By Thomas Norton and

Thomas Sackville









The Names of the Speakers.

Gorboduc, King of Great Britain.

Videna, Queen, and Wife to King Gorboduc.

        Marcella, A Lady of the Queen's Privy Chamber.

     Ferrex, Elder Son to King Gorboduc.

     Porrex, Younger Son to King Gorboduc.

Hermon, A Parasite remaining with Ferrex.

Tyndar, A Parasite remaining with Porrex.

Eubulus, Secretary to the King.

Arostus, A Councillor to king Gorboduc.

Dordan, A Councillor assigned by the King to his

     Eldest Son Ferrex.

Philander, A Councillor assigned by the King to his

     Youngest Son Porrex.

(Both being of the old King's Council before.)

Clotyn, Duke of Cornwall.

Fergus, Duke of Albany.

Mandud, Duke of Loegris.

Gwenard, Duke of Camberland.

Nuntius, A Messenger of the Elder Brother's Death.

Nuntius, A Messenger of Duke Fergus’ rising in Arms.


Four Ancient and Sage Men of Britain.





     First the music of violins begins to play, during 

which comes in upon the stage six wild men clothed in

leaves; of whom the first bares in his neck a faggot of

small sticks, which they all, both severally and

together, assay with all their strengths to break, but it

cannot be broken by them. At the length one of them

plucks out one of the sticks and breaks it; and the rest

plucking out all the other sticks one after another, do

easily break them, the same being severed: which,

being conjoined, they had before attempted in vain.

After they do this, they depart the stage, and the music


     Hereby is signified that a state knit in unity doth

continue strong against all force; but, being divided,

is easily destroyed. As befell upon Duke Gorboduc

dividing his land to his two sons, which he before held

in monarchy, and upon the dissention of the brethren

to whom it was divided.


The Palace, Videna's room.

Enter Videna and Ferrex.

Viden. The silent night that brings the quiet pause

From painful travails of the weary day,

Prolongs my careful thoughts, and makes me blame

The slow Aurore, that so for love or shame

Doth long delay to show her blushing face;

And now the day renews my griefful plaint.

Ferr. My gracious lady and my mother dear,

Pardon my grief for your so grievèd mind,

To ask what cause so tormenteth your heart.

Viden. So great a wrong, and so unjust despite,

Without all cause, against all course of kind!

Ferr. Such causeless wrong and so unjust despite,

May have redress, or at the least, revenge.

Viden. Neither, my son; such is the froward will,

The person such, such my mishap and thine.

Ferr. Mine know I none, but grief for your distress.

Viden. Yes; mine for thine, my son: a father? no:

In kind a father, not in kindliness. 

Ferr. My father? why? I know nothing at all,

Wherein I have misdone unto his grace. 

Viden. Therefore, the more unkind to thee and me:

For, knowing well, my son, the tender love

That I have ever borne and bear to thee,

He, grieved thereat, is not content alone

To spoil thee of my sight, my chiefest joy,

But thee, of thy birthright, and heritage,

Causeless, unkindly, and in wrongful wise,

Against all law and right he will bereave:

Half of his kingdom he will give away. 

Ferr. To whom?

Viden.               Ev'n to Porrex his younger son;

Whose growing pride I do so sore suspect,

That being raised to equal rule with thee,

Me thinks I see his envious heart to swell,

Filled with disdain and with ambitious hope.

The end the gods do know, whose alters I

Full oft have made in vain, of cattle slain,

To send the sacred smoke to Heavèn’s throne,

For thee my son; if things do so succeed,

As now my jealous mind misdeemeth sore.

Ferr. Madam, leave care and careful plaint for me!

Just hath my father been to every wight:

His first injustice he will not extend

To me, I trust, that give no cause thereof;

My brother’s pride shall hurt himself, not me.

Viden. So grant the gods! but yet thy father so

Hath firmly fixèd his unmovèd mind,

That plaints and prayèrs can no whit avail;

For those have I assayed, but even this day,

He will endeavor to procure assent

Of all his council to his fond device. 

Ferr. Their ancestors from race to race have born

True faith to my forefathers and their seed:

I trust they eke will bear the like to me.

Viden. There resteth all, but if they fail thereof,

And if the end bring forth an ill success,

On them and theirs the mischief shall befall,

And so I pray the gods requite it them!

And so they will, for so is wont to be

When lords and trusted rulers under kings,

To please the present fancy of the prince,

With wrong transpose the course of governance.

Murders, mischief, or civil sword at length,

Or mutual treason, or a just revenge,

When right-succeeding line returns again

By Jove’s just judgment and deservèd wrath,

Brings them to cruèl and reproachful death,

And roots their names and kindreds from the earth. 

Ferr. Mother, content you, you shall see the end.

Viden. The end? thy end I fear, Jove end me first!



The King's Council Chamber.

Enter Gorboduc, Arostus, Philander and Eubulus.

Gorb .  My lords, whose grave advice and faithful aid

Have long upheld my honour and my realm,

And brought me to this age from tender years,

Guiding so great estate with great renown;

Now more importeth me, than erst, to use

Your faith and wisdom, whereby yet I reign;

That when by death my life and rule shall cease,

The kingdom yet may with unbroken course

Have certain prince, by whose undoubted right,

Your wealth and peace may stand in quiet stay:

And eke that they, whom nature hath prepared

In time to take my place in princely seat,

While in their father's time their pliant youth

Yields to the frame of skilful governance,

May so be taught and trained in noble arts,

As what their fathers which have reigned before

Have with great fame derived down to them,

With honour they may leave unto their seed;

And not be thought for their unworthy life,

And for their lawless swerving out of kind,

Worthy to lose what law and kind them gave:

But that they may preserve the common peace,

The cause that first began and still maintains

The lineal course of kings’ inheritance,

For me, for mine, for you, and for the state,

Whereof both I and you have charge and care,

Thus do I mean to use your wonted faith

To me and mine, and to your native land.

My lords, be plain, without all wry respect,

Or poisonous craft to speak in pleasing wise,

Lest as the blame of ill succeeding things

Shall light on you, so light the harms also.

Aros. Your good acceptance so, most noble king,

Of such our faithfulness, as heretofore

We have employed in duties to your grace,

And to this realm whole worthy head you are,

Well proves that neither you mistrust at all,

Nor we shall need no boasting wise to show

Our truth to you, nor yet our wakeful care

For you, for yours, and for our native land.

Wherefore, O King, I speak for one as all,

Sith all as one do bare you egal faith:

Doubt not to use our counsels and our aids

Whose honours, goods, and lives, are whole avowed

To serve, to aid, and to defend your grace.

Gorb .  My lords, I thank you all. This is the case:

Ye know the gods, who have the sovereign care

For kings, for kingdoms, and for common weals,

Gave me two sons in my more lusty age,

Who now in my decaying years are grown

Well towàrds riper state of mind and strength,

To take in hand some greater princely charge.

As yet they live and spend their hopeful days

With me and with their mother here in court:

Their age now asketh other place and trade,

And mine also doth ask another change;

Theirs to more travail, mine to greater ease.

When fatal death shall end my mortal life,

My purpose is to leave unto them twain

The realm divided in two sundry parts:

The one, Ferrex mine elder son shall have,

The other, shall the other Porrex rule.

That both my purpose may more firmly stand,

And eke that they may better rule their charge,

I mean forthwith to place them in the same:

That in my life they may both learn to rule,

And I may joy to see their ruling well.

This is in sum what I would have ye weigh:

First, whether ye allow my whole device,

And think it good for me, for them, for you,

And for our country, mother of us all:

And if ye like it, and allow it well,

Then for their guiding and their governance,

Show forth such means of circumstance,

As ye think meet to be both known and kept.

Lo, this is all; now tell me your advice.

Aros. And this is much, and asketh great advice;

But for my part, my sovereign lord and king,

This do I think: your majesty doth know,

How under you in justice and in peace,

Great wealth and honour long we have enjoyed;

So as we cannot seem with greedy minds

To wish for change of prince or governance:

But if we like your purpose and device,

Our liking must be deemèd to proceed

Of rightful reason, and of heedful care,

Not for ourselves, but for our common state,

Sith our own state doth need no better change:

I think in all as erst your grace has said.

First, when you shall unload your agèd mind

Of heavy care and troubles manifold,

And lay the same upon my lords your sons,

Whose growing years may bear the burden long,

(And long I pray the gods to grant it so)

And in your life while you shall so behold

Their rule, their virtues, and their noble deeds,

Such as their kind behighteth to us all;

Great be the profits that shall grow thereof,

Your age in quiet shall the longer last,

Your lasting age shall be their longer stay:

For cares of kings, that rule as you have ruled

For public wealth and not for private joy,

Do waste man’s life, and hasten crooked age

With furrowed face and with enfeebled limbs,

To draw on creeping death a swifter pace.

They two, yet young, shall bear the parted reign

With greater ease than one, now old, alone

Can wield the whole, for whom much harder is

With lessened strength the double weight to bear.

Your eye, your counsel, and the grave regard

Of father, yea, of such as father’s name,

Now at beginning of their sundered reign

When it is hazard of their whole success,

Shall bridle so their force of youthful heats,

And so restrain the rage of insolence

Which most assails the young and noble minds,

And so shall guide and train in tempered stay

Their yet green bending wits with reverent awe,

As now inured with virtues at the first.

Custom, O king, shall bring delightfulness.

