Thomas Chatterton

(1752 - 1770 / Bristol / England)

Ælla, A Tragical Interlude - Act III


SCENE I.
BRISTOWE.
BIRTHA.
Gentle Egwina, do notte preche me joie;
I cannotte joie ynne anie thynge botte weere .
Oh! yatte aughte schulde oure selynesse destroie,
Floddynge the face wythe woe, and brynie teare!
EGWINA.
You muste, you muste endeavour for to cheere
Youre harte unto somme cherisaunied reste.
Youre loverde from the battelle wylle appere,
Ynne honnoure, and a greater love, be dreste:
Botte I wylle call the mynstrelles roundelaie;
Perchaunce the swotie sounde maie chase your wiere awaie.

MYNSTRELLES SONGE.
O! synge untoe mie roundelaie,
O! droppe the blynie teare wythe mee,
Daunce ne moe atte hallie daie,
Lycke a reyneynge ryver bee;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Blacke hys cryne as the wynter nyghte,
Whyte hys rode as the sommer snowe,
Rodde hys face as the morning lyghte,
Cale he lyes ynne the grave belowe;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Swote hys tynge as the throstles note,
Quycke ynn daunce as thoughte canne bee,
Defte hys taboure, codgelle stote,
O! hee lyes bie the wyllowe tree:
Mie love ys dedde,
Gonne to hys deathe-bedde,
Alle underre the wyllowe tree.
Harke! the ravenne flappes hys wynge,
In the briered delle belowe;
Harke! the dethe-owle loude dothe synge,
To the nyghte-mares as heie goe;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gonne to hys deathe-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
See! the whyte moone sheenes onne hie;
Whyterre ys mie true loves shroude;
Whyterre yanne the mornynge skie,
Whyterre yanne the evenynge cloude;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys deathe-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Here, uponne mie true loves grave,
Schalle the baren fleurs be layde,
Nee one hallie Seyncte to save
Al the celness of a mayde.
Mie love ys dedde,
Gonne to hys death-bedde,
Alle under the wyllowe tree.
Wythe mie hondes I'lle dente the brieres
Rounde his hallie corse to gre,
Ouphante fairie, lyghte youre fyres,
Heere mie boddie stylle schalle bee.
Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Comme, wythe acorne-coppe and thorne,
Drayne mie hartys blodde awaie;
Lyfe and all yttes goode I scorne,
Daunce bie nete, or feaste by daie.
My love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Waterre wytches, crownede wythe reytes,
Bere mee to yer leathalle tyde.
I die; I comme; mie true love waytes.
Thos the damselle spake, and dyed.
BIRTHA.
Thys syngeyng haveth whatte coulde make ytte please;
Butte mie uncourtlie shappe benymmes mee of all ease.

SCENE II.
ÆLLA, atte WATCHETTE.
CURSE onne mie tardie woundes! brynge mee a stede!
I wylle awaie to Birtha bie thys nyghte;
Albeytte fro mie woundes mie soul doe blede,
I wylle awaie, & die wythynne her syghte.
Brynge mee a stede, wythe eagle-wynges for flyghte;
Swefte as mie wyshe, &, as mie love ys, stronge.
The Danes have wroughte mee myckle woe ynne fyghte,
Inne kepeynge mee from Birtha's armes so longe.
O! whatte a dome was myne, sythe masterie
Canne yeve ne pleasaunce, nor mie londes goode leme myne eie!
Yee goddes, howe ys a loverres temper formed!
Sometymes the samme thynge wylle bothe bane, & blesse;
On tyme encalede yanne bie the same thynge warmd,
Estroughted foorthe, and yanne ybrogten less.
'Tys Birtha's loss whyche doe mie thoughtes possesse;
I wylle, I muste awaie: whie staies mie stede?
Mie huscarles, hyther haste; prepare a dresse,
Whyche couracyers yn hastie journies nede.
O heavens! I I moste awaie to Byrtha eyne,
For yn her lookes I fynde mie beynge doe entwyne.

SCENE III.
CELMONDE, atte BRYSTOWE.
The worlde ys darke wythe nyghte; the wyndes are stylle;
Fayntelie the mone her palyde lyght makes gleme;
The upryste sprytes the sylente letten fylle,
Wythe ouphant faeryes joynyng ynne the dreme;
The forreste sheenethe wythe the sylver leme;
Now maie mie love be sated ynn yttes treate;
Uponne the lynche of somme swefte reynyng streme,
Att the swote banquette I wylle swotelie eate.
Thys ys the howse; yee hyndes, swythyn appere.

