Project Canterbury

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

By Alexander Fyfe

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


Enter the QUEEN, PRINCE of WALES leading her, LADIES of HONOUR attending; All in Disguise.

Queen] I Trembling on this British Soil appear;
What speaks my Courage, does increase my Fear:
When for my panting Soul, I seek Relief,
My Joys reviving aggravate my Grief.

Prince] Thro' Scouts and Guards, we've passed in Disguise,
Now the most narrow Scrutinies despise:
For lo, king Heaven, our joint Desires has heard,
And from an Ambush, all the Passage clear'd!

Queen] Desires and Fears in me divide the Strife:
I'd gladly see my Love, but save my Life.
Let me but see him, then I will forget,
These Crowds of Dangers did my Way beset.

Prince] And now my Hopes have former Fears out-done.
Are you his Consort? am not I his Son?

[A Screen is drawn, and the King comes out.

King] What strange deluding Specters these I see!
They move like real Bodies, nearer me.
Am I awoke, or in a Dream or Trance!
Shall I retire, or may I yet advance!

[On his Knees.

Prince] Great Sir, no Phantom does abuse your Sight,
Wing'd with Desire, we took this sudden Flight:
Nor Fears, nor Dangers could withstand our Way.
This, your afflicted Queen, nought could dismay.

[They arise. The King takes the Queen by the Hand.

King] My Sense and Reason seem to interfier,
Surpriz'd to see, that you adventur'd here.

Queen] I heard too oft, to what ye were redact;
That Malice blackest part was to be act;
And whilst the Clouds were thickening apace,
One Sight might yet my drooping Life solace;
Nor Floods of Dangers could suppress my Flame;
Some yet remain, I others overcame.

King] And now my Sense does all my Doubts remove:
Shall I admire your Courage, or your Love?

Queen] The Agonies, and Pangs, and Throws, I felt,
Known to your Foes, did not to Pity melt!
My high-born Soul, to one Demand, did bow,
You the only Object of my Love, to view.

King] They knew, that me, would more and more torment;
And new Engine of Cruelty, invent:
For these my Foes will needs my Doom reprieve,
And for more Tortures, keep me still alive.
This your Angelick Presence, they withdrew,
Whose Vertue, all Disasters can subdue;
And if I'd value Life, it is for you.

Queen] When as your Subjects did my Sute deny,
Rackt with Despair, I had resolv'd to dy,
Yea by one Blow, all Miseries defeat,
The only Cure adapted to my State:
A Dagger once was ready in my Hand;
Hopes of Relief, the Trust did countermand.

King] O Heavens forbid, that such a fatal End,
Through such Despair, our spotless Love attend!
The best Examples of that Fact, deceive;
It was not pious, tho it seemed brave.

Queen] When as the Horrour of the Fact did fright,
I pray'd, O Soul, unbody! take thy Flight!
In vehicles of Air, thy self convoy,
That thee, my lovely Charles may enjoy!
The lasting pure Delight shall never cloy!
Assum't, the Airy Body may condense,
Converse his Soul, and the affect his sense.
How pleasing and how welcome would thou be,
And let the Phantom but resemble me.

Prince] Such soarings, chains of flesh, and blood may clog!

Queen] I'd ty'd my Body to the floating log;
Without the Hatches, Cable, Sails, or Helm,
I'm not afraid, tho it should overwhelm:
Driven with the wind, through raging Oceans stray,
Where glareing Monsters bolt through waves away:
Nor one nor other me shou'd overthrown;
They'd pitied me, had they my errand known.
Perhaps some Gentle Gale might wast me o're
By Divine Wonder, on your British Shoar.
Thousands of thoughts my troubled Soul puruse,
And lo I'm here, and yet I know not how.

King] With Scouts and Guards, in Prison Walls immur'd,
And there what torments have I not endur'd?
Yet for this interview did hourly groan,
More than to be reseated on my Throne;
Now show'rs of arrows may 'bout my Temples play,
The sight of you their sharpness doth allay.

