71 Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy



“The Spanish Tragedie, or, Hieronimo is mad againe” by unknown artist. Wikimedia Commons.


by Michelle Martinez 


The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad Again, is an Elizabethan tragedy written by Thomas Kyd between 1582 and 1592. Highly popular and influential in its time, The Spanish Tragedy established a new genre in English theatre, the revenge play or revenge tragedy (“The Spanish Tragedy”).



Though no known records exist of Thomas Kyd’s birth, he was baptized shortly thereafter on November 6th, 1558. He was raised in a middle-class family in London by his father, Francis Kyd, who was a scrivener, an important position in under Elizabethan Law. At the age of seven, Kyd gained a major achievement when he got into Merchant Taylors school, one of the newer schools at the time (“Thomas Kyd”). Entrance to this school required an understanding of Latin or Greek and the Bible. There is no record of him attending university after he completed his secondary schooling though he is thought to have turned to literature at this point. He began writing plays for the Queen’s Company and is thought to have begun work on the Spanish Tragedy between 1582-1592 (“The Spanish Tragedy”). After publishing his play in October of 1592,  it became one of the most popular of the time and Francis Meres lauded him as “our best for tragedy” (qtd. in “Thomas Kyd” Wikipedia).

In 1593, he ended up in prison on charges of heresy; he was likely tortured and compelled to falsely “inform” on his colleagues, namely, Christopher Marlowe who was, at one time, a roommate of his (“Thomas Kyd” Wikipedia). Marlowe was then accused of the same crime and it is known that he was, shortly thereafter, killed by government agents. Kyd, though eventually released, died at the age of 35, having been unable to clear his name and return to his former glory. His works were plunged into obscurity and only rediscovered in the 18th century. He is remembered today among scholars as the writer of a version of Hamlet that pre-dates Shakespeare’s (called the “Ur-Hamlet”) which establishes the renown and influence he had over Elizabethan drama (“Thomas Kyd” Wikipedia).


Historical Context

The Spanish Tragedy, known in its day as “Hieronimo” or “Jeronimo” after the main character, was likely first performed in 1592 and is considered the first “mature” Elizabethan drama (“The Spanish Tragedy” Wikipedia).  It served (along with Marlowe’s Tamburlaine and Doctor Faustus) as a revival of the “tragedy”; this form, largely unseen since the time of the Greeks, usually followed a protagonist from a noble family who, due to hubris, succumbs to an inglorious end. At the time, Elizabethans found this type of play very intriguing due to the mixed messages they would have received about the role of revenge in public life; on the one hand, God was meant to be the arbiter of all revenge but, on the other hand, there was a deeply-held English tradition of vengeance dating from the Anglo-Saxons (“Spanish Tragedy: Context”). Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy is seen as a resurrection of traditional Senecan drama and was hugely popular in its day.



Prior to the beginning of the play, a Spanish officer, Don Andrea, has been killed in battle during a dispute between the Viceroy of Portugal and the ruling Spanish nation. In combat, the Viceroy’s son, Balthazar, killed Andrea and was subsequently captured. Andrea, for his part, remains on stage throughout the play serving as a “chorus” representing the spirit of revenge.

The play officially begins with the Spanish King’s nephew, Lorenzo, arguing with Horatio (a friend of Andrea’s) over who took Balthazar hostage; the king ends up dividing the spoils of war between the two while Horatio consoles Lorenzo’s sister, Bel-Imperia. She is distraught because she loved Andrea—in spite of her family’s opposition—though this love quickly shifts toward Horatio. Meanwhile, the imprisoned Balthazar is also present and falls in love with Bel-Imperia; the Spanish king declares that they should get married to heal the rift between their two nations (Spain and Portugal). Bel-Imperia, for her part, isn’t so thrilled about this because Balthazar killed her first love.

Balthazar and Lorenzo team up to kill Horatio in the attempt to force the marriage and truce between the nations. This causes great grief to Hieronimo, Horatio’s father, who spends the rest of the play trying to subvert court intrigue and figure out his son’s murderer (and, later, plot the downfall of those responsible). Bel-Imperia soon tells Hieronimo that his sons’ killers were Lorenzo and Balthazar but he needs more proof. After Lorenzo attempts to get rid of any evidence, a letter confirms to Hieronimo that, indeed, Lorenzo and Balthazar are the murderers. Soon, the prince of Spain arranges Balthazar and Bel-Imperia’s wedding in which Hieronimo is assigned to bring entertainment. He decides to stage a “tragedy play” in which Lorenzo, Balthazar, and Bel-Imperia take part in. In the play-within-a-play, the characters kill each other and the only one who survives is Hieronimo. Hieronimo reveals to the guests that everything was real and the other characters are dead. He then tries to kill himself but is stopped however he manages to get a knife from the duke who he stabs before turning the knife on himself. In the end, Don Andrea decides each character’s ultimate fate in the afterlife.

Works Cited

“The Spanish Tragedy.” Wikipedia. 10 Mar. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spanish_Tragedy Accessed 02 May 2020. 

“The Spanish Tragedy: Context.” SparkNotes, n.d., www.sparknotes.com/drama/spanishtragedy/context/. Accessed 02 May 2020.

“Thomas Kyd.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 21 Nov. 2019, www.britannica.com/biography/Thomas-Kyd. Accessed 02 May 2020.

“Thomas Kyd.” Wikipedia, 15 Oct. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kyd Accessed 02 May 2020.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think there’s any specific reason as to why the theme of revenge was popular for Elizabethan audiences?
  2. Do you believe both Lorenzo and Balthazar’s motives for killing Horatio were equally reasonable?
  3. Do you think Bel-Imperia could have done more to bring justice for Horatio considering that she knew who did it? If not, why not?
  4. What was the purpose of the monologues within the play?
  5. How does reading this play from Don Andrea’s point of view change or adjust your perspective?

Further  Resources

  • A website that presents the reader with monologues from the story
  • A YouTube clip that discusses the plot, significance and analysis of the play
  • A podcast from the BBC’s “In Our Time” series on Elizabethan tragedy

Reading: The Spanish Tragedy



REVENGE | the Chorus.
DON PEDRO, the viceroy’s brother.
DON CIPRIAN, duke of Castile.
HIERONIMO, knight-marshall of Spain.
BALTHAZAR, the Viceroy’s son.
LORENZO, Don Ciprian’s son [and Bel-imperia’s brother].
HORATIO, Hieronimo’s son.
VILLUPPO | lords of Portugal.
PEDRINGANO, servant of Bel-imperia.
SERBERINE, servant of Balthazar.
Spanish General, Portuguese Ambassador,
Hangman, Soldiers, Attendants, &c.
BEL-IMPERIA, Lorenzo’s sister.
ISABELLA, Hieronimo’s wife.


SCENE: Spain; and Portugal.


Enter the GHOST OF ANDREA, and with him REVENGE.

  GHOST. When this eternal substance of my soul
Did live imprison’d in my wanton flesh,
Each in their function serving others’ need,
I was a courtier in the Spanish court:
My name was Don Andrea; my descent,
Though not ignoble, yet inferior far
To gracious fortunes of my tender youth,
For there, in prime and pride of all my years,
By duteous service and deserving love,
In secret I possess’d a worthy dame,
Which hight sweet Bel-imperia by name.
But in the harvest of my summer joys
Death’s winter nipped the blossoms of my bliss,
Forcing divorce betwixt my love and me;
For in the late conflict with Portingal
My valour drew me into danger’s mouth
Till life to death made passage through my wounds.
When I was slain, my soul descended straight
To pass the flowing stream of Acheron;
But churlish Charon, only boatman there,
Said that, my rites of burial not perform’d,
I might not sit amongst his passengers.
Ere Sol had slept three nights in Thetis’ lap,
And slak’d his smoking chariot in her flood,
By Don Horatio, our knight-marshall’s son,
My funerals and obsequies were done.
Then was the ferryman of hell content
To pass me over to the slimy strand
That leads to fell Avernus’ ugly waves.
There, pleasing Cerberus with honeyed speech,
I passed the perils of the foremost porch.
Not far from hence, amidst ten thousand souls,
Sat Minos, Eacus and Rhadamant;
To whom no sooner ‘gan I make approach,
To crave a passport for my wandering ghost,
But Minos in graven leaves of lottery
Drew forth the manner of my life and death.
“This knight,” quoth he, “both liv’d and died in love;
And for his love tried fortune of the wars;
And by war’s fortune lost both love and life.”
“Why then,” said Eacus, “convey him hence
To walk with lovers in our field of love
And the course of everlasting time
Under green myrtle-trees and cypress shades.”
“No, no!” said Rhadamant, “it were not well
With loving souls to place a martialist.
He died in war, and must to martial fields,
Where wounded Hector lives in lasting pain,
And Achilles’ Myrmidons do scour the plain.”
Then Minos, mildest censor of the three,
Made this device, to end the difference:
“Send him,” quoth he, “to our infernal king,
To doom him as best seems his Majesty.”
To this effect my passport straight was drawn.
In keeping on my way to Pluto’s court
Through dreadful shades of ever-glooming night,
I saw more sights than thousand tongues can tell
Or pens can write or mortal hearts can think.
Three ways there were: that on the right hand side
Was ready way unto the ‘foresaid fields
Where lovers live and bloody martialists,
But either sort contain’d within his bounds;
The left hand path, declining fearfully,
Was ready downfall to the deepest hell,
Where bloody Furies shake their whips of steel,
And poor Ixion turns an endless wheel,
Where usurers are chok’d with melting gold,
And wantons are embrac’d with ugly snakes,
And murderers groan with never-killing wounds,
And perjur’d wights scalded in boiling lead,
And all foul sins with torments overwhelm’d;
‘Twixt these two ways I trod the middle path,
Which brought me to the fair Elysian green,
In midst whereof there stands a stately tower,
The walls of brass, the gates of adamant.
Here finding Pluto with his Proserpine,
I show’d my passport, humbled on my knee.
Whereat fair Proserpine began to smile,
And begg’d that only she might give me doom.
Pluto was pleas’d, and seal’d it with a kiss.
Forthwith, Revenge, she rounded thee in th’ ear,
And bad thee lead me though the gates of horn,
Where dreams have passage in the silent night.
No sooner had she spoke but we were here,
I wot not how, in the twinkling of an eye.

  REVENGE. Then know, Andrea, that thou arriv’d
Where thou shalt see the author of thy death,
Don Balthazar, the prince of Portingal,
Depriv’d of life by Bel-imperia:
Here sit we down to see the mystery,
And serve for Chorus in this tragedy.


[The Spanish Court]


KING. Now say, lord general: how fares our camp?

  GEN. All well, my sovereign liege, except some few
That are deceas’d by fortune of the war.

  KING. But what portends thy cheerful countenance
And posting to our presence thus in haste?
Speak, man: hath fortune given us victory?

GEN. Victory, my liege, and that with little loss.

KING. Our Portugals will pay us tribute then?

GEN. Tribute, and wonted homage therewithal.

  KING. Then blest be Heav’n, and Guider of the heav’ns,
From whose fair influence such justice flows!

  CAST. O multum dilecte Deo, tibi militat aether,
Et conjuratae curvato poplite gentes
Succumbunt: recti soror est victoria juris!

  KING. Thanks to my loving brother of Castille.
But, general, unfold in brief discourse
Your form of battle and your war’s success,
That, adding all the pleasure of thy news
Unto the height of former happiness,
With deeper wage and gentle dignity
We may reward thy blissful chivalry.

  GEN. Where Spain and Portingal do jointly knit
Their frontiers, leaning on each other’s bound,
There met our armies in the proud array:
Both furnish’d well, both full of hope and fear,
Both menacing alike with daring shows,
Both vaunting sundry colours of device,
Both cheerly sounding trumpets, drums and fifes,
Both raising dreadful clamors to the sky,
That valleys, hills, and rivers made rebound
And heav’n itself was frighted with the sound.
Our battles both were pitch’d in squadron form,
Each corner strongly fenc’d with wings of shot;
But, ere we join’d and came to push of pike,
I brought a squadron of our readiest shot
From out our rearward to begin the fight;
They brought another wing to encounter us;
Meanwhile our ordnance play’d on either side,
And captains strove to have their valours try’d.
Don Pedro, their chief horsemen’s colonel,
Did with his cornet bravely make attempt
To break the order of our battle ranks;
But Don Rogero, worthy man of war,
March’d forth against him with our musketeers
And stopp’d the malice of his fell approach.
While they maintain hot skirmish to and fro,
Both battles join and fall to handy blows,
Their violent shot resembling th’ oceans rage
When, roaring loud and with a swelling tide,
It beats upon the rampiers of huge rocks,
And gapes to swallow neighbor-bounding lands.
Now, while Bellona rageth here and there,
Thick storms of bullets ran like winter’s hail,
And shiver’d lances dark the troubled air;
Pede pes & cuspide cuspis,
Arma sonant armis, vir petiturque viro;
On every side drop captains to the ground,
And soldiers, some ill-maim’d, some slain outright:
Here falls a body sunder’d from his head;
There legs and arms lie bleeding on the grass,
Mingled with weapons and unbowel’d steeds,
That scattering over-spread the purple plain.
In all this turmoil, three long hours and more
The victory to neither part inclin’d,
Till Don Andrea with his brave lancers
In their main battle made so great a breach
That, half dismay’d, the multitude retir’d.
But Balthazar, the Portingales’ young prince,
Brought rescue and encourag’d them to stay.
Here-hence the fight was eagerly renew’d,
And in that conflict was Andrea slain,—
Brave man-at-arms, but weak to Balthazar.
Yet, while the prince, insulting over him,
Breath’d out proud vaunts, sounding to our reproach,
Friendship and hardy valour join’d in one
Prick’d forth Horatio, our knight-marshall’s son,
To challenge forth that prince in single fight.
Not long between these twain the fight endur’d,
But straight the prince was beaten from his horse
And forc’d to yield him prisoner to his foe.
When he was taken, all the rest fled,
And our carbines pursu’d them to death,
Till, Phoebus waning to the western deep,
Our trumpeters were charg’d to sound retreat.

  KING. Thanks, good lord general, for these good news!
And, for some argument of more to come,
Take this and wear it for thy sovereign’s sake.

Give him his chain.

But tell me now: hast thou confirm’d a peace?

  GEN. No peace, my liege, but peace conditional,
That, if with homage tribute be well paid,
The fury of your forces will be stay’d.
And to this peace their viceroy hath subscrib’d,

Give the King a paper.

    And made a solemn vow that during life
His tribute shall be truly paid to Spain.

  KING. These words, these deeds become thy person well.
But now, knight-marshall, frolic with thy king,
For ’tis thy son that wins this battle’s prize.

  HIERO. Long may he live to serve my sovereign liege!
And soon decay unless he serve my liege!

A trumpet afar off.

  KING. Nor thou nor he shall die without reward.
What means this warning of this trumpet’s sound?

  GEN. This tells me that your Grace’s men of war,
Such as war’s fortune hath reserv’d from death,
Come marching on towards your royal seat,
To show themselves before your Majesty;
For so gave I in charge at my depart.
Whereby by demonstration shall appear
That all, except three hundred or few more,
Are safe return’d and by their foes enrich’d.

                  The army enters, BALTHAZAR between LORENZO
and HORATIO, captive.

KING. A gladsome sight! I long to see them here.

They enter and pass by.

    Was that the warlike prince of Portingal
That by our nephew was in triumph led?

GEN. It was, my liege, the prince of Portingal.

  KING. But what was he that on the other side
Held him by th’ arm as partner of the prize?

  HIERO. That was my son, my gracious sovereign;
Of whom though from his tender infancy
My loving thoughts did never hope but well,
He never pleasd his father’s eyes till now,
Nor fill’d my heart with overcloying joys.

  KING. Go, let them march once more about these walls,
That staying them we may confer and talk
With our brave prisoner and his double guard.


    Hieoronimo, it greatly pleaseth us
That in our victory thou have a share
By virtue of thy worthy son’s exploit.

Enter again.

    Bring hither the young prince of Portingal!
The rest march on, but, ere they be dismiss’d,
We will bestow on every soldier
Two ducats, and on every leader ten,
That they may know our largesse welcomes them.

