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

 

MERCIA
OR PIETY CROWNED

A TRAGEDY
Acted in the year 1648, during Carnival season, at the English College in the City.
Given six times, it always pleased the spectators.

THE ARGUMENT

N about 660 A. D. Ulferus, a very ardent champion of his vain gods, ruled that part of England called Mercia. This man had two sons, young men of fine character, Ulfaldus and Ruffinus. For the sake of the hunt, the King lodged at a castle named Ulferchester, surrounded by dense forests. Not far from that castle lived Bishop Ceadda together with a few priests, a prelate subsequently numbered amongst the saints. When the princes came across him while on a hunting expedition, they were converted to Christ’s Faith by him, and received baptism. Having learned of this, Ulferus, at the urging of certain of his lords, and particularly of Verebodus, a very depraved fellow, flew to Ceadda’s abode and, as is thought, on the very day of their baptism he killed his sons with his own hand, but then was himself converted to the Faith. Thus the story is told by Camden in his Britannia, by Stow in his Annales, by the Peterborough Chronicle, &c.

PERSONAE

ULFERUS King of the Mercians
UFADUS, RUFFINUS sons of Ulferus
THEORGUS high priest
LYCAMBER son of Theorgus
IUMINA Captain of the Guard
VEREBODUS, ETHELBERTUS, FABA, EADBERTUS lords
<TWO COURTIERS>
<CADMUS>
CHOREBUS, FAUSTUS royal huntsmen
SIX APPARITIONS having the appearance of gods
SIX PAGES belonging to the gods
SIX WOODLAND SPRITES OR FAUNS
EIGHT SOLDIERS
TWO BOYS
THREE MESSENGERS
CEADDA a bishop
CLYTUS, PROBUS (otherwise called TITYRUS) priests
CHRIST
A CHOIR OF SIX ANGELS
TWO AVENGING ANGELS
THE SPIRIT OF
MADNESS
MADNESS’ SIX COMPANIONS

bar

ACT I, SCENE i
THE SPIRIT OF
MADNESS
SPEAKS THE TRAGEDY’S PROLOGUE

The stage is quickly opened, and the spirit of Madness is seen, still buried up to its waist in the earth. Three other spirits stand at either one of his sides, displaying with their facial expressions and gestures Madness’ various effects.

spacerSPIRIT Leaving the underground caverns of Tartarus’ hound and their accursed throng, I, Madness, make my entrance in the open air, Madness, that worst evil of the silent world, Madness, headstrong in overwhelming households with an uncontrollable storm of wrath, and accustomed to be driven and sent a-whirling through savage quarrels, woundings, bloodshed, and death. With me are my Hellish crew, my chorus of Furies: hatreds, riots, deaths, destructions, chaos, and downfalls. In my wake follow wild lamentations, tears, groans, and grief, never satisfied with its complaints. Madness alone embraces all these things. Mistress Reason is far away. I detest the idle pauses of counsel, I foreswear the beacon of intellect. Law does not bridle Madness, nor does the course of justice, my power resides in armaments. Blind desire moves my rash hand. Steel takes precedence over words, passion makes it strike, its tempest sets lawless rage a-spinning. After these thunder-claps, what a storm of evil: houses swimming with blood, slashed throats, steel plunged into guts, limbs wrenched from limbs, breasts ripped open — whatever rabid heat recommends with its passion is perpetrated far and wide. Triumphantly, I envelop the world with these woes, than I return myself to the Styx. But what territory requires Madness and my firebrands? Britain. Who rejoices in staining his hands with the gore of his sons? Bestial Ulferus. Oh happy me! His royal breast is going to accept Madness as its master. I am wholly moving into the king. This, most assuredly, is the way of it. I cheerfully enter into ruler’s hearts as a guest. The common folk, no matter how greatly it wishes, does not know how to inflict harm. A brief show of force tames their rage, it is put down by an unbudging policeman and by fear of the law. But a royal court works its savagery with impunity. Purple-clad Madness, free of fear, hurls its shaft where it wants. Vengeful wrath is urged on by power, its companion. Penda, ferocious with his bloodthirsty reign, bears witness to this: for him, it was a game to cow the anger of five kings by a bloody massacre. His son Ulferus, a man not unlike his father, mounts the throne and puts on his father’s wild ways together with his crown. A tiger begets a tiger, a cruel lion begets a merciless lion. Come, Madness, of his own free will, Ulferus is wholly open to your fires. In his cruelty, let him have his father’s spirit. But why do I say “let him have his father’s spirit?” Let Ulferus surpass his father. I swear by Orcus, he will surpass him, and he will impose no limit on his madness before he sullies his hands by the butchery of his children. Madness will supply the weapons: either this rope will equip his left hand, or steel his right. A sure arrow shot from afar will deliver its strike, or (better yet) his hand will play close up. Why am I concerned about a savage claw, about teeth in a rabid mouth? What do I care about the lightning that lurks in eyes? (He is carrying a gold box that dangles from his belt, filled with poisonous powder.) Should those things miss their target, this powder, contained within gold, conceals a hidden death that brings down high dukes and the sons of kings with its stealthy bane. I know how to rage in a secret corner or in the open. By these weapons Ulferus’ two sons, Ulfadus and Ruffinus, will fall. Come, Phoebus, and wrap your head in dark clouds, so you will not witness this crime. Or, if it is your pleasure to watch me rage like an actor in a tragedy, dispel those clouds, for I am preparing to commit a notable deed. It is permissible for kings to display savagery with impunity, even against their own offspring. The highest degree of criminality is when Madness is conjoined to unchecked power. But see, a rotten old man obliges me to flee.