CELMONDE.
Go telle to Birtha strayte, a straungerr waytethe here.


BIRTHA.
Celmonde! yee seynctes! I hope thou haste goode newes.
CELMONDE.
The hope ys loste; for heavie newes prepare.
BIRTHA.
Is Ælla welle?
CELMONDE.
Hee lyves; and stylle maie use
The behylte blessynges of a future yeare.
BIRTHA.
Whatte heavie tydynge thenne have I to feare?
Of whatte mischaunce dydste thou so latelie saie?
CELMONDE.
For heavie tydynges swythyn nowe prepare.
Ælla sore wounded ys, yn bykerous fraie;
In Wedecester's wallid toune he lyes.
BIRTHA.
O mie agroted breast!
CELMONDE.
Wythoute your syghte, he dyes.
BIRTHA.
Wylle Birtha's presence ethe herr Ælla's payne?
I flie; newe wynges doe from mie schoulders sprynge.
CELMONDE.
Mit stede wydhoute wylle deftlie beere us twayne.
BIRTHA.
Oh! I wyll flie as wynde, and no waie lynge;
Sweftlie caparisons for rydynge brynge;
I have a mynde wynged wythe the levyne ploome.
O Ælla, Ælla! dydste thou kenne the stynge,
The whyche doeth canker ynne mie hartys roome,
Thou wouldste see playne thieself the gare to bee;
Aryse, uponne thie love, and flie to meeten mee.
CELMONDE.
The stede, on whyche I came, ys swefte as ayre;
Mie servytoures doe wayte mee nere the wode;
Swythynne wythe mee unto the place repayre;
To Ælla I wylle gev you conducte goode.
Youre eyne, alyche a baulme, wylle staunche hys bloode,
Holpe oppe hys woundes, and yev hys harte alle cheere;
Uponne your eyne he holdes hys lyvelyhode ;
You doe hys spryte, and alle hys pleasaunce bere.
Comme, lette's awaie, albeytte ytte ys moke,
Yette love wille bee a tore to tourne to feere nyghtes smoke.
BIRTHA.
Albeytte unwears dyd the welkynn rende,
Reyne, alyche fallynge ryvers, dyd ferse bee,
Erthe wythe the ayre enchased dyd contende,
Everychone breathe of wynde wythe plagues dyd slee,
Yette I to Ælla's eyne eftsoones woulde slee;
Albeytte hawethornes dyd mie fleshe enseme,
Owlettes, wythe scrychynge, shakeynge everyche tree,
And water-neders wrygglynge yn eche streme,
Yette woulde I flie, ne under coverte staie,
Botte seke mie Ælla owte; brave Celmonde, leade the waie.

SCENE III.
A WODE.
HURRA, DANES.
HURRA.
HEERE ynn yis forreste lette us watche for pree,
Bewreckeynge on oure foemenne oure ylle warre;
Whatteverre schalle be Englysch wee wylle slea,
Spreddynge our ugsomme rennome to afarre.
Ye Dacyanne menne, gyff Dacyanne menne yee are,
Lette nete botte blodde suffycyle for yee bee;
On everich breaste yn gorie letteres scarre,
Whatt sprytes you have, & howe those sprytes maie dree.
And gyf yee gette awaie to Denmarkes shore,
Eftesoones we will retourne, & vanquished bee ne moere.
The battelle loste, a battelle was yndede;
Note queedes hemselfes culde stonde so harde a fraie;
Oure verie armoure, & oure heaulmes dyd blede,
The Dacyannes, sprytes, lyche dewe drops, fledde awaie,
Ytte was an Ælla dyd commaunde the daie;
Ynn spyte of foemanne, I moste saie hys myghte;
Botte wee ynn hynd-lettes blodde the loss wylle paie,
Brynnynge, thatte we knowe howe to wynne yn fyghte;
Wee wylle, lyke wylfes enloosed from chaynes, destroie;--
Oure armoures -- wynter nyghte shotte oute the daie of joie.
Whene swefte-sote tyme doe rolle the daie alonge,
Somme hamlette scalle onto oure fhuyrie brende;
Brastynge alyche a rocke, or mountayne stronge,
The talle chyrche-spyre upon the grene shalle bende;
Wee wylle the walles, & auntyante tourrettes rende,
Pete everych tree whych goldyn fruyte doe beere,
Downe to the goddes the ownerrs dhereof sende,
Besprengynge alle abrode sadde warre & bloddie weere.
Botte fyrste to yynder oke-tree wee wylle flie;
And thence wylle yssue owte onne all yatte commeth bie.