                  Exeunt all [the army] but BAL[THAZAR],

  KING. Welcome, Don Balthazar! Welcome nephew!
And thou, Horatio, thou art welcome too!
Young prince, although thy father’s hard misdeeds
In keeping back the tribute that he owes
Deserve but evil measure at our hands,
Yet shalt thou know that Spain is honourable.

  BALT. The trespass that my father made in peace
Is now controll’d by fortune of the wars;
And cards once dealt, it boots not ask why so.
His men are slain,—a weakening to his realm;
His colours seiz’d,—a blot unto his name;
His son distress’d,—a corsive to his heart;
These punishments may clear his late offence.

  KING. Aye, Balthazar, if he observe this truce,
Our peace will grow the stronger for these wars.
Meanwhile live thou, though not in liberty,
Yet free from bearing any servile yoke;
For in our hearing thy deserts were great.
And in our sight thyself art gracious.

BALT. And I shall study to deserve this grace.

  KING. But tell me,—for their holding makes me doubt:
To which of these twain art thou prisoner?

LOR. To me, my liege.

HOR. To me, my sovereign.

LOR. This hand first took his courser by the reins.

HOR. But first my lance did put him from his horse.

LOR. I seiz’d the weapon and enjoy’d it first.

HOR. But first I forc’d him lay his weapons down.

KING. Let go his arm, upon my privilege!

Let him go.

Say, worthy prince: to whether didst thou yield?

  BALT. To him in courtesy; to this perforce;
He spake me fair, this other gave me strokes;
He promis’d life, this other threaten’d death;
He won my love, this other conquer’d me;
And, truth to say, I yield myself to both.

  HIERO. But that I know your Grace is just and wise,
And might seem partial in this difference,
Enforc’d by nature and by law of arms,
My tongue should plead for young Horatio’s right.
He hunted well that was a lion’s death,
Not he that in a garment wore his skin;
So hares may pull dead lions by the beard.

  KING. Content thee, marshall; thou shalt have no wrong,
And for thy sake thy son shall want to right.
Will both abide the censure of my doom?

LOR. I crave no better than your Grace awards.

HOR. Nor I, although I sit beside my right.

  KING. Then by judgment thus your strife shall end:
You both deserve and both shall have reward.
Nephew, thou took’st his weapons and his horse:
His weapons and his horse are thy reward.
Horatio, thou did’st force him first to yield:
His ransom therefore is thy valour’s fee;
Appoint the sum as you shall both agree.
But, nephew, thou shalt have the prince in guard,
For thine estate best fitteth such a guest;
Horatio’s house were small for all his train.
Yet, in regard thy substance passeth his,
And that just guerdon may befall desert,
To him we yield the armour of the prince.
How likes Don Balthazar of this device?

  BALT. Right well, my liege, if this proviso were:
That Don Horatio bear us company,
Whom I admire and love for chivalry.

  KING. Horatio, leave him not that loves thee so.
Now let us hence, to see our soldiers paid,
And feast our prisoner as our friendly guest.




[Portugal: the VICEROY’S palace.]


VICE. Is our ambassador dispatch’d for Spain?

ALEX. Two days, my liege, are past since his depart.

VICE. And tribute payment gone along with him?

ALEX. Aye, my good lord.

  VICE. Then rest we here a-while in our unrest;
And feed our sorrows with inward sighs,
For deepest cares break never into tears.
But wherefore sit I in a regal throne?
This better fits a wretch’s endless moan.
Yet this is higher then my fortunes reach,
And therefore better than my state deserves.

Falls to the ground.

    Aye, aye, this earth, image of melancholy,
Seeks him whom fates adjudge to misery!
Here let me lie! Now am I at the lowest!
Qui jacet in terra non habet unde cadat.
In me consumpsit vires fortuna nocendo,
Nil superest ut jam possit obesse magis.
Yes, Fortune may bereave me of my crown—
Here, take it now; let Fortune do her worst,
She shall not rob me of this sable weed.
O, no, she envies none but pleasant things.
Such is the folly of despiteful chance,
Fortune is blind and sees not my deserts,
So is she deaf and hears not my laments;
And, could she hear, yet is she willful mad,
And therefore will not pity my distress.
Suppose that she could pity me, what then?
What help can be expected at her hands
Whose foot is standing on a rolling stone
And mind more mutable then fickle winds?
Why wail I, then, where’s hope of no redress?
O, yes, complaining makes my grief seem less.
My late ambition hath distain’d my faith,
My breach of faith occasion’d bloody wars,
Those bloody wars have spent my treasury,
And with my treasury my people’s blood,
And with the blood my joy and best belov’d,—
My best belov’d, my sweet and only son!
O, wherefore went I not to war myself?
The cause was mine; I might have died for both.
My years were mellow, but his young and green:
My death were natural, but his was forc’d.

ALEX. No doubt, my liege, but still the prince survives.

VICE. Survives! Ay, where?

ALEX. In Spain, a prisoner by mischance of war.

VICE. Then they have slain him for his father’s fault.

ALEX. That were a breach to common law of arms.

VICE. They reck no laws that meditate revenge.

ALEX. His ransom’s worth will stay from foul revenge.

VICE. No; if he liv’d, the news would soon be here.

  VILLUP. My sovereign, pardon the author of ill news,
And I’ll bewray the fortune of thy son.

  VICE. Speak on; I’ll guerdon thee, whate’er it be.
Mine ear is ready to receive ill news,
My heart grown hard ‘gainst mischief’s battery;
Stand up, I say, and tell thy tale at large.

  VILLUP. Then hear that truth which these mine eyes have seen:
When both the armies were in battle join’d.
Don Balthazar amidst the thickest troops,
To win renown, did wondrous feats of arms;
Amongst the rest I saw him hand-to-hand
In single fight with their lord general.
Till Alexandro, that here counterfeits
Under the colour of a duteous friend,
Discharg’d a pistol at the princes back,
As though he would have slain their general,
But therewithal Don Balthazar fell down;
And when he fell, then we began to fly;
But, had he liv’d, the day had sure been ours.

ALEX. O wicked forgery! O trait’rous miscreant!

  VICE. Hold thou thy peace! But now, Villuppo, say:
Where then became the carcass of my son?

VILLUP. I saw them drag it to the Spanish tents.

  VICE. Aye, aye, my nightly dreams have told me this!
Thou false, unkind, unthankful, traitorous beast!
Wherein had Balthazar offended thee,
That thou should betray him to our foes?
Was’t Spanish gold that bleared so thine eyes
That thou couldst see no part of our deserts?
Perchance, because thou art Terserae’s lord,
Thou hadst some hope to wear this diadem
If first my son and then myself were slain;
But thy ambitious thought shall break thy neck.
Aye, this was it that made thee spill his blood!

Takes the crown and puts it on again.

But I’ll now wear it till thy blood be spilt.

ALEX. Vouchsafe, dread sovereign, to hear me speak!

  VICE. Away with him! his sight is second hell!
Keep him till we determine his death.
If Balthazar be dead, he shall not live.

[They take him out.]

Villuppo, follow us for thy reward.


  VILLUP. Thus have I with an envious forged tale
Deceiv’d the king, betray’d mine enemy,
And hope for guerdon of my villainy.



[Spain: the palace]


  BEL. Signior Horatio, this is the place and hour
Wherein I must entreat thee to relate
The circumstance of Don Andrea’s death,
Who living was my garland’s sweetest flower,
And in his death hath buried my delights.

  HOR. For love of him and service to yourself,
I’ll not refuse this heavy doleful charge;
Yet tears and sighs, I fear, will hinder me.
When both our armies were enjoin’d in fight,
Your worthy cavalier amidst the thickest,
For glorious cause still aiming at the fairest,
Was at the last by young Don Balthazar
Encounter’d hand-to-hand. Their fight was long,
Their hearts were great, their clamours menacing,
Their strength alike, their strokes both dangerous;
But wrathful Nemesis, that wicked power,
Envying at Andrea’s praise and worth,
Cut short his life to end his praise and worth.
She, she herself, disguis’d in armour’s mask,
As Pallas was before proud Pergamus,
Brought in a fresh supply of halberdiers,
Which punch’d his horse and ding’d him to the ground.
Then young Don Balthazar, with ruthless rage,
Taking advantage of his foe’s distress,
Did finish what his halberdiers begun;
And left not till Andrea’s life was done.
Then, though too late, incens’d with just remorse,
I with my band set forth against the prince,
And brought him prisoner from his halberdiers.

  BEL. Would thou hadst slain him that so slew my love!
But then was Don Andrea’s carcass lost?

  HOR. No; that was it for which I chiefly strove,
Nor stepp’d I back till I recover’d him.
I took him up, and wound him in mine arms,
And, wielding him unto my private tent,
There laid him down and dew’d him with my tears,
And sigh’d and sorrow’d as became a friend.
But neither friendly sorrow, sighs and tears
Could win pale Death from his usurped right.
Yet this I did, and less I could not do:
I saw him honour’d with due funeral.
This scarf I pluck’d from off his lifeless arm,
And wear it in remembrance of my friend.

  BEL. I know the scarf: would he had kept it still!
For, had he liv’d, he would have kept it still,
And worn it for his Bel-imperia’s sake;
For ’twas my favour at his last depart.
But now wear thou it both for him and me;
For, after him, thou hast deserv’d it best.
But, for thy kindness in his life and death,
Be sure, while Bel-imperia’s life endures,
She will be Don Horatio’s thankful friend.

  HOR. And, madame, Don Horatio will not slack
Humbly to serve fair Bel-imperia.
But now, if your good liking stand thereto,
I’ll crave your pardon to go seek the prince;
For so the duke, your father, gave me charge.


  BEL. Aye, go, Horatio; leave me here alone,
For solitude best fits my cheerless mood.—
Yet what avails to wail Andreas death,
From whence Horatio proves my second love?
Had he not lov’d Andrea as he did,
He could not sit in Bel-imperia’s thoughts.
But how can love find harbour in my breast,
Till I revenge the death of my belov’d?
Yes, second love shall further my revenge:
I’ll love Horatio, my Andrea’s friend,
The more to spite the prince that wrought his end;
And, where Don Balthazar, that slew my love,
Himself now pleads for favor at my hands,
He shall, in rigour of my just disdain,
Reap long repentance for his murderous deed,—
For what was’t else but murderous cowardice,
So many to oppress one valiant knight,
Without respect of honour in the fight?
And here he comes that murder’d my delight.


LOR. Sister, what means this melancholy walk?

BEL. That for a-while I wish no company.

LOR. But here the prince is come to visit you.

BEL. That argues that he lives in liberty.

BAL. No madam, but in pleasing servitude.

BEL. Your prison then, belike, is your conceit.

BAL. Aye, by conceit my freedom is enthrall’d.

BEL. Then with conceit enlarge yourself again.

BAL. What if conceit have laid my heart to gage?

BEL. Pay that you borrow’d, and recover it.

BAL. I die if it return from whence it lies.

BEL. A heartless man, and live? A miracle!

BAL. Aye, lady, love can work such miracles.

  LOR. Tush, tush, my lord! let go these ambages,
And in plain terms acquaint her with your love.

BEL. What boots complaint, when there’s no remedy?

  BAL. Yes, to your gracious self must I complain,
In whose fair answer lies my remedy,
On whose perfection all my thoughts attend,
On whose aspect mine eyes find beauty’s bower,
In whose translucent breast my heart is lodg’d.

  BEL. Alas, my lord! These are but words of course,
And but devis’d to drive me from this place.

                She, going in, lets fall her glove, which
HORATIO, coming out, takes up.

HOR. Madame, your glove.

BEL. Thanks, good Horatio; take it for thy pains.

[BEL-IMPERIA exits.]

BAL. Signior Horatio stoop’d in happy time!

HOR. I reap’d more grace that I deserv’d or hop’d.

  LOR. My lord, be not dismay’d for what is past;
You know that women oft are humorous:
These clouds will overblow with little wind;
Let me alone, I’ll scatter them myself.
Meanwhile let us devise to spend the time
In some delightful sports and revelling.

  HOR. The king, my lords, is coming hither straight
To feast the Portingal ambassador;
Things were in readiness before I came.

  BAL. Then here it fits us to attend the king,
To welcome hither our ambassador,
And learn my father and my country’s health.

                Enter the banquet, TRUMPETS, the KING,

  KING. See, lord ambassador, how Spain entreats
Their prisoner Balthazar, thy viceroy’s son:
We pleasure more in kindness than in wars.

  AMBASS. Sad is our king, and Portingal laments,
Supposing that Don Balthazar is slain.

  BAL. [aside] So am I, slain by beauty’s tyranny!—
You see, my lord, how Balthazar is slain:
I frolic with the Duke of Castille’s son,
Wrapp’d every hour in pleasures of the court,
And grac’d with favours of his Majesty.

  KING. Put off your greetings till our feast be done;
Now come and sit with us, and taste our cheer.

Sit to the banquet.

    Sit down, young prince, you are our second guest;
Brother, sit down; and nephew, take your place.
Signior Horatio, wait thou upon our cup,
For well thou hast deserved to be honour’d.
Now, lordings, fall too: Spain is Portugal,
And Portugal is Spain; we both are friends;
Tribute is paid, and we enjoy our right.
But where is old Hieronimo, our marshall?
He promis’d us, in honour of our guest,
To grace our banquet with some pompous jest.

                Enter HIERONIMO with a DRUM, three KNIGHTS,
each with scutcheon; then he fetches three
KINGS; they take their crowns and them

    Hieronimo, this makes content mine eye,
Although I sound not well the mystery.

HIERO. The first arm’d knight that hung his scutcheon up

                He takes the scutcheon and gives it to
the KING.

    Was English Robert, Earle of Gloucester,
Who, when King Stephen bore sway in Albion,
Arriv’d with five and twenty thousand men
In Portingal, and, by success of war,
Enforc’d the king, then but a Saracen,
To bear the yoke of the English monarchy.

  KING. My lord of Portingal, by this you see
That which may comfort both your king and you,
And make your late discomfort seem the less.
But say, Hieronimo: what was the next?

HIERO. The second knight that hung his scutcheon up

He doth as he did before.

    Was Edmond, Earle of Kent in Albion.
When English Richard wore the diadem,
He came likewise and razed Lisbon walls,
And took the king of Portingal in fight,—
For which, and other such service done,
He after was created Duke of York.

  KING. This is another special argument
That Portingal may deign to bear our yoke,
When it by little England hath been yok’d.
But now, Hieronimo, what were the last?

HIERO. The third and last, not least in our account,

Doing as before.

    Was, as the rest, a valiant Englishman,
Brave John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster,
As by his scutcheon plainly may appear:
He with a puissant army came to Spain
And took our King of Castille prisoner.

  AMBASS. This is an argument for our viceroy
That Spain may not insult for her success,
Since English warriors likewise conquer’d Spain
And made them bow their knees to Albion.

  KING. Hieronimo, I drink to thee for this device,
Which hath pleas’d both the ambassador and me:
Pledge me, Hieronimo, if thou love the king!

Takes the cup of HORATIO.

    My lord, I fear we sit but over-long,
Unless our dainties were more delicate,—
But welcome are you to the best we have.
Now let us in, that you may be dispatch’d;
I think our council is already set.

Exeunt omnes.


  ANDREA. Come we for this from depth of under ground,—
To see him feast that gave me my death’s wound?
These pleasant sights are sorrow to my soul:
Nothing but league and love and banqueting!

  REVENGE. Be still, Andrea; ere we go from hence,
I’ll turn their friendship into fell despite,
Their love to mortal hate, their day to night,
Their hope into despair, their peace to war,
Their joys to pain, their bliss to misery.




[The DUKE’s castle.]


  LORENZO. My lord, though Bel-imperia seem thus coy,
Let reason hold you in your wonted joy:
In time the savage bull sustains the yoke,
In time all haggard hawks will stoop to lure,
In time small wedges cleave the hardest oak,
In time the flint is pierc’d with softest shower;
And she in time will fall from her disdain,
And rue the sufferance of your friendly pain.

