Act 2, Scene III

Scene: The British Camp. In the background, the Tent of Bonduca with a raised Platform.

Enter Soldiers, bringing in JUDAS and his four companions (halters about their necks), BONDUCA, her Daughters, and NENNIUS following.

Bonduca.
Come, hang 'em presently.
Nennius.
What made your rogueships
Harrying for victuals here? are we your friends?
Or do you come for spies? Tell me directly,
Would you not willingly be hang'd now? Don't ye long for't?
Judas.
What say ye? shall we hang in this vein? Hang we must,
And 'tis as good to dispatch it merrily,
As pull an arse like dogs to't.
1 Soldier.
Any way,
So it be handsome.
3 Soldier.
I had as lieve 'twere toothsome too:
But all agree, and I'll not [stick] out, boys.
4 Soldier.
Let us hang pleasantly.
Judas.
Then pleasantly be it:
Captain, the truth is,
We had as lieve hang with meat in our mouths,
As ask your pardon empty.
Bonduca.
These are brave hungers.—
What say you to a leg of beef now, sirrah?
Judas.
Bring me acquainted with it, and I'll tell ye.
Bonduca.
Torment 'em, wenches (I must back), then hang 'em.
[Exit.
Judas.
We humbly thank your grace!
1 Daughter.
The rogues laugh at us.
2 Daughter.
Sirrah, what think you of a wench now?
Judas.
A wench, lady?
I do beseech your ladyship, retire;
I'll tell you presently: You see the time's short;
One crash, even to the settling of my conscience.
Nennius.
Why, is't no more but up, boys?
Judas.
Yes, ride too, captain;
Will you but see my seat?
1 Daughter.
Ye shall be set, sir,
Upon a jade shall shake ye.
Judas.
Sheets, good madam,
Will do it ten times better.
1 Daughter.
Whips, good soldier,
Which you shall taste before you hang, to mortify you;
'Tis pity you should die thus desperate.
2 Daughter.
These are the merry Romans, the brave madcaps:
'Tis ten to one we'll cool your resolutions.
Bring out the whips.
Judas.
'Would your good ladyships
Would exercise 'em too!
4 Soldier.
Surely, ladies,
We'll show you a strange patience.
Nennius.
Hang 'em, rascals!
They'll talk thus on the wheel.

Enter CARATACH.

Caratach.
Now, what's the matter?
What are these fellows? what's the crime committed,
That they wear necklaces?
Nennius.
They are Roman rogues,
Taken a-foraging.
Caratach.
Is that all, Nennius?
Judas.
'Would I were fairly hang'd! This is the devil,
The kill-cow Caratach.
Caratach.
And you would hang 'em?
Nennius.
Are they not enemies?
1 Soldier.
My breech makes buttons.
1 Daughter.
Are they not our tormentors?
Caratach.
Tormentors? flea-traps!—
Pluck off your halters, fellows.
Nennius.
Take heed, Caratach;
Taint not your wisdom.
Caratach.
Wisdom, Nennius?
Why, who shall fight against us, make our honours,
And give a glorious day into our hands,
If we dispatch our foes thus? What's their offence?
Stealing a loaf or two to keep out hunger?
A piece of greasv bacon, or a pudding?
Do these deserve the gallows? They are hungry,
Poor hungry knaves, no meat at home left, starved:
Art thou not hungry?
Judas.
Monstrous hungry.
Caratach.
He looks like Hunger's self. Get 'em some victuals,
And wine to cheer their hearts; quick! Hang up poor pitchers?
2 Soldier.
This is the bravest captain——
Nennius.
Caratach,
I'll leave you to your will.
Caratach.
I'll answer all, sir.
2 Daughter.
Let's up and view his entertainment of 'em!
I am glad they are shifted anyway; their tongues else
Would still have murder'd us.
1 Daughter.
Let's up and see it!
[Exeunt.

Enter HENGO.

Caratach.
Sit down, poor knaves! Why, where's this wine and victuals?
Who waits there?
Servant. [Within.]
Sir, 'tis coming.
Hengo.
Who are these, uncle?
Caratach.
They are Romans, boy.
Hengo.
Are these they
That vex mine aunt so? can these fight? they look
Like empty scabbards all, no mettle in 'em;
Like men of clouts, set to keep crows from orchards:
Why, I dare fight with these.

Enter Servants with victuals and wine, and set out a table.

