Anonymous, attributed to Thomas Kyd
Modern spelling.
Transcribed by BF. copyright © 2002

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

Act IV

Scene IV. 1
[Enter Erastus and Piston.]

PISTON: Faith, master, methinks you are unwise that you wear
not the high sugarloaf hat, and the gilded gown the Emperor
gave you.

ERASTUS: Peace, fool, a sable weed fits discontent.
Away, begone.

PISTON: I'll go provide your supper: a shoulder of mutton, and
never a sallet. [Exit Piston.]

ERASTUS: I must confess that Soliman is kind,
Past all compare, and more than my desert;
But what helps gay garments, when the mind's oppressed? ... [IV.1.10]
What pleaseth the eye, when the sense is altered?
My heart is over-whelmed with thousand woes,
And melancholy leads my soul in triumph;
No marvel then if I have little mind
Of rich embroidery, or costly ornaments,
Of honors, titles, or of wealth or gain,
Of music, viands, or of dainty dames.
No, no; my hope full long ago was lost,
And Rhodes itself is lost, or else destroyed;
If not destroyed, yet bound and captivate; ... [IV.1.20]
If captivate, then forced from holy faith;
If forced from faith, forever miserable;
For what is misery but want of God?
And God is lost, if faith be over-thrown. [Enter Soliman.]

SOLIMAN: Why, how now, Erastus, always in thy dumps?
Still in black habit fitting funeral?
Cannot my love persuade thee from this mood,
Nor all my fair entreats and blandishments?
Wert thou my friend, thy mind would jump with mine;
For what are friends but one mind in two bodies? ... [IV.1.30]
Perhaps thou doubts my friendship's constancy;
Then dost thou wrong the measure of my love,
Which hath no measure and shall never end.
Come, Erastus, sit thee down by me,
And I'll impart to thee our Brusor's news,
News to our honor, and to thy content;
The Governor is slain that sought thy death.

ERASTUS: A worthy man, thou not Erastus' friend.

SOLIMAN: The Prince of Cyprus too is likewise slain.

ERASTUS: Fair blossom, likely to have proved good fruit. ... [IV.1.40]

SOLIMAN: Rhodes is taken, and all the men are slain,
Except some few that turn to Mahomet.

ERASTUS: Aye, there it is; now all my friends are slain,
And fair Perseda murthered or deflowered;
Ah, Gracious Soliman, now show thy love
In not denying thy poor suppliant.
Suffer me not to stay here in thy presence,
But by myself lament me once for all.
Here if I stay, I must suppress my tears,
And tears suppressed will but increase my sorrow. ... [IV.1.50]

SOLIMAN: Go, then, go spend thy mornings all at once,
That in thy presence Soliman may joy;
For hitherto have I reaped little pleasure. [Exit Erastus.]
Well, well, Erastus, Rhodes may bless thy birth.
For his sake only will I spare them more
From spoil, pillage and oppression,
Than Alexander spared warlike Thebes
For Pindarus; or than Augustus
Spared rich Alexandria for Arius' sake.
[ Enter Brusor, Perseda and Lucina.]

BRUSOR: My gracious Lord, rejoice in happiness; ... [IV.1.60]
All Rhodes is yoked, and stoops to Soliman.

SOLIMAN: First, thanks to heaven; and next to Brusor's valor,
Which I'll not guerdon with large promises
But straight reward thee with a bounteous largess;
But what two Christian virgins have we here?

BRUSOR: Part of the spoil of Rhodes, which were preserved
To be presented to your mightiness.

SOLIMAN: This present pleaseth more than all the rest,
And were their garments turned from black to white,
I should have deemed them Juno's goodly swans, ... [IV.1.70]
Or Venus' milk-white doves, so mild they are,
And so adorned with beauty's miracle.
Here, Brusor, this kind turtle shall be thine;
Take her and use her at thy pleasure;
But this kind turtle is for Soliman,
That her captivity may turn to bliss.
Fair locks, resembling Phoebus' radiant beams;
Smooth forehead, like the table of high Jove,
Small penciled eyebrows, like two glorious rainbows;
Quick lamp-like eyes, like heaven's two brightest orbs; ... [IV.1.80]
Lips of pure coral, breathing ambrosia;
Cheeks, where the rose and lily are in combat;
Neck, whiter than the snowy Appenines;
Breasts, like two over-flowing fountains,
'Twixt which a vale leads to the Elysian shades,
Where under covert lies the fount of pleasure
Which thoughts may guess, but tongue must not profane.
A sweeter creature nature never made;
Love never tainted Soliman till now.
Now, fair virgin, let me hear thee speak. ... [IV.1.90]

PERSEDA: What can my tongue utter but grief and death?

SOLIMAN: The sound is honey, but the sense is gall;
Then, sweeting, bless me with a cheerful look.

PERSEDA: How can mine eyes dart forth a pleasant look,
When they are stopped with floods of flowing tears?

SOLIMAN: If tongue with grief, and dyes with tears be filled,
Say, virgin, how doth thy heart admit
The pure affection of great Soliman?

PERSEDA: My thoughts are like pillars of adamant,
Too hard to take an new impression. ... [IV.1.100]

SOLIMAN: Nay, then, I see, my stooping makes her proud;
She is my vassal, and I will command.
Coy virgin, knowest thou what offense it is
To thwart the will and pleasure of a king?
Why, thy life is done, if I but say the word.