Queen] And France in all its gaudie Pomp and Pride,
The Place where in this Storm my self I hide.
France, France! whose Glory Monarchs envy drew,
My fretting languour ever doth renew:
Embitters all the Comforts of my life,
Where I'm at once your Widow and your Wife.

King] If Fate my Pristine Glory should restore,
And tho kind Heaven superadded more,
Than ever I or Brittain had before;
Yea all the Pomp and Splendour of the Glob,
My longing Soul of inward peace should rob.
Millions of Crowns at my Command and bow,
I'd lay them down, as Tribute of your Due.

Queen] And ill should I that Princely heart deserve,
If I from Laws of Love, or Duty swerve.
When I behold you, with these Fetters ty'd,
Judge, what, by my sad Mein, may be imply'd.
Weighted with Grief, I to Remembrance call
Our Glorious Pomp and Splendour at Whitehall.
Treasures in Plenty, floating on the Streams,
At every Tide, came flowing up the Thames;
And all the Pleasures of the Nuptial Knt
Born to Delight, were flutt'ring on the Spot,
Where thousand courteous Shees, about you move;
And by their Fate, were plyant made to Love.
Strong irresistless Charms, these did display.
Your very Thought, from me, could never stray.
O then, how happy I, who did enjoy,
Without a Rival, what could never cloy!
That Royal Soul, that Amiable Breast,
Pleasures, none but my self, did ever taste!
And then, as well as now, my Life did prove
Rapture and Transport of unbounded Love.

King] As precious Gems, a Diadem adorn,
The Rising Sun dispels the Shades of Morn.
And Stars, when they, in dazeling Splendour, rise,
Darting their Light, Beholders do surprize:
Or Angels, sublunary Glories ape;
And to be seen, assume a Female Shape:
Or Goddesses, before one Goddess fall,
Without a Contest, yield the Golden-Ball:
Or Art, or Nature's sublimated Pride,
In Heaven-like Grandeur, on the Earth to ride.
So you, even like to the Meridian Sun,
Shine bright, mount high, the more Approaches shun.
And O how happy I, who did adore
What Fellow-Demi-Gods durst not implore!
And in my strongest Conflicts, could lay down
Upon that Breast, the Prickles of a Crown!
For Extasies of Pleasure, Cares did drown.

Prince] Yet gently, gently, excess of the Grief
Obstructs these Measures which afford Relief.
I have nut seen and heard whilst you did feel
What might melt down the Heart of hardest Steel.
Sir, whilst the Shipwrack threatens to devour,
Without being sunk, can you not swim ashoar?

King] Dangers and Snares compass me round about,
Vehement's the Storm, I cannot ride it out.

Prince] Even let the Vessel with the Tempest drive.

King] In vain: No time the Juncture will retrive.
This massie Crown's too weighty for my head:
Behold my Sceptre's but a broken Reed.
Of my destruction now is spun the Web,
And all my Glorie's at its lowest ebb.

Prince] Against the gods, the Giants wedged War.

King] In strength they us have overpowr'd by far.

Prince] Tho' they usurp the Thunder, Stars, and Poles,
Heaven Massanellos for some time extols.

King] See bandy'd Force against my Right prevail,
And all the Supports of my Grandeur fail.
Tho underpropt, they can no longer last;
They totter and they nod at every blast
Terrors in various Shapes, 'gainst me are bent,
As specious Guile or Malice can invent.
Like Syrens charmingto Destruction's Jaws,
Or Parthian Tigers with their gilded Claws.
Hydra with thousand Serpents may be arm'd;
And yet at these I shall not be alarm'd.
Death I contemn in all its frightful Forms,
In brazen Bulls, in Scaffolds, Racks or Storms.
Right of Religion and the Rights of Kings
Unto my earth-surmounting Soul give Wings.

