Collaborative play writing/French chronicles of the 1590s/Act 5

Act 5. Scene 1. A street in Paris. 1593

Enter Bailleton and Barrière, bound

Bailleton. We will discover how our laws resolve

In full a king's would-be assassin's case.

Barrière. Ah, had I done it! The world would have changed as I wish it. Now I'm a kind of nothing, soon to be even less.

Bailleton. Not before I handle you, for the sake of a country's example.

Barrière. A mere word meant to scare, as when a crow

Swoops down behind another to chase it

Away from worms.

Bailleton. You will become the box to feed those worms.

Barrière. All my hope now, before the life to come.

Bailleton. Expect no peaceful exit from our scene.

Barrière. I do not. A peaceful plague on you with every Catholic puppet of aspiring Protestants!

Bailleton. I'll very much pity you when the fury of my beam takes precedence over pity.

Barrière. The duke of Mayenne's man to sentence me.

Enter Bévue

Bailleton. You have in hand the duke of Mayenne's seal?

Bévue. I do. Here it is.

Bailleton. Verily his own. Pronounce the duke's wishes against the convicted assassin, though not one.

Bévue. By order of the duke of Mayenne, hear your sentence: your right hand will be burnt, your legs and arms broken, your body left to dry on the wheel for as long as the duke of Mayenne feels inclined, then, in the evening, you will be strangled to death.

Barrière. Ha, ha, too much perhaps for man to bear!

Bailleton. What, kissing stones and dirt? Barrière, your name

Alone presents a bar to charity.

What heralds promulgate I execute.

Bévue. What of Martout, our executionner?

Bailleton. By the faith I owe to my office, sneezing and spitting in his bed, having stood too long in the rain while working on Bastien at the wheel.

Barrière. Some pity at this time!

Bailleton. A heartless exclamation! Do I stare

Or not on a hoped-for assassin's face?

Barrière. Spare a little. Plead for me, I beg.

Bailleton. No one remains to plead for you. When you

Take arms against a king, you are alone.

Barrière. Sir, sir, sir-

Bévue. There is no weakness in such cases, fool.

Bailleton. Of course not.

Bévue. One who will feel his folly thumpingly.

Bailleton. A matter without saying, as I say.

Barrière. My only hope is for neglect to blink

At feeling arms and legs after one blow,

Or, better still, one who will fail to count

Above a score of one.

Bévue. Facilitate your arithmetics, beadle, by taking into account, as Fibonacci did, both the nature of the numbers and their position.

Exit Bévue

Barrière. Huh, mercy, mercy!

Bailleton. Let us together see what shackles, fire,

And a long iron bar accomplishes

On that most criminally detested form,

Deserving pittance in the way of ruth,

All our tools senseless to the sighs and groans

Of culprits held in pain, as pinioned as

They were to lawlessness and liberty.

Barrière. Where is my priest? Not here with me, I see.

Bailleton. Few would choose to be with you at this time,

But if you speak of Father Aubry, I

Suspect he will not be left off so soon.

Barrière. You know of him already? Is he dead?

Bailleton. As if dead when interrogated by

Some of my fellows, loath to dandle friends

Of murderers.

Barrière. Help me escape. I'll give you bars of gold

From churchmen promulgating my attempt

As blessedness in action.

Bailleton. No dodging from the dodgeless possible,

Unless the public wheel, by gentlemen

With hats watched over carelessly,

The roughest roadway to our lowest end,

Can be considered one, to take you off

To hell's mouth, boneless, or to nothingness.

Barrière. Argh, argh, argh!

Exeunt Bailleton and Barrière

Act 5. Scene 2. A court of justice in Paris. 1594

Enter the dukes of Mayenne and of Feria

Feria. I'm hurried off precipitously by

The self-styled king with much finality

Without formality.

Mayenne. The king is crowned now, first as king, then, what

Is even higher, as a Catholic.

Feria. Is Spain so little taken notice of?

Mayenne. My good lord, do not take it so, but go.

Feria. Will neighbor France turn Protestant before

Our darkened faces?

Mayenne. Cut off my gullet with the sharpest edge

Of bedside crucifixes should France hymn

Her reverence with Luther's dogs and wolves.