PERSEDA: Why, that's the period that my heart desires.

SOLIMAN: And die thou shalt, unless thou change thy mind.

PERSEDA: Nay, then, Perseda grows resolute:
Soliman's thoughts and mine resemble
Lines parallel that never can be joined. ... [IV.1.110]

SOLIMAN: Then kneel thou down,
And at my hands receive the stroke of death,
Doomed to thyself by thine own willfulness.

PERSEDA: Strike, strike; thy words pierce deeper than thy blows.

SOLIMAN: Brusor, hide her, for her looks withhold me.
[Then Brusor hides her with a lawn.]
Oh Brusor, thou hast not hid her lips;
For there sits Venus with Cupid on her knee,
And all the Graces smiling round about her,
So craving pardon that I cannot strike.

BRUSOR: Her face of covered-over quite, my Lord. ... [IV.1.120]

SOLIMAN: Why so: Oh Brusor, see'st thou not
Her milk-white neck, that alabaster tower?
'Twill break the edge of my keen scimitar,
And pieces flying back will wound myself.

BRUSOR: Now she is all covered, my Lord.

SOLIMAN: Why now at last she dies.

PERSEDA: O Christ, receive my soul.

SOLIMAN: Hark, Brusor, she calls on Christ;
I will not send her to him. Her words are music,
The self-same music that in ancient days ... [IV.1.130]
Brought Alexander from war to banqueting,
And made him fall from skirmishing to kissing.
No, my dear, Love would not let me kill thee,
Though Majesty would turn desire to wrath.
There lies my sword, humbled at thy feet;
And I myself, that govern many kings,
Entreat a pardon for my rash misdeed.

PERSEDA: Now Soliman wrongs his imperial state;
But if thou love me, and have hope to win,
Grant [me] one boon that I shall crave of thee. ... [IV.1.140]

SOLIMAN: Whatere it be, Perseda, I grant it thee.

PERSEDA: Then let me live a Christian virgin still,
Unless my state shall alter by my will.

SOLIMAN: My word is past, and I recall my passions;
What should he do with crown and Emperie
That cannot govern private fond affections?
Yet give me leave in honest sort to court thee,
To ease, thou not to cure, my malady.
Come, sit thee down upon my right hand here;
This seat I keep void for another friend. -- ... [IV.1.150]
Go, Janissaries, call in your Governor,
So shall I joy between two captive friends,
And yet myself be captive to them both
If friendship's yoke were not at liberty; --
See where he comes, my other best-beloved. [Enter Erastus.]

PERSEDA: My sweet and best-beloved.

ERASTUS: My sweet and best-beloved.

PERSEDA: For thee, my dear Erastus, have I lived.

ERASTUS: And I for thee, or else I had not lived.

SOLIMAN: What words in affection do I see? ... [IV.1.160]

ERASTUS: Ah, pardon me, great Soliman, for this is she
For whom I mourned more than for all Rhodes,
And from whose absence I derived my sorrow.

PERSEDA: And pardon me, my Lord, for this is he
For whom I thwarted Soliman's entreats,
And for whose exile I lamented thus.

ERASTUS: Even from my childhood have I tendered thee;
Witness the heavens of my unfeigned love.

SOLIMAN: By this one accident I well perceive
That heavens and heavenly powers do manage love. ... [IV.1.170]
I love them both, I know not which the better;
They love each other best; what then should follow,
But that I conquer both by my deserts,
And join their hands, whose hearts are knit already?
Erastus and Perseda, come you hither,
And both give me your hands --
Erastus, none but thou could'st win Perseda,
Perseda, none but thou could'st win Erastus,
From great Soliman; so well I love you both;
And now, to turn late promises to good effect, ... [IV.1.180]
Be thou, Erastus, Governor of Rhodes;
By this thou shalt dismiss my garrison.

BRUSOR: Must he reap that for which I took the toil?
Come, envy, then, and sit in friendship's seat;
How can I love him that enjoys my right?

SOLIMAN: Give me a crown, to crown the bride withal.
[Then he crowns Perseda.]
Perseda, for my sake wear this crown.
Now is she fairer than she was before;
This title so augments her beauty, as the fire,
That lay with honor's hand racked up in ashes, ... [IV.1.190]
Revives again to flames, the force is such.
Remove the cause, and then the effect will die;
They must depart, or I shall not be quiet.
Erastus and Perseda, marvel not
That all in haste I wish you to depart;
There is an urgent cause, but privy to myself;
Command my shipping for to waft you over.

ERASTUS: My gracious Lord, whe[n] Erastus doth forget this favor,
Then let him live abandoned and forlorn.

PERSEDA: Nor will Perseda slack even in her prayers, ... [IV.1.200]
But still solicit God for Soliman,
Whose mind hath proved so good and gracious. [Exeunt.]

SOLIMAN: Farewell, Erastus; Perseda, farewell too.
Methinks I should not part with two such friends,
The one so renowned for arms and courtesy,
The other so adorned with grace and modesty;
Yet of the two Perseda moves me most,
Aye, and so moves me, that I now repent
That ere I gave away my heart's desire;
What was it but abuse of Fortune's gift? ... [IV.1.210]
And therefore Fortune now will be revenged;
What was it but abuse of Love's command?
And therefore mighty Love will be revenged;
What was it but abuse of heavens that gave her me?
And therefore angry heavens will be revenged;
Heavens, Love, and Fortune, all three have decreed
That I shall love her still, and lack her still,
Like ever-thirsting, wretched Tantalus;
Foolish Soliman, why did I strive
To do him kindness, and undo myself? ... [IV.1.220]
Well-governed friends do first regard themselves.