Caratach.
That's my good chicken!—And how do ye?
How do ye feel your stomachs?
Judas.
Wond'rous apt, sir;
As shall appear when time calls.
Caratach.
That's well; down with't.
A little grace will serve your turns. Eat softly!
You'll choke, ye knaves, else.—Give 'em wine!
Judas.
Not yet, sir;
We are even a little busy.
Hengo.
Can that fellow
Do anything but eat?—Thou fellow!
Judas.
Away, boy;
Away; this is no boy's play.
Hengo.
By Heaven, uncle,
If his valour lie in's teeth, he's the most valiant.
Caratach.
I am glad to hear you talk, sir.
Hengo.
Good uncle, tell me,
What's the price of a couple of cramm'd Romans?
Caratach.
Some twenty Britons, boy; these are good soldiers.
Hengo.
Do not the cowards eat hard too?
Caratach.
No more, boy.—
Come, I'll sit with you too.—Sit down by me, boy.
Judas.
Pray bring your dish then.
Caratach.
Hearty knaves!—More meat there.
1 Soldier.
That's a good hearing.
Caratach.
Stay now, and pledge me.
Judas.
This little piece, sir.
Caratach.
By Heaven, square eaters!—
More meat, I say!—Upon my conscience,
The poor rogues have not eat this month! how terribly
They charge upon their victuals!—Dare ye fight thus?
Judas.
Believe it, sir, like devils.
Caratach.
Well said, Famine!
Here's to thy general.
[Drinks.
Judas.
Most excellent captain,
I will now pledge thee.
Caratach.
And to-morrow night, say to him,
His head is mine.
Judas.
I can assure you, captain,
He will not give it for this washing.
Caratach.
Well said.

Enter the Daughters on the Plaform.

1 Daughter.
Here's a strange entertainment: How the thieves drink!
2 Daughter.
Danger is dry; they look'd for colder liquor.
Caratach.
Fill 'em more wine; give 'em full bowls.—Which of you all now,
In recompence of this good, dare but give me
A sound knock in the battle?
Judas.
Delicate captain,
To do thee a sufficient recompense,
I'll knock thy brains out.
Caratach.
Do it.
Hengo.
Thou darest as well be damn'd! Thou knock his brains out?
Thou skin of man?—Uncle, I will not hear this.
Judas.
Tie up your whelp.
Hengo.
Thou kill my uncle? Would I
Had but a sword for thy sake, thou dried dog!
Caratach.
Wbat a mettle
This little vermin carries!
Hengo.
Kill mine uncle?
Caratach.
He shall not, child.
Hengo.
He cannot; he's a rogue,
An only eating rogue! kill my sweet uncle?
Oh, that I were a man!
Judas.
By this wine, which I
Will drink to Captain Junius, who loves
The queen's most excellent majesty's little daughter
Most sweetly, and most fearfully, I will do it.
Hengo.
Uncle, I'll kill him with a great pin.
Caratach.
No more, boy!
I'll pledge thy captain. To ye all, good fellows!
[Drinks.
2 Daughter.
In love with me? that love shall cost your lives all.—
Come, sister, and advise me; I have here
A way to make an easy conquest of 'em,
If fortune favour me.
[Exeunt Daughters.
Caratach.
Let's see you sweat
To-morrow blood and spirit, boys, this wine
Turn'd to stem valour.
1 Soldier.
Hark you, Judas;
If he should hang us after all this?
Judas.
Let him:
I'll hang like a gentleman, and a Roman.
Caratach.
Take away there;
They have enough.
[The table removed.
Judas.
Captain, we thank you heartily
For your good cheer: and if we meet to -morrow,
One of us pays for't.
Caratach.
Get 'em ouides; their wine
Has over-master'd 'em.

Enter second Daughter with a letter, and a Servant.

2 Daughter.
That hungry fellow
With the red beard there, give it him, and this,
To see it well deliver'd.
Caratach.
Farewell, knaves!
Speak nobly of us; keep your words to-morrow
And do something worthy your meat.—

Enter a Guide.

Go guide 'em,
And see 'em fairly onward.

Judas.
Meaning me, sir?
Servant.
The same.
The youngest daughter to the queen entreats you
To give this privately to Captain Junius;
This for your pains!
Judas.
I rest her humble servant;
Commend me to thy lady.—Keep your files, boys.
Servant.
I must instruct you further.
Judas.
Keep your files there!
Order, sweet friends; faces about now.
Guide.
Here, sir;
Here lies your way.
Judas.
Bless the founders, I say!
Fairly, good soldiers, fairly march now; close, boys!
[Exeunt.