Act I. Scene I.

Enter Brutus carried in a chair, Locrine, Camber, Albanact,
Corineius, Gwendoline, Assarachus, Debon, Thrasimachus.

Most loyal Lords and faithful followers,
That have with me, unworthy General,
Passed the greedy gulf of Ocean,
Leaving the confines of fair Italy,
Behold, your Brutus draweth nigh his end,
And I must leave you, though against my will.
My sinews shrunk, my numbed senses fail,
A chilling cold possesseth all my bones;
Black ugly death, with visage pale and wan,
Presents himself before my dazzled eyes,
And with his dart prepared is to strike.
These arms my Lords, these never daunted arms,
That oft have quelled the courage of my foes,
And eke dismay'd my neighbours arrogancy,
Now yield to death, o'erlaid with crooked age,
Devoid of strength and of their proper force,
Even as the lusty cedar worn with years,
That far abroad her dainty odor throws,
Mongst all the daughters of proud Lebanon.
This heart, my Lords, this near appalled heart,
That was a terror to the bordering lands,
A doeful scourge unto my neighbor Kings,
Now by the weapons of unpartial death,
Is clove asunder and bereft of life,
As when the sacred oak with thunderbolts,
Sent from the fiery circuit of the heavens,
Sliding along the air's celestial vaults,
Is rent and cloven to the very roots.
In vain, therefore, I strangle with this foe;
Then welcome death, since God will have it so.

Alas, my Lord, we sorrow at your case,
And grieve to see your person vexed thus;
But what so ere the fates determined have,
It lieth not in us to disannul,
And he that would annihilate his mind,
Soaring with Icarus too near the sun,
May catch a fall with young Bellerophon.
For when the fatal sisters have decreed
To separate us from this earthly mould,
No mortal force can countermand their minds:
Then, worthy Lord, since there's no way but one,
Cease your laments, and leave your grievous moan.

Your highness knows how many victories,
How many trophies I erected have
Triumphantly in every place we came.
The Grecian Monarch, warlike Pandrassus,
And all the crew of the Molossians;
Goffarius, the arm strong King of Gauls,
And all the borders of great Aquitaine,
Have felt the force of our victorious arms,
And to their cost beheld our chivalry.
Where ere Aurora, handmaid of the Sun,
Where ere the Sun, bright guardiant of the day,
Where ere the joyful day with cheerful light,
Where ere the light illuminates the world,
The Trojan's glory flies with golden wings,
Wings that do soar beyond fell ennui's flight.
The fame of Brutus and his followers
Pierceth the skies, and with the skies the throne
Of mighty Jove, Commander of the world.
Then worthy Brutus, leave these sad laments;
Comfort your self with this your great renown,
And fear not death though he seem terrible.

Nay, Corineius, you mistake my mind
In construing wrong the cause of my complaints.
I feared to yield my self to fatal death!
God knows it was the least of all my thoughts;
A greater care torments my very bones,
And makes me tremble at the thought of it,
And in you, Lordings, doth the substance lie.

Most noble Lord, if ought your loyal peers
Accomplish may, to ease your lingering grief,
I, in the name of all, protest to you,
That we will boldly enterprise the same,
Were it to enter to black Tartarus,
Where triple Cerberus with his venomous throat,
Scarreth the ghosts with high resounding noise.
We'll either rent the bowels of the earth,
Searching the entrails of the brutish earth,
Or, with his Ixion's overdaring son,
Be bound in chains of everduring steel.

Then harken to your sovereign's latest words,
In which I will unto you all unfold
Our royal mind and resolute intent:--
When golden Hebe, daughter to great Jove,
Covered my manly cheeks with youthful down,
Th' unhappy slaughter of my luckless sire,
Drove me and old Assarachus, mine eame,
As exiles from the bounds of Italy:
So that perforce we were constrained to fly
To Graecia's Monarch noble Pandrassus.
There I alone did undertake your cause,
There I restored your antique liberty,
Though Graecia frowned, and all Mollossia stormed,
Though brave Antigonus, with martial band,
In pitched field encountered me and mine,
Though Pandrassus and his contributories,
With all the route of their confederates,
Sought to deface our glorious memory
And wipe the name of Trojans from the earth,
Him did I captivate with this mine arm,
And by compulsion forced him to agree
To certain articles which there we did propound.
From Graecia through the boisterous Hellespont,
We came unto the fields of Lestrigon,
Whereas our brother Corineius was,
Since when we passed the Cicillian gulf,
And so transfretting the Illirian sea,
Arrived on the coasts of Aquitaine,
Where with an army of his barbarous Gauls
Goffarius and his brother Gathelus
Encountering with our host, sustained the foil.
And for your sakes my Turnus there I lost,
Turnus that slew six hundred men at arms
All in an hour, with his sharp battle-axe.
From thence upon the strons of Albion
To Corus haven happily we came,
And quelled the giants, come of Albion's race,
With Gogmagog son to Samotheus,
The cursed Captain of that damned crew.
And in that Isle at length I placed you.
Now let me see if my laborious toils,
If all my care, if all my grievous wounds,
If all my diligence were well employed.

When first I followed thee & thine, brave king,
I hazarded my life and dearest blood,
To purchase favour at your princely hands,
And for the same in dangerous attempts
In sundry conflicts and in diverse broils,
I showed the courage of my manly mind.
For this I combated with Gathelus,
The brother to Goffarius of Gaul;
For this I fought with furious Gogmagog,
A savage captain of a savage crew;
And for these deeds brave Cornwall I received,
A grateful gift given by a gracious King:
And for this gift, this life and dearest blood,
Will Corineius spend for Brutus good.