BRUSOR: Aye, now occasion serves to stumble him
That thrust his sickle in my harvest corn.
Pleaseth your Majesty to hear Brusor speak?

SOLIMAN: To one past cure good counsel comes too late;
Yet say thy mind.

BRUSOR: With secret letters woo her, and with gifts.

SOLIMAN: My lines and gifts will but return my shame.

LUCINA: Hear me, my Lord; let me go over to Rhodes,
That I may plead in your affection's cause; ... [IV.1.230]
One woman may do much to win another.

SOLIMAN: Indeed, Lucina, were her husband from her,
She happily might be won by thy persuades;
But whil'st he lives, there is no hope in her.

BRUSOR: Why lives he then to grieve great Soliman?
This only remains, that you consider
In two extremes the least is to be chosen.
If so your life depends upon your love,
And that he love depends upon his life,
Is it not better that Erastus die ... [IV.1.240]
Ten thousand deaths than Soliman should perish?

SOLIMAN: Aye, say'st thou so? Why, then it shall be so;
But by what means shall poor Erastus die?

BRUSOR: This shall be the means; I'll fetch him back again,
Under color of great consequence;
No sooner shall he land upon our shore,
But witness shall be ready to accuse him
Of treason done against your mightiness,
And then he shall be doomed by marshal law.

SOLIMAN: Oh fine devise; Brusor, get thee gone; ... [IV.1.250]
Come thou again; but let the lady stay
To win Perseda to my will; meanwhile
Will I prepare the judge and witnesses;
And if this take effect, thou shalt be Viceroy,
And fair Lucina Queen of Tripoli,
Brusor, be gone; for till thou come I languish.
[Exeunt Brusor and Lucina.]
And now, to ease my troubled thoughts at last,
I will go sit among my learned eunuchs,
And hear them play, and see my minions dance.
For till that Brusor bring me my desire, ... [IV.1.260]
I may assuage, but never quench love's fire. [Exit.]

Scene IV. 2
[Enter Basilisco.]

BASILISCO: Since the expugnation of the Rhodian Isle,
Methinks a thousand years are over-past,
More for the lack of my Perseda's presence
Than for the loss of Rhodes, that paltry Isle,
Or for my friends that there were murthered.
My valor everywhere shall purchase friends,
And where a man lives well, there is his country.
Alas, the Christians are but very shallow
In giving judgment of a man-at-arms,
A man of my desert and excellence; ... [IV.2.10]
The Turks, whom they account for barbarous,
Having foreheard of Basilisco's worth,
A number under-prop me with their shoulders
And in procession bare me to the Church,
As I had been a second Mahomet.
I, fearing they would adore me for a God,
Wisely informed them that I was but man,
Although in time perhaps I might aspire
To purchase Godhead, as did Hercules;
I mean by doing wonders in the world; ... [IV.2.20]
Amid'st their church they bound me to a pillar,
And to make trial of my valiancy,
They lopped a collop of my tend'rest member.
But think you Basilisco squicht for that?
Even as a cow for tickling in the horn.
That done, they set me on a milk-white ass,
Compassing me with goodly ceremonies.
That day, methought, I sat in Pompey's chair
And viewed the Capitol, and was Rome's greatest glory. [Enter Piston.]

PISTON: I would my master had left some other to be his agent ... [IV.2.30]
here; faith, I am weary of the office already. What,
Signior Tremomundo, that rid a pilgrimage to beg cake-bread?

BASILISCO: Oh take me not unprovided, let me fetch my weapons.

PISTON: Why, I meant nothing but a Basolus manus.

BASILISCO: No, did'st thou not mean to give me the privy stab?

PISTON: No, by my troth, sir.

BASILISCO: Nay, if thou had'st, I had not feared thee, aye;
I tell thee, my skin holds out pistol-proof.

PISTON: Pistol-proof? I'll try if it will hold out pin-proof.
[Then he pricks him with a pin.]

BASILISCO: Oh shoot no more; great God, I yield to thee. ... [IV.2.40]

PISTON: I see his skin is but pistol-proof from the girdle upward.
What sudden agony was that?

BASILISCO: Why, saw'st thou not how Cupid, God of love,
Nor daring look me in the marshal face,
Came like a coward stealing after me.
And with his pointed dart pricked my posteriors?

PISTON: Then hear my opinion concerning that point; the ladies
of Rhodes, hearing that you have lost a capitol part of
your lady-ware, have made their petition to Cupid to plague
you above all other, as one prejudicial to their muliebrity. ... [IV.2.50]
Now, sir Cupid, seeing you already hurt before, thinks it a
greater punishment to hurt you behind. Therefore I would
wish you to have an eye to the back-door.

BASILISCO: Sooth thou sayest, I must be fenced behind;
I'll hang my target there.

PISTON: Indeed that will serve to bear of some blows when
you run away in a fray.

BASILISCO: Sirrah, sirrah, what art thou, that thus encroachest upon my
familiarity without special admittance?

PISTON: Why, do you not know me? I am Erastus' man. ... [IV.2.60]

BASILISCO: What, art thou that petty pygmy that challenged me at
Rhodes, whom I refused to combat for his minority? Where
is Erastus? I owe him chastisement in Perseda's quarrel.

