Spanish Tragedy (Vanilla)


                The most definite indication of the date of this, one of the most popular of all Elizabethan plays, is found in an allusion in the Induction to Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair (1614), where it seems to be implied that The Spanish Tragedy was then twenty-five or thirty years old.  This gives us the years 1584-1589 as limits; and the absence of any reference to the Armada, in a play laid in Spain, has led critics to place it before 1588.  The year 1586 may, perhaps, be fairly conjectured as coming within a year of the date of composition.  In 1592 it was being successfully performed; and on October 6 of that year it was entered for publication.  The first edition has disappeared entirely; and the earliest extant is an undated quarto in the British Museum.  Other quartos appeared in 1584 and 1599; and in the edition of 1602 are first found the additions made to the play by Ben Jonson, and included in the later quartos of 1610, 1615, 1618, 1623, and 1633.  The present text is based on the B. M. quarto for Kyd’s part of the play, and on that of 1602 for the additions, which are pointed out in the foot-notes; and I have availed myself of the collations of both Manly and Boas.  All the early editions are anonymous; and the ascription of the play to Kyd is made on the authority of a passage in Heywood’s Apology for Actors, 1612. [William Allen Neilson, 1911]


[In this version I’ve taken the “additions” out of the text and placed them in an appendix.  Deviations from Neilson’s text (other than spelling changes and corrections of misprints) are given in the footnotes.  In my notes the following abbreviations are used: Q1 (the undated edition represented by a single copy in the British Museum), Q2 (the 1594 edition—like Q1 not a quarto but an octavo-in-fours), Q3 (1599), Q4 (1602—the authority for the “additions”), Q5 (1603), Q6 (1610), Q7 (1615), Q8 (1618), Q9 (1623), and Q10 (1633)—sbh (2006)]



Enter the GHOST OF ANDREA, and with him REVENGE.


When this eternal substance of my soul

Did live imprisoned in my wanton flesh,

Each in their function serving other’s 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 possessed 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 Portingale

My valor 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 performed,

I might not sit amongst his passengers.

Ere Sol had slept three nights in Thetis’ lap,

And slaked his smoking chariot in her flood,

By Don Horatio, our knight-marshal’s son,

My funerals and obsequies were done.

Then was the ferryman of hell content

To pass me over to the slimy strond

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, Aeacus, and Rhadamanth;

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 lived 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 Aeacus, “convey him hence,

To walk with lovers in our fields of love,

And spend the course of everlasting time

Under green myrtle trees and cypress shades.”

“No, no,” said Rhadamanth, “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 contained within his bounds.

The left-hand path, declining fearfully,

Was ready downfall to the deepest hell,

Where bloody Furies shakes their whips of steel,

And poor Ixion turns an endless wheel;

Where usurers are choked with melting gold

And wantons are embraced with ugly snakes,

And murderers groan with never-killing wounds,

And perjured wights scalded in boiling lead,

And all foul sins with torments overwhelmed.

‘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 showed my passport, humbled on my knee;

Whereat fair Proserpine began to smile,

And begged that only she might give my doom.

Pluto was pleased, and sealed it with a kiss.

Forthwith, Revenge, she rounded[1] thee in th’ ear,

And bade thee lead me through the gates of horn,[2]

Where dreams have passage in the silent night.

No sooner had she spoke but we were here—

I wot not how—in twinkling of an eye.


Then know, Andrea, that thou art arrived

Where thou shalt see the author of thy death,

Don Balthazar, the prince of Portingale,

Deprived of life by Bel-imperia.

Here sit we down to see the mystery,

And serve for Chorus in this tragedy.

[Scene 1: The Court of Spain]



Now say, Lord General, how fares our camp?


All well, my sovereign liege, except some few

That are deceased by fortune of the war.


But what portends thy cheerful countenance,

And posting to our presence thus in haste?

Speak, man, hath fortune given us victory?


Victory, my liege, and that with little loss.


Our Portingals will pay us tribute then?


Tribute and wonted homage therewithal.


Then blessed be heaven and guider of the heavens.

From whose fair influence such justice flows.


O multum dilecte Deo, tibi militat aether,

Et conjuratae curvato poplite gentes

Succumbunt; recti soror est victoria juris.[3]


Thanks to my loving brother of Castile.

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 greater dignity,

We may reward thy blissful chivalry.


Where Spain and Portingale do jointly knit

Their frontiers, leaning on each other’s bound,

There met our armies in their proud array;

Both furnished well, both full of hope and fear,

Both menacing alike with daring shows,

Both vaunting sundry colors of device,

Both cheerly sounding trumpets, drums, and fifes,

Both raising dreadful clamors to the sky,

That valleys, hills and rivers made rebound,

And heaven itself was frighted with the sound.

Our battles both were pitched in squadron form,

Each corner strongly fenced with wings of shot;

But ere we joined 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 ordinance played on either side,

And captains strove to have their valors tried.

Don Pedro, their chief horsemen’s colonel,

Did with his cornet[4] bravely make attempt

To break the order of our battle ranks:

But Don Rogero, worthy man of war,

Marched forth against him with our musketeers,

And stopped 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’ ocean’s 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 shivered lances dark the troubled air.

Pede pes et cuspide cuspis;

Arma sonant armis, vir petiturque viro.[5]

On every side drop captains to the ground,

And soldiers, some ill-maimed, some slain outright:

Here falls a body sundered from his head,

There legs and arms lie bleeding on the grass,

Mingled with weapons and unbowelled steeds,

That scattering overspread the purple plain.

In all this turmoil, three long hours and more,

The victory to neither part inclined;

Till Don Andrea, with his brave lanciers,

In their main battle made so great a breach,

That, half-dismayed, the multitude retired:

But Balthazar, the Portingals’ young prince,

Brought rescue and encouraged them to stay.

Here hence the fight was eagerly renewed,

And in that conflict was Andrea slain:

Brave man at arms, but weak to Balthazar.

Yet while the prince, insulting over him,

Breathed out proud vaunts, sounding to our reproach,

Friendship and hardy valor, joined in one

Pricked forth Horatio, our knight-marshal’s son,

To challenge forth that prince in single fight.

Not long between these twain the fight endured,

But straight the prince was beaten from his horse

And forced to yield him prisoner to his foe.

When he was taken, all the rest they fled,

And our carbines pursued them to the death

Till Phoebus, waning[6] to the western deep,

Our trumpeters were charged to sound retreat.


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 confirmed a peace?


No peace, my liege, but peace conditional,

That if with homage tribute be well paid,

The fury of your forces will be stayed:

And to this peace their viceroy hath subscribed,

Give the KING a paper.

And made a solemn vow that, during life,

His tribute shall be truly paid to Spain.


These words, these deeds, become thy person well.

But now, knight marshal, frolic with thy king,

For ‘tis thy son that wins this battle’s prize.


Long may he live to serve my sovereign liege,

And soon decay, unless he serve my liege.


Nor thou nor he shall die without reward.

A tucket[7] afar off.

What means the warning of this trumpet’s sound?


This tells me that your grace’s men of war,

Such as war’s fortune hath reserved from death,

Come marching on towards your royal seat,

To show themselves before your majesty;

For so I gave in charge at my depart.

Whereby by demonstration shall appear

That all, except three hundred or few more,

Are safe returned, and by their foes enriched.

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


A gladsome sight!  I long to see them here.

They enter and pass by.

Was that the warlike prince of Portingale,

That by our nephew was in triumph led?


It was, my liege, the prince of Portingale.


But what was he that on the other side

Held him by th’ arm, as partner of the prize?


That was my son, my gracious sovereign;

Of whom though from his tender infancy

My loving thoughts did never hope but well,

He never pleased his father’s eyes till now,

Nor filled my heart with over-cloying joys.


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.


Hieronimo, it greatly pleaseth us

That in our victory thou have a share,

By virtue of your worthy son’s exploit.

Enter again.

Bring hither the young prince of Portingale:

The rest march on; but ere they be dismissed,

We will bestow on every soldier

Two ducats and on every leader ten,

That they may know our largess welcomes them.

Exeunt all [the army] but BALTHAZAR, LORENZO, and HORATIO.

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 honorable.


The trespass that my father made in peace

Is now controlled[8] 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 colors seized, a blot unto his name;

His son distressed, a corsive[9] to his heart:

These punishments may clear his late offense.


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.


And I shall study to deserve this grace.


But tell me,—for their holding makes me doubt—

To which of these twain art thou prisoner?


To me, my liege.


To me, my sovereign.


This hand first took his courser by the reins.


But first my lance did put him from his horse.


I seized his weapon and enjoyed it first.


But first I forced him lay his weapons down.


Let go his arm, upon our privilege!

Let him go.

Say, worthy prince, to whether didst thou yield?


To him in courtesy, to this perforce.

He spake me fair, this other gave me strokes;

He promised life, this other threatened death;

He won my love, this other conquered me,

And, truth to say, I yield myself to both.


But that I know your grace for just and wise,

And might seem partial in this difference,

Enforced 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.


Content thee, marshal, thou shalt have no wrong;

And, for thy sake, thy son shall want no right.

Will both abide the censure of my doom?


I crave no better than your grace awards.


Nor I, although I sit beside my right.


Then by my judgment, thus your strife shall end:

You both deserve, and both shall have reward.

Nephew, thou tookst his weapon and his horse:

His weapons and his horse are thy reward.

Horatio, thou didst force him first to yield;

His ransom therefore is thy valor’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 armor of the prince.

How likes Don Balthazar of this device?


Right well, my liege, if this proviso were,

That Don Horatio bear us company,

Whom I admire and love for chivalry.


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.


[Scene 3: The Court of Portugal]



Is our ambassador dispatched for Spain?


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


And tribute-payment gone along with him?


Aye, my good lord.


Then rest we here awhile in our unrest,

And feed our sorrows with some 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.

Falls to the ground.

Yet this is higher than my fortunes reach,

And therefore better than my state deserves.

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 iam possit obesse magis.[10]

Yes, Fortune may bereave me of my crown:

Here, take it now;—let Fortune do her worst,

She will 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 than fickle winds?

Why wail I, then, where’s hope of no redress?

O yes, complaining makes my grief seem less.

My late ambition hath distained my faith;

My breach of faith occasioned bloody wars;

These bloody wars have spent my treasury;[11]

And with my treasury11 my people’s blood;

And with their blood, my joy and best-beloved,

My best-beloved, 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, his but young and green;

My death were natural, but his was forced.


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


Survives!  Aye, where?


In Spain, a prisoner by mischance of war.


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


That were a breach to common law of arms.


They reck no laws that meditate revenge.


His ransom’s worth will stay from foul revenge.


No; if he lived, the news would soon be here.


Nay, evil news fly faster still than good.


Tell me no more of news, for he is dead.


My sovereign, pardon the author of ill news,

And I’ll bewray[12] the fortune of thy son.


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.


Then hear that truth which these mine eyes have seen.

When both the armies were in battle joined,

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 color of a duteous friend,

Discharged his pistol at the prince’s 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 lived, the day had sure been ours.


O wicked forgery!  O traiterous miscreant!


Hold thou thy peace!  But now, Villuppo, say,

Where then became[13] the carcass of my son?