SCENE IV.
ANODHER PARTE OF THE WOODE.
CELMONDE, BIRTHA.
BIRTHA.
Thys merkness doe affraie mie wommanns breaste.
Howe sable ys the spreddynge skie arrayde!
Hallie the bordeleire, who lyves to reste,
Ne ys att nyghtys flemynge hue dysmayde;
The starres doe scantillie the sable brayde;
Wyde ys the sylver lemes of comforte wove;
Speke, Celmonde, does ytte make thee notte afrayde?
CELMONDE.
Merker the nyghte, the fitter tyde for love.
BIRTHA.
Saiest thou for love? ah! love is far awaie.
Faygne would I see once moe the roddie lemes of daie.
CELMONDE.
Love maie bee nie, woulde Birtha calle ytte here.
BERTHA.
How, Celmonde, dothe thou mene?
CELMONDE.
Thys Celmonde menes.
No leme, no eyne, ne mortalle manne appere,
Ne lyghte, an acte of love for to bewreene;
Nete in thys forreste, botte thys tore , dothe sheene,
Wych, potte oute, do leave the whole yn nyghte;
See! howe the brauncynge trees doe here entwyne,
Makeynge thys bower so pleasynge to the syghte;
Thys was for love fyrste made, and heere ytt stondes,
Thatte hereynne lovers maie enlyncke yn true loves bondes.
BIRTHA.
Celmonde, speake whatte thou menest, or alse mie thoughtes
Perchance maie robbe thie honestie so fayre.
CELMONDE.
Then here, and knowe, hereto I have you broughte,
Mie longe hydde love unto you to make clere.
BIRTHA.
Oh heaven and earthe! whatte ys ytt I doe heare?
Am I betraste ? where ys mie Ælla, saie!
CELMONDE.
O! do nete nowe to Ælla syke love bere,
Botte geven some onn Celmondes hedde.
BIRTHA.
Awaie!
I wylle be gone, and groape mie passage out;
Albeytte neders stynges mie legs do twyne aboute.
CELMONDE.
Nowe bie the seynctes I wylle notte lette thee goe,
Ontylle thou doeste mie brendynge love amate.
Those eyne have caused Celmonde myckle woe,
Yenne lette yer smyle fyrst take hymm yn regrate.
O! didst thou see mie breastis troblous state,
There love doth harrie up mie joie, and ethe!
I wretched bee, beyond the hele of fate,
Gyff Birtha stylle wylle make mie harte-veynes blethe.
Softe as the sommer flowreets, Birtha, looke,
Fulle ylle I canne thie frownes and harde dyspleasaunce brooke.
BIRTHA.
Thie love ys foule; I woulde bee deafe for aie,
Radher thanne heere syche deslavatie sedde.
Swythynne flie from mee, and ne further saie;
Radher thanne heare thie love, I woulde bee dead.
Yee seynctes! and shal I wronge mie Ælla's bedde,
And wouldst thou, Celmonde, tempte me to the thynge?
Lett mee be gone -- alle curses onne thie hedde!
Was ytte for thys thou dydste a message brynge!
Lette mee be gone, thou manne of sable harte!
Or welkyn and her starres will take a maydens parte.
CELMONDE.
Sythence you wylle notte lette mie suyte avele,
Mie love wylle have yttes joie, altho wythe guylte;
Youre lymbes shall bende, albeytte strynge as stele;
The merkye seesonne wylle your bloshes hylte .
BIRTHA.
Holpe, holpe, yee seynctes! oh thatte mie blodde was spylte!
CELMONDE.
The seynctes att distaunce stonde ynn tyme of nede.
Strev notte to goe; thou canste notte, gyff thou wylle.
Untoe mie wysche bee kinde, and nete alse hede.
BIRTHA.
No, foule bestoykerre, I wylle rende the ayre,
Tylle dethe do staie mie dynne, or somme kynde roder heare.
Holpe! holpe! oh Godde!