  BAL. No; she is wilder, and more hard withal,
Then beast or bird, or tree or stony wall!
But wherefore blot I Bel-imperia’s name?
It is my fault, not she that merits blame.
My feature is not to content her sight;
My words are rude and work her no delight;
The lines I send her are but harsh and ill,
Such as do drop from Pan and Marsya’s quill;
My presents are not of sufficient cost;
And, being worthless, all my labours lost.
Yet might she love me for my valiancy.
Aye; but that’s slander’d by captivity.
Yet might she love me to content her sire.
Aye; but her reason masters her desire.
Yet might she love me as her brother’s friend.
Aye; but her hopes aim at some other end.
Yet might she love me to uprear her state.
Aye; but perhaps she loves some nobler mate.
Yet might she love me as her beauty’s thrall.
Aye; but I fear she cannot love at all.

  LOR. My lord, for my sake leave these ecstasies,
And doubt not but we’ll find some remedy.
Some cause there is that lets you not be lov’d:
First that must needs be known, and then remov’d.
What if my sister love some other knight?

BAL. My summer’s day will turn to winter’s night.

  LOR. I have already found a stratagem
To sound the bottom of this doubtful theme.
My lord, for once you shall be rul’d by me;
Hinder me not what ere you hear or see:
By force or fair means will I cast about
To find the truth of all this question out.
Ho, Pedringano!

PED. Signior.

LOR. Vien qui presto!


PED. Hath your lordship any service to command me?

  LOR. Aye, Pedringano, service of import.
And, not to spend the time in trifling words,
Thus stands the case: it is not long, thou know’st,
Since I did shield thee from my father’s wrath
For thy convenience in Andrea’s love,
For which thou wert adjudg’d to punishment;
I stood betwixt thee and thy punishment,
And since thou knowest how I have favour’d thee.
Now to these favours will I add reward,
Not with fair words, but store of golden coin
And lands and living join’d with dignities,
If thou but satisfy my just demand;
Tell truth and have me for thy lasting friend.

  PED. Whate’er it be your lordship shall demand,
My bounden duty bids me tell the truth,
If case it lie in me to tell the truth.

  LOR. Then, Pedringano, this is my demand;
Whom loves my sister Bel-imperia?
For she reposeth all her trust in thee.
Speak, man, and gain both friendship and reward:
I mean, whom loves she in Andrea’s place?

  PED. Alas, my lord, since Don Andrea’s death
I have no credit with her as before,
And therefore know not if she love or no.

  LOR. Nay, if thou dally, then I am thy foe,
And fear shall force what friendship cannot win.
Thy death shall bury what thy life conceals.
Thou die’st for more esteeming her than me!

[Draws his sword.]

PED. Oh stay, my lord!

  LOR. Yet speak the truth, and I will guerdon thee
And shield thee from whatever can ensue,
And will conceal whate’er proceeds from thee;
But, if thou dally once again, thou diest!

PED. If madame Bel-imperia be in love—

LOR. What, villain! ifs and ands?

PED. Oh stay, my lord! she loves Horatio!

BALTHAZAR starts back.

LOR. What! Don Horatio, our knight-marshall’s son?

PED. Even him, my lord.

  LOR. Now say but how know’st thou he is her love,
And thou shalt find me kind and liberal.
Stand up, I say, and fearless tell the truth.

  PED. She sent him letters,—which myself perus’d,—
Full-fraught with lines and arguments of love,
Preferring him before Prince Balthazar.

  LOR. Swear on this cross that what thou say’st is true,
And that thou wilt conceal what thou hast told.

PED. I swear to both, by him that made us all.

  LOR. In hope thine oath is true, here’s thy reward.
But, if I prove thee perjur’d and unjust,
This very sword whereon thou took’st thine oath
Shall be the worker of thy tragedy.

  PED. What I have said is true, and shall, for me,
Be still conceal’d from Bel-imperia.
Besides, your Honour’s liberality
Deserves my duteous service ev’n till death.

  LOR. Let this be all that thou shall do for me:
Be watchful when and where these lovers meet,
And give me notice in some secret sort.

PED. I will, my lord.

  LOR. Then thou shalt find that I am liberal.
Thou know’st that I can more advance thy state
Than she: be therefore wise and fail me not.
Go and attend her as thy custom is,
Least absence make her think thou dost amiss.


    Why, so, Tam armis quam ingenio:
Where words prevail not, violence prevails.
But gold doth more than either of them both.
How likes Prince Balthazar this stratagem?

  BAL. Both well and ill; it makes me glad and sad:
Glad, that I know the hind’rer of my love;
Sad, that I fear she hates me whom I love;
Glad, that I know on whom to be reveng’d;
Sad, that she’ll fly me if I take revenge.
Yet must I take revenge or die myself;
For love resisted grows impatient.
I think Horatio be my destin’d plague:
First, in his hand he brandished a sword,
And with that sword he fiercely waged war,
And in that war he gave me dangerous wounds,
And by those wounds he forced me to yield,
And by my yielding I became his slave;
Now, in his mouth he carries pleasing words,
Which pleasing words do harbour sweet conceits,
Which sweet conceits are lim’d with sly deceits,
Which sly deceits smooth Bel-imperia’s ears,
And through her ears dive down into her heart,
And in her heart set him, where I should stand.
Thus hath he ta’en my body by his force,
And now by sleight would captivate my soul;
But in his fall I’ll tempt the Destinies,
And either lose my life or win my love.

  LOR. Let’s go, my lord; our staying stays revenge.
Do but follow me, and gain your love;
Her favour must be won by his remove.




[The Duke’s Castle]


  HOR. Now, madame, since by favour of your love
Our hidden smoke is turn’d to open flame,
And that with looks and words we feed our thought,—
Two chief contents where more cannot be had,—
Thus in the midst of love’s fair blandishments
Why show you sign of inward languishments?

                PEDRINGANO showeth all to the PRINCE and
LORENZO, placing them in secret.

  BEL. My heart, sweet friend, is like a ship at sea:
She wisheth port, where, riding all at ease,
She may repair what stormy times have worn,
And, leaning on the shore, may sing with joy
That pleasure follows pain, and bliss annoy.
Possession of thy love is th’ only port
Wherein my heart, with fears and hopes long toss’d,
Each hour doth wish and long to make resort,
There to repair the joys that it hath lost,
And, sitting safe, to sing in Cupid’s choir
That sweetest bliss is crown of love’s desire.


  BAL. O sleep, mine eyes; see not my love profan’d!
Be deaf, my ears; hear not my discontent!
Die, heart; another joys what thou deserv’st!

  LOR. Watch still, mine eyes, to see this love disjoin’d!
Hear still, mine ears, to hear them both lament!
Live, heart, to joy at fond Horatio’s fall!

BEL. Why stands Horatio speechless all this while?

HOR. The less I speak, the more I meditate.

BEL. But whereon dost thou chiefly meditate?

HOR. On dangers past and pleasures to ensue.

BAL. On pleasures past and dangers to ensue!

BEL. What dangers and what pleasures dost thou mean?

HOR. Dangers of war and pleasures of our love.

LOR. Dangers of death, but pleasures none at all!

  BEL. Let dangers go; thy war shall be with me,
But such a war as breaks no bond of peace.
Speak thou fair words, I’ll cross them with fair words;
Send thou sweet looks, I’ll meet them with sweet looks;
Write loving lines, I’ll answer loving lines;
Give me a kiss, I’ll countercheck thy kiss:
Be this our warring peace, or peaceful war.

  HOR. But, gracious madame, then appoint the field
Where trial of this war shall first be made.

BAL. Ambitious villain, how his boldness grows!

  BEL. Then be thy father’s pleasant bow’r the field,—
Where first we vow’d a mutual amity.
The court were dangerous; that place is safe.
Our hour shall be when Vesper ‘gins to rise,
That summons home distressful travelers.
There none shall hear us but the harmless birds:
Haply the gentle nightingale
Shall carroll us asleep ere we be ware,
And, singing with the prickle at her breast,
Tell our delight and mirthful dalliance.
Till then, each hour will seem a year and more.

  HOR. But, honey-sweet and honourable love,
Return we now into your father’s sight;
Dang’rous suspicion waits on our delight.

  LOR. Aye, danger mix’d with jealous despite
Shall send thy soul into eternal night!




[The Spanish court.]

                Enter the KING OF SPAIN, PORTINGAL

  KING. Brother of Castille, to the prince’s love
What says your daughter Bel-imperia?

  CIP. Although she coy it, as becomes her kind,
And yet dissemble that she loves the prince,
I doubt not, aye, but she will stoop in time;
And, were she froward,—which she will not be,—
Yet herein shall she follow my advice,
Which is to love him or forgo my love.

  KING. Then, lord ambassador of Portingal,
Advise thy king to make this marriage up
For strengthening of our late-confirmed league;
I know no better means to make us friends.
Her dowry shall be large and liberal;
Besides that she is daughter and half heir
Unto our brother here, Don Ciprian,
And shall enjoy the moiety of his land,
I’ll grace her marriage with an uncle’s gift,
And this is it: in case the match go forward,
The tribute which you pay shall be releas’d;
And, if by Balthazar she have a son,
He shall enjoy the kingdom after us.

  AMBASS. I’ll make the motion to my sovereign liege,
And work it if my counsel may prevail.

  KING. Do so, my lord; and, if he give consent,
I hope his presence here will honour us
In celebration of the nuptial day,—
And let himself determine of the time.

AMBASS. Wilt please your Grace command me ought beside?

  KING. Commend me to the king; and so, farewell!
But where’s Prince Balthazar, to take his leave?

AMBASS. That is perform’d already, my good lord.

  KING. Amongst the rest of what you have in charge,
The prince’s ransom must not be forgot:
That’s none of mine, but his that took him prisoner,—
And well his forwardness deserves reward:
It was Horatio, our knight-marshall’s son.

  AMBASS. Between us there’s a price already pitch’d,
And shall be sentwith all convenient speed.

KING. Then once again farewell, my lord!

AMBASS. Farwell, my lord of Castile, and the rest!


  KING. Now, brother, you must make some little pains
To win fair Bel-imperia from her will;
Young virgins must be ruled by their friends.
The prince is amiable, and loves her well;
If she neglect him and forgo his love,
She both will wrong her own estate and ours.
Therefore, whiles I do entertain the prince
With greatest pleasure that our court affords,
Endeavor you to win your daughter’s thought.
If she give back, all this will come to naught.




[HORATIO’s garden.]


  HOR. Now that the night begins with sable wings
To over-cloud the brightness of the sun,
And that in darkness pleasures may be done,
Come, Bel-imperia, let us to the bower,
And there is safety pass a pleasant hour.

  BEL. I follow thee, my love, and will not back,
Although my fainting heart controls my soul.

HOR. Why, make you doubt of Pedringano’s faith?

  BEL. No; he is as trusty as my second self.
Go, Pedringano, watch without the gate,
And let us know if any make approach.

  PED. [aside] Instead of watching, I’ll deserve more gold
By fetching Don Lorenzo to this match.


HOR. What means my love?

  BEL. I know not what, myself;
And yet my heart foretells me some mischance.

  HOR. Sweet, say not so; fair Fortune is our friend,
And heav’ns have shut up day to pleasure us.
The stars, thou see’st, hold back their twinkling shine
And Luna hides herself to pleasure us.

  BEL. Thou hast prevail’d! I’ll conquer my misdoubt,
And in thy love and counsel drown my fear.
I fear no more; love now is all my thoughts!
Why sit we not? for pleasure asketh ease.

  HOR. The more thou sitt’st within these leafy bowers,
The more will Flora deck it with her flowers.

  BEL. Aye; but, if Flora spy Horatio here,
Her jealous eye will think I sit too near.

  HOR. Hark, madame, how the birds record by night,
For joy that Bel-imperia sits in sight!

  BEL. No; Cupid counterfeits the nightingale,
To frame sweet music to Horatio’s tale.

  HOR. If Cupid sing, then Venus is not far,—
Aye, thou art Venus, or some fairer star!

  BEL. If I be Venus, thou must needs be Mars;
And where Mars reigneth, there must needs be wars.

  HOR. Then thus begin our wars: put forth thy hand,
That it may combat with my ruder hand.

BEL. Set forth thy foot to try the push of mine.

HOR. But, first, my looks shall combat against thee.

BEL. Then ward thyself! I dart this kiss at thee.

HOR. Thus I return the dart thou throwest at me!

  BEL. Nay then, to gain the glory of the field,
My twining arms shall yoke and make thee yield.

  HOR. Nay then, my arms are large and strong withal:
Thus elms by vines are compass’d till they fall.

  BEL. O, let me go, for in my troubled eyes
Now may’st thou read that life in passion dies!

  HOR. O, stay a-while, and I will die with thee;
So shalt thou yield, and yet have conquer’d me.

BEL. Who’s there? Pedringano? We are betray’d!

                Enter LORENZO, BALTHAZAR, SERBERINE,
PEDRINGANO, disguised.

  LOR. My lord, away with her! take her aside!
O sir, forbear, your valour is already tried.
Quickly dispatch, my masters.

They hang him in the arbor.

HOR. What, will you murder me?

LOR. Aye; thus! and thus! these are the fruits of love!

They stab him.

  BEL. O, save his life, and let me die for him!
O, save him, brother! save him, Balthazar!
I lov’d Horatio, but he lov’d not me.

BAL. But Balthazar loves Bel-imperia.

  LOR. Although his life were still ambitious, proud,
Yet is he at the highest now he is dead.

BEL. Murder! murder! help! Hieronimo, help!

LOR. Come, stop her mouth! away with her!


Enter HIERONIMO in his shirt, &c.

  HIERO. What outcries pluck me from my naked bed,
And chill my throbbing heart with trembling fear,
Which never danger yet could daunt before?
Who calls Hieronimo? speak; hear I am!
I did not slumber; therefore ’twas no dream.
No, no; it was some woman cried for help.
And here within this garden did she cry,
And in this garden must I rescue her.
But stay! what murderous spectacle is this?
A man hang’d up, and all the murderers gone!
And in the bower, to lay the guilt on me!
This place was made for pleasure not for death.

He cuts him down.

    Those garments that he wears I oft have seen,—
Alas! it is Horatio, my sweet son!
O, no; but he that whilome was my son!
O, was it thou that call’dst me from my bed?
O, speak, if any spark of life remain!
I am thy father. Who hath slain my son?
What savage monster, not of human kind,
Hath here been glutted with thy harmless blood,
And left thy bloody corpse dishonour’d here,
For me amidst these dark and dreadful shades
To drown thee with an ocean of my tears?
O heav’ns, why made you night, to cover sin?
By day this deed of darkness had not been.
O earth, why didst thou not in time devour
The vile profaner of this sacred bower?
O poor Horatio, what hadst thou misdone
To leese thy life ere life was new begun?
O wicked butcher, whatsoe’er thou wert,
How could thou strangle virtue and desert?
Ay me, most wretched! that have lost my joy
In leesing my Horatio, my sweet boy!


  ISA. My husband’s absence makes my heart to throb.

  HIERO. Here, Isabella. Help me to lament;
For sighs are stopp’d, and all my tears are spent.

  ISA. What world of grief—my son Horatio!
O where’s the author of this endless woe?

  HIERO. To know the author were some ease of grief,
For in revenge my heart would find relief.

  ISA. Then is he gone? and is my son gone too?
O, gush out, tears! fountains and floods of tears!
Blow, sighs, and raise an everlasting storm;
For outrage fits our cursed wretchedness.

  HIERO. Sweet lovely rose, ill pluck’d before thy time!
Fair, worthy son, not conquer’d, but betray’d!
I’ll kiss thee now, for words with tears are stay’d.

  ISA. And I’ll close up the glasses of his sight;
For once these eyes were only my delight.

  HIERO. See’st thou this handkerchief besmear’d with blood?
It shall not from me till I take revenge;
See’st thou those wounds that yet are bleeding fresh?
I’ll not entomb them till I have reveng’d:
Then will I joy amidst my discontent,
Till then, my sorrow never shall be spent.