bar

ACT I, SCENE ii
CEADDA, TWO COMPANIONS

In his zeal for prayer, Ceadda walks alone in the forest.spacer

spacerCEAD. Go back, my companions, I seek the woods in seclusion. (His companions withdraw.) Ruler of the world, Christ, You salvation of kingdoms, I seek You alone, so that, being alone myself, I may lodge my complaint with You. Why do You compel my undeserving self to preside over this holy flock such a long time? This weight sits on my shoulders, unequal to the task, and I am crumbling under its vast burden. I beg You, to Whom the hidden places of the human mind lie open, judge my mind and bear witness that I do not wear a bishop’s miter so that an awesome crown might brighten my head, or that that purple’s splendor should make my limbs to shine; so that an idle throng of servants should ebb and flow in my household or a knot of hangers-on should besiege my doorstep with their flowery words; or so that my house should threaten the sky with its proud porticoes and my personal wealth and reputation should grow thanks to donatives offered to the Saints. Let these follies move vain men’s senses. Only one concern, rooted deep in my marrow, inspires me, that Hell’s robber should not win over minds that have been watered by Your blood. My single love is to keep souls safe. But, alas, how many cares this single purpose begets! Woe’s me, Ulferus rages with his blood-stained hand, waging war against the Thunderer. He wields his lightning against Christ’s family and His Name, and spews forth whatever anger he privily stores up within his guts, unable to control it. Thus God suffers by the scepter that He Himself created. Thus high good fortune takes the lead in lashing out at heaven. The God of Kings is a laughing-stock to kings. That company of lords, born of the Furies, that vile crew of toadies, eggs him on and kindles his torches, a tribe of men well-stocked with pretense, shaping and re-shaping itself with a thousand kinds of fraud in accordance with the royal whim. So what is to be feared from this? How much blood will wash over us? You Who calms the warring commanders of the Aeolian clan, and Who defeats the bristling ranks of the clouds, giving back to heaven and earth their proper aspect, break up this storm that threatens our pious congregation.

bar

ACT I, SCENE iii
CAEDDA. ULFADUS, RUFFINUS, CHRIST, ANGELS, A SERPENT

Ceadda comes upon Ulfadus and Ruffinus, wearied by the hunt. As he prays, a wonderous vision appears to the princes in their sleep. Explaining this to them afterwards, Ceadda converts them both to Christ. The princes pull down Jove’s altar.