By use of virtue, vice shall grow in hate;

But if you so dispose it, that the day

Which ends your life, shall first begin their reign,

Great is the peril, what will be the end,

When such beginning of such liberties

Void of such stays as in your life do lie,

Shall leave them free to random of their will,

An open prey to traitorous flattery,

The greatest pestilence of noble youth:

Which peril shall be past, if in your life,

Their tempered youth with agèd father’s awe

Be brought in ure of skilful stayèdness;

And in your life, their lives disposèd so,

Shall length your noble life in joyfulness.

Thus think I that your grace hath wisely thought,

And that your tender care of common weal

Hath bred this thought, so to divide your land,

And plant your sons to bear the present rule

While you yet live to see their ruling well,

That you may longer live by joy therein.

What further means behooveful are and meet,

At greater leisure may your grace devise,

When all have said; and when we be agreed

If this be best to part the realm in twain,

And place your sons in present government:

Whereof, as I have plainly said my mind,

So would I hear the rest of all my lords.

Phil. In part I think as hath been said before,

In part again my mind is otherwise.

As for dividing of this realm in twain,

And lotting out the fame in egal parts,

To either of my lords your grace’s sons,

That think I best for this your realm’s behoof,

For profit and advancement of your sons,

And for your comfort and your honour eke:

But so to place them while your life do last,

To yield to them your royal governance,

To be above them only in the name

Of father, not in kingly state also,

I think not good for you, for them, nor us.

This kingdom since the bloody civil field,

Where Morgan slain did yield his conquered part

Unto his cousin’s sword in Camberland,

Containeth all that whilom did suffice

Three noble sons of your forefather Brute:

So your two sons, it may suffice also;

The mo the stronger, if they gree in one:

The smaller compass that the realm doth hold

The easier is the sway thereof to wield;

The nearer justice to the wrongèd poor,

The smaller charge, and yet enough for one.

And when the region is divided so

That brethren be the lords of either part,

Such strength doth nature knit between them both,

In sundry bodies by conjoinèd love,

That not as two, but one of doubled force,

Each is to other as a sure defense;

The nobleness and glory of the one,

Doth sharp the courage of the other’s mind

With virtuous envy to contend for praise:

And such an egalness hath nature made,

Between the brethren of one father’s seed,

As an unkindly wrong it seems to be,

To throw the brother subject under feet

Of him, whose peer he is by course of kind:

And nature that did make this egalness,

Oft so repineth at so great a wrong,

That oft she raiseth up a grudging grief

In younger brethren at the elder’s state:

Whereby both towns and kingdoms have been razed,

And famous stocks of royal blood destroyed:

The brother, that should be the brother’s aid,

And have a wakeful care for his defense,

Gapes for his death, and blames the lingering years

That draws not forth his end with faster course;

And oft impatient of so long delays,

With hateful slaughter he prevents the Fates,

And heaps a just reward for brother’s blood,

With endless vengeance on his stock for aye.

Such mischiefs here are wisely met withal;

If egal state may nourish egal love,

Where none has cause to grudge the other’s good,

But now the head to stoop beneath them both,

Ne kind, ne reason, ne good order bears.

And oft it hath been seen, where nature’s course

Hath been perverted in disordered wise,

When fathers cease to know that they should rule,

And children cease to know they should obey:

And often over-kindly tenderness

Is mother of unkindly stubbornness.

I speak not this in envy or reproach,

As if I grudged the glory of your sons,

Whose honour I beseech the gods increase:

Nor yet as if I thought there did remain

So filthy cankers in their noble breasts,

Whom I esteem (which is their greatest praise)

Undoubted children of so good a king;

Only I mean to show by certain rules,

Which kind hath graft within the mind of man,

That nature hath her order and her course,

Which, being broken, doth corrupt the state

Of minds and things e’en in the best of all.

My lords, your sons may learn to rule of you;

Your own example in your noble court

Is fittest guider of their youthful years,

If you desire to seek some present joy

By sight of their well ruling in your life,

See them obey, so shall you see them rule:

Who so obeyeth not with humbleness,

Will rule with outrage and with insolence.

Long may they rule, I do beseech the gods;

Long may they learn, ere they begin to rule.

If kind and fates would suffer, I would wish

Them agèd princes and immortal kings.

Wherefore, most noble king, I well assent

Between your sons that you divide your realm,

And as in kind, so match them in degree:

But while the gods prolong your royal life,

Prolong your reign; for thereto live you here,

And therefore have the gods so long forborn

To join you to themselves, that still you might

Be prince and father of our common weal:

They, when they see your children ripe to rule,

Will make them room, and will remove you hence,

That yours, in right ensuing of your life,

May rightly honour your immortal name.

Eubu. Your wonted true regard of faithful hearts

Makes me, O king, the bolder to presume

To speak what I conceive within my breast;

Although the same do not agree at all

With that which other here my lords have said,

Nor which yourself have seemèd best to like.

Pardon I crave, and that my words be deemed

To flow from hearty zeal unto your grace,

And to the safety of your common weal.

To part your realm unto my lords your sons,

I think not good for you, ne yet for them,

But worst of all, for this our native land:

For with one land, one single rule is best:

Divided reigns do make divided hearts;

But peace preserves the country and the prince.

Such is in man the greedy mind to reign,

So great is his desire to climb aloft,

In worldly stage the stateliest parts to bear,

That faith and justice and all kindly love,

Do yield unto desire of sovereignty,

Where egal state doth raise an egal hope

To win the thing that either would attain.

Your grace remembereth how in passed years,

The mighty Brute, first prince of all this land,

Possessed the fame and ruled it well in one:

He, thinking that the compass did suffice

For his three sons three kingdoms eke to make,

Cut it in three, as you would now in twain:

But how much British blood hath since been spilt

To join again the sundered unity?

What princes slain before their timely hour?

What waste of towns and people in the land?

What treasons heaped on murders and on spoils?

Whose just revenge e’en yet is scarcely ceased,

Ruthful remembrance is yet raw in mind.

The gods forbid the like to chance again:

And you, O king, give not the cause thereof.

My Lord Ferrex your elder son, perhaps

Whom kind and custom gives a rightful hope

To be your heir and to succeed your reign,

Shall think that he doth suffer greater wrong

Than he perchance will bear, if powèr serve.

Porrex the younger, so upraised in state,

Perhaps in courage will be raised also,

If flattery then, which fails not to assail

The tender minds of yet unskilful youth,

In one shall kindle and increase disdain,

And envy in the other’s heart enflame:

This fire shall waste their love, their lives, their land,

And ruthful ruin shall destroy them both.

I wish not this, O King, so to befall,

But fear the thing, that I do most abhor.

Give no beginning to so dreadful end;

Keep them in order and obedience;

And let them both by now obeying you,

Learn such behavior as beseems their state;

The elder, mildness in his governance,

The younger, a yielding contentedness;

And keep them near unto your presence still,

That they, restrainèd by the awe of you,

May live in compass of well-tempered stay,

And pass the perils of their youthful years.

Your agèd life draws on to feebler time,

Wherein you shall less able be to bear

The travails that in youth you have sustained,

Both in your person’s and your realm’s defense.

If planting now your sons in further parts,

You send them further from your present reach,

Less shall you know how they themselves demean:

Traitorous corrupters of their pliant youth

Shall have unspied a much more free access;

And if ambition and inflamed disdain

Shall arm the one, the other, or them both,

To civil war, or to usurping pride,

Late shall you rue that you ne recked before.

Good is, I grant, of all to hope the best,

But not to live still dreadless of the worst.

So trust the one, that th’ other be forseen.

Arm not unskilfulness with princely power;

But you that long have wisely ruled the reins

Of royalty within your noble realm,

So hold them, while the gods for our avails

Shall stretch the thread of your prolongèd days.

Too soon he clamb into the flaming car,

Whose want of skill did set the earth on fire.

Time and example of your noble grace,

Shall teach your sons both to obey and rule;

When time hath taught them, time shall make them place,

The place that now is full: and so I pray

Long it remain, to comfort of us all.

Gorb. I take your faithful hearts in thankful part:

But sith I see no cause to draw my mind,

To fear the nature of my loving sons,

Or to misdeem that envy or disdain

Can there work hate, where nature planteth love;

In one self purpose do I still abide:

My love extendeth egally to both,

My land sufficeth for them both also.

Humber shall part the marches of their realms:

The southern part the elder shall possess,

The northern shall Porrex the younger rule.

In quiet I will pass mine agèd days,

Free from the travail and the painful cares

That hasten age upon the worthiest kings.

But lest the fraud, that ye do seem to fear

Of flattering tongues, corrupt their tender youth,

And writhe them to the ways of youthful lust,

To climbing pride, or to revenging hate;

Or to neglecting of their careful charge,

Lewdly to live in wanton recklessness;

Or to oppressing of the rightful cause;

Or not to wreak the wrongs done to the poor,

To tread down truth, or favor false deceit;

I mean to join to either of my sons

Someone of those whose long approvèd faith

And wisdom tried may well assure my heart:

That mining fraud shall find no way to creep

Into their fencèd ears with grave advise.

This is the end; and so I pray you all

To bear my sons the love and loyalty

That I have found within your faithful breasts.

Aros. You, nor your sons, our sovereign lord, shall want

Our faith and service while our lives do last.


Chorus. When settled stay doth hold the royal throne

In steadfast place by known and doubtless right,

And chiefly when descent on one alone

Make single and unparted reign to light;

Each change of course unjoints the whole estate,

And yields it thrall to ruin by debate.

    The strength that knit by fast accord in one,

Against all foreign power of mighty foes

Could of itself defend itself alone;

Disjoinèd once, the former force doth lose.

The sticks, that sundered brake so soon in twain,

In faggot bound attempted were in vain.

