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Johannes Kepler 


King Henry III of France 


Self-published work 
Publisher name: Robert Lalonde 
First edition: February, 2010 
In the public domain 

ISBN: 978-0-9783909-3-8 

Canadian drama (English) - 21st 


robert. lalonde 

Johannes Kepler 

Dramatic characters (13) 

Johannes Kepler, astronomer 

Matthaus Wackher von 

Wackenfels, court advisor 

Katharina Kepler, Johannes' 


Cristoph Kepler, Johannes' 


Caleb, Jewish money-lender 

Mustapha, Arab merchant 

Hobnot, Caleb's servant 

Cuddie, Mustapha's servant 

Ursula Reinbold, Katharina's 


Urban Krautlin, surgeon, Ursula's 


Luther Einhorn, magistrate 

Johann Ulrich Aulber, magistrate 

Albrecht von Wallenstein, general 

in the imperial army 

Soldiers, Jews, peasants, Arabs, 
plague-stricken men 

Time: 17th century 

Places: Bohemia, Austria-Styria, 

Germanic lands 

Act 1. Scene 1. A street in 
Leonberg. 1601 

Enter Ursula Reinbold and Urban 

Ursula. Sick to the core. 

Urban. Come, sister, enter here, 

where you may find 

Some remedy in hope at least. 

Ursula. What, in that house of 

humbling and of mumbling? in 

that Katharina's house? 

Urban. Is she not known for herbs 

and medicines 

That healing suns have rarely 


Ursula. We will see whether that 

can be revealed. 

Urban. She comes at a bad time 

for your disease. 

Enter Katharina Kepler 

Katharina. What, Ursula? Why do 

you stand today 

Where often you have scorned to 

set one foot? 

Ursula. No soreness after dinner, 


Strong in my bowels, could have 

in the hours 

Of an Antartic night convinced me 


To greet you at your door, except 

for this 

I suffer under. 

Katharina. Is it an inflammation, 

wringing gout, 

A fever sparing no known organ, 


That speed the unsuspecting fool 

to death? 

Urban. No, none of these. 

Ursula. My illness is a secret spy, 

who comes 

And goes in corridors, not seen to 


In any chamber till his powders 


Most of the building. 

Katharina. Then enter gladly here. 

Urban. I will be generous if you 


Ursula. O! O! Relieve these pains, 

or let me hear 

Thick grass grow silently around 

my head. 

Katharina. Inside my house, the 

faithful can at last 

Behold a miracle none can deny. 

Urban. Come, sister, you are safer 


Exeunt Ursula, Urban, and 

Act 1. Scene 2. A street in Prague. 

Enter Johannes Kepler and 
Matthaus Wackher von 


Johannes. Yes, on the death of 

Tycho Brahe named 

Imperial mathematician in Prague. 

Matthaus. Who doubts the fox has 

found his hole? 

Johannes. Not for the love and 

adoration of 

The goddess of the world, 

promotion, do 

I seek to rise, but for astronomy's. 

Matthaus. I should believe you. 

Grammar gives us suck 

With dialectics and with rhetoric 

To yield us mind and tongue, 

whose progeny 

May be obtained as jealous 


Reclining wantonly on narrow 


First music kisses tickling our rapt 


Then follow her twin sisters 

rushing in: 

Arithmetic, geometry- all three 

You have already slept with, but 

there is 

One more you keep in secret from 

men's eyes: 

Astronomy the lovely. 

Johannes. I have; none other 

merits my cold bed. 

Matthaus. But yet do you propose 

to marry her? 

Johannes. The sun will sooner 

turn around the earth, 

As some have dreamt awake, than 

my faith fail. 

Matthaus. Then please our 

emperor and for yourself 

You'll finger gold a-plenty, but the 


Gains more in that: the knowledge 

of that world. 

Johannes. My face is to myself 


If you knew Kepler better, you 

would not 

Be Kepler's friend. Know that your 

Kepler is 

Subject to sores, scabs, and foul, 

putried wounds. 

Like a house dog, I fawn and wag 

the tail 

Whenever pleased; I gnaw o n 
bones and chew 

The dry bread of subservience, 
snap at legs 

Of strangers, then come back and 
fawn once more, 

To seek approval and to sniff 

In books the dungheap of 

At all times still dependent on the 

Of lordships, looking pitiful with 
tail on ground 

Whenever scathingly reproved, to 

More fawning follows, licking of 
the hand 

That strikes, until the puppy wins 
the prize: 

His master's favor, though 

Matthdus. But you have that which 
few dare to possess. 
Johannes. One certain purpose I 
achieve at will: 

The power to expose false 

Matthdus. Then what can worry 

Johannes. My mother, mean half- 
skeleton who fights 
Against most of her neighbors, 
bony wolf 

In bushes mouthing nightly as she 

Matthdus. An all too common pest 
in town or court. 

Exeunt Johannes and Matthaus 

Act 1. Scene 3. A street in 
Leonberg. 1601 

Enter Caleb and Luther Einhorn 

Luther. O! Many miseries of my 

own making may 

Be turned away at once with that 


Without that sum, I should not 


Caleb. Because you are a 

magistrate, I may 

Obtain advantages against a cheat. 

Luther. Will I be grateful to one 

whom many freezing in debt have 

cursed to find comfortably lying 

beside his fire? 

Caleb. Done. 

Luther. Tomorrow? 

Caleb. At my house. 

Luther. Safe! I revere your scroll, 

eternal lamp, 

And candelabrum. 

Enter Urban Krautlin 

Urban. My good best friend, 


Luther. Greet a companion at last 

better comforted than he 

miserably was. 

Caleb. Money makes him. 

Urban. Who is sadder with more 

money on him? 

Luther. This loan cannot be 

forgotten, Caleb. 

Caleb. I do not doubt it, sir. 

Urban. Call him a Jew, Caleb, if he 
forgets you. 

Caleb. I will if he remembers. 
Luther. Well answered. 

Exit Caleb 


Urban. I'm heartily glad to find 

you out of an immediate and 

dangerous debt. 

Luther. Shivering on waves of the 

sea inside an oarless tugboat, 

Urban, on which I would not 

condemn unrepentant child 

murderers when I catch them. 

Urban. Very happily resolved. 

Should we go in to dinner? 

Luther. I'll gladly pay for food and 

drink to friends 

And other unknown smilers I may 


Urban. A Jew creates for us the 

sun on earth 

A second time with money. 

Exeunt Luther and Urban 

Act 1. Scene 4. A field outside of 
Leonberg. 1601 

Enter Hobnot and Cuddie 

Hobnot. Say, Cuddie, should we 

dance and sing awhile? 

Cuddie. Too willingly I laze and 

doze all day. 

Hobnot. I'll string my lute while 

you blow on your flute. 

Cuddie. Right, though I would 

much rather blow on yours. 

Hobnot. Sweet, so would I, while 

hiding deep in night. 

Cuddie. A man may not allow such 

pleasures to 

Be known to spying neighbors 

loathing them. 

Hobnot. (singing 

One morning as a child of twelve, 

Cuddie. (singing 

Hey-ho nostalgia time, 

Hobnot. I scratched and yawned, I 

rose and pissed, 

Cuddie. With clog on heel to 

school we trudged. 

Hobnot. The teacher found we 

could not count, 

Cuddie. Hey-ho the doltish 


Hobnot. So nose to ground and 

arse in air, 

Cuddie. He made us add at either 


Hobnot. On Sunday, boys feign to 


Cuddie. Hey-ho the priest and 


Hobnot. For man nailed high with 

arms spread wide, 

Cuddie. His snot's on chest when 

nose is blown. 

Hobnot. A youth loves fights with 

Arab Jews, 

Cuddie. Hey-ho Jerusalem, 

Hobnot. And lifting skirts with 

dark veil on, 

Cuddie. For mixing seeds should 

favor peace. 

Hobnot. With her hole plugged, 

one more is sought, 

Cuddle. Hey-ho two men in bed, 

Hobnot. On sterile ground their 

seed to spill, 

Cuddle. For pleasures rise when 

planters fall. 

Hobnot. All holidays must end 

some time, 

Cuddle. Hey-ho sad roundelay; 

Hobnot. We lie in church and 

rings exchange, 

Cuddle. To bring discomfort to 

our home. 

Hobnot. A man comes in to rest 

or play, 

Cuddle. Hey-ho forget that dream; 

Hobnot. She'll make him work, 

complain all day, 

Cuddle. Before his bread is dipped 

in cream. 

Hobnot. With pointed breasts 

she'll scream and cry, 

Cuddle. Hey-ho the wind and rain; 

Hobnot. We plead with songs to 

one unique, 

Cuddle. False note: same woman 


Hobnot. Her belly swells with 

none of ours, 

Cuddle. Hey-ho the little brats, 

Hobnot. Who feed on cakes while 

learning rules; 

Cuddle. More Hobnots and more 

Cuddies grow. 

Hobnot. All men are knaves, all 

women whores, 

Cuddle. Hey-ho the end is near, 

Hobnot. But then so what? We eat 

and fuck; 

Cuddle. That life is best when we 

ask less. 

Hobnot. So ends our madrigal 

most pastoral. 

Cuddle. Airs of the country 

favored by the few. 

Hobnot. Here to assure our 

entertainment best 

Comes forth a kind of Jew or Jew 


Enter Caleb 

Caleb. What, loons like pebbles on 

my path, knaves, kerns, dreary 

clods in Sunday hats, little folk as 

thin and pliant as my shoe-laces, 

though never so useful? 

Hobnot. Do we suck out your air? 

Caleb. No, all ways are favorable 

to me, for I, main figure in my 

tribe, dispensed today a deed of 

charity likely to be of lasting 

profit only to myself. 

Hobnot. His generosity rises to 

cast down. 

Cuddle. My tongue is blue with 

cold. I must attend 

To a dear brother grieving in his 


Who nearly died in bed last night 


It was so cold that when he blew 

his nose 

It fell away. 

Hobnot. Cool ears of usury sleep 

on warm sheets. 

Caleb. I am unlike a huddler with 

his lambs. 

Each day the rich are happier than 

you are, 

For every moment money we 


To buy rich food, neat clothes, 

and houses warm 

In breadth and influence. Note 

this at last. 

Hobnot. We do and groan at it. 

Caleb. I eat my profits with a lusty 


Enlarge my paunch in mounting 

piles of flesh, 

For I long mightily to gorge and 


It makes me happy. Glad I am this 


Not only am I joyous to eat meat 

Beyond all thoughts delicious, but 

I am 

Much gladder still that few men 

can afford 

So fine a dish, although they seem 

to faint 

Quite overburdened in trying to 


Once in a year what I consume 

each meal. 

Hobnot. No doubt horseradish, 

cucumber, beets mixed with pike, 

goose liver, and roasted lamb. 

Caleb. We smack the lips before 

your eager face 

And drop in privies finer 


Than what appears on envious 

country plates. 

And thus say I to my own glass 

each night: 

"Be great, be greater, greatest, 

best of all; 

In sight of nations triumph as you 


Or as you might, or will." 

Cuddle. He might do it. 

Caleb. I will go in now, to possess 

all lands 

Once promised me, by Moses 

written well, 

To wealth and fame in the entire 


Hobnot. Ha! 

Caleb. We will arise and swell, 

and, swelling, grow 

In exploitation, yet beloved by 


No Arab in his tent allowed to 


One word against our growing; 


In prison he must shrink for 

speaking ill 

Against the powerfullest. 

Cuddle. Should we hear more? 

Caleb. This I aver to every Hebrew 


"Do not heed the opinions of the 


And bloated only, but of lesser 


For small fry bite small enemies to 


We feed their dreams with plenty. 

"For one night, 

I slept like Solomon between two 


With richest garb in palaces of 


Smile thankfully materialists I 


Hobnot. A starving spider's 

dangling from his web 

Is our best lot next to a richer 


Caleb. I am the one called in, for 

all the rest 

Still err in lacking confidence to 


With tools of war and thought 

against the foe. 

Hobnot. He's called in, Cuddie, 

while we are called out 

In frosts to tend our silly sheep in 


Caleb. I sigh and say: "My people, 

do not fear, 

For I with my god will contend 

with them, 

Oppose fools to destruction, so 

that all 

The Christian world with us will 

arm themselves 

To lift the flags of death in mighty 


Cuddie. A goodly power favors his 


Caleb. When we return with force 

in Palestine, 

We will begin to wear the helm 

and sword 

That will make nations tremble in 

our midst. 

Expect the favorites of god, o r 


Celestial mushroom governing the 


To drive men's bones as 

fragments to our will 

Before our thought-usurping 


Hobnot. Meanwhile, he cheats. 

Caleb. I answer to the blind: "Your 

house is there," 

When it is clearly on the other 


Cuddie. And takes their money. 

Caleb. My money is much dearer 

than my wife. 

If I discover any of it in 

Your hand, I will stone you to 

death for it. 

I will not pardon here. O, no, I'll 


A woman's garment first and that 

you know 

Is quite against the habit of our 


Or else pull down my father's 

breeches while 

He dozes, contrary to what bestirs 

My usual prick of mind. 

Hobnot. Ambition speaks with her 

own tongue at last. 

Caleb. I will do this and not a 

second thing. 

I may not plow with one ass and 

my ox. 

I am brought in and may possess 

all that 

I lack in all the earth and heaven, 


I sit before my house and say: "All 


Is mine, and none may take a 

dust-ball out 

Of it, on pain of gibbering in cells 

Far smaller than the box where his 

cats piss." 

I am established, like a sheat of 

Beneath a mighty mansion, soon 
to be 

The praise of nations. 
Hobnot. And very dangerous to be 

Caleb. Receive known prophecies 
on days of doom. 

You'll bury thousands more each 
day of life 

Than all our newborns thriving in 
the year. 

God's finger points at you as men 
of sin 

And vilest lewdness. If you stand 
with us, 

You will be blessed beyond all 
men above, 

In riches, wisdom, gladness, and 
Yes, those who love us will be 
praised and clasped, 
With gifts of love received in 
every house, 

Rejoicers dancing in the halls of 

While those who hate us will be 
cursed and spoiled, 
With plagues unknown abandoned 
in the fields, 

Contemners idly slipping into 

Enter Mustapha 

Here is my friend, the one 


As only he can be who helps us to 

Important money. 

Mustapha. Friend of my coffers! 

Caleb. Friend of my houses! 

Mustapha. Friend of my harems 

and my palaces! 

Caleb. Friend of my vessels and 


Hobnot. They worship demons of 

their own invention. 

Mustapha. Have you received my 


Caleb. I have and thank you 

mightily for them. 

Cuddle. Good, thank the turbaned 

thief society 

Allows for its own profit. 

Caleb. Why should not east with 

east embrace at last? 

Deliberate neglect of Arab art 

And science is on the world's 

puffy cheeks 

A scorching black-streaked brand 

of whorish shame. 

Mustapha. Most have in their 

worst follies and contempt 

Forgotten all the lore proud 

Europe owes 

To mathematic figures and 


First demonstrated on our sapient 


Caleb. For those we praise you 


Mustapha. Remind yourself how 

well a Persian mind 

First calculated more precisely 

Than thought of in Gregorian 


A shorter year adjusted to the 



Caleb. Love well the stranger, for 

you may obtain 

From him good merchandise, and 

he from you 

Some money lacking, to our 

mutual weal 

And miracles of fortune in the 


Throw out your shepherd's crook 

and follow us. 

Hobnot. We are instructed by this 

fair exchange. 

Cuddle. And happier for our 

betterment to serve 

Inspired prophets of commercial 


Exeunt Caleb, Mustapha, Hobnot, 
and Cuddie 

Act 2. Scene 1. The imperial court 
in Prague. 1609 

Enter Johannes Kepler and 
Matthaus Wackher von 


Matthaus. Astromers who follow 


The errant ways of planets look 

and blink, 

But always fail to see what they 


Johannes. In Tycho's papers I have 

traced more orbs 

In true positions than were ever 


Matthaus. Then arm yourself with 


To guide the wayfarers back to 

their house. 

Johannes. To them I'll show my 

new astronomy. 

Matthaus. The motions of the 

planets on your charts 

Seem like their second birth, at 

last to be 

Known to intelligent humanity. 

Johannes. Copernicus dispelled 

old Ptolemy's 

Night-vapors with his steady 

centric sun. 

Matthaus. But like a janizzary in 

the heat 

Of noonday desert dunes you pull 

down hard 

The phantom horses of their 


Johannes. True, careful measures 

of triangulation 

Between the sun, the earth, and 

Mars show that 

Our planet moves like any other, 


Whenever near the sun, and 

slower as 

It moves away. 

Matthaus. To verify your 

measures, I will need 

Ten lives in prison served with 

meat and wine. 

Johannes. If you are weary of my 


Take pity on the man who verified 

Them seventy times. 

Matthaus. I pity enviously. 

Johannes. If speeds of planets 

change as the result 


Of one sure force exerted by the 


A reasonable supposition- 

The sun can never lie exactly at 

Their center-point. 

Matthdus. Then where? 

Johannes. The planets court the 


In an elliptic roundelay, where he 

Basks at one focal-point. 

Matthdus. If proven to be true, 

may Kepler be 

Acknowledged as the priest of 

nature's book. 

Johannes. And there is more to 


The area swept by any planet's 


Around the sun in equal units of 

Time is a constant value and the 


Matthdus. More unsought 

mysteries by Kepler solved! 

What is the nature of this mighty 


Johannes. We can conjecture that 

as all the earth 

Pulls down this stone, the stone in 

turn pulls up 

The earth. Thus, in my new 


Mechanic reasons are for the first 


Made beautiful and true. But I 


To fly a bolder course throughout 

the skies 

When my mind's caked in silence 

of their frosts. 

Matthdus. First publish widely, 

then the wintry sun 

Of this world's honor may to your 


Melt them forever. 

Exeunt Johannes and Matthaus 

Act 2. Scene 2. A street in 
Leonberg. 1609 

Enter Ursula Reinbold and Urban 

Ursula. Her pills and herbs make 

me a little better than I was, but 

yet much worse. 

Urban. On portions of a 

sumptuous cake, we often find, to 

taste it all, our best friend 

sprinkle death. 

Ursula. How can I trip her down? 

Urban. Her son owes me money. 

Degenerate quean! 

Ursula. Never in my hearing use 

that word. I once disrobed before 

men's eyes the filthiest parts of 

whoredom, now happily 

transformed by honest virtues and 

my husband's cudgel into a 

sweeter form of womanhood. 

Urban. Dregs of neighborliness! 

We swallow familiar filths, undone 

and forever unhappy. 

Ursula. I usually leave her house 

devoid of pain and wretchedness, 

and yet, brother, in the end n o 

sweeter than I was. 

Urban. A paradox smelling of 



Ursula. What honorable person 

would not grind 

The teeth at this? 

Urban. Is patience virtue? Stoic 


The doting father of Christianity! 

Ursula. Some plot I'll simmer in 

my pot of hate, 

Though slow quite dangerous, lest 

we imbibe 

Hell's broth on a kind woman's 


Exeunt Ursula and Urban 

Act 2. Scene 3. The imperial court 
in Prague. 1612 

Enter Johannes Kepler and 
Matthaus Wackher von 


Matthaus. What's this? A groom 

sporting a club at court? 

Caleb. No, sir, merely his 

toothpick. Good day to you. 

Matthaus. I have once seen that 

prosperous beard murmuring in 

the imperial palace. 

Caleb. No, sir, you never saw it in 

your life, 

And so we'll go. 

Exeunt Caleb and Hobnot 

Enter Caleb and Hobnot 

Caleb. Ten men sit smiling in a 

room of scorn, 

Refusing to pay what they 


Here, take this cudgel, sir. Knock 

out the brain 

Of my first debtor reeling drunk 

from there. 

Hobnot. Ha! Are you mad? 

Caleb. Are you my man or not? 

Stand and obey. 

Hobnot. I may return to prison for 

this deed, 

Where, for your benefices, I have 


Twice, or perhaps three times 


Caleb. Conceal yourself behind 

that pillar. Go. 

Hobnot. I will not do it. 

Matthaus. Ha, is it possible? Court 

debts now die 

Dishonored and unmoarned and 


Sleep not with wives but witches 

of revenge. 

Johannes. As court advisor to the 


You may with profit rail on fools 

and knaves. 

Matthaus. What, will you leave the 


Johannes. I have to the world 

given my "Dioptrics" and 

I have no more to say. 

Matthaus. With your "Dioptrics", 

we can understand 

At last what we behold. 

Johannes. A friend speaks kindly. 

Matthaus. Your virtual image is 

much truer than 

The world's as we see it. 


Johannes. I see with double 

convex lenses that 

You mean to flatter. 

Matthdus. To keep you rather. 

Our Emperor Rudolph Second of 

that name 

Deposed! His brother, pious in his 


Of any who denies religious 


Elected in his stead! I am a- whirl, 

Outside the sway of your 

controlling sun. 

Johannes. The headstrong 

emperor permits me for 

Three hundred thirty guilders 

every year 

And sixty more for firewood to 

keep my 

Position as mathematician in the 


As well as in the district of fair 


Matthdus. At Linz, I'll visit you. 

Johannes. At Linz, I'll always 

welcome best of friends. 

Exeunt Johannes and Matthaus 

Act 2. Scene 4. A tavern in Linz. 

Enter Mustapha and Cuddie 
carrying a huge jug 

Mustapha. A little farther bend 

the pliant knee 

In pain and sorrow. 

Cuddie. My master, here I'll sit 

and breathe awhile. 

I lack the strength to fart. 
Mustapha. Rest; to restore you 
faster, drink your fill. 
Cuddie. (farting 

best of recompenses! 
Mustapha. You offer incense to a 
god we see. 

As taught by Avicenna and by 


Unwatered wine stuffed bloating 

may amend. 

Cuddie. The better, then, unless 

the wine is mixed 

With some saliva of sweet men of 


Mustapha. Strive for your 

pleasure. Put the heavy jug 

Down as our lamp of wisdom. In 

this land, 

1 sell luxurious cloth, with 

Dates, raisins, precious spices of 
all kinds, 

And with huge profits hugely 
drink all day 

Wines of the grape, wines of the 
fig and more. 

Why work again if our reward is 

Cuddie. Ah, ah! 

Mustapha. Defeated Rudolph 
rests, an emperor 
Of dust. On the cold ground let 
him remain. 

Drink, boy, for in the passing of a 

We'll stink as any king bereft of 

Cuddie. Where is our tavern- 
keeper, master Froth? 


Mustapha. Pissing in his sleep 

below the stairs. 

May his wet breeches honor, as 

ours do, 

The holy bread and wine with 

meat of pork. 

Cuddle. On a sad grave praying, 

may parishioners 

Lie drunk on vapors wafted from 

my corpse. 

Mustapha. The pious Christians 

waste their time in church 

With what we do more pleasantly: 

eat down 

Our god with wine. 

Cuddle. Because he did not see me 

in his church, 

The parson cursed me bitterly 


Mustapha. To chatter with a single 

man each day 

Suffices to turn me from all the 


Cuddle. Priests will I push off even 

in my tomb. 

Mustapha. Blind piety reproves 

blind atheists, 

And gives them spectacles to see 

quite clear 

What never can be seen. Do not 

heed them. 

Of heaven no one knows a 

beggar's fart. 

Our terror, hope, disdain, 


Are fumes; we talk; the day 

begins; we talk; 

Each day is ended with its smoke; 

we talk. 

Cuddle. To weep for Jesus is a 


Because he's dead, with spiders in 

the dust 

Of centuries long buried. 

