The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book III Chapter 24

In the meantime, King Philip was plunged in bitter melancholy. In his grievous pride he prayed to God to give him power to conquer England, to subdue France, to take Milan, Genoa, Venice, and great lord of all the seas, thus to reign over all Europe.

Thinking of this triumph, he laughed not.

He was continually and always cold; wine never warmed him, nor the fire of scented wood that was always burning in the chamber where he was. There always writing, sitting amid so many letters that a hundred casks might have been filled with them, he brooded over the universal domination of the whole world, such as was wielded by the emperors of Rome; on his jealous hatred of his son Don Carlos, since the latter had wanted to go to the Low Countries in the Duke of Alba’s place, to seek to reign there, he thought, without doubt. And seeing him ugly, deformed, a savage and cruel madman, he hated him the more. But he never spoke of it.

Those who served King Philip and his son Don Carlos knew not which of the twain they ought to fear the most; whether the son, agile, murderous, tearing his servitors with his nails, or the cowardly and crafty father, using others to strike, and like a hy?na, living upon corpses.

The servitors were terrified to see them prowling around each other. And they said that there would soon be a death in the Escurial.

Now they learned presently that Don Carlos had been imprisoned for the crime of high treason. And they knew that he was devouring his soul with black spite, that he had hurt his face trying to get through the bars of his prison in order to escape, and that Madame Isabelle of France, his mother, was weeping without ceasing.

But King Philip was not weeping.

The rumour came to them that Don Carlos had been given green figs and that he was dead the next day as if he had gone to sleep. The physicians said as soon as he had eaten the figs the blood ceased to beat, the functions of life, as Nature meant them, were interrupted; he could neither spit, nor vomit, nor get rid of anything from out of his body. His belly swelled at his death.

King Philip heard the death mass for Don Carlos, had him buried in the chapel of his royal residence and marble set over his body; but he did not weep.

And the lords in waiting said to one another, mocking the princely epitaph that was on the tombstone:


A qui jaze qui en para desit verdad,
Morio s’in infirmidad
And King Philip looked with a lustful eye upon the Princess of Eboli, who was married. He besought her love, and she yielded.

Madame Isabelle of France, of whom it was said that she had favoured the designs of Don Carlos upon the Low Countries, became haggard and woebegone. And her hair fell out in great handfuls at a time. Often she vomited, and the nails of her feet and her hands came out. And she died.

And King Philip did not weep.

The hair of the Prince of Eboli fell out also. He became sad and always complaining. Then the nails of his feet and his hands came out, too.

And King Philip had him buried.

And he paid for the widow’s mourning and did not weep.