,” the Bishop of Durham said. “For ninety years ten English Kings and princes, threescore great dukes and earls, a thousand lords and valiant knights, and two hundred fifty thousand English subjects have in civil wars been sacrificed to an uncivil thirst of discord and ambition.”

Long had England been unquiet. In 1399, Henry Bolingbroke usurped the crown from King Richard II and became King Henry IV. The Hundred Years’ War with France took place from 1337 to 1453. From 1455-1487, the Yorkists and the Lancastrians fought for power in England in the Wars of the Roses. In 1485, King Henry VII was crowned after the Yorkist King Richard III was killed in the Battle of Bosworth, but King Henry VII still had to fight for a couple of years more.In 1486, King Henry VII, who was a Lancastrian, married Elizabeth of York, thus uniting the two families. Unfortunately, Pretenders to the throne, claiming to be Yorkists, troubled his reign.

The Bishop of Durham said to King Henry VII, “This hot vengeance of the just powers above — Providence — to utter ruin and desolation would have continued to rain on, except that Mercy did gently sheathe the sword of Justice and lent to this blood-drained — because of war — and therefore withered commonwealth a new soul and a new birth in your sacred person.”

Lord Giles Dawbeney said, “King Edward IV, after a fearful fortune, yielded his life to nature, leaving to his sons, Edward and Richard, the inheritance of a most bloody acquisition — instead of inheriting his crown, King Edward IV acquired it by usurping it from King Henry VI. Richard the tyrant, their unnatural uncle, forced these two young princes to a violent grave.”

“Richard the tyrant” was King Richard III, but Lord Giles Dawbeney and the others present would not refer to him as “King” because they did not want to seem to be conferring legitimacy to his title.

King Edward IV had left behind two sons: Edward (born 1470), who reigned briefly as King Edward V, and Richard, Duke of York (born 1473). The two boys disappeared while in the Tower of London in 1483. Many people believed that Richard, Duke of Gloucester, had ordered that they be murdered so that he could become King Richard III.

King Richard III was the “unnatural” uncle of King Edward IV’s two sons — Edward and Richard — because he had ordered that these nephews be murdered — so people believed.

Lord Giles Dawbeney continued, “So just is Heaven that your majesty by your own arm, divinely strengthened, pulled Richard the tyrant from his boar’s sty, and struck the black usurper to a carcass.”

King Richard III’s personal device — emblematic figure — was the White Boar.

Lord Giles Dawbeney continued, “Nor does the House of York decay in honors, although Lancaster does repossess his right, for King Edward IV’s daughter — Elizabeth of York — is King Henry VII’s queen.”

When King Richard III fell at the Battle of Bosworth, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, became King Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509). A Lancastrian, he married Elizabeth of York — young Elizabeth of York in William Shakespeare’s Richard III— and united the two warring families, York and Lancaster, thus effectively ending the Wars of the Roses. (The last major battle of the Wars of the Roses was the Battle of Stoke Field on 16 June 1487.) Despite this marriage, many Pretenders to the throne, including Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, appeared.

King Henry VII was the first Tudor King of England.

Lord Giles Dawbeney continued, “This is a blessed union, and a lasting blessing for this poor panting island, if some shreds, some useless remnant of the House of York would not begrudge this happiness and blessing.”

The shreds — the useless remnant of the House of York — were the Pretenders to the throne.

The Earl of Oxford said, “Margaret of Burgundy — the sister of King Edward IV and of Richard the tyrant — blows fresh coals of division.”

Margaret of Burgundy, a Yorkist, supported the Pretenders’ claims to the throne of England. She had supported Lambert Simnel, and now she supported Perkin Warbeck.

The Earl of Surrey said, “These fresh coals of division are painted, artificial fires, without either heat to scorch or light to cherish.”

Lord Giles Dawbeney said, “Neither the headless trunk of the Duke of York, Margaret’s father, who was killed in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460; nor the fate of King Edward IV, her brother; nor the smothering of her nephews by the tyrant Richard of Gloucester, brother to her nature; nor Richard of Gloucester’s own destruction — all decrees sacred in Heaven — can move this woman-monster. She still, from the bottomless mine of devilish policies, vents and discharges the ore of troubles and sedition.”

The tyrant Richard of Gloucester was King Richard III, who was the Duke of Gloucester before becoming King of England.

King Henry VII and his supporters never referred to Duke Richard of Gloucester as King Richard III. They refused to say anything that would legitimize his kingship.

The Earl of Oxford said, “In her age — great sir, observe the wonder — she grows fruitful, although in her strength of youth she was always barren. Nor are her births as other mothers’ are that end after nine or ten months; she has been pregnant eight years, or seven years at least. When her ‘twins’ were born — a monstrosity in nature — even the youngest was fifteen years of age at his first entrance, as soon as he became known in the world. They are tall striplings, strong and able to give battle to Kings; they are idols of Yorkish malice.”

The “twins” were two Pretenders to the throne of England: Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. The Earl of Oxford was mocking Margaret of Burgundy. Although she was past the age of child-bearing, yet she was producing “children” — the two Pretenders.

Lord Giles Dawbeney said, “And they are only idols. A steely hammer — King Henry VII — crushes them to pieces.”

King Henry VII said, “Lambert Simnel, the eldest, lords, is in our service, promoted from the scullery to a falconer because of his zealous and eager-to-serve disposition — a strange precedent! Such a promotion shows the difference between noble natures and the base-born.”

Lambert Simnel had claimed to be Edward, Earl of Warwick, the son of King Edward IV’s brother George, Earl of Clarence. In 1487, Lambert Simnel and his supporters crossed from Ireland to England, but King Henry VII decisively defeated their army. He pardoned Lambert Simnel and gave him a job in the royal kitchens but later promoted him to falconer. King Henry VII considered this a strange precedent because a person with a noble nature would be expected to rise, but Lambert Simnel’s history as a Pretender showed that he had an ignoble nature and so would be expected to continue serving in the King’s kitchens.

King Henry VII continued, “But as for the upstart and newly revived Duke of York, Edward’s second son, murdered long ago in the Tower of London — he lives again and vows to be your King.”

The upstart Duke was Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, who was the second son of King Edward IV. He and his brother had disappeared while imprisoned in the Tower of London; people presumed that Richard of Gloucester had had them murdered so he could become King Richard III.

“The throne is filled, sir,” Sir William Stanley said.

“True, Stanley,” King Henry VII said, “and I, the lawful heir, sit on it. A guard of angels and the holy prayers of loyal subjects are a sure defense against all invasion of open force and all secret plans of invasion.

“But now, my lords, let us suppose that some of our nobles, our ‘great ones,’ should give support and courage to ‘pretty’ ‘Duke’ Perkin Warbeck. You will all confess that our generous bounties have been unthriftily and unprofitably scattered among unthankful men.”

Some of the people whom King Henry VII had pardoned or favored were being disloyal to him.

“They are unthankful beasts, dogs, villains, traitors!” Lord Giles Dawbeney said.

“Giles Dawbeney, let the guilty keep silence,” King Henry VII said. “I accuse none, although I know that foreign attempts against a state and kingdom are seldom without some great friends at home.”

Sir William Stanley said, “Sir, even if no other abler reasons than duty or allegiance could divert a headstrong resolution, yet the dangers so lately experienced by men of high birth and fortunes in Lambert Simnel’s party must command more than a fear — they must command a terror — to conspirators.

