Romans. Ten times a-night
I have swam the rivers, when the stars of Rome
Shot at me as I floated, and the billows
Tumbled their watry ruins on my shoulders,
Charging my batter’d sides with troops of agues;
And still to try these Romans, whom I found
(And, if I lie, my wounds be henceforth backward,
And be you witness, gods, and all my dangers)
As ready, and as full of that I brought,
(Which was not fear, nor flight) as valiant,
As vigilant, as wise, to do and suffer,
Ever advanced as forward as the Britons,
Their sleeps as short, their hopes as high as ours,
Ay, and as subtle, lady. ’Tis dishonour,
And, follow’d, will be impudence, Bonduca,
And grow to no belief, to taint these Romans.
Have not I seen the Britons—

Bond. What?

Car. Dishearten’d
Run, run, Bonduca! not the quick rack swifter!
The virgin from the hated ravisher
Not half so fearful; not a flight drawn home.
A round stone from a sling, a lover’s wish,
E’er made that haste that they have. By the gods,
I have seen these Britons, that you magnify,
Run as they would have out- run time, and roaring,
Basely for mercy roaring; the light shadows,
That in a thought scur o’er the fields of corn,
Halted on crutches to ’em.

Bond. Oh, ye powers,
What scandals do I suffer!

Car. Yes, Bonduca,
I have seen thee run too; and thee, Nennius;
Yea, run apace, both; then, when Penius
(The Roman girl!) cut through your armed carts,
And drove ’em headlong on ye, down the hill;
Then, when he hunted ye like Britain foxes,
More by the scent than sight; then did I see
These valiant and approved men of Britain,
Like boding owls, creep into tods of ivy,
And hoot their fears to one another nightly.

Nen. And what did you then, Caratach?

Car. I fled too,
But not so fast; your jewel had been lost then,
Young Hengo there; he trasht me, Nennius:
For, when your fears out-run him, then stept I,
And in the head of all the Roman fury
Took him, and, with my tough belt, to my back
I buckled him; behind him my sure shield;
And then I follow’d. If I say I fought
Five times in bringing off this bud of Britain,
I lie not, Nennius. Neither had you heard
Me speak this, or ever seen the child more,
But that the sun of virtue, Penius,
Seeing me steer through all these storms of danger,
My helm still in my hand (my sword), my prow
Turn’d to my foe (my face), he cried out nobly,
“Go, Briton, bear thy lion’s whelp off safely;
Thy manly sword has ransom’d thee; grow strong,
And let me meet thee once again in arms;
Then, if thou stand’st, thou’rt mine.” I took his offer,
And here I am to honour him.

Bond. Oh, cousin,
From what a flight of honour hast thou check’d me!
What wouldst thou make me, Caratach?

Car. See, lady,
The noble use of others in our losses.
Does this afflict you? Had the Romans cried this,
And, as we have done theirs, sung out these fortunes,
Rail’d on our base condition, hooted at us,
Made marks as far as th’ earth was ours, to show us
Nothing but sea could stop our flights, despised us,
And held it equal whether banqueting
Or beating of the Britons were more business,
It would have gall’d you.

Bond. Let me think we conquer’d.

Car. Do; but so think, as we may be conquer’d;
And where we have found virtue, though in those
That came to make us slaves, let’s cherish it.
There’s not a blow we gave since Julius landed,
That was of strength and worth, but, like records,
They file to after-ages. Our registers
The Romans are, for noble deeds of honour;
And shall we burn their mentions with upbraidings?

Bond. No more; I see myself. Thou hast made me, cousin,
More than my fortunes durst, for they abused me,
And wound me up so high, I swell’d with glory:
Thy temperance has cured that tympany,
And given me health again, nay, more, discretion
Shall we have peace? for now I love these Romans.

Car. Thy love and hate are both unwise ones, lady.

Bond. Your reason?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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