Act I Sc i
An Inner Gate In The Royal Palace of Babylon
(Enter TREST and BREM)
TREST: How now, my good nog, Brem?
BREM: Fairing as well as the day is foul, my good sot, Trest
TREST: Aye that! The temperament of a king is as fickle as the winds blow and change direction without wit nor warning.
BREM: Nay worse, truth be told. For the farmer may look upon cloud and sky and know whether to till or plant ‘pon the season fair or the th’ fisherman may read the wind and smell the air and feel the wave and know whether to cast net again or hie thee off to safe portage, he may so smell a storm.
TREST: Aye, ‘tis truth.
BREM: But kings blow and bluster according to their royal winds which none can lick, and who but can smell the change come upon the temperament of our royal set?
TREST: ‘Tis beyond the physic of even the craftiest and most skilled magician, portender or royal soothsayer.
BREM: Some mysteries are too deep to know
TREST: ‘Struth! Set we not about our revels when mighty Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar—
BREM: May he live forever!
TREST: --May he live forever. Did come back from siege of kindomes of the west unto even the great sea in that compass’d direction. Stalked he like the leopard upon the prowl, and sprung like the lion enraged, full talon tearing at all who dare defy his irresistible hand, to our greater borders expansed and richer coffers engorge’d and our bellies engorge’d by its celebration..
BREM: Verily, we did drain the royal steward of his bottomless cup when, heralded from end to end by trumpet, lyre and drum and escorted by a mighty army triumphant, did our great and terrible king—
TREST: May he live forever!
BREM: May he live forever. –Come laden with the plunder of Jerusalem, that gatekeeper of traffic and trade from Egypt and points north of those rich borders.
TREST: And now into our coffers comes the tax and duties extort from such trade after Israel’s fall
BREM: Marked you. Such riches as were carried off from the siege and sack of Jerusalem by our noble and irresistible king
TREST: May he live forever!
BREM: May he live forever— Included in the lists of the goods brought off were gold cups and bowls and other such riches from the temple of their singular God. And such finer had been locked away in the treasure vaults and shut to the eye and hand of all.
TREST: Aye, and in curious denial, for ‘tis customary for the king—
BREM: May he live forever!
TREST: May he live forever— To indulge in the luxury of the finery of his newest conquests, ‘tis a delight his noble brow to revel in the riches of his fallen on display.
BREM: Curiouser and curiouser.
TREST: And yet, he did keep his practice of bringing into his charge the royal descendants of his fallen and bring them under his roof to eat and drink from his table, and learn the language and literature of Babylon.
BREM: Truth be told.
TREST: Such royal guestings have we seen transported from fallen Israel under the charge of the able bodied Arioch.
BREM: Aye, an’ one who does th’ bidding of the king fair and foul as if ‘tis his royal right arm.
ARIOCH: Fair thee well, good gentles Trest & Brem. Well met my two stations within these palace walls.
TREST: Well met, indeed, good Arioch.
BREM: Speak unto the four winds and it shall comeback to the thee. Thou wast just upon our lips an’ ears and like a magician’s conjuring thou doest appear presently.
TREST: How dost thee with they charge of the new royal conscriptions from Israel from our most enoble’d king.
TREST& BREM: May he live forever!
ARIOCH: May he live forever. Well, my good doorposts, list unto my discourse and I shall impart unto thee the full accounting fit for the ear and consideration.
BREM: Give it up unto us, for we are all of attention.
TREST: We are yours to impart.
ARIOCH: Came unto me one of those newly conquered nobles of Israel, fair of manner and make was he—
TREST: Courtly learne’d was he?
ARIOCH: Aye, of a most agreeable countenance. Said he in petition, according to the customer of their deific observance that the food and faire brought before them, its essence offered to our Babylonian gods in supplication before being issued unto them was noisome and unsettling to their devotion and native precepts.
BREM: Spurne’d they the king’s sumptuous table?
ARIOCH: In a most politic and gentle turn of royal etiquette did they make their petition not to partake of the royal offering.
TREST: What nature of a fast do they now partake?
ARIOCH: They did negotiate through my protestations, for I have been charged with their health and well being by royal command of our most celestial king—
TREST & BREM: May he live forever!
ARIOCH: May he live forever--
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