The Works of Thomas Kyd


Anonymous, attributed to Thomas Kyd
Modern spelling.
Transcribed by BF. copyright © 2002
Edited and designed for the web by Robert Brazil

Title Page of one of the 1599 original editions.
The other version gives the date.
The work was registered to Edward White, in1592,
and there is the possibility of a lost first edition from that year.

Items discussed in the glossary are underlined.
Run on lines (closing open endings) are indicated by ~~~.


Induction and Chorus
Soliman, Emperor of the Turks
His Brothers
Brusor, his general
Lord Marshal
Philippo, Governor of Rhode
Prince of Cyprus, his son-in-law
Erastus, a knight of Rhodes
his friends
Piston, his servant
Perseda, beloved of Erastus
Lucina, beloved of Ferdinando
Basilisco, a braggart knight (see glossary entry for "basilisk".)
A Crier
A Captain
A Messenger
Two Witnesses
Knights, Ladies, Janissaries, Soldier

Soliman and Perseda
Appendix I
Imagery, Dramatic Technique
Suggested Reading
Appendix II: Connections
Appendix III: Vocabulary, Word Formation


Scene I. 1: Induction
[Enter Love, Fortune, Death.]

LOVE: What, Death and Fortune cross the way of Love?

FORTUNE: Why, what is Love but Fortune's tennis-ball?

DEATH: Nay, what are you both, but subjects unto Death?
And I command you to forbear this place;
For here the month of sad Melpomene
Is wholly bent to tragedies' discourse,
And what are tragedies but acts of death?
Here means the wrathful muse, in seas of tears
And loud laments, to tell a dismal tale,
A tale wherein she lately hath bestowed ... [I.1.10]
The husky humor of her bloody quill,
And now for tables takes her to her tongue.

LOVE: Why, thinks Death Love knows not the history
Of brave Erastus and his Rhodian dame?
'Twas I that made their hearts consent to love;
And therefore come I now as fittest person
To serve for Chorus to this tragedy;
Had I not been, they had not died so soon.

DEATH: Had I not been, they had not died so soon.

FORTUNE: Nay then, it seems, you both do miss the mark. ... [I.1.20]
Did not I change long love to sudden hate;
And then rechange their hatred into love;
And then from love deliver them to death?
Fortune is Chorus, Love and Death be gone.

DEATH: I tell thee, Fortune, and thee, wanton Love,
I will not down to everlasting night
Till I have moralized this tragedy,
Whose chiefest actor was my sable dart.

LOVE: Nor will I up into the brightsome sphere,
From whence I sprung, till in the chorus place ... [I.1.30]
I make it known to you and to the world
What interest Love hath in tragedies.

FORTUNE: Nay then, though Fortune have delight in change,
I'll stay my flight, and cease to turn my wheel,
Till I have shown by demonstration
What interest I have in a tragedy:
Tush, Fortune can do more than Love or Death.

LOVE: Why stay we then? Let's give the actors leave,
And as occasion serves, make our return. [Exeunt.]

Scene I. 2: The Court of Portugal
[Enter Erastus and Perseda.]

ERASTUS: Why, when, Perseda? Wilt thou not assure me?
But shall I, like a mastless ship at sea,
Go every way, and not the way I would?
My love hath lasted from mine infancy,
And still increased as I grew myself.
When did Perseda pastime in the streets,
But her Erastus over-eyed her sport?
When did'st thou, with thy sampler in the sun,
Sit sewing with thy feres, but I was by,
Marking thy lily hands' dexterity, ... [I.2.10]
Comparing it to twenty gracious things?
When did'st thou sing a note that I could hear,
But I have framed a ditty to the tune,
Figuring Perseda twenty kind of ways?
When did'st thou go to church on holidays,
But I have waited on thee to and fro,
Marking my times as falcons watch their flight?
When I have missed thee, how have I lamented,
As if my thoughts had been assured true.
Thus in my youth; now, since I grew a man, ... [I.2.20]
I have persevered to let thee know
The meaning of my true heart's constancy.
Then be not nice, Perseda, as women wont,
To hasty lovers whose fancy soon is fled;
My love is of a long continuance,
And merits not a stranger's recompense.

PERSEDA: Enough, Erastus, thy Perseda knows;
She whom thou would'st have thine, Erastus, knows.

