Prexaspes addressing Cambyses.
The Persians much do praise of our grace, but one thing discommend, In that to wine, subject you be, wherein you do
offend. Sith that the might of wine's effect, cloth oft subdue your brain, My council is, to please their hearts, from it you
--Prexaspes, tell me why, That to my mouth in such a sort, thou should's" announce a lie ? Of drunkenness me thus to
charge, but thou with speed shall see, Whether that I a sober king, or else a drunkard be. I know thou hast a blissful babe
wherein thou cost delight; Me to revenge of these thy words, I will go wreke this spite. When I the most have tasted wine,
my bow it shall be bent, At heart of him even then to shoot, is now my whole intent; And if that I his heart can hit, the
king no drunkard is; If heart of his I do not kill, I yield to thee in this. Therefore, Prexaspes, fetch to me thy youngest son
with speed, There is no way, I tell thee plain, but I will do this deed.
Redoubted prince, spare my sweet child, he is mine only joy;
I trust your grace to infant's heart no such thing will employ.
If that his mother hear of this, she is so nigh her flight,
In clay her corps will soon be shrined, to pass from world's delight.
For fear of my displeasure great, goe fetch him unto me.
Is he gone? Now by the gods, I will do as I say;
My lord, therefore fill me some wine, I heartily you pray,
For I must drink to make my brain somewhat intoxicate.
When that the wine is in my head, O ! trimly I can prate.
Here is the cup with filled wine, thereof to take repast.
Give it me to drink it off and see no wine be waste:
Once again enlarge this cup, for I must taste it still.
By the gods, I think of pleasant wine, I cannot take my fill.
Now drink is in, give me my bow, and arrows from Sir Knight
At heart of child I mean to shoot, hoping to cleave it right.
Behold, O King, where he cloth come, his infant son in hand.
O mighty king, your grace's behest with sorrow I have scann'd,
And brought my child fro mother's knee, before you to appear,
And she thereof no whit cloth know, that he in place is here.
Set him up my mark to be, I will shoot at his heart.
I beseech your grace not so to do, set this design apart--
Farewel, my dear and loving babe, come kiss thy father dear.
A grievous sight to me it is' to see thee slain even here.
Is this the gain now from the king for giving counsel good,
Before my face, with such despite, to spill my son's heart's blood?
A heavy day to me this is, and mother in like case.
O father, father, wipe your face,
I see the tears run from your eye.
My mother is at home sewing of a band.
Alas! dear father, cease you thus to cry.
Before me as a mark now let him stand,
I will shoot at him my mind to fulfil.
Alas, alas! father, will you me kil?
Good master king, don't shoot at me, my mother loves me best of all.
See, I have despatched him I down cloth he fall;
As right as line his heart I've hit.
Nay ! thou shalt see, Prexaspes, stranger news yet,
Ho, knight I with speed his heart cut out, and give it unto me.
It shall be done, O mighty king, with all celerity.
My Lord Prexaspes, this had not been, but your tongue must be walking
To the king of correction you must needs be talking.
Here is the heart, according to your grace's behest.
Behold,- Prexaspes, thy vents own heart:
Oh I how well the same was hit:
After this wine to do this deed, I thought it very fit.
Esteem thou may'st right well thereby, no drunkard is the king,
That, in the midst of all his cups, could do this valiant thing.
My lord and knight, on me attend, to palace we wild go,
And leave him here to take his son, when we are gone him fro.