Queen] Support me Charles ----

Prince] ---- Madam you'r in a Swoon,
And whilst I'd bear you up, ye still fall down.

[The Lady Buccleugh in the Retinue, advances, to wait on the Queen fallen down dead.]

La. Buc.] O Prince, your speechless Queen wants strength to rise;
By Love and Sorrow slain, see how she lyes!
And O! What Strength the Torture could endure:
You to the dart have join'd Despair of Cure.

King] At this first sight, Love did Assaults begin,
And Thrusts, so long the spunk of Life is in.
In vain I strove; for lo! the Pain doth please;
Yea, though I would, the Arrow will not cease;
But stabs me through and through, as shot of new:
So, if I've given a Wound, I'm wounded too.

La. Buccl.] When Love, the last and sad Farewell's to Seal;
Strength thus assaulted, may begin to fail.
Though you're not furnisht with sufficient Arms
T'oppose such Vertue, and such Beauty's Charms;
Pity the Smart, where no Relief is found:
Each Glance a Dart, and every Dart's a Wound.

King] Perhaps her Spirits to her Heart retire,
Fearing the loss of what she values dear.
As Eyes infect by others Eyes, grow sore,
The lovely Basilisk has wounded more.

La. Buccl.] Is't not enough, that Love 'gainst Life prevail?
Why, with the Horrours of a Death assail?
Yea, Desperadoe like, the Fight renew,
And if you've murther'd, would be murther'd too?

King] So shall the Shadow its own Body leave;
To the wild Boar, the harmless Lamb may cleave.
Or can what's weight not to downward tend?
Can the rebounding Echo Mountains rend?
The Stars their wonted Courses may forsake,
Or yet the boundless Ocean, Waters lack;
Nature's wast Frame, by single touch remove;
Yet whilst I live, I cannot cease to love.

La. Buccl.] You when a stripling Youth, by all admir'd
The gen'rous breast, Love early had inspir'd.
Yea, charming Nymphs, enamour'd of the Swain,
Strove who'd love most, their Pleasure was their Pain.
For born to Crowns, and all this Sov'reign Sway;
What Fools Ambition courts, he could deny.
But here th'unpity'd Victim lyes,
Of Monarchs Love th'unvaluable Prize,
O'rcame your stubborn Heart with irresistless Eyes.

Prince] All Symptoms of approaching Death appear,
Paleness, and closing Eyes, dishevel'd Hair.
Madam, I fear she'll not revive, for why,
No Cordial for her Smart can you apply.

La. Buccl.] Allow some Intermission to the Pain,
Till Life, not quite expir'd, return again;
Let's gently lift her up, and Love give o're.

Prince] To Sense, from this Disorder, her restore.

[To the Queen.

La. Buccl.] You who stupendous Hazards overcame,
Should Grief, or cowardly Fear, suppress the Flame?
Ah no, but bravely hold it out: revive.

Queen] To be o'erwhelm'd with Grief, why should I love?

[The Queen is raised up.

King.] And long e're now, I had my Breath resign'd;
Yes, yes, my Hand the mean should quickly find:
But Fate for somewhat more has me design'd.

Queen] Why still on me the shining flame retort?
Nought but a flash of Love does Life support.
Now may fierce Lions me in pieces tear,
Each British Port, and City have a share,
Or may the hunted Caledonian Boar
Me, on some mounted Theatre devour.
With Life impal'd, on Scaffold mangled ly,
To glut their Malice, thousand Deaths I'd dye:
Yea, let them Majesty it self prophane;
Load me with Crimes, my Birth or Sex can stain.
I'll all with Amazonian Courage meet,
Till I this Martyrdom of Love compleat.