Feria. The pope demonstrates by silences

Benevolent and sane, unhurried in

Majestic ire, he in no wise believes

With you in false Navarre's conversion-

Not a conversion from the Béarnais,

But a diversion, to your hopeless loss.

Mayenne. I hope no one believes Mayenne will sink

Beneath the cloudlets of an atheist's frown,

So long as lightning gleams against his side.

Feria. Then why in this foul weather is it not

Out thundering on crownets of such slaves?

Mayenne. A flash of nothing at this something king.

Feria. Some lords have not abandoned. Why then you,

With boy Aumale, behave as traitors here?

Mayenne. Let it be so.

Feria. The duke of Nevers waits for both of you,

And his reward for this is waiting still.

Mayenne. Then let Gonzaga wait.

Feria. First Saxony, drunk with the fatsome beer

Of ninety-five carouses, then the prick,

Too narrow for the codpiece of a king,

Which must enlarge two wives, not one, now France-

Mayenne. Beware.

Feria. Should bigger Spain beware?

Mayenne. Tread speedily with step austere to Rome

Or Spain, while France cares for her own within.

Exit Feria, enter the dukes of Guise and of Aumale

Aumale. Too puny to contend with this green king,

We bicker mightily among ourselves.

Guise. Always to be of use to royalty,

We jostle now for places, not religion,

Aumale. I but require my havings back again.

Guise. What losses have you suffered, lord Aumale?

Aumale. No luck for me as yet in this regime

When Amiens varlets, bolder with the rise

Of royal puissance, resolutely push

Me off my dukedom.

Guise. Not so!

Aumale. So much so that I aim to pash them all

If I can levy forces on their head.

Guise. Yet I am angrier with my dukedom kept.

Aumale. Why?

Guise. A foolish captain of the garrisons,

Saint-Paul by name, initiated plans

To change my own, and so with my two hands

I sabered him.

Aumale. More tragedies unlooked for! I knew him,

But yet I ask your pardon, waspish lord,

For so distractedly has my head whirled

In meditating on accessions

That I can little think on miseries

And deaths of others. My lord of Mayenne,

What are your thoughts on mine and his mishaps?

Mayenne. Loved lord, all these like dust above our graves.

Aumale. No mightier whirlwind of expostulation?

Mayenne. To stay wise I think little and say less.

Aumale. My lord of Guise, your exploits ring aloft

As awful knells on armies who oppose.

Guise. For Henry's sake, I forced into submission

Reims, Saint-Dizier, Guise, Joinville, more, I hope,

Wherever I advance the brave to fight.

Aumale. What other business should we meddle with?

Guise. The case of Father Aubry, as I hear.

Aumale. True. Shrewdly no doubt rightly held

For his attempted murder of the king.

Guise. Should we not rather say arraigned at worst

In an attempt at virtue evilly

Misplaced in changing times?

Aumale. The priest, by Aaron's calf, will soon be seen

By those who honor truth like honest wives

As homicide's resource, ungilded from

The lilly of his surplice, or the gloss

Of his gold chasuble, however meant

To soothe or teach parishioners in doubt.

Mayenne. We'll narrowly and sharply question him.

Aumale. Where are the bars and pincers?

Mayenne. No need of those as yet.

Guise. My lord Aumale, if you remain so still,

We speak about a priest in these debates.

Aumale. One who fomented plots of a king's death,

One who, despite night-guardsmen, may succeed.

Guise. The priest is guiltless. Otherwise, we are

As guilty as he is, in having planned

A king's demise as often as we charged

His hosts in battle.

Aumale. Nevertheless, we'll deeply search inside That heart, perhaps extracting from one leaf

Some holy poisons men disgorge to find.

Guise. Opinion is not guilt.

Aumale. In my view, Father Aubry should be tried

And then convicted, to be led away

With only his head as possession.

Guise. We'll see perhaps.

Mayenne. Bailleton, bring in the prisoner at once.

Enter Bailleton and Father Aubry, bound

Mayenne. Stand for confession, priest of murder, or

Expect your seat to be in irons fixed.

Aumale. No boldest mouth of contradiction here

But plainest truth, with none of that incense

Betrayers puff out to equivocate.

Guise. Astonished father, do not stare afraid,

But, as my lord Aumale in smoke suggests,

Speak truthfully if you desire to live.

Aubry. I do, my lords.

