Project Canterbury

The Royal Martyr, K. Charles I. An Opera.

By Alexander Fyfe

[No place:] Printed in the year, 1705.


Enter King CHARLES, the QUEEN, Prince RUPERT, the Duke of RICHMOND, Earl of ESSEX, Guards and Attendants.

SCENE I. A Palace.

Rupert] TO blaze the glories, Cæsar, you have won,
The British World, that narrow Spot's undone.
Th' Indians at your Sacred Name do shake,
As to their Pa-God Adorations make:
Digging in Mines, or tugging at the Oar,
There from rich Nature choicest Spoils are tore;
And all there Treasure's Tribute to your Store.

Richmond] Nature and Fortune's Jewel, what can adorn?
Not brightest Gemms by proudest Monarchs worn.
Nature may Wealth, to Savages impart;
But here the Metal is refin'd by Art.
They trudge, for whom! for what they do not know;
It's Value to the Royal Stamp they owe.

Rup.] When Asia's splendid Courts I did behold,
These of th'excelling British Grandeur told.
Nations at this exalted Name, bow down;
So far Remote, paid Homage to his Crown.
About the World I roam'd, twice crost the Line,
And ferry'd o'er the Banks of frozen Rhine;
Truth, these loud Blasts of Fame, could not belye,
The Glory dazzleth the Beholder's Eye.

Rich.] Traffick and Policy make Cæsar known,
As if this spacious Globe were all his own;
The World would stretch to hold this Emperour,
But Virtue checks the Exercise of Power.
For holding Europe's Ballance in his Hand,
Here he's content with absolute Command.
No Rival of his Glory does admit,
But like to Jove, on awful Throne he'll sit
With Crowns, by strongest Bands, about his Temples knit.

Essex] Tho' these be gaudy Marks of Sovereign Sway,
By a known Rule the Subjects do obey:
And each their own in Quietness possess;
Law, like a Land-mark, neither will transgress.

Rich.] All, All, for Cæsar's Safety daily pray,
Homage to Heaven, and him, by Turns, do pay;
Whilst Streams of pour'd-out Wine, dye all the way.
The Holy Priests, in reverent Attire,
Approach devoutly to the hallowed Fire:
When these in Golden Censers sacrifice,
See Clouds of Incense, from the Altars, rise;
Whilst these devoutly worship and adore,
None can become, deserve an Altar more.

King] Talk not to me of circumvested Pride,
Of Power, or Fame, or thousand Things beside:
Give me but one or two soft peaceful hours,
And all the Splendor of my State be yours.

Rup.] What moves you Cæsar? why this cloudy Brow?
Choler may raise, but no Misfortune bow.
Appear in Royal Majesty and State:
Bear out th'Advantage of your Birth, and Fate.
You, you, who Thunder, and the Poles command,
Can ought that's Mortal, Cæsar's Will withstand?
'Gainst you, does any daring Monarch Arm?
Why should false Rumours of a War alarm?
Yours, if a Rival Empire cannot shake;
Can strugling in-bred Jars, in pieces break?

Queen] Why Charles, why, so Pensive and Morose?
Does Love, or State, disquiet your Repose?
I see your Aspect Discontent portend;
Against some haughty Tyrant, let it bend.
What! what! so soon this sullen Temper wrought!
Have I not ever lov'd you, as I ought?

Rup.] Your Name with Mortals sets you out at an odds,
Then for Diversion combat with the Gods.
May Cæsar's Glory still the higher rise!
Cramm'd in on Earth; then let it pierce the Skies,
Where e're the Fiery Chariot drives the Son,
Until your Fame Great Cesar's has out-done.

Queen] Rupert, Let me to Caucasus be chain'd,
With Life's most cruel Torments there be pain'd,
Parch't with the winds, may Frosts congeal my Blood,
My heart of savage Vultures be the food,
This Royal heart, for Cæsars love resign'd,
Prometheus-like, grow more, more to be pin'd,
If I in all his Fortunes do not share
My only Glory, and my only Care.

Rup.] May Jove, by Thunder, strike me to my shae,
If ere my Thoughts for Cæsar's greatness fade;
For since his Blood does sparkle in my veins,
Its overboyling, to this Rage constrains.
Why thus, your Bowels and your Veins distend!
Speak, and to us that thoughtful Soul unbend.

