Collaborative play writing/John Brewen/Act 4

Act 4. Scene 1. In a cemetery

Enter Fernando and Jeremy

Fernando. Sniff more liberally, sir, till I assure your verve the itching youth will no further nudge a daughter's fidelity inside her pit.

Jeremy. I thank you. It is more necessary than ever that burning youth, turning in ellipses of brazenness, should suffer on most occasions an eclipse.

Fernando. You may forget him.

Jeremy. After hearing such news, Jeremina will jump, necessarily more in joy than hope.

Fernando. Such impudence deserves roughest chastisements, and have, so that hot humors are said to have meet with a cold hand. Never fear henceforth to have her fetch water, for he who would have put it to her is now put out, and it is thought among the healer-zealous that the buzzing youth is a black blot squashed on your white wall.

Jeremy. Libertine?

Fernando. Found dead this morning inside your garden, mysteriously.

Jeremy. I would have called such news blessed once, which now I acknowledge good, by your patience. How hard a thing it is to be a father nowadays!

Fernando. Your attentions expended towards this daughter deserve homage from the purest, for few look after theirs more closely, when indifference is modern pestilence. One example suffices: last week I saw my neighbor, next to the pond, stare at his daughter mimicking and wantoning before his very face with a stranger to him, almost to her, youth primed in lechery and briskness. Eyes closed, this neighbor chortled, exclaiming: "Her mother played such games, now my loyal wife." Blank wittol! He will recover his senses when charity, in the form of a neighborhood informer, divulges the truth on the state of his bed and his daughter's, the one with horn-shavings below the mattress, the other filmed over with unknowable seed.

Jeremy. I heartily wish you would infer to him that charity.

Fernando. A promise, as we stand and loaf this way.

Trust me for better deeds, neglecting them

For their contraries once a month at most.

Jeremy. Heart-felt benevolence, rarer as I live each day.

Fernando. Expecting few rewards.- Where is the maiden?

Jeremy. At her pamphlets since the first morning clarion.

Fernando. No father here forbidding a daughter's instruction!

Jeremy. Oh no, I pour it into her, at cockcrow, earlier on holidays, replacing church-attendance when no officers are by.

Fernando. She welcomes, as a daughter should, such rare opportunities in a scholar's pursuits.

Jeremy. I permit her both form and lack of form called leisure: suggestions for the improvement of language, forages into histories of ancient and modern vintage, ours and foreign ones, geographies of land and water, together with calculating abilities, on one side, and freedom, a word which makes most fathers shrink into an acorn in fear, on the other.

Fernando. She answers both in vehemence of fire.

Jeremy. You assume correctly. Against Paul's teeth and lips, no veil is ever put over such a daughter's head, mostly directing herself, barely one man in a thousand, university-worth, capable of advising her in any fashion.

Fernando. With all those liberties and abilities, I marvel at her discretion and modesty.

Jeremy. Merely the consequence of choicest readings.

Fernando. The vicar seeming to be at your house an unnecessary guide to lecture and devotion.

Jeremy. Entirely superfluous. What could even a bishop happily disclose to any of her book-bulk?

Fernando. May I rot where I stand should she not revere her father's demonstrations and affability.

Jeremy. I somewhat instruct her, whenever asked, sometimes not. Indeed, I must attend to her lessons now, comparing ancient pilgrimages with Captain Smith's progressions in Virginia and Chesapeake Bay, for I am thinking of immigrating to those loftier blanker shores, no longer forced to chew on ancient cheeses of prejudice, indigestion enough, which I'll expound to you some day, if willing to hear of unjust tribulations suffered under clergy's crook.

Fernando. Absolutely. Meantime, good day to you.

Jeremy. Good in being studiously profitable.

Exit Jeremy and enter Amaryll

Fernando. Ho, my black amethyst!

Amaryll. Our master's remains are shifting onward.

Fernando. Trust me for expostulations on his merits.

Amaryll. Will they be pleasant?

