To see a commentary note, click on a blue square.To see a textual note, click on a red square. To see the Latin text, click on a green square.  


[After Elfrede, one of his sisters, has been lost while his mother and his other sister were fleeing, he is informed by Echo of what has happened, and how he would find her.]

ED. Elfred! Sister Elfrede, speake! Your brother
Calls. How came I thus to loose you? Which way, spacer1015
Alas, can you direct our fearefull steps?
Feare not, I am no enimy but a
Brother, joyn’d to you equally in love
And consanguinity. But all my words
Vanish into wind. O fates, too severe! spacer1020
Is it not cruelty enough to make
Me destitute of a father, kingdome,
Of a place of residence?
O my life, more truly funerall, still
Aggregated with heapes of miseries! spacer1025
Here ’midst my enimies, and in a wood,
I seeke my sister, whom the darknesse of
The night, help’d by the various turnings
Of the perfidious way, hath lost from mee.
I have plac’t my mother in security spacer1030
And sisters, all but Elfrede, to whom
Ile either be a companion in life
Or death This day shall bring my sister
To me, or by death me to her.
O nymph inhabiting the silent vallies, spacer1035
Thou invisible goddess of the woods,
Be propitious and tell me where
Of my lost sister Elfrede I shall here. ECCHO Here.
ED. Ist in this place then that my sister is? EC. Yes.
ED. What to regaine her must I undergoe? EC. Goe. spacer1040
ED. You bid me goe but say not whither. EC. Hither.
ED. How may I yet secure her from all harme. EC. Arme.
ED. Is there any one she’s prisoner to? EC. Two.
ED. ’Tis soe, two Danes have then surpris’d her. EC. Priz’d her.
ED. Prize they her, yet detain her ’gainst her will? EC. Ill. spacer1045
ED. A foes love soone chastity divorceth. EC. Forceth.
O gods! And doth shee not with griefe abound? EC. Bound.
Can heav’n wit so great wickednes accorde? EC. A cord.
Bound with a corde/ Why make I these delayes?
Ile either perish with her or undoe it. EC. Do it. spacer1050



[Seized with desire for Elfrede, whom he chanced to see while she was fleeing, Osburne follows after her.]

OSB. Ile once again returne from whence I came.
She’s fled some other way. ’Tis strange she thus
Should vanish from my sight. But I’le search
All secret pits and concaves of the wood
To enjoy so beautifull a creature. spacer1055



[For the same reason and unaware of Osberne’s intention, Gormo hastens after Elfrede.]

GOR. Th’ idaea of that virgine which my eyes
Just now beheld hath left its impression
In my hart. How beauty was divided
Betwixt a blush and palenesse, caus’d by my
Aproach! Whither is my roving minde spacer1060
Transported? I must pursue, or not live.
Her embrace shall be my labours reward. Exit.



[Bragadocia speaks with Pimpo concerning his affairs. Terrified by a donkey’s bray, he commands his servant to climb a tree and see what the matter is. The boy makes up a story and announces to his master that a great army has arrived. Hearing this, the soldier makes the excuse that he needs to move his bowels, in order to hide himself. Seeing Elfride, the servant decides to overhear what she says.]