King] You matchless Vertue to the outmost try'd!
What to yoru Merit can be well deny'd?
Of all Delight and Ornaments bereft;
Nought but this Heart, to love you, me is left.
Or as a Taper, ere't to Ashes turn,
And blinking out, will still the clearer burn;
In me, whilst doth the vital Spunk remain,
To Atomes, till I crumble down again.
See here, my Blood its Vessels overboil;
There, to its Fountain, seemeth to recoil,
Through ardent Love, that strong impulsive Cause,
At every Pore it's like to extravase.
My Soul expanded, strives to take its Flight,
To be with yours, unbody at the right.
See how my paralitick Joints to move,
And all my Pulse, and all my Powers beat Love.

Queen] Why more and more ye kindle by Desire;
Your Love, to equal mine, seems to aspire.
When famous Patterns of unlawful Love
Did by Example, my Design approve;
The one could mount on her rear'd Funeral Pyle,
The other Stings of Death by Asps beguile.
I, who by a more nobler instinct move,
Should by far braver Proofs, here seal my Love.
Yes, yes, I will, though you should not comply;
Sure she but little asks, that asks to dye.

King] When I remember on the happy time
About the World I roam'd in Youthful Prime.
And though unknown, from you receiv'd the Wound:
O how I hugg the Chain wherewith I'm bound!
And in the softer blandishments of Love,
I might the envy been of Gods above.

La. Buc.] Why more and more the restless Passion move?
She seem'd prepar'd for Conquest, not returns of Love.

King] O she, my Battels fought, and Armies led!
Now glooming Clouds, my Glorie's over-shade;
I'm troubled more; it aggravates my Care,
That she, of my Misfortunes, had a share.
Now without more, Love shall 'gainst Life prevail.

Prince] Think on another Cause that turns the Scale;
And least the Sight should haste that Enterprize,
It's fit, we take the Object from your Eeyes.

Lad. Buc.] Behold, her Charms were not Effects of Art!
Tho she did wound, she always kept a Heart.

Prince] It's greater Torment to augment the Store;
And by retreating, she but conquers more.

King] Beauty and Vertue, all their Force conjoin'd;
And she's victorious both in Face and Mind,

Prince] A Noise of op'ning Doors doth me dismay!

King] I fear the watchful Jaylors: Flee away!

Queen] Farewel, farewell: Us, must these Ruffians part?
O Heavens, O Heavens, incurable's the Smart
Through Woods and unknown Desarts I'll be gone,
There like the Turtle, I the loss shall moan,
Of my dear mate, and murmure all alone.
Damp't with the lingring Grief at last I'll dy,
This Heart a Mausol├Žum shall outvy.

King] O how can words express, what now I feel!
Fondly Embrace, and take the sad Farewell.


Whether descending to Oblivion's shade
By Suff'ring, yet more Perfect to be made,
And though you've overcome, I'll not give o're,
In ev'ry State, can love you more and more.

Lady Buc.] Why more, and more such fierce assaults renew?
Ye who should comfort, labour to subdue,
Strange fight, for as ye conquer'd her, she's conquer'd you.

[The Queen is carried off.

King] Important bus'ness calls me now away,
Quickly begone, and make no longer stay!
My Glass is almost run, yet here's my care,
For this grand Tryal now I must prepare.

Prince] Can your undaunted Breast that Mock dismay?
A Man's that's guiltless, needs but little say.

King] What can the purest Innocence acclaim?
Foes, Judges, Criminals, are all the same.

Prince] And I, for Diadems and Scepters born,
Am now capricious Fortune's very Scorn:
Unhappy State! for here I dare not stay;
As miserable when I flee away.

King] Eclips'd through my Misfortunes, when set forth,
Be still a Pattern of Heroick worth,
Princely the stroaks of adverse Fortune bear,
Learn how to want a Crown, as well as wear:
My by-past Sorrows why should I recal?

Prince] The Twiggs and Branches with the Root must fall.

King] Through time, th'usurping Faction will decline.
You'll in your native Right and Grandeur shine.
I hear the Jaylors rushing! Do not stay!
Quickly be gone! O quickly flee away.

Exeunt omnes.

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