When the doors of the proscenium are opened, a great oak is seen. At its foot stands an altar of Jove, holding a thunderbolt in his hand. The princes Ulfadus and Ruffinus are stretched out on the grass, each one gently resting on a cornerstone of the altar.

spacerCEAD. What beauty strikes my eyes? What glory of youth? They are carrying hunters’ weapons. Oh a brow worthy to be decorated by gems! Their breeding smacks of Augustus. Sleep has stolen over their eyes. Thus repose, often denied in royal porticoes, loves forests. The peaceful rest of the countryside and that of the mind have joined together in the dance, far from the manors of lords and their cares. I recognize the lads. Ulfadus, that star of the royal court and Ulferus’ glory , lies in his brother’s embrace. His brow is bright, its splendor is the image of his mind, just as a handsome shell contains yet better jewels within itself. Shall Pluto befoul their minds with his plague? Will Orcus drag down these souls? Oh Christ, You harrower of Hell, You Who with Your pure blood wash clean minds made guilty by ancient sin, prevent this crime! Prevent the beauties of their innocent youth from being caught in a net by the deceit of the Prince of Darkness. Let this noble pair, enrolled in your flock, overcome the wiles of errors.

At this point Ceadda is swept up into an ecstasy. Christ descends, surrounded by angelic choirs, like the fairest of kings. In their hands the angels carry crowns, scepters, robes &c. When Christ makes His appearance, a serpent crawls out of the base of the altar and departs. Soon Jove’s statue is cast down to the ground by some secret power. Meanwhile singing angels summon the princes to Christ.

THE SONG

spacerDirect your eyes hither, oh noble youths born of ancient royal blood, the mist of doubtful sleep dispelled. Behold the Son of a divine Father, a God born of our true God, Christ, the glory of the eternal Mind. Shining with a light in no wise disgraceful to His pedigree he glides down from the citadel of the supernals, and is now a commander summoning you as recruits to His banner. Come, Ulfadus, Ruffinus, come &c.

When the song is ended.

spacerCEAD. Thus Christ tramples the Acheron with His almighty foot. Thus He puts the defeated serpent to rout. Thus, being wealthy, He crowns His followers with gold and jewelry, and returns them to the stars.

The princes awaken.

spacerULF. Oh, peace, peace that is sweet, and also to be held in reverence! Oh my brother, with what visions my terrified mind is stricken!
spacerRUF. Oh the apparitions, thanks to which my uncertain heart is failing me! Brother, has this artful sleep tricked your mind too?
spacerULF. Do not call it trickery. It is scarcely to no good purpose that these dreams provoke your mind. The power of a divinity is present, it was a divinity that filled your breast with its hidden passion.
spacerRUF. I admit that this beauty, breathing forth heavenly honors, this fair chorus of winged beings and their celestial songs, pouring forth from a divine mouth, bespoke divinity. A god has revealed himself by his visitation. But can one divinity be opposed to another, and gods to gods? In its hostility, this one has laid low Jove, thundering Jove, heaven’s greatest god.
spacerULF. May Phoebus, who guides the wavering with his assured inspiration, make this omen favorable!

Ceadda intrudes into their conversation.