BRAG. Come neerer to me, Pimpo.
PIM. I dare not, Master.
BRAG. Why? spacer1065
PIM. Because I am not weary of my life.
BRAG. What’s the matter?
PIM. I desire to stand out of the reach of your breath, least I should be poysoned
to death. For it smels mighty strong of garlicke and onions.
BRAG. Thou says’t well, Ile speake to thee with a gentle breath. spacer1070
PIM. Doe you see how these trees even with the least blast of your breath are troubled
with the palsy? See how the mountains dance!
BRAG. ’Tis true. ’Tis my misfortune to bee too strong, and this is the reason why I am
not one of the kings privy-counsellors. For if in consultation I should be never so
little angry, I should blow all men neere me into the aire. spacer1075
PIM. [Aside.] His breath is verry strong indeed, and would infect all aire about him,
so that men would be glad to get as far from it as they could. [Aloud.] This is
nothing, Master. Since you came a warrier into this cuntry, the island with the
earthquakes you have caused is ready to tumble into the sea. What, do I speake
of an island? You have often tost the whole world from one place to another as spacer1080
men do tenis-balls.
BRAG. Now lets recount our warlike exploits.
PIM. [Aside.] Those which you never did.
BRAG. Do’st remember the names of thos giants this arme hath made worm’s meat of?
PIM. Verry well. spacer1085
BRAG. Lets here some of them.
PIM. First comes into my mind his name as long as a cable-rope which you kild in the
Bombasticothonian fields. ’Twas, if I not mistake not, Ferricrepinomachaerofer,
and his surname Valorosofustifrangilumbus. This monster making towards you, you
stoutly spit at, which, falling upon his forehead, knock’t out his braines. The lesser spacer1090
drops which flew about upon the spectators made them either toothlesse or
BRAG. Thou hast an excellent memory.
PIM. [Aside.] ’Tis requisite a lyar should.
BRAG. What noyse is that I heare? Pimpo, get up into this tree. Clashes of armour spacer1095
sound in my eares. red
PIM. I will if I can.
BRAG. What see’st thou?
PIM. O Master, I see a mighty army advancing this way. I see another. And another
yet. Inumerable troops of armed men. Whole groves of pikes. [Aside.] To tell you the spacer1100
truth, I see nothing but one woman.
BRAG. Doe they come this way, Pimpo?
PIM. Yes, I tell you, hither.
BRAG. To this place?
PIM. To this verry place. Are you not afraid, Master? spacer1105
BRAG. Not I. I’m not afraid, but onely tremble a little as if a fit of an ague had just
now ceas’t [seized] upon me.
PIM. O me! O me! Now they fight. What a slaughter of men do I see! They butcher and
spit on another with their swords. Whomsoever they find in their way they kill
without mercy. spacer1110

Bragadocia lookes for a place to hide himself in.

Whats the matter, Master? What do you looke for?
BRAG. A place to untruss a point [unfasten his trousers] in. For a suddain looseness
hath taken me. Runs out.
PIM. A suddain feare, he should say. He’s onely gon to hide himselfe. Now I am onely
lord of this place. My master hath taken up his lodging amongst the brambles and spacer1115
bryars. Now I’e privately heare whats the matter with this woman, for she comes as if
she were frighted.



[“Elfrede complains about her misfortune. Meanwhile Pimpo calls back his master to capture her. At first he makes a reluctant appearance, but then, seeking the knife which Elfrede had cast aside a little earlier while bent on suicide, he retreats. Finally, standing at a distance, he commands his servant to detain her.]

ELF. Where shall I repose my wearied limbs?
Or when will my timerous flight find some
Refuge? As well my enimies as the spacer1120
Horrour of the dawning day beset round
With caliginous [dark] clouds, strikes feare into
My breast. Nor lesse doth the treachery of
The faithlesse night, which alone hath made me
Destitute of my brother, my sister, spacer1125
And my mother. And yet I am deny’d
The curtesy which death affords. When all
Things seeme to conspire my destruction,
And an army of miseries assaults
One single virgin, when ev’ry thing spacer1130
Proves treacherous and yet afords not death,
The welcome remedy to those that live
In misery.
PIM. Sure enough, this prize must not ’scape my masters hands. Ile go call him
Backe, for he hath bin a great while untrussing [with his pants down]. spacer1135
ELF. To whom shall I become a wretched prey?
Will ye enimy spare me? Hatred swells
His breast. Will he straight with death dispatch me?
Perhaps he’l violate my chastity
And thus inflict a torment worse then death. spacer1140
But Ile resist. Alas, I can’t. Ile fly,
He’l soone pursue, and force me to his will. Puls out a knife.
Canst thou endure it, Elfrede? Rather dy.
Let thy owne hand prevent that grand mischiefe.
Hold. Let piety prevaile. Senslesse wretch, spacer1145
What dost thou? Will thou redeeme
One wickednesse with another, and still
Accumulate [heap] mischifs with new mischifs
More inexpiable? Relent, my sorrows, Throws downe the knife.
And become religious. If chastity spacer1150
Can find no refuge, earth, open thy jawes.
I now demand that place of sepulture
Which ere long will be my due. Have pitty,
And receive an undefiled body
Into thy pious bosome. O potent spacer1155
Rector of the heav’ns, either defend
My body from such wickednesse or else
Divorce my soule from so much misery.