Mustapha. If your religion be 

To clasp a willing virgin, 

And celebrate your vigor in her 


Then I'm religious; 

If to deface with love-songs 

margins of 

Hymn-books and snore during the 

rituals be 

Acts of deep piety and songs of 


Then I'm religious. 

Cuddle. I practice charity as Paul 


For man and woman I love equally 

In bed. Why should I not? Both 

have two arms, 

Two legs, and places man can 

enter deep. 

Mustapha. My idle words lack 

power to describe 

Tenacity in camels, or the sway 

Of a girl's hips, but this I say to 


Inside a church: do not stay there, 

for sleep 

Is better, drinking best. In 

mosques, I strike 

My brow on mats and raise my 

arse in air, 

Because I drink too much. 

Cuddle. The temple dreamt by 

lusty Solomon, 

The books of angry sages, 



Return of prodigals, and miracles 

Are wonderful and true, but not 


The urine of a man who has not 


One word of them. 

Mustapha. Truth needs no miracle 

to be believed. 

The caller on my minaret cries 


"Time for a glass! Drink deeply all 

day long, 

Bowl after bowl until the night 


And then tomorrow morning pray 

at once 

So that you may in joy begin 


Cuddle. There is more soul in 

overflowing cups 

Than in all churches, mosques, 

and synagogues. 

Mustapha. As prophets of the 

tavern once revealed: 

"Look elsewhere for a man to 

combat lust 

And heresy, for these my 

scabbard's pierced, 

My falchion limply trailing on the 


My horse's bit well fastened to its 


And I ride backward as fast as I 


Cuddle. I never listen to a priest; 


I always do whatever I should not. 

Mustapha. Physicians warn us of 

grave illnesses, 

So long as to their science we 


So does the priest with his 

disease. I say: 

There is more danger in our 

doctor's pills, 

As well as their creators, 


And sellers than in sleeping hot in 


Like fractions multiplied by 


We are diminished cruelly by 


Cuddle. My parson asks: "Why do 

you drink so much? 

Why are you always at the cards 

and dice?" 

I answer thus: 

"I drink because I drank; I'll play 

because I play." 

Mustapha. Beware that only 

gravediggers for fees 

Receive one's body worthy of 


If by my death no one has lost, 

How can I say in life I won? 

To drink too much is folly to the 


Cuddle. To drink too little is the 

lot of fools. 

I'll dally with my bottle-neck and 


Lasciviously to her fat bottom's 


When am I wiser grown? 

Not when my host declares: 

"Give him a cup of wine," but 

when he says: 


"Here's Cuddie with another cup 

of wine." 

Mustapha. When it is time for 

prayers, promise to 

Renounce one thing: the prayers, 

only those, 

And you'll fare all the better every 


Cuddie. The table on which stands 

our pot 

Is much more precious than the 

cross, our cork 

More saintly than his nails, our 

ruddy wine 

More satisfying than his ghostly 


Mustapha. Drink, help your 

neighbor: Jesus on his cross 

Did not know more. 

Cuddie. If God be good, he'll 

pardon all our sins, 

If God be bad, he surely is not. 

Mustapha. If you arrive from 

heaven, I will heed 

The stories of your heaven, but if 


I'll kiss Mohammed when he flies 

back down. 

Enter Johannes Kepler 

Cuddie. What, will a Lutheran in 

taverns peep 

On Sunday of all times? 

Johannes. It seems I must be 

mocked before I say 

One word. Where is my brother? 

Cuddie. Where you should look 

for him. 

Mustapha. A Lutheran will to a 

Papist speak 

And a Mohammedan in the dark 


Of wine and disputation? 

Johannes. I am united with all 

Christians in 

A special bond of love and 


With all my brethren trade in 

words of peace. 

Contrariwise, our leaders couch 

no more 

With old simplicity but with the 


Of trouble and dispute, 


Maliciously each Papist word and 


Mustapha. True, fiery heads in 

foul Germanic lands 

With heat and smoke obscure our 

common path. 

Sir, what is your profession? Not 


Johannes. As chief mathematician 

of our town, 

I am expected to yield prophecies; 

As teacher in the seminary school, 

I am instructed to make young 

men wise. 

Mustapha. For the first, we see 

folly dressed with robes 

Of borrowed wisdom; for the 

second, mouths 

Of fools make wisdom seem but 

folly's mask. 

Cuddie. His brother's near. 

Mustapha. Let us rejoice in full 

view of the sun. 


After despair of heavy toil: new 


Cuddle. Our burden's lighter when 

the profit's known. 

Exeunt Mustapha and Cuddie, 
enter Cristoph Keppler 

Johannes. How, Cristoph, chewing 

hard on the tough meat 

Of the world's faults? Then spread 

on it for once 

A little mustard of spiced charity, 

Unless you hope with moping to 

be saved. 

Is it well seen to creep 


In shabby corners spitting spiteful 


With tavern brawling ever 


Before each plate full-garnished 


Unsociably sociable? 

The inimproved with jangling 


The man of purpose in perpetual 


Of interruptedness. 

Cristoph. I am unlucky each day 

of my life. 

I should in bed remain, to watch 

the streaks 

Of the day's sun sweep on the 


As pewterer, I hold more metal in 

My wares than mettle in my 

saddened soul. 

Johannes. What of our mother? 

Cristoph. If to snarl and to 

mumble over broths 

Be a poor widow's fortune, she is 


Johannes. She makes the very 

heart of charity 

Seem ugly to her neighbors. 

Cristoph. For my part, I fare all 

the worst 

By her attentions, as may be 


In my deep wounds and scars. 

I sleep with trouble daily, without 


By children I am beaten, bitten by 

Most animals, chased from my 

house to ponds 

And back. Last week, I nearly 

drowned when winds 

Hurled like a constable's incipient 


My boat, and my neck nearly 

burnt to ash 

When mother's busy skillet fell o n 


When will you visit her? 

Johannes. When I arrive in 


Cristoph. The week when 

Wednesday follows Saturday. 

Exeunt Johannes and Cristoph 

Act 3. Scene 1. A street in Linz. 

Enter Caleb and Hobnot 

Caleb. They owe me money. 
Hobnot. I heard of that. 


Caleb. Then follow my behests, 

lest you become 

Cursed in your dealings with a 

careless world. 

There will be blotches on their 

hands and feet, 

They will behold their face before 

a glass 

And say in deepest fear: "This not 

not I," 

They will bend down to defecate 

and find 

No hand to wipe themselves in 


Their loins will burn in full 


Of itching. Mildews will forever 


On creases of their brow, 

untouched by mead. 

There will not be one part of 


In their entire body, out or in. 

They will be men accursed of all, 

but most 

By their own selves. Like blots o r 


Cut off as soon as seen or smelt 


They will be treated as disease 


Their mouth will be well-rounded 

in an "O", 

Not knowing any other syllable 

But that of pain and sorrow. 

They will lack tools and roads to 

kill themselves, 

Without an eye to guide the final 


Quite earless to the rushing of a 


And enemies will laugh to find 

their griefs 

Incurable and mounting. 

Hobnot. Hell is no fable; it lies in 

your head. 

Caleb. If they are punished hard, 

I'll gladly lose 

My gold with pleasure, like 


Hobnot. Yet poverty, we know, is 

a neglected sister. 

Caleb. And wealth our most 

essential mistress: love 

Her well. She like a goddess 

makes the lame 

Winged Atalantas bending to no 


Turns fools into well-read 


And sages into fools, makes men 


Songs of hoarse ladies like the 

Orphean lyre, 

And students of a needless fantasy 

Into commanding popes. 

Hobnot. A money-lender who 

forgets a debt 

Would seem to us a proven 


Caleb. The only miracle man ever 


Is man believing in a miracle. 

If we eat, copulate, drink, and 


No one, then our religion's good. 

Enter Cristoph Kepler and Urban 


Night-treading whisperers of 

darkest shame, 

Far have I followed you, 

possessing tongues 

And wits to make the worst of 

matters good. 

You owe me money, sirs. Bethink 


Can you expect to laugh and cog 

at this? 

Urban. I'll pay you when my debts 

are reimbursed. 

Caleb. My money! 

Cristoph. Dissembling Urban, I 

paid everything 

To all extremities of satisfaction. 

Urban. A tinsmith baffling me? 

Caleb. My money! 

Enter Johannes Kepler 

Urban. Pay what is owed. That 

would be best for you. 

Cristoph. I paid what I affirmed I 


Johannes. The matter of a tavern 


Urban. Keep your wife warm in 


Cristoph. Ho, Urban, hear my 

harshest diatribe: 

You lie. If dogs could lie, your lies 

would be 

Like those of surgeon-dogs, 

pretending to 

Amend the sickly each day of 

their life. 

Urban. Confusedly dishonest! 

Blockish block! 

I loathe a bad comparison much 


Than a bad man. 

Caleb. My money! 

Cristoph. A fool heeds blows. 

Urban. I will anoint you king of 

kingly fools. 

(They fight 

Johannes. What, Christians 

striking hard each other's face 

For money? In deep shame desist 

for once. 

Caleb. If blows could either kill 

the maddened beasts 

Or turn them into grateful 


Cristoph. O! O! I'm blinded. 

Urban. That makes me happy. 

Eyes by lying blood 

Stung and disfigured! 

Yet that's too brief a pain, for I 


To spend the rest of my life 

hitting you. 

Cristoph. How firmly yet his 

clumps of hair are seized, 

No less than the main matter o n 

his head. 

Urban. I have felt joy in fixing well 

a bone, 

But never half so much as 

breaking yours. 

Taste that and more. Ha, still with 

teeth and arms? 

Cristoph. Yes, happy even in my 

death-throes, sir, 

Provided I can blister well a face 


Twice-perjured every minute it 

can speak. 

Johannes. Enough. 

Urban. I spy a constable afar, 

which saves 

A cheating fool from further 


Exit Urban 

Caleb. There goes part of my 

Johannes. It would be best to try 
another day. 

Caleb. I'm tamed for once. But let 
your brother heed: 
A lender's mercy will not last 

A hungry flea's lifetime in well- 
washed sheets. 

From furnishing with Brahe's 


A glorious map of stars, together 


Sure means to calculate precisely 

Exact positions of the planets in 

The past, the present, and the 




News of 

certain death 

At the stake. 

Johannes. Hah? 

Cristoph. She 


Johannes. My 


To Leonberg! I 


Bad news 
no, horrible- 
our mother's 




accused of 

buttons burst in 

have been too 

Exit Caleb 

Exeunt Johannes and Cristoph 

Hobnot. I begin to tire of that 
poorest of rich masters. 
Johannes. Well thought on! 
Hobnot. But what I wish for I can 
never know, 
Or even care to know at all. 

Exit Hobnot 

Johannes. Here is my 

handkerchief to wipe some blood 

Away from brow and teeth. 

Henceforth, forbear 

Such tricks as quite distract to his 


A science-minded man by science 


Act 3. Scene 2. A street in 
Leonberg. 1615 

Enter Ursula Reinbold and 
Katharina Kepler 

Ursula. Scorned and debased as a 

glass-maker's wife! 

Scorns will be paid and then in 

full repaid 

With doubled double interest. 

Katharina. Have you not often 

prospered with 

My potent salves and herbal 



Ursula. I have, as you will find 

when your tin cup is cruelly 

melted on your eyes and ears. 

Katharina. This is to help one's 

neighbor! Old shoes should die in 


Ursula. As you will find, because 

your home's in hell. 

Katharina. Miserable woman 

alone, with no one to help. 

Ursula. Your kind of help is 

mostly known to hurt. 

Katharina. Bad tempers make it 


Ursula. Go, old thing; shuffle 

towards damnation. 

Exit Katharina and enter Urban 

Urban. The villagers say she is 

accused of witchcraft. 

Ursula. Behold her tongue of 

accusation, and, with some luck, 

the whip that waits on sinning. 

Urban. I think you have done well. 

Ursula. I know I have. 

Urban. Her son owes me money. 

Ursula. You saw me, bent and 

grimacing, enter her house with 

seething belly, when she gave the 

potion that sickens, since which 

day every minute is to me a 

lurking grave. 

Urban. No doubt some nasty 

beverage usually of marvellous 

benefit to an evilly constituted 


Ursula. Not pains as the result of 

an abortion, as she maliciously 

suggests. The same concoction 
lamed Beutelspacher, our worthy 
foolish schoolmaster. There is 
more to tell and gape at. Cristoph 
Frick, the butcher, once felt a 
painful twitch in his thigh as she 
casually passed in front of his 
shop, and this without her even 
touching him. When he kneeled at 
her pew, begging for help, 
immediately the pains were 
relieved. Hear more: Daniel 
Schmid, the tailor, once invited 
her to his house to show with 
pride his two gurgling bouncing 
babies. As she looked over their 
cradle to bless them, they 
suddenly plopped breathless on 
that same night. Moreover, I have 
heard neighbors complain of 
bewitched livestock, of moaning 
and of kicking in stables and 
fields, first noticed in her 

Urban. I am no lawyer, but these 
appear to be the beginning of 
good indirect evidence. 

Enter Johannes Kepler 

Johannes. For holy Christian 

charity and love, 

Retract the awful accusation. 

Ursula. When two suns rise from 

Western skies. 

Johannes. Malicious lies! And for 

what reason? 

Urban. Can a sister lie in such a 



Ursula. To defend a mother, you 
know, is to invite inquiry into her 
son's habits. Scrupulous authority 
may find no oil of sainthood 
painted on your brow and lips. 

Re-enter Katharina Kepler 

Johannes. O, mother, you are 

dreadfully threatened. 

Katharina. What, menaces? How, 

monkey turd, by you? 

Johannes. Of witchcraft. 

Katharina. Ha, witchcraft! Ha! O, 

slaves, it can be proved 

By no one, yet I may be quite 


Ursula. I'll be quiet and serenely 

meditate on my deeds the day you 

are awfully condemned, 

redeeming any lesser fault of 

mine. Truth is a soft bed-light. 

Katharina. How have I hurt you? 

Ursula. Your breathing harms. 

Katharina. She is of Leonberg 

malice the sorceress, a cat's black 

companion in evil. 

Ursula. A goat is your companion 

and that our magistrates will 


Johannes. Old female babble. 

Ursula. They'll probe into every 

hole in your body to find where 

the devil pleasured you. 

Exeunt Ursula and Urban 

Johannes. I'll consult all the 
lawyers I know with those I do 
not. Do you grieve to give your 

enemies strength? The innocent 
smile at lies and innuendoes. This 
accusation will be dismissed and 
laughed over foam of beer in 

Katharina. I once lived with an 
aunt condemned to death at the 

Johannes. Hah? 

Katharina. They will recall the day 
when I asked that my father's 
skull be disinterred and turned 
into a drinking vessel- for I had 
heard in a sermon that a drinking 
cup in shape of a skull is a 
pleasant custom of ancient 
people-, but my request was 
refused by the gravedigger, since I 
lacked a form of approval by any 
figure sufficient in authority. 
Johannes. Mere turpitudes! 
Katharina. I once drove a cow to 
death and roasted one side of it 
for your brother, Henry, who, 
refusing the dish, said: "Let a fat 
hungry devil eat it." This son 
angrily left the house and, to beat 
back a thin demon into his larger 
hole, impaled the calf of that cow 
on the door of its stall. 
Johannes. What of Beutelspacher? 
Katharina. I never harmed 
Beutelspacher. He was lamed 
when leaping over a grave- stone 
with a heavy basket on his back. 
Johannes. I have since childhood 
heard many neighbors declare 
these words: "Katherchen is 
garrulous, hot-tempered, nasty, 
quarrelsome, vengeful, inquisitive, 


preparing many dangerous 

potions she knows little of and 

offering neighbors spoiled 

beverages from her favorite tin 


Katharina. The same was said of 

my grandmother, a restless and 

violent bearer of grudges, often 

ablaze with ferocious hatreds, 

though sound in matters of 

religious doctrine. 

Johannes. We plummet from the 

reach of heaven to 

Pant in the narrow pits of law. 

Exeunt Johannes and Katharina 

Act 3. Scene 3. A Leonberg 
hunting lodge. 1615 

Enter Urban Krautlin and Luther 
Einhorn with muskets 

Urban. Tomorrow we will hunt the 

boar with spears. 

Luther. These muskets well may 

serve for other game. 

Urban. If only man could be 

allowed to use 

Such instruments of order to 


The practice of known evils! One I 


In mind, a bitter creditor I hate. 

Luther. Hold, that can never be. 

Enter Caleb 

Urban. The cobra rises to stare 
down two dupes 

Choked on the poison of high 


Luther. You owe him money, too? 

Caleb. The world owes me my due, 

which I will get. 

Urban. What, glorying in our 

fierce miseries? 

Caleb. Why do you point a musket 

on my face 

When I have saved you? Has not 

Jewish gold 

Cut injury away from Christian 


Luther. For shame, put down your 


Urban. It is no sin to kill a sinning 


Luther. You still forget I am a 


Down, lest I study never to have 


Your love or your contempts. 

Caleb. Is it religious to be courted 


For money, then abandoned when 

men lack? 

Luther. You come forth naked. 

Where in secret cave 

Or closet darkly lurks your 


Caleb. My man is quite forgotten 

as he lies 

I guess not where. 

Luther. It may be easily seen that 

on this night 

From us you will retrieve but 

filthy words, 

In no wise filthy money. 

Caleb. The filth returns to man. 


Exit Caleb 

Urban. I have a small request, not 

to the friend, 

But to the magistrate. 

Luther. Your neighbor is a witch, 

some people say. 

Urban. That. You will hear my 

urgent plea, I hope. 

We understand each other? 

Luther. Hum, yes, or no; I cannot 

delve through all, 

Unless the accusation is prepared 

With careful study, in full 


Of good or bad report, what men 

have seen 

Or only thought they saw, what 

men have heard 

Or only were told of. To sift away 

The inadmissible is duty's oath 

In magistrates of soundest 

judgment, yours 

To pick out grains and choose the 

rightful tares, 

Preventing poison ere the case is 


Urban. In serious matters, friends 

can silently 

Behold each other and know all is 


Exeunt Urban and Luther 

Act 3. Scene 4. Before the 
Leonberg court-house. 1615 

Enter Katharina Kepler 

Katharina. (knocking at the door 

Ho! Ho! Someone within! No man 
or beast? 

Enter Hobnot above 

Hobnot. Who knocks? What is 

your wish from our dark house 

Of questioning and pain? 

Katharina. O, sir, I beg you- Ha! I 

have once seen 

That faceless face of blood. 

Hobnot. And so have many more: 

my mother's one, 

A face that killed her well. 

Katharina. The Jew's most servile 

of his serving-men. 

Hobnot. No more. I left my master 

to become 

The worthy village executionner. 

Katharina. Where is our honored 

master, kindly judge 

In matters of deep faith? He must 

be just 

In a poor fearful woman's case, or 


I am forever in my grave undone. 

Hobnot. He left an hour ago. 

Exit Hobnot above 

Katharina. Ha! Gone? Ignored and 
mocked by a dry knave? 

Re-enter Hobnot below 

Hobnot. Some quiet would be 
seemlier. I have been 
At tortures all this morning, 
sounded with 


Such cries as must hurt any head 

of sense. 

Katharina. O, there you wring me 

in a frenzied knot. 

Hobnot. What is the nature of 

your trouble? 

Katharina. I am accused of 


Hobnot. You'll surely be burnt to 

death, at best 

Stoned shoeless in your shirt. 

Katharina. Do not quite kill me in 

my terrible 

And lonely fears. O! O! O! 

Hobnot. Limbs fit for mangling, so 

that justicers 

May know accomplices of evil life. 

I'm new yet at this goodly line of 


And will quite humbly take the 

happy charge 

As part of my apprenticeship, 

most glad 

For the experience. 

Katharina. What, will they take me 


Hobnot. Weep on dry pillows; with 

tomorrow's moon 

The iron chain must be your 

bedsheet, which 

I will prepare and whistle as I wait. 

Exit Hobnot, enter Urban Krautlin 
and Luther Einhorn 

Urban. That is the woman, woeful 
man's worst woe, 

The drily sapless witch, apt to 
prick off 

With wooden finger honest men to 


Katharina. Sir, do not listen to 

unhappy man 

When you know truth is almost 

always born 

From the unhappy pit of woman's 


Luther. I should know reasons to 

know neither, for 

I have not studied this bad case as 


Katharina. A neighbor and his 

sister only tell 

Lies to be rid of me. 

Luther. Go, go; I'll summon you, 

should there be need. 

Urban. Will she escape so soon? I 

challenge you, 

In presence of this worthy 


To make my sister well. 

Katharina. Ha! Ha! Ha! Drawing on 

my withered breast 

The sharpest of all swords except 

the tongue 

Of a deceiving mouth? 

Luther. Ha! Are you mad? Am I a 


Or fellow to the bibbing 


Is fury your high lord? Reflect how 


Kissed his dark sweaty post in 


Is drunken folly king? Remind 


How he drank vinegar with 

broken mouth. 


The man wept blood. Will you 

with wet cheeks laugh? 

The man wept blood. Will you 

with roaring throats 

Presume to understand when 

Rome could not? 

Urban. O for the belly of 


To keep from bursting at the sight 

of spleen! 

What actor plays not folly, 


Distraught at a fool's fault, or 


Make light of it, applauded by 

more fools? 

I will choose good when charms 

are cut away. 

Katharina. No, I refuse, 

considering well that 

To put off evil by a counter-evil is 

A witch's game. 

Exit Katharina 

Luther. Illegal matter, sir. Before a 


Of justice threatening and in the 


Of a well-thought-of justicer? My 


Against my will imbibe men's 


In drunken sadness. 

Urban. You will not find it so 

when patience hears, 

Like a compliant king, the dangers 


Are daily subject to by women's 


Outside Jerusalem, but deep 


The burning pit of Sodom. For our 


Take out from Adam yet another 


The first one's rotting in her heart 

and mind. 

Luther. More senseless village 

business all day long! 

What sweaty stones of toil we 

stagger with 

To find the little nugget! I'll next 


My horse some grammar, easier 

task by far 

Than to conceive the reasons of 

men's pains. 

Exeunt Urban and Luther 

Act 4. Scene 1. Katharina Kepler's 
house in Leonberg. 1616 

Enter Johannes Kepler and 
Matthaus Wackher von 


Johannes. I have accused the 

Reinbold family 

Of slander. Is this just? 

Matthaus. I do not know. Say why 

you have done this. 

Johannes. I stab the hand that hits 


Matthaus. Perhaps to be ensnared 

and glued the worse 

With spider-laws, to your own 



Enter Cuddie with a barrel 

Cuddle. Sir, I'm sent by your 
mother for a few coins, poor as I 
am, to say she's in a worse fright 
and trouble than ever she was. 
Johannes. Is it the Arab 
merchant's serving-man? 
Cuddie. Cuddie, by his own avowal 
and assurance. In Leonberg, our 
Arab merchant works, or rests, as 
firmly and opulently established 
with us as in many other places of 
high and low renown. I arrive with 
comfort for certain griefs easy to 
be dislodged and with beatitude to 
anyone with money. 
Johannes. I do not want more 

Cuddie. Horrible apostasy, if I may 
humbly and regretfully say so, as 
so many have pronounced kicking 
and leaping in market-place and 
houses of merriment. I offer you 
pardon, clemency, peace, a very 
great loving hand, a heaven for 
sinners on earth. Mercy was 
delivered to David's murdering 
envious heart, received by 
Habbakuk, promised to Zachariah, 
assured by Paul: do you reject it? 
Our citizens accuse each other, 
strike each other's neck and 
occiput, sometimes to death, an 
irremediable condition in the 
judgment or hope of many. Some 
lie for profit, steal for advantages, 
sleep for pleasure in a neighbor's 
bed, all these no doubt 
reprehensible, with speedy and 

inevitable vengeance often 

bloodily falling on the 

perpetrator's caboche. Where is 
mercy? Here, revealed to you for 
all times and to your better hope, 
relief, and amendment, here, away 
from dissension, towards the 
ruddy light of light wine, to the 
shame and freezing of 

unbelievers. One cup may ease 
you of most dolors and sorrows, 
by your own making or not, by 
your friends' making or not, as it 
may please any who partake of it, 
translunar, or daily seen by us in 
common paths or obscure 
byways. Who says otherwise? 
Ananias and Sapphira fell down 
dead for not purchasing modest 
repose and companionship and do 
you refuse? Do you stop your ears 
from the voice of reconciliation 
and joy and not leap away from 
the coffin of no drinking? 
Matthaus. Here limps your 
drooping mother. 