I saw them drag it to the Spanish tents.


Aye, aye, my nightly dreams have told me this.—

Thou false, unkind, unthankful, traitorous beast,

Wherein had Balthazar offended thee,

That thou shouldst thus 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 Terceira’s[14] 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;

Take the crown and put it on again.

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


Vouchsafe, dread sovereign, to hear me speak.


Away with him!  His sight is second hell.

Keep him till we determine of his death:

[They take him out.][15]

If Balthazar be dead, he shall not live.

Villuppo, follow us for thy reward.



Thus have I with an envious, forged tale

Deceived the king, betrayed mine enemy,

And hope for guerdon of my villainy.


[Scene 4: The Court of Spain]



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.


For love of him and service to yourself,

I nill[16] refuse this heavy doleful charge;

Yet tears and sighs, I fear, will hinder me.

When both our armies were enjoined in fight,

Your worthy chevalier amidst the thickest,

For glorious cause still aiming at the fairest,

Was at the last by young Don Balthazar

Encountered hand to hand.  Their fight was long,

Their hearts were great, their clamors 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, disguised in armor’s mask—

As Pallas was before proud Pergamus—

Brought in a fresh supply of halberdiers,

Which paunched[17] his horse and dinged[18] 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, incensed with just remorse[19],

I with my band set forth against the prince,

And brought him prisoner from his halberdiers.


Would thou hadst slain him that so slew my love!

But then was Don Andrea’s carcass lost?


No, that was it for which I chiefly strove,

Nor stepped I back till I recovered him.

I took him up, and wound him in mine arms;

And wielding[20] him unto my private tent,

There laid him down, and dewed him with my tears,

And sighed and sorrowed as became a friend.

But neither friendly sorrow, sighs, nor tears

Could win pale Death from his usurped right.

Yet this I did, and less I could not do:

I saw him honored with due funeral.

This scarf I plucked from off his lifeless arm,

And wear it in remembrance of my friend.


I know the scarf: would he had kept it still!

For had he lived, he would have kept it still,

And worn it for his Bel-imperia’s sake;

For ‘twas my favor at his last depart.

But now wear thou it both for him and me;

For after him thou hast deserved 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.


And, madam, 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.



Aye, go, Horatio, leave me here alone;

For solitude best fits my cheerless mood.

Yet what avails to wail Andrea’s death,

From whence Horatio proves my second love?

Had he not loved Andrea as he did,

He could not sit in Bel-imperia’s thoughts.

But how can love find harbor in my breast

Till I revenge the death of my beloved?

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 rigor 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 honor in the fight?

And here he comes that murdered my delight.



Sister, what means this melancholy walk?


That for a while I wish no company.


But here the prince is come to visit you.


That argues that he lives in liberty.


No madam, but in pleasing servitude.


Your prison then, belike, is your conceit.


Aye, by conceit my freedom is enthralled.


Then with conceit enlarge yourself again.


What, if conceit have laid my heart to gage?


Pay that you borrowed, and recover it.


I die, if it return from whence it lies.


A heartless man and live?  A miracle!


Aye, lady, love can work such miracles.


Tush, tush, my lord! let go these ambages,[21]

And in plain terms acquaint her with your love.


What boots complaint, when there’s no remedy?


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 lodged.


Alas, my lord, these are but words of course,[22]

And but device[23] to drive me from this place.

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


Madam, your glove.


Thanks, good Horatio; take it for thy pains.


Signior Horatio stooped in happy time!


I reaped more grace than I deserved or hoped.


My lord, be not dismayed for what is past:

You know that women oft are humorous.[24]

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 reveling.


The king, my lords, is coming hither straight,

To feast the Portingal ambassador;

Things were in readiness before I came.


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, and AMBASSADOR.


See, lord Ambassador, how Spain entreats

Their prisoner Balthazar, thy viceroy’s son.

We pleasure more in kindness than in wars.


Sad is our king, and Portingale laments,

Supposing that Don Balthazar is slain.


So am I!—slain by beauty’s tyranny.

You see, my lord, how Balthazar is slain:

I frolic with the Duke of Castile’s son,

Wrapped every hour in pleasures of the court,

And graced with favors of his majesty.


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 honored.

Now, lordings, fall to; 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 marshal?

He promised us, in honor of our guest,

To grace our banquet with some pompous[25] jest.

Enter HIERONIMO with a Drum, three Knights, each his scutcheon; then he fetches three Kings; they take their crowns and them captive.

Hieronimo, this masque contents mine eye,

Although I sound not well the mystery.


The first armed knight, that hung his scutcheon up,

He takes the scutcheon and gives it to the KING.

Was English Robert, Earl of Gloucester,

Who, when King Stephen bore sway in Albion,

Arrived with five and twenty thousand men

In Portingale, and by success of war

Enforced the king, then but a Saracen,

To bear the yoke of the English monarchy.


My lord of Portingale, 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?


The second knight, that hung his scutcheon up,

He doth as he did before.

Was Edmund, Earl of Kent in Albion,

When English Richard wore the diadem.

He came likewise, and razed Lisbon walls,

And took the King of Portingale in fight;

For which and other such-like service done

He after was created Duke of York.


This is another special argument,

That Portingale may deign to bear our yoke,

When it by little England hath been yoked.

But now, Hieronimo, what were the last?


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 Castile prisoner.


This is an argument for our viceroy

That Spain may not insult for her success,

Since English warriors likewise conquered Spain,

And made them bow their knees to Albion.


Hieronimo, I drink to thee for this device,

Which hath pleased 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 dispatched:

I think our council is already set.

Exeunt omnes.



Come we for this from depth of underground,

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?


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.


[Scene 1: Palace of Don Cyprian]



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 pierced with softest shower,

And she in time will fall from her disdain,

And rue the sufferance of your friendly pain.


No, she is wilder, and more hard withal,

Than 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 Marsyas’ quill.

My presents are not of sufficient cost,

And being worthless, all my labor’s lost.

Yet might she love me for my valiancy:

Aye, but that’s slandered by captivity.

Yet might she love me to content her sire:

Aye, but her reason masters his 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 hopes some nobler mate.

Yet might she love me as her beauty’s thrall:

Aye, but I fear she cannot love at all.


My lord, for my sake leave this ecstasy,

And doubt not but we’ll find some remedy.

Some cause there is that lets you not be loved:

First that must needs be known, and then removed.

What, if my sister love some other knight?


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


I have already found a stratagem

To sound the bottom of this doubtful theme.

My lord, for once you shall be ruled by me;

Hinder me not, whate’er you hear or see.

By force or fair means will I cast about

To find the truth of all this question out.

Ho, Pedringano!




                                                Vien qui presto.



Hath your lordship any service to command me?


Aye, Pedringano, service of import;

And—not to spend the time in trifling words—

Thus stands the case: it is not long, thou knowest,

Since I did shield thee from my father’s wrath

For thy conveyance[26] in Andrea’s love,

For which thou wert adjudged to punishment.

I stood betwixt thee and thy punishment,

And since, thou knowest how I have favored thee.

Now to these favors will I add reward,

Not with fair words, but store of golden coin,

And lands and living joined with dignities,

If thou but satisfy my just demand.

Tell truth, and have me for thy lasting friend.


Whate’er it be your lordship shall demand,

My bounden duty bids me tell the truth,

If case[27] it lie in me to tell the truth.


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?


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.


Nay, if thou dally, then I am thy foe,

Draws his sword.

And fear shall force what friendship cannot win.

Thy death shall bury what thy life conceals;

Thou diest for more esteeming her than me.


O, stay, my lord!


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.


If madam Bel-imperia be in love—


What, villain!  Ifs and ands?

Offer to kill him.


O, stay, my lord!  She loves Horatio.

BALTHAZAR starts back.


What, Don Horatio, our knight marshal’s son?


Even him, my lord.


Now say but how knowest thou he is her love,

And thou shalt find me kind and liberal,

Stand up, I say, and fearless tell the truth.


She sent him letters, which myself perused,

Full-fraught with lines and arguments of love,

Preferring him before Prince Balthazar.


Swear on this cross[28] that what thou sayest is true,

And that thou wilt conceal what thou hast told.


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


In hope thine oath is true, here’s thy reward;

But if I prove thee perjured and unjust,

This very sword whereon thou took’st thine oath,

Shall be the worker of thy tragedy.


What I have said is true, and shall—for me—

Be still concealed from Bel-imperia.

Besides, your honor’s liberality

Deserves my duteous service, even till death.


Let this be all that thou shalt do for me:

Be watchful when and where these lovers meet,

And give me notice in some secret sort.


I will, my lord.


Then shalt thou 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,

Lest 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?


Both well and ill; it makes me glad and sad:

Glad, that I know the hinderer of my love;

Sad, that I fear she hates me whom I love:

Glad, that I know on whom to be revenged;

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 destined 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 harbor sweet conceits,

Which sweet conceits are limed 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.


Let’s go, my lord; your staying stays revenge.

Do you but follow me and gain your love:

Her favor must be won by his remove.


[Scene 2: Palace of Don Cyprian]



Now, madam, since by favor of your love

Our hidden smoke is turned to open flame,

And that with looks and words we feed our thought[29]

(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 [BALTHAZAR] and LORENZO, placing them in secret.


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 tossed,

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.



O sleep, mine eyes, see not my love profaned;

Be deaf, my ears, hear not my discontent;

Die, heart; another joys what thou deserv’st.


Watch still, mine eyes, to see this love disjoined;

Hear still, mine ears, to hear them both lament;

Live, heart, to joy at fond Horatio’s fall.


Why stands Horatio speechless all this while?


The less I speak, the more I meditate.


But whereon dost thou chiefly meditate?


On dangers past, and pleasures to ensue.


On pleasures past, and dangers to ensue.


What dangers and what pleasures dost thou mean?


Dangers of war, and pleasures of our love.


Dangers of death, but pleasures none at all.


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.


But, gracious madam, then appoint the field,

Where trial of this war shall first be made.


Ambitious villain, how his boldness grows!


Then be thy father’s pleasant bower the field,

Where first we vowed 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.[30]

There none shall hear us but the harmless birds;

Happily[31] the gentle nightingale

Shall carol 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.


But, honey-sweet and honorable love,

Return we now into your father’s sight;

Dangerous suspicion waits on our delight.


Aye, danger mixed with jealous[32] despite

Shall send thy soul into eternal night.


[Scene 3: The Court of Spain]

Enter KING of Spain, Portingale AMBASSADOR, DON CYPRIAN etc.


Brother of Castile, to the Prince’s love

What says your daughter Bel-imperia?


Although she coy it,[33] as becomes her kind,

And yet dissemble that she loves the prince,

I doubt not, I, 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.


Then, lord Ambassador of Portingale,

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 Cyprian,

And shall enjoy the moiety of his land,

I’ll grace her marriage with an uncle’s gift,

And this it is, in case the match go forward:

The tribute which you pay, shall be released;

And if by Balthazar she have a son,

He shall enjoy the kingdom after us.


I’ll make the motion to my sovereign liege,

And work it, if my counsel may prevail.


Do so, my lord, and if he give consent,

I hope his presence here will honor us,

In celebration of the nuptial day;

And let himself determine of the time.