ERASTUS: Nay, my Perseda knows, and then 'tis well.

PERSEDA: I, watch you vantages? Thine be it then -- ... [I.2.30]
I have forgot the rest, but that's the effect;
Which, to effect, accept this carcanet:
My grandame on her death-bed gave it me,
And there, even there, I vowed unto myself
To keep the same until my wand'ring eye
Should find a harbor for my heart to dwell.
Even in thy breast do I elect my rest;
Let in my heart to keep thine company.

ERASTUS: And, sweet Perseda, accept this ring
To equal it; receive my heart to boot; ... [I.2.40]
It is no boot, for that was thine before;
And far more welcome is this change to me
Than sunny days to naked savages,
Or news of pardon to a wretch condemned
That waiteth for the fearful stroke of death.
As careful will I be to keep this chain,
As doth the mother keep her children
From water pits, or falling in the fire.
Over mine armor will I hang this chain;
And when long combat makes my body faint, ... [I.2.50]
The sight of this shall show Perseda's name,
And add fresh courage to my fainting limbs.
This day the eager Turk of Tripoli,
The Knight of Malta, honored for his worth,
And he that's titled by the golden spur,
The Moor upon his hot barbarian horse,
The fiery Spaniard bearing in his face
The impress of a noble warrior,
The sudden Frenchman, and the big-boned Dane,
And English archers, hardy men-at-arms ... [I.2.60]
Eclipped lions of the Western world;
Each one of these approved combatants,
Assembled from several corners of the world,
Are hither come to try their force in arms,
In honor of the Prince of Cyprus' nuptials.
Amongst these worthies will Erastus troop
Though like a gnat amongst a hive of bees.
Know me by this thy precious carcanet;
And if I thrive in valor, as the glass
That takes the sunbeam's burning with his force, ... [I.2.70]
I'll be the glass and thou that heavenly sun,
From whence I'll borrow what I do achieve;
And, sweet Perseda, unnoted though I be,
Thy beauty yet shall make me known ere night.

PERSEDA: Young slips are never graft in windy days;
Young scholars never entered with the rod.
Ah, my Erastus, there are Europe's knights
That carry honor graven in their helms,
And they must win it dear that win it thence.
Let not my beauty prick thee to thy bane; ... [I.2.80]
Better sit still than rise and over-ta'en.

ERASTUS: Counsel me not, for my intent is sworn,
And be my fortune as my love deserves.

PERSEDA: So be thy fortune as thy features serves,
And then Erastus lives without compare. [Enter a messenger.]
Here comes a messenger to haste me hence.
I know your message; hath the Princess sent for me?

MESS: She hath, and desires you to consort her to the triumphs.
[Enter Piston.]

PISTON: Who saw my master? O sir, are you here? The
Prince and all the outlandish Gentleman are ready to go ... [I.2.90]
to the triumphs; they stay for you.

ERASTUS: Go, sirra, bid my men bring my horse, and a dozen staves.

PISTON: You shall have your horses and two dozen of staves. [Exit Piston.]

ERASTUS: Wish me good hap, Perseda, and I'll win
Such glory as no time shall ere race out,
Or end the period of my youth in blood.

PERSEDA: Such fortune as the good Andromache
Wished valiant Hector wounded with the Greeks,
I wish Erastus in his maiden wars.
O'ercome with valor these high-minded knights ... [I.2.100]
As with thy virtue thou hast conquered me.
Heavens hear my hearty prayer, and it effect. [Exeunt.]

Scene I. 3:
[Enter Philippo, the Prince of Cyprus, Basilisco, and all the knights.]

PHILIPPO: Brave knights of Christendom, and Turkish both,
Assembled here in thirsty honor's cause,
To be enrolled in the brass-leaved book
Of never-wasting perpetuity,
Put lamb-like mildness to your lion's strength,
And be our tilting like two brothers' sports,
That exercise their war with friendly blows.
Brave Prince of Cyprus, and our son-in-law,
Welcome these worthies by their several countries,
For in thy honor hither are they come, ... [I.3.10]
To grace thy nuptials with their deeds at arms.