Enter Katharina Kepler 

Katharina. More horrors for 
deathless eld. 

Johannes. Sit quietly beside your 
worried son to tell your story. 
Katharina. A tale of a twelve-year- 
old girl, Katharina Haller, 
daughter of a laborer, who 
jumped in fright on looking at my 
almost rotted face around a 
corner of the mercer's shop- why 
wonder at it when considering 


what her parents likely accuse me 


Cuddle. She swore your venerable 

mother hit her on the right arm. 

Katharina. When I only 

approached and extended my 

hand towards the girl's. These lies 

are infamously supported by her 

drunken witness, daughter to a 


Cuddle. The girl's pains were 

already assuaged and becalmed 

when I heard her puling next to 

the court-house. 

Katharina. Pains motivated, I 

think, by her being forced to 

carry heavy bags of brick to the 

kiln, a task she would happily be 

rid of. 

Matthaus. Very probable. 

Katharina. The villagers now say 

that my cup of charity tastes 

strongly of witchcraft. 

Johannes. You have worse news, I 

can tell. 

Katharina. I have done foolishly 

with foolish intent. 

Johannes. What now? 

Katharina. I offered Luther 

Einhorn, magistrate in my case, 

my best silver cup, should he omit 

his report to the chancery. 

Johannes. Attempt at bribery! 

A criminal offense! 

Katharina. I grant you that and 

surely will lament 

This fault till final ashes sink my 


Matthaus. Now hated even by 

sensible people. 

Johannes. Flee from Leonberg. 

Katharina. I will not. 

Johannes. Run to my sister's 

house in Heumaden. 

Katharina. No. 

Johannes. I say you must. 

Katharina. Never. 

Johannes. What will convince you? 

Katharina. Nothing. 

Cuddie. (striking her 

A pitiable case. 

Johannes. Ha! Are you mad? 

Matthaus. He has knocked her 

senseless to the ground. 

Cuddie. Conserve with care my 

wine of goodness and pity and pay 

me later, for, by faith in my own 

judgment, as may be read with 

many prophets of old, I'll liberate 

a son and mother from 

contumelies by guiding her with 

all niceties of comfort in my cart 

to Heumaden, where my master 

intends to be affirmed further and 

more solidly on the rock of more 

abundant riches. 

Exit Cuddie carrying Katharina 

Johannes. I'll follow a fool to save 

my mother. 

Matthaus. And I the wine. 

Exeunt Johannes and Matthaus 
with the barrel 

Act 4. Scene 2. Before Margarete 

Kepler's house in Heumaden. 



Enter Luther Einhorn 

Luther, (knocking at the door 

Arise, dull Cristoph Kepler, from 

your lair. 

A packaged fly from broken nets 

of law 

May drop away, to die more 


As desiccated grubs awaiting still 

The lazy open tooth that can cut 


Enter Cristoph Kepler 

Cristoph. Am I undone? 

Luther. I have warned, and am left 

unheeded, sir, 

I have with soreness pleaded, and 

am left 

Unheeded, like a Sunday 


Cristoph. O, sir, disclose what may 

or must be done 

And I will die your servant in good 


Of surest law with strict 


Does this concern my mother? 

Luther. It does, most awfully. 

Cristoph. Your errand without 


Luther. I'm instructed by the 

superior adviser of the courts to 

arrest your mother for the crime 

of witchcraft. 

Cristoph. Death! 

Luther. Take heart. If she be 

guilty, we have her 

In blood; if not, she's safe. 

Cristoph. Snares and troubles! 

How can I escape? 

Luther. Speak briefly: have you 

served a filthy witch 

In any way? 

Cristoph. O, never, sir, never, 

never, never, never, as I hope to 

live and die as an honest citizen. 

Luther. That may be doubted from 

a son's report. 

Cristoph. My mother surely 

understands the truth. 

Luther. I hope that may be hoped 

for. Know that she 

Attempted to bribe a just 


Cristoph. Ah, no! This news half 

poisons heart and blood. 

Luther. I'm not so loving to her 

now as once 

I was when dressed in robes of 


And knew no evil in a woman's 


Cristoph. What should be done? 

Luther. Snatch her away from her 

home, strip her clean, 

Until we spy some bones of truth 

on her. 

Cristoph. Let it be done. 

Luther. She's here? I may see her? 

Cristoph. No no, out on a silly 


Luther. No doubt to fetch your 

food and serve your meals. 

Let her be promptly sent to me in 


Cristoph. I am no son if this be 

left undone. 


Luther. I must forewarn you: few 

accused of this 

Of heinous crimes the worst 

reveal clear truths. 

Cristoph. Sir, if there be no other 

way at all 

Of finding out and leading by the 


In open nakedness shy verity, 

Which mirrored goodness hopes 

for and expects, 

Let her be tortured. 

Luther. Now you speak kindly, for 

her sake and yours. 

Cristoph. Should she be proven 

guilty, burn her well. 

A guiltless man of crime must 

never know. 

Luther. No covin will be 

bargained. Let her stand 

With truths, or rot on beds of 

rope with lies. 

Matthaus. There is a second 

In Prague: three Papists, good 

But worse than devil martyrs in 
the cause 

Against the Lutherans, from 
windows thrown 

Down from a height of fifty feet. 

Haphazard ragtags of fool- 

Seize cowls of dead-to-worlds 
Franciscan monks 
And coats of Jewish merchants, 
folded with 

No known opinion on each 
faction's hate, 

And murder them in open 
common streets. 

Johannes. Most certainly the start 
of furious wars. 

Exeunt Luther and Cristoph 

Enter Cuddie 

Act 4. Scene 3. Margarete Kepler's 
house in Heumaden. 1618 

Enter Johannes Kepler and 
Matthaus Wackher von 


Johannes. In sight of false 

religions they embrace, 

Ixions all aflame, with clouds. 

Matthaus. The summer thunder is 

now cannon fire. 

Johannes. Say what is heard 

concerning our worst fears. 

Matthaus. Here's one who always 

prances leisurely. - 

Now, sir, reveal to us why you are 


To enter rooms with one hand o n 

your hip 

Or buttock and the other on your 


Cuddie. I think our buttocks are 

to body parts 

What altars are to hushed divinity. 

Matthaus. Why, Cuddie? 

Cuddie. Much like a priest I place 

my hands on them 


With bowed head praying that the 

Jesus from 

My friend's tomb enters in my 


Matthdus. So, sir, you are 

conscripted in our fights, 

We hear. You must be made to lay 


The cup and laurelled song. 

Cuddle. Called to the wars? I hope 

to hang instead. 

Matthdus. The wreathed bowl 

upraised will not serve here. 

Cuddle. Although they cannoneer, 

I'll snort in bed. 

Matthdus. No sleep for sluggard 

shoulders but in dust. 

Enter soldiers 

Cuddle. Am I the magnet to these 

iron men? 

I Soldier. Come live with us in 


Cuddle. No, rather die with you in 


1 will stay here to pray for you 
most nights, 

In moving tributes well 


2 Soldier. March in our serried 

Cuddle. I had planned nothing 
more laborious than 
To shake off droplets from my 
sated prick. 

3 Soldier. Come, shallow belly, or 
with lead be filled. 

Cuddle. I'll lie a weeper on my 

If war-crazed folly urges more 

than words. 

Johannes. Poor mouth, of happy 

laughter choked and stilled. 

Cuddle. Reveal to me with skill, 

large sons of Mars, 

Why we are fighting. Why must 

Cuddie die? 

Why should my blood gild a 

pope's golden shoe? 

Can we eat crusty pies of 


Johannes. A light man's jests die 

in the ears of Mars. 

Cuddie. I'm wretchedly abused if I 

must die 

Because some kiss a virgin's 

painted toe. 

Matthdus. The eyes of childhood 

guess why we should fight. 

Cuddie. Should I return, I may 

keep one or none, 

Or worse than all a third above 

the brow, 

A Cyclop mighty only in my 


Matthdus. There is no more to 


Cuddie. Thus in their ease and 

comfort old grey-beards 

Wave us to death. You wrinkle, 

cup in hand, 

And buzz before a fire, when we 


With more holes on our face than 


Matthdus. That must be if it must. 

Cuddie. To carry lances chapped 

hands never sought, 

And die to please invisibilities? 


Be justified by faith and works, 

and help 

The useless epicurian poltroonize. 

Matthdus. That may not be. 

Cuddle. Bid them, I beg you, sirs, 

to let me go. 

Matthdus. You may not stay. 

Cuddle. Where not? Above the 

earth? Will Cuddie lie 

Like any breathless creature 


Matthdus. Learn to fight well; that 

is your present school. 

Cuddle. If I behold one naked 


I'll shriek and heavily becrap my 


As I do here. 

1 Soldier. Foh! Filthy knave! 

2 Soldier. Foh! Filthy, stinking 

3 Soldier. Beat him, or make him 


Cuddie. Unhand me, sirs, at once; 

1 am a priest. 

2 Soldier. What kind? A 
nauseating Lutheran? 

Cuddie. No, a far holier one, and 

best to know, 

A hairy priest of Bacchus, as you 


1 Soldier. Give to a coward fool a 

helmet brave. 

3. Soldier. Take him.- Resistance? 

Turn him upside-down. 

Cuddle. I march with shoe of steel 

on frightened head. 

Exeunt soldiers carrying Cuddie 

Johannes. Is this religion? Deadly 


Matthdus. We smell the horrid, 

putrifying flesh 

Of the three-way-split evangelical 

Church of the day. What of your 

post? Quite safe? 

Johannes. No, I prognosticate for 

my own self 

Fear, shakings, noise, a heavy 

tuneless drum, 

Not the light heart that often has 

played with 

The jangling music of the popish 


Matthdus. Mathematicians of two 


Adhering to the Augsburg bargain, 


I hope, but a child's reason in 

their fear. 

Johannes. I often tremble even 

with my own. 

I am denied communion in the 


Of Wurttemberg. 

Matthdus. Why? 

Johannes. Because I do not lift my 

hands and shout 

That popes are antichrist. Who 

should not make 

Of his own groaning music, voice, 

and text? 

Matthdus. Plead to the university. 

Johannes. To our immodest 

chancellor I have 

Appealed, to be immodestly 


Thus I prognosticate for the new 



Of sixteen-nineteen, graceless of 

all times: 

I know a neuter-gendered animal 

Resplendent in the roses, looking 


Its enemy. The milky blood that 


From our lord's side to all 


Is soured, and we fit meat for 

butcher knives. 

Matthdus. As if we only meant to 

say we live. 

With what defeated sluggish 


Man goes, before the failing of the 


From sleeping chambers to the 

wormy bed, 

With prayers to undress his bones 

in sleep! 

Exeunt Johannes and Matthaus 

Act 4. Scene 4. A street in 
Heumaden. 1620 

Enter Cuddie as a soldier 

Cuddle. Ho, friends, fools, 
comrades, fools, companions-in- 
arms, more fools still! Is Cuddie 
the soldier expected to charge 
without arms and naked the 
enemy alone? Is showing your 
back backing? Did my mother 
smile down at me and yield her 
breast for this? 

(An explosion is heard 

Ha! Was that the foe or flatulence? 
Ho, fellows, friends, 

acquaintances, friends, citizens, 
friends, shallow stocks, friends, is 
Cuddie your whole war? Is one 
man alone to save your thatched 
rooftops from fire, spare 

runaways hiding in your cellars, 
keep enemies at bay from larder 
and buttery? A corpse is the 
silliest sight in all the world. All 
fools if Cuddie be your redeemer! 
Ho, filthy fools-at-arms, filthy 
madmen-at-arms, filthy 

vacillators-at-arms, filthy 

drunkards-at-arms, filthy, filthy, 
Enter soldiers 

How are you, great and loving 


I Soldier. Here, take this. 

Cuddie. What is this thing? 

1 Soldier. A firearm, fool, to kill 
your enemies. 

Cuddie. In my anxieties, I'll shoot 

at you 

More often than on them. Reflect 

on this: 

Is it not safer for us all if I 

Be safely shut in prison? 

2 Soldier. Right, to be hanged 

Cuddie. I'll ply my musket instead. 

3 Soldier. Aim at the foe, my 
friend, that would be best. 
Cuddie. Well reminded. 


1 Soldier. What noise is that? The 

Cuddle, (shooting 
I'll kill them all. 

2 Soldier. Ha! Ha! He has shot me 
on my right thigh. 

3 Soldier. Ha! Are you mad? 
Cuddle. You were well warned, I 

Exeunt 1 and 3 Soldier carrying 2 
Soldier, enter Mustapha 

O, my master, my fine master, my 

fine and loving master, great 

welcome to greatest Mustapha 

from the trembling mouth of a 

cursed, weary, famished, bleeding, 

filthy, dishevelled soldier. 

Mustapha. Rise. Do you weep? 

Cuddle. Take me away. Rise as my 

savior still. 

Mustapha. My Cuddie loathes the 

world and seeks to flee. 

Cuddle. I'm blinded and cut off in 

fear and hate. 

A poor man's smoky vision of the 


Is necessarily untrue, because 

He is not asked to stoke it. Only 


The rich, can hope to hold its 

shadowed form. 

Mustapha. But you must earn the 

right to live with me. 

Let me first question you 


Cuddle. Good students answer 

what good teachers say. 

Mustapha. The old emperor, 

Matthias, has died. Who 

succeeded him? 

Cuddle. I cannot know; I only bled 

for him. 

Mustapha. Ferdinand the Second, 

his cousin, elected in Frankfurt 

last year. 

Cuddle. Good. 

Mustapha. Who leads the 


Cuddle. I cannot know; I only felt 

their blows. 

Mustapha. The Bohemians, 

conferring royal dignity on Elector 

Friedrich the Fifth of the 

Palatinate, son-in-law to James the 

First of England, are led by Count 

Henrich Matthias Thurn. Who 

leads the new emperor's forces? 

Cuddle. I bless wise answers in 

blind confidence. 

Mustapha. Emperor Ferdinand the 

Second has persuaded Maximilian, 

duke of Bavaria, to lead his 

forces. The duke's army first 

entered Linz, on his way to break 

Bohemia to its knees. 

Cuddle. Good. 

Mustapha. More matter worthy to 

be known: Friedrich of Bohemia 

has been decisively beaten at 

White Mountain, outside of 

Prague, and escaped as a winter 

king to Holland, a battle won by 

the baron of Tilly over Count 

Matthias Thurn and Prince 

Christian Anhalt-Bernberg, while 

Maximilian of Bavaria has entered 

Prague, sacking that great city 


with his imperial army. And so 
you see the war is ended, and you 
almost killed for nothing. 
Cuddle. Good. 

Mustapha. To refresh your state 
from utmost penury, I should give 
you one hundred guilders. Here is 
the money. 

Cuddle. O, my good master! 
Mustapha. Yet hold. I begin to 
waver, even after cursory 
examination, concerned with the 
ultimate benefit derivable from 
my gift. 
Cuddle. Why? 

Mustapha. In strict philosophical 
terms, I doubt whether to give you 
one hundred guilders is the wisest 
use I can make of them. 
Cuddle. One hundred guilders 
represent superfluous beer-froth 
on skeptic beard and lips, but 
death-in-abeyance necessity to 
me, for, unless I receive one 
hundred guilders or an equivalent 
amount, I may not eat today, and, 
if I quit the wars, I have no place 
to stay and sleep. 

Mustapha. True, Cuddie, but many 
deep philosophers of east or west 
may to your detriment affirm 
that, like a gardener hired in the 
house of knowledge, I may 
fructify the use of one hundred 
guilders to a greater breadth of 
fortune's trees of happiness than 
is generally possible in a poorer 

Cuddle. I agree, master, that the 
one hundred guilders may be used 

to better purpose, and yet without 
them I may starve. 
Mustapha. But you have not yet 
demonstrated why I should give 
you the one hundred guilders, for 
my one hundred guilders may 
prevent a hundred men from 

Cuddle. That, too, is doubtful. 
Mustapha. It is, Cuddie. 
Cuddle. The careful thinker 
concludes that everything may be 
doubted: historic observation, 
moral law, and scientific 

demonstration, acknowledging no 
fundamental principle we must 
obligatorily adhere to. 
Mustapha. In a Pyrrhonian sense, 
or manner of extreme doubting, 
that statement is doubtful, for if 
we say: "everything is doubtful," 
that statement may be doubted. 
Cuddle. And therefore we assert 
that if everything may be doubted, 
nothing can become doubtful, 
insofar as doubting that 

everything is doubtful makes 
everything certain. Therefore, to 
promote a greater degree of 
general happiness, first posited to 
be doubtful and then not, I should 
get the one hundred guilders. 
Mustapha. I doubt that. 
Cuddle. Have we not accepted that 
if we doubt everything, we doubt 

Mustapha. A false conclusion, 
Cuddie, because that statement 
may be doubted as well. 


Cuddie. We therefore conclude 

that the opinion "everything is 

doubtful" is false, insofar as it 

may be doubted, and because it is 

doubted, some things may be true 

and others false. 

Mustapha. I doubt that, too. You 

will not obtain the one hundred 

guilders, but food and bed as my 

new secretary. 

Cuddie. My wisest master! 

Exeunt Mustapha and Cuddie 

I fear much, for you more. To 


Despair and pull him shrieking 

from his shroud 

In joy, the body's recondite 


Must be the object of our daily 


Exeunt Johannes and Matthaus 

Act 4. Scene 6. A street in 
Leonberg. 1620 

Act 4. Scene 5. A street in 
Heumaden. 1620 

Enter Caleb with a coffer and 
Luther Einhorn 

Enter Johannes Kepler and 
Matthaus Wackher von 


Johannes. My nerves are shot to 
pieces with concern 
And buried in the grave of my sad 

Matthaus. More on your mother? 
Johannes. The chief council of the 
ducal chancery has ordered her 
arrest. She is imprisoned at 
Leonberg, to be diligently 
examined on forty-nine 

theological articles while 

confronted with her accusors. 
Should she plead not guilty, she 
will immediately be stretched o n 
the rack, an old woman's body 
gleaming in a horrid sweat. 
Matthaus. To Leonberg! For the 
supposed witch 

Caleb. No money? 

Luther. No, Jew, I need more time 

to pay you back. 

Caleb. Excuses are the naked 

beggars whom 

Wise dealers spurn with foot. 

Luther. You hold me by the throat, 

stout Hercules, 

As firmly as when he Achelous 


To earth, and, breaking off his 

captive horn, 

Spread much abundance. So do 


Bestow to fruitful-headed usurers, 

Of whom I hope you form a 


Caleb. I'll seize from you 

securities instead. 

Luther. Which pledges will you 


Caleb. This first. 

Luther. My hat? 


Caleb. Yes. 

Luther. My chain? 

Caleb. Yes. 

Luther. My shoes? 

Caleb. Yes. 

Luther. My cloak? 

Caleb. Yes. 

Luther. My shirt? 

Caleb. Yes. 

Luther. My breeches? 

Caleb. Hum, hah, huh, grr. 

Luther. O, slavery and death! 

Exit Luther and enter 3 Jews 

A synagogue. Will you not 


To that great aim and hope for life 

in life? 

Caleb. A synagogue? Why? To keep 

sheep in it, 

As bushy as your beards, or beds 

of lice? 

(He chases them away 

Pay for a synagogue? No, stab me 


On sharpest candelabrum. 

Caleb. What do you think, my 
friends? Are these worth much? 

(They look at the items 

Examine carefully each item: is 

The hat in fashion nowaways or 


How heavy is the chain? Is it pure 


Can these shoes crush at once 

insolvent fools? 

Can his cloak hold off wintry 

Austrian winds? 

Does his shirt have some stiches 

here and there? 

1 Jew. Tomorrow we will tell. 
Caleb. Good. 

2 Jew. We understand, resourceful 
Caleb, why 

You flow more fully than you did 


Caleb. And so do I. 

3 Jew. We may yet in Vienna soon 

Enter 3 beggars 

Who are these now? 

1 Beggar. A rout of beggars, Caleb. 
We know you. 

Caleb. No, you do not, for 

otherwise your hands 

Would not stretch idly on a 


2 Beggar. Some charity! 

3 Beggar. A little charity! 

Caleb. What would you do with 


1 Beggar. If I had money, I would 

eat today. 

Caleb. Put this inside your bag. 

1 Beggar. One small coin? 
Caleb. Eat that. 

Exit 1 Beggar 

What would you do? 

2 Beggar. Give it to my poor 
father, so that he 

May eat today. 


Caleb. Put this inside your bag. 

2 Beggar. One small coin? 
Caleb. Let him eat that. 

Exit 2 Beggar 

Caleb. And you? 

3 Beggar. I would invest it in a 
silly scheme, 

By which a fool or two a million 


And thousands more a thousand 

million lose. 

Caleb. I empty coffers in your tiny 


3 Beggar. Ha, coins seen 

copulating in my sight! 

Caleb. Take all and may these 

multiply for all. 

Exit 3 Beggar 

What do you say, rich beggar, to 

my proof? 

A man needs no religion to be 


Exit Caleb 

Act 5. Scene 1. The court-house in 
Guglingen. 1621 

Enter Johann Ulrich Aulber and 

Our Hobnot, hangman with the 

finer touch 

And style, unknown as yet in 


Hobnot. I thank you. 

Johann. Of Hobnot many wish 

they have not heard, 

Or most especially felt. 

Hobnot. I thank them. Some have 

named me king of chain 

And rope, an emperor in spikes 

and wheels, 

Great captain of strappadoes, 

doctor of 

Most awful suffering, of deep-felt 


The master and the secretary. 

Johann. Deservedly bestowed. 

From Leonberg 

We have obtained word that a 

woman swears 

Of witchcraft she knows nothing. 


Uncertainly with hand on lips 

walks forth. 

Hobnot. How, innocence! 

Johann. Which may be doubted, 

as our colleague has, 

The probing Einhorn. Howsoever, 


Hot irons should plead for or else 


Hobnot. Here are her sons, I 


Johann. Let us see whether truth 
can be plucked out, 
With help from Hobnot, from a 
woman's breast, 

Enter Johannes and Cristoph 

Johannes. We come to comfort a 
dear mother's fears. 


Johann. That may not be. 

Johannes. Our mother, kept at 

gloomy tower gate 

On used straw, clapped in chains, 

so that to scratch 

Becomes a problem in geometry. 

Johann. A magistrate upholds no 


We will examine her beliefs with 


Johannes. O, master, this is what 

we fear the most. 

Johann. Why should you fear if 

she be innocent? 

Cristoph. We do not doubt or fear 

that you will wring 

The surest truth from her. 

Johann. For Katharina Kepler's 

sake I hope 

That may be hoped for. 

Johannes. More terrors and 


Johann. The only prisoners who 

need fear are 

Those who in fear seek to blot out 

clear truth. 