Will’t please your grace command me aught beside?


Commend me to the king, and so farewell.

But where’s Prince Balthazar to take his leave?


That is performed already, my good lord.


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 marshal’s son.


Between us there’s a price already pitched,

And shall be sent with all convenient speed.


Then once again farewell, my lord.


Farewell, my lord of Castile, and the rest.



Now, brother, you must take 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,[34] all this will come to naught.


[Scene 4: Hieronimo’s garden]



Now that the night begins with sable wings

To overcloud the brightness of the sun,

And that in darkness pleasures may be done:

Come, Bel-imperia, let us to the bower.

And there in safety pass a pleasant hour.


I follow thee, my love, and will not back,

Although my fainting heart controls[35] my soul.


Why, make you doubt of Pedringano’s faith?


No, he is as trusty as my second self.—

Go, Pedringano, watch without the gate,

And let us know if any make approach.



Instead of watching, I’ll deserve more gold

By fetching Don Lorenzo to this match.



What means my love?


                                                I know not what myself;

And yet my heart foretells me some mischance.


Sweet, say not so; fair fortune is our friend,

And heavens have shut up day to pleasure us.

The stars, thou see’st, hold back their twinkling shine,

And Luna hides herself to pleasure us.


Thou hast prevailed; 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.


The more thou sit’st within these leafy bowers,

The more will Flora deck it with her flowers.


Aye, but if Flora spy Horatio here,

Her jealous eye will think I sit too near.


Hark, madam, how the birds record[36] by night,

For joy that Bel-imperia sits in sight.


No, Cupid counterfeits the nightingale,

To frame sweet music to Horatio’s tale.


If Cupid sing, then Venus is not far:

Aye, thou art Venus, or some fairer star.


If I be Venus, thou must needs be Mars;

And where Mars reigneth, there must needs be wars.


Then thus begin our wars; put forth thy hand,

That it may combat with my ruder hand.


Set forth thy foot to try the push of mine.


But first my looks shall combat against thine.


Then ward thyself; I dart this kiss at thee.


Thus I retort the dart thou threwest at me.


Nay then, to gain the glory of the field,

My twining arms shall yoke and make thee yield.


Nay then, my arms are large and strong withal:

Thus elms by vines are compassed till they fall.


Oh let me go; for in my troubled eyes

Now may’st thou read that life in passion dies.


Oh stay a while, and I will die with thee;

So shalt thou yield, and yet have conquered me.


Who’s there? Pedringano? We are betrayed!



My lord, away with her, take her aside.—

O, sir, forbear: your valor is already tried.

Quickly dispatch, my masters.

They hang him in the arbor.


                                                What, will you murder me?


Aye, thus, and thus: these are the fruits of love.

They stab him.


O, save his live, and let me die for him!

O, save him, brother; save him, Balthazar:

I loved Horatio; but he loved not me.


But Balthazar loves Bel-imperia.


Although his life were still ambitious, proud,

Yet is he at the highest now he is dead.


Murder! murder!  Help, Hieronimo, help!


Come, stop her mouth; away with her.


Enter HIERONIMO in his shirt, &c.


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, here 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 murd’rous spectacle is this?

A man hanged up and all the murderers gone!

And in my 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 whilom 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 dishonored here,

For me, amidst these dark and deathful shades,

To drown thee with an ocean of my tears?

O heavens, 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 vild[37] profaner of this sacred bower?

O poor Horatio, what hadst thou misdone,

To leese[38] thy life, ere life was new begun?

O wicked butcher, whatsoe’er thou wert,

How could thou strangle virtue and desert?

Aye me most wretched, that have lost my joy,

In leesing my Horatio, my sweet boy!



My husband’s absence makes my heart to throb:—



Here, Isabella, help me to lament;

For sighs are stopped, and all my tears are spent.


What world of grief! my son Horatio!

O, where’s the author of this endless woe?


To know the author were some ease of grief.

For in revenge my heart would find relief.


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.[39]


Sweet, lovely rose, ill-plucked before thy time,

Fair, worthy son, not conquered, but betrayed,

I’ll kiss thee now, for words with tears are stayed.


And I’ll close up the glasses of his sight,

For once these eyes were only my delight.


See’st thou this handkercher besmeared 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 revenged.

Then will I joy amidst my discontent;

Till then my sorrow never shall be spent.


The heavens are just; murder cannot be hid:

Time is the author both of truth and right,

And time will bring this treachery to light.


Meanwhile, good Isabella, cease thy plaints,

Or, at the least, dissemble them awhile:

So shall we sooner find the practice out,

And learn by whom all this was brought about.

Come Isabel, 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

Prebeat; ipse metam magnum quaecungue 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.—

At tamen absistam properato cedere letho,

Ne mortem vindicta tuam tam nulla sequatur.[40]

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



Brought’st thou me hither to increase my pain?

I looked 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 than all the world,

Because she loved me more than all the world.


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.


[Scene 1: The Court of Portugal.]

Enter VICEROY of Portingale, Nobles, ALEXANDRO, VILLUPPO.


Infortunate condition of kings,

Seated amidst so many helpless doubts!

First we are placed 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 both doubt and dread our overthrow.

So striveth not the waves with sundry winds

As Fortune toileth in the affairs of kings,

That would be feared, yet fear to be beloved,

Sith fear or 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.


I had not thought that Alexandro’s heart

Had been envenomed with such extreme hate;

But now I see that words have several works,

And there’s no credit in the countenance.


No; for, my lord, had you beheld the train[41]

That feigned love had colored in his looks,

When he in camp consorted[42] Balthazar,

Far more inconstant had you thought the sun,

That hourly coasts[43] the center of the earth,

Than Alexandro’s purpose to the prince.


No more, Viluppo, thou hast said enough,

And with thy words thou slayest[44] 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 Nobleman and halberts.


In such extremes will nought but patience serve.


But in extremes what patience shall I use?

Nor discontents it me to leave the world,

With whom there nothing can prevail but wrong.


Yet hope the best.


                                ‘Tis heaven is my hope.

As for the earth, it is too much infect

To yield me hope of any of her mold.


Why linger ye?  Bring forth that daring fiend,

And let him die for his accursed deed.


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 laboring soul,

That thus I die suspected of a sin

Whereof, as heavens have known my secret thoughts,

So am I free from this suggestion.


No more, I say! to the tortures! when?[45]

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.


My guiltless death will be avenged on thee,

On thee, Viluppo, that hath maliced[46] thus,

Or for thy meed hast falsely me accused.


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!



Stay, hold a while;

And here—with pardon of his majesty—

Lay hands upon Viluppo.



What news hath urged this sudden entrance?


Know, sovereign lord, that Balthazar doth live.


What sayst thou?  Liveth Balthazar our son?


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.


“Thy son doth live, your tribute is received;

Thy peace is made, and we are satisfied.

The rest resolve upon as things proposed

For both our honors and thy benefit.”


These are his highness’ farther articles.

He gives him more letters.


Accursed wretch, to intimate these ills

Against the life and reputation

Of noble Alexandro!  Come, my lord, unbind him.—

Let him unbind thee, that is bound to death,

To make a quittal[47] for thy discontent.

They unbind him.


Dread lord, in kindness[48] you could do no less

Upon report of such a damned fact;

But thus we see our innocence hath saved

The hopeless life which thou, Viluppo, sought

By thy suggestions to have massacred.


Say, false Viluppo, wherefore didst thou thus

Falsely betray Lord Alexandro’s life?

Him whom thou knowest that no unkindness else

But even the slaughter of our dearest son

Could once have moved us to have misconceived.


Say, treacherous Viluppo, tell the King:

Wherein[49] hath Alexandro used thee ill?


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 preferred,

Thus have I shamelessly hazarded his life.


Which, villain, shall be ransomed with thy death;

And not so mean[50] a torment as we here

Devised for him who, thou saidst, 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 honor thee

With public notice of thy loyalty.—

To end these things articulated here

By our great lord, the mighty King of Spain,

We with our council will deliberate.

Come, Alexandro, keep us company.


[Scene 2: The court of Spain.]



O eyes! no eyes, but fountains fraught with tears;

O life! no life, but lively form of death;

O world! no world, but mass of public wrongs,

Confused and filled with murder and misdeeds!

O sacred heavens! if this unhallowed deed,

If this inhuman and barbarous attempt,

If this incomparable murder thus

Of mine, but now no more my son,

Shall unrevealed 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 wakes my vexed soul,

And with the wounds of my distressful son

Solicits me for notice of his death.

The ugly fiends do sally forth of hell,

And frame my steps to unfrequented paths,

And fear 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, heavens, 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 written to Hieronimo!

Red ink.

“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 than 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 betrayed,

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 shouldst accuse;

And he, for thy dishonor done, should draw

Thy life in question and thy name in hate.

Dear was the life of my beloved son,

And of his death behoves me be revenged;

Then hazard not thine own, Hieronimo,

But live t’effect thy resolution.

I therefore will by circumstances[51] try,

What I can gather to confirm this writ;

And, hearkening near the Duke of Castile’s house,

Close, if I can, with Bel-imperia,

To listen more but nothing to bewray.


Now, Pedringano.


                                Now, Hieronimo.


Where’s thy lady?


                                I know not; here’s my lord.



How now, who’s this?  Hieronimo?


                                                                My lord.


He asketh for my lady Bel-imperia.


What to do, Hieronimo?  The duke, my father, hath

Upon some disgrace awhile removed her hence;

But, if it be aught I may inform her of,

Tell me, Hieronimo, and I’ll let her know it.


Nay, nay, my lord, I thank you; it shall not need.

I had a suit unto her, but too late,

And her disgrace makes me unfortunate.


Why so, Hieronimo?  Use me.


O no, my lord, I dare not; it must not be.

I humbly thank your lordship.


                                                Why then farewell.


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



Come hither, Pedringano, see’st thou this?


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


This is that damned villain Serberine

That hath, I fear, revealed Horatio’s death.


My lord, he could not, ‘twas so lately done;

And since he hath not left my company.


Admit he have not, his condition’s such,

As fear or flattering words may make him false.

I know his humor, and therewith repent

That e’er I used 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 devised:

This night thou must (and, prithee, so resolve),

Meet Serberine at Saint Luigi’s Park—

Thou know’st ‘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.


But how shall Serberine be there, my lord?


Let me alone; I’ll send to him to meet

The prince and me, where thou must do this deed.


It shall be done, my lord, it shall be done;

And I’ll go arm myself to meet him there.


When things shall alter, as I hope they will,

Then shalt thou mount for this; thou know’st my mind.


Che le Ieron![52]

Enter PAGE.


                                My lord?


                                                Go, sirrah,

To Serberine, and bid him forthwith meet

The prince and me at Saint Luigi’s Park,

Behind the house; this evening, boy!


                                                                I go, my lord.


But, sirrah, let the hour be eight o’clock:

Bid him not fail.


                                I fly, my lord.



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 it’s that base companions[53] 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 ordained to no other end.


[Scene 3: Saint Luigi’s Park]

Enter PEDRINGANO, with a pistol.


Now, Pedringano, bid thy pistol hold,

And hold on, Fortune, once more favor 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 proposed;

It is no dream that I adventure for,

But Pedringano is possessed thereof.