CYPRUS: First, welcome, thrice-renowned Englishman,
Graced by thy country, but ten times more
By thy approved valor in the field;
Upon the onset of the enemy,
What is thy motto, when thou spurs thy horse?

ENGLISHMAN: In Scotland was I made a Knight at arms,
Where for my country's cause I charged my lance;
In France I took the standard from the King,
And gained the flower of Gallia in my crest; ... [I.3.20]
Against the light-foot Irish have I served,
And in my skin bare tokens of their skenes;
Our word of courage all the world hath heard,
Saint George for England, and Saint George for me.

CYPRUS: Like welcome unto thee, fair Knight of France;
Well famed thou art for discipline in war:
Upon the encounter of thine enemy,
What is thy mot, renowned Knight of France?

FRENCHMAN: In Italy I put my knighthood on,
Where in my shirt, but with my single rapier, ... [I.3.30]
I combated a Roman much renowned,
His weapon's point impoisoned for my bane;
And yet my stars did bode my victory.
Saint Denis is for France, and that for me.

CYPRUS: Welcome, Castilian, too among the rest,
For fame doth sound thy valor with the rest.
Upon thy first encounter of thy foe,
What is thy word of courage, brave man of Spain?

SPANIARD: At fourteen years of age was I made Knight,
When twenty thousand Spaniards were in field; ... [I.3.40]
What time a daring Rutter made a challenge
To change a bullet with our swift flight shot;
And I, with single heed and level, hit
The haughty challenger and struck him dead.
The golden Fleece is that we cry upon,
And Jaques, Jaques, is the Spaniard's choice.

CYPRUS: Next, welcome unto thee, renowned Turk,
Not for thy lay, but for thy worth in arms:
Upon the first brave of thine enemy,
What is thy noted word of charge, brave Turk? ... [I.3.50]

BRUSOR: Against the Sophy in three pitched fields,
Under the conduct of great Soliman,
Have I been chief commander of an host,
And put the flint-heart Persians to the sword;
(And) marched (a) conqueror through Asia.
The desert plains of Affricke have I stained
With blood of Moors, and there in three set battles fought;
Along the coasts held by the Portinguze,
Even to the verge of gold-abounding Spain,
Hath Brusor led a valiant troop of Turks, ... [I.3.60]
And made some Christians kneel to Mahomet;
Him we adore, and in his name I cry,
Mahomet for me and Soliman.

CYPRUS: Now, Signeur Basilisco, you we know,
And therefore give not you a stranger's welcome,
You are a Rutter born in Germany.
Upon the first encounter of your foe,
What is your brave upon the enemy?

BASILISCO: I fight not with my tongue; this is my oratrix.
[Laying his hand upon his sword.]

CYPRUS: Why, Signeur Basilisco, is it a she-sword? ... [I.3.70]

BASILISCO: Aye, and so are all blades with me: behold my instance;
Perdie, each female is the weaker vessel,
And the vigor of this arm infringeth
The temper of any blade, quoth my assertion;
And thereby gather that this blade,
Being approved weaker than this limb,
May very well bear a feminine Epitheton.

CYPRUS: 'Tis well proved; but what's the word that glories your Country?

BASILISCO: Sooth to say, the earth is my Country,
As the air to the fowl, or the marine moisture ... [I.3.80]
To the red-gilled fish; I repute myself no coward;
For humility shall mount. I keep no table
To character my fore-passed conflicts.
As I remember, there happened a sore drought
In some part of Belgia, that the juicy grass
Was seared with the Sun-God's element:
I held it policy to put the men-children
Of that climate to the sword,
That the mothers' tears might relieve the parched earth.
The men died, the women wept, and the grass grew; ... [I.3.90]
Else had my Friesland horse perished,
Whose loss would have more grieved me
Than the ruin of that whole country.
Upon a time in Ireland I fought
On horseback with an hundred Kerns
From Titan's Eastern uprise to his Western downfall;
Insomuch that my steed began to faint;
I, conjecturing the cause to be want of water, dismounted;
In which place there was no such Element.
Enraged therefore, with this Scimitar, ... [I.3.100]
(I), all on foot, like an Herculean offspring,
Endured some three or four hours combat,
In which process my body distilled such dewy showers of sweat
That from the warlike wrinkles of my front
My palfrey cooled his thirst.
My mercy in conquest is equal with my manhood in fight;
The tear of an infant hath been the ransom of a conquered city,
Whereby I purchased the surname of Pity's adamant.
Rough words blow my choler,
As the wind doth Mulciber's workhouse. ... [I.3.110]
I have no word, because no country:
Each place is my habitation;
Therefore each country's word mine to pronounce.
Princes, what would you?
I have seen much, heard more, but done most,
To be brief, he that will try me, let him waft me with his arm;
I am his, for some five lances,
Although it go against my stars to jest,
Yet to gratulate this benign Prince,
I will suppress my condition. ... [I.3.120]

