The Birth of Merlin, or, the Childe Hath Found His Father
Enter Donobert, Gloster, and Hermit.

Sincerely, Gloster, I have told you all:
My daughters are both vow'd to single life,
And this day gone unto the nunnery,
Though I begot them to another end,
And fairly promis'd them in marriage,
One to Earl Cador, t'other to your son,
My worthy friend, the Earl of Gloster.
Those lost, I am lost: they are lost, all's lost.
Answer me this, then: Ist a sin to marry?

Oh no, my lord.

Go to, then, Ile go no further with you;
I perswade you to no ill; perswade you, then,
That I perswade you well.

'Twill be a good office in you, sir.

Enter Cador and Edwin.

Which since they thus neglect,
My memory shall lose them now for ever.--
See, see, the noble lords, their promis'd husbands!
Had fate so pleas'd, you might have call'd me father.

Those hopes are past, my lord; for even this minute
We saw them both enter the monastery,
Secluded from the world and men for ever.

'Tis both our griefs we cannot, sir:
But from the king take you the times joy from us:
The Saxon king Ostorius slain and Octa fled,
That woman-fury, Queen Artesia,
Is fast in hold, and forc't to re-deliver
London and Winchester (which she had fortifi'd)
To princely Uter, lately styl'd Pendragon,
Who now triumphantly is marching hither
To be invested with the Brittain crown.

The joy of this shall banish from my breast
All thought that I was father to two children,
Two stubborn daughters, that have left me thus.
Let my old arms embrace, and call you sons,
For, by the honor of my fathers house,
I'le part my estate most equally betwixt you.

Sir, y'are most noble!

Florish. Trompet. Enter Edol with drum and colours, Oswold bearing the standard, Toclio the sheild, with the red dragon pictur'd in'em, two Bishops with the crown, Prince Uter, Merlin, Artesia bound, Guard, and Clown.

Set up our sheild and standard, noble soldiers.
We have firm hope that, tho' our dragon sleep,
Merlin will us and our fair kingdom keep.

As his uncle lives, I warrant you.

Happy restorer of the Brittains fame,
Uprising sun, let us salute thy glory:
Ride in a day perpetual about us,
And no night be in thy thrones zodiack.
Why do we stay to binde those princely browes
With this imperial honor?

Stay, noble Gloster:
That monster first must be expel'd our eye,
Or we shall take no joy in it.

If that be hindrance, give her quick judgement,
And send her hence to death; she has long deserv'd it.

Let my sentence stand for all: take her hence,
And stake her carcase in the burning sun,
Till it be parcht and dry, and then fley off
Her wicked skin, and stuff the pelt with straw
To be shown up and down at fairs and markets:
Two pence a piece to see so foul a monster
Will be a fair monopoly, and worth the begging.

Ha, ha, ha!

Dost laugh, Erictho?

Yes, at thy poor invention.
Is there no better torture-monger?

Burn her to dust.

That's a phoenix death, and glorious.

I, that's to good for her.

Alive she shall be buried, circled in a wall.
Thou murdress of a king, there starve to death.

Then Ile starve death when he comes for his prey,
And i'th' mean time Ile live upon your curses.

I, 'tis diet good enough; away with her.

With joy, my best of wishes is before;
Thy brother's poison'd, but I wanted more. (Exit.

Why does our prophet Merlin stand apart,
Sadly observing these our ceremonies,
And not applaud our joys with thy hid knowledge?
Let thy divining art now satisfie
Some part of my desires; for well I know,
'Tis in thy power to show the full event,
That shall both end our reign and chronicle.
Speak, learned Merlin, and resolve my fears,
Whether by war we shal expel the Saxons,
Or govern what we hold with beauteous peace
In Wales and Brittain?

Long happiness attend Pendragons reign!
What heaven decrees, fate hath no power to alter:
The Saxons, sir, will keep the ground they have,
And by supplying numbers still increase,
Till Brittain be no more. So please your grace,
I will in visible apparitions
Present you prophecies which shall concern
Succeeding princes which my art shall raise,
Till men shall call these times the latter days.

Do it, my Merlin,
And crown me with much joy and wonder.

Merlin strikes. Hoeboys. Enter a king in armour, his sheild quarter'd with thirteen crowns. At the other door enter divers princes who present their crowns to him at his feet, and do him homage; then enters Death and strikes him; he, growing sick, crowns Constantine. Exeunt.

This king, my lord, presents your royal son,
Who in his prime of years shall be so fortunate,
That thirteen several princes shall present
Their several crowns unto him, and all kings else
Shall so admire his fame and victories,
That they shall all be glad,
Either through fear or love, to do him homage;
But death (who neither favors the weak nor valliant)
In the middest of all his glories soon shall seize him,
Scarcely permitting him to appoint one
In all his purchased kingdoms to succeed him.

Thanks to our prophet
For this so wish'd for satisfaction;
And hereby now we learn that always fate
Must be observ'd, what ever that decree:
All future times shall still record this story,
Of Merlin's learned worth and Arthur's glory. (Exeunt Omnes.


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