spacer CEAD. Shake off your fear and let it disappear, royal boys. There’s no trustworthiness in lying Phoebus. Rather, let God, the Ruler of the starry citadel, bless this omen. He bids me explain its puzzling symbols. He, shining with His celestial host, with His countenance showing Himself to be its mighty Commander, having a crown on His locks, a scepter in His right hand, and a handsome cloak covering His shoulders, possesses everlasting godhead above the stars. Blessed, He alone governs this wide world, this God Whom Christian folk invoke with sacred incense, and worship as Christ. He makes a crown, glittering with the light of jewels, for His followers, and bids those whom He has transported to the stars when their sinless life has run its course, now set on a throne, to live a blessed life for all the centuries in the bosom of everlasting peace. But this shadowy glutton of gods (they call him Jove the Thunderer), guilty of unspeakable crime, driven from the stars down to the utmost bottom of Tartarus, burns in never-ending flames as an eternal pyre. Buried there, he holds sway over the dark lake, and now he rejoices to be acknowledged as a god with altars, as he lurks within countless tree-trunks. Beware, lads. Whatever gullible fellow burns the riches of the orient for his benefit will eternally atone for his sin in hellfire. That serpent, gaping with his enormous maw, lies concealed beneath the statues of gods, so that in the he end he might snatch his followers and cast them in the flame of Orcus.
spacerULF. These visions confirm what you say, reverend bishop. Indeed, I confess that a long day has dragged out for me in my perplexity, as my mind conducted wonderful debates whether I should loathe my nation’s rites and surrender to Christ. At length I yield. Christ, pray show me Your heavenly illumination, grant me to restrain my long-resisting senses and confess that You are God.
spacer RUF. Where are you hastening, brother, leaving your brother behind? It is allowed us to hate the wiles of infernal Dis equally. Christ, receive the approach of Your junior servant. I am Yours, let anybody who takes the gods’ side go burst his guts.
spacerCEAD. From His lofty stars God accepts these promises, arisen fro your great hearts. But before it is allowed you to enrich the divine congregation, you must bathe your hears with lustral water and wash away the stain inherent in your inmost beings.
spacerULF. Bishop, it is unsafe to tarry longer. Already our father is searching for us as we wander the great tracts of this woods. When nightfall has routed from heaven the exhausted chariot of daylight, he will be sending picked men this way.
spacerCEAD. Oh, you dear fellows! It would be better to enlist you among Christ’s servants right away. Once Christ has been excluded, who knows if He will bring back this longed-for hour? It is harmful to put off whatever good thing is at hand.
spacerRUF. Come, brother, let us be purified.
spacerULF. Delay is harmful. We shall have better leisure, brother, when we come back.
spacerRUF. Now, bishop, wish good fortune for your servants and bid us a holy farewell.
spacerCEAD. May God’s hand preserve you for your return. And, lest any act of cunning or storm of evil overcome you in your enthusiasm, let each of you wear this token close to his heart. (Ceadda gives each of them a golden cross.)
spacerULF. I gladly embrace this sweet traveler’s protection.
spacerRUF. No power will snatch this gift from my arms. Let all Erebus conspire against Christ’s faith, we are sufficiently well armed.
spacerCEAD. Farewell, you young sprouts of Christ.
spacer ULF. Farewell, bishop. (Exit Ceadda.) But you, you unspeakable thief, you plague on this earth, you black citizen of Phlegethon, lie downcast. (He stamps on Jove’s statue.) Lie there to be trodden underfoot, turn to dust. In your pride you adored altars, let dishonorable dust befoul you no that you are overthrown. Let your ambition pay the price of sin. Let Orcus be your altar, its conflagration will furnish you with your incense.
spacerRUF. Depart, you disgraceful monstrosity, you low-down harbinger of the Styx. Dissapear, you plague of Erebus, return to deadly chaos and places teeming with flames. Such a realm befits you. (He kicks the statue.)
spacerULF. Let’s destroy this altar, brother. Let this accursed haunt of Dis be levelled to the ground (They pull down the altar.)
spacerRUF. Let this abominable lair of monsters suffer its downfall. Let this cave of Avernus’ serpent go to ruin. When its home on earth has been destroyed, let it roar and hide its head in eternal darkness. (A hunting-horn is heard.) But listen, the song of this brass is searching for wanderers.
spacerULF. Their commotion draws near, let a hiding place conceal us.

bar

ACTUS I, SCENE iv
VEREBODUS, CHOREBUS, ULFADUS, RUFFINUS

Verebodus, one of the lords, together with the huntsman Chorebus, seeks the princes in the forest. Seeing the overturned statue of Jove, he decides to summon Theorgus to bear witness to the sacrilege. The princes encourage themselves to remain steadfast.