Mayenne. Did you plan the king's slaughter with Barrière?

Aumale. My lord of Mayenne, no.

Guise. You knew Barrière?

Aubry. Yes, as a faithful and true Catholic.

Aumale. Yes, as a faithful and true murderer.

Aubry. No, as a faithful and true Catholic.

Guise. You knew about our truce with heretics?

Aubry. A heretic one.

Mayenne. A necessary one. My reverence

For sacerdotal vestments hinder me

From striking off your collar with your head.

Aumale. You knew Barrière, a truth Séguier revealed

To us, who saw you lovingly embrace

Next to the altar treason's instrument,

As ugly a kiss as was ever found

On French ground, or wherever loyalty

To princes of the world in peace appears.

Aubry. Séguier, unkissing Judas, execrates

That kneeling figure in the olive grove

Which ever blossoms rooted to my soul.

Aumale. In you I see their sword, never his peace.

Say: did you also know as certainly

That villain's aim to cut away our king?

Aubry. I did, your eminence.

Aumale. Enough. Condemn the traitor to the wheel.

Guise. Lord of Aumale, more patience if you can

But summon that, although unquietly.

Aumale. This winter-priest, whose branches show dead leaves

Of Gospel truth, suborned the murderer.

Mayenne. He's Judas-guilty of political And irrelegious murder, by my love

Of roughest virtues in a kinder realm.

Aubry. My lords, I never paid him for this piece

Of work, though seemingly so wonderful

When first he spoke of his intentions.

Aumale. Who has an ear when man foredooms himself?

Guise. He knew of it without inciting him.

Aumale. Still guilty, still a traitor. Split the knave.

Aubry. True, guilty in my love of God's religion.

Mayenne. He's banished.

Aumale. Out, civic disobedience, to a death,

Much crueller than most, outside of France.

Guise. A sentence rather just. Away with him!

Bailleton. My lords, uncover condemnation's goal:

Should I beat on his head as he slogs off?

Guise. What, bloodiest hands on a conforming priest?

Aumale. Lead him away more gently than his kind

At our hands merit, piecemeal mashing him

Should he attempt escaping from our gyves.

Mayenne. Priest- should one falter to misname you so-

Let none in France observe birettas, stoles,

Or cinctures of your own, unless you wish

To mourn in painfullest ways known some loss Of members To Bailleton, mercy's truant of our laws.

Exeunt Bailleton and Aubry

Aumale. Much work for us in France, my lord of Guise.

Guise. May Henry, fourth king of that name, live long

To recompense more plenteously such work.

Mayenne. First deadliest foes, now truest subjects known!

Aumale. In no way must we be surprised, my lord.

In knowing life from life, we recognize

More to existence than mere thoughts of men.

Exeunt Mayenne, Guise, and Aumale

Act 5. Scene 3. In front of Maxime's shop in Paris. 1594

Enter Maxime and Bévue

Maxime. She lisped at him while you stood blinking by?

Bévue. Your wife accosted Bailleton, torment's son,

Inviting him as Venus' favorite

To enter into woman's choice retreat.

Maxime. Hah? Where?

Bévue. Inside your house.

Maxime. When?

Bévue. Now, after eating all their bellyful

Of spicy meat.

Maxime. That officer is at this moment in

My house pinned lovingly to my Louise?

Bévue. He is, though still you must not yet go in.

Maxime. Must not, Bévue? Impede me if you can.

Bévue. Hold off.

Maxime. Am I as in a confirmation crossed

On my cornudo's forehead near the fane

Of love while we discuss the time away?

Bévue. Most certain, dearest mongoose. By this time,

They will have been undressing, scattering

Their clothes disorderly, to lip and play

While standing in a sweaty ague, yet

In need of no physician's herb or pill,

Unless it be their tongues, at work on mouth

Or groin, which first augments the malady

Few would prevent, and then at last allays.

Maxime. Good.

Bévue. You fail to fathom friendship's fondest fool.

As when we fixate on a point in space

While riding, farther persons shift our way

When nearer ones move oppositely, so

A friend proceeds as wished for when the wife

Becomes contrary. Yet you gain by this.

The mongoose catches twined snakes in their hole.

While they cavort, we'll frolic pleasantly

As lovers rarely do with the spouse

So dangerously near their hairy knots.