  ISA. The heav’ns are just, murder cannot be hid;
Time is the author of both truth and right,
And time will bring this treachery to light.

  HIERO. Meanwhile, good Isabella, cease thy plaints,
Or, at the least, dissemble them awhile;
So shall we sooner find the practise out,
And learn by whom all this was brought about.
Come, Isabell, now let us take him up.

They take him up.

    And bear him in from out this cursed place.
I’ll say his dirge,—singing fits not this case.
O aliquis mihi quas pulchrum ver educat herbas

HIERONIMO sets his breast unto his sword.

    Misceat, et nostro detur medicina dolori;
Aut, si qui faciunt annorum oblivia, succos
Praebeat; ipse metam magnum quaecunque per orbem
Gramina Sol pulchras effert in luminis oras.
Ipse bibam quicquid meditatur saga veneni,
Quicquid et herbarum vi caeca nenia nectit.
Omnia perpetiar, lethum quoque, dum semel omnis
Noster in extincto moriatur pectore sensus.
Ergo tuos oculos nunquam, mea vita videbo,
Et tua perpetuus sepelivit lumina somnus?
Emoriar tecum: sic, sic juvat ire sub umbras!
Attamen absistam properato cedere letho,
Ne mortem vindicta tuam tam nulla sequatur.

                Here he throws it from him and bears the
body away.



  ANDREA. Brought’st thou me hither to increase my pain?
I look’d that Balthazar should have been slain;
But ’tis my friend Horatio that is slain,
And they abuse fair Bel-imperia,
On whom I doted more then all the world,
Because she lov’d me more then all the world.

  REVENGE. Thou talk’st of harvest, when the corn is green;
The end is crown of every work well done;
The sickle comes not till the corn be ripe.
Be still, and, ere I lead thee from this place,
I’ll show thee Balthazar in heavy case.



[The Portuguese court.]


  VICEROY. Infortunate condition of kings,
Seated amidst so many helpless doubts!
First, we are plac’d upon extremest height,
And oft supplanted with exceeding hate,
But ever subject to the wheel of chance;
And at our highest never joy we so
As we doubt and dread our overthrow.
So striveth not the waves with sundry winds
As fortune toileth in the affairs of kings,
That would be fear’d, yet fear to be belov’d,
Sith fear and love to kings is flattery.
For instance, lordings, look upon your king,
By hate deprived of his dearest son,
The only hope of our successive line.

  NOB. I had not thought that Alexandro’s heart
Had been envenom’d with such extreme hate;
But now I see that words have several works,
And there’s no credit in the countenance.

  VIL. No, for, my lord, had you beheld the train
That feigned love had colour’d in his looks
When he in camp consorted Balthazar,
Far more inconstant had you thought the sun,
That hourly coasts the center of the earth,
Then Alexandro’s purpose to the prince.

  VICE. No more, Villuppo! thou hast said enough,
And with thy words thou slay’st our wounded thoughts.
Nor shall I longer dally with the world,
Procrastinating Alexandro’s death.
Go, some of you, and fetch the traitor forth,
That, as he is condemned, he may die.

                Enter ALEXANDRO, with a NOBLE-MAN and

NOB. In such extremes will nought but patience serve.

  ALEX. But in extremes what patience shall I use?
Nor discontents it me to leave the world,
With whom there nothing can prevail but wrong.

NOB. Yet hope the best.

  ALEX. ‘Tis heav’n is my hope:
As for the earth, it is too much infect
To yield me hope of any of her mould.

  VICE. Why linger ye? bring forth that daring fiend,
And let him die for his accursed deed.

  ALEX. Not that I fear the extremity of death—
For nobles cannot stoop to servile fear—
Do I, O king, thus discontented live;
But this, O this, torments my labouring soul,
That thus I die suspected of a sin
Whereof, as Heav’ns have known my secret thoughts,
So am I free from this suggestion!

  VICE. No more, I say; to the tortures! when?
Bind him, and burn his body in those flames,

They bind him to the stake.

    That shall prefigure those unquenched fires
Of Phlegethon prepared for his soul.

  ALEX. My guiltless death will be aveng’d on thee!
On thee, Villuppo, that hath malice’d thus,
Or for thy meed hast falsely me accus’d!

  VIL. Nay, Alexandro, if thou menace me,
I’ll lend a hand to send thee to the lake
Where those thy words shall perish with thy works,
Injurious traitor, monstrous homicide!


  AMBASS. Stay! hold a-while!
And here, with pardon of his Majesty,
Lay hands upon Villuppo!

  VICE. Ambassador,
What news hath urg’d this sudden enterance?

AMBASS. Know, sovereign lord, that Balthazar doth live.

VICE. What say’st thou? liveth Balthazar, our son?

  AMBASS. Your Highness’ son, Lord Balthazar doth live,
And, well entreated in the court of Spain,
Humbly commends him to your Majesty.
These eyes beheld; and these my followers,
With these, the letters of the king’s commends,

Gives him letters.

Are happy witnesses of his Highness’ health.

The KING looks on the letters, and proceeds.

  VICE. [reads] “Thy son doth live; your tribute is receiv’d;
Thy peace is made, and we are satisfied.
The rest resolve upon as things propos’d
For both our honours and thy benefit.”

AMBASS. These are his Highness’ farther articles.

He gives him more letters.

  VICE. Accursed wretch to intimate these ills
Against the life and reputation
Of noble Alexandro! come, my lord, unbind him!
[To ALEXANDRO] Let him unbind thee that is bound to death,
To make acquittal for thy discontent.

They unbind him.

  ALEX. Dread lord, in kindness you could do no less,
Upon report of such a damned fact;
But thus we see our innocence hath sav’d
The hopeless life which thou, Villuppo, sought
By thy suggestions to have massacred.

  VICE. Say, false Villuppo, wherefore didst thou thus
Falsely betray Lord Alexandro’s life?
Him whom thou know’st that no unkindness else
But even the slaughter of our dearest son
Could once have mov’d us to have misconceiv’d.

  ALEX. Say, treacherous Villuppo; tell the King!
Or wherein hath Alexandro us’d thee ill?

  VIL. Rent with remembrance of so foul a deed,
My guilty soul submits me to thy doom,
For, not for Alexandro’s injuries,
But for reward and hope to be prefer’d,
Thus have I shamelessly hazarded his life.

  VICE. Which, villain, shall be ransom’d with thy death,
And not so mean a torment as we here
Devis’d for him who thou said’st slew our son,
But with the bitterest torments and extremes
That may be yet invented for thine end.

ALEXANDRO seems to entreat.

Entreat me not! Go, take the traitor hence!


    And, Alexandro, let us honour thee
With public notice of thy loyalty.
To end those things articulated here
By our great lord, the mighty king of Spain,
We with our council will deliberate.
Come, Alexandro, keep us company.




[Spain: near the DUKE’s castle.]


  HIERO. Oh eyes! no eyes but fountains fraught with tears;
Oh life! no life, but lively form of death;
Oh world! no world, but mass of public wrongs,
Confus’d and fill’d with murder and misdeeds;
Oh sacred heav’ns, if this unhallow’d deed,
If this inhuman and barbarous attempt,
If this incomparable murder thus
Of mine, but now no more my son shall pass,
Unreveal’d and unrevenged pass,
How should we term your dealings to be just,
If you unjustly deal with those that in your justice trust?
The night, sad secretary to my moans,
With direful visions wake my vexed soul,
And with the wounds of my distressful son
Solicit me for notice of his death;
The ugly fiends do sally forth of hell,
And frame my heart with fierce inflamed thoughts;
The cloudy day my discontents records,
Early begins to register my dreams
And drive me forth to seek the murderer.
Eyes, life, world, heav’ns, hell, night and day,
See, search, show, send, some man, some mean, that may—

A letter falleth.

    What’s here? a letter? Tush, it is not so!
A letter for Hieronimo.
[Reads] “For want of ink receive this bloody writ.
Me hath my hapless brother hid from thee.
Revenge thyself on Balthazar and him,
For these were they that murdered thy son.
Hieronimo, revenge Horatio’s death,
And better fare then Bel-imperia doth!”—
What means this unexpected miracle?
My son slain by Lorenzo and the prince?
What cause had they Horatio to malign?
Or what might move thee, Bel-imperia,
To accuse thy brother, had he been the mean?
Hieronimo, beware! thou art betray’d,
And to entrap thy life this train is laid.
Advise thee therefore, be not credulous:
This is devised to endanger thee,
That thou, by this, Lorenzo should’st accuse.
And he, for thy dishonour done, should draw
Thy life in question and thy name in hate.
Dear was the life of my beloved son,
And of his death behooves me be aveng’d:
Then hazard not thine own, Hieronimo,
But live t’effect thy resolution!
I therefore will by circumstances try
What I can gather to confirm this writ,
And, harken near the Duke of Castile’s house,
Close if I can with Bel-imperia,
To listen more, but nothing to bewray.


Now, Pedringano!

PED. Now, Hieronimo!

HIERO. Where’s thy lady?

PED. I know not; here’s my lord.


LOR. How now, who’s this? Hieronimo?

HIERO. My lord.

PED. He asketh for my lady Bel-imperia.

LOR. What to do, Hieronimo? Use me.

  HIERO. Oh, no, my lord, I dare not, it must not be;
I humbly thank your lordship.

LOR. Why then, farewell!

HIERO. My grief no heart, my thoughts no tongue can tell.


LOR. Come hither, Pedringano; see’st thou this?

PED. My lord, I see it, and suspect it too.

  LOR. This is that damned villain Serberine,
That hath, I fear, reveal’d Horatio’s death.

  PED. My lord, he could not; ’twas so lately done,
And since he hath not left my company.

  LOR. Admit he have not; his conditions such
As fear or flattering words may make him false.
I know his humour, and therewith repent
That e’er I us’d him in this enterprise.
But, Pedringano, to prevent the worst,
And ’cause I know thee secret as my soul,
Here, for thy further satisfaction, take thou this!

Gives him more gold.

    And hearken to me; thus it is devis’d:
This night thou must—and prithee so resolve—
Meet Serberine at St. Luigi’s Park,—
Thou knowest ’tis here hard by behind the house;
There take thy stand, and see thou strike him sure,
For die he must, if we do mean to live.

PED. But how shall Serberine be there, my lord?

  LOR. Let me alone, I’ll send him to meet
The prince and me where thou must do this deed.

  PED. It shall be done, my lord; it shall be done;
And I’ll go arm myself to meet him there.

  LOR. When things shall alter, as I hope they will,
Then shalt thou mount for this, thou knowest my mind.


Che le Ieron!

Enter PAGE.

PAGE. My lord.

  LOR. Go, sirrah,
To Serberine, and bid him forthwith meet
The prince and me at S. Luigi’s Park,
Behind the house, this evening, boy.

PAGE. I go, my lord.

  LOR. But, sirrah, let the hour be eight o’clock.
Bid him not fail.

PAGE. I fly, my lord.


  LOR. Now to confirm the complot thou hast cast
Of all these practices, I’ll spread the watch,
Upon precise commandment from the king
Strongly to guard the place where Pedringano
This night shall murder hapless Serberine.
Thus must we work that will avoid distrust,
Thus must we practice to prevent mishap,
And thus one ill another must expulse.
This sly enquiry of Hieronimo
For Bel-imperia breeds suspicion;
And this suspicion bodes a further ill.
As for myself, I know my secret fault,
And so do they, but I have dealt for them.
They that for coin their souls endangered
To save my life, for coin shall venture theirs;
And better ’tis that base companions die
Than by their life to hazard our good haps.
Nor shall they live for me to fear their faith;
I’ll trust myself, myself shall be my friend;
For die they shall,—
Slaves are ordain’d to no other end.




[San Luigi’s Park.]

Enter PEDRINGANO with a pistol.

  PED. Now, Pedringano, bid thy pistol hold;
And hold on, Fortune! Once more favour me!
Give but success to mine attempting spirit,
And let me shift for taking of mine aim.
Here is the gold! This is the gold propos’d!
It is no dream that I adventure for,
But Pedringano is posses’d thereof.
And he that would not strain his conscience
For him that thus his liberal purse hath stretch’d,
Unworthy such a favour, may he fail,
And, wishing, want, when such as I prevail!
As for the fear of apprehension,
I know, if need should be, my noble lord
Will stand between me and ensuing harms.
Besides, this place is free from all suspect.
Here therefore will I stay and take my stand.

Enter the WATCH.

  I WATCH. I wonder much to what intent it is
That we are thus expressly charg’d to watch.

  II WATCH. This by commandment in the king’s own

  III WATCH. But we were never wont to watch and ward
So near the duke his brother’s house before.

  II WATCH. Content yourself, stand close, there’s somewhat


  SER. [aside] Here, Serberine, attend and stay thy pace;
For here did Don Lorenzo’s page appoint
That thou by his command shouldst meet with him.
How fit a place, if one were so dispos’d,
Methinks this corner is to close with one.

  PED. [aside] Here comes the bird that I must seize upon;
Now, Pedringano, or never play the man!

  SER. [aside] I wonder that his lordship stays so long,
Or wherefore should he send for me so late.

PED. For this, Serberine; and thou shalt ha’t!


So, there he lies; my promise is perform’d.


I WATCH. Hark, gentlemen, this is a pistol shot!

II WATCH. And here’s one slain; stay the murderer!

PED. Now, by the sorrows of the souls in hell,

He strives with the WATCH.

Who first lays hands on me, I’ll be his priest!

  III WATCH. Sirrah, confess, and therein play the priest.
Why hast thou thus unkindly kill’d the man?

PED. Why, because he walk’d abroad so late.

  III WATCH. Come sir, you had been better kept your bed
Then have committed this misdeed so late.

II WATCH. Come to the marshall’s with the murderer!

  I WATCH. On to Hieronimo’s! help me here
To bring the murder’d body with us too.

  PED. Hieronimo? Carry me before whom you will;
What e’er he be, I’ll answer him and you.
And do your worst, for I defy you all!



[The DUKE’s castle]


BAL. How now, my lord? what makes you rise so soon?

LOR. Fear of preventing our mishaps too late.

BAL. What mischief is it that we not mistrust?

  LOR. Our greatest ills we least mistrust, my lord,
And unexpected harms do hurt us most.

  BAL. Why, tell me, Don Lorenz,—tell me, man,
If aught concerns our honour and your own!

  LOR. Nor you nor me, my lord, but both in one;
But I suspect—and the presumptions great—
That by those base confed’rates in our fault
Touching the death of Don Horatio
We are all betray’d to old Hieronimo.

BAL. Betray’d, Lorenzo? tush! it cannot be.

  LOR. A guilty conscience urged with the thought
Of former evils, easily cannot err:
I am persuaded—and dissuade me not—
That all’s revealed to Hieronimo.
And therefore know that I have cast it thus—

[Enter PAGE.]

But here’s the page. How now? what news with thee?

PAGE. My lord, Serberine is slain.

BAL. Who? Serberine, my man?

PAGE. Your Highness’ man, my lord.

LOR. Speak, page: who murder’d him?

PAGE. He that is apprehended for the fact.

LOR. Who?

PAGE. Pedringano.

  BAL. Is Serberine slain, that lov’d his lord so well?
Injurious villain! murd’rer of his friend!

  LOR. Hath Pedringano murder’d Serberine?
My lord, let me entreat you to take the pains
To exasperate and hasten his revenge
With your complaints unto my lord the king.
This their dissension breeds a greater doubt.

  BAL. Assure thee, Don Lorenzo, he shall die,
Or else his Highness hardly shall deny.
Meanwhile, I’ll haste the marshall sessions,
For die he shall for this his damned deed.


  LOR. [aside] Why, so! this fits our former policy;
And thus experience bids the wise and deal.
I lay the plot, he prosecutes the point;
I set the trap, he breaks the worthless twigs,
And sees not that wherewith the bird was lim’d.
Thus hopeful men, that means to hold their own,
Must look, like fowlers, to their dearest friends.
He runs to kill whom I have holp to catch,
And no man knows it was my reaching fetch.
‘Tis hard to trust unto a multitude,—
Or any one, in mine opinion,
When men themselves their secrets will reveal.