“Consider the high-born Earl of Lincoln (son to De la Pole), the Earl of Kildare, the Lord Geraldine, Francis Lord Lovell, and the bold German baron Martin Swart, along with Sir Thomas Broughton and the rest — most are spectacles of ruin, but some are spectacles of mercy, for some were executed, and some were pardoned. But all of them are precedents sufficient to forewarn the present times, or any who live in them, about what folly, indeed, what madness, it would be to lift a finger up in any cause but yours — defending any cause but yours must necessarily be fraudulent. You are the only true King of England.”

The men whom Sir William Stanley had mentioned were supporters of Lambert Simnel.

King Richard III had been killed in 1485, but because of Pretenders such as Lambert Simnel, King Henry VII still had to fight to keep his hold on the throne.

John De la Pole, the Earl of Lincoln, was killed at the Battle of Stoke Field on 16 June 1487. The Battle of Stoke Field was the last major battle of the Wars of the Roses; it was fought in an attempt to make Lambert Simnel the King of England.

The Earl of Kildare was pardoned by King Henry VII.

Thomas Lord Geraldine was killed at the Battle of Stoke Field.

Francis Lovell, Viscount, disappeared.

Martin Schwartz, who led 1500 mercenaries sent by Margaret of Burgundy to support the Yorkists, was killed at the Battle of Stoke Field.

Sir Thomas Broughton disappeared.

King Henry VII said, “Stanley, we know thou love us, and thy heart is portrayed on thy tongue — you speak what is in your heart — nor do we think less of any who is here.”

He said to the nobles present, “How closely we have hunted this cub from hole to hole, since he left his lair, your knowledge is our chronicle — you know the history of how we have hunted Perkin Warbeck.

“First Ireland, the common stage of new thought and common source of rebellion, presented this gewgaw — this person of no value — to oppose us. In Ireland the Geraldine family and the Butler family, both of whom supported Lambert Simnell, once again stood in support of this colossic statue named Perkin Warbeck.”

A colossic statue is impressive on the outside, but not on the inside. George Chapman wrote in his tragedy Bussy d’Amboise, “those colossic statues, / Which with heroic forms, without o’erspread, / Within are nought [nothing] but mortar, flint, and lead.”

King Henry VII continued, “King Charles VIII of France thence called Perkin Warbeck into his protection and pretended that he was the lawful heir of England — yet this was all only French dissimulation, aiming at peace with us. Once this peace was granted on honorable terms on our part with the Treaty of Étaples in 1492, suddenly this smoke of straw — Perkin Warbeck — was sent packing from France again, to infect some grosser air: and now we learn — in spite of the malice of Sir George Neville the Bastard, Sir John Taylor, and a hundred English rebels who joined Perkin Warbeck in Paris — that they’ve all retired to Flanders, to the dam — the mother — that nursed this eager whelp, Margaret of Burgundy. But we will hunt him there, too; we will hunt him. We will hunt him to death, even in the beldam’s — the old woman’s — private chamber, and we will hunt him to death even if the Archduke Maximilian of Austria were his shield!”

After living for part of 1491 in Ireland, Perkin Warbeck arrived in France in October 1492 as the invited guest of King Charles VIII of France. King Henry VII invaded and besieged Boulogne. The two Kings made peace with the Treaty of Étaples in November 1492, and Perkin Warbeck was forced to leave France. He went to Flanders, where Margaret of Burgundy hosted him.

The Earl of Surrey said, “Margaret of Burgundy has given Perkin Warbeck the title ‘The Fair White Rose of England.’”

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.

Lord Giles Dawbeney said, “Perkin Warbeck a jolly gentleman? He is more suitable to be a swabber — a sailor who mops the decks of boats — to the Flemish after a drunken excess.”

According to Lord Giles Dawbeney, Perkin Warbeck was the type of person to get shanghaied to serve as a sailor after getting thoroughly drunk.

Carrying a paper, Christopher Urswick, King Henry VII’s chaplain, entered the scene and said to King Henry VII, “Gracious sovereign, may it please you to peruse this paper.”

King Henry VII took the paper and began to read it.

Watching him, the Bishop of Durham said quietly, “The King’s countenance gathers a sprightly blood.”

“It is goodnews,” Lord Giles Dawbeney said. “You may believe it.”

“Christopher Urswick, lend me thine ear,” King Henry VII said. “Listen to me. Have thou lodged him? Have you given him a place to stay?”

“Him” was Sir Robert Clifford, who had joined King Henry VII’s side after supporting Perkin Warbeck.

“He is strongly safe, sir,” Christopher Urswick said. “He is secure.”

“Enough,” King Henry VII said. “Has William Barley come, too?”

William Barley had not come because he was still loyal to the Yorkists who supported Perkin Warbeck.

Earlier, both Sir Robert Clifford and William Barley had visited Perkin Warbeck in Flanders. King Henry VII had offered both Sir Robert Clifford and William Barley pardons if they would join his side and inform on those opposing him. Sir Robert Clifford immediately accepted the pardon, but William Barley remained opposed to King Henry VII and loyal to Perkin Warbeck for a few more years.

“No, my lord,” Christopher Urswick replied.

“It doesn’t matter,” King Henry VII said. “Phew! He’s only a spreading weed that will be plucked up by the roots when I please. But I will say more about this soon.”

He then said to the lords who were present, “I have decided, my lords, for reasons that you shall share, that it is our pleasure to move our court from Westminster to the Tower of London.”

The Tower of London had quarters for the King and his retinue. It also served as a prison for nobles.

King Henry VII continued, “We will lodge this very night there.”

He ordered, “Give, Lord Chamberlain, an immediate order for it.”

Sir William Stanley, who was theLord Chamberlain, thought,The Tower of London!

He then replied to King Henry VII, “I shall, sir.”

“Come, my true, best, fast friends,” King Henry VII said. “These clouds will vanish, the sun will shine at full, the heavens are clearing.”

***

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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David Bruce: John Ford’s LOVE’S SACRIFICE: A Retelling — Act 5, Scenes 2-3 (Conclusion)

— 5.2 —

Fernando, Nibrassa, and Petruchio talked together in Fernando’s apartment in the palace.

“May we believe your words, my lord?” Petruchio said to Fernando. “Speak and answer us, on your honor.”

“Let me die accursed if ever, through the progress of my life, I did as much as reap the benefit of any favor from her except a kiss,” Fernando said. “A better woman never blessed the earth.”

“Curse my heart, young lord, but I believe thee,” Nibrassa said. “Alas, kind lady, I would bet a lordship against a dozen clothes-laces that the jealous madman will in his fury offer her some violence.”

“If that is true,” Petruchio said to Fernando, “it would be better for you to keep a guard around you to defend you than for you to be guarded by guards on the Duke’s payroll who will allow the Duke to get his revenge; the Duke is extremely angry.”

“Passion of my body, my lord, if he would come in his odd fits to you, in the situation — unweaponed — you are, he might cut your throat before you could provide yourself with a weapon of defense,” Nibrassa said to Fernando. “Rather than it shall be so, wait, take my sword in your hand. It is not one of the sprucest swords, but it is a tough fox that will not fail his master, come what will come.”

In this society, “fox” was a name for a particular type of sword.

“Take it,” Nibrassa said. “I’ll be responsible for it, I will.”

He gave Fernando his sword.

He added, “In the meantime Petruchio and I will go back to the Duchess’ lodging.”

“This is well thought out,” Petruchio said. “And, despite all the Duke’s rage, rescue the virtuous lady.”

“Look after yourself, my lord!” Nibrassa said. “The Duke is coming.”

The Duke, carrying a sword in one hand and a bloody dagger in the other, entered the room.