Maxime. I love and hate that scheme.

Bévue. Although injurious to your heavier brows,

A pastime to be savored breast to breast,

Or thigh with thigh transfixed in Andrew's cross.

Maxime. A vision all too keenly biting me

In kitten play astride temptation's cage,

A prelude to our homorhythmic stance.

Bévue. Through my door enter, not your own as yet,

Inserting swiftly keys to pleasure's house.

Maxime. Spruce mischief, thereabouts I can. What then?

Bévue. You keep a club, like Hercules' not

Intended only to affright starved cats?

Maxime. I do.

Bévue. One that can dent the massacrer of

Your honor, Vulcan-netted on your sheets?

Maxime. With laughter mammocking both head and breast.

(Groans are heard within

Bévue. But hold. What horrible complaint is this?

Maxime. Is it Louise's?

Enter Louise, crawling

Louise. O! I am maimed forever. O! O! O!

Maxime. This nearly buries sight in darkest pall.

Louise. O! O!

Bévue. It seems Bailleton is not to be seduced.

Louise. He was, almost to amorcide, as I

With winking nods, coy looks, and quivering,

An adder coiling on her colder mate,

Removed my shirt, according to our plan.

Bévue. He did not grunt while entering the coach

To ride atop soft Venus' tufted hill?

Louise. No. I looked to take out his breeches' staff,

But found instead a larger one, which he

Employed not to the soreness of my sides

But to the utmost peril of my bones.

Maxime. That leg is badly broken, I suspect.

Louise. Oh, help! Not touchable without worse pangs.

Pain as I never knew, and worse to come!

Maxime. Not movable without much worse than worst.

Bévue. Where is the coney-sensing officer?

Louise. Quite likely with his master to consult.

Maxime. Will I be flicked on once again because

You tried to stamp me on a foreign coin?

Louise. The duke of Virtue may imprison us,

Suspecting your approval of our plot.

Bévue. Much to be feared, alas, for all of us!

Maxime. As cuckold almost published, to be charged

Besides as your unwitting wittol! Ha!

Enter Bailleton

Bévue. Sir-

Maxime. Sir-

Bailleton. Foul nestling of adultery and her

Abettors whistling in their deepest fear!

Maxime. Sir-

Bévue. Sir-

Bailleton. This cannot please a duke by day or night.

Maxime. Ha? Of so small a matter, easily

Explained, have you already notified

The duke of Mayenne?

Bailleton. I have.

Maxime. I fear our jestings are misunderstood.

Bailleton. I understand this woman is your whore.

Louise. See how our weasel trap recoils on me.

Bailleton. Moreover, as experience teaches one,

I understand a harlot's punishment:

A frisky lashing on the shoulders, bared

For sweaty leather, barer as I ply

At them with rigor's office till she mends.

Louise. How will I stand to flesh-dissolving blows

With one leg broken as you plainly see?

Bailleton. I'll whistle downward as you lie aground.

Maxime. You will expose your end, wife, as the end

Inevitable of habitual

And careless whorings, almost to my face.

Bailleton. Philosophical whoremaster, do not

Think to escape with female penances.

Maxime. What have I done?

Bailleton. Suborned this creature as your source of pay.

Maxime. No, no, no, no.

Bévue. What strange persuasions do you entertain

Concerning my best friend? Maxime as pimp

Of his own wife, beloved as few have seen

In garden paths while strolling arm in arm?

Bailleton. I think he is. I also think you help

That wife-procurer as his friendly bawd.

Maxime. No, no.

Bévue. No, no.

Enter the duke of Mayenne, attended

Maxime. My lord-

Bévue. My only honored lord-

Mayenne. Hold off. Each will be questioned patiently,

So that the truth in every word you speak

Becomes more generally known to all.

Bailleton, speak boldly of discoveries

On newest meshes of laciviousness,

Exposed to catch unwary flies of sin.

Bailleton. This woman, chained to lust as sailors to their mast when storms blow, if you will frowning hear, attempted me before her house as I was striding by contentedly.

Mayenne. How was she dressed? What question did she ask?

Bailleton. A whore's dress, as innocents may notice, holes at the front for easier entry, with a whore's queries concerning wants and money.

Louise. My lord, these are some poorer woman's clothes

Than what your officer is used to see.