King] A strange Convulsion's like to shake my Throne;
It must be cur'd, or I am quite undone.

Rup.] You, who with Wisdom still the Scepter sway,
And cannot you the Remedy apply?

King] I straight from my Observatory came,
From thence beheld, three Kingdoms in a flame,
Can no Ideas of the Juncture Form,
But sad Prognosticks of the hanging Storm.

Rup.] Will Hecatombs these Angry Gods appease?
With human Gore, the reeking Altars please?
Shake but the Scepter; let it deludge Blood,
And quench the Flame, by breaking of the Cloud.
All, All's at your Command, speak but the Word;
Why! Cesar, I'll enforce it with my Sword.

Richm.] Ah! Gently, Gently; first the Quarrel weigh
Ere ye by pow'r, the mighty Force defy.
Kind Heaven by other means, strive to appease;
Learn to Prevail, e're ye begin to Raise.

King] I call'd my Senate, me they'd Counteract,
Split into Factions, Counsels has distract.
They'd have me Hieroglyphick of a King;
Like to a King of Bees without a Sting;
Or, as the gaudie chained Idols stand
With flaming Sword, in their unmoving hand.
My Soul with their Remonstrances is stung,
Out of my Hands almost the Scepter's wrung.

Queen] They'd all be Gods like us, this is the draught;
The people with that gilded Bait are caught.

King] They tow'r, as if this massie Crown of Gold,
Of them, and not of Heaven I did hold.
To try, if Royal dainties would them glut,
I in their hands its brightest Jewels put.
The * Starr, whose fatal infl'ence they did fear,
I made it in a twinkling disappear.
But find, that at my self they point the Thrust,
I acted what was safe, not what was just.

* Strafford.

Rup.] And will not Cesars Quarrels and his Name
Secure a Triumph?

Rich.] Sir, that Impression may deceive your sight,
And force may overpow'r the clearest Right,
Lo, this the Giddie Mobb will after 't draw,
For't colours all its actings by a Law.

Rup.] To Cesar, will the Senate rules lay down?
Will they usurp, who should support the Crown?
Must their Resolves still thwart his Royal mind?
His Pow'r like to his Empire's unconfin'd.

Essex] The Senate only for this Juncture plead,
The Royal Will may to their Wisdom cede.

Rich.] But craftily on Cesar's Right encroach,
Wrest his just Power, by models they would broach.

Ess.] Prerogative, they'd limit and define
Its Power, with their inherent Rights conjoin.

Rup.] Yes, if his hand the weapon cannot, weild
It justly to another he should yield.

Ess.] They fear the hand may be misled, and sway
Impose Commands they cannot well obey,
When from their Subjects KINGS their Wills divide
Humours in discontent fall to a side.
In the Excrescence swelling Tumors raise,
And men will run unto Extreams for ease.

Rich.] Purse with the People, with the King, the Sword.

Essex] What's Pow'r without the Purse? an empty word;

Rup.] Since that pretence of Right does Wills divide.
For Treating cannot, let there Power decide.

Essex] Then he may fight 'gainst what he should protect,
NO? Equitie Laws Letter must correct,
And from misdoing Majesty is freed,
When they have got the Sword, as they decreed.
Fortune may me of Right and Pow'r deprive, [King aside.
But unto what's Unprincely never drive,
Though to my overthrow, they should conspire,
Law shall the measure be of my desire.
A happy Crime, successfully maintain'd,
Of Justice, has the Reputation gain'd.

Rich.] They'd next the towring Mitre trample down,
The CROSIER strugles to exalt the Crown.
Rup.] He is not bound to grant as they propose,
With strange inventions 'gainst the system close:
Since to support that Order he has swore"
An Oath, to what is Sacred, binds the more.

Essex] With what was in their favours, they'll dispense,
And justly, that their Module should license.

Rup.] Against his Right and Will the change pursue,
Who'll clear his Conscience, or absolve the Vow?

Essex] They what seems fittest for the juncture claim.

Rich.] Right in all Times and Ages is the same.