Johannes. I'll scrape and wash my 

knees in their own blood 

Until our duke grants mercy in 

this case. 

Johann. We will await his answer. 

Exeunt Johann and Hobnot 

Johannes. A mother groaning in 

her senseless chains 

With worse than senseless keepers 

at her side! 

Cristoph. And what consumes my 

heart is that they sit 

At our expense beside a goodly 


Johannes. And she allowed to 

freeze in shadows! 

Cristoph. O, every hour we lose 

good money. 

Johannes. Is it the money that 

concerns you most? 

Cristoph. No, this: if they cannot 

distinguish truth, 

We may be stretched and ground 

to pasties, too. 

Johannes. More arguments to 

gargle on with dread! 

Cristoph. Let her be tortured for 

my money. 

Johannes. O, this, O this- I can 

sustain no more. 

Cristoph. Will you sink now? The 

duke may yet disarm 

With kindness what these men 

prepare for her. 

Johannes. True. I conceive, to give 

our mother life. 

Cristoph. I will see whether I may 

yet persuade 

With more gold coins her keepers 

to be kind 

To an old mother, our wet-pated 


With open beak uncertain in her 


Johannes. Whose painful 

habitation may yet be 

More comfortable than that other 


She is invited in, I mean her grave. 

Cristoph. Come, will you go? 

Johannes. I will, my Cristoph. So, 

to horse with speed! 


But what will I think of along the 


Cristoph. Think of lost money 

every day to spur 

Your courser on. 

Johannes. No, I will study to be 

patient like 

Old stoics smiling as they grieve in 


Cristoph. Well thought on! 

Johannes. I wrote a book of 

patience of my own. 

Cristoph. Is it your "Harmony of 

the worlds"? 

Johannes. In my "Harmony of the 

worlds", I show that the cube of 

the ratio between two planets' 

distance from the sun equals the 

square of the ratio between their 

rotation periods. 

Cristoph. Good. 

Johannes. Huh, does the sneering 

cynic wave his hand? 

Some say: "The man has ice-floes 

for a heart, 

And sciences make him 


But I aver to all who know and 


To work out pain in thinking of n o 


Is sovereign against our 


Cristoph. You think aright. 

Johannes. I think in mazes to 

avoid the house 

Where thinking nothing is my 

blank despair. 

Cristoph. You have considered 


Johannes. I plunder on Egyptian 

silver bowls 

Where planets are inscribed. 


Roars in my mathematic signs like 


The circle is to a straight line 

What trumpets are to soldiers, 

Or holidays to peasants. 

My soul is not transformed by 


Arising in the seventh house 

In quadratures to Mars, 

But by the writings of Copernicus 

And Brahe burning, otherwise 

dark star 

In dark oblivion lost. 

Cristoph. High meditations easing 

our distress! 

Exeunt Johannes and Cristoph 

Act 5. Scene 2. A torture-chamber 
in Guglingen. 1621 

Enter Johann Ulrich Aulber and 

Johann. Are all our instruments in 


Hobnot. They seem to sweat but 

to begin new work, 

The sadder remnants of past 


Johann. Be merciful to truth and 

not to her, 

For truth we love, though bloody 

in her birth. 

Hobnot. I'll be her midwife. 


Johann. The prisoner's accusers 

keep long hours in our chamber, 

enduring the cold in hope of 

nudging her in heat. 

Hobnot. I seem to hear their 

heavy noiseless steps 

In haste from wall to wall in the 

next room. 

Johann. We have studied with 

diligence the deposition of these 

accusers and find them 

convincing here and there in some 

very indeterminate parts. 

Hobnot. Let the prisoner speak or 

squeak, so long as she gives birth 

from the mouth to some little 

baby-truth a long time blubbering 

on our bed of ropes. My Berta and 

I will search her bowels for such a 

trembling embryo this day, I 

promise you. 

Johann. I do not doubt that. But 

who is Berta? 

Hobnot. The name I have given to 

this gear. 

Enter Ursula Reinbold and Urban 

Ursula. Is it done? Are we happy? 
Johann. We hourly expect the 
duke's decision. 

Ursula. Likely to be wise and 
good, but more especially wise. 
Johann. We recognize in him the 
sagest conductor of any 

dukedoom known in Europe. 
Urban. No doubt. Who will bring 
us the news? 

Johann. Baron Matthaus Wackher 
von Wackenfels, advisor to the 

Ursula. A friend to Johannes 
Kepler, her son. I do not like that. 
Urban. Let him plead. Should 
pleading carry it, we plead in vain. 
Johann. Hobnot, go see whether 
this messenger has arrived. 
Hobnot. I will, master. 

Enter Matthaus Wackher von 

I need not go. He comes in haste. 

Matthaus. A letter for you, master 


Johann. Our servant is Hobnot; 

my name is master Aulber. 

Matthaus. Your pardon, good 

master Aulber. 

Johann. Give me the letter. 

Matthaus. May its whiteness 

proclaim new innocence on earth. 

Ursula. No, glorious truth, only 


Johann. The duke declares that 

the opinion of the judicial faculty 

at the University of Tubingen is 

upheld in this instance, 

maintaining that the Kepler 

woman should be shown 

instruments of torture in presence 

of the executionner: the rack and 

the garotte, the branding irons, 

needles, pincers, and ropes, every 

part of his trade, but suffer none 

of them. 

Matthaus. The duke has spoken. 


Johann. The wise are silent. 

Exeunt Ursula and Urban 

Go, Hobnot; hale with vigor our 
fearfullest guest. Truth may yet be 
gleaned, though the ground seems 
dry and brittle. 

Hobnot. Especially after rainfall of 
the eyes. 

Exit Hobnot 

Matthdus. Be merciful. 

Johann. I'm merciful to her 

victims, if she had any. 

Matthdus. It matters little if a 

hundred murderers go free, 

provided innocence's garments lie 


Johann. What if a hundred 

innocent prisoners choke? They 

climb on their rope towards a 

higher justicer. No guilty villain 

may go free, lest we ruin a good 


Matthdus. We presume that the 

guilty are innocent. 

Johann. We presume that the 

innocent are guilty. 

Matthdus. Cruelty disguised as 


Johann. Injustice disguised as 


Matthdus. Justice? A puny giant 

killing unknowingly. 

Johann. Mercy? A colored viper 

killing secretly. 

Matthdus. Be lenient and expect to 

your own hopes a tastier pear 

than clemency, with greater 
benefits no earthly gardener can 
devise or guess. 

Exit Matthaus, enter Hobnot and 
Katharina Kepler 

Johann. Is it the witch? 

Hobnot. It is. 

Johann. How many men have you 


Katharina. I assure you, good 

master Aulber, none. 

Johann. A woman hides truth 

more earnestly than her bush and 

buttocks. We see mushroom 

troops of grooms daily 

transformed into filthy bits of 

straw, beggars in your parish 

streets. We have watched you with 

horror do this to them. 

Katharina. No. I never learned 


Johann. You may only have 

intended to hurt them, but to a 

witch one malicious thought is 

sufficient for a multitude of good 

persons to grieve, with loathing of 

their lives. Stand here. Our 

authority protects us from the 

secret wiles of witches and bad 


Katharina. This cold room I know, 

where stand even colder men 


Johann. Your prison garment is 

too thin. Unless you speak the 

entire truth at last, you'll soon be 

warmer, but not in any way you'll 



Katharina. Ah, my not-to-be-rid- 

of-never-ending terrors! 

Hobnot. Good, good. 

Johann. An innocent woman 

afraid? Come, speak truthfully, so 

that we may sleep this night for 


Katharina. What can you wish to 

know I have not told? 

Johann. You have like a mannish 

sorceress in Ursula Reinbold's 

belly planted a cruel seed. Release 

her from sickness. 

Katharina. I did not harm her, nor 

did I ever wish to. 

Johann. Did you administer to her 

and to her neighbors soothing 

draughts that kill? 

Katharina. Never. 

Johann. Show her the wheel. 

Katharina. O, mercy! 

Hobnot. Barbara can break arms 

and legs, Barbara can like willows 

bend them. 

Katharina. Mercy! Ah, ah! 

Johann. In tears truths flower. 

Katharina. Ah, ah, ah, ah! 

Hobnot. A son's wife breaks the 

mother's arm holding him, and 

that is well, for otherwise his self 

is entirely his mother's all life 

long, but this she can break limbs 

in a crueller fashion, making 

them, like sleeves on an unworn 

cloak, more pliant than your tales. 

Johann. Will you speak better with 

more truths? 

Katharina. I have told everything 

ten times or more. 

Johann. Show her the rack. 

Katharina. Still mercy! 

Hobnot. Berta can stretch a 

woman's bones to wires. 

Katharina. Ah, ah, ah, ah! 

Johann. Admit you slept with 


Katharina. No, no. 

Hobnot. Berta delivers truths 

while sparing few, and with ropy 

hands indifferent to yelling. 

Johann. No more words? 

Katharina. I'm stifled in a foggy 


Johann. Show her the iron tooth; 

demonstrate its uses. 

Hobnot. If the others do not, 

Susanna can spur your tongue to 

miraculous gallops. 

Katharina. Ah, ah, ah, ah! 

Hobnot. The second wife bites a 

mother's hopes more sharply than 

the first. I assure you, iron 

pierces, and some have wept 

before my shiny face at the 


Johann. Hobnot can play cruel 

music on all organs. 

Hobnot. May my face drizzle with 

sweat together with your blood, 

should truth lie sleeping in a 

world unknown. 

Katharina. Let me catch my 

breath; I'll say something, say 

something, something. 

Hobnot. Is this not well, master? 

Johann. We are winning, Hercules; 

the hydra of lies is vomiting her 


Katharina. And yet my something 

may be your nothing. 


Johann. Is witchcraft the most 

cherished of your sciences? 

Katharina. No. 

Johann. Tell me the truth and 


Katharina. My only hope is not to 


Johann. A magistrate, not yet 

unkind enough, 

Adjures you to repent and cheat 

our foe, 

The always naked tempter of deep 


For otherwise some fearful, horrid 


Are likely to ensue. 

Katharina. The age of iron 


Johann. You will need all your 

healing salves today. 

Katharina. Pull out vein after vein, 

and flesh from bone, 

For I have nothing richer to 


Johann. Now, Hobnot, set her 


Hobnot. Ha! 

Johann. Come, are you fainting? 

Hobnot. In joy, good master. 

Katharina. Free? Free? What is that 


Johann. Catch the bewildered 


Hobnot. I hold her, master. 

Johann. Will you both fall? 


Hobnot. My master, we have done 

well, I think. We are today 

witnesses to a small part of glory 

on this earth, for innocence in not 
speaking has spoken certainly. 
Johann. That may be so. 
Hobnot. A triumph for the law! 
A triumph for our master Aulber! 

Enter Luther Einhorn 

Luther. A triumph? How? 

Johann. She is released. 

Luther. Oh, no! 

Johann. She is, Luther; your 

opinions on this case have to the 

utmost reach of capable 

knowledge been proven entirely 


Luther. Ah, ah! 

Johann. The duke declares that 

the trial costs should be paid by 

the Keplers, the Reinbolds, and by 

Luther Einhorn. No peer in Austria 

and Styria can speak with clearer 

sun-like judgment, overlying all 

the world except the dark streams 

of empty Eurebus. 

Luther. A second time I'll become 

a Jew's slave weeping on my oar. 

Johann. Well deserved. 

Luther. With peace of mind, I'll 

pocket tribulations, 

To pay them back in virtuous 


Johann. Well. 

Exit Luther 

Katharina. Should I return to 

Leonberg? I will 

Be torn to pieces in my neighbors' 



Hobnot. Go, or else stay. We love 

the stench of you, 

For through your garment's 

windows justice sits, 

To look out on the world with 


Exeunt Johann, 



Act 5. Scene 3. A street in Linz. 

Enter Caleb, Mustapha, and Cuddie 

Caleb. England first chose to rid 
itself of our industrious tribes, 
followed by France and Spain. We 
are allowed to live in few cities of 
Europe. But since the beginnning 
of squirmishes between rival 
Christian factions and of battles 
fruitlessly plowing fruitful ground, 
we rise, we spread. A few hundred 
in Prague, and then perhaps a few 
thousand, and then perhaps a few 
million. Maximilian of Bavaria 
with his imperial army sacked 
Prague, but, in his need of money, 
refused to enter Jew city, since 
which day, I laugh at fools with 
bankers and with merchants. 
Mustapha. And you no less than 

Caleb. With millions richer. Daub 
your lips and chin 
With grease of Christians' baneful 

Fat sausage thick with mustards of 

Mustapha. You lend them money 

for the armements? 

Caleb. All these and more, much 

more. There is no part 

Of commerce, out or in, I have 

not probed 

With golden fingers, to the 

darkest depts 

Of her wide buttocks. 

Mustapha. Most excellent. While 

many starve, you swell. 

Caleb. To roundnesses unthought 

of yet by priests. 

Mustapha. Some say the hiring of 

general count Albrecht von 

Wallenstein in the imperial troops 

will make of our lasting pains 

briefer wars. 

Caleb. I count on him. Peace I have 

courted, too, 

As any page his mistress. Will you 


Mustapha. I should, while these 

bombarbments last. 

Linz is invaded: what else can I 


I am for quiet and my bowl of 


Caleb. It is prohibited to you, but I 

Sin worse in my own creed. 

Reserve for me 

A seat in hell if ever you expire. 

Mustapha. Our final bargain 


Cuddie. Belief in hell creates a 

people's hell. 

Mustapha. Which Lutherans, 

denying purgatory, 

In folly hug and purr to their own 



Both flatter us that their true god, 

In life, may yet be perfect in the 

Caleb. Lies are the salad of 

Assuring good digestion of half- 

Cuddle. Where will we go, unholy 

Mustapha. I thought at first to 
France, but now the French 
Grow hateful to my placid pagan 

Richelieu, that wily unroman 
cardinal, defender of his people 
not faith, encourages Christian the 
Fourth of Denmark on the 
Lutheran side to invade Habsburg 

But then, my friends, why should I 
be surprised? 

He is a priest: imposture is his 

Caleb. The Danish king, we hear, 
is beaten by the baron of Tilly. 
Cuddle. We must escape, if only 
because of the peasant rebellion. 
Mustapha. True, the Fadinger 
revolts scare me worse than a 
thousand warring kings. 
Caleb. Senseless frights! The 
peasant troops, we hear, are 
already slaughtered by count 
Peppenheim of the imperial 

Mustapha. A greater famine likely 
will ensue. 

Caleb. The rich are quiet stoics 
when men shrink. 

Mustapha. Am I banished by Mars' 
clamor? I care little. In every 
country there is food and water, 
and woman with her slit. 
Cuddle. I'll bake our dough of 
sloth and fornication 
With goodly relish. 

Enter peasants 

Hide me, good master. My own 

kind I sweat 

To see in gentlest slumber. 

Mustapha. Ho, do not fear. You 

are my own again. 

Cuddle. What are they seeking? 

Mustapha. Food, not more men. 

(The peasants look inside doors 
and destroy property 

Cuddle. When peasants enter here, 

here I do not 

Exist or know myself, except in 


Which I will rather banquet o n 

than fight. 

Caleb. Turn towards influence 

your head of paste. 

Mustapha. If they recover you, I'll 

buy you back. 

Cuddle. Thanks to my saviors. 

Mustapha. Here we find in sick 

puddles frogs afloat, 

Cold remnants of what peasants 

may devour. 

Cuddle. Were I a fly in them. 

Exeunt peasants 


Mustapha. Man is a rusty key, 
which on the lock 
Of peace breaks in his filth and 

Caleb. Unless I quite mistake a 
human face, 

Which I so rarely do, these men of 

Whose first progenitor Deucalion 

Have dropped in muck and trash, 
belong in full 

To a fair captain quite down o n 
his luck, 

Who owes me money. I will follow 

And then poke at the hive where 
my thugs stir, 

A mightier host no country ever 

Who buzz in debtors' ears: "Gaze 
at the sun 

No more, sad zanies, sweat but for 
the Jew, 

But for the Jew on boulders break 
your nails, 

Lest bees in your ease sting a lazy 

With sharp zeal towards law- 
courts, jails, and death." 

Exit Caleb 

Mustapha. Where may I not turn? 

Money is adored 

In holiest churches, synagogues, 

and mosques. 

Cuddle. Too many fear and loathe 

a turbaned head. 

Mustapha. To those, unlike my 
usual mode of thought, 
I sell the smoke of cooked meat, 
not the meat. 
Cuddle. You do well. 
Mustapha. I yield to friends what I 
from foes I steal. 
Cuddle. Again well done. 
Mustapha. Give me my old-yet- 
new Coran, unmarked; 
I cringe in finding frantic friends I 
Cuddle. Here. 

Enter 3 Arabs with clubs 

Mustapha. (reading 

Infinity of wisdom on one hand! 

1 Arab. Mere mockery! 
Mustapha. Sir, you disturb 
profound and lasting dreams 

In studious meditation o n 


2 Arab. He laughs at us. 
Mustapha. He may not curse 
where kindness shines so clear. 

3 Arab. Beat him. 

(3 Arab chases Cuddie away, while 
1 and 2 Arabs beat Mustapha to 

Re-enter Cuddie 

Cuddie. O, my poor master! Killed? 
Cuddie is alone. I return a 
shepherd, poor and needy, 
forgotten of the world. O, my kind 
master! I'll raise poisoned sheep 
to feed all believers. Ha! Ha! Ha! 


Ha! Ha! Live, master, with my foul 
revenges. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! 

Enter Johannes Kepler with a 
manuscript and violets 

Johannes. Is dying Austria 

laughing at her dead? 

Cuddle. No, laughing loudly when 

a soldier weeps 

For dying comrades willing many 


To die for emperors and dirt. 

To whom do you bestow these 


Johannes. My mother. 

Cuddle. Dead? 

Johannes. Released from her cold 

dungeon, she survived 

For a few months, no more. 

Cuddle. What are you now? 

Johannes. As chief mathematician 

in the court 

Of Emperor Ferdinand, I live o r 


Cuddle. Prosperity avoids your 

sight, I fear. 

Johannes. But what offends worse 

than neglect in state 

My mind is that my pen has 

caught a cold 

And sleeps anidiomatically. 

Cuddle. In these war-times, what 

fruitful enterprise 

Does not lie in her womb choked 

and annulled? 

Johannes. So long as I can read 

and calculate, 

Germanic lands may swill on beer 

or blood. 

Cuddle. I think unhappiness has 

filled our land 

Much like Grandazzo's crucifix, 

which took 

Up all the space in the entire 


So that surprised parishioners had 


To do to find a seat and saw their 


Smile under Christ's armpits 


Johannes. I press my face on 

violets, but my mind 

Is shaded strangely with a 

thousand more. 

Cuddle. "Have patience," says the 

stoic as he smiles. 

Johannes. The stoic seeks 

tranquillity of mind, 

Considering pains unavoidable, 


A likely source of good or good 


Cuddle. The epicurian likes me 


Johannes. The epicurian seeks all 

pleasures and 

Avoids all pains as the worst of all 


Cuddle. The cynic I hate worse of 


Johannes. The cynic voids his 

nose at any pain 

Or pleasure, each one swerving in 

the curve 

Of time but to the other. 

Cuddle. Take what is best from 

these philosophies. 


Exit Cuddie carrying Mustapha and 
enter Matthaus Wackher von 

Matthaus. Is it Johannes? 

Johannes. Johannes, or his ghost. 

Matthaus. Where are you going? 

Johannes. Where all men go: 

towards their grave. 

Matthaus. But not today, I hope. 

Johannes. Towards my mother's 

and my final womb. 

Matthaus. Are these your dear 

Rudolphine tables? 

Johannes. Rudolphine tables will 

be printed soon 

In Ulm at my expense. Lost sailors 


Be glad to read them, lost 


Will bless my memory with better 


As in a vision I appear to see 

Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Copernicus, 

And Brahe living on its 


Mine is the visage at the desk 


Ungrateful coinage scattered right 

and left, 

Not on the table where I labor 


Matthaus. Is genius never like 

himself in grace, 

Most happy in his gifts? 

Johannes. The tables lack in spirit 


Buoyed in me for stay-at-home 


Matthaus. I'll follow you to dark 

sides of the pit. 

Johannes. Do it like Horus, with 

one finger on 

His placid mouth. 

Matthaus. I like him best of all. 

Johannes. Diminishers. Avulsion. 

Exeunt Johannes and Matthaus 

Act 5. Scene 4. A street in 
Regensburg. 1630 

Enter general Albrecht von 
Wallenstein, attended by 1 Soldier 

Albrecht. My horse's sweaty 

hooves are purpurine. 

The Lutherans reel backward from 

our swords 

And shields as readily as 


While Tilly spurns the Danish 

king, we tilt 

The prince of Transylvania from 

his horse. 

1 Soldier. Our German soldiers 

laugh to find the Dane 

And the Hungarian wading in their 


Albrecht. The dukes of Pomerania 

and of Mecklenburg, 

Unfortunate in their allliances 

With Danes, stand pale, negotiate, 

and I 

Received as the new duke of 


The faces of their stoutest are 



Flat to the bone, some almost 


At best protuberances of hurt 


While others moan suspended like 

pale pears 

On trees from shrunken anklets. 


Red juice drips slowly on the 

leaves and moss, 

The ruddy sprinkled on the green 

and grey, 

When we find time to work. Old 

news and stale. 

1 Soldier. Your Ludwig died today, 

some say. 

Albrecht. My favorite, and what a 

thing he was! 

Our soldier, seeking for 


Where a sword has already cut it, 


Avoiding at all costs the worst of 


His mirror, sits on an old tomb 

and mopes. 

1 Soldier. Place your bruised feet 

on these soft cushions, sir. 

Albrecht. Where frowns our starry 


Enter Johannes Kepler 


Johannes. At your command, 

most potent general. 

Albrecht. Well, well. 

Johannes. If Rome once honored 

with a triumph theirs 

In reputation, fighting fiercely 

And levelling revolted subjects, 


Secure in chains on charriots, why 

may not 

Brave Wallenstein receive 


Rewards for feats few have 

attempted, none 

Accomplished in our times? 

Albrecht. My stars reveal I can 

accomplish more. 

Johannes. Few can doubt it. 

Albrecht. If only from my stars I 

could read more! 

Disclose again what you from 

stars can guess. 

Johannes. Oh, nothing I have not 

already told. 

Albrecht. Repeat good hopes and 

better: will I rise? 

Johannes. Ha! Will you rise? 

Prognostications of 

Etruscan Tages were not surer to 

The citadels of Latium. 

Albrecht. Well, well. Yet here we 

have disease and pests. 

Johannes. Oh, all the better. 

Aesculapius in 

The form of a bright golden snake 

snuffed out 

The plague in Rome: what in our 

modern times 

May not imperial sapience yet 


Albrecht. If we could read the 


Johannes. How many worried men 

in Europe wish 

They could but read your mind, 

my general! 


There destiny, they say, smiles o r 

else frowns. 

Albrecht. Some say, I am the main 

defective hinge 

That shuts the door of peace 

against our face. 

Johannes. True. 

Albrecht. If we could read the 


Johannes. O, I am sick. Hope 

totters blindly still. 

Albrecht. Ha, sick, sick as most of 

your prophecies? 

Enter 2 Soldier 

Bad news, I fear. 

2 Soldier. My general, brave 

Ludwig's dead. 

Albrecht. Expected, yet no less- I 

can express 

No more, expecting to be 


2 Soldier. My general, the college 

of electors have 

Met, leaving you quite destitute of 


Abandoned still by folly's 


Albrecht. No more a general! How 

can I live, 

Or even die? 