Mayenne. Back to your tale, beadle.

Bailleton. Or rather backward to her tail. She turned and showed me that, with many sighs and groans pointing the way towards her house, which I shrewdly suspected as the woman's pit of infamy, where, slipping off skimpy veils, not clothes, in an alcove whoozy with Provence perfumes, she eyed me askance, pointing all the more salaciously to her body and the bed, as I pretended interest for the sake of public morals.

Mayenne. Do you deny this, trollop?

Louise. My lord, no. Yet hear.

Mayenne. Hear your accuser first, and then prepare

To bleed somewhat.

Bailleton. To my disconselate view, she negligently took off her shirt, as trifling as a hat, in open-mouthed passion straining and puffing, with many invitations to lie alongside fur and Levant coverings, as if the dark between white bulging thighs should swallow mine and a dozen more.

Mayenne. That shirt must be taken off again before you quit yours, with the result that she'll squirm as expected, but not with same joyance as she hoped. What of these two?

Bailleton. Confederates, I think.

Mayenne. The joyful ass! How, pander to his wife?

Maxime. I deny that, my lord.

Mayenne. This is your house, no? This is your wife, no? I think by associations you are likely to be very guilty, together with my herald, as a friend intending to entice for money. Enough. To scrutinize further into such depravities would be too fulsome for any honest eye.

Bévue. Your eminence, as herald and representer, know that I worship my occupation as never yet, love the emblazoned fields of honor on your shield, enjoy beyond redemption your glory and my honesties, respect the style of rank and emblem in dextrals or otherwise, the badge of arms in truculence or peace. May I not keep them and remain truly and reverentially yours, hopefully forever, as my very worshipful duke of Mayenne?

Bailleton. What is your pleasure, justest eminence?

Mayenne. Rip off his livery to barest parts Of nakedness.

Bailleton. The gladder for the pride he feathers on.

Maxime. Ha!

Bévue. Deserved! With clothes he should flake off the flesh.

Mayenne. Where is your cudgel, worthy officer?

Louise. The bastinado and, I fear, much worse!

Maxime. We'll squeal as he adds weals on top of weals.

Bailleton. Here for their service, though unwillingly.

Mayenne. Remove their shirts, as prelude to the loss

Or damage to some portions of their skin.

Bailleton. Done, best of lords.

Mayenne. Beat them to weariness at farthest ends

Of Paris suburbs cleanly, thoroughly,

As if you meant to sell three Persian rugs.

Bailleton. For justice's sake, I will, my honored lord.

Mayenne. Give them ten thousand reasons to weep hard.

Exeunt Maxime Bévue, bearing Louise, with Bailleton, enter the duke of Aumale

Aumale. My lord, you are awaited by the king.

Mayenne. The faster to bind up fresh-bleeding France.

Exeunt Mayenne, Aumale, and attendants

Act 5. Scene 4. The cathedral of Chartres. 1594

Enter the archbishops of Lyon and of Bourges

Lyon. Although I shame to admit hesitations, doubts, fears, suspicions few yet blame me for, you appear to have been in the right, archbishop of Bourges. The king is reinstructed in rudiments of religion, as if newly baptized, crowned both as a Catholic and king, for which hymns should cathedral-wide reverberate throughout cathedrals in France and Spain.

Bourges. No doubt through doctrines eruditely attained in arduousness of study in a fashion congenial to the king's grounds of fundamentals in our matter, with other priests happily and irrepressibly minded to teach him the principles we cherish, Father Lincestre must be thanked by citizenries that no soldier's sword or musket stir and fire in our streets, as has been our sorrow's outcome since the duke of Guise's cheek was scratched at Vassy.

Lyon. Because of which the prince of Condé upreared Goliath-like as his enemy and religion's, until his capture at Dreux.

Bourges. Which might have finished religion's martyrdom, when the same Francis, duke of Guise, was surreptitiously shot to death by Poltrot de Méré.

Lyon. A Huguenot putrid in our memories!

May the entire faction lie where is,

And rest there dead.

Bourges. In any case, may Henry the Fourth go as our king, his armies clattering towards Paris and perhaps- may that perhaps live!- our peace.

Enter Father Lincestre

Lincestre. What signs of trouble a good man yet beholds!

Bourges. You refer to Father Aubry's condemnation?

