King Steffan

Being a historical play,
dedicated to no lesser personage
than His Majesty,
whom the cast and humble writer
hope to entertain
and in no way displease
so much as to be thrown into the cells.

Written by Crispin Sexi and no doubt drastically revised by Joan Sutton

See also the performance notes.

THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY:

Guard 1
Guard 2
Lord
Lady
Sergeant
Messenger

ACT ONE, SCENE ONE

[Enter two guards]

Guard 1: Harken, what mania is going on?
The countryside is troubled with unease.

Guard 2: Have you not heard the drums and pipes of war?
An army nears, with much hostile intent.

[Enter Lord and Lady]

Lord: The good and kind King Steffan gave us peace,
With wise Queen Branwen counsel by his side.

Lady: Yet now their peace is sharply broken down!
With concord off, the Crown will not be pleased,
They will deliver aid. You did send word?

Lord: Yes, yes, of course, I did make sure myself.

[Enter Sergeant]

Sergeant: My lord, our foe doth gather and prepare
to harangue us with bold adversity.

Lord: Oh woe, the host doth near afore I thought!

Lady: Are we to be erased for lack of time?

Lord: The vile host waxeth large with many men.
I wish the King himself were here with aid.
We sent that messenger, aye, did we not?

Sergeant: Assuming you would want one deftly sent,
I did make sure myself 'ere we last spoke.

Lady: Our troops are strong and keen and fairly trained,
And with the King's support, we shall prevail.

Guard 1: She speaks of us.

[Enter Messenger]

Lord: What is this? Whither com'st thou messenger?

Messenger: My noble lord, good health to you this day.
The King sends word that to his great regret
His helm hath failed and so he cannot fight.

Lord: These words of yours are havoc to my ears.
Our victory is fraught without the King.

[Exit Messenger]

Sergeant: Your army must be shaken by this news,
They fear to take the field of the battle now.

Guard 2: He speaks of us.

Lord: With fear and trembling rife we will not win;
The trumpet call of lay-on shall be doom.

Lady: You mourn our loss too soon, we have not lost.
Take up your halberds and your trusty shields!

[Enter Messenger]

Messenger: My noble lord, good strength and sight to you.
The King sends word, his shield hath sadly failed.

[Exit Messenger]

Lord: Twice now I am battered by ill words!
Another blow unto our rent morale.

Lady: Show some backbone here. What are you made of?

Lord: I know not! Sergeant, make a tally. Of what are we made?

Sergeant: Those here and elsewhere in your castle grounds,
I go to count.

[Sergeant sizes up those present and exits to continue the tally.]

Lord: I fear the total may not be enough.

Lady: And mayhap yet it will. You must be bold.

[Enter Messenger and Sergeant]

Lord: What news?

Messenger: The King, his box hath failed.

[Exit Messenger in haste]

Lord: Alas, 'tis a cruel crack.

Lady: There is no hope for rescue, lest we help ourselves.

Sergeant: My lord, thou canst not fly from those base knaves.

Lord: The foe doth come to end us and our kin,
To take our beasts and homes and modest wealth.
I see aright that we have much to save
And naught to lose by rallying our mood.
Though little more than flesh, our flesh be tough,
Though few and short our swords, our swords be keen,
Though challenged be our hearts, our hearts be brave,
With strength and steel and nerve, we sally forth!

Guard 1: He speaks of us.

[Enter Messenger]

Messenger: My gracious lord, good fortune goes to you.
The King sends word, he chanced upon a cache,
Of armour, painted red as flowing blood,
And though the choice was odd in shape and size,
Some served to fit his form most perfectly.
He led his men and vanquished all your foe.

Lord: O wondrous tidings, O great miracle.
The King, his might would not be set aside,
No trifle short of world's end would baulk
His bold endeavours, his full protection.
And now he saves his gallant countrymen,
That love and cherish dear their regal king.

Guard 2: He speaks of us.

Sergeant: Our hides are saved!

Lady: Then let us celebrate this very day.
With festival and feast, food, drink and song,
With merriment so fit for King and Queen,
Whose grace by which their realm returns to calm.

Lord: The Crown!

All: The Crown!

[Finis]


Copyright Jaysen Ollerenshaw 2017. Free use within the SCA.

Joan & Crispin's Homepage: http://aelflaed.homemail.com.au/