Cornwall, going to Leir to accept the invitation to marry Gonorill, meets Cambria, also going to Leir to accept the invitation to marry Ragan and share with Cornwall the present kingdom. They are marveling at their luck, but wonder about rare and beautiful Cordella, who gets no part, but seems to be heading for a nunnery. Cornwall regrets that such beauty should behind a cloister wall be hid.
Enter the King of Cornwall and his men booted and spurred,
a riding wand, and a letter in his hand.
CORNWALL: But how far distant are we from the Court?
SERVANT: Some twenty miles, my Lord, or thereabouts.
CORNWALL: It seemeth to me twenty thousand miles:
Yet hope I to be there within this hour.
SERVANT: Then are you like to ride alone for me.
[To himself.] I think, my Lord is weary of his life.
CORNWALL: Sweet Gonorill, I long to see thy face,
Which has so kindly gratified my love.
[Enter the King of Cambria booted and spurred,
and his man with a wand and a letter.]
CAMBRIA: Get a fresh horse: for by my soul I swear,
He looks on the letter.
I am past patience, longer to forbear … [5.10]
The wished sight of my beloved mistress,
Dear Ragan, stay and comfort of my life.
SERVANT: Now what in Gods name doth my Lord intend?
To himself. He thinks he ne’re shall come at journey’s end.
I would he had old Daedalus’ waxen wings,
That he might fly, so I might stay behind:
For e’re we get to Troynovant, I see
He quite will tire himself, his horse and me.
Cornwall & Cambria look one upon another,
and start to see each other there.
CORNWALL: Brother of Cambria, we greet you well,
As one whom here we little did expect. … [5.20]
CAMBRIA: Brother of Cornwall, met in happy time:
I thought as much to have met with the Soldan of Persia,
As to have met you in this place, my Lord,
No doubt, it is about some great affairs,
That makes you here so slenderly accompanied.
CORNWALL: To say the truth, my Lord, it is no less,
And for your part some hasty wind of chance
Hath blown you hither thus upon the sudden.
CAMBRIA: My Lord, to break off further circumstances,
For at this time I cannot brook delays: … [5.30]
Tell you your reason, I will tell you mine.
CORNWALL: In faith, content, and therefore to be brief,
For I am sure my haste’s as great as yours:
I am sent for, to come unto King Leir,
Who by these present letters promiseth
His eldest daughter, lovely Gonorill,
To me in marriage, and for present dowry,
The moiety of half his Regiment.
The Lady’s love I long ago possessed:
But until now I never had the father’s. … [5.40]
CAMBRIA: You tell me wonders, yet I will relate
Strange news, and henceforth we must brothers call;
Witness these lines: his honorable age,
Being weary of the troubles of his Crown,
His princely daughter Ragan will bestow
On me in marriage, with half his Seigniories,
Whom I would gladly have accepted of,
With the third part, her complements are such.
CORNWALL: If I have one half, and you have the other,
Then between us we must needs have the whole. … [5.50]
CAMBRIA: The hole! how mean you that? Zblood, I hope,
We shall have two holes between us.
CORNWALL: Why, the whole Kingdom.
CAMBRIA: Aye, that’s very true.
CORNWALL: What then is left for his third daughter’s dowry,
Lovely Cordella, whom the world admires?
CAMBRIA: Tis very strange, I know not what to think,
Unless they mean to make a Nun of her.
CORNWALL: ‘Twere pity such rare beauty should be hid
Within the compass of a Cloister’s wall: … [5.60]
But howsoe’re, if Leir’s words prove true,
It will be good, my Lord, for me and you.
CAMBRIA: Then let us haste, all danger to prevent,
For fear delays do alter his intent. Exeunt.