PHILIPPO: He is beholding to you greatly, sir.
Mount, ye brave Lordings, forwards to the tilt;
Myself will censure of your chivalry,
And with impartial eyes behold your deeds;
forward, brave Ladies, place you to behold
The fair demeanor of these warlike Knights. [Exeunt. Manet Basilisco.]

BASILISCO: I am melancholy; an humor of Venus beleagereth me.
I have rejected with contemptible frowns
The sweet glances of many amorous girls, or rather ladies;
But certes, I am now captivated with the reflecting eye ... [I.3.130]
Of that admirable comet Perseda.
I will place her to behold my triumphs,
And do wonders in her sight.
O heaven, she comes, accompanied with a child
Whose chin bears no impression of manhood,
Not an hair, not an excrement.
[Enter Erastus, Perseda, and Piston.]

ERASTUS: My sweet Perseda. [Exeunt Erastus and Perseda.]

BASILISCO: ~~~ Peace, Infant, thou blasphemest.

PISTON: You are deceived, sir; he swore not.

BASILISCO: I tell thee, jester, he did worse; he called that Lady his. ... [I.3.140]

PISTON: Jester: O extempore, O flores.

BASILISCO: O harsh, uneducate, illiterate peasant,
Thou abusest the phrase of the Latin.

PISTON: By god's fish, take you the Latin's part? I'll abuse you too.

BASILISCO: What, saunce dread of our indignation?

PISTON: Saunce? What language is this? I think thou art a word
maker by thine occupation.

BASILISCO: I, termest thou me of an occupation?
Nay then, this fiery humor of choler is
Suppressed by the thought of love. Fair lady -- ... [I.3.150]

PISTON: Now, by my troth, she is gone.

BASILISCO: Aye, hath the Infant transported her hence?
He saw my anger figured in my brow
And at his best advantage stole away.
But I will follow for revenge.

PISTON: Nay, but hear you, sir; I must talk with you before you go.
[Then Piston gets on his back and pulls him down.]

BASILISCO: O, if thou be'st magnanimous, come before me.

PISTON: Nay, if thou be'st a right warrior, get from under me.

BASILISCO: What, would'st thou have me a Typhon
To bear up Pelion or Ossa? ... [I.3.160[

PISTON: Typhon me no Typhons, but swear upon my Dudgeon
dagger not to go till I give thee leave, but stay with me and
look upon the tilters.

BASILISCO: O, thou seek'st thereby to dim my glory.

PISTON: I care not for that; wilt thou not swear?

BASILISCO: O, I swear, I swear. [He sweareth him on his dagger.]

