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[King Alfred and his son Adelvold approach Neothus’ cell.]

AL. Having left my mother at home, to wit,
The house of Denevulphe, I am now
Accompanied onely with Adelvolde,
Going to Neothus, a man verry
Eminent for sanctity and of a spacer1575
Neere relation to myselfe, for whom
I have a pious regard, beeing a
Priest officiating at the holly
Altar of the immortal Deity,
And one much venerated for his name spacer1580
And function. He hath often foretold
Things which have allready happened,
And those Miseries which I new endure,
Now disguised with this habite of a
Common souldier, Ile desire to know spacer1585
What even will period [end] these misfortunes.
See, he comes forth. Childe, retire and keepe
Thy selfe undiscovered in this wood. Ad. withdraws.



[The king is immediately recognized by Neothus, is encouraged to repent is sins, and finally is consoled regarding his recovery of his realm from the Danes.]

NE. What is the life of Man, still hurl’d away
“On swift wheeles? What do’s a day or a yeare red spacer1590
Availe us? Who’s so voide of sense to track
The footsteps of the winde, or so slender
Witted to expect an impression
From a full saild ship promiscuously
Cutting the reciprocated waters spacer1595
With a reversing wave? Life renders
No other account of all that time
Which still passes away. But it was, it is,
And shall be: that which was is vanished
Like smoake into the aire, that which shall bee spacer1600
Beguiles us with uncertaine hopes of good,
And that which is wee loose whilst we have it,
Or spend it ill. Or else becomes absent
By being present. If life be nothing,
Who can be miserable? Since that life spacer1605
Niether makes us happy nor the contrary,
’Tis the minde christens that life wretched, which
Impatiently tollerates its evells,
And that happy which well employs its good.
ALF. How much that document confutes my errour, spacer1610
Who calls that life miserable which is
Clog’d with adversity, and that happy
Which is opulent with prosperity!
NE. ’Tis a generous minde that can endure
Miseries with an unmov’d comportment, spacer1615
And insolent that’s inhanc’d with riches.
Vertue appeares more in adverse storms
Then when the prosperous gales of fortune
Swell the minde.
ALF. As a gloomy day at the aspect of spacer1620
The sunne uncloudes its dusky countenance,
As if painted with a suddain tincture
Of light, and powdered with golden rayes,
Soe I with the eloquence of his voice
Am corroboratred with a new strength spacer1625
Of minde, and my breast, like an adamant [diamond],
Is impregnaable to all miserie.
Ile goe to him. If you are at leasure
To speake some comfort to the afflicted,
Doe it now. spacer1630
NE. I will. But first unmake your selfe, and take
The true and proper name of King Alfrede,
And call your son. D’you seem to wonder?
Tho you may cousen [cozen] me, you can’t deceive
The omniscient deity of God. spacer1635
ALF. This homely dresse which I weare makes me blush.
NE. Are you yet proud, having lost your kingdom?
ALF. A king allways should apeare in splendor.
NE. And yet the King of Kings was poorely cloath’d,
And, refusing princely pallaces, spacer1640
Chose to live obscurely in a cottage.
ALF. He liv’d unknown to th’ world.
NE. But dying he was known to th’ world, and gave
Us true example that life ought not
To faint at evells. What if God hath decree’d spacer1645
The losse for ever of your kingdome?
ALF. O how miserable would my life bee!
What afflictions should I unhappily
Undergoe! The barbarous enimy
Will adulterate my deare wife before spacer1650
My face, and in revenge of me will cause
My daughters to be contaminated
By libidinous rapes, murther my sons,
And afflict me with miseries, torments,
And losse of all, and (what is greater yet) spacer1655
Perhaps will spare my life.
AD. Griefe, I hope, will kill me before these sad
Disasters happen.
NE. O blind ignorance of men! Unbrid’led
Fury of the minde offending against spacer1660
Itselfe and God! You esteeme your selfe then
Miserable when you suffer evells.
I thought you had bin miserable when
You had committed them. Whilst paine doth
Aggrevate the the sense, the fault’s forgotten. spacer1665
You abhorre the event of misery,
The cause, alas! is most to be feared.
When, potent with an awfull hand, you held
Great Britan’s scepter you ought not to have
Bin insolent with too much felicity, spacer1670
Nor should you have bin facile [ready] to anger,
Prone to punishment, nor proudly rul’d
That flock which God comitted to your charge
On better conditions, nor deny’d
Assistance to the poorest of your creatures, spacer1675
Nor your care to widdows, nor your mercy
To the guilty, nor your riches to the
Indigent, nor your love to your subjects,
Nor your devotions and feare to God,
Nor precipitately to have indulg’d spacer1680
Your mind to the wantonnesse of pleasures.
God created you a king, and you make
Your selfe a tyrant, wretched, nobody.
ALF. At length I owne the errours of my life.
I now acknowledge heav’ns patience spacer1685
And my owne wickednesse. Wherefore I aske
Not a period to my punishment.
I, the onely author, will expiate
Those offenses I have perpetrated.
They are my sins, let the hand of God draw spacer1690
Me to satisfaction. He that is wont
To be mercifull to all, let Him throw
All His justice on me alone. But I
Crave that hand of anger may be to me
A healing one. Yet let these be preserv’d, spacer1695
They have merited nothing. Let my cuntry,
Let my poeple escape this heavy scourge. Kneeles.
Behold, I humbly, prostrate at your feete,
Resigne the name of king and my kingdome,
Now violated with my offences spacer1700
I give to heav’n from whence I receiv’d it.
What ist I give, since I have nothing left
To give? What improvidently I have lost,
Alas, I cannot be a doner of.
But I give the name that’s forfeited too spacer1705
By raigning vitiously. What shall I doe?
Heav’n demands that kingdom which I have not
And the name of king, which I have also lost.
But whatsoever of my selfe is left
I give, that God may distinguish betwixt spacer1710
Man, which he created in me, and those
Foule, wicked deeds which Hee’s no author of.
AD. My fathers teares call mine to attend them.
NE. Rise, God hath beheld your sorrows with a
Compationate looke. He hath disper’st red spacer1715
The clouds of His anger, and pardon sits
Character’d on His indulgent countenance.
His voice speakes mercy, and promises far
Greater kingdomes then those the Danes possesse.
Wherefore return with joy from whence you came spacer1720
And live grateful to God and mindfull of me.
ALF. Lets goe. I want expressions to declare
The satisfaction which my mind doth beare.



