Poetical Tragedies

Mordred: A Tragedy in Five Acts.

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

ACT III.


SCENE IV.—(Enter Court-ushers with trumpets, Soldiers and Knights. Enter the KING: takes his State. Enter the QUEEN in a black robe surrounded by her Women, comes to the foot of the Throne, falls on her face.)

     Guin.     Arthur, thou wilt save me?

 

     Arthur.     My Queen, as the king I may not. My heart is hell.

Put thy trust in Heaven.

 

     Guin.     ’Tis a dread death.

 

     Arthur.     Madam, could Arthur save thee he would. If thou diest so

  doth my joy in this world—keep thy heart.

 

     Guin.     ’Fore God, I am innocent.

 

     Arthur.     Thou must trust to Heaven.

 

     Guin.     That I do. (rises and takes her state.)

 

     Court Chamberlain.     Guinevere, Queen of Britain, of this dread

  crime whereof thou art accused what hast thou to say?

 

     Guin.     (Rises) That I Guinevere, Queen of Britain, am innocent of

  this most foul charge of which I am here accused, and here call on Heaven to prove on the body of that foul knight mine accuser.

 

Marshalls enter and trumpets are blown.

 

     Court Chamberlain.     Doth no knight assoil the Queen?

 

     Guin.     Heaven help me!

 

     Arthur.     Do no knights approach?

 

     Page.     Nay, Sire.

 

     Arthur.     Then has the hour of my life’s sorrow come.

 

Enter SIR MADOR doffs to the KING.

 

     Sir Mador.     Sire, the time hath almost passed and I demand a
  knight to do no battle, or that the Queen be burnt.

 

     Guin.     (Aside) Merciful Heaven!

 

     Arthur.     (To the Page) Do none come?

 

     Page.     Nay, Sire.

 

     Dagonet.     Were I not bound to Vivien body and soul, I would state

  the truth. Nay I am accursed. There is but one way. (staggers to the front of the throne the throng presses back in wonder.)

 

     Dagonet.     (Kneels) Sire!

 

     Arthur.     (in voice of thunder.) Well fool?

 

     Dagonet.     Didst thou not once make me a knight?

 

     Arthur.     Yea, in a moment of jest.

 

     Dagonet.     Then would I take this gage!

 

     Guin.     Nay, nay, death, death, but not this insult!

What base knight of this court hath prompted this?

 

     Dagonet.     None, none my Lady, ’tis my wish.

 

     Arthur.     Take him out! Now is Arthur shamed!

 

Knights hurry DAGONET out.

 

     Dagonet.     (Aside) Now is Hell indeed my portion.

 

     Guin.     Sire, I would now die.

 

     Arthur.     Yea, my Queen, so would Arthur.

 

     Sir Mador.     Sire, the time be up. And, I as the accuser, now ask that

  thou, as King, wilt command that Guinevere, Queen of Britain, who standeth there, be taken from hence and burnt till she be dead.

 

A commotion without, LAUNCELOT rushes in draws and faces SIR MADOR.

 

     Laun.     And I say, nay!
[Curtain.