Robert Greene

Alphonsus, King of Aragon

Published by Good Press, 2021
goodpress@okpublishing.info
EAN 4064066444297

Table of Contents


Act I: Prologue
[Act I Scene I]
[Act I Scene II]
Act II: Prologue
Act II Scene I
Act II Scene II
Act III: Prologue
Act III: Scene I
Act III Scene II
Act III Scene III
Act IV: Prologue
Act IV: Scene I
Act IV Scene II
Act IV Scene III
Act V: Prologue
Act V Scene I
Act V: Scene II
Act V: Scene III
Epilogue

Act I: Prologue

Table of Contents

[The trumpets sound three times signaling the start of the play. After the final flourish VENUS descends from the top of the stage. When she has landed, she starts to speak.]

Venus

Poets are scarce, when goddesses themselves
Are forced to leave their high and stately seats,
Placed on the top of high Olympus’ Mount,
To seek them out, to pen their champion’s praise.
The time hath been when Homer’s sugared muse
Did make each echo to repeat his verse,
That every coward that durst crack a spear,
And tilt and tourney for his lady’s sake,
Was painted out in colors of such price
As might become the proudest potentate.
But nowadays so irksome idless’[1] sleights,
And cursed charms have witched each student’s mind,
That death it is to any of them all,
If that their hands to penning you do call.
Oh Virgil, Virgil, wert thou now alive,
Whose painful pen in stout Augustus’ days,
Did deign to let the base and silly fly[2]
To scape away without thy praise of her.
I do not doubt but long or ere this time,
Alphonsus’ fame unto the heavens should climb;
Alphonsus’ fame, that man of Jove his seed,
Sprung from the loins of the immortal gods,
Whose sire, although he habit on the earth,
May claim a portion in the fiery pole,
As well as any one whate’er he be.
But, setting by Alphonsus’ power divine,
What man alive, or now amongst the ghosts,
Could countervail his courage and his strength?
But thou art dead, yea, Virgil, thou art gone,
And all his acts drowned in oblivion.
And all his acts drowned in oblivion?
No, Venus, no, though poets prove unkind,
And loath to stand in penning of his deeds,
Yet rather than they shall be clean forgot,
I, which was wont to follow Cupid’s games
Will put in ure Minerva’s sacred art;
And this my hand, which used for to pen
The praise of love and Cupid’s peerless power,
Will now begin to treat of bloody Mars,
Of doughty deeds and valiant victories.

[The nine muses enter: MELPOMENE (Muse of Tragedy), CLIO (History), ERATO (Love Poetry), Euterpe (Music), Terpsechore (Dance), Thalia (Comedy), Urania (Astronomy), Polymnia (Rhetoric), and CALLIOPE (Epic Poetry). All of them are playing upon sundry instruments, except for CALLIOPE, who comes last, her head hanging. She is not playing her instrument.]

But see whereas the stately muses come,
Whose harmony doth very far surpass
The heavenly music of Apollo’s pipe!
But what means this? Melpomene herself
With all her sisters sound their instruments,
Only excepted fair Calliope,
Who, coming last and hanging down her head,
Doth plainly show by outward actions
What secret sorrow doth torment her heart.

[Stands aside.

Melpomene

Calliope, thou which so oft didst crake
How that such clients clustered to thy court
By thick and threefold, as not any one
Of all thy sisters might compare with thee,
Where be thy scholars now become, I trow?
Where are they vanished in such sudden sort,
That, while as we do play upon our strings,
You stand still lazing, and have naught to do?

Clio

Melpomene, make you a why of that?
I know full oft you have [in[3]] authors read,
The higher tree, the sooner is his fall,
And they which first do flourish and bear sway,
Upon the sudden vanish clean away.

Calliope

Mock on apace; my back is broad enough
To bear your flouts, as many as they be.
That year is rare that ne’er feels winter’s storms;
That tree is fertile which ne’er wanteth fruit;
And that same muse hath heaped well in store
Which never wanteth clients at her door.
But yet, my sisters, when the surgent seas
Have ebbed their fill, their waves do rise again
And fill their banks up to the very brims;
And when my pipe hath eased herself a while,
Such store of suitors shall my seat frequent,
That you shall see my scholars be not spent.

Erato

Spent, quoth you, sister? Then we were to blame,
If we should say your scholars all were spent.
But pray now tell me when your painful pen
Will rest enough?

Melpomene

When husbandmen shear hogs.

