King Henry IX - The War of the Noses

 

ACT 1, SCENE 2

Outside the closed door to King's chamber, HUCKLEBERRY, BANNCOCK, and GIOVANNI confer.

BANNCOCK

The King is ever his selfsame doltish 'scallion. What singing codswaddle shall you mouth anon?

HUCKLEBERRY

Nothing portentous this day. A joust at bogeys, the moat, a distractive yowling bear for 'tainment.

BANNCOCK

Petty mumbling, no more.

HUCKLEBERRY

Ever the same.

BANNCOCK

The muckéd moat! And ere long, the Miller tells his tale. Still, we will ride this rough king out.

GIOVANNI

Pfft! The King fears not the Miller. He keeps a room at the Tower for his sometime comfort.

BANNCOCK and GIOVANNI exit. HUCKLEBERRY moves stage front to address the audience.

HUCKLEBERRY

Good patrons. Greetings from the King. Some news, and three of his magisterious proclamations composed in the night. There will be no time to parry questions.

She reads.

BearFirst, for the ease of taxpayers and others with tributations for the King, those ahorse in London can use the White Castle's new ride-up window. All hours.

Second, rumors on the wind art true: the King's hands art measured largest of all the nobles of Europe, save the Countess Gerta Grossekralle of Mecklenburg—a veritable monster.

Addressing the audience.

That is the very news of the hour, though false and scoundrus cryers abound. Do not be made a fool therewith.

Three proclamations of his Most Beneficient Highness follow.

She reads.

One. We find the Moor hast scampered off with much silver, to wit, the royal sporks. Purloined from the realm. DISGRACEFUL! Further, the Moor's lieutenant, Smilin' Joe, didst secrete a trove of japing notes in sundry crannies about the castle, and did short-sheet many a royal bed. THIS WILL BE ANSWERED!

Two. Doubters know this: I will not be foresworn. A moat—full of fearsome water-dragons and hungry cuttlefish—will be built betwixt our great kingdom and the desperados of Spain. "Ooh but, good sirs, we art an island country!" say false-breathéd naysayers. 'ZOUNDS! I have great, believe me, GREAT engineers working 30 hours a day on this. It WILL be done! And Spaniard gold will dig this much-needed moat! Armada? I say Armad-NO!

Three. The bear-baiting arena is but a thin shade of its once glorious self. Toothless, baying curs maul a flea-bitten, dusty, chainéd bear. SAD! Where is our Sackerson—long-toothed, iron-clawed, sinuous beasty beauty? Bear of a greater, more civil London Town? GONE!

Addressing the audience.

That is all, subjects. Long live the King!

Exeunt.

 
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