PISTON: Do you not know that they are all friends, and Erastus
married to Perseda, and Erastus made Governor of Rhodes,
and I left here to be their agent?

BASILISCO: O coelum, O terra, O maria, Neptune.
Did I turn Turk to follow her so far?

PISTON: The more shame for you.

BASILISCO: And is she linked in liking with my foe? ... [IV.2.70]

PISTON: That's because you were out of the way.

BASILISCO: Oh wicked Turk, for to steal her hence.

PISTON: Oh wicked turn-coat, that would have her stay.

BASILISCO: The truth is, I will be a Turk no more.

PISTON: And I fear thou wilt never prove good Christian.

BASILISCO: I will after to take revenge.

PISTON: And I'll stay here about my master's business.

BASILISCO: Farewell, Constantinople; I will to Rhodes. [Exit.]

PISTON: Farewell, counterfeit fool. -- God send him good shipping.]
'Tis noised about that Brusor is sent to fetch my master ... [IV.2.80]
back again; I cannot be well till I hear the rest of the
news, therefore I'll about it straight. [Exit.]

Scene IV. 3
[Enter Chorus.]

LOVE: Now, Fortune, what hast thou done in this latter act?

FORTUNE: I brought Perseda to the presence
Of Soliman, the Turkish Emperor,
And gave Lucina into Brusor's hands.

LOVE: And first I stung them with consenting love,
And made great Soliman, sweet beauty's thrall,
Humble himself at fair Perseda's feet,
And made him praise love, and [his] captive's beauty;
Again I made him to recall his passions,
And give Perseda to Erastus' hands, ... [IV.3.10]
And after make repentance of the deed.

FORTUNE: Mean time I filled Erastus' sails with wind,
And brought him home unto his native land.

DEATH: And I suborned Brusor with envious rage
To counsel Soliman to slay his friend.
Brusor is sent to fetch him back again.
Mark well what follows, for the history
Proves me chief actor in this tragedy. [Exeunt.]

Act V

Scene V. 1
[Enter Erastus and Perseda.]

ERASTUS: Perseda, these days are our days of joy;
What could I more desire than thee to wife?
And that I have; or than to govern Rhodes?
And that I do, thanks to great Soliman.

PERSEDA: And thanks to gracious heavens, that so
Brought Soliman from worse to better;
For though I never told it thee till now,
His heart was purposed once to do thee wrong.

ERASTUS: Aye, that was before he knew thee to be mine.
And now, Perseda, let's forget old griefs, ... [V.1.10]
And let our studies wholly be employed
To work each other's bliss and heart's delight.

PERSEDA: Our present joys will be so much the greater,
Whenas we call to mind fore-passed griefs;
So sings the mariner upon the shore,
When he hath passed the dangerous time of storms;
But if my love will have old griefs forgot,
They shall lie buried in Perseda's breast.
[Enter Brusor and Lucina.]

ERASTUS: Welcome, Lord Brusor.

PERSEDA: ~~~ And Lucina too.

BRUSOR: Thanks, Lord Governor.

LUCINA: ~~~ And thanks to you, Madame. ... [V.1.20]

ERASTUS: What hasty news brings you so soon to Rhodes,
Although to me you never come to soon?

BRUSOR: So it is, my Lord, that upon great affairs,
Importuning health and wealth of Soliman,
His highness by me entreateth you,
As ever you respect his future love,
Or have regard unto his courtesy,
To come yourself in person and visit him,
Without inquiry what should be the cause.

ERASTUS: Were there no ships to cross the seas withal, ... [V.1.30]
My arms should frame mine oars to cross the seas;
And should the seas turn tide to force me back,
Desire should frame me wings to fly to him;
I go, Perseda; thou must give me leave.

PERSEDA: Though loth, yet Soliman's command prevails.

LUCINA: And sweet Perseda, I will stay with you,
From Brusor, my beloved; and I'll want him
Till he bring back Erastus unto you.

ERASTUS: Lord Brusor, come; tis time that we were gone.

BRUSOR: Perseda, farewell; be not angry ... [V.1.40]
For that I carry thy beloved from thee;
We will return with all speed possible,
And thou, Lucina, use Perseda so,
That for my carrying of Erastus hence
She curse me not; and so farewell to both.

PERSEDA: Come, Lucina, let's in; my heart is full. [Exeunt.]

Scene V. 2
[Enter Soliman, Lord Marshal, the two witnesses, and Janissaries.]

SOLIMAN: Lord Marshal, see you handle it cunningly;
And when Erastus comes, our perjured friend,
See [that] he be condemned by marshal law;
Here will I stand to see, and not be seen.

MARSHAL: Come, fellows, see when this matter comes in question
You stagger not; and, Janissaries,
See that your strangling cords be ready.

SOLIMAN: Ah that Perseda were not half so fair,
Or that Soliman were not so fond,
Or that Perseda had some other love, ... [V.2.10]
Whose death might save my poor Erastus' life.
[Enter Brusor and Erastus.]
See where he comes, whom though I dearly love,
Yet must his blood be spilt for my behoof;
Such is the force of marrow-burning love.

MARSHAL: Erastus, Lord Governor of Rhodes, I arrest you in
the King's name.