Johannes. Ha, madness in our 


1 Soldier. Take comfort, sir. 

Albrecht. My Ludwig, and my 


O, why did you not die instead? 

Exit 1 Soldier 

I'm mad. No? Am I not? 

Our Ludwig should be honored. 

Johannes. I will praise him. 

Albrecht. A glib tongue you 

possess, as do your stars, 

Tongues that can flatter princes in 


Johannes. I well may be unapt for 


As well as many other practices. 

Albrecht. In war, he did not own, 

as many do, 

Mars on his tongue, Thersites in 

his heart. 

Johannes. No. 

Albrecht. Can you say more? 

Johannes. I can, yet I must 

practice first, I think. 

His dog has died, they say. I'll 

practice skills 

With moving epitaphs on his dead 


Albrecht. Well thought on! 

Enter 3 Soldier bearing a dead dog 

Johannes. O, let me swallow all of 


Atop mount Helicon! This is a 


Few can attempt and fewer yet 


Albrecht. A fine beginning! 

Johannes. Brave Ludwig's dog is 

dead, our Puff-ball gone! 

Bad days, worse nights: the good 

die with the bad, 

The good and bad remain. This 

was no dog, 


But its idea! Puff-ball, when 


Was never heard to growl or bark 


Content with biting hard his 

master's arse. 

He neither pissed nor heavy 

biscuit dropped 

On his good mistress' gown; 

instead, he played 

As soldiers do, his master's, lifting 


His hindlimbs as he briskly 

marched in tune, 

The little warrior with his master's 


After explosions flashing right and 


When his good captain lost his 

arms and legs, 

Still on the ground, Puff-ball 

pulled at his trunk, 

Expecting to see his good master 


And frolic one more time. When 

he did not, 

Puff-ball stretched on the ground, 

pretending he 

Was dead, as many times he 

sported thus, 

But then he raised his head with 

sadder eyes 

While contemplating his still 

captain still. 

So, lying tristful, this fond dog 

grew faint, 

And, fainting, caught a chill; n o 

longer did 

He eat but seemed to mourn 

beside the dead. 

Alone, untended, with foul coat 


Puff-ball expired.- What, welling, 


Albrecht. The breeze blows cold 

today. At a bad time 

Has faithless Ferdinand 

abandoned me. 

Bad emperor- 

O, worse than bad, O, worse than 

worst men can 

Describe and then expect to be 


For Gustav Adolph, king of 

Sweden comes 

For him and his, and Sweden 

comes for blood. 

Johannes. More of that still! 

Albrecht. Not sick, Johannes? 

Johannes. Yes, sick, and almost 


Albrecht. Go bury our dead 


Exeunt Soldiers 2 and 3 bearing 
the dead dog 

Johannes. More and then worse! 

Worse and then worst of all! 

Albrecht. A good dog, Kepler. 

Johannes. True. 

Albrecht. A very good dog, my 


Exit Albrecht 

Johannes. Diminishers. Avulsion. 

Enter plague-stricken men 


White mouths, to suck out 

knowledge. Live in books, 

So that the worms in them may 

live on you. 

I measured heavens' circuit; now I 


For all eternity earth's shadowed 


(He dies 

1 Man. I saw my brother leap into 
the fire 

Meant for my cousin's carcass. 

2 Man. This looks like Kepler. 

3 Man. Can scientists be eaten? 

1 Man. I doubt that. 

2 Man. With papers too well 

3 Man. Yet what of that? Our 
mouth is paper, too. 

1 Man. Disguise yourselves as 

priests and bury him 

For a good fee, my best advice 


Exeunt plague-stricken men 

bearing Johannes 


King Henry III of France 

Dramatic characters (16) 

Enter the duke of Guise and 
Catherine de Medici 

Charles IX, king of France 

Catherine de Medici, queen 


Henry of Anjou, duke, later King 

Henry III 

Henry of Guise, duke of Lorraine 

Charles of Lorraine, duke of 


Henry of Navarre, king of Navarre 

Henry of Conde, prince and 

cousin to the king of Navarre 

Gaspard de Coligny, admiral of the 

Huguenot faction 

Ludovico Gonzaga, duke of Nevers 

Jean-Louis de La Valette, duke of 


Anne de Joyeuse, viscount and 

later duke of Joyeuse 

Pepin, Huguenot scholar 

Marie, wife to Pepin 

Crudmore, beggar 

Turpin, Crudmore's son 

Jacques Clement, Dominican friar 

Soldiers, servants, Turpin's 

woman, the lord of Maurevert, 
Persephone and her suitors, 
Caylus' corpse, a shoemaker, a 
tinker, a water-carrier, and a 

Time: 16th century 
Place: France 

Act 1. Scene 1. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1572 

Catherine. Is there no earthquake 
grumbling deep below 
To swallow down dark heaven's 

Guise. I'll be your earthquake. 
Catherine. Do, do. Earn a queen- 
mother's gratitude. 
Guise. I will devise a plot, whose 
like on earth 

Was never seen, or even thought 

Catherine. Make me your secret 
bedside book of woe. 
Guise. The king proposes marriage 
with Navarre 
And his unhappy sister. 
Catherine. I know he does. 
Guise. The Huguenots may hate 

Catherine. Who says a woman 
better can beguile? 
Men pluck down crown and laurel 
as they wish. 

Guise. I know if Protestants 
ascend, we fall. 

Catherine. Filth of the realm, 
threat to established ways. 
Guise. They killed my father: I 
should kill them, too: 
What can be simpler, gracious 
To understand? 

Catherine. The king defends 
assailants at the fort 
Of Orange. 


Guise. And desecrators of the 


At Rouen, Calvin's merchants 

rightly dead, 

Contempt's demolishers of 


And crosses at the house of razed 


Catherine. He orders that the 

governor of Metz 

Should make no difference 

between religion 

And novelties. Too lukewarm for 

my blood! 

Guise. I'll marry murder with 


Whose offspring will in full rejoice 

your heart. 

Catherine. Our prophet of revenge 

against revolts! 

Guise. I will be more than prophet 

of your joys: 

A church-born flayer of apostasy. 

A Huguenot, to scare his child 


Will whisper no more: "Devils 

come for you 

In darkness if your eyelids do not 


But rather: "Close your eyes, lest 

black the Guise 

Haul disobedient spirits shrieking 


Fresh open graves." 

Catherine. Be secretive; reveal to 

none your thoughts. 

Guise. Am I the Guise? Am I who I 

must be? 

Catherine. It would be tedious and 

too over-long 

Once to thumb over all the 


Of sin that must be answered with 

their blood. 

Guise. Coligny might not have my 

father's head 

Lopped off, but I will do as if he 


Catherine. Louis of Conde planned 

to steal away, 

While I for peace beseeched, the 

king at Meaux. 

Guise. With dazzled fools I do not 

often jest. 

Catherine. What do you call 

religion with no thought 

On guided penance, priesthood 

paid for saws 

Without due ordination, 


A stillborn bastard best forgotten 


Guise. Coligny's mouth is much 

reformed but not 

His purse, as critics may allow 

when he 

Obtains ecclesiastic prebends 


His brother, Chatillon, though 

dead awhile, 

Remuneration to be pocketed 

From a religion he abhors and 


Catherine. My Henry, man at 

Jarnac in full pride 

And savior in the fields of 


May be a better son for my 



Against the royal council's hopes 

of truce 

Caressed by Montmorency and de 


Guise. We'll prove uncertain 

dreams of peace to be 

As halting as mild Gontaut-Biron's 


Catherine. God's honor is our 

cause. The Huguenots 

May not be borne. That being 

done, I'll dream 

Of Henry's marriage with the 

English queen. 

Exeunt the Guise and Catherine de 

Act 1. Scene 2. Before the 
cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. 


Enter King Charles IX, the duke of 
Anjou, the king of Navarre, and 
the prince of Conde, attended by 

Charles IX. There's feasting on this 

day among the good: 

A marriage-pact between two 

kingdoms grown. 

Navarre. A marriage-bond 

between religions, too. 

Charles IX. At last we clasp our 

wish and to our state 

That wish must be acclaimed as 


The marriage of my sister, 


Of Valois, and Navarre at Notre- 

Navarre. The tomb of our 
religious enmities, 
And we the figures on the 

Together with gisants of peace in 

Anjou. A catafalque the people in 
our realm 

Religiously expect to kneel before. 
Navarre. Love smiles propitiously 
and without guile. 
In golden satin France and Anjou 

Like twin suns reigning over Paris 

Charles IX. The dazzled bride in 
purple velvet gown 
Embroidered with fresh lilies, 

The sight of her well-wishers! 
Navarre. And yet, you know, this 
celebration is 

No sacrament to our reformed 

Conde. The bridegroom with his 
followers will stand 
Outside while king and bride 
rejoice within. 

Enter Catherine de Medici and the 
duke of Guise 

Catherine. In honor of your 

marriage day, Navarre, 

I have forgotten black, since all 

my thoughts 

Shine like a cloth of innocence 

this day. 


Charles IX. More benedictions o n 

their happiness! 

Navarre. More signs of favor on 

our amities! 

Charles IX. This blessed event, 

which follows closely 

The marriage of Prince Conde to 


Of Cleves, loved sister-in-law to 

the Guise, 

Is double binding of our mutual 


And end to all dissensions. Ha, the 


Is it not so? 

Guise. So. 

Charles IX. We have in our fond 

heart no greater hope 

Of happiness than to behold at 


The old religion with the newer 


Serenely kiss in soft bonds of 


Exeunt Charles IX, Catherine de 
Medici, Anjou, and the Guise, 

Navarre. We celebrate our newer 

Paris mass 

While muttering in fear inside 

dark caves. 

Conde. The treaty, once a bride at 

Saint Germain, 

Is now a garish whore. 

Navarre. The Spanish agents 

murdered without fear 

The count of Egmont and the 

count of Hoorn. 

Conde. Last month, French troops 

were crushed at Saint Ghislain. 

Help our insurgent and despairing 


Of the Low-Countries in their 

heady war 

Against the miserable tyranny 

Of the fierce duke of Alba. 

Navarre. I have asked France for 

money in our wars 

At Flanders and obtain the 


Of money. With foot-soldiers and 


I'll join the prince of Orange. 

Conde. We keep as sacraments 


And baptism- 

Navarre. Deny that prayers for the 

dead refresh 

A grimy sinner roaring in his fire. 

Conde. Swear that Saint Roch is 

powerless to cure 

Even the milder forms of 


Navarre. No priests but deacons, 

not the popish beast 

But a consistory.- Can Anjou help? 

Conde. The duke of Anjou is a 

girl-like boy. 

Exeunt Navarre and Conde 

Act 1. Scene 3. A street in Paris. 


Enter the duke of Anjou and the 
duke of Guise 


Guise. A union born in Satan's 

head, so that 

One half of France may burn the 

other one! 

Anjou. Pope Gregory and Francis 


Are of my mind: an insult to our 


A deadly peril to all souls in 


Guise. My uncle could not from 

the surly pope 

Obtain a dispensation for this 


Anjou. What can this marriage 

breed? No son of peace, 

I fear. Margot once slept with me, 

with you 

As well, some say. 

Guise. Peace on forgotten sins! 

Anjou. While Huguenots still rage 

in convent lusts. 

Guise. The royal army in red 

helmets with 

The white cross fierce against the 

paler heads 

Of Huguenots in bloody fields of 


I breathe but in that smoke. 

Anjou. The king seduces well 

Coligny's hopes 

While envying King Philip, envying 

You, of that liberty which most he 


Guise. No king in his own house, 

much less the realm. 

Exeunt Anjou and the Guise 

Act 1. Scene 4. A street in Paris. 


Enter the king of Navarre, the 
prince of Conde, and admiral 
Coligny, attended 

Coligny. We only gain what in a 

war is won. 

Navarre. Behold what in a 

marriage is obtained. 

Conde. What we have won 

tomorrow may be lost. 

You have but married maybe. 

Navarre. A woman, I hope, with a 

state in peace. 

Coligny. What is kept up with 

power is torn down 

With power. Catholics adore our 


And yet despise his worshippers 

to death. 

Navarre. The king is lenient. 

Coligny. Proceeding from his 

weakness, which may be 

To their advantage wrought on. 

Navarre. If traitors live, we are 

stout and full-grown. 

Are you not, Conde? 

Conde. I am a coach with one 

wheel. Being moved 

Hurts me the more with those 

who rest in me. 

Navarre. He is of one religion. 

Conde. Why should two friends 

have one religion, or 

One hope? As if we search reality 

With just one arm? 

Navarre. Philosophy! 

Coligny. A pretty game no doubt. 


Navarre. What do you wish for, 


Conde. But to transform my soul 

into a Louvre, 

Where I am king and courtier, 

serving all, 

Commanding all, both loving and 


Coligny. More of the same. 

Navarre. He's ours and noble. 

Conde. O, neither noble nor 


And neither kind nor yet unkind, 

Or neither well-taught nor 


A tangle of silk-threads and 


Coligny. His father died 


Conde. I am a changeling to my 

own self, 

Robbed from my bed by strangers 

I have known. 

One finger blasted off his right 


Navarre. I think I spied the lord of 


Conde. Charles de Louvriers! 

Navarre. A private quarrel. 

Conde. Believe so if you can o r 


Navarre. Ho! Send the admiral to 

surgeons' care. 

Exeunt attendants, bearing Coligny 

Conde. What times are these! What 

men command these times! 

Navarre. Come. To the Louvre! 

Conde. To be shot at again? 

Navarre. The honor of the king 

has been engaged. 

He may no more add "traitor" to 

his name 

Than sit below a peasant robber's 


Enter the lord of Maurevert with 
an arquebus, above 

Navarre. This way, Coligny. 
Coligny. Ha, so it is. 

(The lord of Maurevert shoots 
below and exits 

Navarre. Ha! 

Conde. Oh, Admiral Coligny has 

been shot. 

Navarre. Not dead! 

Conde. His left arm is 

transpierced, and there is more: 

Exeunt Navarre and Conde 

Act 1. Scene 5. A tennis court in 
Paris. 1572 

Enter King Charles IX and the duke 
of Guise 

Charles IX. All that I offer for their 


Comes back at me with pain. 

Guise. Men's hopes are good when 

well kept within bounds. 

Charles IX. I need no courtier in 

this second court, 


For otherwise a king may not 


His skill with such excessive 


Guise. I will put you to a good 

sweat, my king. 

Charles IX. Consider each ball as a 


And rap him sorely against my 


Guise. I need not, knowing well 

your majesty 

Can sharply punish any he can 


Charles IX. I should especially hit 

those who stray 

Outside the confines of the court, 

whom I 

Can never reach. 

Guise. I'll fetch them back, or 

crush them as they rest. 

Charles IX. At our game's end, 

they'll lie well knocked, I'm sure. 

Enter the prince of Conde 

Conde. O, justice, justice, 

goodliest majesty! 

Charles IX. Why? 

Conde. Some rag of justice for our 

naked France! 

Our admiral Coligny is laid low, 

Shot by a Catholic. 

Charles IX. Ah, no! Two fall 

assassinated here. 

O, it is come, the day of reckoning 

And doom in luckless France. Is 

Conde here 

Or a bad dream? On lowliest 

dung-holes faint. 

The musket-ball that struck the 

face of Mars 

Has given us an even sharper 


Our sides ache at these news, our 

honor bleeds. 

Conde. What peace can Huguenots 

expect from kings 

Who murder us in secret while we 


Charles IX. Expect a murderer 

caught and attached, 

Tried quickly, stretched to a 

band's length, until 

The foam of every accomplice 


From his pinched mouth, then 

hear him loudly wail 

And hate each inspiration on the 


Conde. Our tall Coligny is alive. 

Guise. Alive? 

Conde. Yes, duke, on his bed 

gasping painfully, 

A surgeon's shadow over his pale 


As long as this sad day and longer 


Charles IX. Inquiries will be made 

and suddenly. 

Christophe de Thou will know of 

this event 

And render us a full report or die. 

Guise. Where is Navarre? 

Conde. Where I am now, at the 

queen-mother's feet, 

For any help in these extremities. 

Charles IX. How well I am obeyed! 

Am I a king? 


Can majesty's oil shine on a king's 


When riot-mongers spit on it at 


Conde. The Huguenots bear 

swords. This may not pass. 

Charles IX. Go, justice you will cut 

and eat yourself 

With satisfaction of all factions' 


Conde. In vengeance start to fear 

that Catholics 

Will crush between their teeth a 

bloody fruit. 

Catherine. A fierce affront to the 

good king and me! 

Anjou. I will remember him. The 

Guise jumps far 

And to an awful precipice he'll 


Fit subject to make Crassus laugh 

in tears 

Who barely smiled before. 

Catherine. Speak to the king. This 

must be answered soon. 

Anjou. He comes at last and 

breathing in his haste 

For vengeance and redress. 

Exit Conde 

Enter King Charles IX 

Guise. I should proclaim at once 

my innocence. 

Charles IX. You must and should. 

Guise. My liege, this sad event, 

confusion's worst, 

Is quite unlooked for. 

Charles IX. Ah, I believe you. 

Exeunt Charles IX and the Guise 

Act 1. Scene 6. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1572 

Enter Catherine de Medici and the 
duke of Anjou 

Catherine. The lord of Maurevert 

is the duke's man. 

Anjou. How is it possible? A 

subject to 

Command and overpeer like a 


Catherine. Clouds swell. 

Anjou. Strike terror in the valleys 

without bolts 

Of thunder, warning none of your 


Catherine. Let mountains rest like 

smoke and earth like mud. 

Charles IX. My eyes are red from 

weeping and my ears 

Hot from my subjects' curses. 

Honor's lost 

Unless I punish in a dreadful 


Conspirators against our royal 


I'll hold the scissors while bland 


Cuts off legs with ambition. 

Anjou. Some say: "The duke of 

Guise is much to blame." 

Catherine. Although the duke of 

Guise is much to blame, 

The duke of Guise is not an enemy 


Of God and us. 

Anjou. No? Then I recognize no 

friend on earth. 

Catherine. His enemies are ours, 

and yet not ours 

Because not dead. 

Anjou. The Protestants are friends 

if they obey. 

Catherine. I'll belch out swollen 

toads bespotted with 

The lard of witches' brew should 

these be friends. 

No friends at all and that we 

plainly see 

When Calvin's goats can thrive. To 


With doctrines nurtured in a 

German cell! 

Do they deny our purgatory? 


Let them all rot in their created 


Our Jesus never bled for 


Anjou. Kill friends instead who 

live to our dismay. 

Catherine. Will you not thunder, 

king? Return to me, 

My Theseus. Ariadne, robbed of 


Abandoned on the shore of Naxos, 


Sad Maguelonne, round-bellied 

without cause, 

Did not cry out so vainly to the 


As I do here at court. 

Charles IX. I'm in a Zacharian 

muteness till I hear 

A blood-crazed child of vengeance 

born of us. 

Anjou. Unless I quite mistake his 

hasty steps, 

The duke of Guise advances to 

spur on 

Death's slower bloody horses of 

the night. 

Enter the duke of Guise 

Catherine. The Guise, you have 

done well and not done well. 

Anjou. One day, I'll prick this 

hairy basilisk. 

Guise. Is Maurevert my own? He 

is, and yet 

His hands and eyes are none of 

mine at all. 

Anjou. The Guise equivocates all 

France to hell. 

Catherine. I'm in a tortured frenzy 

till the foes 

Lie at our feet on stranger beds 


Charles IX. O, mother, our gashed 

country's weal and mine, 

What dreaded scheme of treason 

would you have 

A shaken king unwillingly 


I swim in a dark pool which I can 


Is not the blood of wounded angry 


Guise. The king of Spain frowns 

darkly at our sloth. 

Anjou. Should we hear further 

from a purchased duke? 


The king of Spain is your good 

master, not 

The king of France. 

Guise. The king of Spain and the 

pope understand, 

Promote, and help religion as I do. 

Catherine. Hear wisely and speak 

well, my forward son. 

Will you have Philip's cannons at 

our gates? 

To stuff Spain's throat of war the 

Guise feigns to 

Be his entirely, but only so 

When Huguenots in shadows 

subtly lurk 

To strike at will against all 


Guise. These conflicts simmer in 

confusion's oil 

Because the king defends the 

rotted weed 

Of Calvinists in the Low-Countries' 


Anjou. Ha, do you hear, the Guise? 

A single word 

Against my brother is the 

lodestone that 

Will draw a dagger's point from 

Anjou's spite. 

Catherine. Peace on all sides who 

think God's favor is 

More precious than their bellies! 


This night must die before they 

ever rise. 

Charles IX. Ha? 

Catherine. In wetted bedsheets 

smother till he breathes 

His last Coligny, lest what 

Christians won 

At jubilant Lepanto to our cause 

Be lost forever. 

Guise. The mighty king of Spain 

expects our king 

To barter his false face for a true 


The Protestants in Paris armed and 


In August: what worse prospect 

can be seen? 

Catherine. Hear: fifty leaders of 

their faction's worst 

Will sleep in their imagined hell 


Anjou. What, slaughters general? 

France kiling France? 

Catherine. The Guise will lead our 

troops. See him display 

The cross of innocence against 

Christ's foes. 

Guise. I will not bathe except in 

Calvin's gore. 

Charles IX. This must be scanned 

in council. 

Catherine. The council at this 

moment hears our case 

And will no doubt debate their 

quiet deaths. 

The duke of Nevers captures eyes 

and ears. 

Anjou. Too sudden, mother! O, 

too violent 

And hasty-arbitrary to be well! 

Catherine. Our deaths are dreamt 

about by children. 

Guise. Tomorrow false Navarre, as 

spies reveal, 

Will no doubt dampen swords in 

timid blood, 


Unless we play as Christ's own 

soldiers armed. 

Anjou. Conjectural, as our own 


Catherine. Stay, son. 

Charles IX. Do not abandon now a 

king besieged 

By scattered arrows of 


Guise. Unless you do and do and 

do again, 

Low-arsed adventurers will peep 


Your Louvre at night to massacre 

us all. 

Exit the Guise 

Catherine. I hear Gonzaga's steps 

astir with news. 

Charles IX. O, misery unknown, 

unthought about, 

Atop in huddles with more 


Enter Ludovico Gonzaga 

Catherine. Speak, duke of Nevers, 

is the council warm? 

Does war prevail, or death to our 


Gonzaga. The council of the king 

decides for life 

With murder of the fifty leaders 


Disclosed to us as traitors to the 


Catherine. I have borne sons, 

among whom is a king, 

But never yet my heart leapt up as 


A moment's grace. I thank the 

count of Retz- 

Gonzaga. Armand de Clermont 

and Teligny rose 

And threatened, Jean de 

Morvillier was heard 

To weep for those who slap his 

cheeks and neck- 

Catherine. To cut to pieces all the 


France, henceforth pray to me, a 

holier Joan, 

Defending patriots and the only 


Anjou. To strike preventively is 

safest still. 

Catherine. Must a fond mother's 

robes sweep on the filth 

Of palace floors with pleadings? 

Are you mine? 

Charles IX. King Francis was by 

Spanish enemies 

Clapped up in shame, I, by my 


Who are more dangerous to a 

king's rest? 

To kill them is a lively death to 


Not to kill them a kind of deadly 


Then kill them all. Let not one 

man be left 

To blame me for this crime, a 

loathed one, 

Well cogitated to please 


Mere strangers: a pope and a king 

of Spain. 


Catherine. My own and king! 
Charles IX. The white cross bleeds 
already in my heart 
And belly's core. 

Exeunt Charles IX, Catherine de 
Medici, Anjou, and Gonzaga 

Act 2. Scene 1. A street in Paris. 