    Oft tender mind that leads the partial eye

Of erring parents in their children’s love,

Destroys the wrongly lovèd child thereby:

This doth the proud son of Apollo prove,

Who, rashly set in chariot of his sire,

Inflamed the parchèd earth with Heavèn’s fire.

    And this great king, that doth divide his land,

And change the course of his descending crown,

And yields the reign into his children’s hand;

From blissful state of joy and great renown,

A mirror shall become to princes all,

To learn to shun the cause of such a fall.




     First, the music of cornets begins to play, during

which comes in upon the stage a king accompanied

with a number of his nobility and gentlemen. And

after he has placed himself in a chair of estate

prepared for him, there comes and kneels before him a

grave and aged gentleman and offers up a cup unto

him of wine in a glass, which the king refuses. After

him comes a brave and lusty young gentleman and

presents the king with a cup of gold filled with poison,

which the king accepts, and drinking the same,

immediately falls down dead upon the stage, and so is

carried thence away by his lords and gentlemen, and

then the music ceases.

     Hereby is signified that as glass by nature holdeth

no poison, but is clear and may easily be seen through,

ne boweth by any art: so a faithful counselor holdeth no

treason, but is plain and open, ne yieldeth to any

undiscreet affection, but giveth wholesome counsel,

which the ill-advised prince refuseth. The delightful

gold filled with poison betokeneth flattery, which

under fair seeming of pleasant words beareth deadly

poison, which destroyeth the prince that receiveth it.

As befell in the two brethren Ferrex and Porrex, who,

refusing the wholesome advise of grave court

counselors, credited these young parasites, and

brought to themselves death and destruction thereby.


The Court of Prince Ferrex.

Enter Ferrex, Hermon and Dordan.

Ferr. I marvel much what reason led the king

My father, thus without all my desert,

To reave me half the kingdom which by course

Of law and nature should remain to me.

Herm. If you with stubborn and untamèd pride

Had stood against him in rebelling wise;

Or if with grudging mind you had envied

So slow a sliding of his agèd years;

Or sought before your time to haste the course

Of fatal death upon his royal head;

Or stained your stock with murder of your kin;

Some face of reason might perhaps have seemed

To yield some likely cause to spoil ye thus.

Ferr. The wreakful gods pour on my cursèd head

Eternal plagues and never dying woes;

The hellish prince adjudge my damnèd ghost

To Tantal’s thirst, or proud Ixion’s wheel,

Or cruèl gripe to gnaw my growing heart,

To during torments and unquenchèd flames;

If ever I conceived so foul a thought,

To wish his end of life, or yet of reign.

Dord. Ne yet your father, O most noble prince,

Did ever think so foul a thing of you:

For he, with more than father’s tender love,

While yet the fates do lend him life to rule,

(Who long might live to see your ruling well)

To you, my lord, and to his other son,

Lo, he resigns his realm and royalty;

Which never would so wise a prince have done,

If he had once misdeemed that in your heart

There ever lodgèd so unkind a thought.

But tender love, my lord, and settled trust

Of your good nature, and your noble mind,

Made him to place you thus in royal throne,

And now to give you half his realm to guide;

Yea, and that half which in abounding store

Of things that serve to make a wealthy realm,

In stately cities, and in fruitful soil,

In temperate breathing of the milder Heaven,

In things of needful use, which friendly sea

Transports by traffic from the foreign parts,

In flowing wealth, in honour and in force,

Doth pass the double value of the part

That Porrex hath allotted to his reign.

Such is your case, such is your father’s love.

Ferr. Ah love, my friends? love wrongs not whom he loves.

Dord. Ne yet he wrongeth you, that giveth you

So large a reign, ere that the course of time

Bring you to kingdom by descended right,

Which time perhaps might end your time before.

Ferr. Is this no wrong, say you, to reave from me

My native right of half so great a realm?

And thus to match his younger son with me

In egal power, and in as great degree?

Yea, and what son? The son whose swelling pride

Would never yield one point of reverence,

When I the elder and apparent heir

Stood in the likelihood to possess the whole;

Yea, and that son which from his childish age

Envieth my honour, and doth hate my life.

What will he now do, when his pride, his rage,

The mindful malice of his grudging heart,

Is armed with force, with wealth, and kingly state?

Herm. Was this not wrong? Yea, ill-advisèd wrong

To give so mad a man so sharp a sword,

To so great peril of so great mishap,

Wide open thus to set so large a way.

Dord. Alas, my lord, what griefful thing is this,

That of your brother you can think so ill?

I never saw him utter likely sign

Whereby a man might see or once misdeem

Such hate of you, ne such unyielding pride:

Ill is their counsel, shameful be their end,

That raising such mistrustful fear in you,

Sowing the seed of such unkindly hate,

Travail by reason to destroy you both.

Wise is your brother and of noble hope,

Worthy to wield a large and mighty realm;

So much a stronger friend have you thereby,

Whose strength is your strength, if you gree in one.

Herm. If nature and the gods had pinchèd so

Their flowing bounty, and their noble gifts

Of princely qualities from you my lord,

And poured them all at once in wasteful wise

Upon your father’s younger son alone;

Perhaps there be, that in your prejudice

Would say that birth should yield to worthiness:

But sith in each good gift and princely art

Ye are his match, and in the chief of all −

In mildness and in sober governance −

Ye far surmount; and sith there is in you

Sufficing skill and hopeful towardness

To wield the whole, and match your elders praise,

I see no cause why ye should lose the half,

Ne would I with you yield to such a loss:

Lest your mild sufferance of so great a wrong

Be deemèd cowardice and simple dread,

Which shall give courage to the fiery head

Of your young brother to invade the whole.

While yet therefore sticks in the people’s mind

The loathèd wrong of your disheritance;

And ere your brother have by settled power,

By guileful cloak of an alluring show,

Got him some force and favour in this realm;

And while the noble queen your mother lives,

To work and practice all for your avail;

Attempt redress by arms, and wreak yourselves

Upon his life that gaineth by your loss,

Who now to shame of you, and grieve of us,

In your own kingdom triumphs over you:

Show now your courage meet for kingly state,

That they which have avowed to spend their goods,

Their lands, their lives, and honours in your cause,

May be the bolder to maintain your part

When they do see that coward fear in you

Shall not betray ne fail their faithful hearts.

If once the death of Porrex end the strife,

And pay the price of his usurpèd reign,

Your mother shall persuade the angry king,

The lords your friends eke shall appease his rage;

For they be wise, and well they can foresee

That ere long time your agèd father’s death

Will bring a time when you shall well requite

Their friendly favour, or their hateful spite,

Yea, or their slackness to advance your cause.

“Wise men do not so hang on passing state

Of present princes, chiefly in their age,

But they will further cast their reaching eye,

To view and weigh the times and reigns to come.”

Ne is it likely, though the king be wroth,

That he yet will, or that the realm will bear,

Extreme revenge upon his only son:

Or if he would, what one is he that dare

Be minister to such an enterprise?

And here you be now placèd in your own,

Amid your friends, your vassals and your strength:

We shall defend and keep your person safe

Till either counsel turn his tender mind,

Or age, or sorrow end his weary days.

But if the fear of gods, and secret grudge

Of nature’s law, repining at the fact,

Withhold your courage from so great attempt,

Know ye, that lust of kingdoms hath no law,

The gods do bear and well allow in kings

The things [that] they abhor in rascal routs.

“When kings on slender quarrels run to wars,

And then in cruèl and unkindly wise

Command thefts, rapes, murder of innocents,

To spoil of towns, and reigns of mighty realms;

Think you such princes do suppress themselves

Subject to laws of kind, and fear of gods?”

Murders, and violent thefts in private men

Are heinous crimes and full of foul reproach:

Yet none offence, but decked with glorious name

Of noble conquests in the hands of kings.

But if you like not yet so hot device,

Ne list to take such vantage of the time,

But, though with peril of your own estate,

You will not be the first that shall invade;

Assemble yet your force for your defense,

And for your safety stand upon your guard.

Dord.  Oh, Heavèn! was there ever heard or known

So wicked counsel to a noble prince?

Let me, my lord, disclose unto your grace

This heinous tale, what mischief it contains;

Your father’s death, your brother’s, and your own,

Your present murder, and eternal shame.

Hear me, O king, and suffer not to sink

So high a treason in your princely breast.

Ferr.  The mighty gods forbid that ever I

Should once conceive such mischief in my heart.

Although my brother hath bereft my realm,

And bear perhaps to me an hateful mind,

Shall I revenge it with his death therefore?

Or shall I so destroy my father’s life

That gave me life? The gods forbid, I say,

Cease you to speak so anymore to me. −

Ne you, my friend, with answer once repeat

So foul a tale: in silence let it die.

What lord or subject shall have hope at all

That under me they safely shall enjoy

Their goods, their honours, lands and liberties,

With whom neither one only brother dear,

Ne father dearer, could enjoy their lives?

But sith I fear my younger brother’s rage,

And sith perhaps some other man may give

Some like advice, to move his grudging head

At mine estate, which counsel may perchance

Take greater force with him, than this with me;

I will in secret so prepare myself,

As, if his malice or his lust to reign

Break forth in arms or sudden violence,

I may withstand his rage, and keep mine own.

Dord. I fear the fatal time now draweth on

When civil hate shall end the noble line

Of famous Brute, and of his royal seed:

Great Jove, defend the mischiefs now at hand!

O that the secretary’s wise advice

Had erst been heard when he besought the king

Not to divide his land, nor send his sons

To further parts from presence of his court,

Ne yet to yield to them his governance.