[St. Cuthbert, dressed as a mendicant, awaits the return of the king, standing at the gate of Denevulphe his host, so as to beg alms of him.]

CUTH. I have now assum’d this beggars habite,
Whereby, trying the charitable hand spacer1725
Of King Alfred, I may exhibite him
A patern to the world, and a pious
Example to future generations.
Hee’s now return’d from Neothus, and straight
Will bring Edward and Elfrede home with him, spacer1730
Which I have preserv’d from the menacing
Dangers of enimies, and brought them safe
To th’ path which will leade them to their father.
Ile remaine silent and undiscover’d
In this place, and will take a time when hee spacer1735
Himselfe shall want the almes which I will begge.
Loe, Osberga and her landlord come forth.



[Denevulphe consoles the king’s mother Osburga, without realizing her identity.]

DEN. My guest, I much desire to know what sadnesse
Thus disturbs you. ’Tis no triviall matter
Which disquiets your breast with assiduall spacer1740
Pensiveness, and oft fetches groaning signs
From the bottome of your hart. Cease at length
To let loose the raines of griefe, and declare
What ’tis that wounds you. Counsell oftentimes
Extenuates great evells. spacer1745
OSB. My sorrows
Are beyond the cure of counsell, nor can
They be leniated [eased] by any words.
For that which God hath don cannot find
A remedy but from the same hand. spacer1750
DEN. The hand of God which wounds and that which cures
Is equally to be tollerated
With an obsequious resignement.
OSB. I bewaile the common damage of you,
Of myselfe, and of every one. spacer1755
DEN. ’Tis a common way to cure miseries,
To reflect that God inflicted them.
OSB. Gods anger knows no measure when He
Punisheth our crimes.
DEN. Nor is His nerct limited. spacer1760
But behold, your son’s return’d, and beares,
I see, a pleaasant countenance, being
Accompanied with new associates.



[King Alfred, meeting Edward and Elfrede while returning from Neothus, brings them home to his mother, whom he attempts to console, but in vain.]

