King Henry IX - The War of the Noses

 

ACT 2, SCENE 3

HUCKLEBERRY, BANNCOCK, and GIOVANNI confer briefly outside of the King's chamber.

HUCKLEBERRY

Let me have the worse news to the King you durst not speak.

GIOVANNI

To our sovereign do I unfold all I know.

BANNCOCK

Still more than you do know wouldst not o'er-tax his thin-haired, thick-brainéd pate. I, 'compassing much more, must more circumsizéd be.

HUCKLEBERRY

O Banncock of sauce-painted doublet— [indicating his food-stained shirt] —we know your prodigious appetite. Say what of import to the realm hast you swallowed up?

BANNCOCK

Only this you flapping-jowl crown-kisser: Deep peril. Rough sailing. Wreckage. The Miller is nosing the King's most noxious-fuméd faults. We who sit astride this humpéd broken nag for our sometime profit, must back a more competing horse...

GIOVANNI

Ooh, the grease bag's a tout now!

BANNCOCK

.. Or we ride it down.

HUCKLEBERRY

That's none of intelligence, my unkempt sir, just your ever-insolent gloom.

BANNCOCK

Go forth then. More birdsong on the moat sing you out. The basest as ever will hear it.

A map of the Thumpingbroke Canal route.BANNCOCK exits.

GIOVANNI

Faith yet, good Huckleberry. Surly Banncock mind you not. Anon give my regards to besiegéd Cozen and pious Faultwell.

GIOVANNI exits. HUCKLEBERRY advances to address the audience.

HUCKLEBERRY

Good countrymen all. A new proclamation of your most supreme King I shall read out.

[Reads] The MOAT—so wanting for our security and for the enrichment of many—will be entrenchéd soon! The brownish Spaniards weep! Tremendous payments will line my coffers! YOUR coffers, as Englishmen! Your soon extracted tributes to the crown—needed but for a brief time—will be HANDSOMELY repaid again with Spanish gold! And believe me, I know handsome.

[She looks up] Maps of the Thumpingbroke Canal route are sold at a fair price in the White Castle gift shoppe. The King has expressed his sympathy to Brighton and other blue-noséd towns cut loose by the canal.

The King also wishes to correct certain fake scribblers and cryers. A canal, saith our learnéd King, is but a species of straight moat. Encrocodiled this straighted moat will be for their edification.

God save the King!

Exeunt.

 
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