And what my friend, brave prince, hath vowed to you,
The same will Debon do unto his end.

Then, loyal peers, since you are all agreed,
And resolute to follow Brutus hosts,
Favor my sons, favor these Orphans, Lords,
And shield them from the dangers of their foes.
Locrine, the column of my family,
And only pillar of my weakened age,
Locrine, draw near, draw near unto thy sire,
And take thy latest blessings at his hands:
And for thou art the eldest of my sons,
Be thou a captain to thy brethren,
And imitate thy aged father's steps,
Which will conduct thee to true honor's gate;
For if thou follow sacred virtue's lore,
Thou shalt be crowned with a laurel branch,
And wear a wreath of sempiternal fame,
Sorted amongst the glorious happy ones.

If Locrine do not follow your advise,
And bear himself in all things like a prince
That seeks to amplify the great renown
Left unto him for an inheritage
By those that were his ancestors,
Let me be flung into the Ocean,
And swallowed in the bowels of the earth,
Or let the ruddy lightning of great Jove
Descend upon this my devoted head.


[Taking Gwendoline by the hand.]

But for I see you all to be in doubt,
Who shall be matched with our royal son,
Locrine, receive this present at my hand,
A gift more rich than are the wealthy mines
Found in the bowels of America.
Thou shalt be spoused to fair Gwendoline;
Love her, and take her, for she is thine own,
If so thy uncle and her self do please.

And herein how your highness honors me
It cannot now be in my speech expressed;
For careful parents glory not so much
At their honour and promotion,
As for to see the issue of their blood
Seated in honor and prosperity.

And far be it from any maiden's thoughts
To contradict her aged father's will.
Therefore, since he to whom I must obey
Hath given me now unto your royal self,
I will not stand aloof from off the lure,
Like crafty dames that most of all deny
That which they most desire to possess.


[Turning to Locrine. Locrine kneeling.]

Then now, my son, thy part is on the stage,
For thou must bear the person of a King.

[Puts the Crown on his head.]

Locrine, stand up, and wear the regal Crown,
And think upon the state of Majesty,
That thou with honor well mayest wear the crown.
And if thou tendrest these my latest words,
As thou requirest my soul to be at rest,
As thou desirest thine own security,
Cherish and love thy new betrothed wife.

No longer let me well enjoy the crown,
Than I do honour peerless Gwendoline.


My Lord.

The glory of mine age,
And darling of thy mother Imogen,
Take thou the South for thy dominion.
From thee there shall proceed a royal race,
That shall maintain the honor of this land,
And sway the regal scepter with their hands.

[Turning to Albanact.]

And Albanact, thy father's only joy,
Youngest in years, but not the youngest in mind,
A perfect pattern of all chivalry,
Take thou the North for thy dominion,
A country full of hills and ragged rocks,
Replenished with fierce untamed beasts,
As correspondent to thy martial thoughts,
Live long, my sons, with endless happiness,
And bear firm concordance amongst your selves.
Obey the counsels of these fathers grave,
That you may better bear out violence.--
But suddenly, through weakness of my age,
And the defect of youthful puissance,
My malady increaseth more and more,
And cruel death hasteneth his quickened pace,
To dispossess me of my earthly shape.
Mine eyes wax dim, overcast with clouds of age,
The pangs of death compass my crazed bones;
Thus to you all my blessings I bequeath,
And with my blessings, this my fleeting soul
My glass is run, and all my miseries
Do end with life; death closeth up mine eyes,
My soul in haste flies to the Elysian fields.

[He dieth.]

Accursed stars, damned and accursed stars,
To abbreviate my noble father's life!
Hard-hearted gods, and too envious fates,
Thus to cut off my father's fatal thread!
Brutus, that was a glory to us all,
Brutus, that was a terror to his foes,
Alas, too soon, by Demagorgon's knife,
The martial Brutus is bereft of life!

No sad complaints may move just Aeacus,
No dreadful threats can fear judge Rhodomanth.
Wert thou as strong as mighty Hercules,
That tamed the huge monsters of the world,
Playedst thou as sweet, on the sweet sounding lute,
As did the spouse of fair Eurydice,
That did enchant the waters with his noise,
And made stones, birds, and beasts, to lead a dance,
Constrained the hilly trees to follow him,
Thou couldst not move the judge of Erebus,
Nor move compassion in grim Pluto's heart;
For fatal Mors expecteth all the world,
And every man must tread the way of death.
Brave Tantalus, the valiant Pelops' sire,
Guest to the gods, suffered untimely death,
And old Tithonus, husband to the morn,
And eke grim Minos, whom just Jupiter
Deigned to admit unto his sacrifice.
The thundering trumpets of blood-thirsty Mars,
The fearful rage of fell Tisiphone,
The boistrous waves of humid Ocean,
Are instruments and tools of dismal death.
Then, novel cousin, cease to mourn his chance,
Whose age & years were signs that he should die.
It reseth now that we inter his bones,
That was a terror to his enemies.
Take up the course, and, princes, hold him dead,
Who while he lived, upheld the Trojan state.
Sound drums and trumpets; march to Troinouant,
There to provide our chieftain's funeral.
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