Enter Bragadocia and Pimpo. Bragadocia, seing the knife upon the ground, starts back.

PIM. Master, what doe you stand at? The prize is before you, take possession of it.
BRAG. Is that a sword, Pimpo? spacer1160
PIM. ’Tis a knife.
BRAG. Put it away. There’s no other enemy here beside that may betray us?“
PIM. None at all.
BRAG. Are all those armies vanisht which you spoke of even now?
PIM. All of them. spacer1165
BRAG. ’Tis well.
PIM. Goe on therefore. What do you feare?
BRAG. I feare nothing. But I looke about me as it becomes a man that is prudently
valliant and valiantly prudent. Lets to her. They cease upon her.
ELF. O — O — Now I perish. spacer1170
BRAG. Pimpo, ty her hands and feete, least she should scratch, or kicke, or run away.
PIM. Feare not. Her nailes are short, nor hath she any hobnailes in her shoes.
Besides, how shall we then get her from hence?
BRAG. Her face is handsome enough if it is not painted. She will serve to be one of
my kitchin-wenches. spacer1175
PIM. Believe it, this woman is without all fucus [deceit] or fallacy, not because shee
weepes (for tis is common to all women), but because she is silent.



[Osberne on the one side of the stage, and Gormo on the other, are angry that Elfrede is Bragadocia’s captive. About to go off with his prey, the soldier is prevented by them both. They simultaneously rush at Elfrede, and, bent on fighting over her, with kicks they drive off the soldier, who has been claiming her but refuses to fight. He goes away to tell the king what has happened. Awaiting the outcome of this affair, Pimpo goes into hiding. Osberne and Gormo, having first tied the girl to a tree, fight, then catch their breaths.]

OSB. At length I see the face which hath enflam’d me.
GOR. I see those eyes from whence I borrow life.

Osborne, Gormo not seeing one another.