Enter Turpin and a woman, 
fondling each other 

Turpin. Some stolen beauty in 
these turpitudes! 

Enter Crudmore and exit the 

Should I quit fornication's hidden 


Crudmore. No, do it all the time, 

do it before 

My face. Be carnal-minded and 

then live. 

Go. Mortify at once timidity, 

Kill coyness in her bud, dive like 

the bee 

In open blossoms, stick there till 

you drop 

In heavy sweetness. Be my son 


Turpin. I'm strangely tempted by 

your ordinance. 

Crudmore. To live alone is death; 

new pillowmates 

Obtain if you cannot detain them 


Let no one chide and rail before 

your face: 

"You frigger much too rarely, 

Turpin." No, 

Do it in every garden, every room, 

Do it in muck, do it in sun or rain, 

Explore the pit some feign they 

cannot taste 

With man's strong juices and with 

strenuous strokes. 

Do it until you blister. 

Turpin. I'll be a woman's fool if I 


Crudmore. Ah, better far to 

whimper as her fool 

Than with a bell and cap to 


A king in your own follies and 


Firk her and fuck her, too. Firk 

him as well. 

The foul and soiled ones are 

despised by worse: 

Do it likewise with them, more 

often, for 

Most dally trifling even better 


Turpin. I should be taking notes. 

Crudmore. Go. Glory in the flesh. 

What else have you? 

Be rich in red drops, heavier with 

thick hair 

On hairless bosom. Let her Tethys- 


Spread silver beads of sweat o n 

brow and breast, 

Permit her to lie over you, thick 


In forestry of unexplored desire. 


Be hers, let her be yours, become 

her cunt, 

Let her possess a phallus, crucify 

Each body's needs with every 

pleasure known. 

While soldiers daily hear a woman 


I hear mine laugh in tears and 


Turpin. Ha! Do you always follow 

these conceits? 

Crudmore. My calling is to foutre 

twice a day, 

Three times before mass. Hear: I 

go to church 

To moon or doze, I go to bed to 


Confound a priest: do it behind 


On straw-piles and on grass, do it 

with him 

As well, should he rise as 

temptation's son. 

Turpin. I am too timid for this 

gear, I think. 

Crudmore. Be daring: fornicate 

with anyone 

You can. A little more than ten is 


Be sexed like pastures of 

prevented goats. 

Proliferate like moss: who will 

judge you? 

The saints? 

Should you not rather judge the 

saints instead? 

Turpin. I feel much bolder now. 

Crudmore. Good fornication is the 

body's house 

Of glory. In the Paphian temple lie, 

A phallic Jesus smiling at our 


Between two thighs, the only 

happy place, 

No other heaven for us but for 


No happier hour can here be 

spent at all: 

Three gates of Venus open half 

the night, 

Which all the women and most 

men adore, 

Except perverted blots, shame of 

our kind, 

Priests with their juiceless tribes. 

Do as they do, 

Be faithful to your pleasures, high 

or low, 

And not another's, if you love 


Turpin. Yet preachers swear lust 

finds his punishment 

In his own wind. 

Crudmore. Serve Venus in her 

works, or warp condemned, 

A slave to other people's appetite. 

How can a man or woman 


Most of the time and live 


If you are fortunate in languid 


You may with luck be happy in all 


Do we own organs just for show, 

or use? 

Is it not wiser to fall lowly on 

Our knees inside fanes of idolatry 

Where our reward is known to any 



Turpin. It is. 

Crudmore. To watch a woman 

languishing in vain 

Is hell's and purgatory's course of 


Let her light fan blow your 

uncertain lust 

Afire with longing. 

Turpin. These are new sermons. 

Crudmore. Be dissolute, no matter 

what priests say. 

Men frown in hearing once what 

most, had they 

The means, would do a thousand 

times each day. 

Turpin. I will forget my curate. 

Crudmore. No eye remembers 

passing friends who leave. 

Turpin. I'll get a woman now. 

Crudmore. I plant, she waters, and 

the flower's joy, 

In awe of your own body and of 


Or his, not of the spirit, nothing 


Except philosophers'. But this is 


This yours, that yours as well, and 

all is yours 

That can be felt on you and you 

on her. 

The rest is gewgaw. 

Enter two Catholic soldiers while 
the bell of Saint Germain 
l'Auxerrois rings 

1 Soldier. Before the morning 
light bleeds on the panes 

Of house and church, some 

Protestants will know 

Whether our purgatory is to be 

Their prison or our fable. 


Pack them like onions straight in 

rows to hell. 

2 Soldier. We bait and stab. 

1 Soldier. We rail and foin. 

2 Soldier. We force them to their 
knees, in blood abashed, 

To pay due homage to our virgin 


If not to our transcendent virgin's 


1 Soldier. Eschew all forms of 
dalliance till the knaves 

Rot on forgotten grounds. 

2 Soldier. I will forget the body of 
a girl 

In these assaults and aim at man 

1 Soldier. From highest turrets 
fling the caitiffs down. 

2 Soldier. Bartholomew day is a 
feast of joy. 

Exeunt Crudmore and Turpin 

Enter a Huguenot citizen 

Act 2. Scene 2. A street in Paris. 


Huguenot. What bell is that? 

1 Soldier. No white cross on his 

2 Soldier. No red one on his 


1 Soldier. Indulgence is a stranger 
quite unknown 

And tolerance a fabler to be 


Huguenot. Indulgences we laugh 

at, honored sirs, 

With medals, pictures, statues of 

old saints, 

Who need no trash in heaven as 

they sing. 

2 Soldier. Thrust him for that jest. 
Huguenot. Am I in danger? Ha? 
Ha? Will you hurt 

A man unarmed, one whom you 
do not know? 

1 Soldier. Yes. 

2 Soldier. Bind him. 

Huguenot. Will you, because I 

cannot kneel and pray 

To your Jerome and lion, do me 


1 Soldier. On this Bartholomew 
day, we enjoy 

To watch foes bleeding on the 
stony ground 

While puffing out their shortest, 
latest breath. 

2 Soldier. Less talking and more 

Huguenot. Ha! Ha! Despair and 

Enter Crudmore 

2 Soldier. One of our own. 
Crudmore. Who is the prisoner? 
2 Soldier. A man condemning his 
own life away. 
Crudmore. A Protestant? 
1 Soldier. He boasts of it. 

Crudmore. Here, take my crutch; 

beat him to death with it. 

2 Soldier. No, daggers are quite 


Crudmore. Give me no coins 

today: melt them instead, 

Together with all metals you can 


For rapiers, larger swords, and 


To wound to death protesting 


1 Soldier. A beggar famous for his 

2 Soldier. True ignorance can 
offer sound advice. 

Huguenot. A sober-minded man, 

intent to gain 

In my despair his heaven with our 


2 Soldier, (stabbing him to death 

There in a stream of blood-drops 

as we speak. 

1 Soldier. Will you earn money, 
Crudmore? Throw him down 

Into the thickened Seine, white 
mud with black. 

Exit Crudmore, bearing the 
Huguenot citizen 

2 Soldier. Municipal authorities 
have shut 

The city gates to keep the 


Inside, while thousands of their 


Outside our barriers blink and 

worry still. 


1 Soldier. More prizes for this day 
all Catholic! 

Exeunt the Guise, servants, and 
soldiers, bearing Coligny 

Enter above in Coligny's 

bedchamber the servants of the 

1 Servant. The admiral is sleeping. 

2 Servant. Not deep enough for 

Enter below the duke of Guise 

Guise. Come, is it done? 

1 Servant. Not yet. 

2 Servant. We lose time talking. 

1 Servant. Do it. I'm still a virgin 
in this work. 

2 Servant, (stabbing Coligny 

I can prick well a man in bed. 
1 Servant. This I will do. 

(Coligny is thrown down; the 
Guise kicks him 

Guise. Our country's murderer 

will always be 

Alive to my despite. Take him 


I will slice off his head at leisure 


Send the red trophy to Pope 


As for the trunk, street-urchins 

begging in 

The shadows of Saint Germain 


Can surely invent worse outrages 

Than soldiers of Picardie ever can. 

Act 2. Scene 3. A street in Paris. 


Enter Pepin and Marie 

Pepin. Coligny assassinated in his 

bed on Bethisy street! My friend, 

Pierre de la Ramee, syllogism's 

son, gone to visit Aristotle! 

Marie. Coligny's lieutenants 

spiked to death at the Louvre! 

Pepin. Our soldiers locked out! 

Marie. And we locked in! 

Pepin. How can I escape? 

Marie. Men with a white band on 

their left arm stripped Polisson's 

body of his best clothes. 

Pepin. And farther down the street 

the Laviterne house with 

mutilated, men, women, and 

infants swimming with closed eyes 

in a new Seine! 

Marie. Thanks to our dearest 

Catholic neighbor, Froissy, who 

hid us both in his cellar, we 

escape for a time their justice. 

Working humanity! 

Pepin. I owe him money. 

Marie. A leper's money will be 

fondled on 

And kissed. Ha! Ha! Who comes? 

Pepin. We'll hide in mud like 


Exeunt Pepin and Marie, enter the 
duke of Guise and servants 
chasing a Huguenot citizen 


Guise. Death to our God should he 
escape unhurt! 

1 Servant. We hold him. 

2 Servant. Dang him to purgatory 
at long last. 

Guise. Crush out his head-piece 

like the rotted pear 

Of his religion. 

1 Servant, (crushing him 


Guise. Till now, I never hated 

Luther's fools 

Since first I held and sucked 

Megaera's breast. 

To Saint-Germain-des-Pres with 

wings of love, 

That small Geneva of lost heretics, 

For greater slaughters and new 

hope in France! 

Navarre. Dissimulate. I am 

Navarre no more 

And you no shirtless prince of 

Conde. Stare, 

Blink, slaver, speak as they expect 

or wish. 

Enter King Charles IX, attended 

Charles IX. Today we spare all 

princes of the blood. 

Conde. Why should you, sir? Most 

of our friends are dead. 

Charles IX. Provided you convert. 

Navarre. Some oil on our pale 

foreheads or else blood! 

Conde. A cruel choice! 

Charles IX. Do you accept? 

Navarre. A king's word on it. 

Conde. A prince's, too. 

Exeunt the Guise and soldiers, 
bearing the Huguenot citizen 

Act 2. Scene 4. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1572 

Enter the king of Navarre and the 
prince of Conde 

Enter Catherine de Medici 

Catherine. Do they agree? 

Charles IX. They do. 

Catherine. Then welcome bleeding 

to God's grace and ours. 

Charles IX. Attend the king and 


Navarre. Like children sent to 

rooms for punishment. 

Conde. With red heads not red 


Navarre. I saw the king shoot at 

his subjects from 

His balcony. 

Conde. He comes, and with a 

violent anguished look. 

Exeunt Navarre and Conde, 

Catherine. Navarre and Conde left 

alive for us 

Serve as a counterweight to help 

pull down 

The heaven-pointing engines of 

the Guise. 


Charles IX. I heard the populace 

yell out: "The Guise 

And our religion!" None spoke 

well of me. 

Catherine. Navarre and Conde in 

our house of peace! 

Charles IX. And yet thoughts burn 

in me, a visionless 

White fire, not understood, with 

devils born 

Each minute in my belly torturing. 

We hold the door to terrors and 


Catherine. Our way is lurid with 

great sorrows till 

We sleep in the right place and 


(The bell of of Saint Germain 
l'Auxerrois stops ringing 

A silence in sleeps of 


To our affairs.- Do you attend? 

Not here? 

My Henry fondles secretly Marie, 

The prince of Conde's wife. A 

mother can 

Win him away from that 

distracting spell. 

Exeunt Charles IX and Catherine de 

Act 2. Scene 5. A street in Paris. 


Enter Pepin and Marie 

Pepin. The Seine is sick with 


Marie. We will be quite unable for 

a while 

To swallow any fish or weed from 


Pepin. Friends move without 

moving towards Chaillot and 


Marie. In a broth of bones and 

macerated flesh. 

Pepin. You have attended but 

distractedly a scholar's 

explanations, excellent in scarcity 

of elocutionary digressions, on 

the most likely reasons underlying 

our disasters. 

Marie. True, the only conflict 

women care about is the war 

against wrinkles. 

Pepin. Is that not Crudmore and a 


Enter Crudmore and Turpin 

Crudmore. Not Crudmore and a 

Catholic except 

To ardent well-armed Catholics I 


Pepin. You have converted, I hear, 

so many times from one to the 

other that you can no longer 

know who you are. 

Turpin. My father, I think. 

Crudmore. And father of my son, I 


Marie. You are remorseless 

tyrants to your wife 

And mother if you ever doubt her 



Crudmore. She has abandoned me 

to my own self, 

Once a good scholar, now a 

begging slave. 

Pepin. No better prospects? 

Crudmore. I deserve no better 

house than none at all, for I'm 

tireless in shunning work. 

Turpin. So am I, since first we 

rowed and swam away from 

England's tide of persecution 

against honest vagrancy. 

Marie. Are you lame, too? 

Crudmore. No more than I or you. 

He only likes 

To imitate his father. It can draw 

Some tears and pieces from the 

tender ones. 

Turpin. I am rewarded with the 

first by love 

And with the second by more 


Pepin. I can get both from mine. 

Turpin. I should take her away 

from you, then, sir. 

Marie. I would not follow you for 

heaven's prize. 

Turpin. That's my bed. 

Pepin. More soldiers! 

Exeunt Pepin and Marie and enter 
two Catholic soldiers 

1 Soldier. More often than I 

2 Soldier. Your tale makes mine 
all the more stiffer still. 

1 Soldier. Stay, vagrant cur, are 
you a Catholic? 

Crudmore. Well proven to a holier 

man than you. 

2 Soldier. He means the pope, I 


1 Soldier. And you? 
Turpin. His son. 

2 Soldier. Go. 

Crudmore. We thank you, sirs. 

Exeunt the Catholic soldiers 

Turpin. No luck today. 
Crudmore. Some disembowelled 
Huguenot houses may yet flow 
with eatables. 

Exeunt Crudmore and Turpin 

Act 2. Scene 6. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1572 

Enter King Charles IX and the duke 
of Guise 

Charles IX. An end to massacres! 

Duke, by our throne 

And scepter never in our life 


Let fresher gallows rise on Paris 


To dissuade the killers. - Nevers!- 


Is Nevers? Send that duke and 


To promulgate on every parish 


That rioters will hang, a kingly 


With a sincere and truest verity 


Declared, to be most strictly 

followed here. 

Guise. The pope, well pleased, 

engraves to Europe's joy 

Commemorative medals of our 


Avenging angels striking down 

with swords 

The heinous enemies of God and 


Charles IX. They say four thousand 

of our citizens 

Swell in the streets and fields for 

kites, or move 

With lifeless life in the 


Seine, while King Philip, almost 

never seen 

To smile or wink, with pleasure 

loudly laughs. 

Guise. Your guard protected ably 


Charles IX. What of the infidel at 


Guise. Renee of France is saved. 

Charles IX. I meant to kill some 

traitors- was that not 

What the queen-mother said? or 

do I dream?- 

Yes, traitors, not a single 


Guise. You see how bitterly the 

common rout 

In Paris hate to death all 


Charles IX. You killed Coligny? 

Guise. And Landry, the great 

bowler, in an hour, 

Who lost his life and all his 


Charles IX. A pleasant savor to a 
dead rat's tooth. 

Enter Catherine de Medici 

O, mother, far more than your 
fifty slain! 

Exit Charles IX 

Catherine. Thanks to the king, 

some Huguenots still live. 

Guise. His clemency is cruel. 

Catherine. A brace of Luther's 

stooges hide at Mons, 

About eight-hundred freezing in 

pale fear, 

To be surprised as soon as they 

reach France 

By the resourceful duke of 


Guise. He will not fail unless he 

loses breath. 

Catherine. Breathe life into 

religion's panting corpse. 

Guise. Resistance still in La 

Rochelle, Sancerre, 

And Sommieres must at all costs 

be cut off 

And brought down branchless in 

our zealous fire. 

The Protestant with self-love 

marries, breeds 

Cool confidence, who, with 

unshriven feet, 

Stroll casually to an eternal fire. 

Where should invented prayers 

lead except 

To pack hell with more souls? 

Inspired heads, 


Who need no priest to pardon, 
gargle texts 

From springs of their own making, 

As if Paul whispers nightly in their 

Interpretations, as if angels sing 
With such a voice of power in 
their house 

That one could swear they eat 
their bread with Christ. 
Catherine. What from such 
doctrines is expected but 
At the last trumpet to see bodies 

With shrieks from their grave- 
clothes, led off like slaves 
Towards the lonely house of 
deathless death? 

Onward with mercy for all souls in 

Exeunt Catherine de Medici and 
the Guise 

Act 2. Scene 7. Before the gates of 
La Rochelle. 1572 

Enter the duke of Anjou, Ludovico 
Gonzaga, the king of Navarre, and 
the prince of Conde, attended 

Anjou. Do these confederates with 

scorn refuse 

Armand of Gontaut as their 


Then raise a siege till every citizen 

Of La Rochelle is shot or stabbed 

to death. 

Gonzaga. Rebellion will be 
pinched in winter time. 
Anjou. The duke of Aumale swears 
he will have blood 
Or La Rochelle most loyal to the 

Gonzaga. His promises are well- 
aimed musket-balls. 
Anjou. How many hardy soldiers 
stand with us? 

Gonzaga. Twenty-eight thousand. 
Anjou. How many soldiers crouch 
in fear with them? 
Gonzaga. One thousand soldiers 
with two thousand more 
Inured for fighting. 
Anjou. My brother, Francis 
Alencon, intends 

This stormy day to be their last o r 

Gonzaga. His cannons roar against 
their fainting ears. 
Anjou. Then, La Rochelle, beg for 
our clemency. 

Gonzaga. The duke of Guise to 
reinforce our troops! 

Enter the duke of Guise and 
Charles of Lorraine 

Guise. Why is not La Rochelle a 

hole of blood? 

Anjou. The Guise, we have not yet 

begun to try 

Our mighty forces in this heady 


Gonzaga. What of the other cities 

in revolt? 

Guise. My brother knows and 

loves the latest news. 


Charles. In anguish Sommieres 

sweats to be besieged 

By troops of Montmorency. Say 

what we 

Must do until the wives of La 


Gnaw grievingly their finger-nails 

and arms 

On dust-heaps for lost husbands, 

fathers, sons. 

Anjou. Wait for the duke of 

Aumale's coming with 

His potent force at dawn. 

Guise. Can they be starved? 

Gonzaga. My spies reveal some of 

their men begin 

To chew on their house-rats. 

Anjou. Bring to my tent Jean-Louis 

de La V alette, 

A gentleman I wish to know more 


Two men with me to welcome 

Aumale well! 

Exit Anjou, attended 

Guise. Do you not waver at these 

strong assaults? 

Navarre. No, duke. We are 

remorseless Catholics. 

Conde. And what we were before 

we never knew. 

Guise. Well. 

Exeunt the Guise and Charles 

Gonzaga. Come, will you follow 
Mars' only son? 
Navarre. We must. 

Conde. We will and must because 
our will is such. 

Exeunt Gonzaga, Navarre, and 

Act 4. Scene 1. The king's castle at 
Plessis-les-Tours. 1577 

Enter Jean-Louis de La Valette and 
Anne de Joyeuse 

Valette. Damville, to please his 
wife, is now declared 
A traitor to religion and the state. 
Joyeuse. He's ours and welcome. 
Valette. What is prepared today 
for our delight? 

Joyeuse. A royal feast with meat 
of every kind, 

Known and unknown, with 
artichoke and corn, 
With carrot, cauliflower, squash, 
and bean, 

With onion, lettuce, watercress, 
and leek. 

Valette. No coriander? 
Joyeuse. With coriander, too, 
besprinkled well 

With ginger, cinnamon, and 

Valette. And to our view? 
Joyeuse. A masque of spring- 
leaved women dressed as men 
In color of rapt fools. They will 

Forbiddenly in dark Sicilian dales, 
Where you will wish yourself 
transformed into 


A mouse to see what men postiche 

can do. 

V alette. The king in pink and 

silver suit enjoys 

Such goodly not ungodly joys. 

Enter King Henry III 

Henry III. I have conceived a ploy, 

where Anjou's faith 

Will be much darkened in the 

people's hearts 

Forever, if I live. 

Valette. Ah, what? 

Henry III. No, later, Jean-Louis. 

There seems to be 

Some jolly banqueting in 


Joyeuse. I have devised for my 

renowned king 

A fitly entertainment that should 


Here is a poet to prepare our ears 

For what our eyes may readily 

swoon in. 

Enter Pepin 

Pepin. Now welcome, gentle 
feasters all. 

In titillating candlelight, 
We will italianize the French, 
Feast palates, eyes, and ears, 
Out of her hellish crevices 
Receive a new Persephone 
In floral pageants never seen, 
Where you will wish yourself 
An actor in the fairy scene, 
Both man and woman in a trice, 

To know the pleasures of each 


Where everyone declares: "Love is 

no sin." 

Henry III. Call for my mother and 

my queen in white. 

Joyeuse. Ah, highest majesty, can 

this be wise? 

Henry III. Call them, I say. My 

mother likes a masque 

Or four, though rarely quite so 

bold and true. 

Exit Joyeuse 

Valette. I stiffen as I sit in hope of 


Henry III. Already too susceptible, 


To spill youself before the rightful 


Re-enter Joyeuse with Catherine 
de Medici 

Good mother, sit, to hear some 

country fare. 

Catherine. A pastoral? 

Henry HI. You'll think yourself 

astride shy Daphne's lap. 

Where is my modest queen? 

Joyeuse. No doubt at prayers still, 

my goodly liege. 

Henry III. The better, then, 


Enter Persephone, followed by her 

Pepin. Persephone is followed by 


A round of suitors very bold. 

(They whisper to her and make 
signs of their intentions 

All hope to fertilize their love 
In bosky regions moist and hot. 

(A suitor takes her by the hand 
and covers her 

Joyeuse. In Saint Priapus' temple I 

should kneel. 

V alette. And I officiating as the 


With Aretino as my prayer-book, 

A bedpost as my pulpit and my 


With bread and wine invited to be 


And charitable to all men of faith. 

An instrument her choice presents 
To please a girl as she expects. 

Exeunt Henry III, de La Valette, 
and Joyeuse 

(A second suitor provides a dildo 

No Dido is this helpful boy, 

Though burning in an obvious 


But a good dildo he provides, 

Such that boy-women should 


To majesties alive at front and 


Catherine. Courtly extravagance! 

Exit Catherine de Medici 

(The suitors enter the bushes with 

Thus ends the better to begin our 

Exit Pepin 

Henry III. I am invited to rehearse 
in there. 

Act 4. Scene 2. The king's castle at 
Navarre. 1578 

Enter the king of Navarre and the 
prince of Conde 

Navarre. In southern parts, our 

troops continue to 

Attack their castles, sack their 

churches, rob 

Their merchants, rape their nuns, 

and massacre 

Defenseless citizens and farmer's 


Wherever they are found. 

Conde. A stew of mayhem 

poisoning our lips 

As soon as we sip it. Who should 

now choose 

Our side when reading these 


Navarre. There is no honest treaty 


With Catholics, whose Jesus is 

their hate. 


Conde. None with the debonnaire 

girl-king at least, 

In rosy vapors dancing with his 


Wan ministers of his 


Navarre. A foutred king cannot be 

bold with men. 

Conde. Then let us raise far 

pricklier implements 

Than those King Henry's fork is 

rubbed against: 

No ranks of poles but battle-axe 

and pike. 

