Title: The Plays of Philip Massinger, Vol. I
Author: Philip Massinger
Release date: March 8, 2015 [eBook #48440]
Credits: Produced by Judith Wirawan, Delphine Lettau and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
London, Published by John Murray. 1830.
FOR FAMILY READING, AND THE USE OF YOUNG PERSONS,
BY THE OMISSION OF OBJECTIONABLE PASSAGES.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE-STREET.
PRINTED BY THOMAS DAVISON, WHITEFRIARS.
The Old English Dramatists, the friends and co-temporaries of Shakspeare, have contributed one of the most valuable portions to the poetic literature of our country. But—abounding as they do in wit and fancy, in force and copiousness of expression, in truth and variety of character, in rapid change of incidents, in striking and interesting situations, and, above all, in justice and elevation of sentiment—their works are totally unknown to the generality of readers, and are only found in the hands of an adventurous few, who have deviated from the beaten paths of study to explore for themselves less familiar and exhausted tracts of literary amusement. The neglect of these authors, in an age so favourable to works of imagination as the present, can only be ascribed to that occasional coarseness of language which intermixes with and pollutes the beauty of their most exquisite scenes. For what may be termed the licentiousness of the stage, for immorality of principle, for that offence which was transplanted from France to England with the court of Charles the Second, our old dramatists do not require the aid of any apologist. They are innocent of attempting to confound the notions of right and wrong, or of seeking to influence the bad passions of our nature against the first great principles of morals. These were the corruptions of a later and more vicious age. With the earlier play-writers, the bent of the story and the interest of the spectator are always directed to the side of virtue; but the objection against them is, that though they armed themselves in her cause, they were too little scrupulous what kind of weapon they employed. The worst things are always called by the worst names. Nothing is sacrificed to delicacy. The grossest subjects are treated, whenever they happen to occur—and no care is taken to avoid them—in the grossest terms. Vice loses none of her enormity by any diminution of her coarseness. If the wicked are introduced, they are painted with a perfect truth of nature; they are represented as loathsome in language as they are detestable in conduct; and are rendered as offensive to the reader of cultivated taste and virtuous habits as they would be in the actual intercourse of life. However well it may have suited the less polished age of Elizabeth and James thus to inculcate purity by exhibiting all the corruptions of the depraved, and to fortify the moral principle by portraying wickedness, with all its hateful accompaniments, as an object of disgust as well as abhorrence and contempt, such strong pictures are no longer tolerable at the present day, and the recurrence of them militates against that general circulation and approval which is otherwise due to the great merit of the works in which they occur. Under these circumstances, the Editors of the Family Library have determined on publishing a selection from the plays of Massinger, Beaumont, Fletcher, Ford, Shirley, Webster, Middleton, and others, omitting all such scenes and passages as are inconsistent with the delicacy and refinement of modern taste and manners. Whenever it is possible, the play will be printed entire. If there be a double plot, the one, as in the case of the Virgin-Martyr, eminently beautiful, and the other as eminently offensive, the living beauty will be separated from the dead weight of corruption to which it is unnaturally joined, and be presented to the reader in a form which may afford an unmixed and flowing enjoyment to his imagination. When there is a radical evil in the groundwork of the play, only a single act or a few scenes may be given; but, in such cases, care will always be taken to preserve the interest of an entire and connected story.
The work will be accompanied with short explanatory notes, and occasional critical remarks.
|Life of Massinger||1|
|The Great Duke of Florence||107|
|The Maid of Honour||299|
Portrait of Massinger to face the Title-page.
Very few materials exist for a life of Massinger beyond the entries of the Parish Register or the College Books, and a few slender intimations scattered here and there in the dedications to his plays. From these scanty sources the following brief memoir is derived.
Our author was born at Salisbury in the year 1584: he was the son of Arthur Massinger, a gentleman in the service of Henry, the second Earl of Pembroke. We must not suppose, from his being thus attached to the family of a nobleman, that the father of our poet was a person of inferior birth and station. In those days the word servant carried with it no sense of degradation. The great lords and officers of the court numbered inferior nobles among their followers. We read, in Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, that "my Lord Percy, the son and heir of the Earl of Northumberland, attended upon[Pg 2] and was servitor to the lord-cardinal:" and from the situation which Arthur Massinger held in the household of so high and influential a person as the Earl of Pembroke, we might be justly led to argue rather favourably than unfavourably of his family and his connexions. "There were," says Mr. Gifford, "many considerations which united to render this state of dependance respectable and even honourable. The secretaries, clerks, and assistants, of various departments, were not then, as now, nominated by the government, but left to the choice of the person who held the employment; and as no particular dwelling was officially set apart for their residence, they were entertained in the house of their principal. That communication, too, between noblemen of power and trust, both of a public and private nature, which is now committed to the post, was in those days managed by confidential servants, who were despatched from one to the other, and even to the sovereign;" and, indeed, the father of our poet himself was, we know, in one instance thus employed as the bearer of communications from his patron to Elizabeth. We read in The Sidney Letters, "Mr. Massinger is newly come up from the Earl of Pembroke with letters to the queen for his lordship's leave to be away this St. George's Day." This was an errand which would not have been intrusted to the execution of any inconsiderable person: unimportant as the occasion may appear to us, it would not have been regarded in that light by Elizabeth; for no[Pg 3] monarch ever exacted from the nobility, and particularly from her officers of state, a more rigid and scrupulous compliance with stated order than this princess.
With regard to the early youth of Massinger, we possess no information whatever. Mr. Gifford supposes that it might have been passed at Wilton, a seat belonging to the Earl of Pembroke, in the neighbourhood of Salisbury; but this mode of disposing of his early years rests on a very improbable conjecture. It may occasionally have happened that the child of a favourite dependant was admitted as the companion of the younger branches of the patron's family, and allowed to receive his education among them; but this was certainly not an ordinary case; and, like Cavendish, a large majority of the great man's servants and dependants "left wife and children, home and family, rest and quietness, only to serve him."—Massinger was most likely educated at the grammar-school of Salisbury, where many distinguished characters have received the rudiments of their education, among whom the elegant and accomplished Addison is to be numbered. But wherever the first years of our poet's life may have been spent, and whatever may have been the nature of his education, we know that at the age of eighteen (May 14, 1602) he was entered at the university of Oxford, and became a commoner of St. Alban's Hall.
Massinger resided at Oxford about four years, and then abruptly left it, without taking any degree. The cause of this sudden departure is[Pg 4] ascribed by Mr. Gifford to the death of his father, from whom his supplies were derived: but Davies relates a very different story, and asserts that the Earl of Pembroke, who had sent him to the university and maintained him there, withdrew the necessary allowance in consequence of his having misapplied the time demanded for severer studies, in the pursuit of a more attractive but less profitable description of literature. Each opinion is equally ungrounded on the basis of any substantial evidence, and rests almost entirely on the imagination of the biographer: what slight authority there is favours the latter supposition, which, perhaps, on the whole, is most consistent with the known circumstances of the case. Anthony Wood, who was born, lived, and died at Oxford; who spent his time in collecting and recording the gossip which circulated in the university respecting the characters and conduct of its more distinguished sons; and whose evidence, however indifferent it may be, is the best that can be obtained upon the subject, confirms the representation of Davies:—"Massinger," says Wood, "gave his mind more to poetry and romance, for about four years or more, than to logic and philosophy, which he ought to have done, as he was patronised to that end." This passage corroborates the account of Davies so far as to intimate that patronage was afforded to our author, and that cause of dissatisfaction was given to the patron; but it goes no farther: it does not even state to whom the poet was indebted for assistance, nor that the misapplication of his academic hours was at all resented by the friend from whom the assistance was[Pg 5] received: but still Wood is very probably correct in his information that other than his paternal funds were depended upon for maintaining Massinger at the university; and if such was the case, there can be no question from whose hands they must have proceeded; while the simple fact of his having been totally neglected, from the time of his father's death, by the whole of the Pembroke family, till after the demise of the earl, carries with it a strong suspicion that some offence was committed on the side of the poet, and tenaciously remembered on the side of the peer. Henry, the second Earl of Pembroke, died (1601) the year before Massinger was admitted at Oxford; and William, the third earl, to whom the father of Massinger continued attached during life, is universally and justly considered one of the brightest ornaments of the courts of Elizabeth and James. He was a man of generous and liberal disposition; the distinguished patron of arts and learning; and a lover of poetry, which he himself cultivated with some degree of success. It is not probable—it is impossible—that such a man should have allowed the highly talented son of an old and faithful servant of his family to be checked in his course of study, and abandoned to maintain, through the early years of life, a single-handed contest with adversity, for the want of that pecuniary aid which he could have yielded and never missed, unless some strong and decided cause of displeasure had existed. Had Massinger been merely forced to leave the university, as Mr. Gifford supposes, because the funds necessary to maintain him there had failed with the life of his father, we impute an act of illiberality to the Earl of Pembroke[Pg 6] which is inconsistent with the whole tenor of his life and character. From whatever source the expenses of our author's education were originally defrayed, their suddenly ceasing argues in favour of the account intimated by Wood and detailed by Davies. If his father had, during his life, supported him at the university, there must have been some reason for the earl's not continuing that support when the father of Massinger was no more; and perhaps the most honourable supposition for both parties is that which represents the earl as offended by the bent of our author's studies and pursuits. By adopting this view of the case we are saved from the painful necessity of either assuming, on the one hand, that a nobleman distinguished among the most amiable characters of his age allowed a highly gifted and meritorious young man, a natural dependant of his house, to languish in the want of that countenance and protection on which he had an hereditary claim; or, on the other hand, that Massinger had incurred the displeasure of his natural and hereditary patron by the commission of some more crying offence.
Every, even the slightest, surmise of Mr. Gifford is deserving attention and respect; but I cannot admit the supposition by which he would account for the alienation that subsisted between the Earl of Pembroke and our author. That distinguished critic has inferred, from the religious sentiments contained in The Virgin Martyr, that Massinger was a Roman catholic, and for that cause neglected by the protector of his father. But if the intimations scattered through this play and others should be received as sufficient evidence of the faith of Massinger, we must, on similar evidence—the[Pg 7] intimations contained in Measure for Measure, for instance—conclude that the religion of Shakspeare was the same; and then we are cast back upon our old difficulty, and have to explain why William Earl of Pembroke, a celebrated patron of literary men, and of dramatists in particular, scorned to yield his notice to the catholic Massinger, while (to use the expression of Heminge and Condell) he "prosequuted" the catholic Shakspeare and "his works with so much favour?" There are many reasons for believing Shakspeare to have been a member of the church of Rome; and the patronage afforded him by the Earl of Pembroke proves, that that nobleman extended his liberality to men of genius without any regard to distinctions of faith; but, on the other hand, we have no just grounds for assuming that Massinger really did hold the same opinions. The only evidence we have upon this point, that afforded by the general tone of his writings, is of a most vague and superficial description. What, in fact, can be inferred from it? We may from such a source derive very satisfactory information respecting the sentiments which would be favourably received by the audience, but very little respecting those of the author. The truth is, that though the national religion was reformed in its liturgy and articles, the feelings, prejudices, and superstitions of the people were still almost entirely catholic; and Massinger, like any other dramatic author, writing for the amusement of the people, necessarily addressed them in a language they would understand, and with sentiments that accorded with their own. Besides, as a poet, he[Pg 8] would never carry his theological distinctions to his literary labours: Voltaire himself is catholic in his tragedies; and Massinger naturally adopted the creed which was most suitable to the purposes of poetry, and afforded the most picturesque ceremonies and romantic situations. I feel inclined, therefore, to dismiss entirely the theory suggested by Mr. Gifford, for these two reasons; first, supposing our author to have been a catholic, we have no reason for condemning the Earl of Pembroke as a bigot and a persecutor, who would close his eyes to the merits of so great an author, because his faith did not tally with his own; and, secondly, we have no sufficient grounds for supposing him to have been a catholic at all. But with regard to all such visionary conjectures, thinking is literally a waste of thought.
Whatever may have been the nature of Massinger's studies at Oxford, it is quite certain, from the general character of his works, that his time could not have been wasted there; and his literary acquirements, at the period of his leaving the university, appear to have been multifarious and extensive. He was about two-and-twenty (1606) when he arrived in London, where, as he more than once observes, he was driven by his necessities, and somewhat inclined, perhaps, by the peculiar bent of his talents, to dedicate himself to the service of the stage.
The theatre, when Massinger first took up his abode in the metropolis, must have presented attractions of all others the most calculated to excite the interest, and inspire the imagination, of a young man of sensibility, taste, and education like our poet. No art ever attained a more rapid maturity than the dramatic art in England. The people had, indeed, been[Pg 9] long accustomed to a species of exhibition, called Miracles or Mysteries, founded on sacred subjects, and performed by the ministers of religion themselves, on the holy festivals, in or near the churches, and designed to instruct the ignorant in the leading facts of sacred history. From the occasional introduction of allegorical characters, such as Faith, Death, Hope, or Sin, into these religious dramas, representations of another kind, called Moralities, had by degrees arisen, of which the plots were more artificial, regular, and connected, and which were entirely formed of such personifications: but the first rough draught of a regular tragedy and comedy—Lord Sackville's Gorboduc, and Still's Gammer Gurton's Needle—were not produced till within the latter half of the sixteenth century, and little more than twenty years before the stage acquired its highest splendour in the productions of Shakspeare.
About the end of the sixteenth century, the attention of the public began to be more generally directed to the drama; and it throve most admirably beneath the cheering beams of popular favour. The theatrical performances which in the early part of Elizabeth's reign had been exhibited on temporary stages, erected in such halls or apartments as the actors could procure, or, more generally, in the yards of the larger inns, while the spectators surveyed them from the surrounding windows and galleries, began to find more convenient and permanent habitations. About the year 1569, a[Pg 10] regular playhouse, under the appropriate name of The Theatre, was erected. It is supposed to have stood somewhere in Blackfriars; and, three years after the commencement of this establishment, the queen, yielding to her own inclination for such amusements, and disregarding the remonstrances of the Puritans, granted licence and authority to the servants of the Earl of Leicester ("for the recreation of her loving subjects, as for her own solace and pleasure when she should think good to see them") to exercise their occupation throughout the whole realm of England. From this time the number of theatres increased with the increasing demands of the people. Various noblemen had their respective companies of performers, who were associated as their servants, and acted under their protection; and when Massinger left Oxford, and commenced dramatic author, there were no less than seven principal theatres open in the metropolis.
With respect to the interior arrangements, there were very few points of difference between our modern theatres and those of the days of Massinger. The prices of admission, indeed, were considerably cheaper: to the boxes the entrance was a shilling; to the pit and galleries only sixpence. Sixpence also was the price paid for stools upon the stage; and these seats, as we learn from Decker's Gull's Hornbook, were particularly affected by the wits and critics of the time. The conduct of the audience was less restrained by the sense of public decorum, and smoking tobacco, playing at cards, eating and drinking, were generally prevalent among them. The hours of performance were also earlier: the play commencing at one o'clock.[Pg 11] During the representation a flag was unfurled at the top of the theatre; and the stage, according to the universal practice of the age, was strewn with rushes; but, in all other respects, the theatres of Elizabeth and James's days seem to have borne a perfect resemblance to our own. They had their pit, where the inferior class of spectators, the groundlings, vented their clamorous censure or approbation; they had their boxes—rooms as they were called—to which the right of exclusive admission was engaged by the night, for the more affluent portion of the audience; and there were again the galleries, or scaffoldings above the boxes, for those who were content to purchase less commodious situations at a cheaper rate. On the stage, in the same manner, the appointments appear to have been nearly of the same description as at present. The curtain divided the audience from the actors, which, at the third sounding, not indeed of the bell, but of the trumpet, was drawn for the commencement of the performance. Malone, in his account of the ancient theatre, supposes that there were no moveable scenes; that a permanent elevation of about nine feet was raised at the back of the stage, from which, in many of the old plays, part of the dialogue was spoken; and that there was a private box on each side this platform. Such an arrangement would have destroyed all theatrical illusion; and it seems extraordinary that any spectators should desire to fix themselves in a station where they could have seen nothing but the backs and trains of the performers; but, as Malone himself acknowledges the spot to have been inconvenient, and that "it is not very easy to ascertain the[Pg 12] precise situation where these boxes really were", it may very reasonably be presumed, that they were not placed in the position that the historian of the English stage has supposed. As to the permanent floor, or upper stage, of which he speaks, he may or may not be correct in his statement. All that his quotations upon the subject really establish is, that in the old, as in the modern theatre, when the actor was to speak from a window, or balcony, or the walls of a fortress, the requisite ingenuity was not wanting to contrive a representation of the place. But with regard to the use of painted moveable scenery, it is not possible, from the very circumstances of the case, to believe him correct in his theory. Such a contrivance could not have escaped our ancestors. All the materials were ready to their hands. They had not to invent for themselves, but merely to adapt an old invention to that peculiar purpose; and at a time when every better-furnished apartment was adorned with tapestry; when even the rooms of the commonest taverns were hung with painted cloths; while all the materials were constantly before their eyes, we can hardly believe our forefathers to have been so deficient in ingenuity, as to have missed the simple contrivance of converting the common ornaments of their walls into the decorations of their theatres. But, in fact, the use of scenery was almost co-existent with the introduction of dramatic representations in this country. In the Chester Mysteries (1268), the most ancient and complete collection of the kind which we possess, is found the following stage direction: "Then Noe shall go into the[Pg 13] arke with all his familye, his wife excepte. The arke must be boarded round about; and upon the boardes all the beastes and fowles, hereafter rehearsed, must be painted, that their wordes may agree with their pictures." In this passage we have a clear reference to a painted scene. It is not likely that, in the lapse of three centuries, while all other arts were in a state of rapid improvement, and the art of dramatic writing, perhaps, more rapidly and successfully improved than any other, the art of theatrical decoration should have alone stood still. It is not improbable that their scenes were few; and that they were varied, as occasion might require, by the introduction of different pieces of stage furniture. Mr. Gifford, who adheres to the opinions of Malone, says, "A table with a pen and ink thrust in, signified that the stage was a counting-house; if these were withdrawn and two stools put in their place, it was then a tavern." And this might be perfectly satisfactory as long as the business of the play was supposed to be passing within doors; but when it was removed to the open air, such meagre devices would no longer be sufficient to guide the imagination of the audience, and some new method must have been adopted to indicate the place of action. After giving the subject very considerable attention, I cannot help thinking that Steevens was right in rejecting Malone's theory, and concluding that the spectators were, as at the present day, assisted in following the progress of the story by means of painted moveable scenery. This opinion is confirmed by the[Pg 14] ancient stage directions. In the folio Shakspeare, 1623, we read "Enter Brutus in his orchard; Enter Timon in the woods; Enter Timon from the cave." In Coriolanus, "Marcius follows them to the gates and is shut in." Innumerable instances of the same kind might be cited to prove that the ancient stage was not so defective in the necessary decorations as some antiquaries of great authority would represent. "It may be added," says Steevens, "that the dialogue of our old dramatists has such perpetual reference to objects supposed visible to the audience, that the want of scenery could not have failed to render many of the descriptions absurd. Banquo examines the outside of Inverness castle with such minuteness, that he distinguishes even the nests which the martens had built under the projecting part of its roof. Romeo, standing in a garden, points to the tops of fruit-trees gilded by the moon. The prologue speaker to the second part of Henry the Fourth expressly shows the spectators 'This worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,' in which Northumberland was lodged. Iachimo takes the most exact inventory of every article in Imogen's bed-chamber, from the silk and silver of which her tapestry was wrought, down to the Cupids that support her andirons. Had not the inside of the apartment, with its proper furniture, been represented, how ridiculous must the action of Iachimo have appeared! He must have stood looking out of the room for the particulars supposed to be visible within it." The works of Massinger would afford innumerable instances of a similar kind to vindicate the opinion which Steevens has asserted on the testimony of[Pg 15] Shakspeare alone. But on this subject there is one passage which appears to me quite conclusive. Must not all the humour of the mock play in The Midsummer Night's Dream have been entirely lost, unless the audience before whom it was performed were accustomed to all the embellishments requisite to give effect to a dramatic representation, and could consequently estimate the absurdity of those shallow contrivances and mean substitutes for scenery devised by the ignorance of the clowns?
In only one respect do I perceive any material difference between the mode of representation at the time of Massinger and at present: in his day, the female parts were performed by boys. This custom, which must in many cases have materially injured the illusion of the scene, was in others of considerable advantage: it furnished the stage with a succession of youths, regularly educated for the art, to fill, in every department of the drama, the characters suited to their age. When the lad had become too tall for Juliet, he had acquired the skill, and was most admirably fitted, both in age and appearance, for performing the part which Garrick considered the most difficult on the stage, because it needed "an old head upon young shoulders," the ardent and arduous character of Romeo. When the voice had "the mannish crack," that rendered[Pg 16] the youth unfit to appear as the representative of the gentle Imogen, the stage possessed in him the very person that was wanting to do justice to the princely sentiments of Arviragus or Guiderius.
Such was the state of the stage when Massinger arrived in the metropolis, and dedicated his talents to its service. He joined a splendid fraternity, for Shakspeare, Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Shirley, were then flourishing at the height of their reputation, and the full vigour of their genius. Massinger came among them no unworthy competitor for such honours and emoluments as the theatre could afford. Of the honours, indeed, he seems to have reaped a very fair and equitable portion; of the emoluments, the harvest was less abundant. In those days, very little pecuniary reward was to be gained by the dramatic poet, unless, as indeed was most frequently the case, he added the profession of the actor to that of the author, and recited the verses which he wrote. The distinguished performers of that time, Alleyn, Burbage, Heminge, Condell, Shakspeare, all appear to have died in independent, if not affluent, circumstances; but the remuneration obtained by the poet was most miserably curtailed. The price given at the theatre for a new play fluctuated between ten and twenty pounds; the copyright, if the piece was printed, might produce from six to ten pounds more; in addition to these sums, the dedication-fee may be reckoned, the usual amount of[Pg 17] which was forty shillings. Our author appears to have produced about two or three plays every year. Most of them were successful; but, even with this industry and good fortune, his annual income would rarely have exceeded fifty pounds: and we cannot, therefore, feel surprised at finding him continually speaking of his necessities; or that the only existing document connected with his life should be one that represents him in a state of pecuniary embarrassment.