Enter a MESSENGER with a letter.

LOR. Boy.

PAGE. My lord.

LOR. What’s he?

MES. I have a letter to your lordship.

LOR. From whence?

MES. From Pedringano that’s imprison’d.

LOR. So he is in prison then?

MES. Aye, my good lord.

LOR. What would he with us?

[Reads the letter.]

                                He writes us here
To stand good lord and help him in distress.
Tell him I have his letters, know his mind;
And what we may, let him assure him of.
Fellow, be gone; my boy shall follow thee.


    [Aside] This works like wax! Yet once more try thy wits.—
Boy, go convey this purse to Pedringano,—
Thou know’st the prison,—closely give it him,
And be advis’d that none be thereabout.
Bid him be merry still, but secret;
And, though the marshall sessions be today,
Bid him not doubt of his delivery.
Tell him his pardon is already sign’d,
And thereon bid him boldly be resolv’d;
For, were he ready to be turned off,—
As ’tis my will the uttermost be tried,—
Thou with his pardon shalt attend him still.
Show him this box, tell him his pardon’s in’t;
But open’t not, and if thou lov’st thy life,
But let him wisely keep his hopes unknown.
He shall not want while Don Lorenzo lives.

PAGE. I go, my lord, I run!

LOR. But, sirrah, see that this be cleanly done.

Exit PAGE.

    Now stands our fortune on a tickle point,
And now or never ends Lorenzo’s doubts.
One only thing is uneffected yet,
And that’s to see the executioner,—
But to what end? I list not trust the air
With utterance of our pretence therein,
For fear the privy whisp’ring of the wind
Convey our words amongst unfriendly ears,
That lie too open to advantages.
Et quel che voglio io, nessun lo sa,
Intendo io quel mi bastera.




[A street.]

Enter BOY with the box.

[BOY.] My master hath forbidden me to look in this box, and, by my troth, ’tis likely, if he had not warned me, I should not have had so much idle time; for we men-kind in our minority are like women in their uncertainty; that they are most forbidden, they will soonest attempt; so I now. By my bare honesty, here’s nothing but the bare empty box! Were it not sin against secrecy, I would say it were a piece of gentlemanlike knavery. I must go to Pedringano and tell him his pardon is in this box! Nay, I would have sworn it, had I not seen the contrary. I cannot choose but smile to think how the villain will flout the gallows, scorn the audience, and descant on the hangman, and all presuming of his pardon from hence. Will’t not be an odd jest, for me to stand and grace every jest he makes, pointing my finger at this box, as who should say: “Mock on, here’s thy warrant!” Is’t not a scurvy jest that a man should jest himself to death? Alas, poor Pedringano! I am in a sort sorry for thee, but, if I should be hanged with thee, I could not weep.




[The court of justice.]


  HIERO. Thus must we toil in others men’s extremes
That know not how to remedy our own,
And do them justice, when unjustly we
For all our wrongs can compass no redress.
But shall I never live to see the day
That I may come by justice to the Heav’ns
To know the cause that may my cares allay?
This toils my body, this consumeth age,
That only I to all men just must be,
And neither gods nor men be just to me!

  DEP. Worthy Hieronimo, your office asks
A care to punish such as do transgress.

  HIERO. So is’t my duty to regard his death
Who when he liv’d deserv’d my dearest blood.
But come; for that we came for, let’s begin;
For here lies that which bids me to be gone.

                Enter OFFICERS, BOY, & PEDRINGANO with a letter
in his hand, bound.

DEPU. Bring forth the prisoner for the court is set.

  PED. Gramercy, boy! but it was time to come,
For I had written to my lord anew
A nearer matter that concerneth him,
For fear his lordship had forgotten me;
But, sith he hath remember’d me so well,
Come, come, come on! when shall we to this gear?

  HIERO. Stand forth, thou monster, murderer of men,
And here, for satisfaction of the world,
Confess thy folly and repent thy fault,
For there’s thy place of execution.

  PED. This is short work! Well, to your martiallship
First I confess, nor fear I death therefore,
I am the man,—’twas I slew Serberine.
But, sir, then you think this shall be the place
Where we shall satisfy you for this gear?

DEPU. Aye, Pedrigano.

PED. No I think not so.

  HEIRO. Peace, impudent! for thou shalt find it so;
For blood with blood shall, while I sit as judge,
Be satisfied, and the law discharg’d.
And, though myself cannot receive the like,
Yet will I see that others have their right.
Dispatch! the fault approved and confess’d,
And by our law he is condemn’d to die.

HANG. Come on, sir! are you ready?

PED. To do what, my fine officious knave?

HANG. To go to this gear.

PED. O, sir, you are to forward; thou wouldst fain furnish me with a halter, to disfurnish me of my habit. So should I go out of this gear, my raiment, into that gear, the rope. But, hangman, now I spy your knavery, I’ll not change without boot; that’s flat.

HANG. Come, sir.

PED. So then I must up?

HANG. No remedy.

PED. Yes, but there shall be for my coming down.

HANG. Indeed here’s a remedy for that.

PED. How? be turn’d off?

  HANG. Aye, truly. Come, are you ready?
I pray you, sir, dispatch, the day goes away.

  PED. What, do you hang by the hour? If you do, I
may chance to break your old custom.

  HANG. Faith, you have no reason, for I am like to break
your young neck.

  PED. Dost thou mock me, hangman? Pray God I be not
preserved to break your knaves-pate for this!

  HANG. Alas, sir, you are a foot too low to reach it, and I
hope you will never grow so high while I am in office.

  PED. Sirrah, dost see yonder boy with the box in his

HANG. What, he that points to it with his finger?

PED. Aye, that companion.

HANG. I know him not; but what of him?

  PED. Dost thou think to live till his old doublet will
make thee a new truss?

  HANG. Aye, and many a fair year after, to truss up many
an honester man then either thou or he.

PED. What hath he in his box, as thou thinkst?

  HANG. Faith, I cannot tell, nor I care not greatly.
Me thinks you should rather hearken to your soul’s health.

PED. Why, sirrah hangman, I take it that that is good for the body is likewise good for the soul: and it may be in that box is balm for both.

  HANG. Well, thou art even the merriest piece of man’s
flesh that e’er groaned at my office-door.

  PED. Is your roguery become an office, with a knave’s

  HANG. Aye, and that shall all they witness that see you seal
it with a thief’s name.

  PED. I prithee, request this good company to pray for

  HANG. Aye, marry, sir, this is a good motion! My masters,
you see here’s a good fellow.

  PED. Nay, nay, now I remember me, let them alone till
some other time; for now I have no great need.

  HIERO. I have not seen a wretch so impudent.
O monstrous times where murders are so light,
And where the soul that should be shrin’d in heav’n
Solely delights in interdicted things,
Still wand’ring in the thorny passages
That intercepts itself of happiness!
Murder? O bloody monster! God forbid
A fault so foul should ‘scape unpunished!
Dispatch and see this execution done;
This makes me to remember thee, my son.


PED. Nay, soft! no haste!

DEPU. Why, wherefore stay you? Have you hope of life?

PED. Why, aye.

HANG. As how?

PED. Why, rascal, by my pardon from the king.

HANG. Stand you on that? then you shall off with this.

He turns him off.

  DEPU. So, executioner, convey him hence;
But let his body be unburied.
Let not the earth be choked or infect
What that which Heav’ns contemns and men neglect.




[HIERONIMO’s house.]


HIER. Where shall I run to breath abroad my woes,—
My woes whose weight hath wearied the earth,
Or mine exclaims that have surcharg’d the air
With ceaseless plaints for my deceased son?
The blust’ring winds, conspiring with my words,
At my lament have mov’d to leafless trees,
Disrob’d the meadows of their flower’d green,
Made mountains marsh with spring-tides of my tears,
And broken through the brazen gates of hell;
Yet still tormented is my tortur’d soul
With broken sighs and restless passions,
That, winged, mount, and hovering in the air,
Beat at the windows of the brightest heav’ns,
Soliciting for justice and revenge.
But they are plac’d in those empyreal heights,
Where, countermur’d with walls of diamond,
I find the place impregnable, and they
Resist my woes and give my words no way.

Enter HANGMAN with a letter.

  HANG. O Lord, sir! God bless you, sir! The man, sir,—
Petergade, sir: he that was so full of merry conceits—

HIER. Well, what of him?

HANG. O Lord, sir! he went the wrong way; the fellow had a fair commission to the contrary. Sir, here is his passport, I pray you, sir; we have done him wrong.

HIERO. I warrant thee; give it me.

HANG. You will stand between the gallows and me?

HIERO. Aye, aye!

HANG. I thank your lord’s worship.


  HIERO. And yet, though somewhat nearer me concerns
I will, to ease the grief that I sustain,
Take truce with sorrow while I read on this.
[Reads] “My lord, I writ, as mine extremes requir’d,
That you would labour my delivery:
If you neglect, my life is desperate,
And in my death I shall reveal the troth.
You know, my lord, I slew him for your sake,
And was confed’rate with the prince and you;
Won by rewards and hopeful promises,
I holp to murder Don Horatio too.”—
Holp he to murder mine Horatio?
And actors in th’ accursed tragedy
Wast thou, Lorenzo? Balthazar and thou,
Of whom my son, my son deserv’d so well?
What have I heard? what have mine eyes beheld?
O sacred heav’ns, may it come to pass
That such a monstrous and detested deed,
So closely smoother’d and so long conceal’d,
Shall thus by this be venged or reveal’d?
Now see I what I durst not then suspect,
That Bel-imperia’s letter was not feign’d,
Nor feigned she, though falsely they have wrong’d
Both her, myself, Horatio and themselves.
Now may I make compare ‘twixt hers and this
Of every accident. I ne’er could find
Till now, and now I feelingly perceive,
They did what Heav’n unpunish’d should not leave.
O false Lorenzo! are these thy flattering looks?
Is this the honour that thou didst my son?
And, Balthazar,—bane to thy soul and me!—
What this the ransom he reserv’d for thee?
Woe to the cause of these constrained wars!
Woe to thy baseness and captivity!
Woe to thy birth, thy body and thy soul,
Thy cursed father, and thy conquer’d self!
And bann’d with bitter execrations be
The day and place where he did pity thee!
But wherefore waste I mine unfruitful words,
When naught but blood will satisfy my woes?
I will go plain me to my lord the king,
And cry aloud for justice through the court,
Wearing the flints with these my wither’d feet,
And either purchase justice by entreats
Or tire them all with my revenging threats.




[HIERONIMO’s house.]

Enter ISABELL and her MAID.

  ISA. So that you say this herb will purge the eyes,
And this the head? Ah! but none of them will purge the
No, there’s no medicine left for my disease,
Nor any physic to recure the dead.

She runs lunatic.

Horatio! O, where’s Horatio?

  MAID. Good madam, affright not thus yourself
With outrage for your son Horatio;
He sleeps in quiet in the Elysian fields.

  ISA. Why did I not give you gowns and goodly things,
Bought you a whistle and a whipstalk too,
To be revenged on their villainies?

MAID. Madame, these humors do torment my soul.

  ISA. My soul? poor soul, thou talk’st of things
Thou know’st not what! My soul hath silver wings,
That mounts me up unto the highest heav’ns—
To heav’n? Aye, there sits my Horatio,
Back’d with troop of fiery cherubins
Dancing about his newly healed wounds,
Singing sweet hymns and chanting heav’nly notes,
Rare harmony to greet his innocence,
That died, aye, died a mirror in our days!
But say, where shall I find the men, the murderers,
That slew Horatio? whether shall I run
To find them out, that murdered my son?




[The DUKE’s castle.]

BEL-IMPERIA at a window.

  BEL. What means this outrage that is offer’d me?
Why am I thus sequester’d from the court?
No notice? shall I not know the cause
Of these my secret and suspicious ills?
Accursed brother! unkind murderer!
Why bend’st thou thus thy mind to martyr me?
Hieronimo, why writ I of thy wrongs,
Or why art thou so slack in thy revenge?
Andrea! O Andrea, that thou sawest
Me for thy friend Horatio handled thus,
And him for me thus causeless murdered!
Well, force perforce, I must constrain myself
To patience, and apply me to the time,
Till Heav’n, as I have hop’d, shall set me free.


CHRIS. Come, Madame Bel-imperia, this must not be!


[ACT III. Scene 10.]

[A room in the DUKE’s castle.]


  LOR. Boy, talk no further; thus far things go well.
Thou art assur’d that thou sawest him dead?

PAGE. Or else, my lord, I live not.

  LOR. That’s enough.
As for this resolution at his end,
Leave that to him with whom he sojourns now.
Here, take my ring, and give it Christophel,
And bid him let my sister be enlarg’d,
And bring her hither straight.

Exit PAGE.

    This that I did was for a policy,
To smooth and keep the murder secret,
Which as a nine days wonder being o’er-blown,
My gentle sister will I now enlarge.

  BAL. And time, Lorenzo; for my lord the duke,
You heard, enquired for her yester-night.

  LOR. Why! and, my lord, I hope you heard me say
Sufficient reason why she kept away;
But that’s all one. My lord, you love her?

BAL. Aye.

  LOR. Then in your love beware; deal cunningly;
Salve all suspicions; only soothe me up,
And, if she hap to stand on terms with us,
As for her sweet-heart, and concealment so,
Jest with her gently; under feigned jest
Are things conceal’d that else would breed unrest.
But here she comes.


LOR. Now, sister.

  BEL. Sister? No!
Thou art no brother, but an enemy,
Else wouldst thou not have us’d thy sister so:
First, to affright me with thy weapons drawn,
And with extremes abuse my company;
And then to hurry me like whirlwind’s rage
Amidst a crew of thy confederates,
And clap me up where none might come at me,
Nor I at any to reveal my wrongs.
What madding fury did possess thy wits?
Or wherein is’t that I offended thee?

  LOR. Advise you better, Bel-imperia;
For I have done you no disparagement,—
Unless, by more discretion then deserv’d,
I sought to save your honour and mine own.

  BEL. Mine honour? Why, Lorenzo, wherein is’t
That I neglect my reputation so
As you, or any, need to rescue it?

  LOR. His Highness and my father were resolv’d
To come confer with old Hieronimo
Concerning certain matters of estate
That by the viceroy was determined.

BEL. And wherein was mine honour touch’d in that?

BAL. Have patience, Bel-imperia; hear the rest.

  LOR. Me, next in sight, as messenger they sent
To give him notice that they were so nigh:
Now, when I came, consorted with the prince,
And unexpected in an arbor there
Found Bel-imperia with Horatio—

BEL. How then?

  LOR. Why, then, rememb’ring that old disgrace
Which you for Don Andrea had endur’d,
And now were likely longer to sustain
By being found so meanly accompanied,
Thought rather, for I knew no readier mean,
To thrust Horatio forth my father’s way.

  BAL. And carry you obscurely somewhere else,
Lest that his Highness should have found you there.

  BEL. Ev’n so, my lord? And you are witness
That this is true which he entreateth of?
You, gentle brother, forg’d this for my sake?
And you, my lord, were made his instrument?
A work of worth! worthy the noting too!
But what’s the cause that you conceal’d me since?

  LOR. Your melancholy, sister, since the news
Of your first favorite Don Andrea’s death
My father’s old wrath hath exasperate.

  BAL. And better was’t for you, being in disgrace,
To absent yourself and give his fury place.

BEL. But why I had no notice of his ire?

  LOR. That were to add more fuel to your fire,
Who burnt like Aetna for Andrea’s loss.

BEL. Hath not my father then enquir’d for me?

LOR. Sister, he hath; and this excus’d I thee.

He whispereth in her ear.

    But, Bel-imperia, see the gentle prince;
Look on thy love; behold young Balthazar,
Whose passions by thy presence are increas’d,
And in whose melancholy thou may’st see
Thy hate, his love, thy flight, his following thee.

  BEL. Brother, you are become an orator—
I know not, ay, by what experience—
Too politic for me, past all compare,
Since I last saw you. But content yourself;
The prince is meditating higher things.