And he that would not strain his conscience

For him that thus his liberal purse hath stretched,

Unworthy such a favor, 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 wonder much to what intent it is

That we are thus expressly charged to watch.


‘Tis by commandment in the king’s own name.


But we were never wont to watch and ward

So near the duke his brother’s house before.


Content yourself, stand close, there’s somewhat in’t.



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 disposed—

Methinks this corner is to close with one.


Here comes the bird that I must seize upon.

Now, Pedringano, or never play the man!


I wonder that his lordship stays so long,

Or wherefore should he send for me so late?


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

Shoots the dag.[54]

So, there he lies; my promise is performed.



Hark, gentleman, this is a pistol shot.


And here’s one slain;—stay the murderer.


Now by the sorrows of the soul in hell,

He strives with the WATCH.

Who first lays hand on me, I’ll be his priest.[55]


Sirrah, confess, and therein play the priest,

Why hast thou thus unkindly killed the man?


Why?  Because he walked abroad so late.


Come, sir, you had been better kept your bed,

Than have committed this misdeed so late.


Come, to the marshal’s with the murderer!


On to Hieronimo’s! help me here

To bring the murdered body with us too.


Hieronimo?  Carry me before whom you will.

Whate’er he be, I’ll answer him and you;

And do your worst, for I defy you all.


[Scene 4: Palace of Don Cyprian.]



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


Fear of preventing our mishaps too late.


What mischief is it that we not mistrust?


Our greatest ills we least mistrust, my lord,

And inexpected harms do hurt us most.


Why, tell me, Don Lorenzo, tell me, man,

If aught concerns our honor and your own.


Nor you, nor me, my lord, but both in one;

For I suspect—and the presumption’s great—

That by those base confederates in our fault

Touching the death of Don Horatio,

We are betrayed to old Hieronimo.


Betrayed, Lorenzo?  Tush! it cannot be.


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?


My lord, Serberine is slain.


                                                Who? Serberine, my man?


Your highness’ man, my lord.


                                                Speak, page, who murdered him?


He that is apprehended for the fact.[56]






Is Serberine slain, that loved his lord so well?

Injurious villain, murderer of his friend!


Hath Pedringano murdered 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.


Assure thee, Don Lorenzo, he shall die,

Or else his highness hardly shall deny.[57]

Meanwhile I’ll haste the marshal-sessions,

For die he shall for this his damned deed.



Why so, this fits our former policy,

And thus experience bids the wise to 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 limed.[58]

Thus hopeful men, that mean to hold their own,

Must look like fowlers to their dearest friends.

He runs to kill whom I have holp[59] to catch,

And no man knows it was my reaching fetch.[60]

‘Tis hard to trust unto a multitude,

Or any one, in mine opinion,

When men themselves their secrets will reveal.

Enter MESSENGER with a letter.



My lord.


What’s he?


                I have a letter to your lordship.


From whence?


                                From Pedringano that’s imprisoned.


So he is in prison then?


                                                Aye, my good lord.


What would he with us?—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, begone; my boy shall follow thee.


This works like wax; yet once more try thy wits.

Boy, go, convey this purse to Pedringano;

Thou know’st the prison, closely[61] give it him,

And be advised that none be there about.

Bid him be merry still, but secret;

And though the marshal-sessions be today,

Bid him not doubt of his delivery.

Tell him his pardon is already signed,

And thereon bid him boldly be resolved:

For, were he ready to be turned off—[62]

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.



                I go, my lord, I run.


But, sirrah, see that this be cleanly[63] 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 pretense[64] 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.


 [Scene 5: A street]

Enter BOY with the box.


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’s-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 gentleman-like 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 would 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 cannot weep.


[Scene 6: A court of justice]



Thus must we toil in other 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 of the heavens,

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.


Worthy Hieronimo, your office asks

A care to punish such as do transgress.


So is’t my duty to regard his death,

Who, when he lived, deserved 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 and PEDRINGANO, with a letter in his hand, bound.


Bring forth the prisoner, for the court is set.


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 remembered me so well—

Come, come, come on, when shall we to this gear?[65]


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.


This is short work.  Well, to your marshalship

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?


Aye, Pedringano.


                                Now I think not so.


Peace, impudent; for thou shalt find it so;

For blood with blood shall, while I sit as judge,

Be satisfied, and the law discharged.

And though myself cannot receive the like,

Yet will I see that others have their right.

Dispatch: the fault’s approved[66] and confessed,

And by our law he is condemned to die.


Come on, sir, are you ready?


To do what, my fine, officious knave?


To go to this gear.


O sir, you are too forward: thou wouldst fain furnish me with a halter, to disfurnish me of my habit.[67]  So I should 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,[68] that’s flat.


Come, sir.


So, then, I must up?


No remedy.


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


Indeed, here’s a remedy for that.


How?  Be turned off?


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


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


Faith, you have reason; for I am like to break your young neck.


Dost thou mock me, hangman?  Pray God, I be not preserved to break your knave’s pate for this.


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


Sirrah, dost see yonder boy with the box in his hand?


What, he that points to it with his finger?


Aye, that companion.


I know him not; but what of him?


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


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


What hath he in his box, as thou think’st?


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


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.


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


Is your roguery become an office with a knave’s name?


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


I prithee, request this good company to pray with me.


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


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


I have not seen a wretch so impudent.

O monstrous times, where murder’s set so light,

And where the soul, that should be shrined in heaven,

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.

Exit Hieronimo.


Nay, soft, no haste.


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


Why, aye!


                As how?


Why, rascal, by my pardon from the king.


Stand you on that?  Then you shall off with this.

He turns him off.


So, executioner;—convey him hence;

But let his body be unburied:

Let not the earth be choked or infect

With that which heaven contemns, and men neglect.


[Scene 7: Hieronimo’s house]



Where shall I run to breathe abroad my woes,

My woes, whose weight hath wearied the earth?

Or mine exclaims, that have surcharged the air

With ceaseless plaints for my deceased son?

The blust’ring winds, conspiring with my words,

At my lament have moved the leafless trees,

Disrobed the meadows of their flowered green,

Made mountains marsh with spring-tides of my tears,

And broken through the brazen gates of hell.

Yet still tormented is my tortured soul

With broken sighs and restless passions,

That, winged, mount; and, hovering in the air,

Beat at the windows of the brightest heavens,

Soliciting for justice and revenge:

But they are placed in those empyreal[69] heights,

Where, countermured[70] 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.


O lord, sir!  God bless you, sir!  The man, sir, Petergade, sir, he that was so full of merry conceits—


Well, what of him?


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.


I warrant thee, give it me.


You will stand between the gallows and me?


Aye, aye.


I thank your lord worship.



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.

‘My lord, I write[71] as mine extremes required,

That you would labor 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 confederate 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 deserved so well?

What have I heard, what have mine eyes beheld?

O sacred heavens, may it come to pass

That such a monstrous and detested deed,

So closely smothered, and so long concealed,

Shall thus by this be venged or revealed?

Now see I what I durst not then suspect,

That Bel-imperia’s letter was not feigned.

Nor feigned she, though falsely they have wronged

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 heaven unpunished would not leave.

Oh false Lorenzo! are these thy flattering looks?

Is this the honor that thou didst my son?

And Balthazar—bane to my soul and me!—

Was this the ransom he reserved thee for?

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 conquered self!

And banned 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 withered feet;

And either purchase justice by entreats,

Or tire them all with my revenging threats.


[Scene 8: The same]

Enter ISABELLA and her MAID.


So that you say, this herb will purge the eye,

And this the head?—

Ah!—but none of them will purge the heart!

No, there’s no medicine left for my disease,

Nor any physic to recure the dead.

She runs lunatic.

Horatio!  O, where’s Horatio?


Good madam, affright not thus yourself

With outrage[72] for your son Horatio:

He sleeps in quiet in the Elysian fields.


Why, did I not give you gowns and goodly things,

Bought you a whistle and a whipstalk too,

To be revenged on their villainies?


Madam, these humors do torment my soul.


My soul—poor soul, thou talk’st[73] of things

Thou know’st not what—my soul hath silver wings,

That mounts me up unto the highest heavens;

To heaven?  Aye, there sits my Horatio,

Backed with a troop of fiery Cherubins

Dancing about his newly healed wounds,

Singing sweet hymns and chanting heavenly 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?  Whither shall I run

To find them out that murdered my son?


[Scene 9: Palace of Don Cyprian]

BEL-IMPERIA at a window.


What means this outrage that is offered me?

Why am I thus sequestered 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[74] 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 saw’st

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[75] to the time,

Till heaven, as I have hoped, shall set me free.



Come, madam Bel-Imperia, this may not be.


[Scene 10: The same]



Boy, talk no further; thus far things go well.

Thou art assured that thou sawest him dead?


Or else, my lord, I live not.


                                                That’s enough.

As for his resolution in his end,

Leave that to him with whom he sojourns now.

Here, take my ring and give it Christophil,

And bid him let my sister be enlarged,

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’erblown,

My gentle sister will I now enlarge.


And time, Lorenzo: for my lord the duke,

You heard, inquired for her yester-night.


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?




Then in your love beware; deal cunningly:

Salve all suspicions, only soothe[76] me up;

And if she hap to stand on terms[77] with us—

As for her sweetheart and concealment so—

Jest with her gently: under feigned jest

Are things concealed that else would breed unrest.

But here she comes.


                                                Now, sister,—


                                                                                Sister?  No!

Thou art no brother, but an enemy;

Else wouldst thou not have used thy sister so:

First, to affright me with thy weapons drawn,

And with extremes abuse my company;[78]

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?


Advise you better, Bel-imperia,

For I have done you no disparagement;

Unless, by more discretion than deserved,

I sought to save your honor and mine own.


Mine honor?  Why, Lorenzo, wherein is’t

That I neglect my reputation so,

As you, or any, need to rescue it?


His highness and my father were resolved

To come confer with old Hieronimo

Concerning certain matters of estate

That by the viceroy was determined.


And wherein was mine honor touched in that?


Have patience, Bel-imperia; hear the rest.


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—


How then?


Why, then, remembering that old disgrace,

Which you for Don Andrea had endured,

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.


And carry you obscurely somewhere else,

Lest that his highness should have found you there.


Even so, my lord?  And you are witness

That this is true which he entreateth of?

You, gentle brother, forged 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 concealed me since?


Your melancholy, sister, since the news

Of your first favorite Don Andrea’s death,

My father’s old wrath hath exasperate.


And better was’t for you, being in disgrace,

To absent yourself, and give his fury place.


But why had I no notice of his ire?


That were to add more fuel to your fire,

Who burnt like Aetna for Andrea’s loss.


Hath not my father then inquired for me?


Sister, he hath, and thus excused 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 increased;

And in whose melancholy thou may’st see

Thy hate, his love; thy flight, his following thee.


Brother, you are become an orator—

I know not, I, by what experience—

Too politic for me, past all compare,

Since last I saw you; but content yourself:

The prince is meditating higher things.


‘Tis of thy beauty then that conquers kings;

Of those thy tresses, Ariadne’s twines,

Wherewith my liberty thou hast surprised;

Of that thine ivory front, my sorrow’s map,

Wherein I see no haven to rest my hope.