OSB. She’s fallen into a souldiers hands. spacer1180
GOR. She’s become a pray to a proud master.
OSB. He shall not take her hence away and live.
GOR. He shall resigne her up to me or dye.
BRAG. Now, Pimpo, bring her after me in state. For now I’le goe new triumphs to
create. Meets Gormo and runs back. spacer1185
PIM. What ailes you, Master? Why doe you run away? Whats the matter?
BRAG. Doe you aske? The stars fall, the heavens are ready to overwhelme me. I
must be gon.
PIM. ’S foot, what ist you run from?
BRAG. The world totters. Neverthelesse I don’t run, but I walke a great pace. spacer1190
GOR. Deliver up the virgine. She is mine.
OSB. She’s neither his nor yours, but mine alone.
GOR. Osberne!
OSB. Gormo!
GOR. What brought you hither? spacer1195
OSB. My lust.
GOR. And me my love.
OSB. This virgin’s mine.
GOR. I deny ’t.
OSB. Our swords shall end the dispute. red spacer1200
GOR. They shall. Death or shee shall be my prize.
PIM. Defer your flight till a third combatant, my master, puts in his claime. What,
are you silent? Fright ’em with the thunder of your words. Whilst two dogs fight,
the bones may come to your share.
BRAG. Ile try, although I scarse thinke this girle worth so much as to spacer1205
incense my implacable anger. Or that I should earthquake the world and reduce
it to its antique chaos for one wenches sake. Or that I should disarme Jove himselfe
of his thunderbolts, enthrone my selfe in the chaire of divinity, force the gods into
exile, breake Mar’s legs and knock out Hercules’ teeth, make Vulcane limp with
both legs, blue pull of Jupiter’s eares, Saturns beard, Apollo’s lockes, Juno’s nose, spacer1210
scratch out Venus’s eyes. Yet before this prize shall be taken from me, I’ll let
loose the raines of my fury.
OSB. Dost arme thy selfe?
GOR. Dost draw thy sword?
OSB. Thou trumpeter of thy owne fame. spacer1225
GOR. Detractor of anothers.
OSB. Thou fearfull —
GOR. Coward.
GOR. Cockscombe,
GOR. Asse. spacer1230
PIM. [Aside.] I believe of an asse hee’l strait be metmorphis’d into lesse then
a mouse. [Aloud.] Master, if you’l take my counsell, either fight or run away.
BRAG. O Pimpo, thou know’st I am verry valiant. I am also verry patient. Ile
neither run away nor fight, but Ile be gon and acquaint the king with the whole
busines. Hee’l give me thankes that I forbore to take my just revenge upon his spacer1235
brother and kinsman. But stand thou at a distance, that I may strike ’em dead
with one word, which I use to shake cuntry’s with. ’Tis the thunder and light’ning
of my name. Heare it and tremble, for now I pronounce it: Polemobombardi-
PIM. This name reaches to the Antipodes, where it demolishes whole spacer1240
kingdomes. Thus my master vanquisheth his enemies with the verry sound of his
name, and, being conquerour, runs away. Ile withdraw a little and see what
OSB. Gormo, wee are now alone. If thy courage
Serves, lo, nows the time. I stand thy enimy spacer1245
Or thy friend: thy friend if you resigne
This virgin, thy enimy if thou refuse.
GOR. Gormo neither fares Osbern as an
Enimy nor contemns him as a friend.
Thy claime to her makes thee equally spacer1250
An enemy unto me and a friend.
OSB. Do’st then unsheath thy sword.
GOR. Against thy breast.
ELF. Suspend your rage, and heare an unfortunate
Virgine speake before you embrew your hands spacer1255
In each others blood. But what shall I say?
How shall I parly with two enimies,
To lovers, and in this so much the more
To be hated by me. For if they were
Not lovers, I should then be exempted spacer1260
From the horrour of loves evell effects.
If they were onely enimies, that feare
Would vanish. Death’s the worst an enimy
Can inflict. But from a lover I feare
A worser mischiefe. The unrepared spacer1265
Losse of virginity is more killing
Then death itself, and to this, more precious
Then life, lovers are more inimicall
Then enimies. Are you therefore lovers
Or enimies to me? If enimies, spacer1270
Why have your hands thus long spared my life?
If lovers, why do you seeke after blood?
You know, as lovers to me you’re more
My enimies. ’Twould be much better to be
Lovers to your selves and enimies to me. spacer1275
Let your quarrell dy in my death,
Let this beauty (if any) be destroyed,
The incentive which hath animated
Lovers, but my enimies, to assume
Their armes, design’d against each others breast. spacer1280
I am th’ occasion of your quarrell,
Which, if you end my life, will likewise have
An end. Lo, I kneele to you, and to you red
Become a supplicant. If a tygre
Were not your nurse, if a fierce lyonesse spacer1285
Gave you not to sucke, have pitty on your selves
And, if you afford me death, on me too.
OSB. What doe we do? Shall we dispatch this lette [hinderance]
T’ our combat and terminate our quarrell,
Or else go on with our incepted worke? spacer1290
GOR. Sure enough wee’l on, and yet I could scarse
Abstain from teares. But ’tis effeminate
To be mov’d at the complaints of a woman.
OSB. That we may with a more free arme
Attend to our business, we’ll binde the virgin spacer1295
To a tree least she make an escape.
GOR. Contented. Let her be bound. They binde her to a tree.
OSB. Now to our sword.
GOR. Begin. They fight and breathe awhile.