Lo, such are they now in the royal throne

As was rash Phaeton in Phoebus’ car;

Ne then the fiery steeds did draw the flame

With wilder randon through the kindled skies,

Then traitorous counsel now will whirl about

The youthful heads of these unskilful kings.

But I hereof their father will inform;

The reverénce of him perhaps shall stay

The growing mischiefs while they yet are green:

If this help not, then woe unto themselves,

The prince, the people, the divided land!



The Court of Prince Ferrex.

Enter Porrex, Tyndar, and Philander.

Porr. And is it thus? And doth he so prepare

Against his brother as his mortal foe?

And now while yet his agèd father lives?

Neither regards he him, nor fears he me?

War would he have? and he shall have it so.

Tyn. I saw myself the great preparèd store

Of horse, of armour, and of weapons there;

Ne bring I to my lord reported tales

Without the ground of seen and searchèd truth.

Lo, secret quarrels run about his court

To bring the name of you, my lord, in hate.

Each man almost can now debate the cause

And ask a reason of so great a wrong,

Why he so noble and so wise a prince

Is as, unworthy, reft his heritage?

And why the king, misled by crafty means,

Divided thus his land from course of right?

The wiser sort hold down their griefful heads;

Each man withdraws from talk and company

Of those that have been known to favour you:

To hide the mischief of their meaning there,

Rumours are spread of your preparing here.

The rascal numbers of unskilful sort

Are filled with monstrous tales of you and yours.

In secret I was counseled by my friends

To haste me thence, and brought you, as you know,

Letters from those that both can truly tell,

And would not write unless they knew it well.

Phil. My lord, yet ere you move unkindly war,

Send to your brother to demand the cause:

Perhaps some traitorous tales have filled his ears

With false reports against your noble grace;

Which once disclosed shall end the growing strife,

That else not stayed with wise foresight in time,

Shall hazard both your kingdoms and your lives:

Send to your father eke, he shall appease

Your kindled minds, and rid you of this fear.

Porr. Rid me of fear? I fear him not at all;

Ne will to him, ne to my father send.

If danger were for one to tarry there,

Think ye it safety to return again?

In mischiefs, such as Ferrex now intends,

The wonted courteous laws to messengers

Are not observed, which in just war they use.

Shall I so hazard any one of mine?

Shall I betray my trusty friend to him

That hath disclosed his treason unto me?

Let him entreat that fears, I fear him not:

Or shall I to the king my father send?

Yea, and send now while such a mother lives

That loves my brother and that hateth me?

Shall I give leisure, by my fond delays,

To Ferrex to oppress me all unware?

I will not; but I will invade his realm,

And seek the traitor-prince within his court.

Mischief for mischief is a due reward.

His wretched head shall pay the worthy price

Of this his treason and his hate to me.

Shall I abide, and treat, and send, and pray,

And hold my yielden throat to traitor’s knife,

While I with valiant mind and conquering force

Might rid myself of foes, and win a realm?

Yet rather, when I have the wretch’s head,

Then to the king my father will I send.

The bootless case may yet appease his wrath:

If not I will defend me as I may.

Phil. Lo, here the end of these two youthful kings!

The father’s death! the reign of their two realms!

“O most unhappy state of counselors

That light on so unhappy lords and times,

That neither can their good advice be heard,

Yet must they bear the blames of ill success.”

But I will to the king their father haste,

Ere this mischief come to that likely end,

That if the mindful wrath of wreakful gods

Since mighty Ilion’s fall, not yet appeased

With these poor remnants of the Trojan name,

Have not determined by unmovèd fate

Out of this realm to raze the British line;

By good advice, by awe of father’s name,

By force of wiser lords, this kindled hate

May yet be quenched, ere it consume us all.

Chorus. When youth not bridled with a guiding stay

Is left to randon of their own delight,

And welds whole realms, by force of sovereign sway,

Great is the danger of unmastered might,

Lest skilless rage throw down with headlong fall

Their lands, their states, their lives, themselves and all.

    When growing pride doth fill the swelling breast,

And greedy lust doth raise the climbing mind,

O, hardly may the peril be repressed;

Ne fear of angry gods, ne laws kind,

Ne country’s care can firèd hearts restrain,

When force hath armèd envy and disdain.

    When kings of foreset will neglect the rede

Of best advice, and yield to pleasing tales,

That do their fancy’s noisome humour feed,

Ne reason, nor regard of right avails:

Succeeding heaps of plagues shall teach too late,

To learn the mischiefs of misguiding state.

    Foul fall the traitor false, that undermines

The love of brethren, to destroy them both!

Woe to the prince that pliant care inclines,

And yields his mind to poisonous tale that floweth

From flattering mouth! and woe to wretched land

That wastes itself with civil sword in hand!

    Lo thus it is, poison in gold to take,

    And wholesome drink in homely cup forsake.




     First the music of flutes begins to play, during which

comes in upon the stage a company of mourners all

clad in black, betokening death and sorrow to ensue

upon the ill-advised misgovernment and dissension of

brethren, as befell upon the murder of Ferrex by his

younger brother. After the mourners have passed

thrice about the stage, they depart, and then the music



The King's Council Chamber.

Enter Gorboduc, Eubulus, and Arostus.

Gorb. O cruèl fates, O mindful wrath of gods,

Whose vengeance neither Simois’ strainèd streams

Flowing with blood of Trojan princes slain,

Nor Phrygian fields made rank with corpses dead

Of Asian kings and lords, can yet appease;

Ne slaughter of unhappy Priam's race,

Nor Ilion's fall made level with the soil,

Can yet suffice: but still continued rage

Pursues our lines, and from the farthest seas

Doth chase the issues of destroyèd Troy.

“O, no man happy, till his end be seen.”

If any flowing wealth and seeming joy

In present years might make a happy wight,

Happy was Hecuba, the woefullest wretch

That ever lived to make a mirror of;

And happy Priam with his noble sons;

And happy I, till now alas, I see

And feel my most unhappy wretchedness.

Behold, my lords, read you this letter here;

Lo, it contains the ruin of our realm

If timely speed provide not hasty help.

Yet, O ye gods, if ever woeful king

Might move you kings of kings, wreak it on me

And on my sons, not on this guiltless realm:

Send down your wasting flames from wrathful skies,

To reave me and my sons the hateful breath.

Read, read, my lords; this is the matter why

I called you now to have your good advice.

The Letter from Dordan

the Counselor of the Elder Prince.

Eubulus readeth the letter.

My sovereign lord, what I am loath to write

But loathest am to see, that I am forced

By letters now to make you understand.

My lord Ferrex, your eldest son, misled

By traitorous fraud of young untempered wits,

Assembleth force against your younger son;

Ne can my counsel yet withdraw the heat

And furious pangs of his enflamèd head.

Disdain, saith he, of his inheritance,

Arms him to wreak the great pretended wrong

With civil sword upon his brother's life.

If present help does not restrain this rage,

This flame will waste your sons, your land, and you.

Your Majesty’s faithful and most

humble subject,


Aros. O king, appease your grief and stay your plaint:

Great is the matter and a woeful case;

But timely knowledge may bring timely help.

Send for them both unto your presence here:

The reverence of your honour, age, and state,

Your grave advice, the awe of father’s name,

Shall quickly knit again this broken peace.

And if in either of my lords your sons

Be such untamèd and unyielding pride,

As will not bend unto your noble hests;

If Ferrex the elder son can bear no peer,

Or Porrex not content, aspires to more

Than you him gave, above his native right;

Join with the juster side, so shall you force

Them to agree, and hold the land in stay.

Enter Philander.

Eubu. What meaneth this? Lo, yonder comes in haste

Philander from my lord your younger son.

Gorb.  The gods send joyful news.

Phil.                                               The mighty Jove

Preserve your majesty, O noble king.

Gorb .  Philander, welcome; but how doth my son?

Phil. Your son, sir, lives; and healthy I him left:

But yet, O king, this want of lustful health

Could not be half so griefful to your grace

As these most wretched tidings that I bring.

Gorb.  Oh heavens, yet more? no end of woes to me?

Phil. Tyndar, O king, came lately from the court

Of Ferrex, to my lord your younger son,

And made report of great preparèd store

Of war, and saith that it is wholly meant

Against Porrex, for high disdain that he

Lives now a king and egal in degree

With him that claimeth to succeed the whole,

As by due title of descending right.

Porrex is now so set on flaming fire,

Partly with kindled rage of cruèl wrath,

Partly with hope to gain a realm thereby,

That he in haste prepareth to invade

His brother’s land, and with unkindly war

Threatens the murder of your elder son;

Ne could I him persuade, that first he should

Send to his brother to demand the cause;

Nor yet to you, to stay his hateful strife.

Wherefore, sith there no more I can be heard,

I come myself now to inform your grace,

And to beseech you, as you love the life

And safety of your children and your realm,

Now to employ your wisdom and your force,

To stay this mischief ere it be too late.

Gorb .  Are they in arms? would he not send to me?

Is this the honour of a father’s name?

In vain we travail to assuage their minds:

As if their hearts, whom neither brother’s love,

Nor father’s awe, nor kingdom’s cares can move,

Our counsels could withdraw from raging heat.

Jove slay them both, and end the cursèd line!

For though, perhaps, fear of such mighty force

As I, my lords, joined with your noble aids,

May yet raise, shall repent their present heat;

The secret grudge and malice will remain,

The fire not quenched, but kept in close restraint,

Fed still within, breaks forth with double flame:

Their death and mine must ‘pease the angry gods.

