Act I

SCENE I.The Camp of Arbaces, on the Frontiers of Armenia.

Enter Mardonius and Bessus.

Mar. Bessus, the king has made a fair hand on’t; he has ended the wars at a blow. ‘Would my sword had a close basket hilt, to hold wine, and the blade would make knives; for we shall have nothing but eating and drinking.

Bes. We, that are commanders, shall do well enough.

Mar. ‘Faith, Bessus, such commanders as thou may: I had as lieve set thee perdue for a pudding i’ th’ dark, as Alexander the Great.

Bes. I love these jests exceedingly.

Mar. I think thou lov’st ’em better than quarrelling, Bessus; I’ll say so much in thy behalf. And yet thou’rt valiant enough upon a retreat: I think thou would’st kill any man that stopp’d thee, an thou couldst.

Bes. But was not this a brave combat, Mardonius?

Mar. Why, didst thou see it?

Bes. You stood with me.

Mar. I did so; but methought thou wink’d’st every blow they strake.

Bes. Well, I believe there are better soldiers than I, that never saw two princes fight in lists.

Mar. By my troth, I think so too, Bessus; many a thousand:
But, certainly, all that are worse than thou have seen as much.

Bes. ’Twas bravely done of our king.

Mar. Yes, if he had not ended the wars. I’m glad thou dar’st talk of such dangerous businesses.

Bes. To take a prince prisoner in the heart of his own country, in single combat!

Mar. See how thy blood cruddles at this! I think thou couldst be contented to be beaten i’ this passion.

Bes. Shall I tell you truly?

Mar. Ay.

Bes. I could willingly venture for it.

Mar. Hum! no venture neither, good Bessus.

Bes. Let me not live, if I do not think it is a braver piece of service than that I’m so famed for.

Mar. Why, art thou famed for any valour?

Bes. I famed? Ay, I warrant you.

Mar. I am very heartily glad on’t: I have been with thee ever since thou cam’st to the wars, and this is the first word that ever I heard on’t. Pr’ythee, who fames thee?

Bes. The Christian world.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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