PISTON: By the contents of this blade --

BASILISCO: By the contents of this blade â--

PISTON: I, the aforesaid Basilisco --

BASILISCO: I, the aforesaid Basilisco -- Knight, goodfellow, ... [I.3.170]
~~~ Knight, Knight --

PISTON: Knave, good fellow, Knave, Knave -- Will not offer to go
from the side of Piston --

BASILISCO: Will not offer to go from the side of Piston --

PISTON: Without the leave of the said Piston obtained --

BASILISCO: Without the leave of the said Piston licensed, obtained,
and granted.

PISTON: Enjoy thy life and live; I give it thee.

BASILISCO: I enjoy my life at thy hands, I confess it.
I am up; but that I am religious in mine oath --

PISTON: What would you do, sir; what would you do? Will you up ... [I.3.180]
the ladder, sir, and see the tilting?
[They go up the ladders and they sound within to the first course.]

BASILISCO: Better a dog fawn on me than bark.

PISTON: Now sir, how likes thou this course?

BASILISCO: Their lances were couched too high, and their steeds ill-born.

PISTON: It may be so, it may be so. [Sound to the second course.]
Now sir, how like you this course?

BASILISCO: Pretty, pretty, but not famous;
Well for a learner, but not for a warrior.

PISTON: By my faith, methought it was excellent.

BASILISCO: Aye, in the eye of an infant a peacock's tail is glorious. ... [I.3.190]
[Sound to the third course.]

PISTON: O, well run. The bay horse with the blue tail and the
silver knight are both down; by cock and pie, and mouse
foot, the Englishman is a fine knight.

BASILISCO: Now, by the marble face of the welkin,
He is a brave warrior.

PISTON: What an oath is there. Fie upon thee, extortioner.

BASILISCO: Now comes in the infant that courts my mistress.
[Sound to the fourth course.]
Oh that my lance were in my rest
And my beaver closed for this encounter.

PISTON: Oh, well ran. My master hath over-thrown the Turk. ... [I.3.200]

BASILISCO: Now fie upon the Turk.
To be dismounted by a child it vexeth me.
[Sound to the fifth course.]

PISTON: O, well run, master. He hath over-thrown the Frenchman.

BASILISCO: It is the fury of the horse, not the strength of his arm.
I would thou would'st remit my oath,
that I might assail thy master.

PISTON: I give thee leave; go to thy destruction. But sirrah,
where's thy horse?

BASILISCO: Why, my page stands holding him by the bridle.

PISTON: Well, go; mount thee, go. ... [I.3.210]

BASILISCO: I go, and Fortune guide my lance. [Exit Basilisco.]

PISTON: Take the bragin'st knave in Christendom with thee. Truly,
I am sorry for him; he just like a knight? He'll jostle like
a jade. It is a world to hear the fool prate and brag;
he will jet as if it were a goose on a green. He goes
many times supperless to bed, and yet he takes physic to
make him lean. Last night he was bidden to a gentlewoman's
to supper, and because he would not be put to carve,
he wore his hand in a scarf and said he was wounded.
He wears a colored lath in his scabbard, and when 'twas ... [I.3.220]
found upon him, he said he was wrathful he might not
wear no iron. He wears civet, and when it was asked him
where he had that musk, he said all his kindred smelt so;
is not this a counterfeit fool? Well, I'll up and see how he
speeds. [Sound the sixth course.]
Now, by the faith of a squire, he is a very faint knight;
why, my master hath over-thrown him and his curtal both
to the ground. I shall have old laughing; it will be better
than the fox in the hole for me.

Scene I. 4
[Sound: Enter Philippo, the Prince of Cyprus, Erastus, Ferdinando, Lucina,
and all the Knights.

CYPRUS: Brave Gentlemen, by all your free consents,
This knight unknown hath best demeaned himself;
According to the proclamation made,
The prize and honor of the day is his. --
But now unmask thyself, that we may see
What warlike wrinkles time has charactered
With age's print upon thy warlike face.

ENGLISHMAN: According to his request, brave man at arms,
And let me see the face that vanquished me.

FRENCHMAN: Unmask thyself, thou well-approved knight. ... [I.4.10]

TURK: I long to see thy face, brave warrior.

LUCINA: Nay, valiant sir, we may not be denied.
Fair ladies should be coy to show their faces,
Lest that the sun should tan them with his beams;
I'll be your page this once, for to disarm you.

PISTON: That's the reason that he shall help your husband