Phil. Yield not, O king, so much to weak despair:

Your sons yet live; and long, I trust, they shall.

If fates had taken you from earthly life,

Before beginning of this civil strife,

Perhaps your sons in their unmastered youth,

Loose from regard of any living wight,

Would run on headlong, with unbridled race,

To their own death, and ruin of this realm.

But sith the gods, that have the care for kings,

Of things and times dispose the order so,

That in your life this kindled flame breaks forth,

While yet your life, your wisdom, and your power,

May stay the growing mischief, and repress

The fiery blaze of their enkindled heat;

It seems, and so ye ought to deem thereof,

That loving Jove hath tempered so the time

Of this debate to happen in your days,

That you yet living may the same appease,

And add it to the glory of your latter age,

And they your sons may learn to live in peace.

Beware, O king, the greatest harm of all,

Lest by your wailful plaints your hastened death

Yield larger room unto their growing rage:

Preserve your life, the only hope of stay.

And if your highness herein list to use

Wisdom or force, counsel or knightly aid,

Lo we, our persons, powers and lives are yours:

Use us till death; O king, we are your own.

Eubu. Lo here the peril that was erst foreseen,

When you, O king, did first divide your land,

And yield your present reign unto your sons,

But now, O noble prince, now is no time

To wail and plain, and waste your woeful life;

Now is the time for present good advice −

Sorrow doth dark the judgment of the wit.

“The heart unbroken, and the courage free

From feeble faintness of bootless despair,

Doth either rise to safety or renown

By noble valour of unvanquished mind;

Or yet doth perish in more happy sort.”

Your grace may send to either of your sons

Someone both wise and noble personage,

Which with good counsel, and with weighty name

Of father, shall present before their eyes

Your hest, your life, your safety and their own,

The present mischief of their deadly strife:

And in the while, assemble you the force

Which your commandment, and the speedy haste

Of all my lords here present can prepare.

The terror of your mighty power shall stay

The rage of both, or yet of one least.

Enter Nuntius.

Nunt. O king, the greatest grief that ever prince did hear,

That ever woeful messenger did tell,

That ever wretched land hath seen before,

I bring to you: Porrex your younger son,

With sudden force invaded hath the land

That you to Ferrex did allot to rule;

And with his own most bloody hand he hath

His brother slain, and doth possess his realm.

Gorb .  O heavens! send down the flames of your revenge,

Destroy, I say, with flash of wreakful fire,

The traitor son, and then the wretched sire!

But let us go, that yet perhaps I may

Die with revenge, and ‘pease the hateful gods.


Chorus. The lust of kingdom knows no sacred faith,

No rule of reason, no regard of right,

No kindly love, no fear of Heaven’s wrath:

But with contempt of gods, and man’s despite,

Through bloody slaughter doth prepare the ways

To fatal sceptre, and accursèd reign:

The son so loathes the father’s lingering days,

Ne dreads his hand in brother’s blood to stain.

O wretched prince, ne dost thou yet record

The yet fresh murders done within the land

Of thy forefathers, when the cruèl sword

Bereft Morgan his life with cousin’s hands?

Thus fatal plagues pursue the guilty race,

Whose murderous hand, imbrued with guiltless blood,

Asks vengeance still before the heavens’ face,

With endless mischiefs on the cursèd brood.

The wicked child thus brings to woeful sire

The mournful plaint to waste his weary life;

Thus do the cruèl flames of civil fire

Destroy the parted reign with hateful strife:

And hence doth spring the well from which doth flow

The dead black streams of mournings, plaints, and woe.




     First the music of hautboys begins to play, during

which there comes forth from under the stage, as

though out of hell, three furies, Alecto, Megera and

Ctisiphone, clad in black garments sprinkled with

blood and flames, their bodies girt with snakes, their

heads spread with serpents instead of hair, the one

bearing in her hand a snake, the other a whip, and the

third a burning firebrand, each driving before them a

king and a queen, which, moved by furies, unnaturally

had slain their own children. The names of kings and

queens were these, Tantalus, Medea, Athamas, Ino,

Cambyses, Althea; after that the furies and these pass

about the stage thrice, they depart, and then the music


     Hereby is signified the unnatural murders to

follow: that is to say, Porrex slain by his own mother,

and King Gorboduc and Queen Videna killed by their

own subjects.


The Palace.

Enter Videna sola.

Viden. Why should I live, and linger forth my time

In longer life to double my distress?

O me, most woeful wight, whom no mishap

Long ere this day could have bereaved hence.

Mought not these hands by fortune or by fate

Have pierced this breast, and life with iron reft?

Or in this palace here, where I so long

Have spent my days, could not that happy hour

Once, once have hap’d, in which these hugy frames

With death by fall might have oppressèd me?

Or should not this most hard and cruèl soil,

So oft where I have pressed my wretched steps,

Sometime had ruth of mine accursèd life,

To rend in twain and swallow me therein?

So had my bones possessèd now in peace

Their happy grave within the closèd ground,

And greedy worms had gnawn this pinèd heart

Without my feeling pain: so should not now

This living breast remain the ruthful tomb

Wherein my heart yielded to death is graved:

Nor dreary thoughts with pangs of pining grief,

My doleful mind had not afflicted thus.

O my belovèd son! O my sweet child!

My dear Ferrex, my joy, my life’s delight!

Is my belovèd son, is my sweet child,

My dear Ferrex, my joy, my life’s delight,

Murdered with cruèl death? O hateful wretch!

O heinous traitor both to Heaven and earth!

Thou Porrex, thou this damnèd deed hast wrought;

Thou Porrex, thou shall dearly bye the same:

Traitor to kin and kind, to sire and me,

To thine own flesh, and traitor to thyself:

The gods on thee in hell shall wreak their wrath,

And here in earth this hand shall take revenge

On thee, Porrex, thou false and caitiff wight:

If after blood so eager were thy thirst,

And murderous mind had so possessèd thee;

If such hard heart of rock and stony flint

Lived in thy breast, that nothing else could like

Thy cruèl tyrant’s thought but death and blood:

Wild savage beasts, might not their slaughter serve

To feed thy greedy will, and in the midst

Of their entrails to stain thy deadly hands

With blood deserved, and drink thereof thy fill?

Or if nought else but death and blood of man

Mought please thy lust, could none in Britain land

Whose heart be torn out of his loving breast

With thine own hand, or work what death thou wouldst,

Suffice to make a sacrifice to ‘pease

That deadly mind and murderous thought in thee,

But he who in the self-same womb was wrapped

Where thou in dismal hour receivèdst life?

Or if needs, needs, this hand must slaughter make,

Moughtest thou not have reached a mortal wound,

And with thy sword have pierced this cursèd womb

That the accursèd Porrex brought to light,

And given me a just reward therefore?

So Ferrex yet sweet life might have enjoyed,

And to his agèd father comfort brought,

With some young son in whom they both might live.

But whereunto waste I this ruthful speech,

To thee that hast thy brother’s blood thus shed?

Shall I still think that from this womb thou sprung?

That I thee bear? or take thee for my son?

No, traitor, no: I thee refuse for mine;

Murderer, I thee renounce, thou are not mine:

Never, O wretch, this womb conceivèd thee,

Nor never bode I painful throes for thee.

Changeling to me thou art, and not my child,

Nor to no wight that spark of pity knew:

Ruthless, unkind, monster of nature’s work,

Thou never sucked the milk of woman’s breast,

But from thy birth the cruèl tiger’s teats

Have nursèd thee, nor yet of flesh and blood

Formed is thy heart, but of hard iron wrought;

And wild and desert woods bred thee to life.

But canst thou hope to ‘scape my just revenge?

Or that these hands will not be wroke on thee?

Dost thou not know that Ferrex’ mother lives,

That lovèd him more dearly then herself?

And doth she live, and is not venged on thee?

Exit Videna.


The King's Court.

Enter Gorboduc and Arostus.

Gorb. We marvel much whereto this lingering stay

Falls out so long: Porrex unto our court,

By order of our letters is returned:

And Eubulus received from us by hest

At his arrival here, to give him charge

Before our presence straight to make repair,

And yet we have no word whereof he stays.

Aros. Lo where he comes, and Eubulus with him.

Enter Eubulus and Porrex.

Eubu. According to your highness’ hest to me,

Here have I Porrex brought, even in such sort

As from his wearied horse he did alight,

For that your grace did will such haste therein.

Gorb. We like and praise this speedy will in you,

To work the thing that to your charge we gave. −

Porrex, if we so far should swerve from kind,

And from those bounds which law of nature sets,

As thou hast done by vile and wretched deed,

In cruèl murder of thy brother’s life;

Our present hand could stay no lenger time,

But straight should bathe this blade in blood of thee

As just revenge of thy detested crime.

No; we should not offend the law of kind

If now this sword of ours did slay thee here:

For thou hast murdered him, whose heinous death

Even nature’s force doth move us to revenge

By blood again; but justice forceth us

To measure death for death, thy due desert:

Yet sith thou art our child, and sith as yet

In this hard case what word thou canst allege

For thy defense, by us hath not been heard,

We are content to stay our will for that

Which justice bids us presently to work;

And give thee leave to use thy speech at full,

If aught thou have to lay for thine excuse.

Porr. Neither, O king, I can or will deny,

But that this hand from Ferrex life hath reft:

Which fact how much my doleful heart doth wail,

O! would it mought as full appear to sight

As inward grief doth pour it forth to me.

So yet perhaps, if ever ruthful heart

Melting in tears within a manly breast,

Through deep repentance of his bloody fact,

If ever grief, if ever woeful man

Might move regret with sorrow of his fault,

I think the torment of my mournful case

Known to your grace, as I do feel the same,

Would force even Wrath herself to pity me.