[Prince Edward, drawn here by the clash of arms, sees the fighting captains, and decides to assault the victor. Leaving behind Osborne for dead (for he had previously laid Gormo low), he flees towards Athelney with his sister.]

ED. What clashing of armes within this vally spacer1300
Retorts [Echoes] a sound from the redoubled blows
And calls me hither? What’s this? Behold,
Some cruell hand hath bound my sister
To a tree. This, I easily conclude,
Is the cause hath provok’t this single fight, spacer1305
That the conquerour may enjoy the prize.
’Twas this, the Eccho from a solitary
Recesse pronounc’d to me. What shall I do?
Can I, so young myselfe, encounter two?
Shall I, an unexperienced youth, spacer1310
Alone attaque to expert captaines?
’Tis better stay till the uncertain chaine
Of victory crownes one. His shall be the
Breast my sword shall point at, this advantage
Will more surely worke my sisters freedom. spacer1315
OSB. Yeald to me at length the prize we fight for.
GOR. Ile sooner yeeld my life, or take thine. They fight. Gormo falls.
OSB. I came of not without blood, my conquest
Hath cost me wonds and the death of a friend.
But at last she’s fallen into my hands. spacer1320
ED. Thou ly’st. She is fallen into my hands.
Hold, monster. Thou dy’st if thou touch her.
OSB. What boy art thou who thus insults ore me?
ED. I’m cald Edward, son of a king and brother
To this virgine. And an enimy to thee. spacer1325
ELF. Heav’n, I see, relieves the miserable.
OSB. The long look’t for and much desired day
Wherein I’le exterpate the progeny
Of thy father comes of its owne accord.
My potent arme shall eradicate with spacer1330
One blow that hatefull generation.
Spare now your words, ’tis time you fall to deeds. They fight, Osberne falls.
The insulting enimy is fallen.
How the ponderous bulke of his expiring
Body indents the earth! O sweet sister! spacer1335
ELF. O brother, more welcome to me then life! Embraces her and unbinds her.
ED. Lets now be gon, our foes are ev’ry where. Exeunt. Osberne rises.
OSB. Thou shalt not thus come of a conqueror.
My arme shall yet make death attend its stroak.
What now? My leggs faile me. My eyes are mask’d spacer1340
With night, my vitall breath desists to doe
Its office. All my joynts are stupify’d
As if arrested by approaching death.
Now I know not where I am or whither. Falls down.
Falling, Gormo, I come to thee, I dye, spacer1345
A companion of thy death who am the cause.
GOR. Oh — Oh —
OSB. Lets be conjoyn’d in death,
Tho life seperated us. O cruell
Horrour oth’ minde! O neverending sleepe! spacer1350



[Pimpo goes off to report their deaths to the king, after having cut off their purses.]

PIM. Art awake, Pimpo? Or dos’t thou sleepe with thy eyes open? If I am awake,
I’m sure those two are not, for they sleepe faster then if they should snort and
snore. If I sleepe then they are awake, and the dead live. I had rather be asleepe
then be thus awake. I commend my master who chose rather to loose his prize,
and all his great words too, then his life by fighting. Now I must see whether spacer1355
the dead have any money to lend those that are living. For among the living money
is but dead, being buried in the chests of rich men, so that it never sees light.
Afterwards, the owners being dead, it lives again, as it now falls out. Now Ile to
the king and relate the whole business. Exit.


[The hermit Neothus, who in those days was wont to bury those killed in battle and heal the injured, restores Osberne and Gormo to life by saying a prayer and pouring the balsam of life in their wounds. Then he converts them to the Faith. Finally, he escorts them to his cell.]