Among the papers of Dulwich College, the indefatigable Mr. Malone discovered the following letter tripartite, which, coming from persons of such deserved celebrity, cannot fail of interesting the reader.
"To our most loving friend, Mr. Phillip Hinchlow, esquire, these.
"You understand our unfortunate extremitie, and I doe not thincke you so void of Christianitie but that you would throw so much money into the Thames as wee request now of you, rather than endanger so many innocent lives. You know there is xl. more, at least, to be receaved of you for the play. We desire you to lend us vl. of that, which shall be allowed to you; without which, we cannot be bayled, nor I play any more till this be dispatch'd. It will lose you xxl. ere the end of the next weeke, besides the hindrance of the next new play. Pray, sir, consider our cases with humanity, and now give us cause to acknowledge you our true freind in time of neede. Wee have entreated Mr. Davison to deliver this note, as well to witness[Pg 18] your love as our promises, and alwayes acknowledgement to be ever
"Your most thankfull and loving friends,
"The money shall be abated out of the money remayns for the play of Mr. Fletcher and ours.
"I have ever found you a true loving friend to mee, and in soe small a suite, it beinge honest, I hope you will not fail us.
"Received by mee, Robert Davison, of Mr. Hinchlow, for the use of Mr. Daboerne, Mr. Feeld, Mr. Messenger, the sum of vl.
The occasion of the distress in which these three distinguished persons were involved it is not possible to fathom. We may imagine a thousand emergencies, either creditable or discreditable to the fame of the writers, with which the letter[Pg 19] would perfectly tally; but, on such slight and vague intimations, no ingenuity could determine which was most likely to be correct. But from the document a circumstance is ascertained, which, before its discovery, had been called in question. Sir Aston Cockayne, a friend of Massinger, had asserted in a volume of poems, published in 1658, that our author had written in conjunction with Fletcher; Davies doubted this report, but the above letter establishes the fact beyond the possibility of dispute.
Massinger is known to have produced thirty-seven plays for the stage, a list of which is given at the conclusion of this memoir. Sixteen entire plays and the fragment of another, The Parliament of Love, alone are extant. No less than eleven of his productions, in manuscript, were in possession of Mr. Warburton (Somerset Herald), and destroyed with the rest of that gentleman's invaluable collection by his cook, who, ignorant of their worth, used them as waste paper for the purposes of the kitchen.
The great and various merits of the works of Massinger will be better seen in the following volumes than in any elaborate, critical dissertation. If our author be compared with the other dramatic writers of his age, we cannot long hesitate where to place him. More natural in his characters and more poetical in his diction than Jonson or Cartwright, more elevated and nervous than Fletcher, the only writers who can be supposed to contest his pre-eminence, Massinger ranks immediately under Shakspeare himself. Our poet excels, perhaps, more in the description than in the expression of[Pg 20] passion; this may in some measure be ascribed to his attention to the fable: while his scenes are managed with consummate skill, the lighter shades of character and sentiment are lost in the tendency of each part to the catastrophe. The melody, force, and variety of his versification are always remarkable. The prevailing beauties of his productions are dignity and elegance; their predominant fault is want of passion.
Massinger's last play—which is unfortunately lost—The Anchoress of Pausilippo, was acted Jan. 26, 1640, about six weeks before his death, which happened on the 17th of March, 1640. He went to bed in good health, says Langbaine, and was found dead in the morning, in his own house on the Bankside. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Saviour's, and the comedians paid the last sad duty to his name, by attending him to the grave.
It does not appear, though every stone and every fragment of a stone has been carefully examined, that any monument or inscription of any kind marked the place where his dust was deposited. "The memorial of his mortality," says Gifford, "is given with a pathetic brevity, which accords but too well with the obscure and humble passages of his life: March 20, 1639-40, buried Philip Massinger, A STRANGER."
Such is all the information that remains to us of this distinguished poet. But though we are ignorant of every circumstance respecting him but that he lived, wrote, and died, we may yet form some idea of his personal character from the recommendatory poems prefixed to his several plays,[Pg 21] in which, as Mr. Gifford justly observes, the language of his panegyrists, though warm, expresses an attachment apparently derived not so much from his talents as his virtues: he is their beloved, much-esteemed, dear, worthy, deserving, honoured, long-known, and long-loved friend. All the writers of his life represent him as a man of singular modesty, gentleness, candour, and affability; nor does it appear that he ever made or found an enemy.
Those marked * are extant. Those marked were destroyed by Mr. Warburton's servant.
|||The Forced Lady. T.|
|||The Noble Choice. C.|
|||The Wandering Lovers. C.|
|||Philenzo and Hippolita. T. C.|
|||Antonio and Vallia. C.|
|||The Tyrant. T.|
|||Fast and Welcome. C.|
|||The Woman's Plot. C.|
|*||The Old Law. C.|
|*||The Virgin Martyr. T.|
|*||The Unnatural Combat. T.|
|*||The Duke of Milan. T.|
|*||The Bondman. T. C.|
|*||The Renegado. T. C.|
|*||The Parliament of Love. C.|
|||The Spanish Viceroy. C.|
|*||The Roman Actor. T.|
|*||The Great Duke of Florence.|
|The Honour of Women.|
|*||The Maid of Honour. T.C.|
|*||The Picture. T. C.|
|||Minerva's Sacrifice. T.|
|*||The Emperor of the East. T. C.|
|||Believe as you List. C.|
|The Unfortunate Piety. T.|
|*||The Fatal Dowry. T.|
|*||A New Way to Pay Old Debts. C.|
|*||The City Madam. C.|
|*||The Guardian. C.|
|The Tragedy of Cleander.|
|*||A very Woman. T. C.|
|*||The Bashful Lover. T. C.|
|The King and the Subject.|
|Alexius, or the Chaste Lover.|
|The Fair Anchoress of Pausilippo.|
The Virgin-Martyr.] This very beautiful play, one of Massinger's earliest and most popular works, was first printed in 1622, but we have no account when it was first produced. In the composition of it he was assisted by Decker, a dramatist of no mean reputation.
The plot of this tragedy is founded on the tenth and last general persecution of the Christians, which broke out in the nineteenth year of Dioclesian's reign with a fury hard to be expressed; the Christians being every where, without distinction of age, sex, or condition, dragged to execution, and subjected to the most exquisite torments that rage, cruelty, and hatred could suggest.
In the construction of their play, Massinger and his associate Decker appear to have conceived the idea of combining the prominent parts of the old Mystery with the Morality, which was not yet obliterated from the memories, nor perhaps from the affections, of many of the spectators. Among the many instances of skill displayed by the authors of The Virgin-Martyr in the management of their materials may be remarked the dexterity and good taste with which they have avoided the untimely concurrence of the good and evil spirit; an error into which Tasso and others of greater name than Massinger have inadvertently fallen.—Of the character of the heroine it is impossible to speak too highly: her genuine and dignified piety, her unsullied innocence, her unshaken constancy, her lofty pity for her persecutors, her calm contempt of torture, and her heroic death, exalt the mind in no ordinary degree. All the other parts are subordinate to her, and require little observation. Antoninus is brave and generous, and we sympathize with his genuine attachment for Dorothea. Calista and Christeta, hasty, self-confident, readily promising for their steadiness, soon forgetting their resolutions, and equally secure in every change of opinion, are well contrasted with the heroine of the piece, whose fixed principles always guard her against rashness, and therefore preserve her from contradiction. Artemia's love for Antoninus would be wholly without interest, if we were not moved for a moment by her indignation at the rejection of her offer; and we see her at length consigned to Maximinus with as little emotion as is shown by themselves.
The introduction of a good and evil spirit disguised in human shapes was not to be expected in a work aspiring to the reputation of a regular tragedy: still, whatever be their departure from propriety, it must be remembered that such representations had a most solemn origin, and that the business in which the spirits are engaged has a substantial conformity with the opinions of the early ages in which the plot is laid. The opposition of the demons to the progress of the faith, and the reasoning and raillery which Dorothea expresses, under the influence of Angelo, against the pagan gods, are to be found in Justin, Tatian, Arnobius, and others. The separate agency of the spirits, and the consequence of their personal encounter, are also described in a characteristic manner.
Apart from Angelo, Harpax seems to advance in his malignant work. When the daughters of Theophilus express their zeal for paganism, he "grows fat to see his labours prosper;" yet he cannot look forward to the defeat of those labours in their approaching conversion, though on some occasions we find he could "see a thousand leagues" in his master's service. And this agrees with the doctrine, that when some signal triumph of the faith was at hand, the evil spirits were abridged of their usual powers. Again, when Harpax expects to meet Angelo, he thus expresses the dread of his presence, and the effect which it afterwards produced on him:
And this, too, perfectly agrees with the power attributed to the superior spirits of quelling the demons by those indications of their quality which were not to be perceived by mortals: per occultissimæ signa præsentiæ, quæ angelicis sensibus etiam malignorum spirituum, potius quam infirmitati hominum, possunt esse perspicua. Civ. Dei, lib. ix.
The tragedy is too full of horrors; but this is a fault of which our ancestors were very tolerant.
|}||Emperors of Rome.|
|King of Pontus.|
|King of Epire.|
|King of Macedon.|
|Sapritius, Governor of Cæsarea.|
|Theophilus, a zealous persecutor of the Christians.|
|Sempronius, captain of Sapritius' guards.|
|Antoninus, son to Sapritius.|
|Macrinus, friend to Antoninus.|
|Harpax, an evil spirit, following Theophilus in the shape of a secretary.|
|Angelo, a good spirit, serving Dorothea in the habit of a page.|
|}||servants of Theophilus.|
|Priest of Jupiter.|
|Artemia, daughter to Dioclesian.|
|}||daughters to Theophilus.|
|Dorothea, the Virgin-Martyr.|
|Officers and Executioners.|
The Governor's Palace.
Enter Theophilus and Harpax.
Theoph. Come to Cæsarea to-night!
Harp. Most true, sir.
Theoph. The emperor in person!
Harp. Do I live?
Theoph. 'Tis wondrous strange! The marches of great princes,
Like to the motions of prodigious meteors,
Are step by step observed; and loud-tongued Fame
The harbinger to prepare their entertainment:
And, were it possible so great an army,
Though cover'd with the night, could be so near,
The governor cannot be so unfriended
Among the many that attend his person,
But, by some secret means, he should have notice
Of Cæsar's purpose;—in this, then, excuse me,
If I appear incredulous.
[Pg 30]Harp. At your pleasure.
Theoph. Yet, when I call to mind you never fail'd me
In things more difficult, but have discover'd
Deeds that were done thousand leagues distant from me,
When neither woods, nor caves, nor secret vaults,
No, nor the Power they serve, could keep these Christians
Or from my reach or punishment, but thy magic
Still laid them open; I begin again
To be as confident as heretofore;
It is not possible thy powerful art
Should meet a check, or fail.
Enter the Priest of Jupiter, bearing an Image, and followed by Calista and Christeta.
Harp. Look on the Vestals,
The holy pledges that the gods have given you,
Your chaste, fair daughters. Were 't not to upbraid
A service to a master not unthankful,
I could say these, in spite of your prevention,
Seduced by an imagined faith, not reason,
(Which is the strength of nature) quite forsaking
The Gentile gods, had yielded up themselves
To this new-found religion. This I cross'd,
Discover'd their intents, taught you to use,
With gentle words and mild persuasions,
The power and the authority of a father,
Set off with cruel threats; and so reclaim'd them:
And, whereas they with torment should have died,
(Hell's furies to me, had they undergone it!)
They are now votaries in great Jupiter's temple,
[Pg 31]And, by his priest instructed, grown familiar
With all the mysteries, nay, the most abstruse ones,
Belonging to his deity.
Theoph. 'Twas a benefit,
For which I ever owe you.—Hail, Jove's flamen!
Have these my daughters reconciled themselves,
Abandoning for ever the Christian way,
To your opinion?
Priest. And are constant in it.
They teach their teachers with their depth of judgment,
And are with arguments able to convert
The enemies to our gods, and answer all
They can object against us.
Theoph. My dear daughters!
Cal. We dare dispute against this new-sprung sect,
In private or in public.
Harp. My best lady,
Perséver in it.
Chris. And what we maintain,
We will seal with our bloods.
Harp. Brave resolution!
I e'en grow fat to see my labours prosper.
Theoph. I young again. To your devotions.
My prayers be present with you.
[Exeunt Priest, Cal. and Chris.
Theoph. O my Harpax!
Thou engine of my wishes, thou that steel'st
[Pg 32]My bloody resolutions, thou that arm'st
My eyes 'gainst womanish tears and soft compassion,
Instructing me, without a sigh, to look on
Babes torn by violence from their mothers' breasts
To feed the fire, and with them make one flame;
Old men, as beasts, in beasts' skins torn by dogs;
Virgins and matrons tire the executioners;
Yet I, unsatisfied, think their torments easy—
Harp. And in that, just, not cruel.
Theoph. Were all sceptres
That grace the hands of kings made into one,
And offer'd me, all crowns laid at my feet,
I would contemn them all,—thus spit at them;
So I to all posterities might be call'd
The strongest champion of the Pagan gods,
And rooter out of Christians.
Harp. Oh, mine own,
Mine own dear lord! to further this great work,
I ever live thy slave.
Enter Sapritius and Sempronius.
Theoph. No more—The governor.
Sap. Keep the ports close, and let the guards be doubled;
Disarm the Christians; call it death in any
To wear a sword, or in his house to have one.
Semp. I shall be careful, sir.
Sap. 'Twill well become you.
Such as refuse to offer sacrifice
To any of our gods, put to the torture.
[Pg 33]Grub up this growing mischief by the roots;
And know, when we are merciful to them,
We to ourselves are cruel.
Semp. You pour oil
On fire that burns already at the height:
I know the emperor's edict, and my charge,
And they shall find no favour.
Theoph. My good lord,
This care is timely for the entertainment
Of our great master, who this night in person
Comes here to thank you.
Sap. Who! the emperor?
Harp. To clear your doubts, he doth return in triumph,
Kings lackeying by his triumphant chariot;
And in this glorious victory, my lord,
You have an ample share: for know, your son,
The ne'er-enough commended Antoninus,
So well hath flesh'd his maiden sword, and dyed
His snowy plumes so deep in enemies' blood,
That, besides public grace beyond his hopes,
There are rewards propounded.
Sap. I would know
No mean in thine, could this be true.
Harp. My head
Answer the forfeit.
Sap. Of his victory
There was some rumour: but it was assured,
The army pass'd a full day's journey higher
[Pg 34]Into the country.
Harp. It was so determined;
But, for the further honour of your son,
And to observe the government of the city,
And with what rigour, or remiss indulgence,
The Christians are pursued, he makes his stay here:
For proof, his trumpets speak his near arrival.
Sap. Haste, good Sempronius, draw up our guards,
And with all ceremonious pomp receive
The conquering army. Let our garrison speak
Their welcome in loud shouts, the city show
Her state and wealth.
Semp. I'm gone.[Exit.
Sap. O, I am ravish'd
With this great honour! cherish, good Theophilus,
This knowing scholar. Send for your fair daughters;
I will present them to the emperor,
And in their sweet conversion, as a mirror,
Express your zeal and duty.
Theoph. Fetch them, good Harpax.
Enter Sempronius, at the head of the guard, soldiers leading three kings bound; Antoninus and Macrinus bearing the emperor's eagles; Dioclesian with a gilt laurel on his head, leading in Artemia: Sapritius kisses the emperor's hand, then embraces his son; Harpax brings in Calista and Christeta. Loud shouts.
Diocle. So: at all parts I find Cæsarea
Completely govern'd: the licentious soldier
[Pg 35]Confined in modest limits, and the people
Taught to obey, and not compell'd with rigour:
The ancient Roman discipline revived,
Which raised Rome to her greatness, and proclaim'd her
The glorious mistress of the conquer'd world;
But, above all, the service of the gods,
So zealously observed, that, good Sapritius,
In words to thank you for your care and duty,
Were much unworthy Dioclesian's honour,
Or his magnificence to his loyal servants.—
But I shall find a time with noble titles
To recompense your merits.
Sap. Mightiest Cæsar,
Whose power upon this globe of earth is equal
To Jove's in heaven; whose victorious triumphs
On proud rebellious kings that stir against it,
Are perfect figures of his immortal trophies
Won in the Giants' war; whose conquering sword,
Guided by his strong arm, as deadly kills
As did his thunder! all that I have done,
Or, if my strength were centupled, could do,
Comes short of what my loyalty must challenge.
But, if in any thing I have deserved
Great Cæsar's smile, 'tis in my humble care
Still to preserve the honour of those gods,
That make him what he is: my zeal to them
I ever have express'd in my fell hate
Against the Christian sect that, with one blow,
(Ascribing all things to an unknown Power,)
Would strike down all their temples, and allows them
[Pg 36]Nor sacrifice nor altars.
Diocle. Thou, in this,
Walk'st hand in hand with me: my will and power
Shall not alone confirm, but honour all
That are in this most forward.
Sap. Sacred Cæsar,
If your imperial majesty stand pleased
To shower your favours upon such as are
The boldest champions of our religion,
Look on this reverend man, [points to Theophilus.] to whom the power
Of searching out, and punishing such delinquents,
Was by your choice committed; and, for proof,
He hath deserved the grace imposed upon him,
And with a fair and even hand proceeded,
Partial to none, not to himself, or those
Of equal nearness to himself; behold
This pair of virgins.
Diocle. What are these?
Sap. His daughters.
Artem. Now by your sacred fortune, they are fair ones,
Exceeding fair ones: would 'twere in my power
To make them mine!
Theoph. They are the gods', great lady,
They were most happy in your service else:
On these, when they fell from their father's faith,
I used a judge's power, entreaties failing
(They being seduced) to win them to adore
The holy Powers we worship; I put on
The scarlet robe of bold authority,
And, as they had been strangers to my blood,
Presented them in the most horrid form,
All kind of tortures; part of which they suffer'd
With Roman constancy.
[Pg 37]Artem. And could you endure,
Being a father, to behold their limbs
Extended on the rack?
Theoph. I did; but must
Confess there was a strange contention in me,
Between the impartial office of a judge,
And pity of a father; to help justice
Religion stept in, under which odds
Compassion fell:—yet still I was a father.
For e'en then, when the flinty hangman's whips
Were worn with stripes spent on their tender limbs,
I kneel'd, and wept, and begg'd them, though they would
Be cruel to themselves, they would take pity
On my gray hairs; now note a sudden change,
Which I with joy remember; those, whom torture,
Nor fear of death could terrify, were o'ercome
By seeing of my sufferings; and so won,
Returning to the faith that they were born in,
I gave them to the gods. And be assured
I that used justice with a rigorous hand,
Upon such beauteous virgins, and mine own,
Will use no favour, where the cause commands me,
To any other; but, as rocks, be deaf
To all entreaties.
Diocle. Thou deserv'st thy place;
Still hold it, and with honour. Things thus order'd
Touching the gods, 'tis lawful to descend
To human cares, and exercise that power
Heaven has conferr'd upon me;—which that you,
Rebels and traitors to the power of Rome,
Should not with all extremities undergo,
What can you urge to qualify your crimes,
[Pg 38]Or mitigate my anger?
K. of Epire. We are now
Slaves to thy power, that yesterday were kings,
And had command o'er others; we confess
Our grandsires paid yours tribute, yet left us,
As their forefathers had, desire of freedom.
And, if you Romans hold it glorious honour,
Not only to defend what is your own,
But to enlarge your empire, (though our fortune
Denies that happiness,) who can accuse
The famish'd mouth, if it attempt to feed?
Or such, whose fetters eat into their freedoms,
If they desire to shake them off?
K. of Pontus. We stand
The last examples, to prove how uncertain
All human happiness is; and are prepared
To endure the worst.
K. of Macedon. That spoke, which now is highest
In Fortune's wheel, must, when she turns it next,
Decline as low as we are. This consider'd
Taught the Ægyptian Hercules, Sesostris,
That had his chariot drawn by captive kings,
To free them from that slavery;—but to hope
[Pg 39]Such mercy from a Roman were mere madness:
We are familiar with what cruelty
Rome, since her infant greatness, ever used
Such as she triumph'd over; age nor sex
Exempted from her tyranny; scepter'd princes
Kept in her common dungeons, and their children,
In scorn train'd up in base mechanic arts,
For public bondmen. In the catalogue
Of those unfortunate men, we expect to have
Our names remember'd.
Diocle. In all growing empires,
Even cruelty is useful; some must suffer,
And be set up examples to strike terror
In others, though far off: but, when a state
Is raised to her perfection, and her bases
Too firm to shrink, or yield, we may use mercy,
And do 't with safety: but to whom? not cowards,
Or such whose baseness shames the conqueror,
And robs him of his victory, as weak Perseus
Did great Æmilius. Know, therefore, kings
[Pg 40]Of Epire, Pontus, and of Macedon,
That I with courtesy can use my prisoners,
As well as make them mine by force, provided
That they are noble enemies: such I found you,
Before I made you mine; and, since you were so,
You have not lost the courages of princes,
Although the fortune. Had you born yourselves
Dejectedly, and base, no slavery
Had been too easy for you: but such is
The power of noble valour, that we love it
Even in our enemies, and taken with it,
Desire to make them friends, as I will you.
K. of Epire. Mock us not, Cæsar.
Diocle. By the gods, I do not.
Unloose their bonds:—I now as friends embrace you.
Give them their crowns again.
K. of Pontus. We are twice o'ercome;
By courage, and by courtesy.
K. of Macedon. But this latter
Shall teach us to live ever faithful vassals
To Dioclesian, and the power of Rome.
K of Epire. All kingdoms fall before her!
K. of Pontus. And all kings
Contend to honour Cæsar!
Diocle. I believe
Your tongues are the true trumpets of your hearts,
And in it I most happy. Queen of fate,
Imperious Fortune! mix some light disaster
With my so many joys, to season them,
And give them sweeter relish: I'm girt round
With true felicity; faithful subjects here,
Here bold commanders, here with new-made friends:
[Pg 41]But, what's the crown of all, in thee, Artemia,
My only child, whose love to me and duty,
Strive to exceed each other!
Artem. I make payment
But of a debt, which I stand bound to tender
As a daughter and a subject.