HURRA.
Ah! thatt's a wommanne cries.
I kenn hem; saie, who are you, yatte bee theere?
CELMONDE.
Yee hyndes, awaie! orre bie thys swerde yee dies.
HURRA.
Thie wordes wylle ne mie hartis sete affere.
BIRTHA.
Save mee, oh! save mee from thys royner heere!
HURRA.
Stonde thou bie mee; nowe saie thie name and londe;
Or swythyne schall mie swerde thie boddie tare.
CELMONDE.
Bothe I wylle shewe thee bie mie brondeous honde.
HURRA.
Besette hym rounde, yee Danes.
CELMONDE.
Comme onne, and see
Gyff mie strynge anlace maie bewryen whatte I bee.

Oh! I forslagen be! ye Danes, now kenne,
I amme yatte Celmonde, seconde yn the fyghte,
Who dydd, atte Watchette, so forslege youre menne;
I fele myne eyne to swymme yn eterne nyghte;--
To her be kynde.

HURRA.
Thenne felle a wordhie knyghte.
Saie, who bee you?
BIRTHA.
I am greate Ælla's wyfe.
HURRA.
Ah!
BIRTHA.
Gyff anenste hym you harboure soule despyte,
Nowe wythe the lethal anlace take mie lyfe,
Mie thankes I ever onne you wylle bestowe,
From ewbryce you mee pyghte, the worste of mortal woe.
HURRA.
I wylle; ytte scalle bee soe: yee Dacyans, heere.
Thys Ælla havethe been oure foe for aie.
Thorrowe the battelle he dyd brondeous teare,
Beyng the lyfe and head of everych fraie;
From everych Dacyanne power he won the daie,
Forslagen Magnus, all oure schippes ybrente;
Bie hys felle arme wee now are made to straie;
The speere of Dacya he ynne pieces shente;
Whanne hantoned barckes unto our londe dyd comme,
Ælla the gare dheie sed, & wysched hym bytter dome.
BIRTHA.
Mercie!
HURRA.
Bee stylle.
Botte yette he ys a foemanne goode and fayre;
Whanne wee are spente, he soundethe the forloyne;
The captyves chayne he tosseth ynne the ayre,
Cheered the wounded bothe wythe bredde & wyne;
Has hee notte untoe somme of you bynn dygne?
You would have smethd onne Wedecestrian fielde,
Botte hee behylte the slughorne for to cleyne,
Throwynge onne hys wyde backe, hys wyder spreddynge shielde.
Whanne you, as caytysned, yn fielde dyd bee,
Hee oathed you to bee stylle, & strayte dydd sette you free.
Scalle wee forslege hys wyfe, because he's brave?
Bicaus hee syghteth for hys countryes gare?
Wylle hee, who havith bynne yis Ælla's slave,
Robbe hym of whatte percase he holdith deere?
Or scalle we menne of mennys sprytes appere,
Doeynge hym favoure for hys favoure donne,
Swefte to hys pallace thys damoiselle bere,
Bewrynne oure case, and to oure waie be gonne?
The last you do approve; so lette ytte bee;
Damoyselle, comme awaie; you safe scalle bee wythe mee.
BIRTHA.
Al blessynges maie the seynctes unto yee gyve!
Al pleasaunce maie youre longe-straughte livynges bee!
Ælla, whanne knowynge thatte bie you I lyve,
Wylle thyncke too smalle a guyfte the londe & lea.
O Celmonde! I maie deftlie rede bie the;
Whatte ille betydethe the enfouled kynde;
Maie ne thie cross-stone of thie cryme bewree!
Maie alle menne ken thie valoure, fewe thie mynde!
Soldyer! for syke thou arte ynn noble fraie,
I wylle thie goinges 'tende, & doe thou lede the waie.
HURRA.
The mornynge 'gyns alonge the Easte to sheene;
Darklinge the lyghte doe onne the waters plaie;
The seynte rodde leme slowe creepeth oere the green;
Toe chase the merkyness of nyghte awaie;
Swifte flies the howers thatte wylle brynge oute the daie;
The softe dewe falleth onne the greeynge grasse;
The shepster mayden, dyghtynge her arraie,
Scante sees her vysage yn the wavie glasse;
Bie the fulle daylieghte wee scalle Ælla see,
Or Brystowes wallyd towne; damoyselle, followe mee.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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