Essex] Thrones and Imperial powers from Heaven do spring,
And from that source they take their fatal swing.
Sage princes, as their only Prop and Shield,
Sometimes their own, to please their People, yield;
And O! how many will his Fate involve?

Rup.] They him from Rules of Government absolve.

Exit Earl of Essex.

King] Dispute no more, the Case is in my View,
Of my Affairs I this sad Picture drew;
Unhappy Ireland still a bleeding lyes;
For here Distractions do withhold supplies
To Popish Fury, there the Victims fell;
These for my Person 'gainst my laws Rebel.
Scotland will needs their Covenant fulfil,
Stampt it by Law, with my extorted Will.
Mysterious Treason (who can it define)
Will for a King, yet 'gainst a King combine:
They're by the Sanctimonious Cheat misled,
Procrastes-like, they fit them for the bed,
Here the Infecting Leprosie has spread.
And next Schismatick Factious England see,
She's now a Riddle to her self and me.
Such inward struglings hopes of peace defeat;
The Sheep-skin'd Wolves embroil both Church and State,
O Strange!
Each jealous Faction does its fury spend,
My legal Pow'r would from my person rend;
My Greatness and my Glory all pretend:
All, All, is Labyrinth me round about;
I'm wynded in, but what shall wynd me out?

Rich.] Since the dethroning Plot's in towring Pride,
Then in the Hurrie joyn the strongest side.
And for the Juncture that Expedient find,
If Duty Subjects, Safety Kings should bind.

King] London, the Seat of this bewitching Fraud,
The Treason by the Giddie Mobb applaud,
Where I in all Magnificence should dwell,
Tumults in boundless Fury me expel,
Repuls'd at Hull, I of th'affront Complain'd,
And Hotham in his Treason is maintain'd'
Which my just Indignation does provoke.

Rup.] They have determin'd to shake off the Yoak,
Let Standards against Standards now advance:
Let brandisht Swords reverberat the glance,
And Squibs and Rockets hissing in the night,
With glowing Blaze, astonish and affright.
At Sea and Land let thund'ring Cannon roar:
The British Isle be floating in the Gore:
Vulcan for us new Thunder-bolts may forge,
Rivers of blood shall in the Sea disgorge.
Under these just Calamities they'll groan,
With bathing eyes, the Desolation Moan,
And for their horrid Crimes their Blood attone.

King] In this perplexing doubt who'll guide my path?
I'd with some other Object of my Wrath;
And with Dishonour must I wear a Crown:
I'll from the World retire, and lay it down.
No, No;
Even for my Honour, and my Kingdom's sake,
Some Noble Efforts let my Courage make.
May I be last of Kings, last of my Race,
I'll once with sword in hand the Rebels face.

Rich.] They'll fear more weightie, you the Yoak wou'd wreath,
When Swords in one anothers Bowels sheath.

King] I'd but preserve, and not enlarge my Pow'r:
O! for Achilles Spear, to Wound and Cure.

Exit Richmond.

Queen] Ah! softly, softly, let Loves pleasant Charms
My Fond imbrace, divert from taking Arms.

King] To love, that Tyrant of my Soul, I'd yield;
Honour competes, and Love must quite the Field.

Queen] Cesar and Alexander love did bind;
Brave Souls! like to their Conquests, unconfin'd.
How hotly did they Victories pursue!
Love conquer'd them, and may't not conquer you?

King] These made their Glories by their Triumphs known;
Love intermits, when Honour's overthrown;
And could you to that prince you Heart resign,
Who for his Honour would to fight decline?

Queen] Princes by Rules of Policy must move;
In all Estates you're worthy of my Love
With you, since I stoopt to the nuptial Wreath,
I nought, but through strong pangs of Love can breath.
What Scepter'd Slaves, in humblest Postures sue,
Your bright attractive Merit makes your due.

King] Could Heroes that resplendent Beauty know,
The more I pay, more Homage still I owe;
As of their Glorie I the Rival am,
Even of my bliss in you they'd be the same.

Queen] Beauty, which Jove could draw from heaven's high Tow'r,
He lov'd Delight above Almighty Power;
Tho' I, no such Obedience can plead
For you who worship 't: me, the Goddess made.