Diocle. Which requires yet
A retribution from me, Artemia,
Tied by a father's care, how to bestow
A jewel, of all things to me most precious:
Nor will I therefore longer keep thee from
The chief joys of creation, marriage rites;
Which that thou may'st with greater pleasures taste of,
Thou shalt not like with mine eyes, but thine own.
Among these kings, forgetting they were captives;
Or those, remembering not they are my subjects,
Make choice of any: By Jove's dreadful thunder,
My will shall rank with thine.
Artem. It is a bounty
The daughters of great princes seldom meet with;
For they, to make up breaches in the state,
Or for some other public ends, are forced
To match where they affect not. May my life
Deserve this favour!
Diocle. Speak; I long to know
The man thou wilt make happy.
Artem. If that titles,
Or the adored name of Queen could take me,
[Pg 42]Here would I fix mine eyes, and look no further;
But these are baits to take a mean-born lady,
Not her that boldly may call Cæsar father:
In that I can bring honour unto any,
But from no king that lives receive addition:
To raise desert and virtue by my fortune,
Though in a low estate, were greater glory,
Than to mix greatness with a prince that owes
No worth but that name only.
Diocle. I commend thee;
'Tis like myself.
Artem. If, then, of men beneath me,
My choice is to be made, where shall I seek,
But among those that best deserve from you?
That have served you most faithfully; that in dangers
Have stood next to you; that have interposed
Their breasts as shields of proof, to dull the swords
Aim'd at your bosom; that have spent their blood
To crown your brows with laurel?
Great Queen of Love, be now propitious to me!
Harp. [to Sap.] Now mark what I foretold.
Anton. Her eye's on me.
[Pg 43]Fair Venus' son, draw forth a leaden dart,
And, that she may hate me, transfix her with it;
Or, if thou needs wilt use a golden one,
Shoot it in the behalf of any other:
Thou know'st I am thy votary elsewhere. [Aside.
Artem. [advances to Anton.] Sir.
Theoph. How he blushes!
Sap. Welcome, fool, thy fortune.
Stand like a block when such an angel courts thee!
Artem. I am no object to divert your eye
From the beholding.
Anton. Rather a bright sun,
Too glorious for him to gaze upon,
That took not first flight from the eagle's aerie.
As I look on the temples, or the gods,
And with that reverence, lady, I behold you,
And shall do ever.
Artem. And it will become you,
While thus we stand at distance; but, if love,
Love born out of the assurance of your virtues,
Teach me to stoop so low—
Anton. O, rather take
A higher flight.
Artem. Why, fear you to be raised?
Say I put off the dreadful awe that waits
On majesty, or with you share my beams,
Nay, make you to outshine me; change the name
Of Subject into Lord, rob you of service
That's due from you to me, and in me make it
Duty to honour you, would you refuse me?
Anton. Refuse you, madam! such a worm as I am
Refuse what kings upon their knees would sue for!
Call it, great lady, by another name;
An humble modesty, that would not match
[Pg 44]A molehill with Olympus.
Artem. He that's famous
For honourable actions in the war,
As you are, Antoninus, a proved soldier,
Is fellow to a king.
Anton. If you love valour,
As 'tis a kingly virtue, seek it out,
And cherish it in a king; there it shines brightest,
And yields the bravest lustre. Look on Epire,
A prince, in whom it is incorporate;
And let it not disgrace him that he was
O'ercome by Cæsar; it was victory,
To stand so long against him: had you seen him,
How in one bloody scene he did discharge
The parts of a commander and a soldier,
Wise in direction, bold in execution;
You would have said, Great Cæsar's self excepted,
The world yields not his equal.
Artem. Yet I have heard,
Encountering him alone in the head of his troop,
You took him prisoner.
K. of Epire. 'Tis a truth, great princess:
I'll not detract from valour.
Anton. 'Twas mere fortune;
Courage had no hand in it.
Theoph. Did ever man
Strive so against his own good?
Sap. Spiritless villain!
How I am tortured! By the immortal gods,
I now could kill him.
Diocle. Hold, Sapritius, hold,
On our displeasure, hold!
Harp. Why, this would make
A father mad; 'tis not to be endured;
[Pg 45]Your honour's tainted in 't.
Sap. By heaven, it is:
I shall think of it.
Harp. 'Tis not to be forgotten.
Artem. Nay, kneel not, sir; I am no ravisher,
Nor so far gone in fond affection to you,
But that I can retire, my honour safe:—
Yet say, hereafter, that thou hast neglected
What, but seen in possession of another,
Will make thee mad with envy.
Anton. In her looks
Revenge is written.
Mac. As you love your life,
Study to appease her.
Anton. Gracious madam, hear me.
Artem. And be again refused?
Anton. The tender of
My life, my service, or, since you vouchsafe it,
My love, my heart, my all: and pardon me,
Pardon, dread princess, that I made some scruple
To leave a valley of security,
To mount up to the hill of majesty,
On which, the nearer Jove, the nearer lightning.
What knew I, but your grace made trial of me;
Durst I presume to embrace, where but to touch
With an unmanner'd hand was death? The fox,
When he saw first the forest's king, the lion,
Was almost dead with fear; the second view
Only a little daunted him; the third,
[Pg 46]He durst salute him boldly: pray you, apply this;
And you shall find a little time will teach me
To look with more familiar eyes upon you,
Than duty yet allows me.
Sap. Well excused.
Artem. You may redeem all yet.
Diocle. And, that he may
Have means and opportunity to do so,
Artemia, I leave you my substitute
In fair Cæsarea.
Sap. And here, as yourself,
We will obey and serve her.
So you prove hers, I wish no other heir;
Think on 't:—be careful of your charge, Theophilus;
Sapritius, be you my daughter's guardian.
Your company I wish, confederate princes,
In our Dalmatian wars: which finished
With victory I hope, and Maximinus,
Our brother and copartner in the empire,
At my request won to confirm as much,
The kingdoms I took from you we'll restore,
And make you greater than you were before.
[Exeunt all but Antoninus and Macrinus.
Anton. Oh, I am lost for ever! lost, Macrinus!
The anchor of the wretched, hope, forsakes me,
And with one blast of Fortune all my light
Of happiness is put out.
Mac. You are like to those
That are ill only, 'cause they are too well;
That, surfeiting in the excess of blessings,
Call their abundance want. What could you wish,
That is not fall'n upon you? honour, greatness,
[Pg 47]Respect, wealth, favour, the whole world for a dower;
And with a princess, whose excelling form
Exceeds her fortune.
Anton. Yet poison still is poison,
Though drunk in gold; and all these flattering glories
To me, ready to starve, a painted banquet,
And no essential food. When I am scorch'd
With fire, can flames in any other quench me?
What is her love to me, greatness, or empire,
That am slave to another, who alone
Can give me ease or freedom?
Mac. Sir, you point at
Your dotage on the scornful Dorothea:
Is she, though fair, the same day to be named
With best Artemia? In all their courses,
Wise men purpose their ends: with sweet Artemia,
There comes along pleasure, security,
Usher'd by all that in this life is precious:
With Dorothea (though her birth be noble,
The daughter to a senator of Rome,
By him left rich, yet with a private wealth,
And far inferior to yours) arrives
The emperor's frown, which, like a mortal plague,
Speaks death is near; the princess' heavy scorn,
Under which you will shrink; your father's fury,
Which to resist even piety forbids:—
And but remember that she stands suspected
A favourer of the Christian sect; she brings
Not danger, but assured destruction with her.
This truly weigh'd one smile of great Artemia
Is to be cherish'd, and preferr'd before
All joys in Dorothea: therefore leave her.
[Pg 48]Anton. In what thou think'st thou art most wise, thou art
Grossly abused, Macrinus, and most foolish.
For any man to match above his rank,
Is but to sell his liberty. With Artemia
I still must live a servant; but enjoying
Divinest Dorothea, I shall rule,
Rule as becomes a husband: for the danger,
Or call it, if you will, assured destruction,
I slight it thus.—If, then, thou art my friend,
As I dare swear thou art, and wilt not take
A governor's place upon thee, be my helper.
Mac. You know I dare, and will do any thing;
Put me unto the test.
Anton. Go, then, Macrinus,
To Dorothea; tell her I have worn,
In all the battles I have fought, her figure,
Her figure in my heart, which, like a deity,
Hath still protected me. Thou canst speak well;
And of thy choicest language spare a little,
To make her understand how much I love her,
And how I languish for her. Bear these jewels,
Sent in the way of sacrifice, not service,
As to my goddess: all lets thrown behind me,
Or fears that may deter me, say, this morning
I mean to visit her by the name of friendship:—
No words to contradict this.
Mac. I am yours:
And, if my travail this way be ill spent,
Judge not my readier will by the event. [Exeunt.
A Room in Dorothea's House.
Enter Dorothea, followed by Angelo with a book and taper.
Dor. My book and taper.
Ang. Here, most holy mistress.
Dor. Thy voice sends forth such music, that I never
Was ravish'd with a more celestial sound.
Were every servant in the world like thee,
So full of goodness, angels would come down
To dwell with us: thy name is Angelo,
And like that name thou art; get thee to rest,
Thy youth with too much watching is opprest.
Ang. No, my dear lady, I could weary stars,
And force the wakeful moon to lose her eyes,
By my late watching, but to wait on you.
When at your prayers you kneel before the altar,
Methinks I'm singing with some quire in heaven,
So blest I hold me in your company:
Therefore, my most loved mistress, do not bid
Your boy, so serviceable, to get hence;
For then you break his heart.
Dor. Be nigh me still, then:
In golden letters down I'll set that day,
Which gave thee to me. Little did I hope
To meet such worlds of comfort in thyself,
This little, pretty body; when I, coming
Forth of the temple, heard my beggar-boy,
My sweet-faced, godly beggar-boy, crave an alms,
[Pg 50]Which with glad hand I gave, with lucky hand!—
And, when I took thee home, my most chaste bosom,
Methought, was fill'd with no hot wanton fire,
But with a holy flame, mounting since higher,
On wings of cherubins, than it did before.
Ang. Proud am I, that my lady's modest eye
So likes so poor a servant.
Dor. I have offer'd
Handfuls of gold but to behold thy parents.
I would leave kingdoms, were I queen of some,
To dwell with thy good father; for, the son
Bewitching me so deeply with his presence,
He that begot him must do 't ten times more.
I pray thee, my sweet boy, show me thy parents;
Be not ashamed.
Ang. I am not: I did never
Know who my mother was; but, by yon palace,
Fill'd with bright heavenly courtiers, I dare assure you,
And pawn these eyes upon it, and this hand,
My father is in heaven: and, pretty mistress,
If your illustrious hour-glass spend his sand,
No worse than yet it does; upon my life,
You and I both shall meet my father there,
And he shall bid you welcome.
Dor. A blessed day!
We all long to be there, but lose the way. [Exeunt.
A Street, near Dorothea's House.
Enter Macrinus, met by Theophilus and Harpax.
[Pg 51]Theoph. The Sun, god of the day, guide thee, Macrinus!
Mac. And thee, Theophilus!
Theoph. Glad'st thou in such scorn?
I call my wish back.
Mac. I'm in haste.
Theoph. One word,
Take the least hand of time up:—stay.
Mac. Be brief.
Theoph. As thought: I prithee tell me, good Macrinus,
How health and our fair princess lay together
This night, for you can tell; courtiers have flies,
That buzz all news unto them.
Mac. She slept but ill.
Theoph. Double thy courtesy; how does Antoninus?
Mac. Ill, well, straight, crooked,—I know not how.
Theoph. Once more;
—Thy head is full of windmills:—when doth the princess
Bestow herself on noble Antoninus?
Mac. I know not.
[Pg 52]Theoph. No! thou art the manuscript,
Where Antoninus writes down all his secrets:
Honest Macrinus, tell me.
Mac. Fare you well, sir.[Exit.
Harp. Honesty is some fiend, and frights him hence;
A many courtiers love it not.
Theoph. What piece
Of this state-wheel, which winds up Antoninus,
Is broke, it runs so jarringly? the man
Is from himself divided: O thou, the eye,
By which I wonders see, tell me, my Harpax,
What gad-fly tickles this Macrinus so,
That, flinging up the tail, he breaks thus from me.
Harp. Oh, sir, his brain-pan is a bed of snakes,
Whose stings shoot through his eye-balls, whose poisonous spawn
Ingenders such a fry of speckled villanies,
That, unless charms more strong than adamant
Be used, the Roman angel's wings shall melt,
And Cæsar's diadem be from his head
Spurn'd by base feet; the laurel which he wears,
Returning victor, be enforced to kiss
That which it hates, the fire. And can this ram,
[Pg 53]This Antoninus-Engine, being made ready
To so much mischief, keep a steady motion?—
His eyes and feet, you see, give strange assaults.
Theoph. I'm turn'd a marble statue at thy language,
Which printed is in such crabb'd characters,
It puzzles all my reading: what, in the name
Of Pluto, now is hatching?
Harp. This Macrinus,
The line is, upon which love-errands run
'Twixt Antoninus and that ghost of women,
The bloodless Dorothea; who in prayer
And meditation, mocking all your gods,
Drinks up her ruby colour: yet Antoninus
Plays the Endymion to this pale-faced Moon,
Courts, seeks to catch her eyes—
Theoph. And what of this?
Harp. These are but creeping billows,
Not got to shore yet: but if Dorothea
Fall on his bosom, and be fired with love,
(Your coldest women do so),—had you ink
Brew'd from the infernal Styx, not all that blackness
Can make a thing so foul, as the dishonours,
Disgraces, buffetings, and most base affronts
Upon the bright Artemia, star o' the court,
Great Cæsar's daughter.
Theoph. I now conster thee.
[Pg 54]Harp. Nay, more; a firmament of clouds, being fill'd
With Jove's artillery, shot down at once,
To pash your gods in pieces, cannot give,
With all those thunderbolts, so deep a blow
To the religion there, and pagan lore,
As this; for Dorothea hates your gods,
And, if she once blast Antoninus' soul,
Making it foul like hers, Oh! the example—
Theoph. Eats through Cæsarea's heart like liquid poison.
Have I invented tortures to tear Christians,
To see but which, could all that feel hell's torments
Have leave to stand aloof here on earth's stage,
They would be mad till they again descended,
Holding the pains most horrid of such souls,
May-games to those of mine; has this my hand
Set down a Christian's execution
In such dire postures, that the very hangman
Fell at my foot dead, hearing but their figures;
And shall Macrinus and his fellow-masquer
Strangle me in a dance?
Harp. No:—on; I hug thee,
For drilling thy quick brains in this rich plot
Of tortures 'gainst these Christians: on; I hug thee!
Theoph. Both hug and holy me: to this Dorothea,
Fly thou and I in thunder.
Harp. Not for kingdoms
[Pg 55]Piled upon kingdoms: there's a villain page
Waits on her, whom I would not for the world
Hold traffic with; I do so hate his sight,
That, should I look on him, I must sink down.
Theoph. I will not lose thee then, her to confound:
None but this head with glories shall be crown'd.
Harp. Oh! mine own as I would wish thee!
A Hall in Dorothea's House, with a gallery above.
Enter Dorothea, Macrinus, and Angelo.
Dor. My trusty Angelo, with that curious eye
Of thine, which ever waits upon my business,
I prithee watch those my still-negligent servants,
That they perform my will, in what's enjoined them
To the good of others. Be careful, my dear boy.
Ang. Yes, my sweetest mistress.[Exit.
Dor. Now, sir, you may go on.
Mac. I then must study
A new arithmetic, to sum up the virtues
Which Antoninus gracefully become.
There is in him so much man, so much goodness,
So much of honour, and of all things else,
Which make our being excellent, that from his store
He can enough lend others; yet, much ta'en from him,
The want shall be as little, as when seas
Lend from their bounty, to fill up the poorness
Of needy rivers.
Dor. Sir, he is more indebted
To you for praise, than you to him that owes it.
[Pg 56]Mac. If queens, viewing his presents paid to the whiteness
Of your chaste hand alone, should be ambitious
But to be parted in their numerous shares;
This he counts nothing: could you see main armies
Make battles in the quarrel of his valour,
That 'tis the best, the truest; this were nothing:
The greatness of his state, his father's voice,
And arm, awing Cæsarea, he ne'er boasts of;
The sunbeams which the emperor throws upon him
Shine there but as in water, and gild him
Not with one spot of pride: no, dearest beauty,
All these, heap'd up together in one scale,
Cannot weigh down the love he bears to you,
Being put into the other.
Dor. Could gold buy you
To speak thus for a friend, you, sir, are worthy
Of more than I will number; and this your language
Hath power to win upon another woman,
'Top of whose heart the feathers of this world
Are gaily stuck: but all which first you named,
And now this last, his love, to me are nothing.
Mac. You make me a sad messenger;—but himself
Being come in person, shall, I hope, hear from you
Music more pleasing.
Anton. Has your ear, Macrinus,
Heard none, then?
Mac. None I like.
Anton. But can there be
[Pg 57]In such a noble casket, wherein lie
Beauty and chastity in their full perfections,
A rocky heart, killing with cruelty
A life that's prostrated beneath your feet?
Dor. I am guilty of a shame I yet ne'er knew,
Thus to hold parley with you;—pray, sir, pardon.
Anton. Good sweetness, you now have it, and shall go:
Be but so merciful, before your wounding me
With such a mortal weapon as Farewell,
To let me murmur to your virgin ear,
What I was loth to lay on any tongue
But this mine own.
Dor. If one immodest accent
Fly out, I hate you everlastingly.
Anton. My true love dares not do it.
Mac. Hermes inspire thee!
Enter, in the gallery above, Artemia, Sapritius, and Theophilus.
Anton. Come, let me tune you:—glaze not thus your eyes
With self-love of a vow'd virginity;
All men desire your sweet society,
But if you bar me from it, you do kill me,
And of my blood are guilty.
Artem. O base villain!
Sap. Bridle your rage, sweet princess.
Anton. Could not my fortunes,
Rear'd higher far than yours, be worthy of you,
Methinks my dear affection makes you mine.
Dor. Sir, for your fortunes, were they mines of gold,
[Pg 58]He that I love is richer; and for worth,
You are to him lower than any slave
Is to a monarch.
Sap. So insolent, base Christian!
Dor. Can I, with wearing out my knees before him,
Get you but be his servant, you shall boast
You're equal to a king.
Sap. Confusion on thee,
For playing thus the lying sorceress!
Anton. Your mocks are great ones; none beneath the sun
Will I be servant to.—On my knees I beg it,
Pity me, wondrous maid.
Sap. I curse thy baseness.
Theoph. Listen to more.
Dor. O kneel not, sir, to me.
Anton. This knee is emblem of an humbled heart:
That heart which tortured is with your disdain,
Justly for scorning others, even this heart,
To which for pity such a princess sues,
As in her hand offers me all the world,
Great Cæsar's daughter.
Artem. Slave, thou liest.
Anton. Yet this
Is adamant to her, that melts to you
In drops of blood.
Theoph. A very dog!
'Tis my religion makes you knit the brow;
Yet be you mine, and ever be your own:
I ne'er will screw your conscience from that Power,
On which you Christians lean.
Sap. I can no longer
[Pg 59]Fret out my life with weeping at thee, villain.
Would, ere thy birth, the mighty Thunderer's hand
Had struck thee in the womb!
Mac. We are betray'd.
Artem. Is that the idol, traitor, which thou kneel'st to,
Trampling upon my beauty?
Theoph. Sirrah, bandog!
Wilt thou in pieces tear our Jupiter
For her? our Mars for her? our Sol for her?
Artem. Threaten not, but strike: quick vengeance flies
Into my bosom; caitiff! here all love dies.
[Pg 60]Anton. O! I am thunderstruck! We are both o'erwhelm'd——
Mac. With one high-raging billow.
Dor. You a soldier,
And sink beneath the violence of a woman!
Anton. A woman! a wrong'd princess. From such a star
Blazing with fires of hate, what can be look'd for,
But tragical events? my life is now
The subject of her tyranny.
Dor. That fear is base,
Of death, when that death doth but life displace
Out of her house of earth; you only dread
The stroke, and not what follows when you're dead;
There's the great fear, indeed: come, let your eyes
Dwell where mine do, you'll scorn their tyrannies.
Re-enter below, Artemia, Sapritius, Theophilus, a guard; Angelo comes and stands close by Dorothea.
Artem. My father's nerves put vigour in mine arm,
And I his strength must use. Because I once
Shed beams of favour on thee, and, with the lion,
Play'd with thee gently, when thou struck'st my heart,
I'll not insult on a base, humbled prey,
By lingering out thy terrors; but, with one frown,
Kill thee:—hence with them all to execution.
Seize him; but let even death itself be weary
In torturing her. I'll change those smiles to shrieks;
Give the fool what she's proud of, martyrdom:
In pieces rack that pander.[Points to Macr.
Sap. Albeit the reverence
I owe our gods and you, are, in my bosom,
Torrents so strong, that pity quite lies drown'd
[Pg 61]From saving this young man; yet, when I see
What face death gives him, and that a thing within me
Says, 'tis my son, I am forced to be a man,
And grow fond of his life, which thus I beg.
Artem. And I deny.
Anton. Sir, you dishonour me,
To sue for that which I disclaim to have.
I shall more glory in my sufferings gain,
Than you in giving judgment, since I offer
My blood up to your anger; nor do I kneel
To keep a wretched life of mine from ruin:
Preserve this temple, builded fair as yours is,
And Cæsar never went in greater triumph,
Than I shall to the scaffold.
Artem. Are you so brave, sir?
Set forward to his triumph, and let those two
Go cursing along with him.
Dor. No, but pitying,
For my part, I, that you lose ten times more
By torturing me, than I that dare your tortures:
Through all the army of my sins, I have even
Labour'd to break, and cope with death to the face.
The visage of a hangman frights not me;
The sight of whips, racks, gibbets, axes, fires,
Are scaffoldings by which my soul climbs up
To an eternal habitation.
Theoph. Cæsar's imperial daughter, hear me speak.
Let not this Christian thing in this her pageantry
Of proud deriding both our gods and Cæsar,
Build to herself a kingdom in her death,
Going laughing from us: no; her bitterest torment
Shall be, to feel her constancy beaten down;
[Pg 62]The bravery of her resolution lie
Batter'd, by argument, into such pieces,
That she again in penitence shall creep
To kiss the pavements of our paynim gods.
Artem. How to be done?