AL. I am dubious which more to congratulate,
My owne or my childerns wellcome. spacer1765
This I’m certain, that nobody can give
Condigne [sufficient] prayses to God, Who hath preserv’d
Them safe from all their enimies.
OSB. This company will give our sorrows some
Abatement, but this comfort ere long will spacer1770
Be taken from us.
OSB. My hope promises a better fortune.
OSB. But my feare suggests a worse.
AL. Have confidence.
OSB. He that expects a mischiefe knows better spacer1775
How to endure it.
But that which we expect
We endure with greter [greater] reluctancy, to here
For paine is nourisht by anticipation.
ELF. Nere cease to hope, for God to one that hopes spacer1780
Assuredly will send reliefe.
AD. Deare grandmother, refraine your tyde of griefe.
An unexpected day of joy will come.
OSB. ’Twere vaine and foolish to grive for myselfe,
But my disquiets depend on many. spacer1785
The danger of your safety disturbs me,
The irreparable losses of my
Dying cuntry afflict me. I prize not red
My life now so much as to run from death.
AL. That poore man expects me, I’e goe to him. spacer1785



[St. Cuthbert begs bread from Alfred. Although he has left only a single loaf wherewith to feed his family, nevertheless he shares it, and then he urges his elderly host to give him and his family some sustenance.]

CUTH. For Christs sake, bestow some food upon me,
That’s ready to starve for cruell hunger.
AL. Pray, mother, if there be any bread left,
Bring it out of our storehouse, that I may
Give it to this poore man. ’This a crime Exit Osburna. spacer1790
To deny any thing ask’d for Christs sake.
I know what misery is, and must learne
By my own example to relieve
The afflicted, least the heav’nly doner
Should deny my own supplication. Enter Osburna with a loafe. spacer1795
OSB. I find but one onely loafe to be left
Of all our provisions, with which you must
Relieve your own and your children’s hunger.
AL. Tis alone then is left of all my wealth
To maintaine my family. However spacer1800
Ile have it divided, that both is want
And mine may somewhat be satisified.
The greater neede shall have the greatest share.
Wherefore take you this halfe loafe for your selfe.
He that five thousand fed and with five loaves blue spacer1805
Satisfyed the hunger of them all,
Will provide for me, my children, and for all.
CUTH. Let His bounty repay this curtesy.
AL. Denevulphe, my honest landlord, you see
Our number is encreast. Do you provide spacer1810
Meat as you can, our safety lyes in you.
DEN. Ile doe my endeavour, tho this cloudy
Weather be not favorable for fishing.
Ile try both the rivers and fishponds.



[The old man, about to go fishing, summons his son Strumbo to follow him carrying the nets. When he pretends to be suffering from an ailment, he entrusts his care to his wife Crabula and hen leave. Meanwhile the king and his family retire indoors to enjoy some rest.]

DEN. Ho! Strumbo! spacer1815
STR. What would you have, Father? Oh, oh.
DEN. What ailes you ? Come, bring the nets after me.
STR. Oh!
DEN. We must both of us goe worke.
STR. Oh! Oh! red spacer1820
DEN. What’s the matter with thee?
STR. I am sicke all over me and in every part of me. First my head akes as if my braines
would fly out, my stomach broyles and belches forth unsavery smells, my belly twinges
me with griping pangs, a cough almost choakes me, and a loosenesse hath almost
fretted out my bowells. What can I say more? I am not so much sicke as sicknesse spacer1825
DEN. Wheres my wife? Ho! Crabula, Crabula! Enter Crabula.
CRA. What a mischiefe’s the matter with you, husband? What a nose is here, as if you
were mad! I thinke the house is turn’d into an ailehouse.
DEN. Have a care of your son, who is verry sicke, whilst I goe out a-fishing for spacer1830
provision for my guests.
CRA. What guests? What to doe a-fishing? With a vengeance! Whats their businesse red
here? Who sent for ’em? Let em be gon from hence with a pox to ’em, they must eat
the meat whilst you your selfe are hungry at your owne house.
DEN. Good wife, be not in such a rage. Good words will much better become you. Ile spacer1835
now be gon. You in the mean time carry your selfe civilly.
spacerAL. Let’s goe in and rest ourselves. Exeunt all but Strumbo, Crabula.


[Strumbo sinks to the ground as if in a swoon, and while his mother is lifting him up he steals from her the gold given him by the king, without her being aware. This done, he says he is doing better. Then, when his mother wants to retrieve a piece of gingerbread from her pocket, he tells her he cannot stand even the sight of it. When she offers him some money, he refuses to accept and frequently checks her hand when she moves it to her purse, to prevent her from doing this. Finally, while she is inside fetching some medicine, he takes to his heels.]