He said, “Stand, and behold thy executioner, thou vainglorious traitor! I will keep no formal procedure of ceremonious law to try thy guilt. Look here, thy guilt is written on my dagger’s point, the bloody evidence of thy untruth, wherein thy conscience and the wrathful rod of Heaven’s scourge for lust at once condemn the verdict of thy flagrant villainies that loudly cry for redress.

“I see thou are armed. Prepare to fight. I crave no odds — no advantage — greater than is the justice of my cause. Fight, or I’ll kill thee.”

“Duke, I don’t fear thee,” Fernando said. “But first I ask thee, as thou are a prince, to tell me how thou have treated thy Duchess.”

“How!” the Duke said. “To add affliction to thy trembling ghost, look on my dagger’s crimson dye, and judge for yourself how I have treated her.”

“Not dead?” Fernando asked.

“Not dead!” the Duke said. “She is dead, yes, by my honor’s truth. Why, fool, do thou think I’ll hug and cherish my injuries? No, traitor! I’ll mix your souls together in your deaths, as you did both your bodies in her life.

“Have at thee! Let’s fight!”

“Stop,” Fernando said. “I yield my weapon up.”

He dropped his sword.

He then opened the front of his shirt and said, “Here, here’s my chest. As thou are a Duke, as thou honor goodness, if the chaste Bianca has been murdered, then murder me.”

“Faint-hearted coward, are thou so poor in spirit!” the Duke said. “Rise and fight, or by the glories of my house and name, I’ll kill thee basely.”

“Do but hear me say something first,” Fernando said. “Unfortunate Caraffa, thou have butchered an innocent, a wife as free from lust as any terms of artful speech can deify.”

“Pish, this is an old, stale dissimulation,” the Duke said. “You are lying. I’ll hear no more.”

“If ever I unshrined the altar of her purity, or tasted more of her love than what without restraint or blame a brother from a sister might,” Fernando said, “then put me on the rack and tear me to tiny pieces. I must confess I have too much abused thee. I did exceed in lawless courtship; it is too true, I did. But, by the honor that I owe to goodness, of any actual lewdness I am free.”

Fernando had kissed Bianca, but they had not had sex.

“That is false,” the Duke said, but he added, believing that Bianca had also spoken falsely, “As much in death in support of thee she spoke.”

“By yonder starry roof, by the sky, it is true,” Fernando said. “Oh, Duke! If thou could create another world like this, another like to that, and more, or more, thou would still be most wretched because of this: All the wealth of all those worlds could not redeem the loss of such a spotless, sinless wife. Glorious Bianca, reign in the triumph of thy martyrdom. Earth was unworthy of thee!”

“Now, on our lives, we both believe him,” Nibrassa and Petruchio said.

“Fernando, do thou dare to swear upon my sword to affirm that thy words are true?”

“I do dare,” Fernando said. “Look here.”

He kissed the sword.

The sword’s blade, guard, and hilt formed a cross and so was a suitable object for a Christian to swear on.

He continued, “It is not the fear of death that prompts my tongue, for I wish to die; and thou shall know, poor miserable Duke, that since she is dead, I’ll consider all life a hell.”

“Bianca chaste!” the Duke said.

“As chaste as virtue itself is good,” Fernando said.

“Chaste, chaste, and killed by me!” the Duke said, convinced. “To her I offer up as a sacrifice this remnant of my —”

He attempted to stab himself and cut short his remnant of life, but Fernandoprevented him.

“Stop!” Fernando said. “Be gentler to thyself.”

“Alas, my lord,” Petruchio said. “Is this a wise man’s manner of conduct?”

“To where now shall I run from the day to a place where no man, nor eye, nor eye of Heaven may see a dog as hateful as I am?” the Duke said. “Bianca chaste! If the fury of some hellish rage had not blinded all reason’s sight, I must have seen her innocence in her fearlessness to die. I beg your leave —”

He knelt, held up his hands in the position for making vows, and after briefly speaking quietly — no living person present heard him — rose.

He had made private vows.

“It is done,” he said.

He then said to Fernando, “Come, friend, now for her love, her love that praised thee in the pangs of death, I’ll hold thee dear.”

He added, “Lords, don’t worry about me. I am too wise to die yet.”

He then said, “Oh, Bianca!”

Roderico D’Avolos entered the room.

He said to the Duke, “The Lord Abbot of Monaco, sir, in his return from Rome, lodged last night late in the city, very privately; and hearing the report of your journey, intends only to visit your Duchess tomorrow.”

The Lord Abbot of Monaco had heard the official — but false — report that the Duke had left on a journey to heal his troubled mind.

The Duke replied to Roderico D’Avolos, “Slave, torture me no more!”

He then said to the others about Roderico D’Avolos, “Look closely at him, my lords! If you would choose a devil in the shape of man, an arch-arch-devil, there stands one.”

Roderico D’Avolos had made the Duke a jealous man — jealous enough to murder his chaste wife.

The Duke then said, “We’ll meet our uncle.

“Order immediately, Petruchio,that our Duchess be coffined. It is our will that she at once be interred, with all the speed and privacy you can manage, in the collegiate-church among Caraffa’s — my family’s — ancient tombs.”

A collegiate-church is a church that is self-governed by non-monastic priests.

The Duke continued, “Some three days from now, we’ll hold her funeral.”

He said about Roderico D’Avolos, “Damned villain! Bloody villain!”

He then moaned, “Oh, Bianca!”

Finally, he said this:

“No counsel from our cruel wills can win us.

“But ills once done, we bear our guilt within us.”

Everyone except Roderico D’Avolos exited.

He said after the others, “Good b’wi’ye!”

The phrase meant “May good be with all of you.”

He then repeated what the Duke had called him, “Arch-arch-devil!”

He then said, sarcastically, “Why, and this is how I am paid for my efforts. Here’s my bounty for good service! Curse my heart, but it is a very princely reward. Now I must say my prayers to thank God that I have lived to so ripe an age to have my head stricken off.

“I cannot tell; I don’t know. It may be the case that my Lady Fiormonda will stand up on my behalf to the Duke, but that’s just a single, feeble hope.

“A disgraced courtier oftener finds enemies to sink him when he is falling than friends to relieve him.”

A proverb stated, “In time of prosperity, friends will be plenty; in time of adversity, not one in twenty.”

He continued, “I must resolve to stand up to the danger and risk of all blows now. Come whatever may come, I will not die like a coward — and the world shall know it.”

— 5.3 —

In anotherapartment in the palace, Roseilli took off part of his disguise in front of Fiormonda. He took off enough for her to know who he was.

“Don’t be dumbstruck, madam,” Roseilli said. “Here you see the man whom your disdain has metamorphosed. Thus long has my identity been clouded in this disguise, led on by love; and in that love, despair.”

How had her disdain for his love metamorphosed him? Had it caused him to assume the disguise of a natural fool? Or, after he had assumed that disguise, had her disdain for his love changed his love for her to something different from love? Or was the disdain he was referring to her disdain for Bianca and Bernardo? Had that disdain changed his love for her to something different from love?

He continued, “If neither the sight of our distracted court nor pity of my bondage cannot amend the greatness of your scorn, yet let me know my final judgment from you. How will you treat my love for you?”

“This is a strange miracle!” Fiormonda said. “Roseilli, I must honor thee. Thy constancy and righteousness, like a crystal-clear mirror and paragon, presents my errors to my reason. Noble lord,you who better deserves a better fate, forgive me. If my heart can entertain another thought of love, it shall be thine.”

“Blessed, forever blessed be the words!” Roseilli said. “In death you have revived me and brought me back to life.”