spacerVER. Come, make a louder noise on your horn. Make it bellow deeply. Let this huge forest resound. (Chorebus sounds his horn.)
spacerULF. It’s Verebodus, it pleases me to overhear his rant.
spacerVER. How long do I have to keep hunting for these boys, no gentler than a fierce wild beast? May the plague take them for wandering astray. So do I have to struggle in pursuit forever? Where are you hiding, you monsters? May lightning set these stragglers afire! It’s a cruel passion, destroying innocent animals. Oh if only a fierce vulture would pick them apart with its teeth, or a savage wolf with its jaws! Then this dire enthusiasm would destroy the enthusiasts themselves.
spacerCHOR. This sport of kings, driving deer, is usually harmless.
spacerVER. A harmless sport, sating hounds’ rage by killing a harmless beast? He who kills game for his amusement will not spare a man. What about the fact that the hard manners acquired in the forest make a young man rough and unmanageable? A youth spent among thorns produces a thorny nature. A prince will be uncouth of character, wild, and strong-willed whose life is passed amidst forests and beasts. But by what road, in what area should I be following the runaways?
spacerCHOR. Perhaps sleep has overcome them as they reclined in some out-of-the-=way place.
spacerVER. So why not wake them up with that fearsome horn? (He sounds the horn again.) Let’s get on with it. (He stumbles over Jove’s statue.) Oh, I’m ruined!
spacer CHOR. Oh, you’ve taken a hard fall!
spacerVER. You shapeless piece of wood, born under an unlucky star! So you delay my steps, you unhappy tree-trunk? (He stabs Jove’s statue with his dagger.). Take this, you damned log, take this token of my pain. The fire of the Styx awaits you. Go, plunge yourself into black conflagrations, a hellish firebrand.
spacerCHOR. Oh, leave off, prince. You are committing a terrible sin. You are trampling the Thunderer. With your steel you have done violence to Jove, Jove, the greatest of the gods. Oh the foul crime!
spacerVER. Horror freezes my marrow. Have I acted profanely and savaged the true Jove? You lie, you owl. There’s no spirit of Jove here, this is a tree-trunk.
spacerCHOR. Look at its lightning, the way it has been cultivated, its altar. Everything goes to show that this is Jove.
spacerVER. Forgive me, you gods with your thunderbolts. I unwittingly stained my hand with such a great sin. (He throws away his dagger.)
spacerCHOR. What spawn of Erebus laid low the thundering god with a huge downfall?
spacerVER. You don’t have to look very far. The man who commits a crime is the one who benefits from it. You are seeing Christian work, abominable, foul, sacrilegious and uncivilized. Oh sluggish royal weaponry! Away with delay. Let Theorgus quickly come at our bidding, that minister of Phoebus and Jove’s high priest, a personality revered by the public and by our king alike. Let him come to view this frightful destruction, so he might see the criminality of all Christians embodied in this single crime.
spacerCHOR. Take your dagger back, Verebodus.
spacerVER. Sacrilegious steel, instrument of a foul deed, may you burn in the Styx’ everlasting oven! Let the band of the Furies be the only ones to handle you, let them drive you, burning, through Christian breasts, guts, marrow, and hearts. (He throws the dagger away again and exits with Chorebus.)
spacerULF. Thus a cloud is caught up by the east wind, bearing in its bosom a terrible storm. When the cloud bursts, it will set in motion fearful upheavals, opening the way for thunderbolts. Fires will follow, crashing thunder mixed in with the lightning, hail, rain, and the evil madness of the heaven. Let us steel our minds, brother, with a mutual embrace, this storm is going to fall down on our heads.
spacerRUF. No man bears hardships more stoutly than he who foresees them. The blow falls harder on the unprepared.
spacerULF. Let it attack. I have a heart scarce unequal to woes. If some misfortune should separate us, let an absent brother’s gem confirm one in the Faith. Let us exchange our gold (They trade rings.). Let our watchword be ONE GOD. And let ONE GOD symbolize our fidelity. (The sound of a hunting-horn is heard.) The forest resounds once more. Now the hounds are driving their quarry towards the strike, their prey is being outrun. Let us return to the court.

bar

ACT I, SCENE v
ULFERUS, FABA, JUMINA, EADBERTUS, FAUSTUS (A HUNTER)