to arm his head. Oh, the policy of this age is

PHILIPPO: What, young Erastus? Is it possible?

CYPRUS: Erastus, be thou honored for this deed. ... [I.4.20]

ENGLISHMAN: So young, and of such good accomplishment;
Thrive, fair beginner, as this time doth promise,
In virtue, valor, and all worthiness;
Give me thy hand, I vow myself thy friend.

ERASTUS: Thanks, worthy sir, whose favorable hand
Hath entered such a youngling in the war;
And thanks unto you all, brave worthy sirs;
Impose me task, how I may do you good;
Erastus will be dutiful in all.

PHILIPPO: Leave protestations now, and let us hie ... [I.4.30]
To tread lavolto, that is women's walk;
There spend we the remainder of the day. [Exeunt. Manet Ferdinando.]

FERDINANDO: Though over-borne and foiled in my course,
Yet have I partners in mine infamy.
Tis wondrous that so young a toward warrior
Should bide the shock of such approved knights,
As he this day hath matched and mated too.
But virtue should not envy good desert:
Therefore, Erastus, happy laud thy fortune.
But my Lucina, how she changed her color ... [I.4.40]
When at the encounter I did lose a stirrup,
Hanging her head as partner of my shame.
Therefore will I now go visit her,
And please her with this carcanet of worth,
Which by good fortune I have found today.
When valor fails, then gold must make the way.
[Enter Basilisco riding of a mule.]

BASILISCO: O cursed Fortune, enemy to Fame,
Thus to disgrace thy honored name
By over-throwing him that far hath spread thy praise
Beyond the course of Titan's burning rays. [Enter Piston.] ... [I.4.50]
Page, set aside the gesture of my enemy;
Give him a fiddler's fee and send him packing.

PISTON: Ho, God save you, sir. Have you burst your shin?

BASILISCO: Aye, villain, I have broken my shin-bone,
My back-bone, my channel-bone, and my thigh-bone,
Beside two dozen small inferior bones.

PISTON: A shrewd loss, by my faith, sir. But where's your courser's

BASILISCO: He lost the same in service.

PISTON: There was a hot piece of service where he lost his tail. ... [I.4.60]
But how chance his nose is slit?

BASILISCO: For presumption, for covering the Emperor's mare.

PISTON: Marry, a foul fault; but why are his ears cut?

BASILISCO: For neighing in the Emperor's court.

PISTON: Why then, thy horse hath been a colt in his time.

BASILISCO: True, thou hast said.
O touch not the cheek of my palfrey,
Lest he dismount me while my wounds are green.
Page, run, bid the surgeon bring his incision;
Yet stay, I'll ride along with thee myself. ... [I.4.70]

PISTON: And I'll bear you company.
[Piston getteth up on his ass and rideth with him to the door,
and meeteth the crier. Enter the crier.
Come, sirra, let me see how finely you'll cry this chain.

CRIER: Why, what was it worth?

PISTON: It was worth more than thou and all thy kin are worth.

CRIER: It may be so; but what must he have that finds it?

PISTON: Why, a hundred crowns.

CRIER: When, then, I'll have ten for the crying it.

PISTON: Ten crowns? And had but sixpence for crying a little
wench of thirty years old and upwards, that had lost herself
betwixt a tavern and a bawdy-house. ... [I.4.80]

CRIER: Aye, that was a wench, and this is gold; she was poor,
but this is rich.

PISTON: Why then, by this reckoning, a Hackney-man should
have ten shillings for horsing a gentlewoman, where he
hath but ten pence of a beggar.

CRIER: Why, and reason good: let them pay that best may, as
the lawyers use their rich clients, when they let the poor
go under Forma pauperis.

PISTON: Why then, I pray thee, cry the chain for me Sub forma
, for money goes very low with me at this time. ... [I.4.90]

CRIER: Aye, sir, bit your master is, though you be not.

PISTON: Aye, but he must not know that you criest the chain for
me. I do but use thee to save me a labor, that am to
make inquire after it.

CRIER: Well sir, you'll see me considered, will you not?

PISTON: Aye, marry, will I; why, what lighter payment can there be than

CRIER: O yes. [Enter Erastus.]

ERASTUS: How now, sirra, what are you crying?

CRIER: A chain, sir, a chain, that your man had me cry. ... [I.4.100]

ERASTUS: Get you away, sirra. I advise you meddle with no
Chains of mine. [Exit Crier.]
You paltry knave, how durst thou be so bold
To cry the chain, when I bid thou should'st not?
Did I not bid thee only underhand
