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  • Title: The Tragedy of Locrine (Third Folio, 1664)

  • Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Authors: Anonymous, William Shakespeare
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    The Tragedy of Locrine (Third Folio, 1664)

    1545Scena Tertia.
    Enter Humber alone, his hair hanging over his shoulders,
    his arms all bloudie, and a dart in one hand.
    Hum. What Basilisk hath hatched in this place,
    Where every thing consumed is to nought?
    1550What fearfull Furie haunts these cursed groves,
    Where not a root is left for Humber's meat?
    Hath fell Alecto with envenomed blasts,
    Breathed forth poison in these tender plains?
    Hath triple Cerberus with contagious foam,
    1555Sow'd Aconitum 'mongst these withered hearbs?
    Hath dreadfull Fames with her charming rods
    Brought barrennesse on every fruitfull tree?
    What not a root, no fruit, no beast, no bird,
    To nourish Humber in this wildernesse?
    1560What would you more, you fiends of Erebus?
    My very intrails burn for want of drink,
    My bowels cry, Humber give us some meat,
    But wretched Humber can give you no meat,
    These foul accursed groves afford no meat:
    1565This fruitless soil, this ground brings forth no meat.
    The gods, hard hearted gods, yield me no meat.
    Then how can Humber give you any meat?
    Enter Strumbo with a pitch-fork, and a
    1570St. How do you, Masters, how do you? how have you
    scaped hanging this long time? ifaith I have scapt many
    a scouring this year, but I thank God I have past them
    all with a good couragio, couragio, and my wife and I
    are in great love and charity now, I thank my manhood
    1575and my strength; for I will tell you, Masters, upon a
    certain day at night I came home, to say the very truth,
    with my stomack full of wine, and ran up into the chamber,
    where my wife soberly sate rocking my little babie,
    leaning her back against the bed, singing lullaby. Now
    1580when she saw me come with my nose formost, thinking
    that I had been drunk, as I was indeed, snatcht up a fagot-
    stick in her hand, and came furiously marching towards
    me with a big face, as though she would have eaten me
    at a bit; thundering out these words unto me. Thou
    1585drunken knave where hast thou been so long? I shall
    teach thee how to benight me another time: and so she
    began to play knaves trumps. Now although I trembled
    fearing she would set her ten commandements in my
    face, ran within her, and taking her lustily by the mid-
    1590dle, I carried her valiantly to the bed, and flinging her
    upon it, flung my self upon her, and there I delighted
    her so with the sport I made, that ever after she would
    call me sweet husband, and so banisht brawling for ever:
    and to see the good will of the wench, she bought with
    1595her Portion a yard of land, and by that I am now be-
    come one of the richest men in our parish. Well,
    Masters, what's a clock? it is now break-fast time, you
    shall see what meat I have here for my break-fast.
    He sits down and pulls out his victuals.
    1600Hum. Was ever land so fruitless as this land?
    Was ever grove so gracelesse as this grove?
    Was ever soil so barren as this soil?
    Oh no: the land where hungry Fames dwelt,
    May no wise equalize this cursed land;
    1605No, even the climate of the torrid zone
    Brings forth more fruit then this accursed grove.
    Ne'er came sweet Ceres, ne'er came Venus here;
    Triptolemus the god of husbandmen,
    Ne'er sow'd his seed in this foul wildernesse.
    1610The hunger-bitten dogs of Acheron,
    Chac't from the nine-fold Puriflegiton,
    Have set their footsteps in this damned ground.
    The iron-hearted Furies arm'd with snakes,
    Scatered huge Hydra's over all the plains,
    1615Which have consum'd the grass, the herbs, the trees,
    Which have drunk up the flowing water springs.
    Strumbo hearing his voice starts up, and puts his meat
    in his pocket, seeking to hide himself.
    Hum. Thou great commande of the starry sky,
    1620That guid'st the life of every mortal wight,
    From the inclosures of the fleeting clouds
    Rain down some food, or else I faint and dye:
    Pour down some drink, or else I faint and dye.
    O Jupiter, hast thou sent Mercury
    1625In clownish shape to minister some food?
    Some meat, some meat, some meat.
    Strum. O alas sir, ye are deceived, I am not Mercury,
    I am Strumbo.
    Hum. Give me some meat, villain, give me some meat,
    1630Or 'gainst this rock, I'le dash thy cursed brains,
    And rend thy bowels with my bloudie hands.
    Give me some meat, villain, give me some meat.
    Strum. By the faith of my body, good fellow, I had
    rather give an whole oxe, then that thou should'st serve
    1635me in that sort. Dash out my brains? O horrible, ter-
    rible. I think I have a quarry of stones in my pocket.
    He makes as though he would give him some, and
    as he putteth out his hand, enter the Ghost of Alba-
    nact, and strikes him on the hand, and so Strumbo
    1640 runs out, Humber following him.Exeunt.
    Alba. Ghost. Loe here the gift of fell ambition,
    Of usurpation and of treachery.
    Loe here the harms that wait upon all those
    That do intrude themselves in others lands,
    1645Which are not under their dominion.Exit.