But as the water troubled with the mud

Shows not the face which else the eye should see,

Even so your ireful mind with stirrèd thought

Cannot so perfectly discern my cause.

But this unhap, amongst so many heaps

I must content me with, most wretched man,

That to myself I must reserve my woe,

In pining thoughts of mine accursèd fact:

Since I may not show here my smallest grief,

Such as it is, and as my breast endures,

Which I esteem the greatest misery

Of all mishaps that fortune now can send.

Not that I rest in hope with plaints and tears

Should purchase life; for to the gods I clepe

For true record of this my faithful speech;

Never this heart shall have the thoughtful dread

To die the death that by your grace’s doom,

By just desert, shall be pronounced to me:

Nor never shall this tongue once spend this speech

Pardon to crave, or seek by suit to live.

I mean not this, as though I were not touched

With care of dreadful death, or that I held

Life in contempt: but that I know the mind

Stoops to no dread, although the flesh be frail:

And for my guilt, I yield the same so great,

As in myself I find a fear to sue

For grant of life.

Gorb.                 In vain, O wretch, thou show’st

A woeful heart; Ferrex now lies in grave,

Slain by thy hand.

Por.                     Yet this, O father, hear:

And then I end: your majesty well knows

That when my brother Ferrex and myself

By your own hest were joined in governance

Of this your grace’s realm of Britain land,

I never sought nor travailed for the same;

Nor by myself, nor by no friend I wrought,

But from your highness’ will alone it sprung,

Of your most gracious goodness bent to me,

But how my brother’s heart e’en than repined

With swoll’n disdain against mine egal rule,

Seeing that realm which by descent should grow

Wholly to him, allotted half to me?

E’en in your highness’ court he now remains,

And with my brother then in nearest place,

Who can record what proof thereof was showed,

And how my brother’s envious heart appeared.

Yet I that judgèd it my part to seek

His favor and good-will, and loath to make

Your highness know the things which should have brought

Grief to your grace, and your offence to him,

Hoping my earnest suit should soon have won

A loving heart within a brother’s breast,

Wrought in that sort, that for a pledge of love

And faithful heart he gave to me his hand.

This made me think that he had banished quite

All rancour from his thought, and bare to me

Such hearty love, as I did owe to him:

But after once we left your grace’s court,

And from your highness’ presence lived apart,

This egal rule still, still, did grudge him so,

That now those envious sparks which erst lay raked

In living cinders of dissembling breast,

Kindled so far within his heart disdain,

That longer could he not refrain from proof

Of secret practice to deprive me life

By poison’s force; and had bereft me so,

If mine own servant, hirèd to this fact,

And moved by troth with hate to work the same,

In time had not bewrayed it unto me.

When thus I saw the knot of love unknit,

All honest league and faithful promise broke,

The law of kind and troth thus rent in twain,

His heart on mischief set, and in his breast

Black treason hid; then, then, did I despair

That ever time could win him friend to me:

Then saw I how he smiled with slaying knife

Wrapped under cloak; then saw I deep deceit

Lurk in his face, and death prepared for me:

Even nature moved me then to hold my life

More dear to me than his, and bad this hand,

Since by his life my death must needs ensue,

And by his death my life to be preserved,

To shed his blood, and seek my safety so;

And wisdom willèd me, without protract,

In speedy wise to put the same in ure.

Thus have I told the cause that movèd me

To work my brother’s death, and so I yield

My life, my death, to judgment of your grace.

Gorb.  Oh cruèl wight, should any cause prevail

To make thee stain thy hands with brother’s blood?

But what of thee we will resolve to do

Shall yet remain unknown: thou in the mean

Shalt from our royal presence banished be,

Until our princely pleasure further shall

To thee be showed; depart therefore our sight,

Accursèd child! [Exit Porrex.] What cruèl destiny,

What froward fate hath sorted us this chance,

That even in those, where we should comfort find;

Where our delight now in our agèd days

Should rest and be, even there our only grief

And deepest sorrows to abridge our life,

Most pining cares and deadly thoughts do grow.

Aros. Your grace should now, in these grave years of yours

Have found ere this the price of mortal joys;

How short they be; how fading here in earth;

How full of change; how brittle our estate;

Of nothing sure, save only of the death

To whom both man and all the world doth owe

Their end at last; neither shall nature’s power

In other sort against your heart prevail,

Than as the naked hand whose stroke assays

The armèd breast where force doth light in vain.

Gorb .  Many can yield right grave and sage advice

Of patient sprite to others wrapped in woe;

And can in speech both rule and conquer kind;

Who if by proof they might feel nature’s force,

Would show themselves men as they are indeed,

Which now will needs be gods. But what doth mean

The sorry cheer of her that here doth come?

Enter Marcella.

Marc. O, where is ruth? or where is pity now?

Whither is gentle heart and mercy fled?

Are they exiled out of our stony breasts,

Never to make return? Is all the world

Drownèd in blood, and sunk in cruèlty?

If not in women mercy may be found,

If not, alas, within the mother’s breast,

To her own child, to her own flesh and blood;

If ruth be banished thence; if pity there

May have no place; if there no gentle heart

Do live and dwell, where should we seek it then?

Gorb. Madam, alas, what means your woeful tale?

Marc.  O silly woman I; why to this hour

Have kind and fortune thus deferred my breath

That I should live to see this doleful day?

Will ever wight believe that such hard heart

Could rest within the cruèl mother’s breast?

With her own hand to slay her only son?

But out, alas, these eyes beheld the same:

They saw the dreary sight, and are become

Most ruthful records of the bloody fact.

Porrex, alas, is by his mother slain,

And with her hand, a woeful thing to tell,

While slumb’ring on his careful bed he rests,

His heart stabbed in with knife is reft of life.

Gorb .  O Eubulus, O, draw this sword of ours,

And pierce this heart with speed. O hateful light,

O loathsome life, O sweet and welcome death!

Dear Eubulus, work this we thee beseech.

Eubu. Patient your grace, perhaps he liveth yet,

With wound received, but not of certain death.

Gorb.  O let us then repair unto the place,

And see if Porrex live, or thus be slain.

Marc. Alas, he liveth not! it is too true.

That with these eyes, of him a peerless prince,

Son to a king, and in the flower of youth,

Even with a twink a senseless stock I saw.

[Exeunt Gorboduc and Eubulus.]

Aros.  O damnèd deed!

Marc.                           But hear his ruthful end:

The noble prince, pierced with the sudden wound,

Out of his wretched slumber hastely start,

Whose strength now failing, straight he overthrew,

When in the fall his eyes even now unclosed

Beheld the queen, and cried to her for help.

We then, alas, the ladies which that time

Did there attend, seeing that heinous deed,

And hearing him oft call the wretched name

Of mother, and to cry to her for aid,

Whose direful hand gave him the mortal wound,

Pitying (alas, for nought else could we do)

His ruthful end, ran to the woeful bed,

Dispoilèd straight his breast, and all we might,

Wipèd in vain with napkins next at hand

The sudden streams of blood that flushèd fast

Out of the gaping wound. O, what a look!

O, what a ruthful, steadfast eye, methought

He fixed upon my face, which to my death

Will never part from me! when with a braid,

A deep-felt sigh he gave, and therewithal

Clasping his hands, to Heaven he cast his sight;

And straight pale death pressing within his face,

The flying ghost his mortal corpse forsook.

Aros. Never did age bring forth so vile a fact!

Marc.  O hard and cruèl hap, that thus assigned

Unto so worthy a wight so wretched end:

But most hard cruèl heart, that could consent

To lend the hateful destinies that hand,

By which, alas, so heinous crime was wrought!

O queen of adamant! O marble breast!

If not the favour of his comely face,

If not his princely cheer and countenance,

His valiant active arms, his manly breast,

If not his fair and seemly personage,

His noble limbs, in such proportion cast

As would have rapt a silly woman’s thought; −

If this mought not have moved thy bloody heart,

And that most cruèl hand, the wretched weapon

E’en to let fall, and kissed him in the face,

With tears for ruth to reave such one by death:

Should nature yet consent to slay her son?

O mother, thou to murder thus thy child?

E’en Jove with justice must with lightning flames

From Heaven send down some strange revenge on thee.

Ah, noble prince, how oft have I beheld

Thee mounted on thy fierce and trampling steed,

Shining in armour bright before the tilt,

And with thy mistress’ sleeve tied on thy helm,

And charge thy staff to please thy lady’s eye,

That bowed the head-piece of thy friendly foe?

How oft in arms on horse to bend the mace?

How oft in arms on foot to break the sword?

Which never now these eyes may see again.

Aros. Madam, alas, in vain these plaints are shed,

Rather with me depart, and help to suage

The thoughtful griefs that in the agèd king

Must needs by nature grow by death of this

His only son, whom he did hold so dear.

Marc. What wight is that which saw that I did see,

And could refrain to wail with plaint and tears?

Not I, alas, that heart is not in me:

But let us go, for I am grieved anew,

To call to mind the wretched father’s woe.


Chorus. When greedy lust in royal seat to reign

Hath reft all care of gods and eke of men,

And cruèl heart, wrath, treason and disdain,

Within th' ambitious breast are lodgèd, then

Behold how mischief wide herself displays,

And with the brother’s hand the brother slays.