King] Twixt Love and Glory, still the strugling lyes:-----
And, O the depth of this dethroning Plot!
And must I basely lose what's nobly got?

Queen] To me, your splendid Triumphs seem but vain.
I've certain Hazard; but uncertain Gain.
With tears, I you beseech, on Terms to close.
Whoever gains; yet you are sure to lose.

King] Of Subjects Blood, I value every Drop
As 't were my own; this Flux I cannot stop!
My Senate did essay the Cure in vain:
For these Physicians brought along the Pain.
And, by this strange Example, I must prove,
If you, my Person, or my Fortune, love.

Queen] I no Distinction know:-----

King] ------- But does't not damp
T'exchange this pleasant palace for a Camp?

Queen] My veh'ment Love, by slender Proofs you try:
Since I profess to love, I must obey.
If Charms, or yet Intreaties, cannot move;
Think on these Royal Pledges of our Love.
So soon the tender Buds their Head display,
Th'apparent Storm may nip them quite away;
Who with th'Advantage of a Sun-shine blest,
Such Blasts and Tempests cannot yet resist.

King] I have determin'd: To disswade forbear;
You'll, in the Glory, or Disaster, share:
Indeed, that Motive's strong; but cannot bait:
Let's altogether yield unto our Fate:

Queen] Then, then, our strong Affections closely meet,
Love makes Adventures fearless, Troubles sweet.
My rouzed Courage shall it self imploy;
But fear, some Engine, into Snares decoy.
So when Cassandra o'er Troy's fate had griev'd,
Foretold the Truth, but could not be believe'd.

King] Solicite Friends and Allies, let them know,
What kind Assistance to our Cause they owe;
And this, our Hopes of Success, may renew:
For to this Dagon, Millions will not bow.

Queen] Then as you hope, Pray heaven, it may succeed:
Your Legions and your Squadrons, I will head.
What man is he who will refuse to stand,
Whilst I to fight Amazon-like, command?

King] O do not, do not expose t' enrag'd Arms,
What Savages in utmost Fury charms.

Queen] At me, let poyson'd forked Arrows fly:
For Valour shall my tender Sex supply,
My Breast expanded shall their Darts receive
With the undaunted Courage of the Brace.
With Scars and Wounds, and Blood and Gore, besmear'd,
Were to your love, such novel Trophies rear'd.
Warlike Semiramis, I'll represent
More bright than Persians on their Helmets paint.

[Re-enter Duke of Richmond.

I hear a mighty Rushing in the way,
And Blood-red Ensigns fix'd on Poles dismay,
The prancing Hoods, in winged Squadrons, wheel,
And Men, with glitt'ring Spears on Plains do reel:
From Post to post, they one another hurle,
and Shields, 'gainst Shields about the world do furle;
Nought does retard, they drive at full Career,
Nearer Approach, more terrible appear;
And Drums, and Trumpets, warlike Engine sounds
Eccho aloud, to Earth the Heaven rebounds,
My Reason and my Sense, at once confounds.

Rup.] My Life, That's Essex! -------

Queen] ------- I can't understand;
But hear like Noise of Armies hard at Hand.

Rup.] Set all your Pow'r and Terrors in Array,
Cesar, your Spreading Eagles now display:
For after such a Signal, who will stay?

King] They're the Aggressors; Treason's out of doubt:
I must, by Force of Arms, my Right dispute.
Arm, Arm, Arm, Arm, now each assume his Post:
The Cause, through this Surprizal, may be lost.
'Twixt Hopes and Fears, let's fight it as we can;
I'll give the On-set, I'll lead on the Van:
The brave Endeavour does reward the Toil;
Honour is ours in Victory or Foil.

Rich.] The Work with Expedition, I will ply,
And bravely conquer, or as bravely die.

Rup.] On, on, and I'll begin the tragick Play,
And with the Smoak of Cannon banish Day.
Born under different Stars, here Fate receive
A springing Lawrel, or a shady Grave.
Let's for this prey, like angry Lions roar,
Ramble in Fury, walt'ring in the Fore,
Till Rage, with loss of Blood, be kindled more.

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