Venus

[coming forward]

Melpomene, Erato, and the rest,
From thickest shrubs dame Venus did espy
The mortal hatred which you jointly bear
Unto your sister high Calliope.
What, do you think if that the tree do bend,
It follows therefore that it needs must break?
And since her pipe a little while doth rest,
It never shall be able for to sound?
Yes, muses, yes, if that she will vouchsafe
To entertain Dame Venus in her school,
And further me with her instructions,
She shall have scholars which will dain to be
In any other muse’s company.

Calliope

Most sacred Venus, do you doubt of that?
Calliope would think her three times blessed
For to receive a goddess in her school,
Especially so high an one as you,
Which rules the earth, and guides the heavens too.

Venus

Then sound your pipes, and let us bend our steps
Unto the top of high Parnassus hill,
And there together do our best devoir
For to describe Alphonsus’ warlike fame,
And, in the manner of a comedy,
Set down his noble valor presently.

Calliope

As Venus wills, so bids Calliope.

Melpomene

And as you bid, your sisters do agree.

Exeunt.

[Act I Scene I]

Table of Contents

Enter Carinus the father, and Alphonsus his son.

Carinus

My noble son, since first I did recount
The noble acts your predecessors did
In Aragon, against their warlike foes,
I never yet could see thee joy at all,
But hanging down thy head as malcontent,
Thy youthful days in mourning have been spent.
Tell me, Alphonsus, what might be the cause
That makes thee thus to pine away with care?
Hath old Carinus done thee any offence
In reckoning up these stories unto thee?
What, ne’er a word but mum? Alphonsus, speak,
Unless your father’s fatal day you seek.

Alphonsus

Although, dear father, I have often vowed
Ne’er to unfold the secrets of my heart
To any man or woman, whosome’er
Dwells underneath the circle of the sky;
Yet do your words so conjure me, dear sire,
That needs I must fulfill that you require.
Then so it is. Amongst the famous tales
Which you rehearsed done by our sires in war,
Whenas you came unto your father’s days,
With sobbing notes, with sighs and blubbering tears,
And much ado, at length you thus began;
“Next to Alphonsus should my father come
For to possess the diadem by right
Of Aragon, but that the wicked wretch
His younger brother, with aspiring mind,
By secret treason robbed him of his life,
And me his son of that which was my due.”
These words, my sire, did so torment my mind,
As had I been with Ixion[4] in hell,
The ravening bird could never plague me worse;
For ever since my mind hath troubled been
Which way I might revenge this traitorous fact,
And that recover which is ours by right.

Carinus

Ah, my Alphonsus, never think on that;
In vain it is to strive against the stream.
The crown is lost, and now in hucksters’ hands,
And all our hope is cast into the dust.
Bridle these thoughts, and learn the same of me,
A quiet life doth pass an empery.

Alphonsus

Yet, noble father, ere Carinus’ brood
Shall brook his foe for to usurp his seat,
He’ll die the death with honor in the field,
And so his life and sorrows briefly end.
But did I know my froward fate were such
As I should fail in this my just attempt,
This sword, dear father, should the author be
To make an end of this my tragedy.
Therefore, sweet sire, remain you here a while,
And let me walk my fortune for to try.
I do not doubt but ere the time be long,
I’ll quite his cost, or else myself will die.

Carinus

My noble son, since that thy mind is such
For to revenge thy father’s foul abuse,
As that my words may not a whit prevail
To stay thy journey, go with happy fate,
And soon return unto thy father’s cell,
With such a train as Julius Caesar came
To noble Rome, whenas he had achieved
The mighty monarch of the triple world.
Meantime Carinus in this silly grove
Will spend his days with prayers and orisons,[5]
To mighty Jove, to further thine intent.
Farewell, dear son, Alphonsus, fare you well.

Exit.

Alphonsus

And is he gone? Then hie, Alphonsus, hie,
To try thy fortune where thy fates do call.
A noble mind disdains to hide his head,
And let his foes triumph in his overthrow.

Alphonsus starts to go out, but Albinius enters and speaks.

Albinius

What loitering fellow have we spied here?
Presume not, villain, further for to go,
Unless you do at length the same repent.

Alphonsus comes towards Albinius.

Alphonsus

“Villain,” sayest thou? Nay, “villain” in thy throat!
What knowst thou, skipjack, whom thou villain callest?

Albinius

A common vassal I do villain call.

Alphonsus

That shall thou soon approve, persuade thyself,
Or else I’ll die, or thou shalt die for me.

Albinius