Make privy inquiry for it through the town,
Lest public rumor might advertise her
Whose knowledge were to me a second death?

PISTON: Why, would you have me run up and down the town,
and my shoes are done? ... [I.4.110]

ERASTUS: What you want in shoes, I'll give ye in blows.

PISTON: I pray you sir, hold your hands, and as I am an honest
man, I'll do the best I can to find your chain. [Exit Piston.]

ERASTUS: Ah, treacherous Fortune, enemy to Love,
Did'st thou advance me for my greater fall?
In dallying war, I lost my chiefest peace;
In hunting after praise, I lost my love,
And in love's shipwrack will my life miscarry.
Take thou the honor, and give me the chain,
Wherein was linked the sum of my delight. ... [I.4.120]
When she delivered me the carcanet,
Keep it, quoth she, as thou would'st keep myself;
I kept it not, and therefore she is lost,
And lost with her is all my happiness,
And loss of happiness is worse than death.
Come therefore, gentle death, and ease my grief;
Cut short what malice Fortune misintends.
But stay a while, good Death, and let me live;
Time may restore what Fortune took from me:
Ah no, great losses seldom are restored. ... [I.4.130]
What if my chain shall never be restored?
My innocence shall clear my negligence.
Ah, but my love is ceremonious,
And looks for justice at her lover's hand:
Within forced furrows of her clouding brow,
As storms that fall amid a sun-shine day,
I read her just desires, and my decay.

Scene I. 5
[Enter Soliman, Haleb, Amurath, and Janissaries.]

SOLIMAN: I long till Brusor be returned from Rhodes.
To know how he hath borne him gainst the Christians
That are assembled there to try their valor;
But more to be well-assured by him
How Rhodes is fenced, and how I best may lay
My never-failing siege to win that plot.
For by the holy Al-Koran I swear
I'll call my soldiers home from Persia,
And let the Sophie breath, and from the Russian broils
Call home my hardy, dauntless Janissaries, ... [I.5.10]
And from the other skirts of Christendom
Call home my Bassows and my men of war,
And so beleaguer Rhodes by sea and land.
That key will serve to open all the gates
Through which our passage cannot find a stop
Till it have pricked the heart of Christendom,
Which now that paltry island keeps from scath.
Say, brother Amurath and Haleb, say,
What think you of our resolution?

AMURATH: Great Soliman, heaven's only substitute, ... [I.V.20]
And earth's commander under Mahomet,
So counsel I, as thou thyself hast said.

HALEB: Pardon me, dread Sovereign, I hold it not
Good policy to call your forces home
From Persia and Polonia, bending them
Upon a paltry isle of small defense.
A common press of base superfluous Turks
May soon be levied for so slight a task.
Ah Soliman, whose name hath shaked thy foes,
As withered leaves with autumn thrown down, ... [I.V.30]
Fog not thy glory with so foul eclipse,
Let not thy soldiers sound a base retire
Till Persia stoop, and thou be conqueror.
What scandal were it to thy mightiness,
After so many valiant Bassows slain,
Whose blood hath been manured to their earth,
Whose bones hath made their deep ways passable,
To sound a homeward, dull and harsh retreat,
Without a conquest or a mean revenge.
Strive not for Rhodes by letting Persia slip; ... [I.V.40]
The one's a lion almost brought to death,
Whose skin will countervail the hunter's toil:
The other is a wasp with threatening sting,
Whose honey is not worth the taking-up.

AMURATH: Why, Haleb, did'st thou hot hear our brother swear
Upon the Al-Koran religiously
That he would make an universal camp
Of all his scattered legions; and darest thou
Infer a reason why it is not meet
After his Highness swears it shall be so? ... [I.V.50]
Were it not (that) thou art my father's son,
And striving kindness wrestled not with ire,
I would not hence till I had let thee know
What 'twere to thwart a Monarch's holy oath.

HALEB: Why, his highness gave me leave to speak my will;
And, far from flattery, I spoke my mind,
And did discharge a faithful subject's love.
Thou, Aristippus-like, did'st flatter him,
Not like my brother, or a man of worth.
And for his highness' vow, I crossed it not, ... [I.5.60]
But gave my consent, as his highness bade.
Now for thy chastisement know, Amareth,
I scorn them, as a reckless lion scorns
The humming of a gnat in summer's night.