ERASTUS: What thinks Lord Brusor of this strange arrest?
Has thou entrapped me to this treachery,
Intended, well I wot, without the leave
Or license of my Lord, great Soliman? ... [V.2.20]

BRUSOR: Why, then appeal to him, when thou shalt know,
And be assured that I betray thee not.

SOLIMAN: Yet, thou, and I, and all of us betray him.

MARSHAL: No, no; in this case no appeal shall serve.

ERASTUS: Why then to thee, or unto any else,
I here protest by heaven's unto you all
That never was there man more true or just,
Or in his deeds more loyal and upright,
Or more loving, or more innocent,
Than I have been to gracious Soliman, ... [V.2.30]
Since first I set my feet on Turkish land.

SOLIMAN: Myself would be his witness, if I durst;
But bright Perseda's beauty stops my tongue.

MARSHAL: Why, sirs, why face-to-face express you not
The treasons you revealed to Soliman?

1 WITNESS: That very day Erastus went from hence,
He sent for me into his cabinet,
And for that man that is of my profession.

ERASTUS: I never saw them, aye, until this day.

1 WITNESS: His cabinet door fast shut, he first began ... [V.2.40]
To question us of all sorts of fire-works;
Wherein, when he had fully resolved him
What might be done, he, spreading on the board
A huge heap of our imperial coin,
All this is yours, quoth he, if you consent
To leave great Soliman and serve in Rhodes.

MARSHAL: Why, that was treason; but onwards with the rest.
[Enter Piston.]

PISTON: What have we here? My master before the Marshal?

1 WITNESS: We said not aye, nor durst we say him nay,
Because we were already in his galleys; ... [V.2.50]
But seemed content to fly with him to Rhodes;
With that he pursed the gold, and gave it us.
The rest I dare not speak, it is so bad.

ERASTUS: Heavens, hear you this, and drops not vengeance on them?

2 WITNESS: The rest, and worst will I discourse in brief.
Will you consent, quoth he, to fire the fleet
That lies hard by us here in Bosphoron?
For be it spoke in secret here, quoth he,
Rhodes must no longer bear the Turkish yoke.
We said the task might easily be performed, ... [V.2.60]
But that we lacked such drugs to mix with powder,
As were not in his galleys to be got.
At this he leaped for joy, swearing and promising
That our reward should be redoubled.
We came aland, not minding for to return,
And, as our duty and allegiance bound us,
We made all known unto great Soliman;
But ere we could summon him a land,
His ships were past a kenning from the shore;
Belike he thought we had bewrayed his treasons. ... [V.2.70]

MARSHAL: That all is true that here you have declared,
Both lay your hands upon the Al-Koran.

1 WITNESS: Foul death betide me if I swear not true.

2 WITNESS: And mischief light on me if I swear false.

SOLIMAN: Mischief and death shall light upon you both.

MARSHAL: Erastus,
Thou seest what witness hath produced against thee.
What answerest thou unto their accusations?

ERASTUS: That these are Sinons, and myself poor Troy.

MARSHAL: Now it resteth, I appoint thy death; ... [V.2.80]
Wherein thou shalt confess I'll favor thee,
For that thou wert beloved of Soliman;
Thou shalt forthwith be bound unto that post,
And strangled as our Turkish order is.

PISTON: Such favor send all Turks, I pray God.

ERASTUS: I see this train was plotted ere I came;
What boots complaining where's no remedy?
Yet give me leave, before my life shall end,
To moan Perseda, and accuse my friend.

SOLIMAN: O unjust Soliman; O wicked time, ... [V.2.90]
Where filthy lust must murther honest love.

MARSHAL: Dispatch, for our time limited is past.

ERASTUS: Alas, how can he but be short, whose tongue
Is fast tied with galling sorrow.
Farewell, Perseda; no more but that for her;
Inconstant Soliman; no more but that for him;
Unfortunate Erastus; no more but that for me;
Lo, this is all; and thus I leave to speak.
[Then they strangle him.]

PISTON: Marry, sir, this is a fair warning for me to get me gone.
[Exit Piston.]

SOLIMAN: O save his life, if it be possible; ... [V.2.100]
I will not lose him for my kingdom's worth.
Ah, poor Erastus, art thou dead already?
What bold presumer durst be so resolved
For to bereave Erastus' life from him,
Whose life to me was dearer than mine own?
Was't thou? And thou? Lord Marshal, bring them hither,
And at Erastus' hand let them receive
The stroke of death, whom they have spoiled of life.
What, is thy hand too weak? Then mine shall help
To send them down to everlasting night, ... [V.2.110]
To wait upon thee through eternal shade;
Thy soul shall not go mourning hence alone;
Thus die, and thus; for thus you murthered him.
[Then he kills the two Janissaries that killed Erastus.]
But soft, methinks he is not satisfied;
The breath doth murmur softly from his lips,
And bids me kill those bloody witnesses
By whose treachery Erastus died.
Lord Marshal, hail them to the tower's top,
And throw them headlong down into the valley;
So let their treasons with their lives have end. ... [V.2.120]

1 WITNESS: Yourself procured us.

2 WITNESS: ~~~ Is this our hire?
[Then the Marshal bears them to the tower-top.]

SOLIMAN: Speak not a word, lest in my wrathful fury
I doom you to ten thousand direful torments.
And, Brusor, see Erastus be interred
With honor in a kingly sepulcher.
Why, when, Lord Marshal? Great Hector's son,
Although his age did plead for innocence,
Was sooner tumbled from the fatal tower
Than are those perjured wicked witnesses.
[Then they are both tumbled down.]
Why, now Erastus' ghost is satisfied; ... [V.2.130]
Aye, but yet the wicked Judge survives,
By whom Erastus was condemned to die.
Brusor, as thou lovest me, stab in the Marshal
Lest he detect us unto the world,
By making known our bloody practices;
And then will thou and I hoist sail to Rhodes,
Where thy Lucina and my Perseda lives.