To love and fear, and both at once, my lord,

In my conceit, are things of more import

Than women’s wits are to be busied with.


‘Tis I that love.






But I that fear.






Fear yourself?


                                Aye, brother.




                                                                                As those

That what they love are loath and fear to lose.


Then, fair, let Balthazar your keeper be.


No, Balthazar doth fear as well as we:

Et[79] tremulo metui pavidum junxere timorem—

Est[80] vanum stolidae proditionis opus.


Nay, and you argue things so cunningly,

We’ll go continue this discourse at court.


Led by the loadstar of her heavenly looks,

Wends poor oppressed Balthazar,

As o’er the mountains walks the wanderer,

Incertain to effect his pilgrimage.


[Scene 11: A street]

Enter two PORTINGALES, and HIERONIMO meets them.]


By your leave, sir.[81]


Good leave have you: nay, I pray you go,

For I’ll leave you, if you can leave me so.


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


The next way from me.


                                                To his house, we mean.


O, hard by: ‘tis yon house that you see.


You could not tell us if his son were there?


Who, my Lord Lorenzo?


                                                Aye, sir.

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


                                                                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 humors if you but uphold,

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 the world’s 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 cauldron, fixed by Jove,

In his fell wrath, upon a sulfur flame,

Yourselves shall find Lorenzo bathing him

In boiling lead and blood of innocents.


Ha, ha, ha!


Ha, ha, ha!  Why, ha, ha, ha!  Farewell, good ha, ha, ha!



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.


[Scene 12: The Court of Spain]

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


Now, sir, perhaps I come and see the king;

The king sees me, and fain would hear my suit:

Why, is not this a strange and seld-seen[82] 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 hell 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 needst 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 murder then?

No, no! fie, no! pardon me, I’ll none of that.

He flings away the dagger and 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,[83]

And thee, Lorenzo!  Here’s the King—nay, stay;

And here, aye here—there goes the hare away.[84]



Now show, ambassador, what our viceroy saith:

Hath he received the articles we sent?


Justice, O justice to Hieronimo.


Back, see’st thou not the king is busy?


O, is he so?


Who is he that interrupts our business?


Not I.  [Aside.]  Hieronimo, beware! go by, go by.


Renowned King, he hath received and read

Thy kingly proffers, and thy promised league;

And, as a man extremely overjoyed

To hear his son so princely entertained,

Whose death he had so solemnly bewailed,

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,

Than myrrh or incense to the offended heavens.

In person, therefore, will he come himself,

To see the marriage rites solemnized,

And in the presence of the court of Spain,

To knit a sure inexplicable[85] 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.


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


No doubt, my lord, it is an argument

Of honorable 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.


Now last, dread lord, here hath his highness sent,

(Although he send not that his son return)

His ransom due to Don Horatio.


Horatio! who calls Horatio?


And well remembered: thank his majesty.

Here, see it given to Horatio.


Justice, O, justice, justice, gentle king!


Who is that?  Hieronimo?


Justice, O, justice!  O my son, my son!

My son, whom naught can ransom or redeem!


Hieronimo, you are not well-advised.


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 to 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 marshalship;

For I’ll go marshal up the fiends in hell,

To be avenged on you all for this.


What means this outrage?

Will none of you restrain his fury?


Nay, soft and fair! you shall not need to strive.

Needs must he go that the devils drive.



What accident hath happ’d Hieronimo?

I have not seen him to demean him so.


My gracious lord, he is with extreme pride,

Conceived of young Horatio his son

And covetous of having to himself

The ransom of the young prince Balthazar,

Distract, and in a manner lunatic.


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.


But if he be thus helplessly distract,

‘Tis requisite his office be resigned,

And given to one of more discretion.


We shall increase his melancholy so.

‘Tis best that we see further in it first,

Till when, ourself will execute[86] 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 solemnized,

That we may have thy lord, the viceroy, here.


Therein your highness highly shall content

His majesty, that longs to hear from hence.


On, then, and hear you, lord ambassador—


[Scene 13: Hieronimo’s house.]

Enter HIERONIMO, with a book in his hand.


Vindicta mihi!

Aye, heaven will be revenged 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 offered 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:

Heaven 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,[88]

As by a secret, yet a certain mean,

Which under kindship[89] 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.[90]

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.

A noise within.

How now, what noise?  What coil[91] is that you keep?

[Enter a SERVANT.]


Here are a sort[92] of poor petitioners

That are importunate, and it shall please you, sir,

That you should plead their cases to the king.


That I should plead their several actions?

Why, let them enter, and let me see them.

Enter three CITIZENS, and an OLD MAN.


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.


Come near, you men, that thus importune me.—


Now must I bear a face of gravity;

For thus I used, before my marshalship,

To plead in causes as corregidor.[93]

Come on, sirs, what’s the matter?


                                                                Sir, an action.


Of battery?


                                Mine of debt.


                                                                Give place.


No, sir, mine is an action of the case.[94]


Mine an ejectione firmae[95] by a lease.


Content you, sirs; are you determined

That I should plead your several actions?


Aye, sir, and here’s my declaration.


And here is my band.


                                                And here is my lease.

They give him papers.


But wherefore stands yon silly man so mute,

With mournful eyes and hands to heaven upreared?

Come hither, father, let me know thy cause.


O worthy sir, my cause, but slightly known,

May move the hearts of warlike Myrmidons,

And melt the Corsic rocks with ruthful tears.


Say, father, tell me what’s thy suit?


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.


What’s here?  “The humble supplication

Of Don Bazulto for his murdered son.”


Aye, sir.


                No, sir, it was my murdered son,

O my son, my son, O my son Horatio!

But mine, or thine, Bazulto, be content.

Here, take my handkercher 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 dyed 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.


Oh, see the kindness of Hieronimo.


This gentleness shows him a gentleman.


See, see, O see thy shame, Hieronimo!

See here a loving father to his son!

Behold the sorrows and the sad laments,

That he delivereth for his son’s decease!

If love’s effects so strive[96] in lesser things,

If love enforce such moods in meaner wits,

If love express such power in poor estates,

Hieronimo, as when[97] a raging sea,

Tossed with the wind and tide, o’erturneth[98] then

The upper billows, course of waves to keep,

Whilst lesser waters labor in the deep,

Then sham’st thou not, Hieronimo, to neglect

The sweet 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 troop 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[99] 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,

Shivering their limbs in pieces with my teeth.

Tear the papers.


O sir, my declaration!

Exit Hieronimo, and they after.


Save my bond.

Enter Hieronimo.

                                Save my bond.


Alas, my lease! it cost me ten pound,

And you, my lord, have torn the same.


That cannot 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 the old man. BAZULTO remains till Hieronimo enters again, who, staring him 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 unrevenged,

To wring more tears from Isabella’s eyes,

Whose lights are dimmed with over-long laments?

Go back, my son, complain to Aeacus,

For here’s no justice; gentle boy, be gone,

For justice is exiled from the earth:

Hieronimo will bear thee company.

Thy mother cries on righteous Rhadamanth

For just revenge against the murderers.


Alas, my lord, whence springs this troubled speech?


But let me look on my Horatio.

Sweet boy, how art thou changed in death’s black shade!

Had Proserpine no pity on thy youth,

But suffered thy fair crimson-colored spring

With withered winter to be blasted thus?

Horatio, thou art older than thy father.

Ah, ruthless fate,[100] that favor thus transforms!


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


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 Rhadamanth,

To plague Hieronimo that is remiss,

And seeks not vengeance for Horatio’s death.


I am a grieved man, and not a ghost,

That came for justice for my murdered son.


Aye, now I know thee, now thou nam’st thy son.

Thou art the lively image of my grief;

Within thy face, my sorrows I may see.

Thy eyes are gummed 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 Isabel.

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 framed—:

Talk not of chords, but let us now be gone,

For with a cord Horatio was slain.


[Scene 14: The Court of Spain]



Go, brother, it is the Duke of Castile’s cause;

Salute the Viceroy in our name.


                                                                I go.


Go forth, Don Pedro, for thy nephew’s sake,

And greet the Duke of Castile.


                                                                It shall be so.


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 honorable train!

‘Tis not unknown to us for why you come,

Or have so kingly crossed the seas:

Sufficeth it, in this we note the troth

And more than common love you lend to us.

So is it that mine honorable niece

(For it beseems us now that it be known)

Already is betrothed to Balthazar:

And by appointment and our condescent[101]

Tomorrow are they to be married.

To this intent we entertain thyself,

Thy followers, their pleasure, and our peace.

Speak, men of Portingale, shall it be so?

If aye, say so; if not, say flatly no.


Renowned King, I come not, as thou thinkst,

With such doubtful followers, unresolved men,

But such as have upon thine articles

Confirmed 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 her and thee;

And let me live a solitary life,

In ceaseless prayers,

To think how strangely heaven hath thee preserved.


See, brother, see, how nature strives in him!

Come, worthy Viceroy, and accompany

Thy friend with thine extremities;[102]

A place more private fits this princely mood.


Or here, or where your highness thinks it good.

Exeunt all but CASTILE and LORENZO.


Nay, stay, Lorenzo, let me talk with you.

See’st thou this entertainment of these Kings?


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


And knowest thou why this meeting is?


For her, my lord, whom Balthazar doth love,

And to confirm their promised marriage.


She is thy sister?


                                Who, Bel-imperia?  Aye,

My gracious lord, and this is the day,

That I have longed so happily to see.


Thou wouldst be loath that any fault of thine

Should intercept her in her happiness?


Heavens will not let Lorenzo err so much.


Why then, Lorenzo, listen to my words:

It is suspected, and reported too,

That thou, Lorenzo, wrongst Hieronimo,

And in his suits towards his majesty

Still keep’st him back and seeks to cross his suit.


That I, my lord——?


I tell thee, son, myself have heard it said,

When (to my sorrow) I have been ashamed

To answer for thee, though thou art my son.

Lorenzo, knowest 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, shouldst thou thwart his passions,

And he exclaim against thee to the king,

What honor 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?


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.


Myself have seen thee busy to keep back

Him and his supplications from the King.


Yourself, my lord, hath seen his passions,

That ill beseemed 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.


Hieronimo, my son, mistakes thee then.


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 reconciled, if he misconster me.


Lorenzo, thou hast said; it shall be so.

Go one of you, and call Hieronimo.



Come, Bel-imperia, Balthazar’s content,

My sorrow’s ease and sovereign of my bliss,

Sith heaven hath ordained thee to be mine:

Disperse those clouds and melancholy looks,

And clear them up with those thy sun-bright eyes,

Wherein my hope and heaven’s fair beauty lies.


My looks, my lord, are fitting for my love,

Which, new-begun, can show no[103] brighter yet.


New-kindled flames should burn as morning sun.


But not too fast, lest heat and all be done.

I see my lord my father.


                                                Truce, my love;

I will go salute him.


                                Welcome, Balthazar,

Welcome, brave prince, the pledge of Castile’s peace!

And welcome, Bel-imperia!—How now, girl?

Why comest thou sadly to salute us thus?

Content thyself, for I am satisfied:

It is not now as when Andrea lived;

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.



And where’s the duke?




                                                                Even so.