CRA. What’s the matter with thee, Strumbo?
STR. Oh! Pray hold me.
CRA. What ailes thee? spacer1840
STR. Doomsday is come. My legs faile me.
CRA. How pale he grows of a sudden. Woe is me! Strumbo is falling, he’s in a sownd
[swoon]. What shall I doe? Strumbo, my Strumbo, revive a little.
STR. Oh! Oh!
CRA. I can scarse hold him up, he is as heavy as lead. Raise thyselfe a little. spacer1845

Strumbo in the mean time puts his hand into her pocket and takes out her purse.

STR. Oh!
CRA. A little more. Yet againe — Take this stoole and sit downe a while. Will you
Have any aqua-vitae?
STR. No, no. I am now something better.
CRA. Will you have a bit of gingerbread which lyes in the bottom of my purse? spacer1850
STR. Oh no. Pray, mother, let it alone. I hate ginger-bread nor can looke upon it
without falling into a sownd.
CRA. Wilt thou have money then, to buy thee something?
STR. I beseech you, mother, torment me not, if you have any care of my health.
Money? I had rather see the divell now then money. If you love me take away your spacer1855
hand. I abhorre the very sight of the purse.
CRA. ’Tis a strange sicknesse which makes money to be hated. I am affraid ’tis
mortall. For if I were halfe dead and should see money, I should quickly recover.
STR. Oh! That verry word hath almost struck me dead. Name not the word money,
and you’l see I shall soone grow well. spacer1860
CRA. You shall have your will. Sit here and take your rest till I returne. Ile get you
something to strengthen your sicke stomack. Exit.
STR. Now I’m well enough. All my sickness is vanisht. The fort is taken and I have
got the prize. Deceit must be answered with deceit. Now ’tis best for me to be gon,
for I know the conditions of my mother. As soone as she perceives how egregiously spacer1865
she is cousen’d [cozened], she’ll breake into a rage. I am now well, she presently
will have her turne of sicknesse. Exit.



[When Crabula returns and does not find her son, she realizes her purse has been stolen and goes running after her son, full of wrath.]

Enter Crabula with a caudell [a warm drink].

CRA. My Strumbo, drinke up this whilst ’tis hot. But here’s nobody. Strumbo, where red
art? Whither is he now gon? Has he hid himselfe? Has he decev’d me? Is he run away?
And did he delude me with flattering words. Doe all things apeare to me in a mist? spacer1870
I am much afraid he has us’d some cunning deceit. Alas! So it is. I am utterly undon!
My money! My purse! All he hath stolen away. Woe is me! This was the reason of his
sickness to turn it upon me. O wicked rogue! Bloodsucking rascall! Theeving villain!
What shall I doe now? Goe hang my selfe for a simple foolish woman. But Ile after
him and bring him to a due correction. Exit. spacer1875


[St. Cuthbert appears to Alfred in a dream, employing certain prophetic signs to forecast his restoration to his kingdom. Waking up, the king vows he will found a monastery in his honor at this very same place.]

St. Cuthbert apears to Alfrede in his sleepe.

CUTH. Heav’ns triumphant Rector, infusing strength
Into the breasts of kings, whose awfull hand
Guides the raines of the universe, hath sent
Me from hea’vn to bring you the gratefull message
Of peace. I am that Cuthbert whose aide you spacer1880
So oft implor’d in your extremities,
And whom with one loafe, which was all that you
Had left, charitably you fed. By these
Deedes you have mitigated Gods anger,
Who, mindfull of your restitution spacer1885
Of His beloved England, fertille with
So numerous a progeny of saints,
Hath prepared new triumphs and new kingdoms.
Let this be an assured marke of your future
Conquest, that your landlord shall returne spacer1890
Loaded with a great quantity of fish,
And your soldiers impale [surround] you with their troopes,
Then goe to wars. And put your confidence
In th’ omnipotent hand which fights for you.

St. Cuthbert disappears.

ALF. O venerated patron! O Cuthbert, spacer1895
The Glory of my cuntry! The fortresse
And pillar of my life, whither fly you?
Before you penetrate the clouds, o take
My pious intents, and offer up to God
This gift: if my cuntry may be free’d spacer1900
From its miseries, and I once againe
Enjoy my kingdome, in this verry place
Ile consecrate a temple to your name,
One rich in marble, the discourse of all
Ages, and admir’d by the whole world. spacer1905
My life is not now so unfortunate,
Since Gods potent hand prepares redresses.
Heav’n fights for me, and all things generously
Conspire to afford reliefe to my griefs.



{The king’s mother recounts a vision.]