Roderico D’Avolos entered the room, saw Roseilli, and thought, Whom have we here? Roseilli, the supposed fool? It is he. So then, brazen face, help me!

Roderico D’Avolos realized that when Roseilli was disguised as a natural fool, he must have heard him plotting. Now D’Avolos was calling on his ability as a dissembler to keep himself out of trouble.

He began, “My honorable lord—”

“Stay away, bloodthirsty man!” Roseilli interrupted. “Don’t come near me.”

Roderico D’Avolos said to Fiormonda, “Madam, I trust my service —”

She interrupted, “Fellow, learn a new way to live: The way to thrift in grace for thee is a repentant shrift. If you want to live in grace, you need to confess and repent your sins.”

“Ill has thy life been, worse will be thy end,” Roseilli said. “Men fleshed in and inured to blood seldom know to amend.”

A servant entered.

The servant said to Fiormonda, “His highness commends his love to you, and awaits your presence; he is ready to pass to the church, only staying for my Lord Abbot of Monaco to join him.”

Next the servant said, “In addition, his pleasure is that you, D’Avolos, do not attend this solemnity in the role of secretary, but you may be there as a private citizen.”

The servant then said to Fiormonda, “Does it please you to go?”

Everyone except Roderico D’Avolos exited.

“As a private citizen!” he said. “What can I do? This way they must come; and here I will stand, to fall among them in the rear.”

A solemn strain of soft music began.

A procession was walking to the churchyard where Bianca would be entombed.

Some attendants carrying torches walked at the head of the procession.

Next came two Friars.

Then came the mourning Duke.

After him came the Abbot of Monaco, Fiormonda, Colona, Julia, Roseilli, Petruchio, Nibrassa, and a few guards.

Fernando was not in the procession.

Roderico D’Avolos joined the procession at the rear.

When the procession reached the tomb, they all knelt.

The Duke went to the tomb, and placed his hand on it.

The music ceased.

“May peace and sweet rest sleep here!” the Duke said. “Let not the touch of this my impious hand profane the shrine of fairest purity, which hovers yet about those blessed bones entombed within.

“If in the bosom of this sacred tomb, Bianca, thy disturbed ghost wanders about because it is not at rest, then look! I offer up the sacrifice of bleeding tears, tears of anguish shed from a faithful spring,pouring the offerings of a mourning heart to thee, offended spirit! I confess I am Caraffa. I am he, that wretched man, that butcher, who, in my enraged passion, slaughtered the living body of innocence and beauty.

“Now I come to pay tribute to those wounds that I dug up, and reconcile the wrongs that my fury wrought and my contrition mourns. So chaste, so dear a wife has no man but I enjoyed, yet in the bloom and pride of all her years I untimely took her life.

“Enough! Set open the tomb so that I may take my last farewell and bury my griefs with her.”

The tomb was opened. Fernando, wearing a shroud, was inside, with only his face uncovered. He rose and said, “Stop! Who are thou who rudely presses into the confines of graves that ought to be left alone? Has death no privilege? Has death no immunity? Have thou, Caraffa, come to practice a kidnapping upon the dead?

“Inhuman tyrant! Whatever thou intend, know that this place is appointed for my inheritance. Here lies the monument of all my hopes.

“If eager lust had entrunked my conquered soul, I would not bury living joys in death — if eager lust was being satisfied in my soul that has been conquered by love, I would not now be burying living joys in this tomb.”

The word “entrunked” meant “entered my trunk” — that is, “entered my heart, aka my soul.”

If the Duke had died first, and Fernando and Bianca had married, then this tragedy would not have occurred.

Fernando continued, “Go, revel in thy palace, and be proud as you boast about thy notorious murders; let thy flattering, low-bowing parasites make thy act famous. Thou shall not come here.”

“Fernando, man of darkness, never until now, in the presence of these dread-inspiring sights, did I abhor thy friendship,” the Duke replied. “Thou have robbed my resolution of a glorious fame.”

The Duke called Fernando a “man of darkness” because 1) Fernando was literally in the darkness of a tomb, 2) Fernando was a man of death because he was ready to die in Bianca’s tomb, and 3) the Duke possibly regarded Fernando as a man of evil because he “robbed my resolution of a glorious fame.”

The Duke continued, “Come out of Bianca’s tomb, or by the thunder of my rage, I swear thou will die a death more fearful than the scourge of death can whip thee with.”

“The scourge of death!” Fernando said. “Poor Duke! Why, death is the target I shoot at. It is not threats — despite thy power, or the spite of hell — that shall tear away that honor from me. Let life-hugging — life-loving — slaves, whose hands are stained with blood and sin from butcheries like thine shake their souls with terror and be loath to die!

“Look! I am already clothed in robes that are suitable for the grave.

“I pity thy defiance.”

The Duke ordered, “Guards, lay hands on him and drag him out.”

“Yes, let them,” Fernando said. “Here’s my shield.”

A shield provides protection; Fernando held up something that would protect him from being dragged alive out of Bianca’s tomb.

He said, “Here’s a toast to victory!”

As the guards went to seize him, he drank a phial of quick-acting poison.

He said, “Now do thy worst.

“Farewell, Duke! For once and for all I have ran ahead of and outstripped thy plots. Not all the cunning, ingenious antidotes of the medical art can grant me another twelve minutes of my life. The poison works! It works already! Splendidly! Splendidly! Now, now I feel it tear each individual joint. Oh, royal poison! Trustworthy friend! Split, split both heart and gall asunder, you excellent bane and poison!”

In this society, gall was believed to be the source of bitterness.

Fernando continued, “Roseilli, love my memory.

“Well searched out, swift, nimble venom! Torture every vein of mine.

“I am coming to you, Bianca.

“Cruel torment, feast, feast on, do.

“Duke, farewell.

“Thus I … hot flames! … conclude my love — and seal it in my bosom!”

He died.

“This is a very desperate end to his life!” the Abbot of Monaco said.

The death was both violent, and the Abbot regarded it as despairing — in the Christian sense of being without hope of Paradise. Suicide is a major sin in Catholicism, but some people may regard love-suicide as an ennobling act.

“No one move!” the Duke said. “Whoever steps a foot steps to his utter ruin.

“And are thou gone, Fernando? Are thou gone?

“Thou were an unmatched friend; rest in thy fame.

“Sister, this is my testament: When I have finished my last days, lodge me, my wife, and this unequalled friend all in one tomb.

“Now to my vows.”

He meant the vows he had quietly made when he knelt after learning that his wife had not committed adultery and after he had been prevented from committing suicide.

He continued, “Never henceforth let any sorrowful tongue mention Bianca’s and Caraffa’s name, unless they let each letter in that tragic sound beget a sigh, and every sigh a tear. Children unborn, and widows whose lean cheeks are furrowed by age, shall weep whole nights, repeating just the story of our fates. While telling the end, closing up their tale, they must conclude with how, out of love for Bianca, Caraffa, in revenge of wrongs to her, thus on her altar sacrificed his life.”

He stabbed himself with the dagger that he had used to stab Bianca.

This was the fulfillment of his “resolution of a glorious fame.”

The Abbot of Monaco shouted, “Stop the Duke’s hand! Keep him from killing himself!”

“Save my brother!” Fiormonda shouted. “Save him!”

“Do!” the Duke said sarcastically. “Try to save me!

“I was too willing to strike home to be thwarted.

“Fools, why, could you dream I would outlive my outrageous act?

“Sprightly flood of blood, run out in rivers!

“Oh, I wish that these thick streams could collect, acquire strength, and make a standing pool, so that jealous husbands here might bathe in blood!”

