THE SPANISH TRAGEDY
A monologue from the
play by Thomas
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted
from The Spanish Tragedy. Thomas Kyd. London: J. M. Dent
& Co., 1898.
MONOLOGUES BY THOMAS KYD
- GHOST: When this eternal substance of my soul
- Did live imprison'd in my wanton flesh:
- Each in their function serving other's need,
- I was a courtier in the Spanish Court.
- My name was Don Andrea, my descent
- Though not ignoble, yet inferior far
- To gracious fortunes of my tender youth:
- For there in prime and pride of all my years,
- By Duteous service and deserving love,
- In secret I possess'd a worthy dame,
- Which hight sweet Bel-imperia by name.
- But in the harvest of my summer joys,
- Death's winter nipp'd the blossoms of my bliss,
- Forcing divorce betwixt my love and me.
- For in the late conflict with Portingale,
- My valour drew me into danger's mouth,
- Till life to death made passage through my wounds.
- When I was slain, my soul descended straight,
- To pass the flowing stream of Acheron:
- But churlish Charon, only boatman there,
- Said that my rites of burial not perform'd,
- I might not sit amongst his passengers.
- Ere Sol had slept three nights in Thetis' lap
- And slak'd his smoking chariot in her flood:
- By Don Horatio our Knight Marshal's son,
- My funerals and obsequies were done.
- Then was the ferryman of hell content
- To pass me over to the slimy strond,
- That leads to fell Avernus' ugly waves:
- There pleasing Cerberus with honey'd speech,
- I pass'd the perils of the foremost porch.
- Not far from hence amidst ten thousand souls,
- Sat Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanth,
- To whom no sooner 'gan I make approach,
- To crave a passport for my wand'ring ghost:
- But Minos in graven leaves of lottery,
- Drew forth the manner of my life and death.
- 'This knight' (quoth he) 'both liv'd and died in love,
- And for his love tried fortune of the wars,
- And by war's fortune lost both love and life.'
- 'Why then,' said Aeacus, convey him hence,
- To walk with lovers in our fields of love:
- And spend the course of everlasting time,
- Under green myrtle trees and cypress shades.'
- 'No, no,' said Rhadamanth, 'It were not well,
- With loving souls to place a martialist:
- He died in war, and must to martial fields:
- Where wounded Hector lives in lasting pain,
- And Achilles' myrmidons do scour the plain.'
- Then Minos mildest censor of the three,
- Made this device to end the difference.
- 'Send him' (quoth he) 'to our infernal King:
- To doom him as best seems his majesty.'
- To this effect my passport straight was drawn.
- In keeping on my way to Pluto's court,
- Through dreadful shades of ever-glooming night,
- I saw more sights than thousand tongues can tell,
- Or pens can write, or mortal hearts can think.
- Three ways there were, that on the right hand side
- Was ready way unto the foresaid fields,
- Where lovers live, and bloody martialists,
- But either sort contain'd within his bounds.
- The left hand path declining fearfully,
- Was ready downfall to the deepest hell,
- Where bloody furies shake their whips of steel,
- And poor Ixion turns an endless wheel.
- Where userers are chok'd with melting gold,
- And wantons are embrac'd with ugly snakes:
- And murderers groan with never killing wounds,
- And perjur'd wights scalded in boiling lead,
- And all foul sins with torments overwhelm'd.
- 'Twixt these two ways, I trod the middle path,
- Which brought me to the fair Elysian green.
- In midst whereof there stands a stately tower,
- The walls of brass, the gates of adamant.
- Here finding Pluto with his Proserpine,
- I show'd my passport humbled on my knee.
- Whereat fair Proserpine began to smile,
- And begg'd that only she might give my doom.
- Pluto was pleas'd, and seal'd it with a kiss.
- Forthwith (Revenge) she rounded thee in th' ear,
- And bad thee lead me through the Gates of Horn,
- Where dreams have passage in the silent night.
- No sooner had she spoke but we were here,
- I wot not how, in twinkling of an eye.