OSB. I had a dreame represented strange things spacer1910
To my imagination. St. Cuthbert
Appearing told me with a reall voice
You should be reinstaul’d in Englands throne.
O my thrice happy age, if yet at length,
After these sad afflictions of life, spacer1915
It hath deserv’d to see that welcome day!
AL. The same aparition of St. Cuthbert
Presented itselfe in my sleepe, and gave
Me evident signes of future triumphs.
But Denevulph’s return’d, and comes as if spacer1920
He brought some newes.



[The king’s host tells him of the incredible haul of fish he has taken, which was one of the signs foretold by St. Cuthbert.]

DEN. My guest, I am come to tell you strang newes
And a wonder. Going out with my netts
In a season much unfavorable
For fishing, and casting them in a pond, spacer1925
On a suddain there fell into the netts
A vast quantity of fish which almost
Broke the nets and for’ct them back into the water.
With no small labour we puld ashore.
New cause of wonder did then arise spacer1930
When we saw the number was so great it
Might sufficienty have fed a multitude.
AL. ’Tis the event of my dreme which you relate,
And the sign of my future victories.



[The captains Humfrey and Athelrede come to the king, bringing a new army, which

ED. Whilst neere the rising of the sun I vew’d spacer1935
The wood, an army of souldiers did
Appeare. Humfrey, generall of the the horse,
And Athelrede, of the foote, lead on these
Martiall troopes collected for your service.
HUM. As you commanded me (when, having lost spacer1940
The battell, to avoid the enimy
You were necessitated to betake
Your selfe to flight unattended), I strait
Collected forces through the whole kingdome,
Which bravely have resolv’d in your service spacer1945
Either to dye or regaine their cuntry,
And restore you to your pristine glory.
AL. I do acknowledge the truth of my vision.
ATH. I here returne the sacred diadem
Which you committed to my charge, and have spacer1950
Prepar’d regall and splendid robes for you.
The souldiers expresse their loyalty
To their new found king, and congratulate
Your welcome with their acclamations.
SOULD. God save King Alfrede! spacer1955
DEN. My liege, I must humbly kneele for pardon
That ignorantly I treated you at
My house not as it became your regall
AL. Rise, Denevulphe. I esteeme thee as a friend. spacer1960
The memory of thy charity to me
Shall ever live within my gratefull breast,
And be an example to externs, [foreign peoples] and
A document to the posterity
Of future ages, nor that thou hast spacer1965
Entertained with hospitality
A triumphant king, but hast faithfully
With food and lodging releev’d one needy,
Miserable, and exil’d. Wherefore thou
Shalt follow us. I promise to maintaine spacer1970
Thy family at my cost, who fed’st mine
At thy expences. Now, stout Mars’s crew,
Under heaven’s conduct lets the wars renew. Exeunt.



[Fleeing towards Athelney with her daughter and dressed as a commoner, the queen takes shelter in Neothus’ cell when a storm arises, him being absent at that time.]

EDEL. Who taught that love produces jealous feares
Was no false prophete, nor absented from
The limites of verity. This, a love
To a husband, so immense as mine,
Confirms by a severe experience. spacer1975
Feare permits not my anxious thoughts
To fix on any resolve. It represents
Flights, banishments, the horrid menaces
Of blacke night, my son lost with his sister,
And my husband retreated into the spacer1980
Watry marshes o’ th’ isle Athelnea.
Alas! What part of all my breast remaines
Unassaulted, which feare and love distracts,
And raging griefe peirces, and a beliefe
Too credulous of threat’ning misfortunes! spacer1985
But now my hart’s grown stout, obdurated [hardened]
By so many sorrows, now stopping the
Sluces of my teares. Couragiously
I dare, accompanied with Elgine,
Walke through the open fields, and travell the redspacer1990
Darke recesses of solitary woods,
And take a journey towards Athelnea,
Leaving the protection of a castle
Whose security is now unsecure,
That I may enjoy the sight of Alfrede, spacer1995
And receive his ultimate embraces.
ELG. This place, Mother, invites us to refresh
Our wearied limbes with a little rest.
This is the cell of the venerable
Neothus, which yeelds hospitality spacer2000
To pilgrims. Let’s goe into it before
The skeys are overspread with darker clouds
And the hollow winds produce tempestuous
Showers. I heare the concaves of the wood
Commence a dreadfull murmur, and the earth spacer2005
Allready shakes with loud groans of thunder.
Lets goe in, till a serener day
Unclouds the sun and expells the tempest.
ED. Although my mind be disturbed with no
Small feares presaging the omen of some spacer2010
Approaching misfortune coutch’d within these
Menaces of the skyes and blustering winds,
Yet this oportunity and the great
Sanctity of this hermite invite me.