    When blood thus shed doth stain the Heavèn’s face

Crying to Jove for vengeance of the deed,

The mighty god e’en moveth from his place,

With wrath to wreak; then sends he forth with speed

The dreadful furies, daughters of the night,

With serpents girt, carrying the whip of ire,

With hair of stinging snakes, and shining bright

With flames and blood, and with a brand of fire:

These for revenge of wretched murder done,

Do make the mother kill her only son.

    Blood asketh blood, and death must death requite:

Jove by his just and everlasting doom

Justly hath ever so requited it;

The times before record, and times to come

Shall find it true, and so doth present proof

Present before our eyes for our behoof.

    O happy wight that suffers not the snare

Of murderous mind to tangle him in blood;

And happy he, that can in time beware

By others’ harms, and turn it to his good:

But woe to him, that fearing not t’ offend,

Doth serve his lust, and will not see the end.




     First the drums and flutes begin to sound, during

which there comes forth upon the stage a company of

harquebusiers and of armed men, all in order of battle.

These, after their pieces discharge, and that the armed

men three times march about the stage, depart, and

then the drums and flutes cease.

     Hereby is signified tumults, rebellions, arms and civil

follow, as wars to fell in the realm of Great Britain,

which by the space of fifty years and more, continued

in civil war between the nobility after the death of

King Gorboduc and of his issues, for want of certain

limitation in the succession of the crown, till the time

of Dunwallo Molmutius, who reduced the land to



A Council of the King's Lords after the murder of

King and Queen.

Enter Clotyn, Mandud, Gwenard, Fergus

and Eubulus.

Clot. Did ever age bring forth such tyrant’s hearts?

The brother hath bereft the brother’s life;

The mother she hath dyed her cruèl hands

In blood of her own son, and now at last

The people, lo, forgetting troth and love,

Contemning quite both law and loyal heart,

E’en they have slain their sovereign lord and queen.

Mand. Shall this their traitorous crime unpunished rest?

E’en yet they cease not, carried out with rage,

In their rebellious routs, to threaten still

A new bloodshed unto the prince’s kin,

To slay them all, and to uproot the race

Both of the king and queen, so are they moved

With Porrex’s death, wherein they falsely charge

The guiltless king without desert at all,

And traitorously have murdered him therefore,

And eke the queen.

Gwen.                  Shall subjects dare with force

To work revenge upon their prince’s fact?

Admit the worst that may, as sure in this

The deed was foul, the queen to slay her son,

Shall yet the subject seek to take the sword,

Arise against his lord, and slay his king?

O wretched state, where those rebellious hearts

Are not rent out e’en from their living breasts,

And with the body thrown onto the fowls

As carrion food, for terror of the rest. 

Ferg. There can no punishment be thought too great

For this so grievous crime: let speed therefore

Be used therein, for it behooveth so.

Eubu. Ye all, my lords, I see, consent in one,

And I as one consent with ye in all.

I hold it more than need, with sharpest law

To punish this tumultuous bloody rage:

For nothing more may shake the common state

Than sufferance of uproars without redress;

Whereby how soon kingdoms of mighty power,

After great conquests made, and flourishing

In fame and wealth, have been to ruin brought,

I pray to Jove that we may rather wail

Such hap in them, than witness in ourselves.

Eke fully with the duke my mind agrees,

That no cause serves, whereby the subject may

Call to accompt the doings of his prince,

Much less in blood by sword to work revenge,

No more than may the hand cut off the head,

In act nor speech, no: not in secret thought

The subject may rebel against his lord,

Or judge of him that sits in Caesar’s seat,

With grudging mind to damn those he mislikes.

Though kings forget to govern as they ought,

Yet subjects must obey as they are bound.

But now, my lords, before ye farther wade,

Or spend your speech, what sharp revenge shall fall

By justice’ plague on these rebellious wights;

Methinks, ye rather should first search the way

By which in time, the rage of this uproar

Mought be repressed, and these great tumults ceased.

Even yet the life of Britain land doth hang

In traitor’s balance of unegal weight;

Think not, my lords, the death of Gorboduc,

Nor yet Videna's blood will cease their rage:

E’en our own lives, our wives and children dear,

Our country, dear’st of all, in danger stands

Now to be spoiled; now, now made desolate,

And by ourselves a conquest to ensue.

For, give once sway unto the people’s lusts,

To rush forth on, and stay them not in time,

And as the stream that rolleth down the hill,

So will they headlong run with raging thoughts

From blood to blood, from mischief unto moe,

To ruin of the realm, themselves and all:

So giddy are the common people's minds,

So glad of change, more wav’ring than the sea.

Ye see, my lords, what strength these rebels have;

What hugy number is assembled still:

For though the traitorous fact for which they rose

Be wrought and done, yet lodge they still in field;

So that how far their furies yet will stretch

Great cause we have to dread. That we may seek

By present battle to repress their power,

Speed must we use to levy force therefore;

For either they forthwith will mischief work,

Or their rebellious roars forthwith will cease:

These violent things may have no lasting long.

Let us therefore use this for present help:

Persuade by gentle speech, and offer grace,

With gift of pardon, save unto the chief,

And that upon condition that forthwith

They yield the captains of their enterprise

To bear such guerdon of their traitorous fact,

As may be both due vengeance to themselves,

And wholesome terror to posterity.

This shall, I think, scatter the greatest part

That now are holden with desire of home,

Wearied in field with cold of winter's nights,

And some, no doubt, stricken with dread of law.

When this is once proclaimèd, it shall make

The captains to mistrust the multitude,

Whose safety bids them to betray their heads;

And so much more, because the rascal routs,

In things of great and perilous attempts,

Are never trusty to the noble race.

And while we treat and stand on terms of grace,

We shall both stay their fury's rage the while,

And eke gain time, whose only help sufficeth

Withouten war to vanquish rebel's power.

In the meanwhile, make you in readiness

Such band of horsemen as ye may prepare:

Horsemen, you know, are not the common's strength,

But are the force and store of noble men,

Whereby th’ unchosen and unarmèd sort

Of skilless rebels, whom none other power

But number makes to be of dreadful force,

With sudden brunt may quickly be oppressed.

And if this gentle means of proffered grace,

With stubborn hearts cannot so far avail

As to assuage their desperate courages,

Than do I wish such slaughter to be made,

As present age and eke posterity

May be adrad with horror of revenge,

That justly than shall on these rebels fall:

This is, my lords, the sum of mine advice.

Clot. Neither this case admits debate at large;

And though it did, this speech that hath been said

Hath well abridged the tale I would have told.

Fully with Eubulus do I consent

In all that he hath said: and if the same

To you, my lords, may seem for best advice,

I wish that it should straight be put in ure.

Mand. My lords, than let us presently depart,

And follow this that liketh us so well.

[Exeunt all except Fergus.]

Ferg. If ever time to gain a kingdom here

Were offered man, now it is offered me.

The realm is reft both of their king and queen;

The offspring of the prince is slain and dead:

No issue now remains: the heir unknown;

The people are in arms and mutinies;

Then nobles they are busied how to cease

These great rebellious tumults and uproars;

And Britain land now desert left alone,

Amid these broils uncertain where to rest,

Offers herself unto that noble heart

That will or dare pursue to bear her crown.

Shall I, that am the Duke of Albany,

Descended from that line of noble blood,

Which hath so long flourished in worthy fame

Of valiant hearts, such as in noble breasts

Of right should rest above the baser sort,

Refuse to venture life to win a crown?

Whom shall I find enemies that will withstand

My fact herein, if I attempt by arms

To seek the same now in these times of broil?

These dukes’ power can hardly well appease

The people that already are in arms:

But if perhaps my force be once in field,

Is not my strength in power above the best

Of all these lords now left in Britain land?

And though they should match me with power of men,

Yet doubtful is the chance of battles joined:

If victors of the field we may depart,

Ours is the sceptre then of Great Britain;

If slain amid the plain this body lie,

Mine enemies yet shall not deny me this,

But that I died giving the noble charge,

To hazard life for conquest of a crown.

Forthwith therefore will I in post depart

To Albany, and raise in armour there

All power I can: and here my secret friends,

By secret practice shall solicit still,

To seek to win to me the people’s hearts. 



The same.

Enter Eubulus.

Eubu.  O Jove, how are these people’s hearts abused?

What blind fury thus headlong carries them?

That though so many books, so many rolls

Of ancient time, record what grievous plagues

Light on these rebels aye, and though so oft

Their ears have heard their agèd fathers tell

What just reward these traitors still receive,

Yea, though themselves have seen deep death and blood,

By strangling cord and slaughter of the sword

To such assigned, yet can they not beware;

Yet cannot stay their lewd rebellious hands:

But suffering, lo, foul treason to distain

Their wretched minds, forget their loyal heart,

Reject all truth, and rise against their prince.

A ruthful case, that those whom duty’s bond,

Whom grafted law by nature, truth, and faith,

Bound to preserve their country and their king,

Born to defend their commonwealth and prince,

E’en they should give consent thus to subvert

Thee, Britain land, and from thy womb should spring,

O native soil, those that will needs destroy

And ruin thee, and eke themselves in fine.

For lo, when once the dukes had offered grace

Of pardon sweet, the multitude, misled

By traitorous fraud of their ungracious heads,

One sort that saw the dangerous success

Of stubborn standing in rebellious war,

And knew the differénce of prince’s power

From headless number of tumultuous routs,

Whom common country’s care, and private fear,

Taught to repent the terror of their rage,

Laid hands upon the captains of their band,

And brought them bound unto the mighty dukes:

And other sort, not trusting yet so well

The truth of pardon, or mistrusting more

Their own offense, than that they could conceive

Such hope of pardon for so foul misdeed;

Or for that they their captains could not yield,

Who fearing to be yielded, fled before,

Stale home by silence of the secret night:

The third unhappy and enragèd sort

Of desperate hearts, who, stained in prince’s blood,

From traitorous furor could not be withdrawn

By love, by law, by grace, ne yet by fear,

By proffered life, nay yet by threatened death;

With minds hopeless of life, dreadless of death,

Careless of country, and aweless of God,

Stood bent to fight as furies did them move,

With violent death to close their traitorous life.

