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1. The Lamentable Tragedy of Locrine

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Rise, honour of my age, food to my rest:
Condemn not mighty King of Aragon
My rude behaviour, so compelled by Nature,
That manners stood unknowledged.

What we have to recite would tedious prove
By declaration; therefore, in, and feast:
To morrow the performance shall explain,
What Words conceal; till then, Drums speak,
Bells ring,
Give plausive welcomes to our brother King.

[Sound Drums and Trumpets. Exeunt omnes.]


[Enter Comedy and Envy.]

How now, Envy? what, blushest thou all ready?
Peep forth, hide not thy head with shame,
But with a courage praise a woman's deeds.
Thy threats were vain, thou couldst do me no hurt.
Although thou seemdst to cross me with despite,
I overwhelmed, and turned upside down thy block
And made thy self to stumble at the same.

Though stumbled, yet not overthrown.
Thou canst not draw my heart to mildness;
Yet must I needs confess thou hast done well,
And played thy part with mirth and pleasant glee:
Say all this, yet canst thou not conquer me;
Although this time thou hast got--yet not the conquest
A double revenge another time I'll have.

Envy, spit thy gall;
Plot, work, contrive; create new fallacies,
Teem from thy Womb each minute a black Traitor,
Whose blood and thoughts have twins conception:
Study to act deeds yet unchronicled,
Cast native Monsters in the molds of Men,
Case vicious Devils under sancted Rochets,
Unhasp the Wicket where all perjureds roost,
And swarm this Ball with treasons: do thy worst;
Thou canst not hell-hound cross my star to night,
Nor blind that glory, where I wish delight.

I can, I will.

Nefarious Hag, begin,
And let us tug, till one the mastery win.

Comedy, thou art a shallow Goose;
I'll overthrow thee in thine own intent,
And make thy fall my Comic merriment.

Thy policy wants gravity; thou art
Too weak. Speak, Fiend, as how?

Why, thus:
From my foul Study will I hoist a Wretch,
A lean and hungry Meager Cannibal,
Whose jaws swell to his eyes with chawing Malice:
And him I'll make a Poet.

What's that to th' purpose?

This scrambling Raven, with his needy Beard,
Will I whet on to write a Comedy,
Wherein shall be compos'd dark sentences,
Pleasing to factious brains:
And every other where place me a Jest,
Whose high abuse shall more torment than blows:
Then I my self (quicker than Lightning)
Will fly me to a puissant magistrate,
And weighting with a Trencher at his back,
In midst of jollity, rehearse those gauls,
(With some additions)
So lately vented in your Theater.
He, upon this, cannot but make complaint,
To your great danger, or at least restraint.

Ha, ha, ha! I laugh to hear thy folly;
This is a trap for Boys, not Men, nor such,
Especially desertful in their doings,
Whose stay'd discretion rules their purposes.
I and my faction do eschew those vices.
But see, O see! the weary Sun for rest
Hath lain his golden compass to the West,
Where he perpetual bide and ever shine,
As David's off-spring, in his happy Clime.
Stoop, Envy, stoop, bow to the Earth with me,
Let's beg our Pardons on our bended knee.

[They kneel.]

My Power has lost her Might; Envy's date's expired.
Yon splendant Majesty hath felled my sting,
And I amazed am.

[Fall down and quake.]

Glorious and wise Arch-Caesar on this earth,
At whose appearance, Envy's stroken dumb,
And all bad things cease operation:
Vouchsafe to pardon our unwilling error,
So late presented to your Gracious view,
And we'll endeavour with excess of pain,
To please your senses in a choicer strain.
Thus we commit you to the arms of Night,
Whose spangled carcass would, for your delight,
Strive to excell the Day; be blessed, then:
Who other wishes, let him never speak.

To Fame and Honour we commend your rest;
Live still more happy, every hour more blest.


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