Lincestre. In his path to exile monstrously transformed, no more the spry and wicked defender of religion, but a sadder one, alone and stumbling away towards outsideness.

Lyon. Deserved.

Bourges. Deserved, with wraths of penance on his head!

Lyon. Bad priest.

Bourges. Worse man.

Lyon. A reprobate too much tolerated by us.

Bourges. Avoided now, which with timbrels and songs should be encouraged and blared forth wherever he goes.

Lyon. His jailer should have pressed Barrère's ashes on his eyes. à Lincestre. And yet there's charity.

Lyon. Provided he amends, for otherwise

An added punishment, or death to him,

More quickly!

Exeunt Lyon, Bourges, and Lincestre

Act 5. Scene 5. A street in Paris. 1594

Enter Maxime and Bévue, bearing Louise, with Bailleton beating them

Maxime. Ha! Ha! My shoulder!

Louise. O! O! The inside of the thigh, and worse!

Maxime. Some of your gentlest mercies, sir!

You see she cannot move her leg, so that

We torture her by plodding gingerly.

Bailleton. However that may be, the duke pronounced

Your sentences, which I will consummate.

Maxime. Ha!

Louise. Ha!

Maxime. Unpitying officer! Take note, we pray,

Of unknown murderers along the way

Who very likely shed some tears for us. Louise. How long still?

Bailleton. We go where I have never gone, to the farthest limit of this street and beyond that to another, extending to another until another.

Maxime. When will you begin to pity us?

Louise. What should we do to stop the progress of pain's procession?

Bailleton. To continue crying out with promiscuous teardrops is your hope, best serving as examples to Parish citizens along our slippery way, covered with remains of flesh and blood, who for this time fearfully contemplate the consequence of vice.

Maxime. Ha! My neck!

Louise. Ha! The leg, that leg again!

Maxime. More pains, more pains, and more.

Louise. How will this continue?

Bailleton. How otherwise than with further trouncing? A promise was made to beat you whether you fall or not, to beat you as you continue shouting in pain or not, beat you by day or night, beat you in the city or in the suburbs, beat you in thoughts to amend you, beat you as an afterthought, beat you all in all for all in all.

Enter Blanchefleur, limping

Blanchefleur. All these footprints of blood on every stone

Infallibly leading towards you!

Maxime. See, girl, how sometimes partly, sometimes completely we are martyred.

Bévue. All this deserved.

Maxime. Officer, you strike too hard on my friend's head, so that he seems to rave in a way I cannot like.

Bévue. I say, merited, and will add proof on proof, once I stand beside my bed and studiously consider our plight.

Louise. No quarrel, till my leg is tended to.

Bévue. Not Avicenna's canon will help us

Cure all our injuries, deserved, I say.

Blanchefleur. Knock on your heart, officer, to verify whether it is harder than your cudgel. How lamentably will you regret two-armed vigor when one day requesting pity for yourself! For who does not?

Maxime. That's so, according to her philosophy and mine.

Louise. What do you say on this?

Bailleton. I, say?

Maxime. O!

Louise. Ha!

Bévue. Ha!

Blanchefleur. Why do you hit them harder?

Bailleton. I, say? I say nothing. Here's for you and further sayings.

Maxime. Ha! Can such things be?

Louise. Husband, I pray you, do not wobble so much when he buffets you, since it grieves my leg all the worse in untold miseries.

Bévue. O!

Bailleton. Be thankful that your punishments are no better, so long as you continue yelling out in pain, excellent emblem to edify a people, some of whom stare and hesitate, watching and praying that none of them will one day be commanded to strip and bend even once below signs of my mastership.

Blanchefleur. Remote clouds pity, but not formality in his marble pose, uneroded by rain. Robins peck, amaranths bloom, bloody men dig graves.

Maxime. Piteously we go forward without advancing.

Louise. More on top of more.

Bévue. More because of mores.

Maxime. His mercy sleeps behind an iron door,

Too rusty to be opened for our use.

Blanchefleur. I cannot walk with or without you.

Louise. More.

Maxime. And more. O!

Bévue. Ha! Head and leg together with one blow?

How is it possible? I dream or die.

Blanchefleur. To the end of the way with pity's mouth awry.

Exeunt Maxime, Bévue, Louise, Bailleton, and Blanchefleur