Fernando. For some, no notion of possible entertainment; for most, lost of the self in amazement. The brevity of sinning! Once the tavern-mark parishioners turned their faces against, now our subject of piety and pity.

Amaryll. We are in whirlwinds of expectation for a new master already.

Fernando. Sapience, suspected of comforting her after foully playing with Master Brewen!

Amaryll. So do most of the household, including the mistress.

Fernando. Especially the mistress.

Amaryll. His heat prevails on her, we fear, because

He helped to cool the husband.

Fernando. Some husbands are exchanged for others as

The sheets are aired.

Amaryll. I saw them at it.

Fernando. When?

Amaryll. Just now, while peaking through the window pane.

Fernando. If caught, the happy way to make them both

Most miserable forever.

Amaryll. Too badly plotted to escape unpunished.

Fernando. Living with Master Brewen's possessions before the corpse is even lowered!

Amaryll. Including hammers and files, to the last toothpick.

Fernando. Bear me one sweet brain-child, head, to be swaddled in invention. O, I am at it. The difference between one day and another! Sapience touches my face with a perfumed glove, as if growing there, but I'll find a method to make his portly wisdom shrink in estimation.

Amaryll. And our master's epitaph?

Fernando. Virtue will blush before both pageants.

Enter Anne and Sapience, with Trencher and the two citizens bearing the coffin

Anne. Set him down; he goes no farther.

Fernando. I'll speak a little.

Anne. But do not think to make us weep, Fernando.

Sapience. Yet bear yourself in state. I would not be

Behind one neighbor in our dignities.

Fernando. I hope I know my duty.

Anne. A husband with his friends- speak, good

Sirs, if I lie- carousing at all hours,

To brightest dawning, a short hour ago,

Now but a house for beetles to rush in!

Sapience. Alas, for bad lives!

Citizen 1. To make us think or weep.

Citizen 2. Or weep without thinking.

Trencher. Or both.

Anne. In our calamity, with knowledge of

The muck of flesh we share, why not stay here,

Descending, howling, with my John to earth?

Fernando. My friendly encomium, if you please to hear, over the dead remains of my master.

Amaryll. Fernando, do.

Anne. Speak aloft. We kneel to lift our thoughts and thank your care- I mean for the pains you undertake.

Citizen 1. Where is the vicar?

Anne. Caught a cold this morning, for which reason Fernando has our liveliest permission.

Fernando. I do not know whether humankind will continue at this gear, or quietly end all hope, yet, to my mind, no worse a creature exists than this frowning baboon. Bear me no evil intention, startled ones, or you, grieving mistress, if I this day, calamitous in scope for many, speak without palliation on our state. Alas, Master Brewen never watered his potations, and thus he lies, an emptily bluish blot, soon a caressed thing we shudder to think on. Why? I do not know, but I guess somewhat. Think of the mouth-madness he never threw water on, no partaker of virtue, but a quaffer, incapable of making faces at the fiery monster. Instead of commendations, I say curse him, or rather curse his manner of living, or dying, and rather curse ourselves if living-dying as he did, to avoid being as he is, than to be buried with few to cherish our memory, before death's presence smelling no fresher than he does at this instant. I confess to you all I am a villain- no sweeter an appellation enwraps my virtues when turning inward on themselves, in beholding what lies beneath sprightliness and nice deportment- I say no cadaver smells worse under July suns than what I constantly bear about me, horrid about-to-die fragment of manhood as I am. I lie if I say I should be above, he below, as if deserving of our fates. No, the reverse is true. Knock on your hearts, reflect on yours, and say whether you would not say the same. Should you not be, sir, or you, madam, inside with him? I think so, though festering in his cabinet of rottenness. Tears, sprout; drown all thoughts of sin, make us man and woman, no receptacle for vice to be crawling into, never to be pricked out till death. Behold his hole: what do you think? I see your shirt in there, yours, too, mine most readily of all. After ceremony, should we plant wantonly with rural dames? Wretched man, wretched woman! Is this to watch over life as pilots do their compass? Worthless fellowship if no longer able to speak of failings! Weep today, but who regrets tomorrow? I think, none. I will no more expostulate on less-than-man, for I, should the world neglect impossibilities, am worse than he ever was, though half his age. Who will I be when vices ripen? Some mercy yet for what we know deserve no pardon.