What new device have they devised, trow?[104]

Pocas Palabras![105] mild as the lamb!

Is’t I will be revenged?  No, I am not the man.


Welcome, Hieronimo.


Welcome, Hieronimo.


Welcome, Hieronimo.


My lords, I thank you for Horatio.


Hieronimo, the reason that I sent

To speak with you, is this.


                                                What, so short?

Then I’ll be gone, I thank you for’t.


Nay, stay, Hieronimo!—go call him, son.


Hieronimo, my father craves a word with you.


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


No; [aside] would he had!


                                                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.


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


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.


Your son Lorenzo! whom, my noble lord?

The hope of Spain, mine honorable friend?

Grant me the combat of them if they dare:

Draws out his sword.

I’ll meet him 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 loved my son so well?

My lord, I am ashamed it should be said.


Hieronimo, I never gave you cause.


My good lord, I know you did not.


                                                                There then pause;

And for the satisfaction of the world,

Hieronimo, frequent my homely house,

The Duke of Castile, Cyprian’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.


Aye, marry, my lord, and shall.

Friends, quoth he?  See, I’ll be friends with you all:

Specially 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.


Why, this is friendly done, Hieronimo.


And that I hope old grudges are forgot.


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


Come on, Hieronimo, at my request;

Let us entreat your company today.



Your Lordship’s to command.—Pah! keep your way:

Chi mi fa piu carezze che non suole,

Tradito mi ha, o tradir mi voule.





Awake, Erichtho!  Cerberus, awake!

Solicit Pluto, gentle Proserpine!

To combat, Acheron and Erebus!

For ne’er, by Styx and Phlegethon in hell,[106]

Nor ferried Charon to the fiery lakes

Such fearful sights as poor Andrea sees.[107]

Revenge, awake.


                                Awake?  For why?


Awake, Revenge; for thou art ill-advised

To sleep away what thou art warned to watch!


Content thyself, and do not trouble me.


Awake, Revenge, if love—as love hath had—

Have yet the power or prevalence in hell!

Hieronimo with Lorenzo is joined in league,

And intercepts our passage to revenge.

Awake, Revenge, or we are woe-begone!


Thus worldlings ground what they have dreamed upon.[108]

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 feigned,

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.


Awake, Revenge; reveal this mystery.


The two first, the nuptial torches bore

As brightly burning as the mid-day’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.


Sufficeth me; thy meaning’s 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.


Then argue not, for thou hast thy request.



[Scene 1: Palace of Don Cyprian]



Is this the love thou bear’st Horatio?

Is this the kindness that thou counterfeits?

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 [devices seek thyself to save][109]

From this dishonor 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 tendered so, thus careless should be lost.

Myself, a stranger in respect of thee,

So loved his life, as still I wish their deaths.

Nor shall his death be unrevenged by me,

Although I bear it out for fashion’s sake;

For here I swear, in sight of heaven 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.


But may it be that Bel-imperia

Vows such revenge as she hath deigned to say?

Why, then I see that heaven applies our drift,[110]

And all the saints do sit soliciting

For vengeance on those cursed murderers.

Madam, ‘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 unrevenged 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.


Hieronimo, I will consent, conceal,

And aught that may effect for thine avail,

Join with thee to revenge Horatio’s death.


On then; [and] whatsoever I devise,

Let me entreat you, grace my practices,

For-why[111] the plot’s already in mine head.

Here they are.



                                How now, Hieronimo?

What, courting Bel-imperia?


                                                Aye, my lord;

Such courting as, I promise you,

She hath my heart, but you, my lord, have hers.


But now, Hieronimo, or never,

We are to entreat your help.


                                                My help?

Why, my good lords, assure yourselves of me;

For you have given me cause,—aye, by my faith, have you!


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.


Is this all?


                                Aye, this is all.


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.


And how for that?


                                Marry, my good Lord, thus:—

And yet, methinks, 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.

Now would your lordships favor 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[112] to that assembly.


What, would you have us play a tragedy?


Why, Nero thought it no disparagement,

And kings and emperors have ta’en delight

To make experience of their wits in plays.


Nay, be not angry, good Hieronimo;

The prince but asked a question.


In faith, Hieronimo, and you be in earnest,

I’ll make one.


                                And I, another.


Now, my good lord, could you entreat

Your sister Bel-imperia to make one?

For what’s a play without a woman in it?


Little entreaty shall serve me, Hieronimo;

For I must needs be employed in your play.


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.


                                                                And now

It shall be played 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.


That shall I roundly.  The chronicles of Spain

Record this written of a knight of Rhodes:

He was betrothed, and wedded at the length,

To one Perseda, an Italian dame,

Whose beauty ravished all that her beheld,

Especially the soul of Soliman,

Who at the marriage was the chiefest guest.

By sundry means sought Soliman to win

Perseda’s love, and could not gain the same.

Then ‘gan he break his passions to a friend,

One of his bashaws,[113] whom he held full dear.

Her had 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, stirred with an exceeding hate therefore,

As cause of this slew Soliman,

And, to escape the bashaw’s tyranny,

Did stab herself: and this the tragedy.


O excellent!


                                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.


But which of us is to perform that part?


Oh, that will I, my lords; make no doubt of it.

I’ll play the murderer, I warrant you;

For I have already conceited that.


And what shall I?


Great Soliman, the Turkish emperor.


And I?


                Erastus, the knight of Rhodes.


And I?


                Perseda, chaste and resolute.

And here, my lords, are several abstracts drawn,

For each of you to note your parts,

And act it, as occasion’s offered you.

You must provide a Turkish cap,

A black mustachio, and a falchion;

Gives a paper to BALTHAZAR.

You, with a Cross, like to a Knight of Rhodes;

Gives another to LORENZO.

And, madam, you must attire yourself,

He giveth BEL-IMPERIA another.

Like Phoebe, Flora, or the huntress [Dian],[114]

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.


Hieronimo, methinks a comedy were better.


A comedy?

Fie! comedies are fit for common wits;

But to present a kingly troop withal,

Give me a stately-written tragedy;

Tragedia cothurnata, fitting kings,

Containing matter, and not common things.

My lords, all this must be performed,

As fitting for the first night’s reveling.

The Italian tragedians were so sharp of wit,

That in one hour’s meditation

They would perform anything in action.


And well it may; for I have seen the like

In Paris, ‘mongst the French tragedians.


In Paris? mass! and well remembered!

There’s one thing more that rests for us to do.


What’s that, Hieronimo?  Forget not anything.


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 practiced the French,

In courtly French shall all her phrases be.


You mean to try my cunning then, Hieronimo?


But this will be a mere confusion,

And hardly shall we all be understood.


It must be so; for the conclusion

Shall prove the invention,[115] and all was good:


And I myself in an oration,

And with a strange and wondrous show besides,

That I will have there behind a curtain,

Assure yourself, shall make the matter known:

And all shall be concluded in one scene,

For there’s no pleasure ta’en in tediousness.


How like you this?


                                Why, thus my lord,

We must resolve to soothe his humors up.


On then, Hieronimo; farewell till soon.


You’ll ply this gear?


                                                I warrant you.

Exeunt all but HIERONIMO.


                                                                Why so:

Now shall I see the fall of Babylon,

Wrought by the heavens in this confusion.

And if the world like not this tragedy,

Hard is the hap of old Hieronimo.


[Scene 2: Hieronimo’s garden]

Enter ISABELLA with a weapon.


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 murdered my beloved son.

She cuts down the arbor.

Down with these branches and these loathsome boughs

Of this unfortunate and fatal pine!

Down with them, Isabella; rent them up,

And burn the roots from whence the rest is sprung!

I will not leave a root, a stalk, a tree,

A bough, a branch, a blossom, nor a leaf,

No, not an herb within this garden-plot,—

Accursed complot[116] of my misery!

Fruitless forever may this garden be,

Barren the earth, and blissless whosoever

Imagines not to keep it unmanured.[117]

An eastern wind, commixed with noisome airs,

Shall blast the plants and the young saplings;

The earth with serpents shall be pestered,

And passengers, for fear to be infect,

Shall stand aloof, and, looking at it, tell:

“There, murdered, died the son of Isabel.”

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 Rhadamanth.

Make haste, Hieronimo, to hold excused[118]

Thy negligence in pursuit of their deaths

Whose hateful wrath bereaved him of his breath.

Ah, nay, thou doest delay their deaths,

Forgives the murderers 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 the breast,

The hapless breast, that gave Horatio suck.

She stabs herself.

[Scene 3: Palace of Don Cyprian]

Enter HIERONIMO; he knocks up the curtain.  Enter the Duke of CASTILE.


How now, Hieronimo, where’s your fellows,

That you take all this pain?


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.


I will, Hieronimo.


One thing more, my good lord.


What’s that?


                                Let me entreat your grace

That, when the train are passed into the gallery,

You would vouchsafe to throw me down the key.


I will, Hieronimo.



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?


Half on; the other is in my hand.


Dispatch for shame; are you so long?


Bethink thyself, Hieronimo,

Recall thy wits, recount[119] thy former wrongs

Thou hast received by murder of thy son,

And lastly, not least! how Isabel,

Once his mother and thy dearest wife,

All woe-begone for him, hath slain herself.

Behooves thee then, Hieronimo, to be revenged!

The plot is laid of dire revenge:

On, then, Hieronimo, pursue revenge;

For nothing wants but acting of revenge!


[Scene 4: The same]

Enter Spanish KING, VICEROY, Duke of CASTILE, and their train [to the gallery].[120]


Now, Viceroy, shall we see the tragedy

Of Soliman, the Turkish emperor,

Performed of pleasure by your son the prince,

My nephew Don Lorenzo, and my niece.


Who?  Bel-imperia?


                                Aye, and Hieronimo our marshal,

At whose request they deign to do’t themselves.

These be our pastimes in the court of Spain.

Here, brother, you shall be the bookkeeper:

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 public reader.



Bashaw, that Rhodes is ours, yield heavens the honor,

And holy Mahomet, our sacred Prophet!

And be thou graced with every excellence

That Soliman can give, or thou desire.

But thy desert in conquering Rhodes is less

Than in reserving this fair Christian nymph,

Perseda, blissful lamp of excellence,

Whose eyes compel, like powerful adamant,

The warlike heart of Soliman to wait.


See, Viceroy, that is Balthazar, your son,

That represents the Emperor Soliman:

How well he acts his amorous passion!


Aye, Bel-imperia hath taught him that.


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


Whatever joy earth yields, betide your majesty.


Earth yields no joy without Perseda’s love.


Let then Perseda on your grace attend.


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 beloved.



Here comes Lorenzo: look upon the plot,

And tell me, brother, what part plays he?


Ah, my Erasto, welcome to Perseda.


Thrice happy is Erasto that thou livest;

Rhodes’ loss is nothing to Erasto’s joy:

Sith his Perseda lives, his life survives.


Ah, bashaw, here is love betwixt Erasto

And fair Perseda, sovereign of my soul.


Remove Erasto, mighty Soliman,

And then Perseda will be quickly won.


Erasto is my friend; and while he lives,

Perseda never will remove her love.


Let not Erasto live to grieve great Soliman.


Dear is Erasto in our princely eye.


But if he be your rival, let him die.