Some people in this society believed that blood could have redemptive power. Perhaps the Duke was wishing that if husbands bathed in his blood, they would be cured of jealousy.

In Matthew 26:28 Jesus states, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (King James Version).

The Duke continued, “So! I grow sweetly empty; may all the pipes of life unvessel my life — may all my veins and all my arteries empty out of my body my blood and life.

“Now heavens, wipe out the writing of my sin in the Book of Life!”

Revelation 20:12 states, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (King James Version).

The Duke said, “Bianca, thus I creep to thee … to thee … to thee, Bi … an … ca.”

He died.

“He’s already dead, madam,” Roseilli said to Fiormonda.

Roderico D’Avolos thought, Here’s more than I could have hoped for! Here’s labor saved! I could bless the Destinies — the three Fates.

By “labor saved,” perhaps he meant that he didn’t have to kill the Duke himself, or perhaps he meant that he didn’t have to suffer any punishment for his ill deeds.

“I wishthat I had never seen this!” the Abbot of Monaco said.

Fiormonda said, “Since this is how things have befallen, my Lord Roseilli, in the true requital of your continued love, I here possess you of the Dukedom, and with it of me, in the presence of this holy abbot.”

The Abbot of Monaco held Roseilli’s hand and said to Fiormonda, “Then, lady, from my hand take your husband.”

He joined their hands together and said, “May you two long enjoy each to each other’s comfort and content!”

They were now legally married, and Roseilli was now legally ruler of Pavia.

All present cried, “Long live Roseilli!”

Using the majestic plural, Roseilli said, “First, we give thanks to Heaven. Next, lady, we give thanks to your love. Lastly, my lords, we give thanks to all. And we pray that our entrance into this position of prince may give fair hopes of our being worthy of our place.”

Then he said, “Our first work shall be justice.

“D’Avolos, stand forth.”

Roderico D’Avolos began, “My gracious lord —”

Roseilli interrupted, “No, graceless villain! I am no lord of thine.”

He then ordered, “Guards, take him hence. Convey him to the prison’s top. In chains hang him alive.

“Whoever gives a bit of bread to feed him dies.”

He said to Roderico D’Avolos, “Speak not a word against this judgment, I will be deaf to mercy.”

He ordered the guards, “Bear him hence!”

Unrepentant, Roderico D’Avolos said sarcastically, “Mercy, new Duke.”

In this situation and context, “mercy” meant “thanks.”

He added, “Here’s my comfort. I can take comfort in knowing that I make but one in the number of the tragedy of princes.”

The guards took him away.

Roseilli then said to Fiormonda, “Madam, a second responsibility is to perform your brother’s testament regarding his final wishes; we’ll build a tomb to those unhappy lovers, which shall tell the story of their fatal loves to all posterity.

“And now, then, as for you: From this time forth, I here dismiss the mutual comforts of our marriage-bed.”

Their marriage would not be consummated.

He continued, “Learn to live a new kind of life. My vows shall stand unmoved. And since your life has been so very intemperate, resolve in a timely fashion to make your peace with Heaven.”

He was giving her the same advice that she had given to Roderico D’Avolos.

“Oh, me!” Fiormonda said. “Is this your love for me?”

“It is your desert,” Roseilli said. “It is what you deserve. No persuasion shall remove sentence of punishment.”

“This sentence is fitting,” the Abbot of Monaco said to Fiormonda. “Purge moral weakness with repentance.”

“I embrace this sentence,” Fiormonda said. “Happy too late, since lust has made me foul, from this time forth I’ll dress my bride-bed in my soul. My bride-bed shall be spiritual.”

“Does it please you to walk, Lord Abbot?” Roseilli asked the Abbot of Monaco.

“Yes, set on,” the Abbot of Monaco replied. “No age has heard, and no historical chronicle can say, that ever here befell a sadder day.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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***

David Bruce’s Smashwords Bookstore: Retellings of Classic Literature, Anecdote Collections, Discussion Guides for Teachers of Literature, Collections of Good Deed Accounts, etc. Some eBooks are free.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

THE TROJAN WAR

https://www.amazon.com/Trojan-War-Its-Aftermath-Poems-ebook/dp/B00OO0ZRZ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511061182&sr=8-1&keywords=the+trojan+war+and+its+aftermath

***

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

***

SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

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

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/792090

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079V5BCJZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i8

***

SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure:  A Retelling in Prose, by David Bruce

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/530136

https://www.amazon.com/William-Shakespeares-Measure-Retelling-Prose-ebook/dp/B00V7IRT9O

***

SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist:  A Retelling

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/731768

https://www.amazon.com/Ben-Jonsons-Alchemist-David-Bruce-ebook/dp/B0738VSHPY

***

PS: I like online reviews.

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David Bruce: John Ford’s LOVE’S SACRIFICE: A Retelling — Act 5, Scene 1

— 5.1 —

Bianca and Fernando were in the Duchess’ bedchamberin the palace.Dressed in her sleeping attire, Bianca leaned on a cushion at a table, holding Fernando by the hand.

Unseen, Fiormonda entered a balcony and spied on them.

Fiormonda said to herself, “Now fly, Revenge, and wound the lower earth, so that I, as if I were embedded in a sphere above, may thwart like a malignant planet the race of love despised, and triumph over the graves of those who scorn the humble captivity of my heart!”

“Why shouldn’t thou be mine?” Bianca said to Fernando. “Why should the laws — the hard-as-iron laws of the marriage ceremony — bar mutual embraces? What’s a vow? A vow! Can there be sin in unity?

“If I could as well dispense with conscience as renounce the highest of my titles — the poor title of Duchess — I would rather exchange my life with any waiting-woman in the land,if doing that would purchase one night’s rest with thee, Fernando, than be Duke Caraffa’s spouse for a thousand years.”

Often, women of the lower classes had more freedom than women of the upper classes. A woman of the lower classes could choose to love a man of the lower classes. A woman marrying into the upper classes had many fewer men from whom to choose. At the highest levels, a woman — or man — might have to marry someone for political reasons.

“Treason to wedlock!” Fiormonda said to herself. “This would make you sweat.”

In halting language at first, Fernando said, “Lady of all … as before … what I am … to survive you … or I will see you first either widowed or buried.”

Fernando was determined not to have Bianca commit adultery, and so they would have to wait for her marriage to the Duke to end. That marriage would end with either her death or the Duke’s death. If she were to be widowed, then of course they could and would wed.

Fernando continued, “But if you die first and are buried, then by all the comfort I can wish to taste and by your fair eyes, I swear that the sepulcher that holds your coffin shall encoffin me alive. If you should die first, I vow to be buried alive in your coffin. I sign it with this seal.”

He kissed her.

In this society, oaths were sealed by kissing the book: the Bible.

“Ignoble strumpet!” Fiormonda said to herself.

“You shall not swear,” Bianca said. “Take away that oath again, or thus I will enforce it.”

She kissed him.

“Use that force, and make me a perjured vow-breaker,” Fernando said, “for while your lips are made the book that must be sworn on, it is a sport to swear an oath with a kiss, and it is glory to forswear an oath with a kiss.”

“Here’s fast and loose!” Fiormonda said quietly.

The idiom “to play fast and loose” means to live carelessly and immorally. The idiom comes from a game in which a conman and a sucker would make a bet and the conman would cheat the sucker.

She added quietly, “I bet a ducat now the game’s started!”

A ducat is a gold coin. Fiormonda was willing to bet gold that the Duke would be cheated on.