  BAL. ‘Tis of thy beauty, then, that conquers kings,
Of those thy tresses, Ariadne’s twines,
Wherewith my liberty thou hast surpris’d,
Of that thine ivory front, my sorrow’s map,
Wherein I see no hav’n to rest my hope.

  BEL. To love and fear, and both at once, my lord,
In my conceit, are things of more import
Then women’s wit are to be busied with.

BAL. ‘Tis I that love.

BEL. Whom?

BAL. Bel-imperia.

BEL. But I that fear.

BAL. Whom?

BEL. Bel-imperia.

LOR. Fear yourself?

BEL. Aye, brother.

LOR. How?

  BEL. As those
That, when they love, are loath and fear to lose.

BAL. Then, fair, let Balthazar your keeper be.

  BEL. No, Balthazar doth fear as well as we;
Et tremulo metui pavidum junxere timorem,
Est vanum stolidae proditionis opus.


  LOR. Nay, and you argue things so cunningly,
We’ll go continue this discourse at court.

  BAL. Led by the loadstar of her heav’nly looks,
Wends poor oppressed Balthazar,
As o’er the mountains walks the wanderer
Incertain to effect his pilgrimage.




[A street.]

Enter two PORTINGALES, and HIERONIMO meets them.

I PORT. By your leave, sir.

  HIERO. Good leave have you; nay, I pray you go,
For I’ll leave you, if you can leave me so.

  II PORT. Pray you, which is the next way to my lord
the duke’s?

HIERO. The next way from me.

I PORT. To the house, we mean.

HIERO. O hard by; ’tis yon house that you see.

II PORT. You could not tell us if his son were there?

HIERO. Who? my lord Lorenzo?

I PORT. Aye, sir.

He goeth in at one door and comes out at another.

  HIERO. Oh, forbear,
For other talk for us far fitter were!
But, if you be importunate to know
The way to him and where to find him out,
Then list to me, and I’ll resolve your doubt:
There is a path upon your left hand side
That leadeth from a guilty conscience
Unto a forest of distrust and fear,—
A darksome place and dangerous to pass,—
There shall you meet with melancholy thoughts
Whose baleful humours if you but behold,
It will conduct you to despair and death:
Whose rocky cliffs when you have once beheld,
Within a hugy dale of lasting night,
That, kindled with worlds of iniquities,
Doth cast up filthy and detested fumes,—
Not far from thence where murderers have built
A habitation for their cursed souls,
There, in a brazen caldron fix’d by Jove
In his fell wrath upon a sulfur flame,
Yourselves shall find Lorenzo bathing him
In boiling lead and blood of innocents.

I PORT. Ha, ha, ha!

  HIERO. Ha, ha, ha! why, ha, ha, ha! Farewell, good ha,
ha, ha!


  II PORT. Doubtless this man is passing lunatic,
Or imperfection of his age doth make him dote.
Come, let’s away to seek my lord the duke.




[The Spanish court.]

                Enter HIERONIMO with a ponyard in one hand,
and a rope in the other.

  HIERO. Now, sir, perhaps I come to see the king,
The king sees me, and fain would hear my suit:
Why, is this not a strange and seld-seen thing
That standers-by with toys should strike me mute?
Go to, I see their shifts, and say no more;
Hieronimo, ’tis time for thee to trudge!
Down by the dale that flows with purple gore
Standeth a fiery tower; there sits a judge
Upon a seat of steel and molten brass,
And ‘twixt his teeth he holds a fire-brand,
That leads unto the lake where he doth stand.
Away, Hieronimo; to him be gone:
He’ll do thee justice for Horatio’s death.
Turn down this path, thou shalt be with him straight;
Or this, and then thou need’st not take thy breath.
This way, or that way? Soft and fair, not so!
For, if I hang or kill myself, let’s know
Who will revenge Horatio’s murther then!
No, no; fie, no! pardon me, I’ll none of that:

He flings away the dagger & halter.

This way I’ll take; and this way comes the king,

He takes them up again.

    And here I’ll have a fling at him, that’s flat!
And, Balthazar, I’ll be with thee to bring;
And thee, Lorenzo! Here’s the king; nay, stay!
And here,—aye, here,—there goes the hare away!

                Enter KING, AMBASSADOR, CASTILLE, and

  KING. Now show, ambassador, what our viceroy saith:
Hath he receiv’d the articles we sent?

HIERO. Justice! O, justice to Hieronimo!

LOR. Back! see’st thou not the king is busy?

HIERO. O! is he so?

KING. Who is he that interrupts our business?

  HIERO. Not I! [aside] Hieronimo, beware! go by, go

  AMBASS. Renown’d king, he hath receiv’d and read
Thy kingly proffers and thy promis’d league,
And, as a man extremely over-joy’d
To hear his son so princely entertain’d,
Whose death he had so solemnly bewail’d,
This, for thy further satisfaction
And kingly love, he kindly lets thee know:
First, for the marriage of his princely son
With Bel-imperia, thy beloved niece,
The news are more delightful to his soul
Then myrrh or incense to the offended Heav’ns.
In person, therefore, will be come himself
To see the marriage rites solemnized
And in the presence of the court of Spain
To knit a sure inextricable band
Of kingly love and everlasting league
Betwixt the crowns of Spain and Portingal.
There will he give his crown to Balthazar,
And make a queen of Bel-imperia.

KING. Brother, how like you this our viceroy’s love?

  CAST. No doubt, my lord, it is an argument
Of honourable care to keep his friend
And wondrous zeal to Balthazar, his son.
Nor am I least indebted to his Grace,
That bends his liking to my daughter thus.

  AMBASS. Now last, dread lord, here hath his Highness sent—
Although he send not that his son return—
His ransom due to Don Horatio.

HIERO. Horatio? who calls Horatio?

  KING. And well remember’d, thank his Majesty!
Here, see it given to Horatio.

HIERO. Justice! O justice! justice, gentle king!

KING. Who is that? Hieronimo?

  HIERO. Justice! O justice! O my son! my son!
My son, whom naught can ransom or redeem!

LOR. Hieronimo, you are not well advis’d.

  HIERO. Away, Lorenzo! hinder me no more,
For thou hast made me bankrupt of my bliss!
Give me my son! You shall not ransom him!
Away! I’ll rip the bowels of the earth,

He diggeth with his dagger.

    And ferry over th’ Elysian plains
And bring my son to show his deadly wounds.
Stand from about me! I’ll make a pickaxe of my poniard,
And here surrender up my marshallship;
For I’ll go marshall up the fiends in hell,
To be avenged on you all for this.

  KING. What means this outrage?
Will none of you restrain his fury?

  HIERO. Nay, soft and fair; you shall not need to strive!
Needs must he go that the devils drive.


  KING. What accident hath happ’d to Hieronimo?
I have not seen him to demean him so.

  LOR. My gracious lord, he is with extreme pride
Conceiv’d of young Horatio, his son,
And covetous of having himself
The ransom of the young prince, Balthazar,
Distract, and in a manner lunatic.

  KING. Believe me, nephew, we are sorry for ‘t;
This is the love that fathers bear their sons.
But, gentle brother, go give to him this gold,
The prince’s ransom; let him have his due;
For what he hath, Horatio shall not want.
Haply Hieronimo hath need thereof.

  LOR. But if he be thus helplessly distract,
‘Tis requisite his office be resign’d
And giv’n to one of more discretion.

  KING. We shall increase his melancholy so.
‘Tis best that we see further in it first;
Till when, ourself will hold exempt the place.
And, brother, now bring in the ambassador,
That he may be a witness of the match
‘Twixt Balthazar and Bel-imperia,
And that we may prefix a certain time
Wherein the marriage shall be solemniz’d,
That we may have thy lord the viceroy here.

  AMBASS. Therein your Highness highly shall content
His majesty, that longs to hear from hence.

KING. On then, and hear you, lord ambassador.




[HIERONIMO’s house.]

Enter HIERONIMO with a book in his hand.

  [HIERO.] Vindicta mihi.
Aye, heav’n will be reveng’d of every ill,
Nor will they suffer murder unrepaid!
Then stay, Hieronimo, attend their will;
For mortal men may not appoint their time.
Per scelus semper tutum est sceleribus iter:
Strike, and strike home, where wrong is offer’d thee;
For evils unto ills conductors be,
And death’s the worst of resolution.
For he that thinks with patience to contend
To quiet life, his life shall easily end.
Fata si miseros juvant, habes salutem;
Fata si vitam negant, habes sepulchrum:
If destiny thy miseries do ease,
Then hast thou health, and happy shalt thou be;
If destiny deny thee life, Hieronimo,
Yet shalt thou be assured of a tomb;
If neither, yet let this thy comfort be:
Heav’n covereth him that hath no burial.
And, to conclude, I will revenge his death!
But how? Not as the vulgar wits of men,
With open, but inevitable ills;
As by a secret, yet a certain mean,
Which under kindship will be cloaked best.
Wise men will take their opportunity,
Closely and safely fitting things to time;
But in extremes advantage hath no time;
And therefore all times fit not for revenge.
Thus, therefore, will I rest me in unrest,
Dissembling quiet in unquietness,
Not seeming that I know their villainies,
That my simplicity may make them think
That ignorantly I will let all slip;
For ignorance, I wot, and well they know,
Remedium malorum iners est.
Nor aught avails it me to menace them.
Who, as a wintry storm upon a plain,
Will bear me down with their nobility.
No, no, Hieronimo, thou must enjoin
Thine eyes to observation, and thy tongue
To milder speeches than thy spirit affords,
Thy heart to patience, and thy hands to rest,
Thy cap to courtesy, and thy knee to bow,
Till to revenge thou know when, where and how.
How now? what noise, what coil is that you keep?

A noise within.

Enter a SERVANT.

  SER. Here are a sort of poor petitioners
That are importunate, and it shall please you, sir,
That you should plead their cases to the king.

  HIERO. That I should plead their several actions?
Why, let them enter, and let me see them.

                Enter three CITIZENS and an OLD MAN

  I CIT. So I tell you this: for learning and for law
There is not any advocate in Spain
That can prevail or will take half the pain
That he will in pursuit of equity.

  HIERO. Come near, you men, that thus importune me!
[Aside] Now must I bear a face of gravity,
For thus I us’d, before my marshallship,
To plead in causes as corrigedor.—
Come on, sirs, what’s the matter?

II CIT. Sir, an action.

HIERO. Of battery?

I CIT. Mine of debt.

HIERO. Give place.

II CIT. No, sir, mine is an action of the case.

III CIT. Mine an ejectionae firmae by a lease.

  HIERO. Content you, sirs; are you determined
That I should plead your several actions?

I CIT. Aye, sir; and here’s my declaration.

II CIT. And here is my bond.

III CIT. And here is my lease.

They give him papers.

  HIERO. But wherefore stands yon silly man so mute,
With mournful eyes and hands to heav’n uprear’d?
Come hither, father; let me know thy cause.

  SENEX, [DON BAZULTO]. O worthy sir, my cause but slightly known
May move the hearts of warlike Myrmidons,
And melt the Corsic rocks with ruthful tears!

HIERO. Say, father; tell me what’s thy suit!

  BAZULTO. No, sir, could my woes
Give way unto my most distressful words,
Then should I not in paper, as you see,
With ink bewray what blood began in me.

  HIERO. What’s here? “The Humble Supplication
Of Don Bazulto for his Murder’d Son.”

BAZULTO. Aye, sir.

  HIERO. No, sir, it was my murder’d son!
Oh, my son, my son! oh, my son Horatio!
But mine or thine, Bazulto, be content;
Here, take my handkerchief and wipe thine eyes,
Whiles wretched I in thy mishaps may see
The lively portrait of my dying self.

He draweth out a bloody napkin.

    O, no; not this! Horatio, this was thine!
And when I dy’d it in thy dearest blood,
This was a token twixt thy soul and me
That of thy death revenged I should be.
But here: take this, and this! what? my purse?
Aye, this and that and all of them are thine;
For all as one are our extremities.

I CIT. Oh, see the kindness of Hieronimo!

II CIT. This gentleness shows him a gentleman.

  HIERO. See, see, oh, see thy shame, Hieronimo!
See here a loving father to his son:
Behold the sorrows and the sad laments
That he deliv’reth for his son’s decease.
If love’s effect so strives in lesser things,
If love enforce such moods in meaner wits,
If love express such power in poor estates,
Hieronimo, as when a raging sea,
Toss’d with the wind and tide, o’er-turneth then
The upper-billows course of waves to keep,
Whilst lesser waters labour in the deep,
Then sham’st thou not, Hieronimo, to neglect
The swift revenge of thy Horatio?
Though on this earth justice will not be found,
I’ll down to hell and in this passion
Knock at the dismal gates of Pluto’s court,
Getting by force, as once Alcides did,
A troupe of furies and tormenting hags,
To torture Don Lorenzo and the rest.
Yet, lest the triple-headed porter should
Deny my passage to the slimy strand,
The Thracian poet thou shalt counterfeit;
Come on, old father, be my Orpheus;
And, if thou canst no notes upon the harp,
Then sound the burden of thy sore heart’s grief
Till we do gain that Proserpine may grant
Revenge on them that murdered my son.
Then will I rent and tear them thus and thus,
Shiv’ring their limbs in pieces with my teeth!

Tears the papers.

I CIT. Oh, sir, my declaration!

Exit HIERONIMO and they after.

II CIT. Save my bond!


II CIT. Save my bond!

  III CIT. Alas my lease, it cost me
Ten pound, and you, my lord, have torn the same!

  HIERO. That can not be, I gave it never a wound;
Show me one drop of blood fall from the same!
How is it possible I should slay it then?
Tush, no! Run after, catch me if you can!

Exeunt all but DON BAZULTO.

                BAZULTO remains till HIERONIMO enters
again, who, staring him in the face, speaks:

    And art thou come, Horatio, from the depth,
To ask for justice in this upper earth?
To tell thy father thou art unreveng’d?
To wring more tears from Isabella’s eyes,
Whose lights are dimm’d with over-long laments?
Go back, my son, complain to Eacus;
For here’s no justice. Gentle boy, begone;
For justice is exiled from the earth.
Hieronimo will bear thee company.
Thy mother cries on righteous Radamant
For just revenge against the murderers.

BAZULTO. Alas, my lord, whence springs this troubled speech?

  HIERO. But let me look on my Horatio:
Sweet boy, how art thou chang’d in death’s black shade!
Had Proserpine no pity on thy youth,
But suffer’d thy fair crimson-colour’d spring
With wither’d winter to be blasted thus?
Horatio, thou are older than thy father:
Ah, ruthless father, that favour thus transforms.

BA. Ah, my good lord, I am not your young son.

  HIE. What! not my son? thou then a Fury art
Sent from the empty kingdom of black night
To summon me to make appearance
Before grim Minos and just Radamant,
To plague Hieronimo, that is remiss
And seeks not vengeance for Horatio’s death.

  BA. I am a grieved man, and not a ghost,
That came for justice for my murder’d son.

  HIE. Aye, now I know thee, now thou namest thy son;
Thou art the lively image of my grief:
Within thy face my sorrows I may see;
The eyes are dimm’d with tears, thy cheeks are wan,
Thy forehead troubled, and thy mutt’ring lips
Murmur sad words abruptly broken off
By force of windy sighs thy spirit breathes;
And all this sorrow riseth for thy son,
And self-same sorrow feel I for my son.
Come in, old man; thou shalt to Isabell.
Lean on my arm; I thee, thou me, shalt stay;
And thou and I and she will sing a song,
Three parts in one, but all of discords fram’d,—
Talk not of cords!—but let us now be gone,—
For with a cord Horatio was slain.




[The Spanish court.]

                Enter KING OF SPAIN, the DUKE, VICEROY, and

  KING. Go, brother, ’tis the Duke of Castile’s cause;
Salute the viceroy in our name.


  VICE. Go forth, Don Pedro, for thy nephew’s sake,
And greet the Duke of Castile.

PEDRO. It shall be so.