Why, let him die!—so love commandeth me.

Yet grieve I that Erasto should so die.


Erasto, Soliman saluteth thee,

And lets thee wit by me his highness’ will,

Which is, thou shouldest be thus employed.

Stab him.


                                                                                Ay me!

Erasto!  See, Soliman, Erasto’s slain.


Yet liveth Soliman to comfort thee.

Fair queen of beauty, let not favor die,

But with a gracious eye behold his grief

That with Perseda’s beauty is increased,

If by Perseda his grief be not released.


Tyrant, desist soliciting vain suits;

Relentless are mine ears to thy laments,

As thy butcher is pitiless and base,

Which seized 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:

Stab him.

And on herself she would be thus revenged.

Stab herself.


Well said!  Old marshal, this was bravely done!


But Bel-imperia plays Perseda well!


Were this in earnest, Bel-imperia,

You would be better to my son then so.


But now what follows for Hieronimo?


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 tuned 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, failed, died, yea, all decayed with this.

From forth these wounds came breath that gave me life;

They murdered 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 coverer of accursed crimes,

With pitchy silence hushed these traitors’ harms,

And lent them leave, for they had sorted[121] leisure

To take advantage in my garden-plot

Upon my son, my dear Horatio.

There merciless they butchered up my boy,

In black dark night, to pale, dim, cruel death.

He shrieks: I heard—and yet, methinks, I hear—

His dismal outcry echo in the air.

With soonest speed I hasted to the noise,

Where hanging on a tree I found my son,

Through-girt[122] with wounds, and slaughtered as you see.

And grieved I, think you, at this spectacle?

Speak, Portuguese, whose loss resembles mine:

If thou canst weep upon thy Balthazar,

‘Tis like I wailed for my Horatio.

And you, my lord, whose reconciled son

Marched in a net, and thought himself unseen,

And rated me for brain-sick lunacy,

With “God amend that mad Hieronimo!”—

How can you brook our play’s catastrophe?

And here behold this bloody handkercher,

Which at Horatio’s death I weeping dipped

Within the river of his bleeding wounds:

It is propitious, see, I have reserved,

And never hath it left my bloody heart,

Soliciting remembrance of my vow

With these, O, these accursed murderers:

Which, now performed, 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 Soliman 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 missed her part in this:

For though the story saith she should have died,

Yet I of kindness, and of care to 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.


Oh hearken, Viceroy!  Hold, Hieronimo!

Brother, my nephew and thy son are slain!


We are betrayed; my Balthazar is slain!

Break ope the doors; run, save Hieronimo.

They break in, and hold Hieronimo.

Hieronimo, do but inform the king of these events;

Upon mine honor, thou shalt have no harm.


Viceroy, I will not trust thee with my life,

Which I this day have offered to my son.

Accused wretch!

Why stay’st thou him that was resolved to die?


Speak, traitor! damned, bloody murderer, speak!

For now I have thee, I will make thee speak.

Why hast thou done this undeserving deed?


Why hast thou murdered my Balthazar?


Why hast thou butchered both my children thus?


{{Oh, good words!

As dear to me was my Horatio

As yours, or 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 heavens be yet avenged

With greater far than these afflictions.


But who were thy confederates in this?


That was thy daughter Bel-imperia;

For by her hand my Balthazar was slain:

I saw her stab him.


                                Why speakest thou not?


What lesser liberty can kings afford

Than harmless silence?  Then afford it me.

Sufficeth, I may not, nor I will not tell thee.


Fetch forth the tortures: traitor as thou art,

I’ll make thee tell.



Thou mayest 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 vowed inviolate.

And therefore, in despite of all thy threats,

Pleased with their deaths, and eased with their revenge,

First take my tongue, and afterwards my heart.

[He bites out his tongue.]}}[123]


O monstrous resolution of a wretch!

See, Viceroy, he hath bitten forth his tongue,

Rather than to reveal what we required.


Yet can he write.


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.


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


Here, and advise thee that thou write the troth—


Look to my brother! save Hieronimo![124]

He with a knife stabs the duke and himself.

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 entombed whate’er befall.

I am the next, the nearest, last of all.


And thou, Don Pedro, do the like for us:

Take up our hapless son, untimely slain;

Set me with him, and he with woeful me,

Upon the mainmast of a ship unmanned,

And let the wind and tide haul 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 Portugal bearing the body of his son.




Aye, now my hopes have end in their effects,

When blood and sorrow finish my desires:

Horatio murdered in his Father’s bower;

Vild Serberine by Pedringano slain;

False Pedringano hanged by quaint device;

Fair Isabella by herself misdone;

Prince Balthazar by Bel-imperia stabbed;

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[125] 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 inured;[126]

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?


This hand shall hale them down to deepest hell,

Where none but furies, bugs,[127] and tortures dwell.


Then, sweet Revenge, do this at my request:

Let me be judge, and doom then to unrest.

Let loose poor Tityus from the vulture’s gripe,

And let Don Cyprian supply his room;

Place Don Lorenzo on Ixion’s wheel,

And let the lover’s endless pains surcease

(Juno forgets old wrath, and grants 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 dragged through boiling Acheron,

And there live, dying still in endless flames,

Blaspheming gods and all their holy names.


Then haste we down to meet thy friends and foes:

To place thy friends in ease, the rest in woes;

For here though death hath end their misery,

I’ll there begin their endless tragedy.



*    *4*    *


Addition 1

Aye me, Hieronimo, sweet husband, speak!


He supped with us tonight, frolic and merry.

And said he would go visit Balthazar

At the duke’s palace; there the prince doth lodge.

He had no custom to stay out so late:

He may be in his chamber; some go see.

Roderigo, ho!



Aye me, he raves!—Sweet Hieronimo!


True, all Spain takes note of it.

Besides, he is so generally beloved;

His majesty the other day did grace him

With waiting on his cup: these be favors,

Which do assure me he cannot be short-lived.


Sweet Hieronimo!


I wonder how this fellow got his clothes!—

Sirrah, sirrah, I’ll know the truth of all.

Jaques, run to the Duke of Castile’s presently,

And bid my son Horatio to come home:

I and his mother have had strange dreams tonight.

Do ye hear me, sir?


                                Aye, sir.


                                                Well, sir, be gone.

Pedro, come hither; know’st thou who this is?


Too well, sir.


                                Too well!  Who, who is it?  Peace, Isabella!

Nay, blush not, man.


                                                It is my lord Horatio.


Ha, ha, St. James, but this doth make me laugh,

That there are more deluded than myself.





I would have sworn myself, within this hour,

That this had been my son Horatio:

His garments are so like.

Ha! are they not great persuasions?


O, would to God it were not so!


Were not, Isabella?  Dost thou dream it is?

Can thy soft bosom entertain a thought

That such a black deed of mischief should be done

On one so pure and spotless as our son?

Away, I am ashamed.


                                                Dear Hieronimo,

Cast a more serious eye upon thy grief;

Weak apprehension gives but weak belief.


It was a man, sure, that was hanged up here;

A youth, as I remember: I cut him down.

If it should prove my son now after all—

Say you? say you?—Light, lend me a taper;

Let me look again.—O God!

Confusion, mischief, torment, death and hell,

Drop all your stings at once in my cold bosom,

That now is stiff with horror; kill me quickly!

Be gracious to me, thou infective[128] night,

And drop this deed of murder down on me;

Gird in my waste of grief with thy large darkness,

And let me not survive, to see the light

May put me in the mind I had a son.


O sweet Horatio!  O my dearest son!


How strangely had I lost my way to grief!


Addition 2


Who?  You, my lord?

I reserve your favor for a greater honor;

This is a very toy, my lord, a toy.


All’s one, Hieronimo, acquaint me with it.


I’ faith, my lord, ‘tis an idle thing;

I must confess I ha’ been too slack, too tardy,

Too remiss unto your honor.


                                                How now, Hieronimo?


In troth, my lord, it is a thing of nothing:

The murder of a son, or so—

A thing of nothing, my lord!


Addition 3


‘Tis neither as you think, nor as you think,

Nor as you think; you’re wide all.

These slippers are not mine, they were my son Horatio’s.

My son? and what’s a son?  A thing begot

Within a pair of minutes—thereabout;

A lump bred up in darkness, and doth serve

To ballace[129] these light creatures we call women;

And at nine months’ end, creeps forth to light.

What is there yet in a son,

To make a father dote, rave, or run mad?

Being born, it pouts, cries, and breeds teeth.

What is there yet in a son?  He must be fed,

Be taught to go, and speak.  Aye, or yet

Why might not a man love a calf as well?

Or melt in passion o’er a frisking kid,

As for a son?  Methinks, a young bacon,

Or a fine little smooth horse colt,

Should move a man as much as doth a son:

For one of these, in very little time,

Will grow to some good use; whereas a son,

The more he grows in stature and in years,

The more unsquared, unbeveled,[130] he appears,

Reckons his parents among the rank of fools,

Strikes care upon their heads with his mad riots,

Makes them look old before they meet with age.

This is a son!—And what a loss were this,

Considered truly? ——O, but my Horatio

Grew out of reach of these insatiate humors:

He loved his loving parents;

He was my comfort, and his mother’s joy,

The very arm that did hold up our house:

Our hopes were stored up in him,

None but a damned murderer could hate him.

He had not seen the back of nineteen year,

When his strong arm unhorsed

The proud Prince Balthazar, and his great mind,

Too full of honor, took him unto[131] mercy,

That valiant, but ignoble Portingale!

Well, heaven is heaven still!

And there is Nemesis, and Furies,

And things called whips,

And they sometimes do meet with murderers:

They do not always scape, that is some comfort.

Aye, aye, aye; and then time steals on,

And steals, and steals, till violence leaps forth

Like thunder wrapped in a ball of fire,

And so doth bring confusion to them all.




Addition 4


Indeed, Isabella, we do nothing here;

I do not cry: ask Pedro, and ask Jaques;

Not I indeed; we are very merry, very merry.


How? be merry here, be merry here?

Is not this the place, and this the very tree,

Where my Horatio died, where he was murdered?


Was—do not say what: let her weep it out.

This was the tree; I set it of a kernel:

And when our hot Spain could not let it grow,

But that the infant and the human sap

Began to wither, duly twice a morning

Would I be sprinkling it with fountain-water.

At last it grew and grew, and bore and bore,

Till at the length

It grew a gallows, and did bear our son;

It bore thy fruit and mine—O wicked, wicked plant!

One knocks within at the door.

See who knocks there.


                                                It is a painter, sir.


Bid him come in, and paint some comfort,

For surely there’s none lives but painted comfort.

Let him come in!—One knows not what may chance:

Gods will that I should set this tree!—but even so

Masters ungrateful servants rear from nought,

And then they hate them that did bring them up.

Enter the PAINTER.


God bless you, sir.


                                Wherefore?  Why, thou scornful villain?

How, where, or by what means should I be blessed?


What wouldst thou have, good fellow?


                                                                Justice, madam.


O ambitious beggar!

Wouldst thou have that that lives not in the world?

Why, all the undelved mines cannot buy

An ounce of justice!

‘Tis a jewel so inestimable.  I tell thee,

God hath engrossed all justice in his hands,

And there is none but what comes from him.


