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- Fair Em - 1/14 -


Shakespeare, William. Faire Em.

A PLEASANT COMMODIE OF FAIRE EM THE MILLERS DAUGHTER OF MANCHESTER WITH THE LOVE OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROUR

Dramatis Personae.

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. Ah, Marques, thy words bring heaven unto my soul, And had I heaven to give for thy reward, Thou shouldst be throned in no unworthy place. But let my uttermost wealth suffice thy worth, Which here I vow; and to aspire the bliss That hangs on quick achievement of my love, Thy self and I will travel in disguise, To bring this Lady to our Brittain Court.

MARQUES. Let William but bethink what may avail, And let me die if I deny my aide.

WILLIAM. Then thus: The Duke Dirot, and Therle Dimarch, Will I leave substitutes to rule my Realm, While mighty love forbids my being here; And in the name of Sir Robert of Windsor Will go with thee unto the Danish Court. Keep Williams secrets, Marques, if thou love him. Bright Blaunch, I come! Sweet fortune, favour me, And I will laud thy name eternally.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE II.

Manchester. The Interior of a Mill.

[Enter the Miller and Em, his daughter.]

MILLER. Come, daughter, we must learn to shake of pomp, To leave the state that earst beseemd a Knight And gentleman of no mean discent, To undertake this homelie millers trade: Thus must we mask to save our wretched lives, Threatned by Conquest of this hapless Yle, Whose sad invasions by the Conqueror Have made a number such as we subject Their gentle necks unto their stubborn yoke Of drudging labour and base peasantry. Sir Thomas Godard now old Goddard is, Goddard the miller of fair Manchester. Why should not I content me with this state, As good Sir Edmund Trofferd did the flaile? And thou, sweet Em, must stoop to high estate To join with mine that thus we may protect Our harmless lives, which, led in greater port, Would be an envious object to our foes, That seek to root all Britains Gentry From bearing countenance against their tyranny.

EM. Good Father, let my full resolved thoughts With settled patiens to support this chance Be some poor comfort to your aged soul; For therein rests the height of my estate, That you are pleased with this dejection, And that all toils my hands may undertake May serve to work your worthiness content.

MILLER. Thanks, my dear Daughter. These thy pleasant words Transfer my soul into a second heaven: And in thy settled mind my joys consist, My state revived, and I in former plight. Although our outward pomp be thus abased, And thralde to drudging, stayless of the world, Let us retain those honorable minds That lately governed our superior state, Wherein true gentry is the only mean That makes us differ from base millers borne.


Fair Em - 1/14

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