King Henry IX - The War of the Noses

 

ACT 1, SCENE 5

Outside the King's chamber door, HUCKLEBERRY and Princess YORK discuss the King's problems. The MERCHANT loiters and Prince JERSEY whines.

YORK

Father seems well. Is he not?

HUCKLEBERRY

He sleeps but fitfully. Oft he sits up nights and avoids the Queen.

YORK

Is he distract by the Miller's probing?

HUCKLEBERRY

He swears not. "Fake! Nought but hag-hunting," he cries.

JERSEY

O pother the old man! He uses me cruelly. Yokes me with this wild, cat-scratchéd dog!

YORK

Man up, squeamy brother! Grow stones.

JERSEY

Mark not how this dripping knave waggled his sword lewdly at you, mine sister, as he passed not an hour 'fore? God's pinkie!

YORK

Hold yourself, bawling brother! I have suffered affronts less seemly from men more foul.

The MERCHANT nods vigorously.

JERSEY

I shalt see our Mother Queen on this slight!

Exit JERSEY at a trot, pursued by stares.

HUCKLEBERRY

Alas, your knock-knees brother.

YORK

The rough axe-man may masculate him yet. But Huckster, what of the silent and secret-keeping Queen Melancholia?

HUCKLEBERRY

Ever more strange, I fear. Of late she wears a cloak, rough letteréd with this strange message: "What, me worry?"

A greater Alfred.YORK

Mad! She's MAD!

HUCKLEBERRY

Very like.

YORK

Read thou this day's proclamation, good Huckleberry. The Queen I'll seek to understand.

YORK and the MERCHANT exit. HUCKLEBERRY turns to address the audience.

HUCKLEBERRY

Good subjects in plush seats, a pearl dropped in the night by our good King.

She reads.

Many art saying my reign is the most PROSPEROUS, the most BELOVED, and the most HUMORFUL in merry England's history! Some grinders at maths tally it the longest reign ever joyfully enduréd by our adorating subjects! Me a greater Alfred! All accomplisht in but our first year of kingship! Many do offer congratulations and rich tributes hence!

She looks up.

Long live the King!

Exeunt.

 
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