The Birth of Merlin, or, the Childe Hath Found His Father

Blazing star appears.

Florish tromp. Enter Prince Uter, Edol, Cador, Edwin, Toclio, with drum and Soldiers.

Look, Edol:
Still this fiery exalation shoots
His frightful horrors on th'amazed world;
See, in the beam that's 'bout his flaming ring,
A dragons head appears, from our whose mouth
Two flaming flakes of fire stretch east and west.

And see, from forth the body of the star
Seven smaller blazing streams directly point
On this affrighted kingdom.

'Tis a dreadful meteor.

And doth portend strange fears.

This is no crown of peace; this angry fire
Hath something more to burn then Vortiger;
If it alone were pointed at his fall,
It would pull in his blasing piramids
And be appeas'd, for Vortiger is dead.

These never come without their large effects.

The will of heaven be done! our sorrow's this,
We want a mistick Pithon to expound
This fiery oracle.

Oh no, my lord,
You have the best that ever Brittain bred;
And durst I prophecy of your prophet, sir,
None like him shall succeed him.

You mean Merlin?

True, sir, wonderous Merlin;
He met us in the way, and did foretell
The fortunes of this day successful to us.

He's sure about the camp; send for him, sir.

He told the bloody Vortiger his fate,
And truely too, and if I could give faith
To any wizards skill, it should be Merlin.

Enter Merlin and Clown.

And see, my lord, as if to satisfie
Your highness pleasure, Merlin is come.

The comet's in his eye, disturb him not.

With what a piercing judgement he beholds it!

Whither will heaven and fate translate this kingdom?
What revolutions, rise and fall of nations
Is figur'd yonder in that star, that sings
The change of Brittians state and death of kings?
Ha! He's dead already; how swiftly mischief creeps!
Thy fatal end, sweet prince, even Merlin weeps.

He does foresee some evil, his action shows it,
For, e're he does expound, he weeps the story.

There's another weeps too. Sirrah, dost thou understand what thou lamentst for?

No, sir, I am his uncle, and weep because my cousin weeps; flesh and blood cannot forbear.

Gentle Merlin, speak thy prophetick knowledge
In explanation of this fiery horror,
From which we gather from thy mounful tears
Much sorrow and disaster in it.

'Tis true,
Fair prince, but you must hear the rest with patience.

I vow I will, tho' it portend my ruine.

There's no such fear.
This brought the fiery fall of Vortiger,
And yet not him alone: this day is faln
A king more good, the glory of our land,
The milde and gentle, sweet Aurelius.

Our brother!

Forefend it heaven!

He at his palace royal, sir,
At Winchester, this day is dead and poison'd.

By whom? Or what means, Merlin?

By the traiterous Saxons.

I ever fear'd as much: that devil Ostorius
And the damn'd witch Artesia, sure, has done it.

Poison'd! oh, look further, gentle Merlin,
Behold the star agen, and do but finde
Revenge for me, though it cost thousand lives,
And mine the foremost.

Comfort your self, the heavens have given it fully:
All the portentious ills to you is told.
Now hear a happy story, sir, from me
To you and to your fair posterity.

Me thinks, I see something like a peel'd onion; it makes me weep agen.

Be silent, uncle, you'l be forc't else.

Can you not finde in the star, cousin, whether I can hold my tongue or no?

Yes, I must cut it out.

Phu, you speak without book, sir, my cousin Merlin knows.

True, I must tie it up. Now speak your pleasure, uncle.

Hum, hum, hum, hum.

So, so.--
Now observe, my lord, and there behold,
Above yon flame-hair'd beam that upward shoots,
Appears a dragons head, out of whose mouth
Two streaming lights point their flame-feather'd darts
Contrary ways, yet both shall have their aims:
Again behold, from the ignifirent body
Seven splendant and illustrious rays are spred,
All speaking heralds to this Brittain isle,
And thus they are expounded: The dragons head
Is the herogliphick that figures out
Your princely self, that here must reign a king;
Those by-form'd fires that from the dragons mouth
Shoot east and west, emblem two royal babes,
Which shall proceed from you, a son and daughter.
Her pointed constellation, northwest bending,
Crowns her a queen in Ireland, of whom first springs
That kingdoms title to the Brittain kings.

Hum, hum, hum.

But of your son thus fate and Merlin tells:
All after times shall fill their chronicles
With fame of his renown, whose warlike sword
Shall pass through fertile France and Germany;
Nor shall his conquering foot be forc't to stand,
Till Romes imperial wreath hath crown'd his fame
With monarch of the west, from whose seven hills,
With conquest and contributory kings,
He back returns to inlarge the Brittain bounds,
His heraldry adorn'd with thirteen crowns.

Hum, hum, hum.

He to the world shall add another Worthy,
And, as a loadstone, for his prowess draw
A train of marshal lovers to his court:
It shall be then the best of knight-hoods honor,
At Winchester to fill his castle hall,
And at his royal table sit and feast
In warlike orders, all their arms round hurl'd,
As if they meant to circumscribe the world. (He touches the Clowns mouth with his wand.

Hum, hum, hum: oh, that I could speak a little!

I know your mind, uncle; agen be silent. (Strikes agen.

Thou speakst of wonders, Merlin; prithee, go on,
Declare at full this constellation.

Those seven beams pointing downward, sir, betoken
The troubles of this land, which then shall meet
With other fate: war and dissension strives
To make division, till seven kings agree
To draw this kingdom to a hepterchy.

Thine art hath made such proof that we believe
Thy words authentical: be ever neer us,
My prophet and the guide of all my actions.

My service shall be faithful to your person,
And all my studies for my countries safety.

Hum, hum, hum.

Come, you are releast, sir.

Cousin, pray, help me to my tongue agen; you do not mean I shall be dumb still, I hope?

Why, hast thou not thy tongue?

Ha! yes, I feel it now, I was so long dumb, I could not well tell whether I spake or no.

Is't thy advice we presently pursue
The bloody Saxons, that have slain my brother?

With your best speed, my lord;
Prosperity will keep you company.

Take, then, your title with you, royal prince,
'Twill adde unto our strength: long live King Uter!

Put the addition to't that heaven hath given you:
The dragon is your emblem, bear it bravely,
And so live long and ever happy, styl'd
Uter-Pendragon, lawful king of Brittain.

Thanks, Edol, we imbrace the name and title,
And in our sheild and standard shall the figure
Of a red dragon still be born before us,
To fright the bloody Saxons. Oh, my Aurelius,
Sweet rest thy soul; let thy disturbed spirit
Expect revenge; think what it would, it hath:
The dragon's coming in his fiery wrath. (Exeunt.

On to Act V, Scene I
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