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Fair Em   By: (1564-1616)

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By William Shakespeare




WILLIAM the Conqueror. ZWENO, King of Denmark. Duke DIROT. Marquis of Lubeck. MOUNTNEY. MANVILLE. ROZILIO. DIMARCH. Danish Embassador. The Miller of Manchester. TROTTER, his Man. Citizen of Chester.

BLANCH, Princess of Denmark. MARIANA, Princess of Suethia. Fair EM, the Miller's Daughter. ELINER, the Citizen's Daughter. English and Danish Nobles. Soldiers, Countrymen, and Attendants.

Actus Primus. Scaena Prima.

Windsor. A State Apartment.


[Enter William the Conqueror; Marques Lubeck, with a picture; Mountney; Manville; Valingford; and Duke Dirot.]

MARQUES. What means fair Britain's mighty Conqueror So suddenly to cast away his staff, And all in passion to forsake the tylt?

D. DIROT. My Lord, this triumph we solemnise here Is of mere love to your increasing joys, Only expecting cheerful looks for all; What sudden pangs than moves your majesty To dim the brightness of the day with frowns?

WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR. Ah, good my Lords, misconster not the cause; At least, suspect not my displeased brows: I amorously do bear to your intent, For thanks and all that you can wish I yield. But that which makes me blush and shame to tell Is cause why thus I turn my conquering eyes To cowards looks and beaten fantasies.

MOUNTNEY. Since we are guiltless, we the less dismay To see this sudden change possess your cheer, For if it issue from your own conceits Bred by suggestion of some envious thoughts, Your highness wisdom may suppress it straight. Yet tell us, good my Lord, what thought it is That thus bereaves you of your late content, That in advise we may assist your grace, Or bend our forces to revive your spirits.

WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR. Ah, Marques Lubeck, in thy power it lies To rid my bosom of these thralled dumps: And therefore, good my Lords, forbear a while That we may parley of these private cares, Whose strength subdues me more than all the world.

VALINGFORD. We go and wish thee private conference Publicke afffects in this accustomed peace.

[Exit all but William and the Marques.]

WILLIAM. Now, Marques, must a Conquerer at arms Disclose himself thrald to unarmed thoughts, And, threatnd of a shadow, yield to lust. No sooner had my sparkling eyes beheld The flames of beauty blazing on this piece, But suddenly a sense of miracle, Imagined on thy lovely Maistre's face, Made me abandon bodily regard, And cast all pleasures on my wounded soul: Then, gentle Marques, tell me what she is, That thus thou honourest on thy warlike shield; And if thy love and interest be such As justly may give place to mine, That if it be, my soul with honors wing May fly into the bosom of my dear; If not, close them, and stoop into my grave!

MARQUES. If this be all, renowned Conquerer, Advance your drooping spirits, and revive The wonted courage of your Conquering mind; For this fair picture painted on my shield Is the true counterfeit of lovely Blaunch, Princess and daughter to the King of Danes, Whose beauty and excess of ornaments Deserves another manner of defence, Pomp and high person to attend her state Then Marques Lubeck any way presents. Therefore her vertues I resign to thee, Already shrined in thy religious breast, To be advanced and honoured to the full; Nor bear I this an argument of love, But to renown fair Blaunch, my Sovereigns child In every place where I by arms may do it.

WILLIAM... Continue reading book >>

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