Theoph. I'll send my daughters to her,
And they shall turn her rocky faith to wax;
Else spit at me, let me be made your slave,
And meet no Roman's but a villain's grave.
Artem. Thy prisoner let her be, then; and, Sapritius,
Your son and that, be yours: death shall be sent
To him that suffers them, by voice or letters,
To greet each other. Rifle her estate;
Christians to beggary brought grow desperate.
Dor. Still on the bread of poverty let me feed.
Ang. O! my admired mistress, quench not out
The holy fires within you, though temptations
Shower down upon you: Clasp thine armour on,
Fight well, and thou shalt see, after these wars,
Thy head wear sunbeams, and thy feet touch stars.
A Room in Dorothea's House.
Enter Sapritius, Theophilus, Priest, Calista, and Christeta.
Sap. Sick to the death, I fear.
Theoph. I meet your sorrow,
With my true feeling of it.
[Pg 63]Sap. She's a witch,
A sorceress, Theophilus; my son
Is charm'd by her enchanting eyes; and, like
An image made of wax, her beams of beauty
Melt him to nothing: all my hopes in him,
And all his gotten honours, find their grave
In his strange dotage on her. Would, when first
He saw and loved her, that the earth had open'd,
And swallow'd both alive!
Theoph. There's hope left yet.
Sap. Not any: though the princess were appeased,
All title in her love surrender'd up;
Yet this coy Christian is so transported
With her religion, that unless my son
(But let him perish first!) drink the same potion,
And be of her belief, she'll not vouchsafe
To be his lawful wife.
Priest. But, once removed
From her opinion, as I rest assured
The reasons of these holy maids will win her,
You'll find her tractable to any thing,
For your content or his.
Theoph. If she refuse it,
The Stygian damps, breeding infectious airs,
The mandrake's shrieks, the basilisk's killing eye,
The dreadful lightning that does crush the bones,
And never singe the skin, shall not appear
Less fatal to her, than my zeal made hot
With love unto my gods. I have deferr'd it,
In hopes to draw back this apostata,
Which will be greater honour than her death,
Unto her father's faith; and, to that end,
[Pg 64]Have brought my daughters hither.
Cal. And we doubt not
To do what you desire.
Sap. Let her be sent for.
Prosper in your good work; and were I not
To attend the princess, I would see and hear
How you succeed.
Theoph. I am commanded too,
I'll bear you company.
Sap. Give them your ring,
To lead her as in triumph, if they win her,
Before her highness.[Exit.
Theoph. Spare no promises,
Persuasions, or threats, I do conjure you:
If you prevail, 'tis the most glorious work
You ever undertook.
Enter Dorothea and Angelo.
Priest. She comes.
Theoph. We leave you;
Be constant, and be careful.
[Exeunt Theoph. and Priest.
Cal. We are sorry
To meet you under guard.
Dor. But I more grieved
You are at liberty. So well I love you,
That I could wish, for such a cause as mine,
You were my fellow-prisoners: Prithee, Angelo,
Reach us some chairs. Please you sit——
Cal. We thank you:
Our visit is for love, love to your safety.
Christ. Our conference must be private; pray you, therefore,
[Pg 65]Command your boy to leave us.
Dor. You may trust him
With any secret that concerns my life;
Falsehood and he are strangers: had you, ladies,
Been bless'd with such a servant, you had never
Forsook that way, your journey even half ended,
That leads to joys eternal. In the place
Of loose lascivious mirth, he would have stirr'd you
To holy meditations; and so far
He is from flattery, that he would have told you,
Your pride being at the height, how miserable
And wretched things you were, that, for an hour
Of pleasure here, have made a desperate sale
Of all your right in happiness hereafter.
He must not leave me; without him I fall:
In this life he's my servant, in the other
A wish'd companion.
Ang. 'Tis not in the devil,
Nor all his wicked arts, to shake such goodness.
Dor. But you were speaking, lady.
Cal. As a friend
And lover of your safety, and I pray you
So to receive it; and, if you remember
How near in love our parents were, that we,
Even from the cradle, were brought up together,
Our amity increasing with our years,
We cannot stand suspected.
Dor. To the purpose.
Cal. We come, then, as good angels, Dorothea,
To make you happy; and the means so easy,
That, be not you an enemy to yourself,
Already you enjoy it.
Christ. Look on us,
Ruin'd as you are, once, and brought unto it,
[Pg 66]By your persuasion.
Cal. But what follow'd, lady?
Leaving those blessings which our gods gave freely,
And shower'd upon us with a prodigal hand,
As to be noble born, youth, beauty, wealth,
And the free use of these without control,
Check, curb, or stop, such is our law's indulgence!
All happiness forsook us; bonds and fetters,
For amorous twines; the rack and hangman's whips,
In place of choice delights; our parents' curses
Instead of blessings; scorn, neglect, contempt,
Fell thick upon us.
Christ. This consider'd wisely,
We made a fair retreat; and reconciled
To our forsaken gods, we live again
In all prosperity.
Cal. By our example,
Bequeathing misery to such as love it,
Learn to be happy. The Christian yoke's too heavy
For such a dainty neck; it was framed rather
To be the shrine of Venus, or a pillar,
More precious than crystal, to support
Our Cupid's image: our religion, lady,
Is but a varied pleasure; yours a toil
Slaves would shrink under.
Dor. Have you not cloven feet? are you not devils?
Dare any say so much, or dare I hear it
Without a virtuous and religious anger?
Now to put on a virgin modesty,
Or maiden silence, when His power is question'd
That is omnipotent, were a greater crime,
Than in a bad cause to be impudent.
[Pg 67]Your gods! your temples! brothel-houses rather,
Or wicked actions of the worst of men,
Pursued and practised. Your religious rites!
Oh! call them rather juggling mysteries,
The baits and nets of hell: your souls the prey
For which the devil angles; your false pleasures
A steep descent, by which you headlong fall
Into eternal torments.
Cal. Do not tempt
Our powerful gods.
Dor. Which of your powerful gods?
Your gold, your silver, brass, or wooden ones,
That can nor do me hurt, nor protect you?
Most pitied women! will you sacrifice
To such,—or call them gods or goddesses,
Your parents would disdain to be the same,
Or you yourselves? O blinded ignorance!
Tell me, Calista, by thy truth, I charge you,
Or any thing you hold more dear, would you,
To have him deified to posterity,
Desire your father an adulterer,
A ravisher, almost a parricide,
A vile incestuous wretch?
Cal. That, piety
And duty answer for me.
Dor. Or you, Christeta,
To be hereafter register'd a goddess,
Give your chaste body up to the embraces
Of wicked passion? have it writ on your forehead,
"This is the mistress in the art of sin.
Knows every trick, and labyrinth of desires
That are immodest?"
Christ. You judge better of me,
Or my affection is ill placed on you.
[Pg 68]Shall I turn wanton?
Dor. No, I think you would not.
Yet, such was Venus, whom you worship; such
Flora, the foundress of the public stews,
And has, for that, her sacrifice; your Jupiter,
A loose adulterer:—read ye but those
That have canonized them, you'll find them worse
Than, in chaste language, I can speak them to you.
Are they immortal, then, that did partake
Of human weakness, and had ample share
In men's most base affections; subject to
Unchaste loves, anger, bondage, wounds, as men are?
Here, Jupiter, to serve his lust, turn'd bull,
The shape, indeed, in which he stole Europa;
Neptune, for gain, builds up the walls of Troy,
As a day-labourer; Apollo keeps
Admetus' sheep for bread; the Lemnian smith
Sweats at the forge for hire; Prometheus here,
With his still-growing liver, feeds the vulture;
Saturn bound fast in hell with adamant chains;
And thousands more, on whom abused error
Bestows a deity. Will you then, dear sisters,
For I would have you such, pay your devotions
To things of less power than yourselves?
Cal. We worship
Their good deeds in their images.
Dor. By whom fashion'd?
[Pg 69]By sinful men. I'll tell you a short tale,
Nor can you but confess it is a true one:
A king of Egypt, being to erect
The image of Osiris, whom they honour,
Took from the matrons' necks the richest jewels,
And purest gold, as the materials
To finish up his work; which perfected,
With all solemnity he set it up,
To be adored, and served himself his idol;
Desiring it to give him victory
Against his enemies: but, being overthrown,
Enraged against his god, (these are fine gods,
Subject to human fury!) he took down
The senseless thing, and melting it again,
He made a bason, in which eunuchs wash'd
His concubine's feet; and for this sordid use,
Some months it served: his mistress proving false,
As most indeed do so, and grace concluded
Between him and the priests, of the same bason
He made his god again!—Think, think, of this,
And then consider, if all worldly honours,
Or pleasures that do leave sharp stings behind them,
Have power to win such as have reasonable souls,
To put their trust in dross.
Cal. Oh, that I had been born
Without a father!
Christ. Piety to him
Hath ruin'd us for ever.
Dor. Think not so;
You may repair all yet: the attribute
[Pg 70]That speaks his Godhead most, is merciful:
Revenge is proper to the fiends you worship,
Yet cannot strike without his leave.—You weep,—
Oh, 'tis a heavenly shower! celestial balm
To cure your wounded conscience! let it fall,
Fall thick upon it; and, when that is spent,
I'll help it with another of my tears:
And may your true repentance prove the child
Of my true sorrow, never mother had
A birth so happy!
Cal. We are caught ourselves,
That came to take you; and, assured of conquest,
We are your captives.
Dor. And in that you triumph:
Your victory had been eternal loss,
And this your loss immortal gain. Fix here,
And you shall feel yourselves inwardly arm'd
'Gainst tortures, death, and hell:—but, take heed, sisters,
That, or through weakness, threats, or mild persuasions,
Though of a father, you fall not into
A second and a worse apostasy.
Cal. Never, oh never! steel'd by your example,
We dare the worst of tyranny.
Christ. Here's our warrant,
You shall along and witness it.
Dor. Be confirm'd then;
And rest assured, the more you suffer here,
The more your glory, you to heaven more dear.
The Governor's Palace.
Enter Artemia, Sapritius, Theophilus, and Harpax.
Artem. Sapritius, though your son deserve no pity,
We grieve his sickness: his contempt of us
We cast behind us, and look back upon
His service done to Cæsar, that weighs down
Our just displeasure. If his malady
Have growth from his restraint, or that you think
His liberty can cure him, let him have it:
Say, we forgive him freely.
Sap. Your grace binds us
Ever your humblest vassals.
Artem. Use all means
For his recovery; though yet I love him,
I will not force affection. If the Christian,
Whose beauty hath out-rivall'd me, be won
To be of our belief, then let him wed her;
That all may know, when the cause wills, I can
Command my own affections.
Theoph. Be happy then,
My lord Sapritius: I am confident,
Such eloquence and sweet persuasion dwell
Upon my daughters' tongues, that they will work her
To any thing they please.
Sap. I wish they may!
Yet 'tis no easy task to undertake,
To alter a perverse and obstinate woman.
[Pg 72][A shout within: loud music.
Artem. What means this shout?
Sap. It is seconded with music,
Semp. My lord, your daughters,
The pillars of our faith, having converted,
For so report gives out, the Christian lady,
The image of great Jupiter born before them,
Sue for access.
Theoph. My soul divined as much.
Blest be the time when first they saw this light!
Their mother, when she bore them to support
My feeble age, fill'd not my longing heart
With so much joy, as they in this good work
Have thrown upon me.
Enter priest with the Image of Jupiter, incense and censers: followed by Calista and Christeta, leading Dorothea.
Welcome, oh, thrice welcome,
Daughters, both of my body and my mind!
Let me embrace in you my bliss, my comfort;
And, Dorothea, now more welcome too,
Than if you never had fallen off! I am ravish'd
With the excess of joy:—speak, happy daughters,
The blest event.
Cal. We never gain'd so much
By any undertaking.
Theoph. O my dear girl,
[Pg 73]Our gods reward thee!
Dor. Nor was ever time,
On my part, better spent.
Christ. We are all now
Of one opinion.
Theoph. My best Christeta!
Madam, if ever you did grace to worth,
Vouchsafe your princely hands.
Artem. Most willingly——
Do you refuse it?
Cal. Let us first deserve it.
Theoph. My own child still! here set our god; prepare
The incense quickly: Come, fair Dorothea,
I will myself support you;—now kneel down,
And pay your vows to Jupiter.
Dor. I shall do it
Better by their example.
Theoph. They shall guide you;
They are familiar with the sacrifice.
Forward, my twins of comfort, and, to teach her,
Make a joint offering.
Christ. Thus—— [they both spit at the image.
Cal. And thus—— [throw it down, and spurn it.
And impious! stand you now like a statue?
Are you the champion of the gods? where is
Your holy zeal, your anger?
Theoph. I am blasted;
And, as my feet were rooted here, I find
I have no motion; I would I had no sight too!
Or if my eyes can serve to any use,
Give me, thou injured power! a sea of tears,
To expiate this madness in my daughters;
[Pg 74]For, being themselves, they would have trembled at
So blasphemous a deed in any other:——
For my sake, hold awhile thy dreadful thunder,
And give me patience to demand a reason
For this accursed act.
Dor. 'Twas bravely done.
Theoph. Peace, damn'd enchantress, peace!—I should look on you
With eyes made red with fury, and my hand,
That shakes with rage, should much outstrip my tongue,
And seal my vengeance on your hearts;—but nature,
To you that have fallen once, bids me again
To be a father. Oh! how durst you tempt
The anger of great Jove?
Dor. Alack, poor Jove!
He is no swaggerer; how still he stands!
He'll take a kick, or any thing.
Sap. Stop her mouth.
Dor. It is the patient'st godling! do not fear him;
He would not hurt the thief that stole away
Two of his golden locks; indeed he could not:
And still 'tis the same quiet thing.
Ingenious cruelty shall punish this:
Thou art past hope: but for you yet, dear daughters,
Again bewitch'd, the dew of mild forgiveness
May gently fall, provided you deserve it,
With true contrition: be yourselves again;
Sue to the offended deity.
Christ. Not to be
The mistress of the earth.
Cal. I will not offer
A grain of incense to it, much less kneel,
[Pg 75]Nor look on it but with contempt and scorn,
To have a thousand years conferr'd upon me
Of worldly blessings. We profess ourselves
To be, like Dorothea, Christians;
And owe her for that happiness.
Theoph. My ears
Receive, in hearing this, all deadly charms,
Powerful to make man wretched.
Artem. Are these they
You bragg'd could convert others!
Sap. That want strength
To stand themselves!
Harp. Your honour is engaged,
The credit of your cause depends upon it;
Something you must do suddenly.
Theoph. And I will.
Harp. They merit death; but, falling by your hand,
'Twill be recorded for a just revenge,
And holy fury in you.
Theoph. Do not blow
The furnace of a wrath thrice hot already;
Ætna is in my breast, wildfire burns here,
Which only blood must quench. Incensed Power!
Which from my infancy I have adored,
Look down with favourable beams upon
The sacrifice, though not allow'd thy priest,
Which I will offer to thee; and be pleased,
My fiery zeal inciting me to act,
To call that justice others may style murder.
Come, you accursed, thus by the hair I drag you
Before this holy altar; thus look on you,
Less pitiful than tigers to their prey:
And thus, with mine own hand, I take that life
[Pg 76]Which I gave to you. [Kills them.
Dor. O most cruel butcher!
Theoph. My anger ends not here: hell's dreadful porter,
Receive into thy ever-open gates
Their damned souls, and let the Furies' whips
On them alone be wasted; and, when death
Closes these eyes, 'twill be Elysium to me
To hear their shrieks and howlings. Make me, Pluto,
Thy instrument to furnish thee with souls
Of that accursed sect; nor let me fall,
Till my fell vengeance hath consumed them all.
[Exit, with Harpax.
Artem. 'Tis a brave zeal.
Enter Angelo, smiling.
Dor. Oh, call him back again,
Call back your hangman! here's one prisoner left
To be the subject of his knife.
Artem. Not so;
We are not so near reconciled unto thee;
Thou shalt not perish such an easy way.
Be she your charge, Sapritius, now; and suffer
None to come near her, till we have found out
Some torments worthy of her.
Ang. Courage, mistress;
These martyrs but prepare your glorious fate:
You shall exceed them, and not imitate. [Exeunt.
The Governor's Palace.
Antoninus on a couch, asleep, with Doctors about him; Sapritius and Macrinus.
Sap. O you, that are half gods, lengthen that life
Their deities lend us; turn o'er all the volumes
Of your mysterious Æsculapian science,
T' increase the number of this young man's days:
And, for each minute of his time prolong'd,
Your fee shall be a piece of Roman gold
With Cæsar's stamp, such as he sends his captains
When in the wars they earn well: do but save him,
And, as he's half myself, be you all mine.
1 Doct. What art can do, we promise; physic's hand
As apt is to destroy as to preserve,
If heaven make not the med'cine: all this while,
Our skill hath combat held with his disease;
But 'tis so arm'd, and a deep melancholy,
To be such in part with death, we are in fear
The grave must mock our labours.
Mac. I have been
His keeper in this sickness, with such eyes
As I have seen my mother watch o'er me.
Stand by his pillow, and, in his broken slumbers,
Him shall you hear cry out on Dorothea;
And, when his arms fly open to catch her,
[Pg 78]Closing together, he falls fast asleep,
Pleased with embracings of her airy form.
Physicians but torment him; his disease
Laughs at their gibberish language: let him hear
The voice of Dorothea, nay, but the name,
He starts up with high colour in his face:
She, or none, cures him; and how that can be,
The princess' strict command barring that happiness,
To me impossible seems.
Sap. To me it shall not;
I'll be no subject to the greatest Cæsar
Was ever crown'd with laurel, rather than cease
To be a father.[Exit.
Mac. Silence, sir; he wakes.
Anton. Thou kill'st me, Dorothea; oh, Dorothea!
Mac. She's here
Anton. Here! Where? Why do you mock me, sir?
Age on my head hath stuck no white hairs yet,
Yet I'm an old man, a fond doting fool
Upon a woman. I, to buy her beauty,
(In truth I am bewitch'd) offer my life,
And she, for my acquaintance, hazards hers:
Yet, for our equal sufferings, none holds out
A hand of pity.
1 Doct. Let him have some music.
Anton. Hell on your fiddling!
[Starting from his couch.
1 Doct. Take again your bed, sir;
Sleep is a sovereign physic.
Anton. Confusion on your fooleries! Where's the rest
Thy pills and base apothecary drugs
[Pg 79]Threaten'd to bring unto me? Out, you impostors!
Quacksalving, cheating mountebanks! your skill
Is to make sound men sick, and sick men kill.
Mac. Oh, be yourself, dear friend.
Anton. Myself, Macrinus!
How can I be myself, when I am mangled
Into a thousand pieces? here moves my head,
But where's my heart? wherever—that lies dead.
Re-enter Sapritius, dragging in Dorothea by the hair, Angelo following.
Sap. Follow me, thou damn'd sorceress! Call up thy spirits,
And, if they can, now let them from my hand
Untwine these witching hairs.
Anton. I am that spirit:
Or, if I be not, were you not my father,
One made of iron should hew that hand in pieces,
That so defaces this sweet monument
Of my love's beauty.
Sap. Art thou sick?
Anton. To death.
Sap. Would'st thou recover?
Anton. Would I live in bliss!
Sap. And do thine eyes shoot daggers at that man
That brings thee health?
Anton. It is not in the world.
Sap. It's here.
Anton. To treasure, by enchantment lock'd
In caves as deep as hell, am I as near.
1 Doct. Shall the boy stay, sir?
Sap. No matter for the boy.
[Pg 80] [Exeunt Sap. Mac. and Doct.
Dor. O, guard me, angels!
What tragedy must begin now?
Anton. When a tiger
Leaps into a timorous herd, with ravenous jaws,
Being hunger-starved, what tragedy then begins?
Dor. Death; I am happy so: you, hitherto,
Have still had goodness sphered within your eyes;
Let not that orb be broken.
Ang. Fear not, mistress;
If he dare offer violence, we two
Are strong enough for such a sickly man.
Dor. What is your horrid purpose, sir? your eye
Bears danger in it.
Anton. I must——
Dor. Oh, kill me,[Kneels.
And heaven will take it as a sacrifice;
But, if you play the ravisher, there is
A hell to swallow you.
Anton. Rise:—for the Roman empire, Dorothea,
I would not wound thine honour. My father's will
Would have me seize upon you, as my prey;
Which I abhor, as much as the blackest sin
The villany of man did ever act.
[Sapritius breaks in with Macrinus.
Dor. Die happy for this language!
Sap. Die a slave,
A blockish idiot!
Mac. Dear sir, vex him not.
Sap. Yes, and vex thee too: where's this lamia?
Dor. I'm here; do what you please.
[Pg 81]Sap. Spurn her to the bar.
Dor. Come, boy, being there, more near to heaven we are.
Sap. Kick harder; go out, witch! [Exeunt.
Anton. O bloody hangmen! Thine own gods give thee breath!
Each of thy tortures is my several death. [Exit.
The Place of Execution. A scaffold, block, &c.
Enter Antoninus, supported by Macrinus, and Servants.
Anton. Is this the place, where virtue is to suffer,
And heavenly beauty, leaving this base earth,
To make a glad return from whence it came?
Is it, Macrinus?
Mac. By this preparation,
You well may rest assured that Dorothea
This hour is to die here.
Anton. Then with her dies
The abstract of all sweetness that's in woman!
Set me down, friend, that, ere the iron hand
Of death close up mine eyes, they may at once
Take my last leave both of this light and her:
For, she being gone, the glorious sun himself
To me's Cimmerian darkness.
[Pg 82]Mac. Strange affection!
Cupid once more hath changed his shafts with Death,
And kills, instead of giving life.
Anton. Nay, weep not;
Though tears of friendship be a sovereign balm,
On me they're cast away. It is decreed
That I must die with her; our clue of life
Was spun together.
Mac. Yet, sir, 'tis my wonder,
That you, who, hearing only what she suffers,
Partake of all her tortures, yet will be,
To add to your calamity, an eyewitness
Of her last tragic scene, which must pierce deeper,
And make the wound more desperate.
Anton. Oh, Macrinus!
'Twould linger out my torments else, not kill me,
Which is the end I aim at: being to die too,
What instrument more glorious can I wish for,
[Pg 83]Than what is made sharp by my constant love
And true affection? It may be, the duty
And loyal service, with which I pursued her,
And seal'd it with my death, will be remember'd
Among her blessed actions; and what honour
Can I desire beyond it?