While Bianca and Fernando were kissing, the Duke and Roderico D’Avolos, with their swords drawn, appeared at the door, followed by Petruchio, Nibrassa, and a few guards. Bianca and Fernando, who were paying close attention to each other, did not see or hear them.

Colona, who was loyal to Bianca, shouted from outside the room, “Help, help! Madam, you are betrayed, madam. Help, help!”

She was far away, and Bianca and Fernando did not hear her cries.

Roderico D’Avolos said quietly to the Duke, “Is there confidence in belief, now, sir? Do you believe your own eyes? Do you see? Do you see, sir? Can you behold it without lightning to cast light on this scene? Can you behold it without your anger flaring up like lightning?”

Colona shouted, louder, “Help, madam, help!”

“What is that noise?” Fernando said. “I heard someone cry out.”

The Duke stepped forward and said, “Ha, did you? Do you know who I am?”

“Yes,” Fernando said. “Thou are Pavia’s Duke, dressed like an executioner.”

He was referring to the Duke’s drawn sword.

He continued, “Look! I am unarmed, yet I do not fear thee, although the coward fear of what I could have done has made thee steal the advantage of this time. Because you feared what I would do to you if I were armed, you picked a time when you knew I would be unarmed.

“Yet, Duke, I dare thee to do thy worst, for murder sits upon thy cheeks. Go to it, man! Murder me!”

“I am too angry in my rage to scourge thee unprovided,” the Duke replied.

He meant that Fernando’s words at his — the Duke’s — being a coward who came to him with a drawn sword when Fernando was unprovided with a sword made him so angry that he would not kill Fernando while Fernando was unarmed.

The word “unprovided” also meant “without making provisions for one’s immortal soul.” Even traitors were given an opportunity to repent and confess their sins before suffering capital punishment. Not giving the guilty person a chance to repent was a sin.

And so the Duke’s words may also have meant this: I am so angry that if I were to punish you now I would do things that would endanger your — and my — immortal soul. Such things would include killing you without giving you a chance to repent.

“Take him away from here!” the Duke ordered. “Away with him!”

Some guards seized Fernando.

“Get your hands off me!” Fernando shouted.

“You must go, sir,” Roderico D’Avolos said.

“Duke, do not shame thy manhood to lay hands on that most innocent lady: Bianca,” Fernando said.

“Yet again he speaks!” the Duke said, and then he ordered, “Confine him to his chamber.”

Roderico D’Avolos and the guards exited with Fernando in their custody.

The Duke ordered, “All of you, leave us. None stay, not one. Shut the doors.”

Petruchio and Nibrassaexited and closed the doors behind them.

“Now show thyself my brother, brave Caraffa,” Fiormonda said quietly to herself. She remained on the balcony, unseen.

For the Duke to prove to her that he was her brother, he would have to severely punish — even kill — Bianca.

“Woman, stand before me,” the Duke said.

Bianca stood in front of him.

“Wretched whore,” the Duke said, “what can thou hope for?”

“Death,” Bianca said. “I wish no less than death. You told me you had dreamt, and, gentle Duke, unless you are mistaken, you’ve now awakened.”

“Strumpet, I am now awake,” the Duke said, “and in my hand I hold up the edge of my sword that must uncut thy twist of life.”

The twist of life is the thread of life that is spun, measured, and cut by the three Fates. When the thread of life is cut, the person whose thread it is dies.

In this society, “un-” was sometimes an intensifying adjectival prefix. (Think of “in-” and “inflammable.”) Now this use of the prefix “un-” is obsolete. “Uncut” meant “definitely cut” — if the prefix “un-” were used in this sense.

But perhaps the Duke was threatening to not kill Bianca and instead to let her live out her life in grief. Bianca had told him that she welcomed death. In that case, “uncut” meant “not cut.”

The Duke asked her, “Don’t thou shake?”

He meant “shake out of fear.”

“Shake for what?” Bianca replied. “To see a weak, faint, trembling arm advance a leaden blade?”

“Leaden” meant “heavy.” Bianca was insulting the Duke by saying that the sword was too heavy for him to use effectively. A leaden blade was also not a good blade; good swords were made of steel.

“Alas, good man!” she continued. “Put up your sword, sheathe it; thine eyes are much likelier to weep than thine arms are to strike. Please tell me what you would like to do now?”

“What!” the Duke said. “Shameless harlot, I would rip up the cradle of thy cursed womb in which the mixture — the semen created by your and his mixing — of that traitor’s lust swells like a tumor for the birth of a bastard.

“Yet come, and if thou think thou can deserve one mite of mercy, before the boundless spleen of justly consuming wrath floods and drowns my reason, then tell me, bad woman, tell me what could move thy heart to crave the variety of youth.”

The Duke was an older man, older than Fernando.

“I’ll tell you,” Bianca said, “if you must have your question answered: I held Fernando to be much the more complete and better-looking man.”

“Shameless, intolerable whore!” the Duke said.

“What is bothering you?” Bianca said. “Can you imagine, sir, that the title of ‘Duke’ could make a crooked leg, a scrambling way of walking, a merely tolerable face, a withered hand, apale and bloodless lip, or such an untrimmed beard as yours, fit for a lady’s pleasure?”

Bianca had mentioned the Duke’s “crooked leg.” Earlier, Fernando had compared Bianca to Venus, goddess of beauty. Venus’ husband was Vulcan, who had a crooked leg. Venus had an affair with Mars, god of war, and when Vulcan learned that he had been cuckolded, he trapped the adulterers while they were in bed.

Bianca answered her own question: “No.”

She then said, “I wonder that you could think it were possible, when I had but once looked on your Fernando, that I could ever love you again. Fat chance!

“Now, by my life, I thought that long ago you had known it and had been glad you had a friend that your wife did think so well of.”

“Oh, my stars!” the Duke said. “Here’s impudence above all history. Why, thou detested reprobate in virtue, do thou dare, without a blush, before my eyes to speak such immodest language?”

“Dare! Yes, indeed — you see that I dare. I know what you want to say now. You would like to tell me how exceedingly much I am beholden to you, who deigned to raise me from a simple gentlewoman’s place to the honor of your bed. It is true that you did that. But why did you do that? It was only because you thought I had a spark of beauty more than you had seen.

“To answer your question, my reasoning is the same as yours: The self-same desire that led you on to marry me led me to love your friend. Oh, he’s a gallant man! If my eyes have ever yet beheld a miracle composed of flesh and blood, Fernando has my vote. I must confess, my lord, that for a prince you are handsome enough, and … and no more. But to compare yourself with him! Trust me, you are too much in fault.

“Shall I give you some information? Listen to what I say in your ear: You should thank Heaven that he — Fernando — was so slow as not to wrong your sheets, for as I live the ‘fault’ was his, not mine.”

Although Fernando and Bianca loved each other and had kissed, they had not had sex. Bianca was willing to have sex with him, but she had not because he was so slow to agree to it — and had not yet agreed to it. She regarded that as a ‘fault’ because she was so eager to have sex with him.

“Take this, take all,” Fiormonda said quietly to herself about the Duke. “If you can suffer this, then you can suffer anything.”

“Excellent, excellent!” the Duke said sarcastically. “The pangs of death are music to this.

“Forgive me, my good genius — my guardian angel — I had thought I married a woman, but I find she is a devil, worser than the worst in hell.

“Well, well, since we are in so far, then come, say on: Speak more things. I have paid close attention to every syllable you have spoken: You say the ‘fault’ for you two not having sex was his, not yours.”

Of course, he believed that she was lying.

The Duke then said, “Why, virtuous mistress, can you imagine that you have so much ability to lie that you may persuade me that you and your secret lover did not a little traffic in my rights as your husband? Do you think that you can convince me that you and Fernando did not have sex?”