[Rollo, overhearing their conversation from concealment and overjoyed about the prize he will obtain, by means of which he hopes to return to Gothurnus’ good graces, reveals the entire matter to his accomplices, driven there by the force of the storm. Then, together with them, he enters into the cell to capture the queen together with her daughter.]

ROL. Fortune, thou’st too bountifully enricht spacer2015
Thy client, What an India of treasures
Doth here present itselfe! How much will this
Ingratiate me with Gothurnus! Who will
Confer not onely a pardon, but wealth
And honours on me, by whose hand Alfred’s queene, spacer2020
Togeather with the princesse his daughter,
Shall become captives to his ambition. Enter souldiers.
Behold, the rage of the tempest hath brought
My companions to the refuge of
This sheltring wood. Come hither, my friends, spacer2025
Fortune at length hath crown’d our hopes. We hold
The prey which must ransome our liberties
And yeeld us life and glory. Whilst by chance
Upon the top of a high hill I vew’d
The vallies and fields and adjacent woods, spacer2030
I saw two women running in great hast
Through those meadows where the river
Silently hastens to encorporate
It selfe with the noble streames of Athelnea.
I vigilantly followed them, shrowding spacer2035
Myselfe behind the interposed trees,
Least any eye should have discovered
My stealth. When they came to this place, I knew
By their dicourse that it was Alfreds queene
And his daughter which were arrived here. spacer2040
Now, to avoide the storme, they are entred
That little cell which presently will yeeld
An entry to our triumphs. Why do I
Thus protract delayes in speaking? My friends,
You that have followed me, your captaine spacer2045
In hardship, behold what treasures attend
Your liberty. But none of us must use
The least violence. They must our freedome bring
And are design’d as presents for the king. Exeunt.



[Osberne and Gormo, wearing the habit of pilgrims., having been warned by Neothus about the storm and sent home, hear a commotion and a wailing of women in his house and conceal themselves to as to determine the reason of the business and observe its outcome.]

OSB. What do’s this suddain change of weather spacer2050
Portend, the sun invelopt in black clouds,
The windes raging, th’ earth made into a sea
By the unslus’d flood gates of the weeping heav’ns?
When I ruminate on these things, I am
At a stand and know not their certaine cause. spacer2055
Sense is stupify’d and reason must yeeld
Inferiour to the eternall councells.
Such distempers in the skeys arise not
But design’d for some intent, either for
A caution to deterre us from our crimes, spacer2060
Or by cristalline showers to fertillize
The growing fields.
GOR. I’m not at all sollicitous why God
Terrifyes the world with such menaces.
My care is onely to amend my life, spacer2065
Which makes me dubious what to avoide
And what to follow, being a tyro
Newly enlisted under Christs banners.
For an innate storme more tempestuously
Rages with in me, purging the fetidies spacer2070
Of vice from out the center of my breast
Then that which swells the sea and shakes the earth,
Breaking from the spungy wombe of the clouds.
OSB. Neothus hath apply’d a remedy
For those wounds, lucidly demonstrating spacer2075
The path to life. He adviced us to assume
This pilgrims habit, a proper garment
For penitents. He, foreseeing the greatnesse
Of this storme, bid us goe home before him.
GOR. But heare. A noise comes from the cell. What do they spacer2080
Within? I heare the outcries and complaints of women.
OSB. Let us remaine a while in this place.
I see some Danish souldiers coming forth.
The first is Rollo, leading two women manicle’d.
GOR. What a sun of beauty shines spacer2085
Through the clouds of that homely decency!
’This no ignoble prize. Wee’l see the event.


ACT IIII, SCENE xvii blue

[Unmoved by any of the queen’s entreaties or arguments, Rollo makes ready to take her and her to Gothurnus against their wills.]