                                                                                O, then I see

That God must right me for my murdered son.


How, was thy son murdered?


Aye, sir; no man did hold a son so dear.


What, not as thine?  That’s a lie,

As massy as the earth.  I had a son

Whose least unvalued hair did weigh

A thousand of thy sons: and he was murdered.


Alas, sir, I had no more but he.


Nor I, nor I: but this same one of mine

Was worth a legion.  But all is one.

Pedro, Jaques, go in a-doors; Isabella, go,

And this good fellow here and I

Will range this hideous orchard up and down,

Like to two lions reaved of their young.

Go in a-doors, I say.

Exeunt.  The PAINTER and he sits down.

                                Come, let’s talk wisely now.

Was thy son murdered?


                                                Aye, sir.


                                                                So was mine.

How dost take it?  Art thou not sometimes mad?

Is there no tricks[132] that comes before thine eyes?


O Lord, yes, sir.


Art a painter?  Canst paint me a tear, or a wound, a groan or a sigh?  Canst paint me such a tree[133] as this?


Sir, I am sure you have heard of my painting: my name’s Bazardo.


Bazardo!  Afore-god, an excellent fellow.  Look you, sir, do you see, I’d have you paint me [for] my gallery, in your oil-colors matted,[134] and draw me five years younger than I am—do ye see, sir, let five years go, let them go like the marshal of Spain—my wife Isabella standing by me, with a speaking look to my son Horatio, which should intend to this or some such-like purpose: “God bless thee, my sweet son,” and my hand leaning upon his head, thus, sir; do you see?  May it be done?


Very well, sir.


Nay, I pray, mark me, sir.  Then, sir, would I have you paint me this tree, this very tree.  Canst paint a doleful cry?


Seemingly, sir.


Nay, it should cry; but all is one.  Well, sir, paint me a youth run through and through with villain’s swords, hanging upon this tree.  Canst thou draw a murderer?


I’ll warrant you, sir; I have the pattern of the most notorious villains that ever lived in all Spain.


Oh, let them be worse, worse: stretch thine art, and let their beards be of Judas his own color; and let

their eyebrows jutty over: in any case observe that.  Then, sir, after some violent noise, bring me forth in my shirt, and my gown under mine arm, with my torch in my hand, and my sword reared up thus:—and with these words: “What noise is this?  Who calls Hieronimo?”  May it be done?


Yea, sir.


Well, sir; then bring me forth, bring me through alley and alley, still with a distracted countenance going along, and let my hair heave up my night-cap.  Let the clouds scowl, make the moon dark, the stars extinct, the winds blowing, the bells tolling, the owl shrieking, the toads croaking, the minutes jarring,[135] and the clock striking twelve.  And then at last, sir, starting, behold a man hanging, and tottering and tottering, as you know the wind will wave a man, and I with a trice to cut him down.  And looking upon him by the advantage of my torch, find it to be my son Horatio.  There you may [show] a passion, there you may show a passion!  Draw me like old Priam of Troy, crying: “The house is a-fire, the house is a-fire, as the torch over my[136] head!”  Make me curse, make me rave, make me cry, make me mad, make me well again, make me curse hell, invocate heaven, and in the end leave me in a trance—and so forth.


And is this the end?


O no, there is no end: the end is death and madness!  As I am never better than when I am mad; then methinks I am a brave fellow, then I do wonders; but reason abuseth me, and there’s the torment, there’s the hell.  At the last, sir, bring me to one of the murderers: were he as strong as Hector, thus would I tear and drag him up and down.

He beats the PAINTER in, then comes out again with a book in his hand.


Addition 5


But are you sure they are dead?


                                                                Aye, slave,[137] too sure.


What, and yours too?


Aye, all are dead; not one of them survive.


Nay, then I care not; come, and we shall be friends;

Let us lay our heads together:

See, here’s a goodly noose will hold them all.


Oh damned devil, how secure[138] he is!


Secure?  Why dost thou wonder at it?

I tell thee, Viceroy, this day I have seen revenge,

And in that sight am grown a prouder monarch,

Than ever sat under the crown of Spain.

Had I as many lives as there be stars,

As many heavens to go to, as those lives,

I’d give them all, aye, and my soul to boot,

But I would see thee ride in this red pool.


Speak, who were thy confederates in this?[139]


That was thy daughter Bel-imperia;

For by her hand my Balthazar was slain:

I saw her stab him.


Oh, good words!

As dear to me was my Horatio,

As yours, or 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 heavens be yet avenged

With greater far than these afflictions.

Methinks, since I grew inward with revenge,

I cannot look with scorn enough on death.


What, dost thou mock us, slave?—Bring tortures forth.


Do, do, do: and meantime I’ll torture you.

You had a son, as I take it, and your son

Should ha’ been married to your daughter:

Ha, was’t not so?—You had a son too,

He was my liege’s nephew; he was proud

And politic; had he lived, he might ha’ come

To wear the crown of Spain, I think ‘twas so:—

‘Twas I that killed him; look you, this same hand,

‘Twas it that stabbed his heart—do ye see? this hand—

For one Horatio, if you ever knew him: a youth,

One that they hanged up in his father’s garden;

One that did force your valiant son to yield,

While your more valiant son did take him prisoner.


Be deaf, my senses; I can hear no more.


Fall, heaven, and cover us with thy sad ruins.


Roll all the world within thy pitchy cloud.


Now do I applaud what I have acted.

Nunc iners cadat[140] manus.

Now to express the rupture of my part,

First take my tongue, and afterward my heart.

He bites out his tongue.


[1] Whispered.

[2] See Aeneid, vi. 893.

[3] Adapted from Claudian’s De Tertio Consulatu Honorii, 96-98.

[4] Troop of cavalry.

[5] A combination of phrases from Statius, Virgil, and Curtius.

[6] Neilson has waving, from Q1 wauing, with a note defining it as moving.  Q5 first made the obvious correction for this misprint—sbh

[7] Flourish of trumpets.

[8] Curbed.

[9] Corrosive.

[10] The source of this passage has not been found. [So Neilson, but see W. P. Mustard, Philological Quarterly (1926) pp. 85-86—sbh]

[11] So Manly.  Qq treasure.

[12] Reveal.

[13] What became of.

[14] An island in the Azores.

[15] Add. Manly.

[16] Ne will, will not.

[17] Stab in the belly, disembowel.

[18] Knocked.

[19] Vexation.

[20] Carrying.  [Q1 welding—sbh]

[21] Circumlocutions.

[22] Formal phrases.

[23] [Q1 deuise; Neilson has devised, following Q3 deuisde—sbh]

[24] Capricious, whimsical.

[25] Stately.

[26] Secret behavior.

[27] In case.

[28] Sword hilt.

[29] [So Neilson.  Q1 though; Q2 thoughts—sbh]

[30] Travailers and travelers were not distinguished in Elizabethan spelling.

[31] [Neilson reads Haply—sbh]

[32] Kittredge suggests mix’d with jealious. (Manly)

[33] Pretend to be shy.

[34] Refuse.

[35] Checks.

[36] Sing.

[37] Vile.

[38] Lose.

[39] First passage of additions begins here.

[40] A cento of passages from Virgil, Tibullus, and others.

[41] Guile.

[42] Accompanied.

[43] Moves round.

[44] [slaiest Q1, staiest Boas—sbh.]

[45] An exclamation of impatience.

[46] Slandered.

[47] Requital.

[48] Nature.

[49] So Hazlitt.  Qq. Or wherein.

[50] Moderate.

[51] Indirect means.

[52] Unintelliglble.  Probably a corruption of a call to the Page.

[53] Fellows.

[54] Pistol.

[55] Murder him (be present at his death).

[56] Deed.

[57] Resist with difficulty.

[58] Snared.

[59] Helped.

[60] Deep-reaching device.  Qq. have dialect form fatch.

[61] Secretly.

[62] Hanged.

[63] Cleverly.

[64] Intention.

[65] Business

[66] Proved.

[67] The hangman got the clothes of the criminals he executed.

[68] Advantage.

[69] So Schick.  Qq. imperial.

[70] Doubly fenced.

[71] Manly emends to writ.

[72] Outcry.

[73] 1623 [=Q9].  Earlier edd. talkes.

[74] 1623 [=Q9].  Earlier edd. bends.

[75] Adapt myself.

[76] Back.

[77] Haggle, hold out.

[78] Companion.

[79] So Hazlitt.  Qq. Est.

[80] So Schick.  Qq. Et.

[81] Third passage of additions begins here.

[82] Seldom seen.

[83] Give thee a lesson.

[84] This phrase usually means, “There the matter ends.”  Perhaps here it might mean, “There begins the chase.”

[85] I.e. inextricable, which some modern edd. read.  Allde [Q1], inexecrable.

[86] So Collier.  Qq. exempt.

[87] Fourth passage of additions. [The Painter’s Scene appears between scenes 12 and 13 starting with Q4—sbh]

[88] Not with open but with inevitable injuries.

[89] Kindness.

[90] From Seneca’s Oedipus, 515.

[91] Turmoil.

[92] Group, band.

[93] Advocate.  Properly, magistrate.

[94] “A universal remedy given for all personal wrongs … so called because the plaintiff’s whole case … is set forth at length in the original writ.” (Blackstone.)

[95] A writ to eject a tenant.

[96] Qq. strives.

[97] So Kittredge in Manly.  Qq. when as.

[98] So Hawkins.  Early Qq. ore turnest.  Later Qq. ore-turned.

[99] Hast skill in.

[100] So Dodsley.  Qq. Father.

[101] Consent.

[102] Extreme show of feeling.

[103] [Q2; omitted Q1—sbh]

[104] Think you.

[105] Span. “few words.”

[106] Qq read in hell at end of l. 3.  The passage is clearly corrupt.

[107] Early Qq read see.

[108] Rely upon what they have dreamed.

[109] [Conjecture by Boas.  Q1 With what dishonour, and the hate of men.  Neilson omits—sbh]

[110] Supports our intention.

[111] Because.

[112] Pleasing.

[113] Usual Elizabethan form of pacha.

[114] Supplied by Kittredge. (Manly)

[115] Boas gives intention as Qq. reading.

[116] Usually conspiracy; here, accomplice (to accommodate the pun).

[117] Untilled.

[118] Make excuses for.

[119] [Neilson follows Q4; Q1 reads recompt—sbh]

[120] Added by Manly.

[121] Chosen.

[122] Pierced, from gird, to smite.

[123] Fifth passage of additions, replacing ll. 171-194.  [I have placed the lines replaced in double curly brackets—sbh]

[124] [Neilson attributes this line to the VICEROY—sbh]

[125] Select, group.

[126] Carried on.

[127] Terrors, bugbears.

[128] Infectious.

[129] Ballast.

[130] Unpolished.

[131] Qq. us to.

[132] Illusions.

[133] Q. 1602 [Q4], A teare.

[134] Dulled, unburnished.

[135] Ticking.

[136] So 1602 [Q4].  Later Qq. thy.

[137] Some Qq. read slaine.

[138] Assured.

[139] [Neilson repeats the line in its original version—“But who were” etc.—sbh]

[140] Schick emend.  Early Qq. mors caede or mors cadae.