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ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS.
GORBODUC, A TRAGEDY. BY THOMAS SACKVILLE,
LORD BUCKHURST, AFTERWARDS EARL OF DORSET; AND THOMAS NORTON.
Whilst king Gorboduc in the presence of his councillors laments
the death of his eldest son, Ferrex, whom Porrex, the younger son, has slain ; Marcella, a court lady, enters and relates the miserable end of Porrex, stabbed by his mother in his bed.
GORBODUC, AROSTUS, EUBULUS, and others. Gorb. What cruel destiny, What froward fate hath sorted us this chance ? That even in those where we should comfort find, Where our delight now in our aged days Should rest and be, even there our only grief And deepest sorrows to abridge our life, Most pining cares and deadly thoughts do grave. Arost. Your grace should now, in these grave years of
yours, Have found ere this the price of mortal joys,
How full of change, how brittle our estate,
Gorb. Many can yield right grave and sage advice
MARCELLA enters. Marc. Oh where is ruth? or where is pity now ? Whither is gentle heart and mercy fled ? Are they exil'd out of our stony breasts, Never to make return? is all the world Drowned in blood, and sunk in cruelty ? If not in women mercy may be found, If not (alas) within the mother's breast To her own child, to her own flesh and blood; If ruth be banisht thence, if pity there May have no place, if there no gentle heart Do live and dwell, where should we seek it then?
Gorb. Madam (alas) what means your woful tale ?
Marc. O silly woman I, why to this hour
Nature; natural affection.
With her own hand to slay her only son ?
Gorb. O Eubulus, oh draw this sword of ours,
Eub. Patient your grace, perhaps he liveth yet, With wound receiv'd but not of certain death.
Gorb. O let us then repair unto the place, And see if that Porrex live, or thus be slain. [Erit.
Marc. Alas he liveth not, it is too true, That with these eyes, of him a peerless prince, Son to a king, and in the flower of youth, Even with a twink* a senseless stock I saw.
Arost. O damned deed !
Marc. But hear his ruthful end.
Despoiled streight his breast, and all we might
Arost. Never did age bring forth so vile a fact.
Marc. O hard and cruel hap that thus assign'd Unto so worthy wight so wretched end : But most hard cruel heart that could consent, To lend the hateful destinies that hand, By which, alas, so heinous crime was wrought ;O queen of adamant, О marble breast, If not the favour of his comely face, If not his princely chear and countenance, His valiant active arms, his manly breast, If not his fair and seemly personage; His noble limbs, in such proportion cast, As would have rapt a silly woman's thought; If this might not have mov’d the bloody heart, And that most cruel hand the wretched weapon Even to let fall, and kist him in the face, With tears, for ruth to reave such one by death; Should nature yet consent to slay her son? O mother, thou to murder thus thy child ! Even Jove with justice must with light'ning flames From heaven send down some strange revenge on thee. Ah noble prince, how oft have I beheld Thee mounted on thy fierce and trampling steed,
* Awaked; raised up.
Shining in armour bright before the tilt,
Arost. Madam, alas, in vain these plaints are shed.
Marc. What wight is that which saw that I did see,
When blood thus shed doth stain this heaven's face,
Blood asketh blood, and death must death requit;