ROL. Come forward, queen. Why make you these demurs?
The journey is from one king to another.
Alfrede lives exil’d from his own kingdome. spacer2090
Hee’s depos’d, trample’d on, miserable,
One not worth envy, a vagabond.
Fortune hath provided better for you,
Which out of this despeare will raise you to
Gothurnus, a man worthy of Englands crowne. spacer2095
He victoriously sits in that throne
From which Alfrede is fallen. Thus fortune
Gives and takes by turnes. One scepter admits
Not two hands. Why doe teares swell your eyes?
Why grieve you? Your misery is now past. red spacer2100
’Twill be a happinesse to become a
Prisoner to a victorious king.
You’l finde an easy condescention
To your supplications, a pious
Mercy to your afflictions. In fine, spacer2105
A noble generosity both to
Your selfe and your daughter. Perhaps he may
Become Alfred’s son-in-law, restore him
To his kingdom, and seat him in his throne.
EDEL. O severe censurer! O too austere, spacer21110
Too cruell an arbitrator of our
Misfortunes! Under what clymat, or in
What wildernesse were you nurst? Certainly
By some salvage animall. Can you then
Imagine this in affliction to be spacer2115
A comfort? For a queene thus to become
A captive to an impious tyrant,
And a virgin to be presented
To an adulterer? What inhuman
Or barbarous inhabitant of the spacer2120
Most remote and unciviliz’d cuntry
Would not even blush at the wickednesse
Of this resolve? O change, unlesse your hart
Be made of stone or your breast of iron.
O change your cruell resolution.
If you want arguments to induce your minde spacer2125
To a resentment [change of heart], imagine her to be
Your owne mother which thus bound you force
Along, and this your sister, strait to be
Violated by a ravisher.
Can you suffer so great an infamy? spacer2130
I know you would abhorre it nor would you
Permit your owne blood to be stained with
Such dishonour, but much rather defend
Their fame with a vindicative hand.
If it be a slight motive that I am spacer2135
A queene, suppose mee to be your mother.
If this be too much, imagine I am
Your client, and, if not that, your servant.
But if this you judge to high a title,
Deeme me the most despised of your slaves. spacer2140
What’ere deserves the name of beggarly,
Poor, base, low, vile, and abject, that Ile bee.
Nay, Ile be nothing. Give me any name
Or none at all, so that I may avoide
The adulterous hands of Gothurnus, spacer2145
And may not see my daughters chastity
Contaminated by his impurities.
Why deny you my just supplication?
I beg not to avoid death, but infamy.
She that desires death feares not to dy. spacer2150
’Tis a glory to dye for honours sake.
I ask you’l either free me of my life
Or of this infamy, I care not which.
You may doe both. In doing either you’l
Make me happy. If you condescend to both, spacer2155
Riches and honours shall attend on you,
Scepters and kings shall be at your command.
Will this not perswade? If words are of no force,
Let my teares become better orators.
Let vertue, let piety plead for me. spacer2160
ROL. Piety? ’Tis but an empty name
You object. I would know where ’tis to be found.
Unlesse a wickednesse be pious, I
Acknowledge piety to be nowhere.
Nor doe I esteeme any thing pious spacer2165
Abstracted from utility. He that
Regards vertue and piety follows
Airy shadows and empty nullities
What doe you tell me of these sterile goods?
Your fame? Your honour? Meere trifles, nothing. spacer2170
Vertue is to be contemn’d where neither
Pleasure nor profit is conjoyn’d with it.
EDEL. Pleasure and profit are to be contemn’d
Where vertue is not their companion.
ROL. O vitious vertue! Full of tyranny, spacer2175
Amaritude [bitterness], toyle, and difficulty!
Why should that checke us from doing what we please?
Ile doe what ere my sense doth suggest.
EDEL. Reason ought to bridle sense.
ROL. Reason’s but weake where the will makes resolves. spacer2180
EDEL. ’Tis the property of irrationall
Animalls to be guided by sense.
Reason should direct a prudent man.
ROL. Reason directs me to follow my profit.
EDEL. But that reason’s blinde. spacer2185
ROL. It promises me pardon, and honours
Too, if I present you to Gothurnus.
EDEL. Alfrede will give you all this.
ROL. Yes. A bannisht man!
EDEL. Yet lives to be reveng’d. spacer2190
ROL. Hee’s inferiour in war.
EDEL. But superiour in courage.
ROL. His courage is to little purpose.
EDEL. ’Tis yet to be feared.
ROL. A fugitive to be feared? spacer2195
EDEL. Because he lives.
ROL. Let him live, contemn’d by his enimies.
Let him still want his wife, children, and kingdome,
And let him see his daughter and his queene
Given up to be adulterated. spacer2200
Whatever wickednesse one enimy
Doth to another, ’tis a pious deede.
Wherefore follow or Il drag you after me.


ACT IV, SCENE xviii blue no break

[The queen is freed by Osberne and Gormo after the robbers have been put to rout.]