Anne. Religious thanks to Fernando for our feeling elegy.

Exeunt Fernando, Trencher, Amaryll, and the two citizens

Not happy?

Sapience. Some other fellow rules you.

Anne. You'll have at bed or board the tamer ones?

Sapience. At least not glance as if I should warm up

Your husband's corpse.

Anne. Dead, he occupies my thoughts more than he did living. You strut or gad about his domains, like the new cock in the henhouse, or a plump hare among cabbages.

Sapience. Are we not to be married?

Anne. Not on his burial day, I think.

Sapience. Do I play havoc on his distillements, take cup and tumbler to bed?

Anne. You despoil the buttery, order servants about nowhere, raid sporting gear and gamery.

Sapience. As any master should.

Anne. No master yet.

Sapience. So, so. Do walls blush at my impudence

As red as our four hands that threw him here?

Anne. Call it so.

Sapience. Should I have slept atop the hayloft?

Anne. It is not that.

Sapience. What apprehensiveness is this?

Anne. You know my mind against offending mates.

Sapience. You murder them.

Anne. I am displeased, as ever yet I was.

Sapience. Into what pit have I dropped love and life!

Anne. Trench of our making.

Sapience. True.

Anne. I should not meddle with a murderer.

Sapience. Ha, have I murdered to be railed against?

Anne. Can you decry a countenance that loves?

I swear it does, I swear I do and will.

Sapience. It does not seem so on your pallet-bed.

Anne. I sank my marriage vows in you.

Sapience. About to make us wretched afterwards.

Anne. I will not clasp. What if an officer

Discovers our designs? They think his wounds

The accidental outcome of his work.

Sapience. Some prayers, and then hanging.

Anne. A love advanced too soon.

Sapience. I am a straying cloud not soon allayed.

Anne. Strike flat all Nothingham woods with your bolts.

What brew once tainted all my senses, hah?

Did I uncross for this? When I planned it,

Where was I sleeping?

Sapience. Brewen will not come out, and I am here.

Anne. Had you Mezentius' spirit, wide enough

To perpetrate whatever we desire!

Sapience. What if I do, though yet unwillingly?

Anne. I should transform our bed in cattle farms,

And heap away the superfluities.

Sapience. Such as your prized bull, to be sold away?

Anne. Oh no, you press too near for that.

Sapience. And you?

Anne. All blistered by love's pipe of sulphur, tears

To be my portion, foils and cares my thought!

Sapience. Your husband as a cherished monument

Too soon defaced!

Anne. Oblivious drugs my only nourishment!

Sapience. Avoid me.

Exit Anne

Sapience. Who breathes within? Fernando?

Re-enter Fernando

Fernando. Your wishes, sir?

Sapience. You have friends to obey my will in all?

Fernando. Most resolutely.

Sapience. I'll speak with them.

Exeunt Sapience and Fernando, enter Amaryll and Jeremina

Amaryll. So far gone?

Jeremina. I kiss despair devotedly, full on the lips,

And long to jump with him.

Amaryll. You tread on ways unknown.

Jeremina. But to leap upward in the dark.

Amaryll. Why?

Jeremina. In knowing such a father, you ask why?

Amaryll. He will constrain.

Jeremina. I hope I know my duty, yet I would

Have duty and a man.

Amaryll. Which man?

Jeremina. At the point where I am fixed, anyone.

Amaryll. Ha?

Jeremina. The grossest lip will be convenient, limbs

Of any that point upward to my view.

Amaryll. I see virginity's the treasure no

One cares to lose.