Exeunt Navarre and Conde 

Act 4. Scene 3. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1578 

Enter King Henry III and Catherine 
de Medici 

Catherine. No love remaining in a 

brother's eye? 

Henry III. Does not the colored 

beetle hungrily 

Bore in the kernel of his king and 


Catherine. Fit brothers are 

discovered in the ranks 

Of favorites of kings! 

Henry III. Francis of Espinay, lord 

of Saint Luke- 

Catherine. Francis of Espinay, lord 

of Saint Luke, 

Should be rid of. 

Henry III. How! He has done some 

signal services 

To France no courtier can attempt 

as yet. 

Catherine. Kings have loved 

minions and these minions have 

Been often prized above his 


But never yet a wasp invaded 


To rule in them as if he were a 


Henry III. A mother always wishes 

to be rid 

Of any love or friend except 


Catherine. Henry of Saint-Sulpice, 

base badger, fed 

On courtly honey. 

Henry III. Yet Jacques de Caylus' 

cousin bled with me 

At La Rochelle and in a quarrel 


Found stung to death for me two 

years ago. 

Catherine. Arch-minions I can 


Henry III. All will prove true to 

France and to her king. 

Enter Anne de Joyeuse 

Joyeuse. My liege, there is a duel 

ended that 

Will mar our joys awhile. 

Catherine. Ha, minions in a duel! 

Henry III. Who dares to fight 

against express commands 

Of his own king? 

Joyeuse. My liege-lord, Jacques de 



Henry III. Is Jacques de Caylus 


Joyeuse. No, Jacques de Caylus is 

already hit. 

Henry III. By whom? 

Joyeuse. Three knights defending 

your high royalty 

Have fought against three knights 

defending I 

Do not know why your brother. 

Henry III. No! 

Catherine. I dreamt it would be so. 

Henry III. Who fought for me? 

Catherine. O! What intrigues are 

these, Joyeux? Vile grubs 

Intent on spoiling loving brothers' 


Joyeuse. Among your majesty's 

defendants in 

This mighty duel Maugiron in 


Henry III. What happened to my 

friendly Maugiron? 

Joyeuse. Louis de Maugiron is 


Henry III. Ah, no! And Caylus? 

Enter servants carrying Caylus' 

Joyeuse. Dead after thirty hours 

in agony. 

Henry III. Ah, no! He bears more 

wounds than I have ears 

To be obeyed. And loyal Livarot? 

Joyeuse. Hurt but still living. 

Henry III. Two dead for me, and I 

have nothing gained 

From the exchange but wringing 

of grieved hands. 

Joyeuse. On Anjou's side, dead are 

rash Schomberg and 

Hot Riberac, but Entraguet will 


Enter Jean-Louis de La Valette 

V T alette. The duke of Anjou has 
departed from 
Our amiable court. 
Catherine. No! 
Henry III. Again? 

Catherine. My son! See what a 
king's contempt achieves. 
Valette. With Bussy, Simier, 

Joyeuse. No blood of worth in any 
of these three 
To feed a dying horse-fly! 
Henry III. Where? 
Valette. To Angers. 
Henry HI. Where he will plot. 
Valette. Then on to the Low- 
Countries, it is said. 
Henry III. Where the chief 
cockerel will in good time 
Stand on his perch to spy for fox 
or wolf 

Inside his territory and then cluck 
His hens towards some grains to 
hatch revolts. 

Exeunt Henry III, Catherine de 
Medici, de la Valette, and Joyeuse, 
with servants bearing Caylus' 

Act 4. Scene 4. A street in Paris. 


Enter Marie and Crudmore 

Marie. Stabbed in his cellar, 


Crudmore. Forever dead! Unholy 

is the hand 

That strikes for holiness. More 

violent deaths 

For Jewish fables! 

Marie. He brought me important 

money at the end from the king's 

banquets and other twirlihoos. 

Crudmore. Well thought on! 

Marie. He pleased me with a deal 

of conversation, too. Where is he 

now? I can very well see him 

conversing with Paul and 

Augustine about matters of deep 

doctrine. He might have eaten 

honeyless locusts with the Baptist, 

slept with his bobbing Savior in 

the tempest, or gorged till 

vomiting on miraculous fish and 


Crudmore. Doubtless, if offered 

the chance. 

Marie. How he would have 

enjoyed to be at Cana's feast, with 

all that wine flowing! On a lazy 

Sunday forenoon, I often saw him 

smack his lips at the mere thought 

of it, reaching for yet another can 

or bottle. 

Crudmore. I joined him happily in 

those celebrations. 

Marie. I remember how angry he 

became on hearing Herod's story, 

how he thundered, and how gladly 

he would have pulled at that 

tyrant's beard with no meed to 

hope for in return, provided n o 
armed retainer of his stood by. 
And Judas! O, how Pepin's fists 
shook in anger at the only traitor. 
O, how he punched, kicked, and 
generally pummeled the picture of 
that awful dissenter! "Give me a 
poniard," he would command, 
and, hacking at our old barn- 
house door which burnt in last 
year's fire, he seemed to destroy 
Judas' face on it, pierced with so 
many holes that one could very 
well pity that door. He used a flail, 

Crudmore. Commendable piety! 
Marie. On the first Easter 
morning, we understand that 
though Jesus had predicted that in 
three days he would rise in glory, 
no apostle stood before his grave- 
perhaps because they had a more 
important meeting elsewhere. In 
any case, my Pepin often declared: 
"I would have stood there and 
waited, Marie. I would have asked 
you that very morning to prepare 
for me a heavy basket of pullets 
and bread, intending to breathe in 
my Savior's temporary home all 
day long and all the rest of the 
week if need be." Had he been 
Catholicly given, my husband 
would have much enjoyed to be 
received in the king's Order of the 
Holy Spirit for their silver-doved 
collars, often repeating to all his 
friends that the Holy Spirit was his 
favorite ghost. 


Crudmore. He was also carnally 

given, I hear. 

Marie. Extremely so, quite adept 

to know 

That pleasure costing less than 

money to 

Yield and worth more than money 

to receive. 

Crudmore. Revered for poetry, 


Marie. Some said his poems, taken 

at first flush, 

Could outdo Homer's in brave 

martial feats, 

Sad Virgil's in lone shepherd's 

fruitless loves, 

Though true it is those who 

opined that way 

Were friends of his, some drunk, 

or even mad. 

Crudmore. I saw him quite 

affected by a play 

Once in the palace-house of 


At the recondite death of Portia's 


Marie. The author was his friend; 

that was his way 

Of being courteous. In most 


He chortled at the most pathetic 


Was often asked to leave the 


Even by vulgar fools. He only wept 

During Good Friday, as if chewed 

on by 

The fish he was consuming. 

Exit Marie and enter Turpin 

Turpin. More luck today. 
Crudmore. You received alms at 
the Bordeleau farm? 
Turpin. No charity, and yet this 
neighbor I 

Can like today and afterwards all 

Crudmore. Why? 

Turpin. These eggs were his this 

Crudmore. You stole his eggs? 
Turpin. I did. 

Crudmore. Bad, son. You should 
not take away your neighbor's 

Turpin. Why not? 
Crudmore. What if he stole yours? 
Turpin. He would never do it, 
having so many of his own. 
Crudmore. Who is the woman I 
found sleeping on your bed? 
Turpin. His wife. 

Crudmore. You stole his wife 

Turpin. No, she walked to my bed 
by herself. 

Crudmore. Bad, son, very bad. You 
should not take away a man's 

Turpin. Why not? 

Crudmore. What if he seduced 

Turpin. After I'm done, he can 
have her back. 

Crudmore. They'll call you evil- 
nurtured and I shamed, 
In dust-heaps grieving, as some 
fathers do 


A hundred times at least each day 

they live. 

Turpin. No matter as for that. 

Crudmore. Can you not keep her? 

Turpin. No. Women are a loose 


Exeunt Crudmore and Turpin 

Act 4. Scene 5. A field of war 
outside La Fere. 1580 

Enter the prince of Conde and 
Huguenot soldiers 

Conde. The soldiers in La Fere 

deny the rights 

Of my authority? Good, for this 


I may with one blast kill 


All my opponents on a single day. 

1 Soldier. Some may be hiding in 
these darkened shrubs. 

2 Soldier. No matter. We are stiff 
for anything 

A pack of anguished coward hinds 

may lift 

With which to threaten in their 

senseless fear. 

Conde. Picardie's widows will 

forever mourn 

Man's needless obdurateness. 

Enter Catholic soldiers 

They charge. 

2 Soldier. Down towards their 

imagined purgatory. 

Conde. Then cross them, not with 

holy water but 

With their own blood.- Come, 

folly's images, 

Graves hunger for your bones. 

(They fight 

Exeunt retreating Conde and 
Huguenot soldiers, enter Jean- 
Louis de La Valette and Anne de 

Valette. Here's joy of fighting and 

some winning prize 

I understand. 

Joyeuse. Where is the prince? I 

think I should be heel 

To toe against a rebel slave and 


Valette. Inside this house, I think, 

for certain locked. 

Joyeuse. Then hack all doors with 

battle-ax and knife, 

With elbows and with fingers if 

they fail. 

Re-enter Conde with 
Huguenot soldiers 


Valette. A trick to spoil us! 
Joyeuse. My teeth against his own 
and one of us 
To die most valiantly! 

(They fight. Conde strikes Joyeuse 
down and Hugenots soldiers strike 
down Valette 

Enter more Catholic soldiers 


2 Soldier. Ha, ha, escape, my lord, 
or die today. 

Conde. Retreat! Retreat! We may 
not stand and live. 

Exeunt Conde and Huguenot 

1 Catholic Soldier. Both dead? 

2 Catholic Soldier. Neither, but 
the viscount of Joyeuse lost some 
teeth and part of his jaw. 

Exeunt Catholic soldiers bearing 
de La Valette and Joyeuse 

Act 4. Scene 6. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1582 

Enter King Henry III and Ludovico 

Henry III. For his unquestioned 

valor, my good friend, 

Jean-Louis de La Valette of 


Created on this day the duke of 


Gonzaga. O, well deserved! He 

almost killed outright 

In combats close with renegades 


The prince of Conde. 

Henry III. Thanks to those sharp 

encounters, Conde flies 

To Germany, where may he ever 


By faith alone, afraid of our stout 


In Luther's faithless churches. 

Gonzaga. The duke of Joyeuse, we 

are pleased to learn 

From his physicians, out of danger 


At last, although with seven fewer 


And badly knit jaw-bones, 

preventing speech. 

Henry III. The duke of Joyeuse is 

at once declared 

Lord admiral of France. 

Exit Gonzaga and enter Jean-Louis 
de La Valette 

Henry III. No lingering limp? 

Valette. What if I had? With one 

leg I would ride 

The vessel of our country's 


And jettison superfluous 


May I discover on a surgeon's 


No pity till our wars at last are 


Henry III. Where is Joyeuse? 

Valette. Behind me in position, 

never yet 

In loyalty towards his lovely king. 

Enter Anne de Joyeuse 

Henry III. Ha, can you speak, 


Valette. I doubt it, my good liege. 

Henry III. Yet try again. 

Joyeuse. Hermagh dfgeis davo. 

Henry III. I thank you, duke. 


Valette. Ha! Did you understand 


Henry III. I did. Did I not, Joyeuse? 

Joyeuse. Rfjjd fheio veviwer firi. 

Henry III. Let them complain of 

super-minions: mine 

Are precious to the happiness of 


Of Spain! I had for him prepared a 


With the prevaricating English 


Which must not be believed o r 

thought of now. 

Gonzaga. The king with news from 

the duke of Brabant! 

Exeunt Henry III, de La Valette, 
and Joyeuse 

Act 4. Scene 7. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1584 

Enter Catherine de Medici and 
Ludovico Gonzaga 

Gonzaga. Since losing Antwerp, 
Anjou is a sponge 
Seeped heavily with hard-to-be- 

Despair, worse than a mildew to 
help ills 

Which filled with dust the mouth 
of our last king. 

Catherine. Since first I heard 
William of Orange choose 
The duke of Anjou as the mighty 

Of the Low-Countries, I have 
seldom smiled 

In thinking of my plight. A son of 

After the signing at Plessis-les- 

Approved by all but Holland and 

Protector of a state against the 

Enter King Henry III 

Catherine. I do not like your face 

today, my son. 

Henry III. It will not hide away 

from you this night. 

Catherine. O, ominous! May terror 

press my heart 

To stop its needless, hapless 


Before a word too terrible to 


Hits my pale ears. 

Henry III. Grief speaks with a 

mouth full of stones. 

Catherine. I'm a trapped rabbit 

sniffing anxiously 

At the dull-yellow muscled back 

of a 

Serene and ready python. 

Henry III. My brother, duke of 

Anjou, is no more. 

Catherine. O, I am struck. 

Henry III. Our rebel brother dead! 

Catherine. O, O, the serpent 

springs and wraps itself 

Three times around my live-dead 

body's form, 

Where I may live imprisoned in its 


For many hours still. 


Henry III. Some calmness at these 

sorrows, mother, for 

He died of a disease none could 


And is transformed, some would 

aver, into 

A son of heaven, far more blessed 


That name than any son of yours 

can be. 

Catherine. Ah, ah, ah, ah! I am for 

shrieking half 

The day in bed and all the night 


This kindest of all grounds. 

Henry III. Griefs rise and face the 

day. No help from tears 

Can be obtained and little from 

such cries. 

Catherine. Ah, let me lose both 

voice and life at once. 

Gonzaga. Believe in God. 

Acknowledge that this death 

Is good for him and thereby to us 


Henry III. Gonzaga, to her 

chamber gently lead 

My mother, to be watched, 

examined, drugged 

To angel stillness by our best 


Catherine. I know the woeful in 

their greater dole. 

Ah, will Navarre be king? I am a 


With sharp knives playing on her 

future griefs. 

Exeunt Catherine de Medici and 
Gonzaga and enter Jean-Louis de 
La V alette 

V alette. My liege, this saddest of 


What can compare to a dear 

brother's end? 

I'm lost in things to say, I 


With moaning pain. Ulysses on his 


When Neptune's anger blew on 

Ino's veil, 

Could not be more distraught than 

I am now 

At these unwelcome news. 

Henry III. Our Epernon is now our 


The martial head of all the 


Valette. A prize I thought beyond 

my farthest ken! 

Henry III. My enemies include the 


But also Catholics, thanks to the 


You have been witness to my 

female acts: 

Now look and wonder at my maler 


I wish to be a king, and all of 


Will feel and know about a king's 


Exeunt Henry III and de La Valette 

Act 4. Scene 8. A field of war 
outside Coutras. 1587 


Enter the king of Navarre, the 
prince of Condes, and soldiers 

Navarre. The king jumps on his 

war-horse to attack 

Our forces at the German 


Conde. The Guise to be 

commander of his troops! 

Navarre. The treaty of Nemours 

with that duke's league, 

Containing edicts never read o r 


Against reformed religion, which 

they name 

Abhorrent heresy, enjoining all 

Our pastors in a day to leave the 


Makes me worse than I was 

towards Rome's fools, 

A man complete in dolor and in 


Conde. We'll meet them there. 

Navarre. In thankfulness of his 

exploits, the king 

With terror yields Verdun, Saint 

Diziers, Toul, 

And Chalons: all of these in a 

duke's name. 

Conde. Sixtus, head of their 

superstitious church, 

Declares a bull in scorn of Salic 


Negating your pretention to the 


Of France forever. 

Navarre. King Henry has refused 

to promulgate 

That silly bull, for which I'll 


Hug him with my most potent 

arms of war. 

Conde. Will the intrigues of Spain, 

a foreigner, 

Dictate to us in an unhallowed 


Navarre. No, no, as all of France 

will know about 

And with wide-ranging terrors feel 


Enter a soldier bearing an 
unconscious Anne de Joyeuse 

This is or was the duke of 

Joyeuse's trunk. 

Conde. He lives. 

Navarre. But should he, prince? 

Some say his massacre 

Of at the least eight hundred 


In June at Saint Eloi displeased his 


For whom he dared to storm with 

arms Coutras. 

Conde. He dies at the fierce battle 

of Coutras. 

Exeunt Conde and a soldier 
bearing Joyeuse 

Navarre. A prisoner of war, 

though massacrer 

Of ours, should be well treated. In 

our chests, 

He yields a banquet of ten 



One hundred thousand ecus.- Let 
them sink. 

Re-enter Conde 

Conde. Done. 

Navarre. The duke of Joyeuse 

dead! Announce this bit 

Of news to our French king and 

laugh awhile. 

Conde. With his loved brother, 

Claude, of Saint Sauveur 

The lord, joined in one common 

lonely grave. 

Exeunt Navarre and Conde 

Act 4. Scene 9. A field of war 
outside Vimory. 1587 

As witnesses of rising fortunes of 

the Guise. 

I will protect the eastern front 


Invasions of the harried German 


Charles. What of the king? 

Guise. The king is confident he 

can prevent 

The joining of Swiss-German 

armies with 

Discouraged plowboys prodded by 


Charles. Elizabeth of England and 

the king 

Of Denmark bellow on their poor 


Enter a second soldier 

Enter the duke of Guise, Charles of 
Lorraine, and soldiers 

Guise. Is Vimory achieved and 


Charles. The Swiss are routed 

backward to their pits. 

Guise. More yielding to my will! 

Bid citizens 

To open. We will at our leisure 


Her in great joy. 

Exit one soldier 

The burgrave of Dohna and de la 


The boiling duke of Bouillon, melt 

in beer 

Where are the horseless reiters? 

2 Soldier. Retreated to the castle 

of Auneau. 

Guise. There groaning will they 

sorely beat their hands 

And sweat to find an angry duke 

of Guise. 

Does France lack ground for 

graves? When they behold 

Our arms, with hasty fingers 


Will rake up shallow pits to hide 

her fear. 

Exeunt the Guise, Charles, and the 
second soldier 

Act 4. Scene 10. A field of war 
outside Auneau. 1587 


Enter the first and third soldiers 
of the Guise's army 

1 Soldier. The duke is much 


3 Soldier. In such conditions far 

away at night 

Brave soldiers run. 

1 Soldier. Too late! He comes. 

Enter the duke of Guise and 
Charles of Lorraine 

Guise. I trimphed at Auneau and 
did the king 

Choose to negotiate with enemies? 
Charles. A true word, brother. 
Guise. Ha, cheated of a triumph 
by this king! 

Charles. The German troops 
convinced to go back home 
By Henry's payments in Swiss 

Guise. To Paris, where this Henry 
will much rue 

His treason of a duke. My league 

Whose purpose is to rear and to 

Supremacies of Rome, the only 

In all affairs of state, States- 

To be the head of finance and 

I have well thought on this. A case 
is made 

Of Henry as usurper to the crown, 
At all costs necessary to let slip 
The Salic law in favor of Navarre. 

I can be king as a descendant of 

Old Charlemagne and then 

establish for 

All times a Holy Inquisition in 

The land of France, to cure 

religion's head 

With stronger potions than our 

pastors can. 

Charles. O, O, my brother, you 

reach overfar- 

Guise. As high as to a crown, first 

earth's then heaven's. 

Charles. Well. 

Exeunt the Guise, Charles, and 

Act 5. Scene 1. A street in Paris. 

Enter Crudmore and Turpin 

Crudmore. The people of Paris, 

Catholic in their hatred, under the 

influence of the Committee of 

Sixteen, show dissatisfaction at 

the king's failure to defeat the 


Turpin. I can enjoy a popular 


Crudmore. The Guise arrives to be 

acclaimed by us, 

And, it is feared, to challenge 


Inside his palace walls a king 


Confusion's masterpiece when 

friends fight friends. 

Turpin. Good. 


Crudmore. Raise barricades and 

towers when the powerfullest 


Turpin. Better still. 

Enter a shoemaker and a tinker 

Shoemaker. Leave nothing at the 
Louvre except a roaring queen- 
mother. We'll plunder it. Some say 
good paintings can be found 
There and some comfortable 

We'll whisk away with joy a few 
from those 
Who have too many. 
Tinker. Prosperous houses in Paris 
and in the suburbs weep through 
windows and smoke with rage 
through doors. 

Shoemaker. I can look askance at 
this king and hiss. Hit a king's 
face and make him moan. 
Tinker. In foulest clothes and with 
a mouth decayed 

We'll do it and then laugh 
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! 
Shoemaker. Burn him with his 
bedfellows. He goes forbiddingly 
the fruitless path, in behind-part 
ways, thoroughly on the barren 

Turpin. Is this no sweet 
revolution? The weaver will obtain 
an ocean of yarn, the shoemaker a 
realm of shoe-laces, the tinker a 
wilderness of pans, the rope- 
maker work for a hundred men! 

Crudmore. When men die, more 

women are available. 

Turpin. A barricaded baroness, a 

kept cony-cunted countess, an 

undoused duchess! 

White arses, ours! Unsnood your 

hair and all 

The rest besides. A man can plant 

in there. 

O, wrap your legs on either side 

and tap 

My arse with either heel for 

deeper thrusts 

And brisker stirring! Open 

doorless rooms 

To man and let him smiling lie 

with you. 

Crudmore. A hanging matter, 


Turpin. Because they lose some 

wad inside their twat, 

Must Turpin lose his neck? 

Tinker. You know women, sir? 

Turpin. Am I of straw, or angel 

without sex? 

I have with women often tussled, 


They like to fuss in clean shirts. 

Crudmore. Be well aware: the 

mildest woman's needs 

Will leave a brave man gasping o n 

his floor. 

Shoemaker. Beauty deceives and 

laughing mouths are sepulchres. 

Did I not see you in my daughter's 


At dawn with a broad hat below 

your eyes? 

Turpin. That twelve-year old no 

higher than my hip 


Who goes to bed with men as 
often as 

A whore cajoles or sickly 
drunkards piss? 

Shoemaker. O, basest slave! What 
son-in-law is this? 
Say, father of this prize I never 

To find and to my shame must be 
thought of, 

Have you once touched church- 

Crudmore. When I was drunk and 
heaved my meal on it. 
Tinker. Hold, sirs, fight kings with 
other enemies 

Of all the people.- Ha! Look there: 
a sight 

I love above an eager mother 

Across my bed: the duke of Guise 
well armed. 

Crudmore. Watch this duke rise 
like sunlight stained with cloud. 
Alecto's deadly nipple has he 

For milk to make our makeshift 
king lose half 

His shirt in shreds and fragments 
of breast-bones 
Together with his life. 

Enter the duke of Guise, Charles of 
Lorraine, and Paris citizens 

Paris citizens. The Guise! The 

Guise! The scarred one! Marked of 


Guise. The Committee of Sixteen 

has this morning welcomed me 

with joy and thankfulness. Stand 
sturdily and with piked ranks 
beside religion, brave people of 
Paris. Should King Henry fly from 
his shaky Louvre, the Committee 
of Sixteen will take complete 
control of the government. 
Shoemaker. The Guise! The Guise! 
The Guise as our new king! 
Guise. A king? A king? Oh, no, that 
cannot be. 

Has any seen two rainbows east 
and west? 

Charles. A king? Oh, no, my 
brother cannot aim 
So high. Is he the Guise or Icarus? 
Guise. Before the pale-faced king, 
I will demand 

Instead and sooner than he ever 

Debates and parleys in States- 

To be imposed at Blois, and force 
the loon 

To love his people and religion's 

Paris citizens. The Guise! The 
Guise! The marked one! Stamped 
by God! 

Charles. Go, take up staves and 
swords, neglected hinds. 
This day may yet be warm for 
some of us. 