King Ulferus, joined by his lords, is at leisure for the hunt. All of them are equipped with hunting equipment.

spacerULFER. A fearful boar is coming down from the mountain top, rushing through our huts.
spacerFAB. Steer your steps to a removed location, your majesty. A great boar is charging. Ply your weapons in safety.
spacerULFER. Quarry that is not noble provides no delight to minds that dare nothing. I want to go to meet it: to la ylow a beast in noble combat is kingly. I hope to wound this foaming boar. Even beasts dread a king.
spacerJUM. The fearful monster! With its lightning-like tusk it breaks its way through the forest and through our hounds, spouting foam. A thick crop of bristles makes its shoulders shaggy, curving tusks lie outside its cheeks.
spacerEAD. It approaches, it draws near, it rushes on, it is at hand.
spacerULFER. Weapons, lords, weapons. Guard my sides with your naked steel.
spacerFAUST. (Still behind the curtain.). The boar is rushing forward. Alas, the boar is rushing.

bar

ACT I, SCENE vii
THEORGUS, VEREBODUS, CHOREBUS WITH THE REST

The high priest Theorgus sharply rebukes Ulferus for having neglected the gods while wasting his time in hunting. Accused of sacrilege by Chorebus, Verebodus is cast into prison.

spacerTHE. Heaven! Oh gods!
spacerFAUST. (Coming onstage.). The boar’s getting away, it’s getting away! Weapons. I swear by three-shaped Hecate, the boar has escaped through the thickets and avoided our weapons.
spacerTHE. Close your mouth, you butcher. I am the priest of the gods. Do you govern, Ulferus, or do you waste your time in sport? Do you chase after beasts with your cruel hunting, but spare the gods’ enemies? Are you fiercely casting your dart at a boar raging in the forests, while allowing those Jewish pigs who are destroying the supernals’ temples and altars and the couches of the gods to enjoy profound peace? (He shows him the overthrown statue of Jove.) Look, it’s right in front of you. Look at the wrongdoing of those Furies. He who shakes the bright halls of this universe with his nod, the ruler of gods and men, is lying here. He is lying, despoiled of his altar, his incense, and his shrine, thrown flat on his face. Oh the Hellish sin!
spacerVER. The Thunderer lies on the ground, great blows have shattered his head. Dust is scattered in his eyes, his brow is worn down by scraping against rock, his cheeks are torn by thorns. With their sharp biting, brambles have destroyed his face and the arms ripped from his shoulders. His hands have been knocked off, and the whole image has suffered from being foully trampled underfoot.
spacerTHE. Behold the unhappy bulk of thundering Jove! Do you see these things? Do you behold them? Do you approve of them, your majesty? Ruling does not consist of throwing the forest into turmoil with hunting, or chasing after boars with hounds, and striking she-goats with a well-aimed shot. Any servant can do that. In case you are unaware, this is the first concern of kings, to adore the Thunderer. Let Jove keep his glory and the world can go to ruin. But as long as a couch supports you with its snow-white ivory, let the god lie there in the dirt. As long as a heaven-rivaling mansion shelters your prideful self, let not even a hut protect Jove with its humble roof of leaves. As long as honor envelops you with its gold and jewelry, do not let an altar or a cloak cover the gods with reverence. Is this how we should worship heaven? Is this how we should adore Jove?
spacer ULFER. Who is this puffed-up dog with his triple maw? Look at the monster. Raging with its rabid fang, with its maw it gapes for kings themselves. Arm yourselves, my lords. The great beast, that devourer of kings, is at hand. There’s no more need to shake the bramble-bushes with our hunting. In itself the tongue of this hellhound contains the fury of all beasts, better to hurl our shafts at it. Oh you insolent, gloomy Pope of Pluto. Your tongue should be ripped out by its roots. Let him go to Cerberus’ shores, let an avenging spear go to the very back of his throat. Let him die. (He rushes at Theorgus. Verebodus deflects his blow.)
spacerVER. Oh restrain your passion, my prince.
spacerJUM. You should venerate great Jove’s priest.