NE. My mind presages some strang accident, spacer1360
Which makes me leave my cell, and thus alone,
Like an errant, wander the silent woods
Whither fortune or Providence directs.
What doe I see? Behold two dead bodies
Lying upon the ground. Their faces beare spacer1365
Death’s horrid pictures which life eraseth.
O the torrent of rage drowning itself!
Anger can’t have more cruell enimies
Then itselfe. Though Scithia should be searcht,
Or that icy land which lyes congeal’d spacer1370
Under the freezing north, it cannot find
A salvage beast more rabid then itselfe.
But why doe I delay? Evells require
A remedy and not words. Ile try if
My med’cines can retrieve their flying soules. spacer1375
Charity this much obliges, to help
The miserable, tho our enimies. Goes to the corps.
Life hath not yet quite left this corps, nor tis.
A faint breath comes from them boath. Even as red
A sparke lyes buried in the ashes spacer1380
Ready to disapeare, so their soules remaine
Fomenting still that sparke of life, almost
Extinguish’t by their wonds. This balsome which
I allwayes carry with me for pious
Uses, when aply’d, will ease their wonded spacer1385
Bodies, and force their hov’ring soules returne
To ev’ry member. Thous great arbitour Applies his balsame
Of the world, give health to their soules and to
Their bodies life. See! They stir, and begin
To send forth groaning sighs. Their couler appeares, spacer1390
Their senses reassume their proper orgains.
GOR. Where am I? What splendor invests my eyes?
OSB. What cuntry, in what part oth’ world am I?
GOR. Doe I live again?
OSB. Is life return’d? spacer1395
GOR. Am not I yet sunke to the infernall lake?
OSB. Is not my conscious soule yet suffocated
With stygian horridnesse?
GOR. What torments was I ready to endure!
OSB. What terrours of death have I avoyded! spacer1400
GOR. How immense is the divine goodnesse!
OSB. How terrifying is the celestiall majesty!
GOR. O let me ever bewale
The wicked actions of my misspent life.
O that a time for teares might be granted! spacer1405
NE. It shall. Let griefe absterse [wash away] your former sins.
Christ by His death hath bestow’d life on you.
Offer that same life to Him. By His own wounds
He hath animated your bodies.
Dedicate your soules and bodies to so spacer1410
Bountifull a Lord. What neede I say more?
Live worshipers of Christ, Whose eternall
Deity you have hitherto deny’d
With obstinate impieties.
OSB. I acknowledge the deity of Christ. spacer1415
GOR. I adore it.spacer Musicke as from heavn.
NE. Rejoice, yee celestiall inhabitants.
What’s this I heare? What sweet harmony sounds
To my eares! All the heav’nly choristers
Crowne this happy day with joy, and extoll spacer1420
Their Master, so mercifull to mortals.
’Tis now requisite you should give some rest
To your feeble bodies. Let my shoulders
Support your armes. Ile be your guide to shew
The way, and ere long the author of your health. spacer1425
Thus my redeemers sheepe that goe astray
I carry home and set them on their way. Exeunt.



[Gothurnus, informed by Bragadocia about the duel arranged between his two captains, is roused to anger.]

GOTH. Shall then the beauty of a girle retarde
Our glory? And the alluring deceit
Of a flattering face thus greedily spacer1430
Steale away the laurell from the victour?
Was it this that provok’d my captaines to
An inconsiderate combat? Madnesse! red
I thinke we are amorists, not enimies.
We have not gloriously subjugated spacer1435
A kingdome, but shamefully submitted
To a foeminine yoke, we are become
Captives to the proud lookes of a woman
To whose triumphs we have debas’t ourselves.
Nature, art thou not assham’d of mankind? spacer1440
Acknowledge now this grand errour in thy
Workmanship, to have created men and
Made them subject to womens tyrannies.



[At Pimpo’s relation of the death of his captains (as it is thought), the king almost goes mad with rage.]

