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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Death of the Boy Hengo
By Francis Beaumont (1584–1616) and John Fletcher (1579–1625)
 
From ‘Bonduca’

[Scene: A field between the British and the Roman camps.]

CARATACH—How does my boy?
  Hengo—I would do well; my heart’s well;
I do not fear.
  Caratach—        My good boy!
  Hengo—                    I know, uncle,
We must all die: my little brother died;
I saw him die, and he died smiling; sure,        5
There’s no great pain in’t, uncle. But pray tell me,
Whither must we go when we are dead?
  Caratach  [aside]—                    Strange questions!
Why, the blessed’st place, boy! ever sweetness
And happiness dwell there.
  Hengo—                Will you come to me?
  Caratach—Yes, my sweet boy.
  Hengo—                Mine aunt too, and my cousins?
        10
  Caratach—All, my good child.
  Hengo—                    No Romans, uncle?
  Caratach—                            No, boy.
  Hengo—I should be loath to meet them there.
  Caratach—                                No ill men,
That live by violence and strong oppression,
Come thither: ’tis for those the gods love, good men.
  Hengo—Why, then, I care not when I go, for surely        15
I am persuaded they love me: I never
Blasphemed ’em, uncle, nor transgressed my parents;
I always said my prayers.
  Caratach—                Thou shalt go, then;
Indeed thou shalt.
  Hengo—            When they please.
  Caratach—                        That’s my good boy!
Art thou not weary, Hengo?
  Hengo—                    Weary, uncle!
        20
I have heard you say you have marched all day in armor.
  Caratach—I have, boy.
  Hengo—                Am not I your kinsman?
  Caratach—                                Yes.
  Hengo—And am not I as fully allied unto you
In those brave things as blood?
  Caratach—                    Thou art too tender.
  Hengo—To go upon my legs? they were made to bear me.        25
I can play twenty miles a day; I see no reason
But, to preserve my country and myself,
I should march forty.
  Caratach—            What wouldst thou be, living
To wear a man’s strength!
  Hengo—                Why, a Caratach,
A Roman-hater, a scourge sent from Heaven        30
To whip these proud thieves from our kingdom. Hark!
[Drum within.]
*        *        *        *        *
[They are on a rock in the rear of a wood.]
  Caratach—Courage, my boy! I have found meat: look, Hengo,
Look where some blessèd Briton, to preserve thee,
Has hung a little food and drink: cheer up, boy;
Do not forsake me now.
  Hengo—                O uncle, uncle,
        35
I feel I cannot stay long! yet I’ll fetch it,
To keep your noble life. Uncle, I am heart-whole,
And would live.
  Caratach—    Thou shalt, long, I hope.
  Hengo—                        But my head, uncle!
Methinks the rock goes round.
[Enter Macer and Judas, and remain at the side of the stage.]
  Macer—                Mark ’em well, Judas.
  Judas—Peace, as you love your life.
  Hengo—                        Do not you hear
        40
The noise of bells?
  Caratach—        Of bells, boy! ’tis thy fancy;
Alas, thy body’s full of wind!
  Hengo—                Methinks, sir,
They ring a strange sad knell, a preparation
To some near funeral of state: nay, weep not,
Mine own sweet uncle; you will kill me sooner.        45
  Caratach—O my poor chicken!
  Hengo—                    Fie, faint-hearted uncle!
Come, tie me in your belt and let me down.
  Caratach—I’ll go myself, boy.
  Hengo—                    No, as you love me, uncle:
I will not eat it, if I do not fetch it;
The danger only I desire: pray, tie me.        50
  Caratach—I will, and all my care hang o’er thee! Come, child,
My valiant child!
  Hengo—        Let me down apace, uncle,
And you shall see how like a daw I’ll whip it
From all their policies; for ’tis most certain
A Roman train: and you must hold me sure, too;        55
You’ll spoil all else. When I have brought it, uncle,
We’ll be as merry—
  Caratach—            Go, i’ the name of Heaven, boy!  [Lets Hengo down by his belt.]
  Hengo—Quick, quick, uncle! I have it.  [Judas shoots Hengo with an arrow.]  Oh!
  Caratach—                        What ail’st thou?
  Hengo—Oh, my best uncle, I am slain!
  Caratach  [to Judas]—                        I see you,
And Heaven direct my hand! destruction        60
Go with thy coward soul!  [Kills Judas with a stone, and then draws up Hengo.  Exit Macer.]  How dost thou, boy?—
O villain, pocky villain!
  Hengo—                Oh, uncle, uncle,
Oh, how it pricks me!—am I preserved for this?—
Extremely pricks me!
  Caratach—            Coward, rascal coward!
Dogs eat thy flesh!
  Hengo—    Oh, I bleed hard! I faint too; out upon’t,
        65
How sick I am!—The lean rogue, uncle!
  Caratach—                            Look, boy;
I have laid him sure enough.
  Hengo—            Have you knocked his brains out?
  Caratach—I warrant thee, for stirring more: cheer up, child.
  Hengo—Hold my sides hard; stop, stop; oh, wretched fortune,
Must we part thus? Still I grow sicker, uncle.        70
  Caratach—Heaven look upon this noble child!
  Hengo—                            I once hoped
I should have lived to have met these bloody Romans
At my sword’s point, to have revenged my father,
To have beaten ’em,—oh, hold me hard!—but, uncle—
  Caratach—Thou shalt live still, I hope, boy. Shall I draw it?        75
  Hengo—You draw away my soul, then. I would live
A little longer—spare me, Heavens!—but only
To thank you for your tender love: good uncle,
Good noble uncle, weep not.
  Caratach—                O my chicken,
My dear boy, what shall I lose?
  Hengo—                    Why, a child,
        80
That must have died however; had this ’scaped me,
Fever or famine—I was born to die, sir.
  Caratach—But thus unblown, my boy?
  Hengo—                            I go the straighter
My journey to the gods. Sure, I shall know you
When you come, uncle.
  Caratach—            Yes, boy.
  Hengo—                    And I hope
        85
We shall enjoy together that great blessedness
You told me of.
  Caratach—        Most certain, child.
  Hengo—                        I grow cold;
Mine eyes are going.
  Caratach—        Lift ’em up.
  Hengo—                        Pray for me;
And, noble uncle, when my bones are ashes,
Think of your little nephew!—Mercy!
  Caratach—                        Mercy!
        90
You blessèd angels, take him!
  Hengo—                Kiss me: so.
Farewell, farewell!  [Dies.]
  Caratach—        Farewell, the hopes of Britain!
Thou royal graft, farewell for ever!—Time and Death,
Ye have done your worst. Fortune, now see, now proudly
Pluck off thy veil and view thy triumph; look,        95
Look what thou hast brought this land to!—O fair flower,
How lovely yet thy ruins show, how sweetly
Even death embraces thee! the peace of Heaven,
The fellowship of all great souls, be with thee!
 
 
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