Enter a Guard bringing in Dorothea, a Headsman before her; followed by Theophilus, Sapritius, and Harpax.
See, she comes;
How sweet her innocence appears! more like
To heaven itself, than any sacrifice
That can be offer'd to it. By my hopes
Of joys hereafter, the sight makes me doubtful
In my belief; nor can I think our gods
Are good, or to be served, that take delight
In offerings of this kind: that, to maintain
Their power, deface the master-piece of nature,
Which they themselves come short of. She ascends,
And every step raises her nearer heaven.
Sap. You are to blame
To let him come abroad.
Mac. It was his will;
And we were left to serve him, not command him.
Anton. Good sir, be not offended; nor deny
My last of pleasures in this happy object,
That I shall e'er be blest with.
Theoph. Now, proud contemner
Of us, and of our gods, tremble to think,
It is not in the Power thou serv'st to save thee.
Not all the riches of the sea, increased
By violent shipwrecks, nor the unsearch'd mines,
[Pg 84](Mammon's unknown exchequer), shall redeem thee:
And, therefore, having first with horror weigh'd
What 'tis to die, and to die young; to part with
All pleasures and delights; lastly, to go
Where all antipathies to comfort dwell,
Furies behind, about thee, and before thee;
And, to add to affliction, the remembrance
Of the Elysian joys thou might'st have tasted,
Hadst thou not turn'd apostata to those gods
That so reward their servants; let despair
Prevent the hangman's sword, and on this scaffold
Make thy first entrance into hell.
Anton. She smiles,
Unmoved, by Mars! as if she were assured
Death, looking on her constancy, would forget
The use of his inevitable hand.
Theoph. Derided too! despatch, I say.
Dor. Thou fool!
That gloriest in having power to ravish
A trifle from me I am weary of,
What is this life to me? not worth a thought;
Or, if it be esteem'd, 'tis that I lose it
To win a better: even thy malice serves
To me but as a ladder to mount up
To such a height of happiness, where I shall
Look down with scorn on thee, and on the world;
Where, circled with true pleasures, placed above
The reach of death or time, 'twill be my glory
To think at what an easy price I bought it.
There's a perpetual spring, perpetual youth:
No joint-benumbing cold, or scorching heat,
Famine, nor age, have any being there.
[Pg 85]Forget, for shame, your Tempe; bury in
Oblivion your feign'd Hesperian orchards:—
The golden fruit, kept by the watchful dragon,
Which did require a Hercules to get it,
Compared with what grows in all plenty there,
Deserves not to be named. The Power I serve
Laughs at your happy Araby, or the
Elysian shades; for he hath made his bowers
Better in deed, than you can fancy yours.
Anton. O, take me thither with you!
Dor. Trace my steps,
And be assured you shall.
Sap. With my own hands
I'll rather stop that little breath is left thee,
And rob thy killing fever.
Theoph. By no means;
Let him go with her: do, seduced young man,
And wait upon thy saint in death; do, do:
And, when you come to that imagined place,
That place of all delights—pray you, observe me,
And meet those cursed things I once call'd Daughters,
Whom I have sent as harbingers before you;
[Pg 86]If there be any truth in your religion,
In thankfulness to me, that with care hasten
Your journey thither, pray you send me some
Small pittance of that curious fruit you boast of.
Anton. Grant that I may go with her, and I will.
Sap. Wilt thou in thy last minute damn thyself?
Theoph. The gates to hell are open.
Dor. Know, thou tyrant,
Thou agent for the devil, thy great master,
Though thou art most unworthy to taste of it,
I can, and will.
Enter Angelo, in the Angel's habit.
Harp. Oh! mountains fall upon me,
Or hide me in the bottom of the deep,
Where light may never find me!
Theoph. What's the matter?
Sap. This is prodigious, and confirms her witchcraft.
Theoph. Harpax, my Harpax, speak!
Harp. I dare not stay:
Should I but hear her once more, I were lost.
Some whirlwind snatch me from this cursed place,
To which compared, (and with what now I suffer,)
Hell's torments are sweet slumbers! [Exit.
Sap. Follow him.
[Pg 87]Theoph. He is distracted, and I must not lose him.
Thy charms upon my servant, cursed witch,
Give thee a short reprieve. Let her not die,
Till my return. [Exeunt Sap. and Theoph.
Anton. She minds him not; what object
Is her eye fix'd on?
Mac. I see nothing.
Anton. Mark her.
Dor. Thou glorious minister of the Power I serve!
(For thou art more than mortal,) is 't for me,
Poor sinner, thou art pleased awhile to leave
Thy heavenly habitation, and vouchsafest,
Though glorified, to take my servant's habit?—
For, put off thy divinity, so look'd
My lovely Angelo.
Ang. Know, I am the same;
And still the servant to your piety.
Your zealous prayers and pious deeds first won me
(But 'twas by His command to whom you sent them)
To guide your steps. I tried your charity,
When in a beggar's shape you took me up,
And clothed my naked limbs, and after fed,
As you believed, my famish'd mouth. Learn all,
By your example, to look on the poor
With gentle eyes! for in such habits, often,
Angels desire an alms. I never left you,
[Pg 88]Nor will I now; for I am sent to carry
Your pure and innocent soul to joys eternal,
Your martyrdom once suffer'd; and before it,
Ask any thing from me, and rest assured,
You shall obtain it.
Dor. I am largely paid
For all my torments. Since I find such grace,
Grant that the love of this young man to me,
In which he languisheth to death, may be
Changed to the love of heaven.
Ang. I will perform it;
And in that instant when the sword sets free
Your happy soul, his shall have liberty.
Is there aught else?
Dor. For proof that I forgive
My persecutor, who in scorn desired
To taste of that most sacred fruit I go to;
After my death, as sent from me, be pleased
To give him of it.
Ang. Willingly, dear mistress.
Mac. I am amazed.
Anton. I feel a holy fire,
That yields a comfortable heat within me;
I am quite alter'd from the thing I was.
See! I can stand, and go alone; thus kneel
To heavenly Dorothea, touch her hand
With a religious kiss. [Kneels.
Re-enter Sapritius and Theophilus.
Sap. He is well now,
But will not be drawn back.
Theoph. It matters not,
We can discharge this work without his help.
But see your son.
[Pg 89]Sap. Villain!
Anton. Sir, I beseech you,
Being so near our ends, divorce us not.
Theoph. I'll quickly make a separation of them:
Hast thou aught else to say?
Dor. Nothing, but to blame
Thy tardiness in sending me to rest;
My peace is made with heaven, to which my soul
Begins to take her flight: strike, O! strike quickly;
And, though you are unmoved to see my death,
Hereafter, when my story shall be read,
As they were present now, the hearers shall
Say this of Dorothea, with wet eyes,
"She lived a virgin, and a virgin dies."
[Her head is struck off.
Anton. O, take my soul along, to wait on thine!
Mac. Your son sinks too. [Antoninus falls.
Sap. Already dead!
Theoph. Die all
That are, or favour this accursed sect:
I triumph in their ends, and will raise up
A hill of their dead carcasses, to o'erlook
The Pyrenean hills, but I'll root out
These superstitious fools, and leave the world
No name of Christian.
[Loud music: Exit Angelo, having first laid his hand upon the mouths of Anton. and Dor.
Sap. Ha! heavenly music!
Mac. 'Tis in the air.
Theoph. Illusions of the devil,
Wrought by some witch of her religion,
That fain would make her death a miracle;
It frights not me. Because he is your son,
Let him have burial; but let her body
Be cast forth with contempt in some highway,
And be to vultures and to dogs a prey. [Exeunt.
Theophilus discovered sitting in his Study: books about him.
Theoph. Is 't holiday, O Cæsar, that thy servant,
Thy provost, to see execution done
On these base Christians in Cæsarea,
Should now want work? Sleep these idolaters,
That none are stirring?—As a curious painter,
When he has made some honourable piece,
Stands off, and with a searching eye examines
Each colour, how 'tis sweeten'd; and then hugs
Himself for his rare workmanship—so here,
Will I my drolleries, and bloody landscapes,
Long past wrapt up, unfold, to make me merry
With shadows, now I want the substances.
My muster-book of hell-hounds. Were the Christians,
Whose names stand here, alive and arm'd, not Rome
Could move upon her hinges. What I've done,
Or shall hereafter, is not out of hate
To poor tormented wretches; no, I'm carried
With violence of zeal, and streams of service
I owe our Roman gods. This Christian maid was well,
Enter Angelo with a basket filled with fruit and flowers.
A pretty one; but let such horror follow
The next I feed with torments, that when Rome
Shall hear it, her foundation at the sound
May feel an earthquake. How now? [Music.
Ang. Are you amazed, sir?
So great a Roman spirit—and doth it tremble!
Theoph. How cam'st thou in? to whom thy business?
Ang. To you:
I had a mistress, late sent hence by you
Upon a bloody errand; you entreated,
That, when she came into that blessed garden
Whither she knew she went, and where, now happy,
She feeds upon all joy, she would send to you
Some of that garden fruit and flowers; which here,
To have her promise saved, are brought by me.
Theoph. Cannot I see this garden?
Ang. Yes, if the master
Will give you entrance. [He vanishes.
Theoph. 'Tis a tempting fruit,
And the most bright-cheek'd child I ever view'd;
Sweet smelling, goodly fruit. What flowers are these?
In Dioclesian's gardens, the most beauteous,
Compared with these, are weeds: is it not February,
The second day she died? frost, ice, and snow,
Hang on the beard of winter: where's the sun
That gilds this summer? pretty, sweet boy, say,
In what country shall a man find this garden?—
My delicate boy,—gone! vanish'd! within there,
Enter Julianus and Geta.
Both. My lord.
Theoph. Are my gates shut?
Geta. And guarded.
Theoph. Saw you not
Theoph. Here he enter'd; a young lad;
A thousand blessings danced upon his eyes:
A smoothfaced, glorious thing, that brought this basket.
Geta. No, sir!
Theoph. Away—but be in reach, if my voice calls you.
[Exeunt Jul. and Geta.
No!—vanish'd, and not seen!—Be thou a spirit,
Sent from that witch to mock me, I am sure
This is essential, and, howe'er it grows,
Will taste it. [Eats of the fruit.
Harp. [within.] Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Theoph. So good I'll have some more, sure.
Harp. Ha, ha, ha, ha! great liquorish fool!
Theoph. What art thou?
Harp. A fisherman.
Theoph. What dost thou catch?
Harp. Souls, souls; a fish call'd souls.
Geta. My lord.
Harp. [within.] Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Theoph. What insolent slave is this, dares laugh at me?
Or what is 't the dog grins at so?
[Pg 93]Geta. I neither know, my lord, at what, nor
whom; for there is none without, but my fellow
Julianus, and he is making a garland for Jupiter.
Theoph. Jupiter! all within me is not well;
And yet not sick.
Harp. [within.] Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Theoph. What's thy name, slave?
Harp. [at one end of the room.] Go look.
Geta. 'Tis Harpax' voice.
Theoph. Harpax! go, drag the caitiff to my foot,
That I may stamp upon him.
Harp. [at the other end.] Fool, thou liest!
Geta. He's yonder, now, my lord.
Theoph. Watch thou that end,
Whilst I make good this.
Harp. [in the middle.] Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Theoph. Search for him.
All this ground, methinks, is bloody,
And paved with thousands of those Christians' eyes
Whom I have tortured; and they stare upon me.
What was this apparition? sure it had
A shape angelical. Mine eyes, though dazzled,
And daunted at first sight, tell me, it wore
A pair of glorious wings; yes, they were wings;
And hence he flew:——'tis vanish'd! Jupiter,
For all my sacrifices done to him,
Never once gave me smile.—How can stone smile?
Or wooden image laugh? [music.] Ha! I remember,
Such music gave a welcome to mine ear,
When the fair youth came to me:—'tis in the air,
Or from some better place; a Power divine,
Through my dark ignorance, on my soul does shine,
And makes me see a conscience all stain'd o'er,
[Pg 94] Nay, drown'd and damn'd for ever in Christian gore.
Harp. [within.] Ha, ha, ha!
Theoph. Again!—What dainty relish on my tongue
This fruit hath left! some angel hath me fed:
If so toothful, I will be banqueted. [Eats again.
Enter Harpax, in a fearful shape, fire flashing out of the Study.
Theoph. Not for Cæsar.
Harp. But for me thou shalt.
Theoph. Thou art no twin to him that last was here.
Ye Powers, whom my soul bids me reverence, guard me!
What art thou?
Harp. I am thy master.
Harp. And thou my everlasting slave: that Harpax,
Who hand in hand hath led thee to thy hell,
Harp. I will not; cast thou down
That basket with the things in 't, and fetch up
What thou hast swallow'd, and then take a drink,
Which I shall give thee, and I'm gone.
Theoph. My fruit!
Does this offend thee? see! [Eats again.
Harp. Spit it to the earth,
And tread upon it, or I'll piecemeal tear thee.
Theoph. Art thou with this affrighted? see, here's more. [Pulls out a handful of flowers.
[Pg 95]Harp. Fling them away, I'll take thee else, and hang thee
In a contorted chain of icicles,
In the frigid zone: down with them!
Theoph. At the bottom
One thing I found not yet. See!
[Holds up a cross of flowers.
Harp. Oh! I am tortured.
Theoph. Can this do 't? hence, thou fiend infernal, hence!
Harp. Clasp Jupiter's image, and away with that.
Theoph. At thee I'll fling that Jupiter; for, methinks,
I serve a better master: he now checks me
For murdering my two daughters, put on by thee.
By thy damn'd rhetoric did I hunt the life
Of Dorothea, the holy virgin-martyr.
She is not angry with the axe, nor me,
But sends these presents to me; and I'll travel
O'er worlds to find her, and from her white hand
Beg a forgiveness.
Harp. No; I'll bind thee here.
Theoph. I serve a strength above thine; this small weapon,
Methinks, is armour hard enough.
Harp. Keep from me. [Sinks a little.
Theoph. Art posting to thy centre? down, hell-hound! down!
[Pg 96]Me thou hast lost. That arm, which hurls thee hence, [Harpax disappears.
Save me, and set me up, the strong defence
In the fair Christian quarrel!
Ang. Fix thy foot there,
Nor be thou shaken with a Cæsar's voice,
Though thousand deaths were in it; and I then
Will bring thee to a river, that shall wash
Thy bloody hands clean and more white than snow;
And to that garden where these blest things grow,
And to that martyr'd virgin, who hath sent
That heavenly token to thee: spread this brave wing,
And serve, than Cæsar, a far greater king. [Exit.
Theoph. It is, it is, some angel. Vanish'd again!
Oh, come back, ravishing boy! bright messenger!
Thou hast, by these mine eyes fix'd on thy beauty,
Illumined all my soul. Now look I back
On my black tyrannies, which, as they did
Outdare the bloodiest, thou, blest spirit, that lead'st me,
Teach me what I must do, and, to do well,
That my last act the best may parallel. [Exit.
Enter Dioclesian, Maximinus, the Kings of Epire, Pontus, and Macedon, meeting Artemia; Attendants.
Artem. Glory and conquest still attend upon
Diocle. Let thy wish, fair daughter,
Be equally divided; and hereafter
Learn thou to know and reverence Maximinus,
Whose power, with mine united, makes one Cæsar.
Max. But that I fear 'twould be held flattery,
The bonds consider'd in which we stand tied,
As love and empire, I should say, till now
I ne'er had seen a lady I thought worthy
To be my mistress.
Artem. Sir, you show yourself
Both courtier and soldier; but take heed,
Take heed, my lord, though my dull-pointed beauty,
Stain'd by a harsh refusal in my servant,
Cannot dart forth such beams as may inflame you,
You may encounter such a powerful one,
That with a pleasing heat will thaw your heart,
Though bound in ribs of ice. Love still is Love;
His bow and arrows are the same: Great Julius,
That to his successors left the name of Cæsar,
Whom war could never tame, that with dry eyes
Beheld the large plains of Pharsalia cover'd
With the dead carcases of senators,
And citizens of Rome; when the world knew
[Pg 98]No other lord but him, struck deep in years too,
(And men gray-hair'd forget the loves of youth,)
After all this, meeting fair Cleopatra,
A suppliant too, the magic of her eye,
Even in his pride of conquest, took him captive:
Nor are you more secure.
Max. Were you deform'd,
(But, by the gods, you are most excellent,)
Your gravity and discretion would o'ercome me;
And I should be more proud in being prisoner
To your fair virtues, than of all the honours,
Wealth, title, empire, that my sword hath purchased.
Diocle. This meets my wishes. Welcome it, Artemia,
With outstretch'd arms, and study to forget
That Antoninus ever was: thy fate
Reserved thee for this better choice; embrace it.
Max. This happy match brings new nerves to give strength
To our continued league.
Diocle. Hymen himself
Will bless this marriage, which we'll solemnize
In the presence of these kings.
K. of Pontus. Who rest most happy,
To be eye-witnesses of a match that brings
Peace to the empire.
Diocle. We much thank your loves:
But where's Sapritius, our governor,
And our most zealous provost, good Theophilus?
If ever prince were blest in a true servant,
Or could the gods be debtors to a man,
Both they and we stand far engaged to cherish
His piety and service.
Artem. Sir, the governor
[Pg 99]Brooks sadly his son's loss, although he turn'd
Apostata in death; but bold Theophilus,
Who for the same cause, in my presence, seal'd
His holy anger on his daughters' hearts;
Having with tortures first tried to convert her,
Dragg'd the bewitching Christian to the scaffold,
And saw her lose her head.
Diocle. He is all worthy:
And from his own mouth I would gladly hear
The manner how she suffer'd.
Artem. 'Twill be deliver'd
With such contempt and scorn, (I know his nature,)
That rather 'twill beget your highness' laughter,
Than the least pity.
Diocle. To that end I would hear it.
Enter Theophilus, Sapritius, and Macrinus.
Artem. He comes; with him the governor.
Diocle. O, Sapritius,
I am to chide you for your tenderness;
But yet, remembering that you are a father,
I will forget it. Good Theophilus,
I'll speak with you anon.—Nearer, your ear.
Theoph. [aside to Macrinus.] By Antoninus' soul, I do conjure you,
And though not for religion, for his friendship,
Without demanding what's the cause that moves me,
Receive my signet:—By the power of this,
Go to my prisons, and release all Christians,
That are in fetters there by my command.
Mac. But what shall follow?
Theoph. Haste then to the port;
You there shall find two tall ships ready rigg'd,
[Pg 100]In which embark the poor distressed souls,
And bear them from the reach of tyranny.
Enquire not whither you are bound: the Deity
That they adore will give you prosperous winds,
And make your voyage such, and largely pay for
Your hazard, and your travail. Leave me here;
There is a scene that I must act alone:
Haste, good Macrinus; and the great God guide you!
Mac. I'll undertake 't; there's something prompts me to it;
'Tis to save innocent blood, a saint-like act:
And to be merciful has never been
By moral men themselves esteem'd a sin. [Exit.
Diocle. You know your charge?
Sap. And will with care observe it.
Diocle. For I profess he is not Cæsar's friend,
That sheds a tear for any torture that
A Christian suffers. Welcome, my best servant,
My careful, zealous provost! thou hast toil'd
To satisfy my will, though in extremes:
I love thee for 't; thou art firm rock, no changeling.
Prithee deliver, and for my sake do it,
Without excess of bitterness, or scoffs,
Before my brother and these kings, how took
The Christian her death?
Theoph. And such a presence,
Though every private head in this large room
Were circled round with an imperial crown,
Her story will deserve, it is so full
Of excellence and wonder.
Diocle. Ha! how is this?
Theoph. O! mark it, therefore, and with that attention,
[Pg 101]As you would hear an embassy from heaven
By a wing'd legate; for the truth deliver'd,
Both how, and what, this blessed virgin suffer'd,
And Dorothea but hereafter named,
You will rise up with reverence, and no more,
As things unworthy of your thoughts, remember
What the canonized Spartan ladies were,
Which lying Greece so boasts of. Your own matrons,
Your Roman dames, whose figures you yet keep
As holy relics, in her history
Will find a second urn: Gracchus' Cornelia,
Paulina, that in death desired to follow
Her husband Seneca, nor Brutus' Portia,
That swallow'd burning coals to overtake him,
Though all their several worths were given to one,
With this is to be mention'd.
Max. Is he mad?
Diocle. Why, they did die, Theophilus, and boldly;
This did no more.
Theoph. They, out of desperation,
Or for vain glory of an after-name,
Parted with life: this had not mutinous sons,
As the rash Gracchi were; nor was this saint
A doting mother, as Cornelia was.
This lost no husband, in whose overthrow
Her wealth and honour sunk; no fear of want
Did make her being tedious; but, aiming
At an immortal crown, and in His cause
Who only can bestow it; who sent down
Legions of ministering angels to bear up
Her spotless soul to heaven, who entertain'd it
[Pg 102]With choice celestial music, equal to
The motion of the spheres; she, uncompell'd,
Changed this life for a better. My lord Sapritius,
You were present at her death; did you e'er hear
Such ravishing sounds?
Sap. Yet you said then 'twas witchcraft,
And devilish illusions.
Theoph. I then heard it
With sinful ears, and belch'd out blasphemous words
Against his Deity, which then I knew not,
Nor did believe in him.
Diocle. Why, dost thou now?
Or dar'st thou, in our hearing——
Theoph. Were my voice
As loud as is His thunder, to be heard
Through all the world, all potentates on earth
Ready to burst with rage, should they but hear it;
Though hell, to aid their malice, lent her furies,
Yet I would speak, and speak again, and boldly:
I am a Christian; and the Powers you worship,
But dreams of fools and madmen.
Max. Lay hands on him.
Diocle. Thou twice a child! for doting age so makes thee,
Thou couldst not else, thy pilgrimage of life
Being almost past through, in this last moment
Destroy whate'er thou hast done good or great—
Thy youth did promise much; and, grown a man,
Thou mad'st it good, and, with increase of years,
Thy actions still better'd: as the sun,
Thou didst rise gloriously, kept'st a constant course
In all thy journey; and now, in the evening,
When thou shouldst pass with honour to thy rest,
[Pg 103]Wilt thou fall like a meteor?