PIM. Great king, I bring the message of sad newes,
Its relation I tremble to rehearse. spacer1445
GOTH. Speake, if it is concerning my brother.
What was the event of their female combat? red
PIM. After a mutuall fury had incens’d
Their fiery spirits to spill each others
Blood, they bound the virgin to a tree. I, spacer1450
Secretly lying hid in the adjacent
Wood, was a spectator to all that past.
Gormo fell by Osberns hand. Who ’scap’t not
Without wounds, when a young man comes into
The place, calls Osbern to his armes again, spacer1455
Kills him, frees his sister, being (as he said)
King Alfredes son, and fly’s away with her.
GOTH. Infernall night for ever cloud this day
With horrid darknesse! Thou fatall owle, be
Silent. Shall I then nere see my captaines spacer1460
But soe, without their breath? Shall I, thus crown’d
With roses and laurells, climbe Englands throne
And thus behold my triumphs, elated,
In a splendid chariot? O gods!
I call you cruell, say you’re impotent. spacer1465
Nay more, that ye are not at all. Appeare,
Ye furies, my breast yealds itselfe alone
To your scourges. Aetna, that vomets up
Sulphureous flames, give place, I am consum’d
With a more violent fire. I must spacer1470
Lament my brother Osbern’s death. O no,
A funerall howle must rather bewale him
Till the verry abisses of darknesse
Restore me the loved name of Osberne.
But his name? That, it seemes, is all that’s left spacer1475
Of my brother, but he himselfe never
To apeaare before my eyes, being detain’d
In th’ infernall concaves of the earth
And shut from my sight by th’ adamantine
Dores of Pluto’s pallace. Shut from my sight? spacer1480
This sword shall hew a passage to him,
Ile ransacke death’s teritories and make
Styx and Cocitus, which have swallowed
Him up, vomet out my Osberne.



{Soldiers are sent ahead, either to break up the fight or to bring the men back, dead or alive. They inform the king that their bodies have been removed.]

MESS. Liege, in Order to your commands we went spacer1485
To the verry place where the combat was, that
We might bring you their bodies either
Dead or alive. But, we know not by whose
Hands or by what deceit, their dead bodies
Are remov’d from the place. The earth was spacer1490
Dyed with purple tinctures of bloud, which by
The print of their bodies made us easily
Distinguish that was the place they fell in.
GOTH. Stop thy unlucky throat, or Ile teare thy
Tongue from betwixt thy jawes. Purposely you spacer1495
Bawle this newes into my eares. Now Gormo
And my brother, ready arm’d, claime a virgine.
Now my brother is victorious over Gormo.
Now my brother lyes subdued by the armes
Of a hated enimy. And now you spacer1500
Tell me my brothers corps and Gormo’s too
Are conveighed away and ly unburied,
Perhaps a food for salvage animalls,
Or, what’s far worse, possest by th’ enimy.



[Another mesenger tells him how three kings coming to his aid have been killed by the Britons.]

MESS. Haldene, Hingar and Hubba, three kings neere ally’d to you both by blood spacer1505
and friendship, brought their auxiliary forces for your interest, but, being vanquisht
in a fight with the Britans, have lost both their lives and all their artilery.



[With a blow he floors another messenger who had started to speak. Then with drawn sword he makes the bystanders take to their heels. Finally, he almost goes mad with grief.]

MESS. Great king —
GOTH. Thou screetching raven! Strikes him downe.
Will you all thus be croaking in my eares? Draws his sword upon his attendants.
Learn at your perills sometimes to hold your peace. spacer1510

Bragadocia falls down and creeps into the bryars.

Doe you run? You shall scarce outrun my rage.
O too too patient in my anger!
Call down the gods with an imperious voice,
And marshall that treacherous, impious band
Against me. Like Atlas, Ile encounter all. spacer1515
Doe’s the supernall crew then envy me?
Perhaps they were affraid least after earth
Their heaven should next become due to my
Uncontroled triumphs. So ’twas. Ile climbe
Heav’ns lucide spheare and dislocate the stars, spacer1520
Nor shall the sun afford the world his light,
Nor the moone lend any brightnesse to th’ earth.
Jove shall not find within the orbs a seat
Secure till Osbern’s death be expiate.