Bianca said, “Look, what I said, it is true; for, know it now — I must confess I missed no means, no time, to win him to my bosom, but so much, so holily, with such religious devotion, he obeyed the laws of friendship and out of friendship for you rejected my offers to have sex with him, so that my suit was held to be, in comparison, only a jest. Nor did I more often urge the violence of my affection, but as often he urged the sacred vows of faith between friend and friend: Yet be assured, my lord, that if ever language of cunning servile flatteries, entreaties, or what is in me could procure his love, I would not blush to speak it.”

 Bianca’s “what is in me” includes a vagina.

“One more woman such as thou are, miserable creature, would sink with the weight of guilt the whole sex of women,” the Duke said, “yet confess what witchcraft the wretch used to charm thee out of the once spotless temple of thy mind? For without witchcraft, it could never be done.”

“Phew!” Bianca said in disgust. “If you be in these tunes, sir, I’ll leave off speaking and perhaps even leave. You know the best and worst and all.”

“Nay, then thou tempt me to thy ruin,” the Duke said. “Come, black angel, fair devil, in thy prayers reckon up the full number of all thy innate, born-in-the-blood follies. There in thy prayers, weep tears of blood for the one sin that is above the rest: adultery! Adultery, Bianca! Adultery is such a sin and such a guilt that, were the sluices of thine eyes let up, tears cannot wash it off.”

Sluices are the gates of a dam; raise them and water pours out of the dam.

The Duke continued, “It is not the tide of trivial wantonness from youth to youth, but instead thy abusing of thy lawful bed, thy husband’s bed; his in whose breast thou sleep, his who did prize thee more than all the trashy wealth that hoarding worldlings make an idol of. When thou shall find the catalogue of thy recorded misdeeds, there shall be written in large letters thy bastarding the children of a prince. Now turn thine eyes to thy hovering soul, and do not hope for life; if angels were to sing a requiem by my coffin only if I would dispense with my revenge on thee, it would be all in vain: Even if not killing you would ensure eternal Paradise for me, I would not give up my revenge. Prepare to die!”

Bianca opened the front of the clothing over her chest and said, “I do, and to the point of thy sharp sword with open breast I’ll run halfway thus naked. Do not shrink away, Caraffa. This does not daunt me, but in the last act of thy revenge, this is all that I ask to be granted at my last gasp: Spare thy noble friend. Life to me without him would be a death.”

“Not this,” the Duke said. “I’ll have none of this. It is not so fitting … why should I kill her? She may live and change, or —”

He threw down his sword.

From the balcony, Fiormonda shouted, “Do thou stop? Faint coward, do thou wish to disgrace all thy glorious ancestors? Is this thy courage?”

“Ha! Do you say so, too?” the Duke replied.

He then said, “Give me thy hand, Bianca.”

“Here,” she said, giving him her hand.

“Farewell,” the Duke said. “Thus go dwell in everlasting sleep!”

He drew his dagger and stabbed her.

“Here’s blood in exchange for lust, and sacrifice in exchange for wrong,” he said.

“It is bravely done,” Bianca said sarcastically. “Thou have struck home at once. Live to repent too late. Commend my love to thy true friend, my love to him who owns it: I give my tragedy to thee; my heart to — to — Fernando.”

Bianca moaned and died.

“Sister, she’s dead,” the Duke said.

“Then, while thy rage is warm, pursue the causer of her trespass,” Fiormonda said.

“Good,” the Duke said. “I’ll waste no time while I am hot in blood.”

“Hot in blood” meant 1) feeling strong passion, 2) feeling hot because Bianca’s hot blood was on his hands, and 3) having a taste for blood. Hunting dogs were given a taste of blood to encourage them to hunt. Such dogs were said to be “in blood.”

The Duke picked up his sword and exited.

“Here’s royal vengeance!” Fiormonda said. “This suits the stateof his disgrace and my unbounded hate.”

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

Buy the Paperback: John Ford’s Love’s Sacrifice: A Retelling

http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-bruce/john-fords-loves-sacrifice-a-retelling/paperback/product-23998188.html

John Ford’s Love’s Sacrifice: A Retelling

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NZ8L5LV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i55

***

David Bruce’s Smashwords Bookstore: Retellings of Classic Literature, Anecdote Collections, Discussion Guides for Teachers of Literature, Collections of Good Deed Accounts, etc. Some eBooks are free.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

THE TROJAN WAR

https://www.amazon.com/Trojan-War-Its-Aftermath-Poems-ebook/dp/B00OO0ZRZ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511061182&sr=8-1&keywords=the+trojan+war+and+its+aftermath

***

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

***

SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

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

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/792090

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079V5BCJZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i8

***

SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure:  A Retelling in Prose, by David Bruce

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/530136

https://www.amazon.com/William-Shakespeares-Measure-Retelling-Prose-ebook/dp/B00V7IRT9O

***

SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist:  A Retelling

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/731768

https://www.amazon.com/Ben-Jonsons-Alchemist-David-Bruce-ebook/dp/B0738VSHPY

***

PS: I like online reviews.

Posted in Retelling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

David Bruce: John Ford’s LOVE’S SACRIFICE: A Retelling — Act 4, Scene

— 4.2 —

Roderico D’Avolos and Julia talked together in another room in the palace.

“Julia, my own, speak softly,” Roderico D’Avolos said. “Have thou learned anything from this pale widgeon?”

A “widgeon” is a simpleton.

He had wanted Julia to learn from Colona what Bianca’s plans were and then tell him.

“Speak quietly,” he continued. “What does she say?”

“Ha, more than all,” Julia said. “There’s not an hour shall pass but I learn more information. She swears that ‘whole nights’ — but you know my mind. I hope you’ll give me the gown you promised me.”

Julia had begun to tell D’Avolos what he wanted to know, but first she wanted assurance that she would get the gown he had promised her.

“Honest Julia, be at peace,” Roderico D’Avolos said. “Thou are a woman who is worth a kingdom. Let me never be believed now, but I think it will be my destiny to be thy husband at last. What though thou have a child — or perhaps two?”

“Never but one, I swear,” Julia said.

“Well, one. Is that such a matter? I like thee the better for it! It shows that thou have a good tenantable and fertile womb, worth twenty of your barren, dry, bloodless devourers of youth.”

Roderico D’Avolos was capable of vivid language. Julia’s womb was “tenantable and fertile” — she was capable of bearing many children.

He continued, “But come, I will talk with thee more privately. The Duke has a journey in hand, and he will not be long absent.”

Looking up, he said, “See, he has come already. Let’s slip away quietly.”

They exited as the Duke and Bianca entered the room.

The Duke said, “Troubled? Yes, I have cause to be troubled.

“Oh, Bianca! Here was my fate engraven in thy brow. I look at this smooth, fair, polished portrait of yours — in thy cheeks, Nature summed up thy dowry: beauty. Your dowry was not wealth. Neither the miser’s god nor royalty of blood advanced thee to my bed — but love, and my hope of virtue that might equal those sweet looks did advance thee. If, then, thou should betray my trust, thy faith, to the pollution of a base desire, then thou would be a wretched woman.”

“Are you saying this out of love, or out of fear, my lord?” Bianca asked.

“Both, both,” the Duke answered.