These all by power of horsemen were oppressed,

And with revenging sword slain in the field,

Or with the strangling cord hanged on the tree;

Where yet their carrion carcasses do preach,

The fruits that rebels reap of their uproars,

And of the murder of their sacred prince.

But lo, where do approach the noble dukes,

By whom these tumults have been thus appeased.

Enter Clotyn, Mandud, Gwenard, and Arostus.

Clot. I think the world will now at length beware,

And fear to put on arms against their prince.

Mand. If not? those treacherous hearts that dare rebel,

Let them behold the wide and hugy fields

With blood and bodies spread with rebels slain,

The lofty trees clothed with the corpses dead,

That, strangled with the cord, do hang thereon.

Aros. A just reward, such as all times before

Have ever lotted to those wretched folks.

Gwen. But what means he that cometh here so fast?

Enter Nuntius.

Nunt. My lords, as duty and my truth doth move,

And of my country work and care in me,

That if the spending of my breath availed

To do the service that my heart desires,

I would not shun t’ embrace a present death;

So have I now in that wherein I thought

My travail mought perform some good effect,

Ventured my life to bring these tidings here.

Fergus, the mighty Duke of Albany,

Is now in arms, and lodgeth in the fields

With twenty thousand men; hither he bends

His speedy march, and minds t’ invade the crown:

Daily he gathereth strength, and spreads abroad,

That to this realm no certain heir remains,

That Britain land is left without a guide,

That he the sceptre seeks for nothing else

But to preserve the people and the land,

Which now remain as ship without a stern.

Lo, this is that which I have here to say.

Clot. Is this his faith? and shall he falsely thus

Abuse the vantage of unhappy times?

O wretched land, if his outrageous pride,

His cruèl and untempered willfulness,

His deep dissembling shows of false pretence,

Should once attain the crown of Britain land!

Let us, my lords, with timely force resist

The new attempt of this our common foe,

As we would quench the flames of common fire.

Mand. Though we remain without a certain prince

To wield the realm, or guide the wandering rule,

Yet now the common mother of us all,

Our native land, our country, that contains

Our wives, children, kindred, ourselves, and all

That ever is or may be dear to man,

Cries unto us to help ourselves and her.

Let us advance our powèrs to repress

This growing foe of all our liberties.

Gwen. Yea, let us so, my lords, with hasty speed −

And ye, O gods, send us the welcome death

To shed our blood in field, and leave us not

In loathsome life to linger out our days,

To see the hugy heaps of these unhaps

That now roll down upon the wretched land,

Where empty place of princely governance,

No certain stay now left of doubtless heir,

Thus leave this guideless realm an open prey

To endless storms and waste of civil war.

Aros. That ye, my lords, do so agree in one,

To save your country from the violent reign

And wrongfully usurpèd tyranny

Of him that threatens conquest of you all,

To save your realm, and in this realm yourselves

From foreign thraldom of so proud a prince,

Much do I praise; and I beseech the gods,

With happy honour to requite it you.

But O, my lords, sith now the heavèns' wrath

Hath reft this land the issue of their prince,

Sith of the body of our late sovereign lord

Remains no moe, since the young kings be slain,

And of the title of descended crown

Uncertainly the divers minds do think

Even of the learnèd sort, and more uncertainly

Will partial fancy and affection deem;

But most uncertainly will climbing pride,

And hope of reign, withdraw to sundry parts

The doubtful right and hopeful lust to reign.

When once this noble service is achieved

For Britain land, the mother of ye all,

When once ye have with armèd force repressed

The proud attempts of this Albanian prince,

That threatens thraldom to your native land,

When ye shall vanquishers return from field,

And find the princely state an open prey

To greedy lust and to usurping power;

Then, then, my lords, if ever kindly care

Of ancient honour of your ancestors,

Of present wealth and noblesse of your stocks,

Yea, of the lives and safety yet to come

Of your dear wives, your children, and yourselves,

Might move your noble hearts with gentle ruth,

Then, then, have pity on the torn estate;

Then help to salve the wellnear hopeless sore;

Which ye shall do, if ye yourselves withhold

The slaying knife from your own mother’s throat:

Her shall you save, and you, and yours in her,

If ye shall all with one assent forbear

Once to lay hand, or take unto yourselves

The crown, by colour of pretended right,

Or by what other means soe’er it be,

Till first by common counsel of you all

In parliament, the regal diadem

Be set in certain place in governance;

In which your parliament, and in your choice,

Prefer the right, my lords, without respect

Of strength or friends, or whatsoever cause

That may set forward any other’s part;

For right will last, and wrong cannot endure:

Right, mean I his or hers, upon whose name

The people rest by mean of native line,

Or by the virtue of some former law

Already made their title to advance.

Such one, my lords, let be your chosen king;

Such one so born within your native land;

Such one prefer; and in no wise admit

The heavy yoke of foreign governance:

Let foreign titles yield to public wealth.

And with that heart wherewith ye now prepare

Thus to withstand the proud invading foe,

With that same heart, my lords, keep out also

Unnaturál thraldom of strangers’ reign,

Ne suffer you against the rules of kind,

Your mother land to serve a foreign prince.

[Exeunt all except Eubulus.]

Eubu. Lo, here the end of Brutus’ royal line,

And, lo, the entry to the woeful wreck

And utter ruin of this noble realm.

The royal king, and eke his sons are slain;

No ruler rests within the regal seat;

The heir, to whom the sceptre longs, unknown;

That to each force of foreign prince’s power,

Whom vantage of our wretched state may move

By sudden arms to gain so rich a realm;

And to the proud and greedy mind at home,

Whom blinded lust to reign leads to aspire,

Lo, Britain realm is left an open prey,

A present spoil by conquest to ensue.

Who seeth not now how many rising minds

Do feed their thoughts with hope to reach a realm?

And who will not by force attempt to win

So great a gain that hope persuades to have?

A simple colour shall for title serve.

Who wins the royal crown will want no right;

Nor such as shall display by long descent

A lineal race to prove himself a king.

In the meanwhile these civil arms shall rage,

And thus a thousand mischiefs shall unfold,

And far and near spread thee, O Britain land;

All right and law shall cease; and he that had

Nothing to-day, to-morrow shall enjoy

Great heaps of gold; and he that flowed in wealth,

Lo, he shall be bereft of life and all;

And happiest he that then possesseth least:

The wives shall suffer rape, the maids deflowered,

And children fatherless shall weep and wail;

With fire and sword thy native folk shall perish:

One kinsman shall bereave another life;

The father shall unwitting slay the son;

The son shall slay the sire, and know it not.

Women and maids the cruèl soldiers’ swords

Shall pierce to death, and silly children, lo,

That playing in the streets and fields are found,

By violent hand shall close their latter day.

Whom shall the fierce and bloody soldier

Reserve to life? whom shall he spare from death?

E’en thou, O wretched mother, half alive,

Thou shalt behold thy dear and only child

Slain with the sword, while he yet sucks thy breast.

Lo, guiltless blood shall thus eachwhere be shed.

Thus shall the wasted soil yield forth no fruit,

But derth and famine shall possess the land.

The towns shall be consumed and burnt with fire;

The peopled cities shall wax desolate;

And thou, O Britain, whilom in renown,

Whilom in wealth and fame, shalt thus be torn,

Dismembered thus, and thus be rent in twain;

Thus wasted and defaced, spoiled and destroyed;

These be the fruits your civil wars will bring.

Hereto it comes, when kings will not consent

To grave advice, but follow willful will.

This is the end, when in fond princes’ hearts

Flattery prevails, and sage rede hath no place.

These are the plagues, when murder is the mean

To make new heirs unto the royal crown.

Thus wreak the gods, when that the mother’s wrath

Nought but the blood of her own child may ‘suage.

These mischiefs spring with rebels will arise

To work revenge and judge their prince’s fact.

This, this ensues when noble men do fail

In loyal troth, and subjects will be kings:

And this doth grow, when, lo, unto the prince,

Whom death or sudden hap of life bereaves,

No certain heir remains, such certain heir

As not all only is the rightful heir,

But to the realm is so made known to be,

And truth thereby vested in subjects’ hearts,

To owe faith there, where right is known to rest.

Alas, in parliament what hope can be,

When is of parliament no hope at all?

Which, though it be assembled by consent,

Yet is not likely with consent to end;

While each one for himself, or for his friend

Against his foe, shall travail what he may.

While now the state left open to the man

That shall with greatest force invade the same,

Shall fill ambitious minds with gaping hope,

When will they once with yielding hearts agree?

Or in the while, how shall the realm be used?

No, no; then parliament should have been holden,

And certain heirs appointed to the crown

To stay the title of established right,

And plant the people in obedience,

While yet the prince did live, whose name and power

By lawful summons and authority

Might make a parliament to be of force,

And might have set the state in quiet stay:

But now, O happy man, whom speedy death

Deprives of life, ne is enforced to see

These hugy mischiefs and these miseries,

These civil wars, these murders, and these wrongs

Of justice, yet must God in fine restore

This noble crown unto the lawful heir:

For right will always live, and rise at length,

But wrong can never take deep root to last.