Sap. Yet confess
That thou art mad, and that thy tongue and heart
Had no agreement.
Max. Do; no way is left, else,
To save thy life, Theophilus.
Diocle. But, refuse it,
Destruction as horrid, and as sudden,
Shall fall upon thee, as if hell stood open,
And thou wert sinking thither.
Theoph. Hear me, yet;
Hear, for my service past.
Artem. What will he say?
Theoph. As ever I deserved your favour, hear me,
And grant one boon; 'tis not for life I sue for;
Nor is it fit that I, that ne'er knew pity
To any Christian, being one myself,
Should look for any; no, I rather beg
The utmost of your cruelty. I stand
Accomptable for thousand Christians' deaths;
And, were it possible that I could die
A day for every one, then live again
To be again tormented, 'twere to me
An easy penance, and I should pass through
A gentle cleansing fire; but, that denied me,
It being beyond the strength of feeble nature,
My suit is, you would have no pity on me.
In mine own house there are a thousand engines
Of studied cruelty, which I did prepare
For miserable Christians; let me feel,
[Pg 104]As the Sicilian did his brazen bull,
The horrid'st you can find; and I will say,
In death, that you are merciful.
Diocle. Despair not;
In this thou shalt prevail. Go fetch them hither:
[Exit some of the Guard.
Death shall put on a thousand shapes at once,
And so appear before thee; racks, and whips!——
Thy flesh, with burning pincers torn, shall feed
The fire that heats them; and what's wanting to
The torture of thy body, I'll supply
In punishing thy mind. Fetch all the Christians
That are in hold; and here, before his face,
Cut them in pieces.
Theoph. 'Tis not in thy power:
It was the first good deed I ever did.
They are removed out of thy reach; howe'er,
I was determined for my sins to die,
I first took order for their liberty;
And still I dare thy worst.
Re-enter Guard with racks and other instruments of torture.
Diocle. Bind him, I say;
Make every artery and sinew crack:
The slave that makes him give the loudest shriek,
Shall have ten thousand drachmas: wretch! I'll force thee
To curse the Power thou worship'st.
Theoph. Never, never:
No breath of mine shall e'er be spent on Him,
[Pg 105] [They torment him.
But what shall speak His majesty or mercy.
I'm honour'd in my sufferings. Weak tormentors,
More tortures, more:—alas! you are unskilful—
For heaven's sake more; my breast is yet untorn:
Here purchase the reward that was propounded.
The irons cool,—here are arms yet, and thighs;
Spare no part of me.
Max. He endures beyond
The sufferance of a man.
Sap. No sigh nor groan,
To witness he hath feeling.
Diocle. Harder, villains!
Harp. Unless that he blaspheme, he's lost for ever.
If torments ever could bring forth despair,
Let these compel him to it:—Oh me!
My ancient enemies again! [Falls down.
Enter Dorothea in a white robe, a crown upon her head, led in by Angelo; Antoninus, Calista, and Christeta following, all in white, but less glorious; Angelo holds out a crown to Theophilus.
Theoph. Most glorious vision!—
Did e'er so hard a bed yield man a dream
So heavenly as this? I am confirm'd,
Confirm'd, you blessed spirits, and make haste
To take that crown of immortality
You offer to me. Death! till this blest minute,
I never thought thee slow-paced; nor would I
Hasten thee now, for any pain I suffer,
[Pg 106]But that thou keep'st me from a glorious wreath,
Which through this stormy way I would creep to,
And, humbly kneeling, with humility wear it.
Oh! now I feel thee:—blessed spirits! I come;
And, witness for me all these wounds and scars,
I die a soldier in the Christian wars. [Dies.
Sap. I have seen thousands tortured, but ne'er yet
A constancy like this.
Harp. I am twice damn'd.
Ang. Haste to thy place appointed, cursed fiend!
[Harpax sinks with thunder and lightning.
In spite of hell, this soldier's not thy prey;
'Tis I have won, thou that hast lost the day.
[Exit with Dor. &c.
Diocle. I think the centre of the earth be crack'd—
Yet I stand still unmoved, and will go on:
The persecution that is here begun,
Through all the world with violence shall run.
The Great Duke of Florence.] This play, under the title of The Great Duke, was licensed by Sir Henry Herbert, July 5th, 1627. The plot is raised on those slight materials afforded by our old chroniclers in the life of Edgar, which Mason has since worked up into the beautiful drama of Elfrida.
The first edition of this play was published 1636, when it was preceded by two commendatory copies of verses by G. Donne and J. Ford. Though highly and most deservedly popular, it was not reprinted. This may be attributed, in some measure, to the growing discontent of the times, which perversely turned aside from scenes like these, to dwell with fearful anxiety on those of turbulence and blood.—It is impossible not to be charmed with the manner in which this play is written. The style is worthy of the most polished stage. An easy elevation and a mild dignity are preserved throughout, which afford an excellent model for the transaction of dramatic business between persons of high rank and refined education. As to the subject, it is of itself of no great importance; but this is somewhat compensated by the interest the principal characters take in it, and the connexion of love with the views of state.—The scenes between Giovanni and Lidia present a most beautiful picture of artless attachment, and of that unreserved innocence and tender simplicity which Massinger describes in so eminently happy a manner. Were it not for the scene of low buffoonery in the fourth act, where Petronella assumes the dress and character of her mistress, The Great Duke of Florence would have been a perfect and unrivalled production.
THE TRULY HONOURED, AND MY NOBLE FAVOURER,
SIR ROBERT WISEMAN, KNT.
OF THORRELL'S HALL, IN ESSEX.
As I dare not be ungrateful for the many benefits you have heretofore conferred upon me, so I have just reason to fear that my attempting this way to make satisfaction (in some measure) for so due a debt, will further engage me. However, examples encourage me. The most able in my poor quality have made use of dedications in this nature, to make the world take notice (as far as in them lay) who and what they were that gave supportment and protection to their studies; being more willing to publish the doer, than receive a benefit in a corner. For myself, I will freely, and with a zealous thankfulness, acknowledge, that for many years I had but faintly subsisted, if I had not often tasted of your bounty. But it is above my strength and faculties to celebrate to the desert your noble inclination, and that made actual, to raise up, or, to speak more properly, to rebuild the ruins of demolished poesie. But that is a work reserved, and will be, no doubt, undertaken, and finished, by one that can to the life express it. Accept, I beseech you, the tender of my service; and in the list of those you have obliged to you, contemn not the name of
Your true and faithful honourer,
|Cozimo, Duke of Florence.|
|Giovanni, nephew to the duke.|
|Sanazarro, the duke's favourite.|
|Carolo Charomonte, Giovanni's tutor.|
|Contarino, secretary to the duke.|
|}||counsellors of state.|
|Calandrino, a merry fellow, servant to Giovanni.|
|}||servants to Charomonte.|
|Fiorinda, Duchess of Urbin.|
|Lidia, daughter to Charomonte.|
|Calaminta, servant to Fiorinda.|
|Petronella, a foolish servant to Lidia.|
|Attendants, Servants, &c.|
SCENE, partly in Florence, and partly at the residence of Charomonte in the country.
THE GREAT DUKE OF FLORENCE.
The Country. A Room in Charomonte's House.
Enter Charomonte and Contarino.
Char. You bring your welcome with you.
Cont. Sir, I find it
In every circumstance.
Char. Again most welcome.
Yet, give me leave to wish (and pray you excuse me,
For I must use the freedom I was born with)
The great duke's pleasure had commanded you
To my poor house upon some other service;
Not this you are design'd to: but his will
Must be obey'd, howe'er it ravish from me
The happy conversation of one
As dear to me as the old Romans held
Their household Lars, whom they believed had power
To bless and guard their families.
Cont. 'Tis received so
[Pg 112]On my part, signior; nor can the duke
But promise to himself as much as may
Be hoped for from a nephew. And 'twere weakness
In any man to doubt, that Giovanni,
Train'd up by your experience and care
In all those arts peculiar and proper
To future greatness, of necessity
Must in his actions, being grown a man,
Make good the princely education
Which he derived from you.
Char. I have discharged,
To the utmost of my power, the trust the duke
Committed to me, and with joy perceive
The seed of my endeavours was not sown
Upon the barren sands, but fruitful glebe,
Which yields a large increase: my noble charge,
By his sharp wit, and pregnant apprehension,
Instructing those that teach him; making use,
Not in a vulgar and pedantic form,
Of what's read to him, but 'tis straight digested,
And truly made his own. His grave discourse,
In one no more indebted unto years,
Amazes such as hear him: horsemanship,
And skill to use his weapon, are by practice
Familiar to him: as for knowledge in
Music, he needs it not, it being born with him;
All that he speaks being with such grace deliver'd,
[Pg 113] That it makes perfect harmony.
Cont. You describe
A wonder to me.
Char. Sir, he is no less;
And that there may be nothing wanting that
May render him complete, the sweetness of
His disposition so wins on all
Appointed to attend him, that they are
Rivals, even in the coarsest office, who
Shall get precedency to do him service;
Which they esteem a greater happiness
Than if they had been fashion'd and built up
To hold command o'er others.
Cont. And what place
Does he now bless with his presence?
Char. He is now
Running at the ring, at which he's excellent.
He does allot for every exercise
A several hour; for sloth, the nurse of vices,
And rust of action, is a stranger to him.
[Pg 114]But I fear I am tedious; let us pass,
If you please, to some other subject, though I cannot
Deliver him as he deserves.
Cont. You have given him
A noble character.
Char. And how, I pray you,
(For we, that never look beyond our villas,
Must be inquisitive,) are state affairs
Carried in court?
Cont. There's little alteration:
Some rise, and others fall, as it stands with
The pleasure of the duke, their great disposer.
Char. Does Lodovico Sanazarro hold
Weight and grace with him?
Cont. Every day new honours
Are shower'd upon him, and without the envy
Of such as are good men; since all confess
The service done our master in his wars
'Gainst Pisa and Sienna may with justice
Claim what's conferr'd upon him.
Char. 'Tis said nobly;
For princes never more make known their wisdom,
Than when they cherish goodness where they find it:
They being men, and not gods, Contarino,
They can give wealth and titles, but no virtues;
That is without their power. When they advance,
Not out of judgment, but deceiving fancy,
An undeserving man, howe'er set off
With all the trim of greatness, state, and power,
And of a creature even grown terrible
To him from whom he took his giant form,
This thing is still a comet, no true star;
And when the bounties feeding his false fire
Begin to fail, will of itself go out,
[Pg 115]And what was dreadful proves ridiculous.
But in our Sanazarro 'tis not so,
He being pure and tried gold; and any stamp
Of grace, to make him current to the world,
The duke is pleased to give him, will add honour
To the great bestower; for he, though allow'd
Companion to his master, still preserves
His majesty in full lustre.
Cont. He, indeed,
At no part does take from it, but becomes
A partner of his cares, and eases him,
With willing shoulders, of a burden which
He should alone sustain.
Char. Is he yet married?
Cont. No, signior, still a bachelor; howe'er
It is apparent that the choicest virgin
For beauty, bravery, and wealth, in Florence,
Would, with her parents' glad consent, be won,
Were his affection and intent but known
To be at his devotion.
Char. So I think too.
But break we off—here comes my princely charge.
Enter Giovanni and Calandrino.
Make your approaches boldly; you will find
A courteous entertainment. [Cont. kneels.
Giov. Pray you, forbear
My hand, good signior; 'tis a ceremony
Not due to me. 'Tis fit we should embrace
With mutual arms.
Cont. It is a favour, sir,
I grieve to be denied.
Giov. You shall o'ercome:
But 'tis your pleasure, not my pride, that grants it.
[Pg 116]Nay, pray you, guardian, and good sir, put on:
How ill it shows to have that reverend head
Uncover'd to a boy!
Char. Your excellence
Must give me liberty to observe the distance
And duty that I owe you.
Giov. Owe me duty!
I do profess (and when I do deny it,
Good fortune leave me!) you have been to me
A second father, and may justly challenge,
For training up my youth in arts and arms,
As much respect and service as was due
To him that gave me life. And did you know, sir,
Or will believe from me, how many sleeps
Good Charomonte hath broken, in his care
To build me up a man, you must confess
Chiron, the tutor to the great Achilles,
Compared with him, deserves not to be named.
And if my gracious uncle, the great duke,
Still holds me worthy his consideration,
Or finds in me aught worthy to be loved,
That little rivulet flow'd from this spring;
And so from me report him.
Cont. Fame already
Hath fill'd his highness' ears with the true story
Of what you are, and how much better'd by him;
And 'tis his purpose to reward the travail
Of this grave sir with a magnificent hand:
For though his tenderness hardly could consent
To have you one hour absent from his sight,
For full three years he did deny himself
The pleasure he took in you, that you, here,
From this great master, might arrive unto
The theory of those high mysteries
[Pg 117]Which you, by action, must make plain in court.
'Tis, therefore, his request, (and that, from him,
Your excellence must grant a strict command,)
That instantly (it being not five hours' riding)
You should take horse and visit him. These his letters
Will yield you further reasons. [Delivers a packet.
Cal. To the court!
Farewell the flower, then, of the country's garland.
This is our sun, and when he's set we must not
Expect or spring or summer, but resolve
For a perpetual winter.
Char. Pray you, observe
[Giovanni reading the letters.
The frequent changes in his face.
Cont. As if
His much unwillingness to leave your house
Contended with his duty.
Char. Now he appears
Collected and resolved.
Giov. It is the duke!
The duke, upon whose favour all my hopes
And fortunes do depend; nor must I check
At his commands for any private motives
That do invite my stay here, though they are
Almost not to be master'd. My obedience,
In my departing suddenly, shall confirm
I am his highness' creature; yet I hope
A little stay to take a solemn farewell
Of all those ravishing pleasures I have tasted
In this my sweet retirement, from my guardian
And his incomparable daughter, cannot meet
An ill construction.
Cont. I will answer that:
[Pg 118]Use your own will.
Giov. I would speak to you, sir,
In such a phrase as might express the thanks
My heart would gladly pay; but——
Char. I conceive you:
And something I would say; but I must do it
In that dumb rhetoric which you make use of;
For I do wish you all——I know not how,
My toughness melts, and, spite of my discretion,
I must turn woman. [Embraces Giovanni.
Cont. What a sympathy
There is between them!
Cal. Were I on the rack,
I could not shed a tear. But I am mad,
And, ten to one, shall hang myself for sorrow
Before I shift my shirt. But hear you, sir,
(I'll separate you), when you are gone, what will
Become of me?
Giov. Why, thou shalt to court with me.
[Takes Char. aside.
Cal. To see you worried?
Cont. Worried, Calandrino!
Cal. Yes, sir: for, bring this sweet face to the court,
There will be such a longing 'mong the madams,
Who shall engross it first, nay, fight and scratch for 't,
That, if they be not stopp'd——So much for him.
There's something else that troubles me.
Cont. What's that?
Cal. Why, how to behave myself in court, and tightly.
I have been told the very place transforms men,
And that not one of a thousand, that before
Lived honestly in the country on plain salads,
[Pg 119]But bring him thither, mark me that, and feed him
But a month or two with custards and court cake-bread,
And he turns knave immediately.—I'd be honest;
But I must follow the fashion, or die a beggar.
Giov. And, if I ever reach my hopes, believe it,
We will share fortunes.
Char. This acknowledgment
Binds me your debtor ever.—Here comes one
In whose sad looks you easily may read
What her heart suffers, in that she is forced
To take her last leave of you.
Cont. As I live,
A beauty without parallel!
Lid. Must you go, then,
Giov. There's no evasion, Lidia,
To gain the least delay, though I would buy it
At any rate. Greatness, with private men
Esteem'd a blessing, is to me a curse;
And we, whom, for our high births, they conclude
The only freemen, are the only slaves.
Happy the golden mean! Had I been born
In a poor sordid cottage, not nursed up
With expectation to command a court,
I might, like such of your condition, sweetest,
Have ta'en a safe and middle course, and not,
As I am now, against my choice, compell'd
Or to lie groveling on the earth, or raised
So high upon the pinnacles of state,
That I must either keep my height with danger,
[Pg 120] Or fall with certain ruin.
Lid. Your own goodness
Will be your faithful guard.
Giov. O, Lidia!——
Cont. So passionate! [Aside.
Giov. For, had I been your equal,
I might have seen and liked with mine own eyes,
And not, as now, with others'; I might still,
And without observation or envy,
As I have done, continued my delights
With you, that are alone, in my esteem,
The abstract of society: we might walk
In solitary groves, or in choice gardens;
From the variety of curious flowers
Contemplate nature's workmanship and wonders:
And then, for change, near to the murmur of
Some bubbling fountain, I might hear you sing,
And, from the well-tuned accents of your tongue,
In my imagination conceive
With what melodious harmony a quire
Of angels sing above their Maker's praises:
And then with chaste discourse, as we return'd,
Imp feathers to the broken wings of time:—
And all this I must part from.
Cont. You forget
The haste imposed upon us.
Giov. One word more,
And then I come. And after this, when, with
Continued innocence of love and service,
[Pg 121]I had grown ripe for hymeneal joys,
Embracing you, but with a lawful flame,
I might have been your husband.
Lid. Sir, I was,
And ever am, your servant; but it was,
And 'tis, far from me in a thought to cherish
Such saucy hopes. If I had been the heir
Of all the globes and sceptres mankind bows to,
At my best you had deserved me; as I am,
Howe'er unworthy, in my virgin zeal
I wish you, as a partner of your bed,
A princess equal to you; such a one
That may make it the study of her life,
With all the obedience of a wife, to please you.
May you have happy issue, and I live
To be their humblest handmaid!
Giov. I am dumb,
And can make no reply.
Cont. Your excellence
Will be benighted.
Giov. This kiss, bathed in tears,
May learn you what I should say.
Lid. Give me leave
To wait on you to your horse.
Char. And me to bring you
To the one half of your journey.
Giov. Your love puts
Your age to too much trouble.
Char. I grow young,
When most I serve you.
Cont. Sir, the duke shall thank you. [Exeunt.
Florence. A Room in the Palace.
Enter Alphonso, Hippolito, and Hieronimo.
Alph. His highness cannot take it ill.
We with our duties shall express our care
For the safety of his dukedom.
Hier. And our loves
To his person.—Here he comes: present it boldly.
[They kneel: Alphonso tenders a paper.
Coz. What needs this form? We are not grown so proud
As to disdain familiar conference
With such as are to counsel and direct us.
This kind of adoration show'd not well
In the old Roman emperors, who, forgetting
That they were flesh and blood, would be styled gods:
In us to suffer it were worse. Pray you, rise.
Still the old suit! With too much curiousness
You have too often search'd this wound, which yields
Security and rest, not trouble, to me.
For here you grieve that my firm resolution
Continues me a widower; and that
My want of issue to succeed me in
My government, when I am dead, may breed
Distraction in the state, and make the name
And family of the Medici, now admired,
Hip. And with strong reasons, sir.
Alph. For were you old, and past hope to beget
The model of yourself, we should be silent.
Hier. But being in your height and pride of years,
As you are now, great sir; and having, too,
In your possession the daughter of
The deceased Duke of Urbin, and his heir,
Whose guardian you are made; were you but pleased
To think her worthy of you, besides children,
The dukedom she brings with her for a dower
Will yield a large increase of strength and power
To those fair territories which already
Acknowledge you their absolute lord.
Coz. You press us
With solid arguments, we grant; and, though
We stand not bound to yield account to any
Why we do this or that, (the full consent
Of our subjects being included in our will,)
We, out of our free bounties, will deliver
The motives that divert us. You well know
That, three years since, to our much grief, we lost
Our duchess; such a duchess, that the world,
In her whole course of life, yields not a lady
That can with imitation deserve
To be her second; in her grave we buried
All thoughts of woman: let this satisfy
For any second marriage. Now, whereas
[Pg 124]You name the heir of Urbin, as a princess
Of great revenues, 'tis confess'd she is so:
But for some causes, private to ourself,
We have disposed her otherwise. Yet despair not;
For you, ere long, with joy shall understand,
That in our princely care we have provided
One worthy to succeed us.
Hip. We submit,
And hold the counsels of great Cozimo
Coz. My Sanazarro!—Nay,
Forbear all ceremony. You look sprightly, friend,
And promise in your clear aspect some novel
That may delight us.
Sanaz. O sir, I would not be
The harbinger of aught that might distaste you;
And therefore know (for 'twere a sin to torture
Your highness' expectation) your vice-admiral,
By my directions, hath surprised the galleys
Appointed to transport the Asian tribute
Of the great Turk. A richer prize was never
Brought into Florence.
Coz. Still my nightingale,
That with sweet accents dost assure me that
My spring of happiness comes fast upon me!
Embrace me boldly. I pronounce that wretch
An enemy to brave and thriving action,
That dares believe but in a thought, we are
Too prodigal in our favours to this man,
Whose merits, though with him we should divide
Our dukedom, still continue us his debtor.
Hip. 'Tis far from me.
[Pg 125] Alph. We all applaud it.
Coz. Nay, blush not, Sanazarro; we are proud
Of what we build up in thee; nor can our
Election be disparaged, since we have not
Received into our bosom and our grace
A glorious lazy drone, grown fat with feeding
On others' toil, but an industrious bee,
That crops the sweet flowers of our enemies,
And every happy evening returns
Loaden with wax and honey to our hive.
Sanaz. My best endeavours never can discharge
The service I should pay.
Coz. Thou art too modest;
But we will study how to give, and when,
Enter Giovanni and Contarino.
Before it be demanded.——Giovanni!
My nephew! let me eye thee better, boy.
In thee, methinks, my sister lives again;
For her love I will be a father to thee,
For thou art my adopted son.
Giov. Your servant,
And humblest subject.
Coz. Thy hard travel, nephew,
Requires soft rest, and therefore we forbear,
For the present, an account how thou hast spent
Thy absent hours. See, signiors, see, our care,
Without a second bed, provides you of
A hopeful prince. Carry him to his lodgings,
And, for his further honour, Sanazarro,
With the rest, do you attend him.
Giov. All true pleasures
[Pg 126] Circle your highness!
Sanaz. As the rising sun,
We do receive you.
Giov. May this never set,
But shine upon you ever!
[Exeunt Giovanni, Sanazarro, Hieronimo, Alphonso, and Hippolito.
Cont. My gracious lord.