He continued, “Bianca, know that the nightly languish of my dull, listless unrest has stamped a strong opinion on me. For, I dreamed — pay close attention to what I say — that as I in glorious pomp was sitting on my throne, while I had hemmed my best-beloved Bianca in my arms, she grabbed my red velvet cap of state, and cast it down beneath her foot and kicked it in the dust. While I — oh, it was a dream too full of ominous fate! — was stooping down to reach it, Fernando, like a traitor to his vows, clapped on my head, to my disgrace, a coronet of horns.

“But, by the honor of anointed kings, even if both of you were hidden in a burning rock of brimstone, guarded by ministers of flaming hell, I have a sword here” — he touched it — “that I would use to make my way through fire, through darkness, death, and hell, and all, to hew your lust-engendered flesh to shreds, pound you to a mortar-like paste, cut your throats, and mince your flesh to tiny pieces. Yes, I will — don’t draw back, startled — yes, I will.”

“May God have mercy and protect me!” Bianca said. “Will you murder me?”

“Yes,” the Duke said.

But then he immediately said, “Oh, I beg you for your pardon and mercy! How the rage caused by my own dreamt-of wrongs made me forget all sense of patient endurance! Don’t blame me, Bianca. One such another dream would quite distract reason and humanity itself — yet tell me wasn’t it an ominous vision?”

“It was, my lord,” Bianca said, “yet it was only a vision. For if such a guilt would hang on my honor, there would be no blame in you if you stabbed me to the heart.”

“The heart!” the Duke said. “Nay, strumpet, I would stab you to the soul; and I would tear your soul off from life in order to damn it in immortal death.”

“Oh!” Bianca said. “What do you mean, sir?”

“I am mad — insane,” the Duke said.

He then said, “Forgive me, good Bianca; I think that I am still dreaming and dreaming anew. Now, please, criticize and scold me. Sickness and these divisions in my mind so distract my senses that I regard things that are merely possible as if they were really real. To remove these distractions from my mind, I mean to hasten straight to the town of Lucca in Tuscany, where, perhaps, absence from the court and bathing in those healthful springs may soon heal me.

“In the meantime, dear sweetheart,pity my troubled heart; my griefs are extremely distressing. Yet, sweetheart, when I am gone, think about my dream.

“Who waits without, ho!”

Petruchio, Nibrassa, Fiormonda, Roderico D’Avolos, Roseilli (still disguised as a natural fool), and Fernando entered the room.

The Duke asked, “Is everything ready to journey to Lucca?”

“All is ready for your highness,” Petruchio answered.

The Duke said to Fernando, “Friend, wait; take here from me this jewel.”

He put Bianca’s arm on Fernando’s arm.

He continued, “She is in your care until my return from Lucca, honest Fernando.

“Wife, respect my friend.

“Let’s go.

“But listen to me, wife, think about my dream.”

Everyoneexcept Roseilli and Petruchioexited.

“Kinsman, one word with you,” Petruchio said. “Doesn’t this cloud acquaint you with strange novelties? That is, isn’t this cloud over the Duke strange and novel to you?

“The Duke is recently much distempered in his mind. What he means by journeying now to Lucca is to me ariddle. Can you clear away my confusion? Do you know what is happening?”

“Oh, sir, my fears exceed my knowledge,”Roseilli said, “yet I notice no less than you infer and mention. All is not well — I wish that all were well! Whosoever shall thrive, I shall be sure never to rise to satisfy my desires.”

He meant that he wanted to marry Fiormonda, which would make him rise socially, but he had no realistic hope of doing that. He also possibly meant that he would not have a chance to have an erection to satisfy his desire for her. Also, possibly, he meant that in disguise as a natural fool, he had been learning things about Fiormonda that made him no longer want to marry her.

He continued, “But, kinsman, I shall tell you more soon. In the meantime, please send my Lord Fernando to me. I want very much to speak with him.”

Petruchio looked up and said, “Look, he himself is coming here. I’ll leave you both together.”

Petruchio exited as Fernando entered the room.

Fernando said, “The Duke is on horseback and headed for Lucca. How are you now, kinsman? How do you prosper in love?”

He knew — or believed — that Roseilli wanted to marry Fiormonda.

“I fare as well as I always expected: badly,” Roseilli replied.

He added, “My lord, you are in the process of being ruined.”

“Ruined!” Fernando said. “In what way?”

“Your life lost,” Roseilli said. “I fear that your life is bought and sold; I’ll tell you how. Recently in my lady’s chamber as I by chance lay slumbering on a mat on the floor, in came the Lady Marquess, and with her Julia and Roderico D’Avolos.

“Not suspecting me because of my disguise as a natural fool, they sat down and Roderico D’Avolos said, ‘Madam, we have discovered now the nest of shame.’

“In short, my lord — for you already know as much as they reported — there was told the circumstance of all your private love and meeting with the Duchess. At last, false, treacherous D’Avolos concluded with an oath: ‘We’ll make,’ he said, ‘his heartstrings crack for this.’”

When the strings that this society believed supported the heart are broken, the person dies.

“Was he speaking of me?” Fernando asked.

He had not suspected that they were plotting against him. Also, he and Bianca had not committed adultery.

“Yes, they were speaking of you,” Roseilli said. “‘Yes,’ said the Marquess, ‘if the Duke were not a timid baby, he would seek swift vengeance; for he knew it long ago.’”

“Let him know it,” Fernando said, referring to Bianca’s love for him. “Yet I vow that she is as loyal and faithful to her wedding vows as is the Sun in Heaven, but suppose for the sake of argument that she were not loyal and faithful to her wedding vows, and the Duke knew for a fact that she were not.”

He touched his sword and said, “This sword lifted up, and guided by this arm of mine, shall guard her from an armed troop of fiends and all the earth beside.”

The word “earth” meant “humanity.”

Genesis 11:1 states, “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” (King James Version).

Roseilli said, “You are too over-confident, and that can lead to your destruction.”

Fernando said, “Damn him! He shall feel — but quiet! Who is coming here?”

Colona entered the room and said to Fernando, “My lord, the Duchess craves aword with you.”

“Where is she?”

“In her chamber.”

Roseilli, in character as a natural fool, said, “Here, have a sugar plum for thee —”

“Come, fool, I’ll give thee sugar plums enough,” Colona said. “Come, fool.”

Fernando thought, Let slaves in mind be servile to their fears. Our heart is high enstarred in brighter spheres.

He was saying his heart was a star embedded in one of the higher spheres of the Ptolemaic view of the universe. In the Ptolemaic view, the Earth was at the center of the universe, and the Sun, planets, and stars were embedded in various spheres that orbited the Earth. In mythology, heroes sometimes became stars.

Fernando and Colonaexited.

“I see Fernando lost already,” Roseilli said to himself. “Unless everything goes right, we shall know too late that no toil can evade the violence of fate.”

A proverb stated, “It is impossible to avoid fate.”

The disguised Roseilli followed Fernando and Colona.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

Buy the Paperback: John Ford’s Love’s Sacrifice: A Retelling

http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-bruce/john-fords-loves-sacrifice-a-retelling/paperback/product-23998188.html

John Ford’s Love’s Sacrifice: A Retelling

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NZ8L5LV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i55

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David Bruce’s Smashwords Bookstore: Retellings of Classic Literature, Anecdote Collections, Discussion Guides for Teachers of Literature, Collections of Good Deed Accounts, etc. Some eBooks are free.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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THE TROJAN WAR

https://www.amazon.com/Trojan-War-Its-Aftermath-Poems-ebook/dp/B00OO0ZRZ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511061182&sr=8-1&keywords=the+trojan+war+and+its+aftermath

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SHAKESPEARE: 38 PLAYS

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

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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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SOMETIMES FREE EBOOK

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

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/792090

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/792090

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079V5BCJZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i8

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