BRUSOR: I will, my lord; -- Lord Marshal, it is his highness' pleasure
That you commend him to Erastus' soul.
[Then he kills the Marshal.]

SOLIMAN: Here ends my dear Erastus' tragedy, ... [V.2.140]
And now begins my pleasant comedy;
But if Perseda understand these news,
Our scene will prove but tragi-comical.

BRUSOR: Fear not, my Lord; Lucina plays her part,
And woos apace in Soliman's behalf.

SOLIMAN: Then, Brusor, come; and with some few men
Let's sail to Rhodes with all convenient speed;
For till I fold Perseda in mine arms,
My troubled ears are deafed with love's alarms. [Exeunt.]

Scene IV. 3
[Enter Perseda, Lucina, and Basilisco.]

PERSEDA: Now, signior Basilisco, which like you,
The Turkish or our nation best

BASILISCO: That which your ladyship will have me like.

LUCINA: I am deceived but you were circumcised.

BASILISCO: Indeed I was a little cut in the porpuse.

PERSEDA: What means made you to steal back to Rhodes?

BASILISCO: The mighty pinky-eyed, brand-bearing God,
To whom I am so long true servitor,
When he espied my weeping floods of tears
For your depart, he bade me follow him: ... [IV.3.10]
I followed him, he with his fire-brand
Parted the seas, and we came over dry-shod.

LUCINA: A matter not unlikely; but how chance,
Your Turkish bonnet is not on your head?

BASILISCO: Because I now am Christian again,
And that by natural means; for as the old Canon
Says very prettily: Nihil est tam naturale,
Quod eo modo colligatum est:

And so forth.
So I became a Turk to follow her; ... [V.3.20]
To follow her, am now returned a Christian. [Enter Piston.]

PISTON: O lady and mistress, weep and lament, and wring your
hands; for my master is condemned and executed.

LUCINA: Be patient, sweet Perseda, the fool but jests.

PERSEDA: Ah no, my nightly dreams foretold me this,
Which, foolish woman, fondly I neglected.
But say, what death died my poor Erastus?

PISTON: Nay, God be praised, his death was reasonable;
He was but strangled.

PERSEDA: But strangled? Ah, double death to me: ... [IV.3.30]
But say, wherefore was he condemned to die?

PISTON: For nothing but high treason.

PERSEDA: What treason, or by whom was he condemned?

PISTON: Faith, two great knights of the post swore upon the
Al-Koran that he would have fired the Turk's fleet.

PERSEDA: Was Brusor by?


PERSEDA: And Soliman?

PISTON: No; but I saw where he stood,
To hear and see the matter well-conveyed. ... [IV.3.40]

PERSEDA: Accursed Soliman, profane Al-Koran:
Lucina, came thy husband to this end,
To lead a lamb unto the slaughter-house?
Hast thou for this, in Soliman's behalf,
With cunning words tempted my chastity?
Thou shalt abie for both your treacheries.
It must be so. Basilisco, dost thou love me? Speak.

BASILISCO: Aye, more than I love either life or soul:
What, shall I stab the Emperor for thy sake?

PERSEDA: No, but Lucina; if thou lovest me, kill her. ... [IV.3.50]
[Then Basilisco takes a dagger and feels upon the point of it.]

BASILISCO: The point will mar her skin.

PERSEDA: What, darest thou not? Give me the dagger then --
There's a reward for all thy treasons past.
[Then Perseda kills Lucina.]

BASILISCO: Yet dare I bear her hence, to do thee good.

PERSEDA: No, let her lie, a prey to ravening birds;
Nor shall her death alone suffice for his;
Rhodes now shall be no longer Soliman's;
We'll fortify our walls, and keep the town,
In spite of proud, insulting Soliman.
I know the lecher hopes to have my love, ... [IV.3.60]
And first Perseda shall with this hand die
Than yield to him, and live in infamy. [Exeunt.]

BASILISCO: I will ruminate; Death, which the poets
Fain to be pale and meager,
Hath deprived Erastus' trunk from breathing vitality,
A brave cavalier, but my approved foe-man.
Let me see; where is that Alcides, surnamed Hercules,
The only club-man of his time? Dead.
Where is the eldest son of Priam,
That Abraham-colored Trojan? Dead. ... [IV.3.70]
Where is the leader of the Myrmidons,
That well-knit Achilles? Dead.
Where is that furious Ajax, the son of Telamon,
Or that fraud-full squire of Ithaca, yclipped Ulysses? Dead.
Where is tipsy Alexander, that great cup conqueror,
Or Pompey that brave warrior? Dead.
I am myself strong, but I confess death to be stronger;
I am valiant, but mortal;
I am adorned with nature's gifts,
A giddy goddess that now giveth and anon taketh; ... [IV.3.80]
I am wise, but quiddits will not answer death;
To conclude in a word: to be captious, virtuous, ingenious,
Are to be nothing when it pleaseth death to be envious.
The great Turk, whose seat is Constantinople,
Hath beleaguered Rhodes, whose chieftain is a woman;
I could take the rule upon me;
But the shrub is safe when the Cedar shaketh;
I love Perseda, as one worthy;
But I love Basilisco, as one I hold more worthy,
My father's son, my mother's solace, my proper self. ... [IV.3.90]
Faith, he can do little that cannot speak,
And he can do less that cannot run away;
Then sith man's life is as a glass, and a fillip may crack it,
Mine is no more, and a bullet may pierce it;
Therefore I will play least in sight. [Exit.]

