1615
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Valiant Welshman.

The Valiant Welshman, or the true Chronicle History of the Life and Valiant Deedes of Caradoc the Great, King of Cambria, now called Wales. As it hath beene sundry times acted by the Prince of Wales his Servants. Written by R. A. Gent.

Robert Aylett


By "R. A. Gent," variously identified as Robert Aylett, Robert Anton, or Robert Armin. The witch, her son, and the serpent in Act 3, Scene 5 possibly imitate Faerie Queene 3.7.21-22. The parallel would be more convincing were the monster a hyena rather than a serpent.

Gerard Langbaine: "This Play has been sundry times acted by the Prince of Wales his SErvants; but printed 4to. Lond. 1663. For the Plot of this Play, 'tis founded on true History: see Tacitus Annals, Milton's History of England, &c. See besides Ubaldine, Le Vite delle Donne Illustre, p. 6" Account of the English Dramatick Poets (1691) 516-17.

Frederick Ives Carpenter: "The Witch, her son, and the monster created by her to destroy Caradoc at instigation of Gloster (act 3, sc. 4, sigs. E4-Fv) presumably suggested by F.Q. 3.7.20 ff" Wells, Spenser Allusions (1972) 140.

E. Felix Schelling: "The Valiant Welshman deals with the doings of four British Kings, three queens, and many princes and Roman generals; it introduces bards, enchanters, the Roman goddess, Fortuna, and wanders from Wales to Scotland, ending before the Emperor Claudius at Rome" Elizabethan Drama (1908) 1:302.

F. M. Padelford considers the possibility that the author might be the Spenserian poet Robert Aylett: "The highly moral handling of the plot, the familiar use of classical allusions, and the historical erudition displayed, give some slight color to the suggestion of Aylett's authorship, reinforced, perhaps, by the opening stanzas of 'Urania.' As a devoted admirer of Spenser, Aylett may have looked about for an early hero, comparable to Prince Arthur, and hit upon Caradoc. Moreover, Aylett was a 'gentleman' and so signed himself on occasion" "Robert Aylett" (1936) 34.



ENTER THE WITCH AND HER SONNE FROM THE CAVE.

GLOSTER.
Thou famous Mistresse, of the unknown depths
Of hels infernall secrets, oh what reward
Shall a dejected, miserable man,
Chased from the confines of his native land,
By wrong oppression, and insulting pride,
Disgrace, contempt, and endlesse infamy,
Give, for redresse from thy commanding arte?

WITCH.
Gloster, I know thee wel, although disguisd:
Thou comest to crave our helpe, for thy revenge
'Gainst Caradoc, who now hath vanquished
The Bastard Codigune in single fight.
Know Gloster, that our skill
Commaunds the Moone drop from her silver sphere,
And all the starres to vayle their golden heads,
At the blacke horrour that our Charmes present.
Atlas throwes downe the twinckling Arch of heaven,
And leaves his burthen at our dreadfull spels.
This pendant element of solid earth,
Shakes with amazing Earthquakes, as if the frame
Of this vast continent would leave her poles.
Neptune swels high, and with impetuous rage
Dashes the haughty Argosey with winds,
Against the Christall battlements of heaven.
The troubled ayre appeares in flakes of fire,
That, till about the ayres circumference,
We make the upper Region
Thicke, full of fatall Comets, and the skie
Is filde with fiery signes of armed men.
Hell roares, when we are angry, and the Fiends,
As schole-boyes, tremble at our Charming rod.
Thus, when we are displeased, or male-content,
Both hell obeys, and every Element.

GLOSTER.
Thou matchles wonder, worke but my revenge,
And by the triple Hecate, and the powers
Your Charmes adore, Ile load you with a waight
Of gold and treasure, till you cry, No more.
Invent, great soule of arte, some strategem,
Whose fame may draw him to these dismal woods.
No danger can out-dare his thirsty soule
In honourable enterprises: he is a man,
Should hell oppose him, of such dauntlesse mettal,
That were but fame the end of his atechievement,
He would as boldly cope with it, as with things
Of common danger.

WITCH.
Then Gloster, harke: Here in this dismall Grove,
By arte I will create a furious beast,
Mov'd by a subtill spirit, full of force
And hellish fury, whose devouring jawes
Shall havocke all the borderers of Wales,
And in short space unpeople all his Townes.
Now, if he be a man that seeks for fame,
And grounds his fortunes on the popular love,
Or Kinglike doe preferre a common good,
Before a private losse; this famous taske,
Whose fearfull rumour shall amaze the world,
Will egge him on: where being once but come,
He surely meetes with his destruction.
Sonne, to this purpose, straitway to thy booke,
Enter the Cave, and call a powerfull spirit by thy skill,
Commaund him instantly for to appeare,
And with thy Charmes, binde him unto the shape
Of a devouring Serpent, whilest without
We doe awayte his comming.
EXIT MAGICIAN.
THUNDERS AND LIGHTNING.
Now whirle the angry heavens about the Pole,
And in their fuming choler dart forth fires,
Like burning Aetna, being thus inraged
At this imperious Necromantike arte.
Dis trembles at our Magicall commaund,
And all the flaming vawtes of hells Abisse,
Throw forth sulphureous flakes of scorching fire.
The jangling hell-hounds, with their hellish guizes,
Daunce damned rounds, in their infernall rage.
And to conclude, earth, water, ayre, and fire,
And hell grow sicke, to see mans arte aspire.
A generall envy makes them malecontent,
To see deepe arte commaund each element.
See, Gloster, see, thinkes he, this monstrous shape
ENTER THE SERPENT.
Will not abate the courage of his foe,
And quell the haughty pride of Caradoc?

GLOSTER.
Yes, mighty Artist, were he thrice inspirde
With more then humane courage, he may as soone
Conquer those matchlesse Giants, that were set
To keepe the Orchard of Hesperides,
Or match the labours of great Hercules.

ENTER THE SERPENT. IT THUNDERS.

WITCH.
Goe shrowde thy horrid shape within this wood,
And seize on all thou meetest. Come, Gloster, in,
And here awhile abide within this Cave.
Thy eyes shall see what thy vext soule did crave.
EXEUNT.

[sigs E4-Fv]