OSB. Wherefore dye.
Disburthen the earth of so much wickednes. spacer2205
GOR. His comrades are also run after their leader.
OSB. But heav’ns just vengence will overtake them.
Disconsolate queene, collect your senses,
For those you fear’d feare hath vanquisht.
EDEL. Generous hero’s, I know not how, spacer2210
Or in what gratefull manner to addresse
Myselfe to you. As a tender mother,
Beholding her deare childe in safety (which
Floating upon the tempestuous seas
In a totter’d vessel she imagin’d spacer2215
To be absorp’t by the devouring waves,
Or at least cast upon some unknown clymat)
Can scarse diverst herselfe of feare, although
She see’s him, and still fancies his abscence
Whose presence she enjoyes, so I, whom griefe spacer2230
Had almost made disapeare, am yet doubtfull
Whether really I see this wellcome succour,
Or the image of some dreame deludes my sight.
My minde’s not yet unclog’d with feare, and yet
I see no enimy, no cause to feare. spacer2235
But you, from whom no imaginary
Assistance hath accrew’d to our succour,
What adorations shall we make you?
What retributions shall wee returne?
Shall we believe you’r angells come from heav’n, spacer2240
Or shall we call you mortalls?
OSB. These penitent weedes declare us mortall,
And that we have bin guilty of misdeedes.
But the holly documents of Neothus
Have reclaim’d us from the paths of errour spacer2245
And consequently from death, and hath made
Us participant of the divine light
Of faith. He, foreknowing your distresses,
Far from hence bid us goe home. But he’s come
With more than ordinary pleasantness. spacer2250
EDEL. Let’s goe to him.


ACT IV, SCENE xviiii

[The queen is greatly consoled when Neothus informs her that her husband has arrived and is not far distant from this place together with his army, his children and his captains, and that Rollo and the other robbers have been captured.]

EDEL. O holy Neothus, thou refuge of
Safety to th’ desolate Britans, behold
A queene wretched, miserable, a prey
To enimies, depriv’d of her husband, spacer2255
Destitute of her children, and, unlesse
You had free’d us from this last extremity
With reliefe, a designed prostitute
To th’ pleasure of an enimy. Alas!
When will our afflictions and miseries spacer2260
Have an end? Instruct me what I shall doe,
Or what I may hope for.
NE. Wonder not if the unhappy state
Of life be pervious to afflictions.
For heav’n hath given this law to mortals, spacer2265
That no sublunary thing shall be fixt
Or permanent. We see the clouds disgorge
Themselves of raine, the earth by th’ impulse
Of waves dislocated, the aspiring sea
Sweld into the skyes, and the ponderous earth spacer2270
Scarce (tho so immense a bulke) endures
The batteries of the violent windes.
The nature even of things insensitive
Suffers variation, nor the elements
Of the celestiall orbes are exempted spacer2275
From vicissitude. Why therefore in the
Revolution of human life should
We wonder if prosperity be mixt
With adversity, good with ill, the highest
With the lowest, and joy and sorrow doe spacer2280
Alternately prevaile? Life can promise
Nothing secure. He’s free alone from feare
And triumphs ore the world that lives unmov’d
And unconcern’d at the change of fortune,
Who knows how to bridle his desires spacer2285
And regulate the passions of his minde;
Who, leaving earthly for eternall goods,
Hoards up an uncreased tresure.
Now heare what after your calamities
You must hope for. I bring you joyfull newes. spacer2290
Know that your husband, children, mother,
And all your princely stocke are in safety,
And know that there is a potent army
Of souldiers not far from this place, under
Their ensignes all ready to execute spacer2295
The commands of Alfrede. Fortune is revers’t.
Triumphs decreed by heav’n attend Alfrede.
A most just revenge of the divine hand
Hath also overtooke those barbarians
Which even now escap’t by flight when they spacer2300
Intended to present you and Elgine
To Gothurnus. But some Brittish souldiers,
Meeting and stoutly encountring them,
Have taken them prisoners, and now in
A dungeon, such as they intended for you, spacer2305
They expiate that wickednesse in chaines.
EDEL. O blest fortune! What thankes shall I returne
To God and you? My breast is too narrow
To lodge so much joy. I stand astonisht
At this strange newes, which raises me above myselfe. spacer2310
NE. O queene, comand your selfe. When good fortune
Abounds, reflect on ill and moderate
Your joy. Let that and sorrow have a like
Reception in your hart, least the one
Too much dejects the minde, and the other spacer2315
Doth vanity and insolency bring.
But now’tis time to goe and meet the king.

Go to Act V