Coz. What entertainment found you
From Carolo de Charomonte?
And bountiful. He's ever like himself,
Noble and hospitable.
Coz. But did my nephew
Depart thence willingly?
Cont. He obey'd your summons
As did become him. Yet it was apparent,
But that he durst not cross your will, he would
Have sojourn'd longer there, he ever finding
Variety of sweetest entertainment.
But there was something else; nor can I blame
His youth, though with some trouble he took leave
Of such a sweet companion.
Coz. Who was it?
Cont. The daughter, sir, of signior Carolo,
Fair Lidia, a virgin, at all parts,
But in her birth and fortunes, equal to him.
The rarest beauties Italy can make boast of
Are but mere shadows to her, she the substance
Of all perfection. And what increases
The wonder, sir, her body's matchless form
Is better'd by the pureness of her soul.
Such sweet discourse, such ravishing behaviour,
[Pg 127]Such charming language, such enchanting manners,
With a simplicity that shames all courtship,
Flow hourly from her, that I do believe
Had Circe or Calypso her sweet graces,
Wandering Ulysses never had remember'd
Penelope, or Ithaca.
Coz. Be not rapt so.
Cont. Your excellence would be so, had you seen her.
Coz. Take up, take up.—But did your observation
Note any passage of affection
Between her and my nephew?
Cont. How it should
Be otherwise between them, is beyond
My best imagination. Cupid's arrows
Were useless there; for of necessity,
Their years and dispositions do accord so,
They must wound one another.
Coz. Umph! Thou art
My secretary, Contarino, and more skill'd
In politic designs of state, than in
Thy judgment of a beauty; give me leave,
In this, to doubt it.—Here. Go to my cabinet,
You shall find there letters newly received,
Touching the state of Urbin.
Pray you, with care peruse them: leave the search
Of this to us.
Cont. I do obey in all things. [Exit.
Coz. Lidia! a diamond so long conceal'd,
And never worn in court! of such sweet feature!
[Pg 128]And he on whom I fix my dukedom's hopes
Made captive to it! Umph! 'tis somewhat strange.
Our eyes are every where, and we will make
A strict inquiry.—Sanazarro!
Coz. Is my nephew at his rest?
Sanaz. I saw him in bed, sir.
Coz. 'Tis well; and does the princess Fiorinda,
Nay, do not blush, she is rich Urbin's heir,
Continue constant in her favours to you?
Sanaz. Dread sir, she may dispense them as she pleases;
But I look up to her as on a princess
I dare not be ambitious of, and hope
Her prodigal graces shall not render me
Offender to your highness.
Coz. Not a scruple.
He whom I favour, as I do my friend,
May take all lawful graces that become him:
But touching this hereafter. I have now
(And though perhaps it may appear a trifle)
Serious employment for thee.
Sanaz. I stand ready
For any act you please.
Coz. I know it, friend.
Have you ne'er heard of Lidia, the daughter
Of Carolo Charomonte?
Sanaz. Him I know, sir,
For a noble gentleman, and my worthy friend;
But never heard of her.
Coz. She is deliver'd,
And feelingly to us, by Contarino,
[Pg 129]For a masterpiece in nature. I would have you
Ride suddenly thither to behold this wonder,
But not as sent by us; that's our first caution:
The second is, and carefully observe it,
That, though you are a bachelor, and endow'd with
All those perfections that may take a virgin,
On forfeit of our favour do not tempt her:
It may be her fair graces do concern us.
Pretend what business you think fit, to gain
Access unto her father's house, and, there,
Make full discovery of her, and return me
A true relation:—I have some ends in it,
With which we will acquaint you.
Sanaz. This is, sir,
An easy task.
Coz. Yet one that must exact
Your secrecy and diligence. Let not
Your stay be long.
Sanaz. It shall not, sir.
And be, as you would keep our favour, careful.
The same. A Room in Fiorinda's House.
Enter Fiorinda and Calaminta.
Fior. How does this dressing show?
Calam. 'Tis of itself
Curious and rare; but, borrowing ornament,
As it does from your grace, that deigns to wear it,
[Pg 130] Fior. Thou flatter'st me.
Calam. I cannot,
Your excellence is above it.
Fior. Were we less perfect,
Yet, being as we are, an absolute princess,
We of necessity must be chaste, wise, fair,
By our prerogative!—yet all these fail
To move where I would have them. How received
Count Sanazarro the rich scarf I sent him
For his last visit?
Calam. With much reverence,
I dare not say affection. He express'd
More ceremony in his humble thanks,
Than feeling of the favour; and appear'd
Wilfully ignorant, in my opinion,
Of what it did invite him to.
Fior. No matter;
He's blind with too much light. Have you not heard
Of any private mistress he's engaged to?
Calam. Not any; and this does amaze me, madam,
That he, a soldier, should in his manners
Be so averse to women.
Fior. Troth, I know not.
Calam. I do suspect him; for I learnt last night,
When the great duke went to rest, attended by
One private follower, he took horse; but whither
He's rid, or to what end, I cannot guess at,
But I will find it out.
Fior. Do, faithful servant;
[Pg 131]We would not be abused.—Who have we here?
Calam. How the fool stares!
Fior. And looks as if he were
Conning his neck-verse.
Cal. If I now prove perfect
In my A B C of courtship, Calandrino
Is made for ever. I am sent—let me see,
On a How d'ye, as they call 't.
Calam. What wouldst thou say?
Cal. Let me see my notes. These are her lodgings; well.
Calam. Art thou an ass?
Cal. Peace! thou art a court wagtail,
[Looking on his instructions.
To interrupt me.
Fior. He has given it you.
Cal. And then say to the illustrious Fi-o-rin-da—
I have it. Which is she?
Calam. Why this; fop-doodle.
Cal. Leave chattering, bull-finch; you would put me out,
But 'twill not do.—Then, after you have made
Your three obeisances to her, kneel, and kiss
The skirt of her gown.—I am glad it is no worse.
Calam. This is sport unlook'd for.
Cal. Are you the princess?
Fior. Yes, sir.
Cal. Then stand fair,
For I am choleric; and do not nip
A hopeful blossom. Out again:—Three low
Fior. I am ready.
Cal. I come on, then.
[Pg 132] Calam. With much formality.
Cal. Umph! One, two, three.
[Makes antic courtesies.
Thus far I am right. Now for the last. [Kisses the skirt of her gown.]—O, rare!
She is perfumed all over! Sure great women,
Instead of little dogs, are privileged
To carry musk-cats.
Fior. Now the ceremony
Is pass'd, what is the substance?
Cal. I'll peruse
My instructions, and then tell you.—Her skirt kiss'd,
Inform her highness that your lord——
Calam. Who's that?
Cal. Prince Giovanni, who entreats your grace,
That he, with your good favour, may have leave
To present his service to you. I think I have nick'd it
For a courtier of the first form.
Fior. To my wonder.
Enter Giovanni and a Gentleman.
Return unto the prince—but he prevents
My answer. Calaminta, take him off;
And, for the neat delivery of his message,
Give him ten ducats: such rare parts as yours
Are to be cherish'd.
Cal. We will share: I know
It is the custom of the court, when ten
Are promised, five is fair. Fie! fie! the princess
Shall never know it, so you despatch me quickly,
[Pg 133] And bid me not come to-morrow.
Calam. Very good, sir.
[Exeunt Calandrino and Calaminta.
Giov. Pray you, friend,
Inform the duke I am putting into act
What he commanded.
Gent. I am proud to be employ'd, sir. [Exit.
Giov. Madam, that, without warrant, I presume
To trench upon your privacies, may argue
Rudeness of manners; but the free access
Your princely courtesy vouchsafes to all
That come to pay their services, gives me hope
To find a gracious pardon.
Fior. If you please, not
To make that an offence in your construction,
Which I receive as a large favour from you,
There needs not this apology.
Giov. You continue,
As you were ever, the greatest mistress of
Fior. You are, sir, the master;
And in the country have learnt to outdo
All that in court is practised. But why should we
Talk at such distance? You are welcome, sir.
We have been more familiar, and since
You will impose the province (you should govern)
Of boldness on me, give me leave to say
You are too punctual. Sit, sir, and discourse
As we were used.
Giov. Your excellence knows so well
How to command, that I can never err
When I obey you.
Fior. Nay, no more of this.
[Pg 134]You shall o'ercome; no more, I pray you, sir.—
And what delights, pray you be liberal
In your relation, hath the country life
Giov. All pleasures, gracious madam,
But the happiness to converse with your sweet virtues.
I had a grave instructor, and my hours
Design'd to serious studies yielded me
Pleasure with profit, in the knowledge of
What before I was ignorant in; the signior,
Carolo de Charomonte, being skilful
To guide me through the labyrinth of wild passions,
That labour'd to imprison my free soul
A slave to vicious sloth.
Fior. You speak him well.
Giov. But short of his deserts. Then for the time
Of recreation, I was allow'd
(Against the form follow'd by jealous parents
In Italy) full liberty to partake
His daughter's sweet society. She's a virgin
Happy in all endowments which a poet
Could fancy in his mistress; being herself
A school of goodness, where chaste maids may learn,
Without the aids of foreign principles,
By the example of her life and pureness,
To be as she is, excellent. I but give you
A brief epitome of her virtues, which,
Dilated on at large, and to their merit,
Would make an ample story.
Fior. Your whole age,
So spent with such a father, and a daughter,
Could not be tedious to you.
Giov. True, great princess:
And now, since you have pleased to grant the hearing
Of my time's expense in the country, give me leave
To entreat the favour to be made acquainted
What service, or what objects in the court,
Have, in your excellency's acceptance, proved
Most gracious to you.
Fior. I'll meet your demand,
And make a plain discovery. The duke's care
For my estate and person holds the first
And choicest place: then, the respect the courtiers
Pay gladly to me, not to be contemn'd.
But that which raised in me the most delight,
(For I am a friend to valour,) was to hear
The noble actions truly reported
Of the brave count Sanazarro. I profess,
When it hath been, and fervently, deliver'd,
How boldly, in the horror of a fight,
Cover'd with fire and smoke, and, as if nature
Had lent him wings, like lightning he hath fallen
Upon the Turkish galleys, I have heard it
With a kind of pleasure, which hath whisper'd to me,
This worthy must be cherish'd.
Giov. 'Twas a bounty
You never can repent.
Fior. I glory in it.
And when he did return, (but still with conquest,)
His armour off, not young Antinous
Appear'd more courtly; all the graces that
Render a man's society dear to ladies,
Like pages waiting on him; and it does
[Pg 136] Work strangely on me.
Giov. To divert your thoughts,
Though they are fix'd upon a noble subject,
I am a suitor to you.
Fior. You will ask,
I do presume, what I may grant, and then
It must not be denied.
Giov. It is a favour
For which I hope your excellence will thank me.
Fior. Nay, without circumstance.
Giov. That you would please
To take occasion to move the duke,
That you, with his allowance, may command
This matchless virgin, Lidia, (of whom
I cannot speak too much,) to wait upon you.
She's such a one, upon the forfeit of
Your good opinion of me, that will not
Be a blemish to your train.
Fior. 'Tis rank! he loves her:
But I will fit him with a suit. [Aside.]—I pause not,
As if it bred or doubt or scruple in me
To do what you desire, for I'll effect it,
And make use of a fair and fit occasion;
Yet, in return, I ask a boon of you,
And hope to find you, in your grant to me,
As I have been to you.
Giov. Command me, madam.
Fior. 'Tis near allied to yours. That you would be
A suitor to the duke, not to expose,
After so many trials of his faith,
The noble Sanazarro to all dangers,
As if he were a wall to stand the fury
Of a perpetual battery: but now
[Pg 137]To grant him, after his long labours, rest
And liberty to live in court; his arms
And his victorious sword and shield hung up
Giov. Umph!—I'll embrace, fair princess,
The soonest opportunity. The duke!
Coz. Nay, blush not; we smile on your privacy,
And come not to disturb you. You are equals,
And, without prejudice to either's honours,
May make a mutual change of love and courtship,
Till you are made one, and with holy rites,
And we give suffrage to it.
Giov. You are gracious.
Coz. To ourself in this: but now break off; too much
Taken at once of the most curious viands,
Dulls the sharp edge of appetite. We are now
For other sports, in which our pleasure is
That you should keep us company.
Fior. We attend you. [Exeunt.
The Country. A Hall in Charomonte's House.
Enter Bernardo, Caponi, and Petruchio.
Bern. Is my lord stirring?
Cap. No; he's fast.
Pet. Let us take, then,
Our morning draught. Such as eat store of beef,
[Pg 138]Mutton, and capons, may preserve their healths
With that thin composition call'd small beer,
As, 'tis said, they do in England. But Italians,
That think when they have supp'd upon an olive,
A root, or bunch of raisins, 'tis a feast,
Must kill those crudities rising from cold herbs,
With hot and lusty wines.
Cap. A happiness
Those tramontanes ne'er tasted.
Bern. Have they not
Store of wine there?
Cap. Yes, and drink more in two hours
Than the Dutchmen or the Dane in four and twenty.
Pet. But what is 't? French trash, made of rotten grapes,
And dregs and lees of Spain, with Welsh metheglin,
A drench to kill a horse! But this pure nectar,
[Pg 139]Being proper to our climate, is too fine
To brook the roughness of the sea: the spirit
Of this begets in us quick apprehensions,
And active executions; whereas their
Gross feeding makes their understanding like it:
They can fight, and that's their all. [They drink.
Enter Sanazarro and Servani.
Dwells about this house, I think; the gate's wide open,
And not a servant stirring. See the horses
Set up, and clothed.
Serv. I shall, sir. [Exit.
Sanaz. I'll make bold
To press a little further.
Bern. Who is this,
Pet. Yes, I know him. Quickly
Remove the flagon.
Sanaz. A good day to you, friends.
Nay, do not conceal your physic; I approve it,
And, if you please, will be a patient with you.
Pet. My noble lord. [Drinks.
Sanaz. A health to yours. [Drinks.] Well done!
I see you love yourselves, and I commend you;
'Tis the best wisdom.
Pet. May it please your honour
To walk a turn in the gallery, I'll acquaint
My lord with your being here. [Exit.
Sanaz. Tell him I come
For a visit only. 'Tis a handsome pile this. [Exit.
Cap. Why here is a brave fellow, and a right one;
[Pg 140] Nor wealth nor greatness makes him proud.
Bern. There are
Too few of them; for most of our new courtiers,
(Whose fathers were familiar with the prices
Of oil and corn, with when and where to vent them,
And left their heirs rich, from their knowledge that way,)
Like gourds shot up in a night, disdain to speak
But to cloth of tissue.
Enter Charomonte in a nightgown, Petruchio following.
Char. Stand you prating, knaves,
When such a guest is under my roof! See all
The rooms perfumed. This is the man that carries
The sway and swing of the court; and I had rather
Preserve him mine with honest offices, than——
But I'll make no comparisons. Bid my daughter
Trim herself up to the height. Which way went he?
Cap. To the round gallery.
Char. I will entertain him
As fits his worth and quality, but no further.
A Gallery in the same.
Sanaz. I cannot apprehend, yet I have argued
All ways I can imagine, for what reasons
The great duke does employ me hither; and,
What does increase the miracle, I must render
[Pg 141]A strict and true account, at my return,
Of Lidia, this lord's daughter, and describe
In what she's excellent, and where defective.
'Tis a hard task: he that will undergo
To make a judgment of a woman's beauty,
And see through all her plasterings and paintings,
Had need of Lynceus' eyes, and with more ease
May look, like him, through nine mud walls, than make
A true discovery of her. But the intents
And secrets of my prince's heart must be
Served, and not search'd into.
Char. Most noble sir,
Excuse my age, subject to ease and sloth,
That with no greater speed I have presented
My service with your welcome.
Sanaz. 'Tis more fit
That I should ask your pardon, for disturbing
Your rest at this unseasonable hour.
But my occasions carrying me so near
Your hospitable house, my stay being short too,
Your goodness, and the name of friend, which you
Are pleased to grace me with, gave me assurance
A visit would not offend.
Char. Offend, my lord!
I feel myself much younger for the favour.
How is it with our gracious master?
Sanaz. He, sir,
Holds still his wonted greatness, and confesses
Himself your debtor, for your love and care
To the prince Giovanni; and had sent
Particular thanks by me, had his grace known
The quick despatch of what I was design'd to
[Pg 142] Would have licensed me to see you.
Char. I am rich
In his acknowledgment.
Sanaz. I have heard
Your happiness in a daughter.
Char. Sits the wind there? [Aside.
Sanaz. Fame gives her out for a rare masterpiece.
Char. 'Tis a plain village girl, sir, but obedient;
That's her best beauty, sir.
Sanaz. Let my desire
To see her find a fair construction from you:
I bring no loose thought with me.
Char. You are that way,
My lord, free from suspicion. Her own manners,
Without an imposition from me,
I hope, will prompt her to it.
Enter Lidia and Petronella.
As she is,
She comes to make a tender of that service
Which she stands bound to pay.
Sanaz. With your fair leave,
I make bold to salute you.
Lid. Sir, you have it.
Char. How he falls off!
Lid. My lord, though silence best becomes a maid,
And to be curious to know but what
Concerns myself, and with becoming distance,
May argue me of boldness, I must borrow
So much of modesty, as to inquire
Prince Giovanni's health.
Sanaz. He cannot want
What you are pleased to wish him.
Lid. Would 'twere so!
And then there is no blessing that can make
A hopeful and a noble prince complete,
But should fall on him. O! he was our north star,
The light and pleasure of our eyes.
Sanaz. Where am I?
I feel myself another thing! Can charms
Be writ on such pure rubies? her lips melt
As soon as touch'd! Not those smooth gales that glide
O'er happy Araby, or rich Sabæa,
Creating in their passage gums and spices,
Can serve for a weak simile to express
The sweetness of her breath. Such a brave stature
Homer bestow'd on Pallas, every limb
Proportion'd to it!
Char. This is strange.—My lord!
Sanaz. I crave your pardon, and yours, matchless maid,
For such I must report you.
Petron. There's no notice
Taken all this while of me. [Aside.
Sanaz. And I must add,
If your discourse and reason parallel
The rareness of your more than human form,
You are a wonder.
Char. Pray you, my lord, make trial:
[Pg 144]She can speak, I can assure you; and that my presence
May not take from her freedom, I will leave you:
For know, my lord, my confidence dares trust her
Where, and with whom, she pleases.—Petronella!
Petron. Yes, my good lord.
Char. I have employment for you.
[Exeunt Charomonte and Petronella.
Lid. What's your will, sir?
Sanaz. Madam, you are so large a theme to treat of,
And every grace about you offers to me
Such copiousness of language, that I stand
Doubtful which first to touch at. If I err,
As in my choice I may, let me entreat you,
Before I do offend, to sign my pardon:
Let this, the emblem of your innocence,
Give me assurance.
Lid. My hand join'd to yours,
Without this superstition, confirms it.
Nor need I fear you will dwell long upon me,
The barrenness of the subject yielding nothing
That rhetoric, with all her tropes and figures,
Can amplify. Yet since you are resolved
To prove yourself a courtier in my praise,
As I'm a woman (and you men affirm
Our sex loves to be flatter'd) I'll endure it.
Enter Charomonte above.
Now, when you please, begin.
Sanaz. [turning from her.] If the great duke
Made this his end to try my constant temper,
Though I am vanquished, 'tis his fault, not mine;
For I am flesh and blood, and have affections
Like other men. Who can behold the temples,
[Pg 145]Or holy altars, but the objects work
Devotion in him? And I may as well
Walk over burning iron with bare feet,
And be unscorch'd, as look upon this beauty
Without desire, and that desire pursued too,
Till it be quench'd with the enjoying those
Delights, which to achieve, danger is nothing,
And loyalty but a word.
Lid. I ne'er was proud;
Nor can find I am guilty of a thought
Deserving this neglect.
Sanaz. Suppose his greatness
Loves her himself, why makes he choice of me
To be his agent? It is tyranny
To call one pinch'd with hunger to a feast,
And at that instant cruelly deny him
To taste of what he sees. Allegiance
Tempted too far is like the trial of
A good sword on an anvil; as that often
Flies in pieces without service to the owner,
So trust enforced too far proves treachery,
And is too late repented.
Lid. Pray you, sir,
Or license me to leave you, or deliver
The reasons which invite you to command
My tedious waiting on you.
Char. As I live,
I know not what to think on 't. Is 't his pride,
Or his simplicity?
Sanaz. Whither have my thoughts
Carried me from myself? In this my dulness,
I've lost an opportunity——
[Turns to her; she falls off.
Lid. 'Tis true
[Pg 146]I was not bred in court, nor live a star there;
Nor shine in rich embroideries and pearl,
As they that are the mistresses of great fortunes
Are every day adorn'd with——
Sanaz. Will you vouchsafe
Your ear, sweet lady?
Lid. Yet I may be bold,
For my integrity and fame, to rank
With such as are more glorious. Though I never
Did injury, yet I am sensible
When I'm contemn'd and scorn'd.
Sanaz. Will you please to hear me?
Lid. O the difference of natures! Giovanni,
A prince in expectation, when he lived here,
Stole courtesy from heaven, and would not to
The meanest servant in my father's house
Have kept such distance.
Sanaz. Pray you, do not think me
Unworthy of your ear: it was your beauty
That turn'd me statue. I can speak, fair lady.
Lid. And I can hear. The harshness of your courtship
Cannot corrupt my courtesy.
Sanaz. Will you hear me,
If I speak of love?
Lid. Provided you be modest;
I were uncivil, else.
Char. They are come to parley:
I must observe this nearer. [He retires.
Sanaz. You are a rare one,
[Pg 147]And such (but that my haste commands me hence)
I could converse with ever. Will you grace me
With leave to visit you again?
Lid. So you,
At your return to court, do me the favour
To make a tender of my humble service
To the prince Giovanni.
Sanaz. Ever touching
Upon that string! [Aside.] And will you give me hope
Of future happiness?
Lid. That, as I shall find you:
The fort that's yielded at the first assault
Is hardly worth the taking.
Re-enter Charomonte below.
Sanaz. She is a magazine of all perfection,
And 'tis death to part from her, yet I must.
Char. A homely breakfast does attend your lordship,
Such as the place affords.