spacerULFER. Call him the headstrong priest of infernal Dis.
spacerTHE. Ulferus, I am undeterred by the stern harshness of your glare, the lightning of your face, your bombastic treats, or your weaponry. As the supreme interpreter of the gods, I plead the Thunderer’s cause. You see the supreme god laid low, the divinity of everlasting Jove. Avenge this wrong. He who has trampled divinity with his rebellious foot will kick at royal scepters, rip off royal crowns, and overthrow their dynasty. A man who scoffs at the gods with impunity will come to scorn kings.
spacer ULFER. (Throwing down his spear.) Oh you priest, devoted to the gods, how you delight me! I am unmasking you. The pretended rage in your countenance, the feigned wrath of your words, your threats of a resort to arms, these prove you are equally loyal to the Thunderer and to your king. In every point you embody the eminence of your office, being a noble servant of heaven. You love kings, not kingdoms. You fearlessly display the torch of truth, even if Avernus cries out. If such priests abound everywhere, the blessing of peace will favor our realms forever. Therefore you must mould our royal youth — I mean the sons of Ulferus — with the thumb of an artist.
spacerTHE. Great-hearted commander, I am more concerned with a care for defending the gods.
spacerVER. Behold this crime of the Christians.
spacerULFER. This is a cruel sight, I admit. Show me the man responsible, and I swear by the terrible marsh of the Styx that, be he born of royal stock, be he born of heaven, this villain will atone, he will atone, tormented with every conceivable manner of death by inexorable Nemesis.
spacerVER. Publish a great reward for revealing the doer of this evil deed. One cannot rely on secrecy when a key of gold touches the doors.
spacerULFER. I pledge a thousand gold pieces to the man who reveals the guilty party, let these words of promise immediately go fly out to all my peoples.
spacerCHOR. I call on all the world’s justice, and you, father of the gods, and also you, you noble goddess of the greenwood, threefold maiden, glory of three realms. to bear witness, let this dire crime condemn guilty Verebrodus. I have seen. He assaulted Jove with many a blow, just as a ravening dog falls on its prey.
spacerVER. Horror has stricken my heart.
spacerCHOR. When, summoned by the sound of blows, I ran up, he threw away his dagger and swiftly fled, fearing to encounter a witness.
spacerULFER. In what part of the forest was the steel thrown away?
spacer CHOR. Where the hazel casts its thick shadows.
spacerEAD. Behold the cruel weapon. (He produces the dagger, found among the hazels.)
spacerULFER. Hellish dagger! A golden inscription cut into it betrays Verebodus. Read it.
spacerJUM. I read VEREBODUS.
spacerTHE. The scabbard agrees with its metal and its shape. (He fits it into the scabbard which Verebodus is still wearing.)
spacerULFER. Oh, the monstrosity! Amazement leaves me breathless. Verebodus? I shudder. Did the British land produce such a freak of nature?
spacerTHE. Oh, the signs he displays on his false face! He was the first to bring news of this unspeakable catastrophe, yet he was the first to commit it.
spacerJUM. A dire deceit!
spacerFAB. A disgusting crime!
spacerVER. Ulferus —
spacerULFER. You speak in vain. Quickly take this sacrilegious fellow away. Let a dungeon, horrible with its darkness and irons, keep him, until I impose a punishment that matches his crime. (Verebodus is led off by soldiers.) Oh trust in truth, never safe for kings! On its surface it displays whatever is good for the royal court, but in its hidden part it exhibits crime. The safety of a king is not assured when the gods are under attack. It is time to shore up the state of the kingdom. When the day has bent itself downwards from heaven’s zenith, we shall determine who it is for whom the Fates are preparing the kingship, and who shall gain and wield the scepter as my successor.
spacerCHOR. The woods are readying themselves to refresh us weary hunters with festive dancing. The lawn spreads itself out to serve as our couches. (They all sit down on grassy couches. Here there is a chorus of Fauns, then either a chorus of musicians or an interlude.)

Go to Act II
spacer