  KING. And now to meet these Portuguese;
For, as we now are, so sometimes were these,
Kings and commanders of the western Indies.
Welcome, brave viceroy, to the court of Spain!
And welcome, all his honourable train!
‘Tis not unknown to us for why you come,
Or have so kingly cross’d the seas.
Sufficeth it, in this we note the troth
And more than common love you lend to us.
So is it that mine honourable niece,
For it beseems us now that it be known,
Already is betroth’d to Balthazar;
And, by appointment and our condescent,
Tomorrow are they to be married.
To this intent we entertain thyself,
Thy followers, their pleasure, and our peace.
Speak, men of Portingal, shall it be so?
If aye, say so; if not, say so flatly.

  VICE. Renowned king, I come not, as thou think’st,
With doubtful followers, unresolved men,
But such as have upon thine articles
Confirm’d thy motion and contented me.
Know, sovereign, I come to solemnize
The marriage of thy beloved niece,
Fair Bel-imperia, with my Balthazar,—
With thee, my son, whom sith I live to see,
Here, take my crown, I give it to her and thee,
And let me live a solitary life,
In ceaseless prayers,
To think how strangely heav’n hath thee preserved.

  KING. See, brother, see, how nature strives in him!
Come, worthy viceroy, and accompany
Thy friend, to strive with thine extremities:
A place more private fits this princely mood.

VICE. Or here or where your Highness thinks it good.

Exeunt all but CASTILE and LORENZO.

  CAS. Nay, stay, Lorenzo; let me talk with you.
See’st thou this entertainment of these kings?

LOR. I do, my lord, and joy to see the same.

CAS. And know’st thou why this meeting is?

  LOR. For her, my lord, whom Balthazar doth love,
And to confirm their promis’d marriage.

CAS. She is thy sister.

  LOR. Who? Bel-imperia?
Aye, my gracious lord, and this is the day
That I have long’d so happily to see.

  CAS. Thou wouldst be loath that any fault of thine
Should intercept her in her happiness?

LOR. Heav’ns will not let Lorenzo err so much.

  CAS. Why then, Lorenzo, listen to my words:
It is suspected, and reported too,
That thou, Lorenzo, wrong’st Hieronimo,
And in his suits toward his Majesty
Still keep’st him back and seek’st to cross his suit.

LOR. That I, my lord?

  CAS. I tell thee, son, myself have heard it said,
When to my sorrow I have been asham’d
To answer for thee, though thou art my son.
Lorenzo, know’st thou not the common love
And kindness that Hieronimo hath won
By his deserts within the court of Spain?
Or see’st thou not the king my brother’s care
In his behalf and to procure his health?
Lorenzo, should’st thou thwart his passions,
And he exclaim against thee to the king,
What honour were’t in this assembly,
Or what a scandal were’t among the kings,
To hear Hieronimo exclaim on thee!
Tell me,—and look thou tell me truly too,—
Whence grows the ground of this report in court?

  LOR. My lord, it lies not in Lorenzo’s power
To stop the vulgar, liberal of their tongues:
A small advantage makes a water-breach;
And no man lives that long contenteth all.

  CAS. Myself have seen thee busy to keep back
Him and his supplications from the king.

  LOR. Yourself, my lord, hath seen his passions,
That ill beseem’d the presence of a king;
And, for I pitied him in his distress,
I held him thence with kind and courteous words,
As free from malice to Hieronimo
As to my soul, my lord.

CAS. Hieronimo, my son, mistakes thee then.

  LOR. My gracious father, believe me, so he doth;
But what’s a silly man, distract in mind,
To think upon the murder of his son?
Alas, how easy is it for him to err!
But, for his satisfaction and the world’s,
‘Twere good, my lord, that Hieronimo and I
Were reconcil’d, if he misconstrue me.

  CAS. Lorenzo, that hast said; it shall be so!
Go, one of you, and call Hieronimo.


  BAL. Come, Bel-imperia, Balthazar’s content,
My sorrow’s ease, and sovereign of my bliss,—
Sith heav’n hath ordain’d thee to be mine,
Disperse those clouds and melancholy looks,
And clear them up with those thy sun-bright eyes,
Wherein my hope and heav’n’s fair beauty lies!

  BEL. My looks, my lord, are fitting for my love,
Which, new begun, can show no brighter yet.

BAL. New kindled flames should burn as morning sun.

  BEL. But not too fast, least heat and all be done.
I see my lord my father.

  BAL. True, my love;
I will go salute him.

  CAS. Welcome, Balthazar,
Welcome, brave prince, the pledge of Castile’s peace!
And welcome Bel-imperia! How now, girl?
Why com’st thou sadly to salute us thus?
Content thyself, for I am satisfied.
It is not now as when Andrea liv’d;
We have forgotten and forgiven that,
And thou art graced with a happier love.
But, Balthazar, here comes Hieronimo;
I’ll have a word with him.


HIERO. And where’s the duke?

SER. Yonder.

  HIERO. Even so.
[aside] What new device have they devised, trow?
Pocas palabras! Mild as the lamb!
Is’t I will be reveng’d? No, I am not the man.

CAS. Welcome, Hieronimo!

LOR. Welcome, Hieronimo!

BAL. Welcome, Hieronimo!

HIERO. My lords, I thank you for Horatio.

  CAS. Hieronimo, the reason that I sent
To speak with you is this—

  HIERO. What? so short?
Then I’ll be gone; I thank you for’t!

CAS. Nay, stay, Hieronimo; go call him, son.

LOR. Hieronimo, my father craves a word with you.

HIERO. With me, sir? Why, my lord, I thought you had done.

LOR. [aside] No; would he had!

  CAS. Hieronimo, I hear
You find yourself aggrieved at my son,
Because you have not access unto the king,
And say ’tis he that intercepts your suits.

HIERO. Why, is not this a miserable thing, my lord?

  CAS. Hieronimo, I hope you have no cause,
And would be loath that one of your deserts
Should once have reason to suspect my son,
Considering how I think of you myself.

  HIERO. Your son Lorenzo? whom, my noble lord?
The hope of Spain? mine honourable friend?
Grant me the combat of them, if they dare!

Draws out his sword.

    I’ll meet them face-to-face to tell me so!
These be the scandalous reports of such
As love not me, and hate my lord too much.
Should I suspect Lorenzo would prevent
Or cross my suit, that lov’d my son so well?
My lord, I am asham’d it should be said.

LOR. Hieronimo, I never gave you cause.

HIERO. My good lord, I know you did not.

  CAS. There then pause,
And, for the satisfaction of the world,
Hieronimo, frequent my homely house,
The Duke of Castile Ciprian’s ancient seat;
And when thou wilt, use me, my son, and it.
But here before Prince Balthazar and me
Embrace each other, and be perfect friends.

  HIERO. Aye, marry, my lord, and shall!
Friends, quoth he? See, I’ll be friends with you all!
Especially with you, my lovely lord;
For divers causes it is fit for us
That we be friends. The world is suspicious,
And men may think what we imagine not.

BAL. Why this is freely done, Hieronimo.

LOR. And I hope old grudges are forgot.

  HIERO. What else? it were a shame it should not
be so!

  CAS. Come on, Hieronimo, at my request;
Let us entreat your company today!





  GHOST. Awake Erictho! Cerberus, awake!
Solicit Pluto, gentle Proserpine!
To combat, Acheron and Erebus in hell!
For ne’er by Styx and Phlegeton there came,
Nor ferried Charon to the fiery lakes,
Such fearful sights, as poor Andrea sees!
Revenge awake!

REVENGE. Awake? For why?

  GHOST. Awake, Revenge! for thou art ill advis’d
To sleep away what thou art warn’d to watch!

REVENGE. Content thyself, and do not trouble me.

  GHOST. Awake, Revenge, if love, as love hath had,
Have yet the power of prevalence in hell!
Hieronimo with Lorenzo is join’d in league,
And intercepts our passage to revenge.
Awake, Revenge, or we are woe-begone!

  REVENGE. Thus worldings ground what they have dream’d upon!
Content thyself, Andrea; though I sleep,
Yet is my mood soliciting their souls.
Sufficeth thee that poor Hieronimo
Cannot forget his son Horatio.
Nor dies Revenge although he sleep awhile;
For in unquiet, quietness is feign’d,
And slumb’ring is a common worldly wile.
Behold, Andrea, for an instance how
Revenge hath slept; and then imagine thou
What ’tis to be subject to destiny.

Enter a Dumb-show.

GHOST. Awake, Revenge! reveal this mystery!

  REVENGE. The two first do the nuptial torches bear,
As brightly burning as the midday’s sun;
But after them doth Hymen hie as fast,
Clothed in sable and a saffron robe,
And blows them out and quencheth them with blood,
As discontent that things continue so.

  GHOST. Sufficeth me; thy meanings understood,
And thanks to thee and those infernal powers
That will not tolerate a lover’s woe.
Rest thee; for I will sit to see the rest.

REVENGE. Then argue not; for thou hast thy request.




[The DUKE’s castle.]


  BEL-IMPERIA. Is this the love thou bear’st Horatio?
Is this the kindness that thou counterfeit’st,
Are these the fruits of thine incessant tears?
Hieronimo, are these thy passions,
Thy protestations and thy deep laments,
That thou wert wont to weary men withal?
O unkind father! O deceitful world!
With what excuses canst thou show thyself,—
With what dishonour, and the hate of men,—
Thus to neglect the loss and life of him
Whom both my letters and thine own belief
Assures thee to be causeless slaughtered?
Hieronimo! for shame, Hieronimo,
Be not a history to after times
Of such ingratitude unto thy son!
Unhappy mothers of such children then!
But monstrous fathers, to forget so soon
The death of those whom they with care and cost
Have tender’d so, thus careless should be lost!
Myself, a stranger in respect to thee,
So lov’d his life as still I wish their deaths.
Nor shall his death be unreveng’d by me.
Although I bear it out for fashion’s sake;
For here I swear in sight of heav’n and earth,
Shouldst thou neglect the love thou shouldst retain
And give it over and devise no more,
Myself should send their hateful souls to hell
That wrought his downfall with extremest death!

  HIE. But may it be that Bel-imperia
Vows such revenge as she hath deign’d to say?
Why then, I see that heav’n applies our drift,
And all the saints do sit soliciting
For vengeance on those cursed murtherers.
Madame, ’tis true, and now I find it so.
I found a letter, written in your name,
And in that letter, how Horatio died.
Pardon, O pardon, Bel-imperia,
My fear and care in not believing it!
Nor think I thoughtless think upon a mean
To let his death be unreveng’d at full.
And here I vow, so you but give consent
And will conceal my resolution,
I will ere long determine of their deaths
That causeless thus have murdered my son.

  BEL. Hieronimo, I will consent, conceal,
And aught that may effect for thine avail,
Join with thee to revenge Horatio’s death.

  HIER. On then, and whatsoever I devise,
Let me entreat you grace my practice,
For-why the plot’s already in mine head.—
Here they are!


  BAL. How now, Hieronimo?
What, courting Bel-imperia?

  HIERO. Aye, my lord,
Such courting as, I promise you,
She hath my heart, but you, my lord, have hers.

  LOR. But now, Hieronimo, or never
We are to entreat your help.

  HIE. My help?
Why, my good lords, assure yourselves of me;
For you have giv’n me cause,—
Aye, by my faith, have you!

  BAL. It pleased you
At the entertainment of the ambassador,
To grace the King so much as with a show;
Now were your study so well furnished
As, for the passing of the first night’s sport,
To entertain my father with the like,
Or any such like pleasing motion,
Assure yourself it would content them well.

HIERO. Is this all?

BAL. Aye, this is all.

  HIERO. Why then I’ll fit you; say no more.
When I was young I gave my mind
And plied myself to fruitless poetry,
Which, though it profit the professor naught,
Yet is it passing pleasing to the world.

LOR. And how for that?

  HIERO. Marry, my good lord, thus.—
And yet, me thinks, you are too quick with us!—
When in Toledo there I studied,
It was my chance to write a tragedy,—
See here, my lords,—

He shows them a book.

    Which, long forgot, I found this other day.
Nor would your lordships favour me so much
As but to grace me with your acting it,
I mean each one of you to play a part.
Assure you it will prove most passing strange
And wondrous plausible to that assembly.

BAL. What, would you have us play a tragedy?

  HIERO. Why, Nero thought it no disparagement,
And kings and emperors have ta’en delight
To make experience of their wit in plays!

  LOR. Nay, be not angry, good Hieronimo;
The prince but ask’d a question.

  BAL. In faith, Hieronimo, and you be in earnest,
I’ll make one.

LOR. And I another.

  HIERO. Now, my good lord, could you entreat,
Your sister, Bel-imperia, to make one,—
For what’s a play without a woman in it?

  BEL. Little entreaty shall serve me, Hieronimo,
For I must needs be employed in your play.

  HIERO. Why, this is well! I tell you, lordings,
It was determined to have been acted,
By gentlemen and scholars too,
Such as could tell what to speak.

  BAL. And now
It shall be play’d by princes and courtiers,
Such as can tell how to speak,
If, as it is our country manner,
You will but let us know the argument.

  HIERO. That shall I roundly. The chronicles of Spain
Record this written of a knight of Rhodes;
He was betroth’d, and wedded at the length,
To one Perseda, an Italian dame,
Whose beauty ravish’d all that her beheld,
Especially the soul of Suleiman,
Who at the marriage was the chiefest guest.
By sundry means sought Suleiman to win
Perseda’s love, and could not gain the same.
Then ‘gan he break his passions to a friend,
One of his bashaws whom he held full dear.
Her has this bashaw long solicited,
And saw she was not otherwise to be won
But by her husband’s death, this knight of Rhodes,
Whom presently by treachery he slew.
She, stirr’d with an exceeding hate therefore,
As cause of this, slew Sultan Suleiman,
And, to escape the bashaw’s tyranny,
Did stab herself. And this is the tragedy.

LOR. O, excellent!

  BEL. But say, Hieronimo:
What then became of him that was the bashaw?

Marry thus:
Moved with remorse of his misdeeds,
Ran to a mountain top and hung himself.

BAL. But which of us is to perform that part?

  HIERO. O, that will I, my lords; make no doubt of it;
I’ll play the murderer, I warrant you;
For I already have conceited that.

BAL. And what shall I?

HIERO. Great Suleiman, the Turkish emperor.

LOR. And I?

HIERO. Erastus, the knight of Rhodes.

BEL. And I?

  HIERO. Perseda, chaste and resolute.
And here, my lords, are several abstracts drawn,
For each of you to note your several parts.
And act it as occasion’s offer’d you.
You must provide you with a Turkish cap,
A black moustache and a fauchion.

Gives paper to BALTHAZAR.

You with a cross, like a knight of Rhodes.

Gives another to LORENZO.

And, madame, you must then attire yourself

He giveth BEL-IMPERIA another.

    Like Phoebe, Flora, or the huntress Dian,
Which to your discretion shall seem best.
And as for me, my lords, I’ll look to one,
And with the ransom that the viceroy sent
So furnish and perform this tragedy
As all the world shall say Hieronimo
Was liberal in gracing of it so.

BAL. Hieronimo, methinks a comedy were better.

  HIERO. A comedy? fie! comedies are fit for common wits;
But to present a kingly troupe withal,
Give me a stately-written tragedy,—
Tragedia cothurnata, fitting kings,
Containing matter, and not common things!
My lords, all this our sport must be perform’d,
As fitting for the first night’s revelling.
The Italian tragedians were so sharp
Of wit that in one hour’s meditation
They would perform any-thing in action.

  LOR. And well it may, for I have seen the like
In Paris, ‘mongst the French tragedians.

  HIERO. In Paris? mass, and well remembered!—
There’s one thing more that rests for us to do.

  BAL. What’s that, Hieronimo?
Forget not anything.

  HIERO. Each one of us
Must act his part in unknown languages,
That it may breed the more variety:
As you, my lord, in Latin, I in Greek,
You in Italian, and, for-because I know
That Bel-imperia hath practised the French,
In courtly French shall all her phrases be.

BEL. You mean to try my cunning then, Hieronimo!

  BAL. But this will be a mere confusion,
And hardly shall we all be understood.

  HEIRO. It must be so; for the conclusion
Shall prove the invention and all was good;
And I myself in an oration,
That I will have there behind a curtain,
And with a strange and wondrous show besides,
Assure yourself, shall make the matter known.
And all shall be concluded in one scene,
For there’s no pleasure ta’en in tediousness.