Jeremina. I'll push it off with thrusting deep within.

Amaryll. Too desperate by far for one so young!

Jeremina. What moral man have I not groaned beneath,

Invited by my father? Show me one

Less than so, for that reason more than so.

With lustheads smudging all the upward view,

Our watery eyes squint on moral glass.

Amaryll. But yet a father's lights may ably guide.

Jeremina. A father's lights freeze.

Amaryll. Prayer and fasting may cure this.

Jeremina. By sending me where your master is. I have scarcely lived, and yet, unless I meet a man, readier to die than live. I am on my hands and knees for air, or rather fire, provided it is masculine. All the warmth in my body is to attract and support one pointing bulk, to have it perforate.

Amaryll. Will you walk by this way? I'll expostulate further.

Jeremina. Not I, but fornicate, as in a well,

Or deeper if I can.

Exeunt Amaryll and Jeremina, re-enter Sapience and Fernando

Sapience. A priest?

Fernando. Capable and willing. You have heard of the murder of Libertine?

Sapience. He?

Fernando. Though I deserve some credit, he.

Sapience. I see him.

Enter Ebdiah

You have the cure of souls?

Ebdiah. Do you behold a priest's habiliment?

Of what worth is that here if not to bless

As often as we can for money?

Fernando. He often blesses in a garden, when

His friends sit up with him, but sometimes not,

Since often they rest never to awake.

Sapience. Good. Call my wife- I mean, your mistress. Say I would speak with her.

Exit Fernando

Step closer, friend.

Ebdiah. Your will?

Sapience. You will hear more when my wife- ha, I mean

Anne Brewen comes.- Thus.

Re-enter Anne

Anne. Ah, I was resting.

Sapience. You will rest longer here.

Anne. Who stalks in this man-made night?

Sapience. Your conscience.

Anne. Why is this priest here?

Sapience. Should not priests stroll in churchyards?

Anne. In full scope of misfortunes.

Sapience. Encouraging your virtues.

Anne. No help, but eyes appearing to destroy.

Sapience. Meant to wring you.

Anne. I know they do.

Sapience. Presenting worse than looks of pain and death.

Anne. Why does he draw his knife? Do priests carry weapons nowadays?

Sapience. For you they do, prefiguring your death.

Anne. He will not kill me here?

Sapience. He will, in jesting merely.

Anne. Time is my midnight jester, and, I fear,

A deadly one.

Sapience. For both of us, sin's mistress.

Anne. Let him speak.

Sapience. He wishes to, but cannot.

Anne. Why not? Why does he beat his fingers thus?

Sapience. Behold how madly sin condemns himself!

He seems a damned soul setting out to warn.

In abbeys, pressing down his hands, he shows

Self-punishments, encouraging all those

Who murder to let go, give up the game.

Anne. What, murder?

Ebdiah. How, madam? Am I misinformed? You know

Of murder little or else nothing yet?

Anne. No. How should I?

Ebdiah. That's strange. My fingers prick whenever near

The hands of murdereresses, surest sign,

Worth more in courts than prints of blood on them.

Sapience. The meed of your execrable default.

Anne. What are you doing, forcing me to faint?

Sapience. What if he looks at you as if he would

Make havoc on your body? Take it all

As warning merely, fairest monster. Do.

Anne. A face to make me retch with terror.- Ha,

Why does he weep?

Ebdiah. Your angel, sighing over your tomorrows.

Sapience. Few days ahead to sigh for and repent.

Ebdiah. There is no groaning woman, half buried to her neck in miseries, who would exchange her lot for yours.

Sapience. My thought as well.

Anne. I am inside Crete's pannels of despair.

Sapience. Mark out your next face.

Anne. A mask?

Sapience. Look at the face more carefully.

Anne. Mine?

Sapience. Yours.

Anne. Why is he going down into John's grave?

Sapience. To sweep.

Ebdiah. (inside the grave

Yes, it is dusty here.

Sapience. Sweep the grave clean.