Scene V. 4
[Enter Soliman and Brusor, with Janissaries.]

SOLIMAN: The gates are shut; which proves that Rhodes revolts,
And that Perseda is not Soliman's;
Ah, Brusor, see where thy Lucina lies,
Butchered despitefully without the walls.

BRUSOR: Unkind Perseda, could'st thou use her so?
And yet we used Perseda little better.

SOLIMAN: Nay, gentle Brusor, stay thy tears a while,
Lest with thy woes thou spoil my comedy,
And all too soon be turned to tragedies.
Go, Brusor, bear her to thy private tent, ... [V.4.10]
Where we at leisure will lament her death,
And with her tears bewail her obsequies;
For yet Perseda lives for Soliman. --
Drum, sound a parle; -- were it not for her,
I would sack the town, ere I would sound a parle.
[The drum sounds a parle. Perseda comes upon the walls in
man's apparel. Basilisco and Piston, upon the walls.

PERSEDA: At whose entreaty is this parle sounded?

SOLIMAN: At our entreaty; therefore yield the town.

PERSEDA: Why, what art thou that boldly bids us yield?

SOLIMAN: Great Soliman, Lord of all the world.

PERSEDA: Thou art not Lord of all; Rhodes is not thine. ... [V.4.20]

SOLIMAN: It was, and shall be, maugre who says no.

PERSEDA: I, that say no, will never see it thine.

SOLIMAN: Why, what art thou that dares resist my force?

PERSEDA: A Gentleman, and thy mortal enemy,
And one that dares thee to the single combat.

SOLIMAN: First tell me, doth Perseda live or no?

PERSEDA: She lives to see the wrack of Soliman.

SOLIMAN: Then I will combat thee, whatere thou art.

PERSEDA: And in Erastus' name I'll combat thee;
And here I promise thee on my Christian faith, ... [V.4.30]
Then will I yield Perseda to thy hands,
If that thy strength shall over-match my right,
To use as to thy liking shall seem best.
But ere I come to enter single fight,
First let my tongue utter my heart's despite;
And thus my tale begins; thou wicked tyrant,
Thou murtherer, accursed homicide,
For whom hell gapes, and all the ugly fiends
Do wait for to receive thee in their jaws;
Ah, perjured and inhuman Soliman, ... [V.4.40]
How could thy heart harbor a wicked thought
Against the spotless life of poor Erastus?
Was he not true? Would thou had'st been as just.
Was he not valiant? Would thou had'st been as virtuous.
Was he not loyal? Would thou had'st been as loving.
Ah, wicked tyrant, in that one man's death
Thou hast betrayed the flower of Christendom.
Died he because his worth obscured thine?
In slaughtering him thy virtues are defamed;
Did'st thou misdo him in hope to win Perseda? ... [V.4.50]
Ah, foolish man, therein thou art deceived;
For, though she live, yet will she nere live thine;
Which, to approve, I'll come to combat thee.

SOLIMAN: Injurious, foul-mouthed knight, my wrathful arm
Shall chastise and rebuke these injuries.
[Then Perseda comes down to Soliman, and Basilisco and Piston.]

PISTON: Aye, but hear you, are you so foolish to fight with him?

BASILISCO: Aye, sirrah; why not, as long as I stand by?

SOLIMAN: I'll not defend Erastus' innocence,
But [die] maintaining of Perseda's beauty.
[Then they fight; Soliman kills Perseda.]

PERSEDA: Aye, now I lay Perseda at thy feet, ... [V.4.60]
But with thy hand first wounded to the death:
Now shall the world report that Soliman
Slew Erastus in hope to win Perseda,
And murthered her for loving of her husband.

SOLIMAN: What, my Perseda? Ah, what have I done?
Yet kiss me, gentle love, before thou die.

PERSEDA: A kiss I grant thee, though I hate thee deadly.

SOLIMAN: I loved thee dearly, and accept thy kiss.
Why did'st thou love Erastus more than me?
Or why did'st not give Soliman a kiss ... [V.4.70]
Ere this unhappy time? Then had'st thou lived.

BASILISCO: Ah, let me kiss thee too, before I die.
[Then Soliman kills Basilisco.]

SOLIMAN: Nay, die thou shalt for thy presumption,
For kissing her whom I do hold so dear.

PISTON: I will not kiss her, sir, but give me leave
To weep over her; for while she lived,
She loved me dearly, and I loved her.

SOLIMAN: If thou did'st love her, villain, as thou said'st,
Then wait on her through eternal night.
[Then Soliman kills Piston.]
Ah, Perseda, how shall I mourn for thee? ... [V.4.80]
Fair springing Rose, ill-plucked before thy time.
Ah heavens, that hitherto have smiled on me,
Why do you unkindly lower on Soliman?
The loss of half my realms, nay, crown's decay,
Could not have pricked so near unto my heart
As does the loss of my Perseda's life;
And with her life I likewise lose my love,
And with her love my heart's felicity.
Even for Erastus' death the heavens have plagued me.
Ah no, the heavens did never more accurse me ... [V.4.90]
Than when they made me butcher of my love.
Yet justly how can I condemn myself,
When Brusor lives that was the cause of it all?
Come Brusor, help to lift her body up.
Is she not fair?