BAL. [to LOR.] How like you this?

  LOR. Why thus, my lord, we must resolve,
To soothe his humors up.

BAL. On then, Hieronimo; farewell till soon!

HIERO. You’ll ply this gear?

LOR. I warrant you.

Exeuent all but HIERONIMO.

  HIERO. Why, so! now shall I see the fall of Babylon
Wrought by the heav’ns in this confusion.
And, if the world like not this tragedy,
Hard is the hap of old Hieronimo.




[HIERONIMO’s garden.]

Enter ISABELLA with a weapon.

  [ISA.] Tell me no more! O monstrous homicides!
Since neither piety nor pity moves
The king to justice or compassion,
I will revenge myself upon this place,
Where thus they murder’d my beloved son.

She cuts down the arbour.

    Down with these branches and these loathsome boughs
On this unfortunate and fatal pine!
Down with them, Isabella; rent them up,
And burns the roots from whence the rest is sprung!
I will leave not a root, a stalk, a tree,
A bough, a branch, a blossom, nor a leaf,—
Not, not an herb within this garden plot,
Accursed complot of my misery!
Fruitless forever may this garden be,
Barren the earth, and blissless whosoever
Imagines not to keep it unmanur’d!
An eastern wind comix’d with noisome airs
Shall blast the plants and young saplings here,
The earth with serpents shall be pestered,
And passengers, for fear to be infect,
Shall stand aloof, and, looking at it, tell
There, murder’d, died the son of Isabell.
Aye, here he died, and here I him embrace!
See where his ghost solicits with his wounds
Revenge on her that should revenge his death!
Hieronimo, make haste to see thy son,
For Sorrow and Despair hath ‘cited me
To hear Horatio plead with Radamant.
Make haste, Hieronimo, to hold excus’d
Thy negligence in pursuit of their deaths
Whose hateful wrath bereav’d him of his breath.
Ah, nay; thou dost delay their deaths,
Forgiv’st the murd’rers of thy noble son;
And none but I bestir me,—to no end!
And, as I curse this tree from further fruit,
So shall my womb be cursed for his sake;
And with this weapon will I wound this breast,—
That hapless breast that gave Horatio suck!

She stabs herself.



[The DUKE’s castle.]

                Enter HIERONIMO; he knocks up the curtain.

  CAS. How now, Hieronimo? where’s your fellows,
That you take all this pain?

  HIERO. O sir, it is for the author’s credit
To look that all things may go well.
But, good my lord, let me entreat your Grace
To give the king the copy of the play:
This is the argument of what we show.

CAS. I will, Hieronimo.

HIERO. One more thing, my good lord.

CAS. What’s that?

  HIERO. Let me entreat your Grace
That, when the train are pass’d into the gallery,
You would vouchsafe to throw me down the key.

CAS. I will Hieronimo.


  HIERO. What, are you ready, Balthazar?
Bring a chair and a cushion for the king.

Enter BALTHAZAR with a chair.

    Well done, Balthazar; hang up the title:
Our scene is Rhodes. What, is your beard on?

BAL. Half on, the other is in my hand.

HIERO. Dispatch, for shame! are you so long?


    Bethink thyself, Hieronimo,
Recall thy wits, recompt thy former wrongs
Thou hast receiv’d by murder of thy son,
And lastly, but not least, how Isabell,
Once his mother and my dearest wife,
All woe-begone for him, hath slain herself.
Behooves thee then, Hieronimo, to be
Reveng’d! The plot is laid of dire revenge:
On then, Hieronimo; pursue revenge,
For nothing wants but acting of revenge!


                Enter SPANISH KING, VICEROY, the DUKE
OF CASTILE, and their train, to the gallery.

  KING. Now, viceroy, shall we see the tragedy
Of Suleiman, the Turkish emperor,
Perform’d by pleasure by your son the prince,
My nephew Don Lorenzo, and my niece.

VICE. Who? Bel-imperia?

  KING. Aye; and Hieronimo our marshall,
At whose request they deign to do’t themselves.
These be our pastimes in the court of Spain.
Here, brother, you shall be the book-keeper:
This is the argument of that they show.

He giveth him a book.

[Gentlemen, this play of Hieronimo in sundry languages was thought good to be set down in English more largely, for the easier understanding to every publique reader.]

                Enter BALTHAZAR, BEL-IMPERIA, and

  BALTHAZAR. [acting] Bashaw, that Rhodes is ours yield
Heav’ns the honour
And holy Mahomet, our sacred prophet!
And be thou grac’d with every excellence
That Suleiman can give or thou desire!
But thy desert in conquering Rhodes is less
Then in reserving this fair Christian nymph,
Perseda, blissful lamp of excellence,
Whose eyes compel, like powerful adamant,
The warlike heart of Suleiman to wait.

  KING. See, viceroy, that is Balthazar your son,
That represents the Emperor Suleiman:
How well he acts his amorous passion!

VICE. Aye; Bel-imperia hath taught him that.

CASTILE: That’s because his mind runs all on Bel-imperia.

HIERO. [acting] Whatever joy earth yields betide your Majesty!

BALT. [acting] Earth yields no joy without Perseda’s love.

HIERO. [acting] Let then Perseda on your Grace attend.

  BALT. [acting] She shall not wait on me, but I on her!
Drawn by the influence of her lights, I yield.
But let my friend, the Rhodian knight, come forth,—
Erasto, dearer than my life to me,—
That he may see Perseda, my belov’d.


  KING. Here comes Lorenzo: look upon the plot
And tell me, brother, what part plays he.

BEL. [acting] Ah, my Erasto! Welcome to Perseda!

  LO. [acting] Thrice happy is Erasto that thou livest!
Rhodes’ loss is nothing to Erasto’s joy;
Sith his Perseda lives, his life survives.

  BALT. [acting] Ah, bashaw, here is love between Erasto
And fair Perseda, sovereign of my soul!

  HIERO. [acting] Remove Erasto, mighty Suleiman,
And then Perseda will be quickly won.

  BALT. [acting] Erasto is my friend; and, while he lives,
Perseda never will remove her love.

HIERO. [acting] Let not Erasto live to grieve great Suleiman!

BALT. [acting] Dear is Erasto in our princely eye.

HIERO. [acting] But, if he be your rival, let him die!

  BALT. [acting] Why, let him die! so love commaundeth me.
Yet grieve I that Erasto should so die.

  HIERO. [acting] Erasto, Suleiman saluteth thee,
And lets thee wit by me his Highness’ will,
Which is, thou should’st be thus employ’d.

Stabs him.

BEL. [acting] Ay, me, Erasto! See, Suleiman, Erasto’s slain!

  BALT. [acting] Yet liveth Suleiman to comfort thee.
Fair queen of beauty, let not favour die,
But with a gracious eye behold his grief,
That with Perseda’s beauty is increas’d,
If by Perseda grief be not releas’d.

  BEL. [acting] Tyrant, desist soliciting vain suits;
Relentless are mine ears to thy laments
As thy butcher is pitiless and base
Which seiz’d on my Erasto, harmless knight.
Yet by thy power thou thinkest to command,
And to thy power Perseda doth obey;
But, were she able, thus she would revenge
Thy treacheries on thee, ignoble prince;

Stabs him.

And on herself she would be thus revengd.

Stabs herself.

KING. Well said, old marshall! this was bravely done!

HIERO. But Bel-imperia plays Perseda well.

  VICE. Were this in earnest, Bel-imperia,
You would be better to my son than so.

KING. But now what follows for Hieronimo?

  HIERO. Marry, this follows for Hieronimo!
Here break we off our sundry languages,
And thus conclude I in our vulgar tongue:
Haply you think—but bootless are your thoughts—
That this is fabulously counterfeit,
And that we do as all tragedians do,—
To die today, for fashioning our scene,
The death of Ajax, or some Roman peer,
And, in a minute starting up again,
Revive to please tomorrow’s audience.
No, princes; know I am Hieronimo,
The hopeless father of a hapless son,
Whose tongue is tun’d to tell his latest tale,
Not to excuse gross errors in the play.
I see your looks urge instance of these words:
Behold the reason urging me to this!

Shows his dead son.

    See here my show; look on this spectacle!
Here lay my hope, and here my hope hath end;
Here lay my heart, and here my heart was slain;
Here lay my treasure, here my treasure lost;
Here lay my bliss, and here my bliss bereft.
But hope, heart, treasure, joy and bliss,—
All fled, fail’d, died, yea, all decay’d with this.
From forth these wounds came breath that gave me life;
They murder’d me that made these fatal marks.
The cause was love whence grew this mortal hate:
The hate, Lorenzo and young Balthazar;
The love, my son to Bel-imperia.
But night, the cov’rer of accursed crimes,
With pitchy silence hush’d these traitors’ harms,
And lent them leave—for they had sorted leisure—
To take advantage in my garden plot
Upon my son, my dear Horatio.
There merciless they butcher’d up my boy,
In black, dark night, to pale, dim, cruel death!
He shrieks; I heard—and yet, methinks, I hear—
His dismal out-cry echo in the air;
With soonest speed I hasted to the noise,
Where, hanging on a tree, I found my son
Through-girt with wounds and slaughter’d, as you see.
And griev’d I, think you, at this spectacle?
Speak, Portuguese, whose loss resembles mine!
If thou canst weep upon thy Balthazar,
‘Tis like I wail’d for my Horatio.
And you, my lord, whose reconciled son
March’d in a net and thought himself unseen,
And rated me for a brainsick lunacy,
With “God amend that mad Hieronimo!”—
How can you brook our play’s catastrophe?
And here behold this bloody handkerchief,
Which at Horatio’s death I weeping dipp’d
Within the river of his bleeding wounds!
It as propitious, see, I have reserv’d,
And never hath it left my bloody heart,
Soliciting remembrance of my vow
With these, O these accursed murderers!
Which now perform’d, my heart is satisfied.
And to this end the bashaw I became,
That might revenge me on Lorenzo’s life,
Who therefore was appointed to the part
And was to represent the knight of Rhodes,
That I might kill him more conveniently.
So, viceroy, was this Balthazar thy son—
That Suleiman which Bel-imperia
In person of Perseda murdered,—
Solely appointed to that tragic part,
That she might slay him that offended her.
Poor Bel-imperia miss’d her part in this:
For, though the story saith she should have died,
Yet I, of kindness and of care for her,
Did otherwise determine of her end.
But love of him whom they did hate too much
Did urge her resolution to be such.
And princes, now behold Hieronimo,
Author and actor in this tragedy,
Bearing his latest fortune in his fist;
And will as resolute conclude his part
As any of the actors gone before.
And, gentles, thus I end my play!
Urge no more words, I have no more to say.

He runs to hang himself.

  KING. O hearken, viceroy; hold Hieronimo!
Brother, my nephew and thy son are slain!

  VICE. We are betray’d! my Balthazar is slain!
Break ope the doors; run save Hieronimo!
Hieronimo, do but inform the king of these events;
Upon mine honour, thou shalt have no harm!

  HIERO. Viceroy, I will not trust thee with my life,
Which I this day have offer’d to my son:
Accursed wretch, why stayst thou him that was resolv’d to die?

  KING. Speak, traitor! damned, bloody murd’rer, speak!—
For, now I have thee, I will make thee speak!
Why hast thou done this undeserving deed?

VICE. Why hast thou murdered my Balthazar?

CAS. Why hast thou butcher’d both my children thus?

  HIERO. O good words! As dear to me was Horatio
As yours, or yours, my lord, to you.
My guiltless son was by Lorenzo slain;
And by Lorenzo and that Balthazar
Am I at last revenged thoroughly,—
Upon whose souls may Heav’n be yet aveng’d
With greater far than these afflictions!

CAS. But who were thy confederates in this?

  VICE. That was thy daughter Bel-imperia;
For by her hand my Balthazar was slain,—
I saw her stab him.

KING. Why speak’st thou not?

  HIERO. What lesser liberty can kings afford
Than harmless silence? Then afford it me!
Sufficeth I may not nor I will not tell thee.

  KING. Fetch forth the tortures!
Traitor as thou art, I’ll make thee tell!

  HIERO. Indeed?
Thou mayst torment me as his wretched son
Hath done in murd’ring my Horatio;
But never shalt thou force me to reveal
The thing which I have vow’d inviolate.
And therefore, in despite of all thy threats,
Pleas’d with their deaths, and eas’d with their revenge,
First take my tongue, and afterwards my heart!

He bites out his tongue.

  KING. O monstrous resolution of a wretch!
See, Viceroy, he hath bitten forth his tongue
Rather than reveal what we require’d.

CAS. Yet can he write.

  KING. And if in this he satisfy us not,
We will devise th’ extremest kind of death
That ever was invented for a wretch.

Then he makes signs for a knife to mend his pen.

CAS. O, he would have a knife to mend his pen.

  VICE. Here; and advise thee that thou write the troth,—
Look to my brother! save Hieronimo!

He with a knife stabs the DUKE and himself.

  KING. What age hath ever heard such monstrous deeds?
My brother and the whole succeeding hope
That Spain expected after my decease.
Go bear his body hence, that we may mourn
The loss of our beloved brother’s death,
That he may be entomb’d. Whate’er befall,
I am the next, the nearest, last of all.

  VICE. And thou, Don Pedro, do the like for us:
Take up our hapless son untimely slain;
Set me up with him, and he with woeful me,
Upon the main-mast of a ship unmann’d,
And let the wind and tide hale me along
To Scylla’s barking and untamed gulf
Or to the loathsome pool of Acheron,
To weep my want for my sweet Balthazar.
Spain hath no refuge for a Portingale!

                The trumpets sound a dead march, the KING OF SPAIN
mourning after his brother’s body, and the KING OF
PORTINGAL bearing the body of his son.




  GHOST. Aye; now my hopes have end in their effects,
When blood and sorrow finish my desires:
Horatio murder’d in his father’s bower,
Vile Serberine by Pedrigano slain,
False Pedrigano hang’d by quaint device,
Fair Isabella by herself misdone,
Prince Balthazar by Bel-imperia stabb’d,
The Duke of Castile and his wicked son
Both done to death by old Hieronimo,
My Bel-imperia fallen as Dido fell,
And good Hieronimo slain by himself!
Aye, these were spectacles to please my soul.
Now will I beg at lovely Proserpine
That, by the virtue of her princely doom,
I may consort my friends in pleasing sort,
And on my foes work just and sharp revenge.
I’ll lead my friend Horatio through those fields
Where never-dying wars are still inur’d;
I’ll lead fair Isabella to that train
Where pity weeps but never feeleth pain;
I’ll lead my Bel-imperia to those joys
That vestal virgins and fair queens possess;
I’ll lead Hieronimo where Orpheus plays,
Adding sweet pleasure to eternal days.
But say, Revenge,—for thou must help or none,—
Against the rest how shall my hate be shown?

  REVENGE. This hand shall hale them down to deepest hell,
Where none but furies, bugs and tortures dwell.

  GHOST. Then, sweet Revenge, do this at my request:
Let me judge and doom them to unrest;
Let loose poor Titius from the vulture’s gripe,
And let Don Ciprian supply his room;
Place Don Lorenzo on Ixion’s wheel,
And let the lovers’ endless pains surcease,
Juno forget old wrath and grant him ease;
Hang Balthazar about Chimera’s neck,
And let him there bewail his bloody love,
Repining at our joys that are above;
Let Serberine go roll the fatal stone
And take from Sisyphus his endless moan;
False Pedringano, for his treachery,
Let him be dragg’d through boiling Acheron,
And there live dying still in endless flames,
Blaspheming gods and all their holy names.

  REVENGE. Then haste we down to meet thy friends and foes;
To place thy friends in ease, the rest in woes.
For here though death doth end their misery,
I’ll there begin their endless tragedy.



Source Text 

Kyd, Thomas. The Spanish Tragedy. Printed by Edward Allde for Edward White, 1587, is licensed under no known copyright.




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An Open Companion to Early British Literature Copyright © 2019 by Allegra Villarreal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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