Shoemaker. We'll make a 
monarch blush outside his skin. 
Turpin. Should he resist and puke 
before our arms, 

We'll mash him to a powder small 


To load a famished baby 

sparrow's back. 

Charles. We'll blow the palace 

rooftop on his crown. 

Crudmore. I hope he signed his 


Guise. Prepare yourselves for 

slaughters in our streets 

And mayhem in our houses. Big 

with care 

On your behalf, religion will give 


To graces martyred France has 

never known. 

I will convince the barren king, o r 


To love his people as a monarch 


To hug religion as a leader must. 

My horse will wade in blood up to 

its hough 

Until these resolutions are 


Shoemaker. The Guise! The one 

man for religion's sake! 

Tinker. The Guise! The Guise! He 

will provide the path, 

Work for poor starving patience 

pining still. 

Charles. No doubt. 

Exeunt the Guise, Charles, and 
Paris citizens 

Turpin. Will this revolt be wisely 
carried forth? 

Crudmore. Walk out the door: a 
fool will speak to you. 

Exeunt Crudmore and Turpin 

Act 5. Scene 2. The Louvre in 
Paris. 1588 

Enter King Henry III and Jean-Louis 
de La V alette 

Henry III. Let not the Guise arrive 

in Paris now. 

Valette. He's here. 

Henry III. I greatly sweat at these 

unwelcome news, 

So much against our will. He 

comes enforced 

And with him come revolt and 


I peep at windows, spying on each 


Assembled, as if meaning to make 


Our palaces, our might, the crown 

of France. 

I stain my shirts with creeping out 

at night 

To hear the ruder commoners 

make sport 

At our delights, in expectation 


Most sour the Guise will push out 


And love-acts from the throne. 

Well, let them puff 

Their cheeks and stare. The duke 

of Joyeuse, dead 

On my behalf, as head of 


You may henceforth replace, and 

take as well 

His post as admiral in all of 



Valette. More honors on a grateful 
subject's head! 

Henry III. Prevent the worst. The 
Paris multitude 

In rage and hunger pilfer bakers' 

And strut towards the Louvre. 
Valette. The poorest feed on half- 
ripe musts of wheat 
In fields like sand for dryness. 
Spades they use, 

Some with the flesh of officers on 

Henry III. What, do they rise 

Valette. Their barricades are up. 
Henry III. Sleak water-line before 
the cataract. 

Valette. Most carry rocks from 
lack of bread and clubs 
Instead of meat, adorned with 
noble blood. 

Henry III. I dance in quarries. Ha! 
Where can we leap? 

Enter Catherine de Medici 

Catherine. The Guise is standing 

just outside our gate. 

Henry III. Swiss guards spar up the 


Catherine. His sword-thrusts fan 

them down. 

Henry III. French guards stab any 

stranger entering. 

Catherine. French guards fly off to 

fields or join his side. 

Henry III. Behold a fruitless king, 

of uses lopped. 

Catherine. O, thought beyond 

belief in any dream! 

Will Catholic the Guise drop a 

French crown 

On Protestant Navarre's 

ungracious head? 

Henry III. No, rather on his own. 

Catherine. How! 

Henry III. "King Charlemagne's 

descendant authored him," 

Would-be usurpers say, who speak 

all good 

Of him, all ill to barren France and 


Catherine. O, slave! Will he deny 

the Salic law? 

Henry III. The treble string is 

broken and we play 

Disordered tunes of woe. 

Enter Ludovico Gonzaga 

A boon! The prince of Conde is 


Greet cheerfully Picardie's 


Gonzaga. O, fly, my liege. 

Henry III. Ha? 

Gonzaga. The Guise with 

multitudes of breakers shakes 

Our stoutest fortressed door with 

wave on wave 

That levels all. 

Henry III. My mettle rusts with 

this corrosive. 

Catherine. Fools sleep in tempests. 

Henry III. To Blois! 

Valette. In blasts of violent 

whirlwinds caught in fire! 


Exit de La Valette 

Shoemaker. Here's one of them. 

Henry III. Will majesty hit his 
knees in despair, 

Keen in the kitchen with his 
scullions? No. 

An ungraved carcass will kiss with 
sweet breath 

Before a king consents to his 

Catherine. A king and a queen- 
mother must like rats 
Escape at night through secret 

Henry III. Kiss patience till we rise 
with her. The night 
And silence are for any business 

I will embrace humiliation like 
My filthy shirt, but yet, if I 

Pay back the duke of Guise in 
coins of blood. 

Exeunt Henry III, Catherine de 
Medici, and Gonzaga 

Act 5. Scene 3. A street in Paris. 

Enter the shoemaker and the 

Shoemaker. Compel and annoy. 

Tinker. Convey the wealthy from 

the world. 

Shoemaker. They skip, they jump. 

Tinker. Those who survive will 

find some hot days dark 

In noble people's blood. 

Enter Jean-Louis de La Valette 

Tinker. Are you of the king's 


Valette. And mine, (he shoots the 


Tinker. O, I am hit! 

Shoemaker. Ha? 

Exit de La Valette, enter Crudmore 
and Turpin 

Crudmore. In every street, hear 

the authentic voice 

Of tragedy. Both high and low 


In diapasons of despair and death. 

Turpin. I'm glad to play the 

coward on this day. 

Crudmore. Can you speak, fellow? 

Tinker. I'll never fatten in this 

world again. 

Turpin. See how he sweats and 


Tinker. Bleeding is thirsty work. 

(he dies 

Turpin. He faints. May he forget 

to die today. 

Crudmore. Life with slow crutches 

sighs and moves away. 

Shoemaker. A single friend so 

soon away! 

Crudmore. He kisses the breast of 


Enter the duke of Guise and 
Charles of Lorraine, attended 


Guise. The city has been won and 

mine it is. 

Charles. We enter in a Louvre 

without a king. 

Guise. New posts mine to bestow 

or to withold! 

Charles. The governor of the 

Bastille, by you 

Appointed, and some others all in 


With praises thank you 


Guise. I do much more than help 

my helpful friends: 

I hurt my enemies, who should 

thank me, 

Because thanks to my care, not 

one of them 

Now suffer in this world. 

Charles. None better, brother, by 

Christ's blood approved. 

Guise. Some die, some are 

transformed unwillingly 

To friends, most beat their pillows 

in their sleep. 

Charles. Some have a king 

forgotten in these frays. 

The present eye the present man 


Guise. The frightened king 

negotiates and fears. 

Charles. The duke of Epernon, 

who once held hands 

With majesty disgraced, has run 


Pushed off as governor of 


And admiral of France on your 


Guise. Who is that white man 

some mourn darksomely? 

Charles. No doubt a Catholic hurt 

in our cause. 

Turpin. The frost is warm next to 

this piece of flesh. 

Guise. A mass and honored burial! 

Crudmore. O, true, a mass of 

earth is all he has. 

Turpin. I will pronounce his 

eulogy, and then 

Perhaps obtain his shoes for 

summer months. 

Exeunt Crudmore, Turpin, and the 
shoemaker bearing the tinker 

Guise. Onward to Blois, where I 

will greet a king 

And ply him to my will. 

Charles. Will you, unknown to 

fear, court danger still? 

Guise. She is a wife who promised 

to obey. 

Charles. Discard that whore. To 

Lyon I must go. 

To an affrighted king and queen 

you are 

As welcome as the day to 


Guise. Tut, brother, tut. There is 

no king in France, 

Except a man asleep on cotton 


I doze in hell until I earn a crown. 

Exeunt the Guise and Charles, 


Act 5. Scene 4. The king's castle at 
Blois. 1588 

Enter above King Henry III and 
Catherine de Medici 

Henry III. I'll plan a murder none 
will soon forget. 

Catherine. Ha, is this wise? Their 
league is well beloved. 
Henry III. I will hear mass and 
then devise a scene 
Of treason witches never dreamt 

Which should save France from 
worse calamities. 

Hear, mother, hear: I wish to be a 

A lewd negotiator with the Guise 
And Calvinists is not and never 

A king I'll be or die, I promise 

Catherine. I have crossed and re- 
crossed on all non-roads 
Of France for Christ, from south- 
east to north-west, 
Smiled willingly at hostile rebel 

For peace and our advantage, and 
is this 

My only recompense for these 

Henry III. What fool will follow 
virtue long despised? 
A woman is most potent with her 

But yet to argue with Navarre, to 

With treason's scarfaced child of 

woe and death! 

How have we fared in this? Chased 

from the Louvre 

Like serfs from mighty 


Catherine. The Guise! The point 

where blessed religion's shoe 

Most pinches, to the halting of 

our plots. 

Henry III. The Guise can swallow 

many houses down, 

To leave us naked in a heathen 


Catherine. Forced to attack our 

friends while we possess 

So many popeless enemies of 


The anger of Latona's offspring 

never fell 

So monstrously on boasting 


O, sick! May an old woman's 


Heave proud the Guise into the 

lowest house 

Sin plunges lofty sinners on this 


I have become an empty music 


Bereft of speeches apt to please a 


Henry III. In Venus' temple have I 

laughed or sung. 

Now watch a subtle Vulcan in his 


Ensnare a traitor to religion's pact 

Of promised love between all 

Christian lands. 


Catherine. Well cut. Now you must 

Exit Catherine the Medici and 
enter two guardsmen 

Henry III. Repeat again how bad a 

man the Guise 

Has been, now is, will be, then 

blacken all 

Conjectures with improbabilities, 

So that his solid figure may 


A pencilled lerry easy to deface. 

1 Guard. A king once fought the 
Protestants with friends. 

2 Guard. A king once reigned in 

Henry III. More fuel to my hate. 

Enter the duke of Guise 

How, unattended, duke? 

Guise. Who is the Guise? A coward 

beggar slave, 

Or one who forces kings to sigh 

and yield 

Against their will? In private study 


Adjoining royal chambers let us 


Henry III. Ascend to royalty: we 

are for you. 

Guise. Well said. The Guise will 

not step down again. 

Exit the Guise 

Henry III. He'll never crumple 
bedsheets in this world. 

Such an unheard-of murder may 

set off 

Inside my Louvre a keg of 


And universal powder. What of 


The one may be, the other is. 


Re-enter above the duke of Guise 

Guise. I should resign as your 


Henry III. Agreed. A traitor may 

resign his post. 

Guise. Base traitors to a kingly 

traitor are 

Allowed and just to all the 


Henry III. Take hold of him. 

Guise. Ha, slave! Where is my 

brother cardinal? 

Henry III. On bloody knees 

prepared to follow you. 

Guise. A king and so unkingly? 

Henry III. A king at last with 

power. Stab the duke 

Into the center of a traitor's heart. 

(The guardsmen stab the Guise 

Guise. O! O! I hear no music, (he 


Henry HI. His brother cardinal 

we'll ship to hell 

With blasted sails. Let him in 

torment dance 

On pikes of his own escort till I 


1 Guard. We will oblige, my liege. 


Henry III. Arrest the duke's son, 

too, but spare his life. 

2 Guard. My liege, he's caught. 

Henry III. In the meantime, to help 

religion's cause, 

I will with Mayenne and Navarre 


Exeunt Henry III and guardsmen 
bearing the Guise 

Act 5. Scene 5. The king's castle at 
Plessis-les-Tours. 1589 

Enter Ludovico Gonzaga and Jean- 
Louis de La Valette 

Gonzaga. Since the defeat of their 

armada on 

Large-bellied English waters in one 


Their eighty vessels salted and 


With fifteen thousand dead to 

season it, 

We may yet breathe awhile, from 

Spanish sway 

Released, France unsubordinated 


Valette. May we remain so ever 

from their spells. 

Gonzaga. The king has written to 

Charles of Lorraine. 

Charles of Lorraine is not to be 


Valette. The king is vehemently 

and with tears 

Of rage cried out against by 


We hear of Paris riots of such 


That few with money dare to enter 


Enter King Henry III 

Henry III. My mother's dead. A 

king may thereby rise 

The brighter in his hopeful 

subjects' eyes 

From her red clouds unburdened. 

No good deed 

But as a stranger's hated to the 


Gonzaga. Despised by the most 


Henry III. The parliament of Paris 

has drawn up 

A charge of murder on their 

rightful king. 

I will at once join forces with 


In open war against their league 

and state. 

Where is our former execration? 

Gonzaga. In the adjoining 


Henry III. Admit the king. We 

totter should he fail. 

Gonzaga. At once, my liege. 

Exeunt Gonzaga and de La Valette, 
enter the king of Navarre 

Navarre. A foe may stand and yet 

with kindness be 

Received in a king's palace by the 


Of a new-risen day. 


Henry III. You are Navarre, our 

loving brother king. 

Navarre. Say what Navarre must 

do to earn the more 

Such welcome kindness from the 

king of France. 

Henry III. Against Charles of 

Lorraine, hot brother to 

The Guise, raise arms, heap 

infamy, kill friends, 

Help enemies: this must be shaped 

and fixed, 

Or else be hated by a king of 


Navarre. Clasp arms and hands on 

friendship long delayed. 

Henry III. Two kings kiss gently at 


Navarre. The worse for Charles 

and hateful factions' spite. 

Henry III. Hay in the rack for 

horses, swords in sheaths 

For men! Such promises of loyalty 

Are bits and trappings that will 

bear us on. 

Do Protestants own charters from 

our saints 

To cog and mesh with traitors? I 

think not. 

Two kings rule on a chessboard, 

set to take 

With our white army spurning at 

the false 

Entire ranks of pawns and 

bishops, when 

Each king holds true. If I die in 

this fray 

And if you choose aright religion's 


The crown of France is yours. 
Reflect on that. 

Exeunt Henry III and Navarre 

Act 5. Scene 6. A street in Paris. 

Enter a water-carrier and a barrel- 

Water-carrier. Those for whom I 
once carried water, I drown. 
Barrel-maker. I put in coffins 
those I served with storing drink. 
Water-carrier. I bring to houses 
no water but torches instead. 
Barrel-maker. No wine in my 
barrels except men's blood. 
Water-carrier. Will you join our 
religious procession, to mar, 
deface, murder, dispossess? 
Barrel-maker. Gladly and with 
renewed hope in humankind. 
Water-carrier. Some ceremony 
here! Extinguish my candle. 
Barrel-maker. So may a king 

Enter Crudmore and Turpin 
carrying a heavy bag 

Ha! Some gain while we attempt 

not to lose. 

Turpin. Here's some good 


Crudmore. While Rome quaked at 

the coming of Ceasar's rebel 

army, beasts abandoned forest 

lairs to roam with citizens. But 


why need we wolves when 

uncontrolled man wanders freely? 

Turpin. Right. I knew these civil 

jars would do us good. 

Barrel-maker. What do you carry, 


Turpin. Candlesticks and gold 

coins, books against submission 

to tyrants and some jewels. Let us 

be anything, rotted meat and 

bones hanging from rusty hooks, 

rather than dying poor a second 


Crudmore. A prelude to money 

and hope. 

Turpin. Look, father, a white man 

who blackens men's bodies. 

Water-carrier. The duke of 

Mayenne will restore the right 


Barrel-maker. The duke of 

Mayenne will destroy the false 


Enter Charles of Lorraine, 
attended with soldiers 

Charles. The people speak with 

wisdom, sign assured 

That only goodness rises from this 


Water-carrier. A second Guise! 

Barrel-maker. A newer Guise to 

the despair of Huguenots! 

Charles. May the king, false as any 


Under your curses droop without 


For Henry's younger brother, of 

the Guise 

Avenger, it pertains to act as head 

Of our religious league. Tracts are 


The Sorbonne says it is a holy 


And full of piety to kill a king. 

I will add more. A pope's bull is 


To free the cardinal of Bourbon 


The archbishop of Lyon, or else 


In excommunication. Henry, king 

In sinning only, reads his high 


A pope's involved. The king no 

more directs 

His cheerful sodomies, but wears 

a coat 

Of mail to satisfy a Paris crowd, 

For otherwise, he will inside his 


Smoke in the blood of friends and 


Barrel-maker. A second Guise for 

the extermination of Protestants! 

Charles. Infected blood I'll 

swallow if we shun 

To beat a king back to his joyless 


Of joy. 

Exeunt Charles, the water-carrier, 
the barrel-maker, and soldiers, 
enter Jacques Clement 

Turpin. Look, father, a white man 
who blackens men's souls. 
Jacques. Why do you say so, son? 
Is not a Jacobin the truest son of 


the Church, one who by the eyes 
and by the ears hooks sinners 
otherwise destined to sink 
unconsciously into the stupid 
realm, nothing but sighs and 
roaring, no sweetness except to be 
honeyed in the muck of scared 
ones, housed by tenants whose 
rent is loss of flesh and blood to 
lusty turnspits, roasting arms and 
legs as often as we cut nails? 
Turpin. Certainly he is. 
Jacques. Does not the Church love 
the poor? 

Turpin. Too much, for without 
doubt her prosperity keeps me as 
I am. 

Jacques. In no manner as you are. 
Are you no thief? What bag are 
you holding? Stolen goods from 
the deceased? 
Turpin. As true as I am I. 
Jacques. A Dominican monk can 
like a white hound easily sniff out 
rich wares. You must return these 

Turpin. Ha? But oh, reflect a little, 
monk beyond all measure 
monkish: their owners' mouths, 
stuffed with turf, can never 
reclaim such worthwhile goods. 
Jacques. Are they not stolen 
nonetheless? Do not dead people 
leave regretfully behind to their 
willing sorrow living sons, 
daughters, mothers, fathers, 

uncles, aunts, great-aunts, 

together with sons-in-laws and 
daughters-in-law and more 

perhaps, who probably have a far 

more justifiable claim to this 

property than you can ever 

produce in a court of law? 

Turpin. True. We cheat people of 

their rightful prize. 

Jacques. Then you must give back 

these goods to me. I'll discover 

their owners and cede the items 

to them. 

Turpin. What if the owners are 

richer than I am? 

Jacques. An irrelevant and 

irreverent notion, son! Objects 

legally belong to their possessors. 

Poverty gives you no honest claim 

to other persons' properties. 

Turpin. No? 

Jacques. Who ever heard of 

honest filching? At no period and 

in no country has human society 

condoned stealing. A thief is 

unwelcome in every land, at any 


Turpin. I regret that. 

Jacques. You should rejoice in it. 

Let us return to the beginning, to 

the initial philosophic banquet 

noted scholars in every age have 

joyfully tasted, even to 

gourmandizing, as if you were 

first son or pupil of deeply 

searching Socrates: is not 

goodness good? 

Turpin. Not if I starve by it. 

Jacques. Primordial error of 

irreligious inconsideration! I tell 

you truly: though pinched 

Erisichton-like in stringy throes of 

starvation, you are not allowed to 



Turpin. I would be wise to quit 

this dialogue rather than my life. 

Jacques. Defy Mammon's 

burdensome sack by burying it in 

my arms. 

Crudmore. Not to any monk 

impudently pretending to a 

knowledge we cannot see or he 

can understand. 

Jacques. Unfortunate son of an 

unfortunate father! Will you feast 

on merchandise that is not yours 

to covet, much less hold? 

Turpin. Yes, dancing all night with 

Bordeaux' best and naked 


Jacques. You fiddle towards 

damnation. I see two hungry ants 

feeding in a bag of refuse, whose 

top the unobserving servant ties 

up, and all has suddenly been 

transformed to a darkness perfect 

to fatten in and choke. 

Crudmore. I recognize your 

Lethean mouth, dullness, 

forgetting half the sentence 

before it is completed. 

Marked impudence of these 

religious beards, 

Who bluster to impose their 

dreams on us! 

Jacques. May God's eye of 

punishment find you bare in 

street or forest, in court or field, 

suspended above you always like a 

sword, wider, darker, cleaner, and 

sharper than Damocles' in terror. 

Exit Jacques 

Turpin. You have drawn them, 
father, exactly as they miserably 
are, domineering slaves who can 
in no fashion serve the 

Exeunt Crudmore and Turpin 

Act 5. Scene 7. The king's castle at 
Saint Cloud. 1589 

Enter King Henry III and two 

Henry 111. I will confess to nothing. 

Should a king 

Not enter Paris if he wishes? Ha! 

I should. Fetch me a chaplain, 

heaven's door 

Without the key, with Mammon's 

gold-bar locked. 

1 Guard. We will, my liege. 

Henry III. O, wait awhile. Should 

you go in or stay? 

Remembered faults! Have I done 

well? They say 

In Paris men who prey o n 

weakness thrive. 

Must I be blamed? Should I have 

kissed the Guise 

For flicking off my crown? I'll take 


By the hand, walk in forests to 


Our ground is barren. O, a 

punished thief 

Is happier. France is of succession 


I Guard. My good liege, do you 



Henry III. Infertile, dazed, 


1 Guard. Your majesty, a monk 

approaches here. 

Henry III. O! Bid him enter and 

speak well of me. 

Enter Jacques Clement 

1 Guard. Approach, consoling 


Henry III. Fall on your knees, king. 

1 Guard. Should we not search the 


Henry III. King, fall on unrepenting 


Jacques. The duke of Guise once 

wore a cloth of gold, 

But now he wears a coat of green; 

The duke of Guise commanded 

men of gold, 

Now all men's servants tread his 

muddy face. 

Henry III. Behold the great 

example of the world, 

The proud, the valiant, and the 


Forever vanished in a puff of 


A king's command has done it. 

Jacques. A king's command has 

chopped religion's head. 

Henry III. His wax is spent and 

smoky honor stinks. 

Jacques. The lodestar of our 

firmament, damp cloth 

To blot out heretics: is he quite 


Henry III. Demolished kingdoms 

were his flags of peace. 

Jacques. Our temple has become a 

naked man 

Aflame, his flesh with vilest 

daggers torn 

And lusting. 

Henry III. Give him love-lies-a- 


Jacques. Fair-weather atheist, 

captured easily 

While strutting happily beneath 

the sun! 

Henry III. A happy sleep seduces 


Jacques. You are to blame if men 

in Paris sin. 

Henry III. One fewer sinner have I 

pushed away. 

Jacques. A false friend is a rich 

mat covering 

A rotten hole. 

Henry III. Great men have always 

greatly been disgraced. 

I am my own apocrypha, unread. 

Even my truths are lies. 

Jacques. Repent. 

Henry III. My apple rotting on a 

growing branch! 

Jacques. Atone or die. 

Henry III. When poor men die, 

friends do not notice it. 

Jacques. Will crime stand, ever 

boasting? Mere man kills 

The Guise and does he smile and 

shrug at it? 

Henry III. A man is cured of 

wounds, but never praise. 

Jacques. Ha! Is your mind at ease? 

Henry III. The fumes of Phlegeton 

are purer. 


Jacques. I have met many devils: 

Far-from-God, Forgot-Christ, Exeunt guardsmen bearing King 

Shredder-of-Gospel Pages, Happy Henry III and Jacques 

Negligence, Lazy Presumption, 

Atheist Trap, all of them cheerful 

and pleasant, whose breath I 

shake away. 

Henry III. Men moan; the moon 


Jacques. The sun shines brightly 

in the night of crimes. 

Show signs of faith, create a 

wonder, God! 

Henry III. Upturning eyeballs, 

friar? Wishing for 

Imagined marvels that astonish 


Jacques. Faith owns a dagger, still 

too cool and neat. 

(Jacques stabs the king 

Am I invisible? God needs no man 
to defend him. 

1 Guard. Hack him to fragments. 

(The guardsmen kill Jacques 

Wished-for demise! We could have 

searched the fool. 

Consider our offense, for some 

will say 

The monk should have been 

questioned. Raise the dead, 

Attorney of our loyalty and faith. - 

Refused, and rightly so. Let us 


Submit to questioning, agree, and