BRUSOR: Even in the hour of her death.

SOLIMAN: Was she not constant?

BRUSOR: As firm as are the poles whereon heaven lies.

SOLIMAN: Was she not chaste?

BRUSOR: As is Pandora or Diana's thoughts. ... [V.4.100]

SOLIMAN: Then tell me (his treasons set aside),
What was Erastus in thy opinion?

BRUSOR: Fair-spoken, wise, courteous, and liberal;
Kind, even to his foes, gentle and affable;
And, all in all, his deeds heroical.

SOLIMAN: Ah, was he so?
How durst thou then, ungracious counselor,
First cause me murther such a worthy man,
And after tempt so virtuous a woman?
Be this, therefore, the last that ere thou speak -- ... [V.4.110]
Janissaries, take him straight unto the block;
Off with his head, and suffer him not to speak. [Exit Brusor.]
And now, Perseda, here I lay me down,
And on thy beauty [I'll] still contemplate,
Until mine eyes shall surfeit by my gazing.
But stay; let me see what paper is this?
[Then he takes up a paper, and reads in it as followeth.]
"Tyrant, my lips were sew'st with deadly poison,
To plague thy heart that is so full of poison."
What, am I poisoned? Then, Janissaries,
Let me see Rhodes recovered ere I die. ... [V.4.120]
Soldiers, assault the town on every side;
Spoil all, kill all; let none escape your fury.
[Sound an alarum to the fight.]
Say, Captain, is Rhodes recovered again?

CAPTAIN: It is, my Lord, and stoops to Soliman.

SOLIMAN: Yet that allays the fury of my pain
Before I die, for doubtless die I must.
Aye, fates, injurious fates, have so decreed;
For now I feel the poison gins to work,
And I am weak even to the very death;
Yet something more contentedly I die ... [V.4.130]
For that my death was wrought by her device,
Who, living, was my joy, whose death my woe.
Ah, Janissaries, now dies your Emperor,
Before his age hath seen his mellowed years.
And if you ever loved your Emperor,
Afright me not with sorrows and laments;
And when my soul from body shall depart,
Trouble me not, but let me pass in peace,
And in your silence let your love be shown.
My last request, for I command no more, ... [V.4.140]
Is that my body with Perseda's be
Interred, where my Erastus lies entombed,
And let one epitaph contain us all.
Ah, now I feel the paper told me true;
The poison is dispersed through every vein,
And boils, like Aetna, in my frying guts.
Forgive me, dear Erastus, my unkindness.
I have revenged thy death with many deaths;
And, sweet Perseda, fly not Soliman,
Whenas my gliding ghost shall follow thee, ... [V.4.150]
With eager mood, through eternal night.
And now, pale Death sits on my panting soul,
And with revenging ire doth tyrannize,
And says: "for Soliman's too much amiss,
This day shall be the period of my bliss."
[Then Soliman dies, and they carry him forth with silence.]

Scene V. 5
[Enter Chorus.]

FORTUNE: I gave Erastus woe and misery
Amid'st his greatest joy and jollity.

LOVE: But I, that have power in earth and heaven above,
Stung them both with never-failing love.

DEATH: But I bereft them both of love and life.

LOVE: Of life, but not of love; for even in death
Their souls are knit, though bodies be disjoined:
Thou did'st but wound their flesh, their minds are free;
Their bodies buried, yet they honor me.

DEATH: Hence foolish Fortune, and thou wanton Love: ... [IV.5.10]
Your deeds are trifles, mine of consequence.

FORTUNE: I give world's happiness and woe's increase.

LOVE: By joining persons, I increase the world.

DEATH: By wasting all, I conquer all the world.
And now, to end our difference at last,
In this last act note but the deeds of Death.
Where is Erastus now, but in my triumph?
Where are the murtherers, but in my triumph?
Where Judge and witnesses, but in my triumph?
Where's false Lucina, but in my triumph? ... [IV.5.20]
Where's fair Perseda, but in my triumph?
Where's Basilisco, but in my triumph?
Where's faithful Piston, but in my triumph?
Where's valiant Brusor, but in my triumph?
And where's great Soliman, but in my triumph?
There loves and fortunes ended with their lives,
And they must wait upon the Car of Death.
Pack, Love and Fortune, play in Comedies;
For powerful Death best fitteth Tragedies.

LOVE: I go, yet Love shall never yield to Death. [Exit Love.] ... [V.5.30]

DEATH: But Fortune shall; for when I waste the world,
Then times and kingdom's fortunes shall decay.

FORTUNE: Mean time will Fortune govern as she may. [Exit Fortune.]

DEATH: Aye, now will Death, in his most haughty pride,
Fetch his imperial Car from deepest hell,
And ride in triumph through the wicked world;
Sparing none but sacred Cynthia's friend,
Whom Death did fear before her life began;
For holy fates have graven it in their tables
That Death shall die, if he attempt her end, ... [IV.5.40]
Whose life is heaven's delight, and Cynthia's friend.


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