[Pimpo, joining the rest in fleeing the angry king’s sight, comes across the cave in which Alfred had concealed his royal purple. Then he urges his master (who he has hauled by his feet from the bramble-bush in which he had thrown himself) to put on the purple and claim that he has killed Alfred, who has had a bounty of a thousand pounds placed on his head.]

PIM. For certaine our king’s either mad or I dreame. But if one that’s affraid be mad, spacer1525
then I’m sure I was. For I was horribly affraid that I should have ben tost into the red
clouds, as Lycas was by Hercules, and saluted the skyes with my brains dasht out red blue
From whence I must have bin forc’t to take the earth in my way to Hell, to find out
some Esculapious to cure mee. ’Tis an old saying that fortune favours the couragious.
I have now learn’t that it also favours the fearefull. For by my feare I have run into a spacer1530
pit verry beneficiall to me, for in it I found these cloaths which, as you see, are verry
sumptuous, and regall too. For, if I mistake not, I saw King Alfrede in these robes at
the beginning of the fight. I guesse the whole story to be thus: after Alfrede had lost
the day, ’tis likely he chang’d his cloaths that his flight might be the securer. For in
running away it often falls out even amongst kings that they have more care of spacer1535
their lives then of their cloaths. Having how this fit occasion, I designe a pretty passage.
But first I must call hither my master. Ho! Master! Nothing of this great colossus
appeares but his feete. If the sky should chance now to fall upon his heeles, hee
would soone kicke it backe into its proper spheare. My Master is not now afraid,
he onely providently measures how much of the earth he can embrace in his armes. spacer1540
Come forth, Master. Now my master dares not heare for his eares. I must release him
from these straits. Pimpo pulls him out by the heeles.
BRAG. Quarter, quarter! Who are you? Are you Pimpo or the ghost of Pimpo?
Cam’st thou hither from the supernall or infernall habitations?
PIM. Your magnanimity makes me that I am neither at the one nor the other. spacer1545
Those in the infernall residences are affraid least you should by force ransome me
from them, and those in the supernall feare as much least in freeing me you should
usurpe heav’n to your selfe. But I pray, Master, what did you doe here? I believe you
did not hide your selfe.
BRAG. I onely laid my eare to the ground to heare what the discourse of me is spacer1550
amongst the Antipodes. If you had not come hither when you did, I had gon directly
to Hell and fetch’t back the kings brother, or at least to have beaten Cerberus, the
threeheaded porter. But what hast thou here?
PIM. Give attention unto me, and Ile tell you what ’tis, and how much it availes
us. These are the robes of King Alfrede which after his defeaat he had hid. I verry spacer1555
opportunely have found them, and would have you put them on with all expedition.
BRAG. And what then?
PIM. Have patience and Ile tell you. Having put them on, go to our king.
BRAG. Go on.
PIM. Tell him you have kild Alfrede. spacer1560
BRAG. Well?
PIM. And then chalenge [claim] the thousand pounds which he promis’d for your
BRAG. Excellent. But is not this a lye?
PIM. As if you nere told a lye before. spacer1565
BRAG. But will he believe me?
PIM. Aside. Not I, though you should sweare. [Aloud.] The cloaths will speake for you.
BRAG. But what if it should fall out otherwise, and it should be proved that Alfrede
is not kild?
PIM. The money will be in your custody, you may goe where you will. spacer1565
BRAG. Thou sayst very well. Put them on me. Pimpo helps him to put ’em on. Now I am
a king, ev’ry inch of me. I want nothing but a crowne. blue
PIM. [Aside.] A cockscombe would fit his head excellently well.
BRAG. I’m now a king but in this outward weede.
A thousand pound will make me so indeede. spacer1570

Go to Act IV