Ebdiah. What serves a broom else? Some may follow him.

Sapience. Yes, joiners.

Anne. What do you call a joiner?

Sapience. One who joins men in graves, especially

Those who put them there.

Anne. Sights making a no-woman of me!

Ebdiah. Can you take time's scythe from his hand? Then fear.

Sapience. Fear most of all. That would be best for you.

Ebdiah. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Anne. Hah?

Sapience. He laughs because you may appear to sink.

Anne. That skinless face!

Ebdiah. I cannot help how dismallly I look,

In spending too much time in open graves.

Sapience. Who does not die?

Ebdiah. All, all come to it, luckily for all,

For otherwise how are we to find room?

Sapience. Think of death often.

Ebdiah. Do, as I live.

Sapience. Look how our gentle host invites you down.

Ebdiah. Look wretchedly below, to rise above.

Anne. Eyes to pierce cerements!

Sapience. If gorged with sins, the pit-side empties you.

Anne. I will remember that.

Exit Anne

Sapience. Her flow of confidence is shrewdly ebbed.

Well. Follow her, remind her patiently

That everyone must die.

Ebdiah. So every day we live.

Exeunt Sapience and Ebdiah

Act 4. Scene 2. A prison

Enter the two counsellors

Counsellor 1. Along this corridor.

Counsellor 2. To hasten to him more than hurriedly!

My daughters eagerly await the end

Of Somerset's disaster as they sleep.

Counsellor 1. The pleasant jailkeeper told us "turn right".

Counsellor 2. There, in that cell! Submit to life's instruction:

The powerfullest nobleman arrested, jailed.

(The earl of Somerset is revealed in his cell

Counsellor 1. My lord, are you not well? Not sickly, faint,

Too desperate to speak, or lift the nose?

Counsellor 2. My lord, no doubt we can do something to

Alleviate discomfort in your cell,

A filthier lodging than we ever thought.

Somerset. Ah, altogether wretched if I live,

More wretched if I die! You cannot help.

Counsellor 1. Erewhile, a noticed earl! A minion fit

To smile, cavort, or chop off courtiers' heads.

Counsellor 2. The weightiest agent, pressing by the year

Against so many honorable heads

Advantages obtained just for his own!

Somerset. But now what crawls on straw or spiderweb.

Counsellor 1. Judged to be guilty, therefore guilty.

Counsellor 2. Sir Walter Raleigh thundered it in court.

Counsellor 1. Sir Walter Raleigh was believed in court.

Counsellor 2. They aptly said "most guilty", I avow.

Counsellor 1. Most culpable, together with the wife.

Counsellor 2. Both guilty, murderers of Overbury!

Counsellor 1. Fate!

Counsellor 2. Who can decipher it?

Counsellor 1. Who says the worried earl is innocent?

Counsellor 2. The earl alone.

Counsellor 1. What good derives from that?

Counsellor 2. Not much, I think, not even to my lord,

The earl of Somerset.

Somerset. He's innocent.

Counsellor 2. Did I not hear the earl is innocent?

Counsellor 1. True, but the earl, accused, judged, sentenced, must

Not be believed, because the mournful king

Did not reverse the sentence, just or not.

Somerset. My wife killed Overbury. I saw her.

Counsellor 1. Then at least guilty of not knowing what

Your wife intended for your benefit.

Counsellor 2. Worth sentencing by anyone's account.

Somerset. His wife the murderess, the earl her aid!

Counsellor 1. Unconscious helper, in one word yourself.

Counsellor 2. When laws say "guilty", there is little more

To say or do.

Somerset. Yes, guilty. You say truly. The king heard,

Believes it even now.

Counsellor 1. Admit your guilt.

Counsellor 2. Beg for his pardon.

Somerset. The only step I have not stumbled on.

(Somerset retires deeper in his cell

Counsellor 1. Life's instruction!

Counsellor 2. Terrible to behold!

Exeunt the two counsellors