AMURATH: I take it, Haleb, thou art friend to Rhodes.

HALEB: Not half so much am I a friend to Rhodes
As thou art enemy to thy Sovereign.

AMURATH: I charge thee, say wherein; or else, by Mahomet,
I'll hazard duty in my Sovereign's presence.

HALEB: Not for thy threats, but for myself, I say [I.5.70]
It is not meet that one so base as thou
Should'st come about the person of a king.

SOLIMAN: Must I give aim to this presumption?

AMURATH: Your Highness knows I speak in duteous love.

HALEB: Your highness knows I spake at your command,
And to the purpose, far from flattery.

AMURATH: Thinks thou I flatter? Now I flatter not.
[Then he kills Haleb.]

SOLIMAN: What dismal planets guides this fatal hour?
Villain, thy brother's groans do call for thee,
[Then Soliman kills Amurath.]
To wander with them through eternal night. ... [I.V.80]

AMURATH: O Soliman, for loving thee I die.

SOLIMAN: No, Amurath, for murthering him thou diest.
Oh, Haleb, how shall I begin to mourn,
Or how shall I begin to shed salt tears,
For whom no words nor tears can well suffice?
Ah, that my rich imperial diadem
Could satisfy thy cruel destiny,
Or that a thousand of our Turkish souls,
Or twenty thousand millions of our foes,
Could ransom thee from fell death's tyranny. ... [I.5.90]
To win thy life would Soliman be poor
And live in servile bondage all my days.
Accursed Amurath, that for a worthless cause
In blood hath shortened our sweet Haleb's days.
Ah, what is dearer bond than brotherhood?
Yet, Amurath, thou wert my brother too,
If willful folly did not blind mine eyes.
Aye, aye, and thou as virtuous as Haleb,
And I as dear to thee as unto Haleb,
And thou as near to me as Haleb was. ... [I.5.100]
Ah, Amurath, why wert thou so unkind
To him for uttering but a thwarting word?
And, Haleb, why did not thy heart's counsel
Bridle the fond intemperance of thy tongue?
Nay, wretched Soliman, why did'st not thou
Withhold thy hand from heaping blood on blood?
Might I not better spare one joy than both?
If love of Haleb forced me on to wrath,
Cursed be that wrath that is the way to death.
If justice forced me on, cursed be that justice ... [I.5.110]
That makes the brother butcher of his brother.
Come, Janissaries, and help me to lament
And bear my joys on either side of me --
Aye, late my joys but now my lasting sorrow.
Thus, thus let Soliman pass on his way,
Bearing in either hand his heart's decay. [Exeunt.]

Scene I. 6
[Enter Chorus.]

LOVE: Now, Death and Fortune, which of all us three
Hath in the actors shown the greatest power?
Have not I taught Erastus and Perseda
By mutual tokens to seal up their loves?

FORTUNE: Aye, but those tokens, the ring and carcanet,
Were Fortune's gifts; Love gives no gold or jewels.

LOVE: Why, what is jewels, or what is gold but earth,
An humor knit together by compression,
And by the world's bright eye first brought to light,
Only to feed men's eyes with vain delight? ... [I.6.10]
Love's works are more than of a mortal temper;
I couple minds together by consent.
Who gave Rhodes' princess to Cyprian prince, but Love?

FORTUNE: Fortune, that first by chance brought them together;
For till by Fortune persons meet each other,
Thou can'st not teach their eyes to wound their hearts.

LOVE: I made those knights, of several sect and countries,
Each one by arms to honor his beloved.

FORTUNE: Nay, one alone to honor his beloved:
The rest, by turning of my tickle wheel, ... [I.6.20]
Came short in reaching of fair honor's mark.
I gave Erastus only that day's prize,
A sweet renown, but mixed with bitter sorrow;
For, in conclusion of his happiness,
I made him lose the precious carcanet
Whereon depended all his hope and joy.

DEATH: And more than so; for he that found the chain,
Even for that chain shall be deprived of life.

LOVE: Besides Love hath enforced a fool,
The fond Bragardo, to presume to arms. ... [I.6.30]

FORTUNE: Aye, but thou see'st how he was over-thrown
By Fortune's high displeasure.

DEATH: ~~~ Aye, and by Death
Had been surprised, if Fates had given me leave.
But what I missed in him and in the rest,
I did accomplish on Haleb and Amurath,
The worthy brethren of great Soliman.
But, wherefore stay we? Let the sequel prove
Who is [the] greatest: Fortune, Death, or Love. [Exeunt.]

GO TO Soliman & Perseda ACTS 2 & 3

GO TO Soliman & Perseda ACTS 4 & 5

GO TO Soliman & Perseda GLOSSARY