Sanaz. No; I have feasted
Already here; my thanks, and so I leave you:
I will see you again.—Till this unhappy hour
I was never lost; and what to do, or say,
I have not yet determined. [Aside, and exit.
Char. Gone so abruptly!
'Tis very strange.
Lid. Under your favour, sir,
His coming hither was to little purpose,
For any thing I heard from him.
Char. Take heed, Lidia!
I do advise you with a father's love,
And tenderness of your honour; as I would not
[Pg 148]Have you too harsh in giving entertainment,
So by no means be credulous: for great men,
Till they have gain'd their ends, are giants in
Their promises, but, those obtain'd, weak pigmies
In their performance. And it is a maxim
Allow'd among them, so they may deceive,
They may swear any thing; for the queen of love,
As they hold constantly, does never punish,
But smile at, lovers' perjuries.—Yet be wise too,
And when you are sued to in a noble way,
Be neither nice nor scrupulous.
Lid. All you speak, sir,
I hear as oracles; nor will digress
From your directions.
Char. So shall you keep
Your fame untainted.
Lid. As I would my life, sir. [Exeunt.
Florence. An Anteroom in the Palace.
Enter Sanazarro and Servant.
Sanaz. Leave the horses with my grooms; but be you careful,
[Pg 149]With your best diligence and speed, to find out
The prince, and humbly, in my name, entreat
I may exchange some private conference with him
Before the great duke know of my arrival.
Serv. I haste, my lord.
Sanaz. Here I'll attend his coming:
And see you keep yourself, as much as may be,
Conceal'd from all men else.
Serv. To serve your lordship,
I wish I were invisible. [Exit.
Sanaz. I am driven
Into a desperate strait, and cannot steer
A middle course; and of the two extremes
Which I must make election of, I know not
Which is more full of horror. Never servant
Stood more engaged to a magnificent master,
Than I to Cozimo: and all those honours
And glories by his grace conferr'd upon me,
Or by my prosperous services deserved,
If now I should deceive his trust, and make
A shipwreck of my loyalty, are ruin'd.
And, on the other side, if I discover
Lidia's divine perfections, all my hopes
In her are sunk, never to be buoy'd up:
For 'tis impossible, but, as soon as seen,
She must with adoration be sued to.
A hermit at his beads but looking on her
At this object would take fire. Nor is the duke
Such an Hippolytus, but that this Phædra,
But seen, must force him to forsake the groves
And Dian's huntmanship, proud to serve under
Venus' soft ensigns. No, there is no way
For me to hope fruition of my ends,
But to conceal her beauties;—and how that
[Pg 150]May be effected is as hard a task
As with a veil to cover the sun's beams,
Or comfortable light. Three years the prince
Lived in her company, and Contarino,
The secretary, hath possess'd the duke
What a rare piece she is:—but he's my creature,
And may with ease be frighted to deny
What he hath said: and if my long experience,
With some strong reasons I have thought upon,
Cannot o'er-reach a youth, my practice yields me
But little profit.
Enter Giovanni with the Servant.
Giov. You are well return'd, sir.
Sanaz. Leave us.—[Exit Servant.] When that your grace shall know the motives
That forced me to invite you to this trouble,
You will excuse my manners.
Giov. Sir, there needs not
This circumstance between us. You are ever
My noble friend.
Sanaz. You shall have further cause
To assure you of my faith and zeal to serve you:
And when I have committed to your trust
(Presuming still on your retentive silence)
A secret of no less importance than
My honour, nay, my head, it will confirm
What value you hold with me.
Giov. Pray you, believe, sir,
What you deliver to me shall be lock'd up
In a strong cabinet, of which you yourself
Shall keep the key; for here I pawn my honour,
Which is the best security I can give yet,
[Pg 151] It shall not be discover'd.
Sanaz. This assurance
Is more than I with modesty could demand
From such a paymaster; but I must be sudden;
And, therefore, to the purpose. Can your excellence,
In your imagination, conceive
On what design, or whither, the duke's will
Commanded me hence last night?
Giov. No, I assure you;
And it had been a rudeness to inquire
Of that I was not call'd to.
Sanaz. Grant me hearing,
And I will make you truly understand
It only did concern you.
Giov. Me, my lord!
Sanaz. You, in your present state and future fortunes;
For both lie at the stake.
Giov. You much amaze me.
Pray you, resolve this riddle.
Sanaz. You know the duke,
If he die issueless, as yet he is,
Determines you his heir.
Giov. It hath pleased his highness
Oft to profess so much.
Sanaz. But say he should
Be won to prove a second wife, on whom
He may beget a son, how, in a moment,
Will all those glorious expectations, which
Render you reverenced and remarkable,
Be in a moment blasted, howe'er you are
His much-loved sister's son!
Giov. I must bear it
With patience, and in me it is a duty
[Pg 152]That I was born with; and 'twere much unfit
For the receiver of a benefit
To offer, for his own ends, to prescribe
Laws to the giver's pleasure.
Sanaz. Sweetly answer'd,
And like your noble self. This your rare temper
So wins upon me, that I would not live
(If that by honest arts I can prevent it)
To see your hopes made frustrate. And but think
How you shall be transform'd from what you are,
Should this (as Heaven avert it!) ever happen.
It must disturb your peace: for whereas now,
Being, as you are, received for the heir-apparent,
You are no sooner seen but wonder'd at;
The signiors making it a business to
Inquire how you have slept; and, as you walk
The streets of Florence, the glad multitude
In throngs press but to see you; and, with joy,
The father, pointing with his finger, tells
His son, This is the prince, the hopeful prince,
That must hereafter rule, and you obey him.—
Great ladies beg your picture, and make love
To that, despairing to enjoy the substance.—
And but the last night, when 'twas only rumour'd
That you were come to court, as if you had
By sea pass'd hither from another world,
What general shouts and acclamations follow'd!
The bells rang loud, the bonfires blazed, and such
As loved not wine, carousing to your health,
Were drunk, and blush'd not at it. And is this
A happiness to part with?
Giov. I allow these
As flourishes of fortune, with which princes
Are often soothed; but never yet esteem'd them
[Pg 153] For real blessings.
Sanaz. Yet all these were paid
To what you may be, not to what you are;
For if the Great Duke but show to his servants
A son of his own, you shall, like one obscure,
Giov. I confess, command
Is not to be contemn'd, and if my fate
Appoint me to it, as I may, I'll bear it
With willing shoulders. But, my lord, as yet,
You've told me of a danger coming towards me,
But have not named it.
Sanaz. That is soon deliver'd.
Great Cozimo, your uncle, as I more
Than guess, for 'tis no frivolous circumstance
That does persuade my judgment to believe it,
Purposes to be married.
Giov. Married, sir!
With whom, and on what terms? pray you, instruct me.
Sanaz. With the fair Lidia.
Sanaz. The daughter
Of signior Charomonte.
Giov. Pardon me
Though I appear incredulous; for, on
My knowledge, he ne'er saw her.
Sanaz. That is granted:
But Contarino hath so sung her praises,
And given her out for such a masterpiece,
That he's transported with it, sir:—and love
Steals sometimes through the ear into the heart,
As well as by the eye. The duke no sooner
Heard her described, but I was sent in post
[Pg 154] To see her, and return my judgment of her.
Giov. And what's your censure?
Sanaz. 'Tis a pretty creature.
Giov. She's very fair.
Sanaz. Yes, yes, I have seen worse faces.
Giov. Her limbs are neatly form'd.
Sanaz. She hath a waist
Indeed sized to love's wish.
Giov. A delicate hand too.
Sanaz. Then for a leg and foot—
Giov. And there I leave you,
For I presumed no further.
Sanaz. As she is, sir,
I know she wants no gracious part that may
Allure the duke; and, if he only see her,
She is his own; he will not be denied,
And then you are lost: yet, if you'll second me,
(As you have reason, for it most concerns you,)
I can prevent all yet.
Giov. I would you could,
A noble way.
Sanaz. I will cry down her beauties;
Especially the beauties of her mind,
As much as Contarino hath advanced them;
And this, I hope, will breed forgetfulness,
And kill affection in him: but you must join
With me in my report, if you be question'd.
Giov. I never told a lie yet; and I hold it
In some degree blasphémous to dispraise
What's worthy admiration: yet, for once,
I will dispraise a little, and not vary
From your relation.
[Pg 155] Sanaz. Be constant in it.
Alph. My lord, the duke hath seen your man, and wonders
Enter Cozimo, Hippolito, Contarino, and Attendants.
You come not to him. See, if his desire
To have conference with you hath not brought him hither
In his own person!
Coz. They are comely coursers,
And promise swiftness.
Cont. They are, of my knowledge,
Of the best race in Naples.
Coz. You are, nephew,
As I hear, an excellent horseman, and we like it:
'Tis a fair grace in a prince. Pray you, make trial
Of their strength and speed; and, if you think them fit
For your employment, with a liberal hand
Reward the gentleman that did present them
From the viceroy of Naples.
Giov. I will use
My best endeavour, sir.
Coz. Wait on my nephew.
[Exeunt Giovanni, Alphonso, Hippolito, and Attendants.
Nay, stay you, Contarino:—be within call;
It may be we shall use you. [Exit Contarino.] You have rode hard, sir,
And we thank you for it: every minute seems
[Pg 156]Irksome, and tedious to us, till you have
Made your discovery. Say, friend, have you seen
This phœnix of our age?
Sanaz. I have seen a maid, sir;
But, if that I have judgment, no such wonder
As she was deliver'd to you.
Coz. This is strange.
Sanaz. But certain truth. It may be, she was look'd on
With admiration in the country, sir;
But, if compared with many in your court,
She would appear but ordinary.
Reports her otherwise.
Sanaz. Such as ne'er saw swans
May think crows beautiful.
Coz. How is her behaviour?
Sanaz. 'Tis like the place she lives in.
Coz. How her wit,
Discourse, and entertainment?
Sanaz. Very coarse;
I would not willingly say poor, and rude:
But, had she all the beauties of fair women,
The dulness of her soul would fright me from her.
Coz. You are curious, sir. I know not what to think on 't.— [Aside.
Coz. Where was thy judgment, man,
To extol a virgin Sanazarro tells me
Is nearer to deformity?
Sanaz. I saw her,
[Pg 157]And curiously perused her; and I wonder
That she, that did appear to me, that know
What beauty is, not worthy the observing,
Should so transport you.
Cont. Troth, my lord, I thought then——
Coz. Thought! Didst thou not affirm it?
Cont. I confess, sir,
I did believe so then; but now I hear
My lord's opinion to the contrary,
I am of another faith: for 'tis not fit
That I should contradict him. I am dim, sir;
But he's sharp-sighted.
Sanaz. This is to my wish. [Aside.
Coz. We know not what to think of this; yet would not
Re-enter Giovanni, Hippolito, and Alphonso.
Determine rashly of it. [Aside.]—How do you like
My nephew's horsemanship?
Hip. In my judgment, sir,
It is exact and rare.
Alph. And, to my fancy,
He did present great Alexander mounted
On his Bucephalus.
Coz. You are right, courtiers,
And know it is your duty to cry up
All actions of a prince.
Sanaz. Do not betray
Yourself, you're safe; I have done my part.
[Aside to Giovanni.
Giov. I thank you;
Nor will I fail.
Coz. What's your opinion, nephew,
Of the horses?
Giov. Two of them are, in my judgment,
The best I ever back'd; I mean the roan, sir,
And the brown bay: but for the chestnut-colour'd,
Though he be full of metal, hot, and fiery,
He treads weak in his pasterns.
Coz. So: come nearer;
This exercise hath put you into a sweat;
Take this and dry it: and now I command you
To tell me truly what's your censure of
Charomonte's daughter, Lidia.
Giov. I am, sir,
A novice in my judgment of a lady;
But such as 'tis, your grace shall have it freely.
I would not speak ill of her, and am sorry,
If I keep myself a friend to truth, I cannot
Report her as I would, so much I owe
Her reverend father: but I'll give you, sir,
As near as I can, her character in little.
She's of a goodly stature, and her limbs
Not disproportion'd; for her face, it is
Far from deformity; yet they flatter her,
That style it excellent: her manners are
Simple and innocent; but her discourse
And wit deserve my pity, more than praise:
At the best, my lord, she is a handsome picture,
And, that said, all is spoken.
Coz. I believe you;
I ne'er yet found you false.
Giov. Nor ever shall, sir.—
Forgive me, matchless Lidia! too much love,
And jealous fear to lose thee, do compel me,
Against my will, my reason, and my knowledge,
To be a poor detractor of that beauty,
Which fluent Ovid, if he lived again,
[Pg 159] Would want words to express. [Aside.
Coz. Pray you, make choice of
The richest of our furniture for these horses,
And take my nephew with you; we in this
Will follow his directions.
Giov. Could I find now
The princess Fiorinda, and persuade her
To be silent in the suit that I moved to her,
All were secure.
Sanaz. In that, my lord, I'll aid you.
Coz. We will be private; leave us.
[Exeunt all but Cozimo.
All my studies
And serious meditations aim no further
Than this young man's good. He was my sister's son,
And she was such a sister, when she lived,
I could not prize too much; nor can I better
Make known how dear I hold her memory,
Than in my cherishing the only issue
Which she hath left behind her. Who's that?
Coz. My fair charge! you are welcome to us.
Fior. I have found it, sir.
Coz. All things go well in Urbin.
Fior. Your gracious care to me, an orphan, frees me
From all suspicion that my jealous fears
Can drive into my fancy.
Coz. The next summer,
In our own person, we will bring you thither,
[Pg 160] And seat you in your own.
Fior. When you think fit, sir.
But, in the mean time, with your highness' pardon,
I am a suitor to you.
Coz. Name it, madam,
With confidence to obtain it.
Fior. That you would please
To lay a strict command on Charomonte,
To bring his daughter Lidia to the court:
And pray you, think, sir, that 'tis not my purpose
To employ her as a servant, but to use her
As a most wish'd companion.
Coz. Ha! your reason?
Fior. The hopeful prince, your nephew, sir, hath given her
To me for such an abstract of perfection
In all that can be wish'd for in a virgin,
As beauty, music, ravishing discourse,
Quickness of apprehension, with choice manners
And learning too, not usual with women,
That I am much ambitious (though I shall
Appear but as a foil to set her off)
To be by her instructed, and supplied
In what I am defective.
Coz. Did my nephew
Seriously deliver this?
Fior. I assure your grace,
With zeal and vehemency; and, even when,
With his best words, he strived to set her forth,
(Though the rare subject made him eloquent,)
He would complain, all he could say came short
Of her deservings.
Coz. Pray you have patience.
[Pg 161]This was strangely carried.—Ha! are we trifled with?
Dare they do this? Is Cozimo's fury, that
Of late was terrible, grown contemptible?
Well; we will clear our brows, and undermine
Their secret works, though they have digg'd like moles,
And crush them with the tempest of my wrath
When I appear most calm. He is unfit
To command others that knows not to use it,
And with all rigour: yet my stern looks shall not
Discover my intents; for I will strike
When I begin to frown.——You are the mistress
Of that you did demand.
Fior. I thank your highness;
But speed in the performance of the grant
Doubles the favour, sir.
Coz. You shall possess it
Sooner than you expect:——
Only be pleased to be ready, when my secretary
Waits on you, to take the fresh air. My nephew,
And my bosom friend, so to cheat me! 'tis not fair.
Re-enter Giovanni and Sanazarro.
Sanaz. Where should this princess be? nor in her lodgings,
Nor in the private walks, her own retreat,
Which she so much frequented!
Giov. By my life,
She's with the duke! and I much more than fear
Her forwardness to prefer my suit hath ruin'd
[Pg 162] What with such care we built up.
Coz. Have you furnish'd
Those coursers, as we will'd you?
Sanaz. There's no sign
Of anger in his looks.
Giov. They are complete, sir.
Coz. 'Tis well: to your rest. Soft sleeps wait on you, madam.
To-morrow, with the rising of the sun,
Be ready to ride with us.—They with more safety
Had trod on fork-tongued adders, than provoked me. [Aside, and exit.
Fior. I come not to be thank'd, sir, for the speedy
Performance of my promise touching Lidia:
It is effected.
Sanaz. We are undone. [Aside.
Fior. The duke
No sooner heard me with my best of language
Describe her excellencies, as you taught me,
But he confirm'd it.—You look sad, as if
You wish'd it were undone.
Giov. No, gracious madam,
I am your servant for 't.
Fior. Be you as careful
For what I moved to you.—Count Sanazarro,
Now I perceive you honour me, in vouchsafing
To wear so slight a favour.
Sanaz. 'Tis a grace
I am unworthy of.
Fior. You merit more,
In prizing so a trifle. Take this diamond;
I'll second what I have begun; for know,
Your valour hath so won upon me, that
'Tis not to be resisted: I have said, sir,
[Pg 163] And leave you to interpret it. [Exit.
Sanaz. This to me
Is wormwood. 'Tis apparent we are taken
In our own noose. What's to be done?
Giov. I know not.
And 'tis a punishment justly fallen upon me,
For leaving truth, a constant mistress, that
Ever protects her servants, to become
A slave to lies and falsehood. What excuse
Can we make to the duke, what mercy hope for,
Our packing being laid open?
Sanaz. 'Tis not to
Be question'd but his purposed journey is
To see fair Lidia.
Giov. And to divert him
Sanaz. There's now no looking backward.
Giov. And which way to go on with safety, not
To be imagined.
Sanaz. Give me leave: I have
An embryon in my brain, which, I despair not,
May be brought to form and fashion, provided
You will be open-breasted.
Giov. 'Tis no time now,
Our dangers being equal, to conceal
A thought from you.
Sanaz. What power hold you o'er Lidia?
Do you think that, with some hazard of her life,
She would prevent your ruin?
Giov. I presume so:
If, in the undertaking it, she stray not
[Pg 164]From what becomes her innocence; and to that
'Tis far from me to press her: I myself
Will rather suffer.
Sanaz. 'Tis enough; this night
Write to her by your servant Calandrino,
As I shall give directions; my man
Enter Calandrino, fantastically dressed.
Shall bear him company. See, sir, to my wish
He does appear; but much transform'd from what
He was when he came hither.
Cal. I confess
I am not very wise, and yet I find
A fool, so he be parcel knave, in court
May flourish and grow rich.
I am in contemplation.
Giov. Do not you know me?
Cal. I tell thee, no; on forfeit of my place,
I must not know myself, much less my father,
But by petition; that petition lined too
With golden birds, that sing to the tune of profit,
Or I am deaf.
Giov. But you've your sense of feeling.
[Offering to strike him.
Sanaz. Nay, pray you, forbear.
Cal. I have all that's requisite
To the making up of a signior: my spruce ruff,
My hooded cloak, long stocking, and paned hose,
[Pg 165]My case of toothpicks, and my silver fork;
To convey an olive neatly to my mouth;—
And, what is all in all, my pockets ring
A golden peal. O that the peasants in the country,
My quondam fellows, but saw me as I am,
How they would admire and worship me!
Giov. As they shall;
For instantly you must thither.
Cal. My grand signior,
Vouchsafe a beso las manos, and a cringe
Of the last edition.
Giov. You must ride post with letters
This night to Lidia.
Cal. An it please your grace,
Shall I use my coach, or footcloth mule?
Sanaz. You widgeon,
You are to make all speed; think not of pomp.
Giov. Follow for your instructions, sirrah.
Cal. I have
One suit to you, my good lord.
[Pg 166] Sanaz. What is 't?
Cal. That you would give me
A subtile court-charm, to defend me from
The infectious air of the country.
Giov. What's the reason?
Cal. Why, as this court-air taught me knavish wit,
By which I am grown rich, if that again
Should turn me fool and honest, vain hopes farewell!
For I must die a beggar.
Sanaz. Go to, sirrah,
You'll be whipt for this.
Giov. Leave fooling, and attend us. [Exeunt.
The Country. A Hall in Charomonte's House.
Enter Charomonte and Lidia.
Char. Daughter, I have observed, since the prince left us,
(Whose absence I mourn with you,) and the visit
Count Sanazarro gave us, you have nourish'd
Sad and retired thoughts, and parted with
That freedom and alacrity of spirit
[Pg 167] With which you used to cheer me.
Lid. For the count, sir,
All thought of him does with his person die;
But I confess ingenuously, I cannot
So soon forget the choice and chaste delights,
The courteous conversation of the prince,
And without stain, I hope, afforded me,
When he made this house a court.
Char. It is in us
To keep it so without him. Want we know not,
And all we can complain of, Heaven be praised for 't,
Is too much plenty; and we will make use of
Enter Caponi, Bernardo, Petruchio, and other Servants.
All lawful pleasures.—How now, fellows! when
Shall we have this lusty dance?
Cap. In the afternoon, sir.
'Tis a device, I wis, of my own making,
And such a one, as shall make your signiorship know
I have not been your butler for nothing, but
Have crotchets in my head. We'll trip it tightly,
And make my sad young mistress merry again,
Or I'll forswear the cellar.
Bern. If we had
Our fellow Calandrino here, to dance
His part, we were perfect.
Pet. O! he was a rare fellow;
But I fear the court hath spoil'd him.
Cap. When I was young,
I could have cut a caper on a pinnacle;
[Pg 168]But now I am old and wise.—Keep your figure fair,
And follow but the sample I shall set you,
The duke himself will send for us, and laugh at us;
And that were credit.
Lid. Who have we here?
Cal. I find
What was brawn in the country, in the court grows tender.
The bots on these jolting jades! I am bruised to jelly.
A coach for my money!
Char. Calandrino! 'tis he.
Cal. Now to my postures.—Let my hand have the honour
To convey a kiss from my lips to the cover of
Your foot, dear signior.
Char. Fie! you stoop too low, sir.
Cal. The hem of your vestment, lady: your glove is for princes;
Nay, I have conn'd my distances.
Lid. 'Tis most courtly.
Cap. Fellow Calandrino!
Cal. Signior de Caponi,
Grand botelier of the mansion.
Bern. How is 't, man? [Claps him on the shoulder.
Cal. Be not so rustic in your salutations.
Signior Bernardo, master of the accounts.
Signior Petruchio, may you long continue
Your function in the chamber!
Cap. When shall we learn
Such gambols in our villa?
[Pg 169] Lid. Sure he's mad.
Char. 'Tis not unlike, for most of such mushrooms are so.
What news at court?
Cal. Basta! they are mysteries.
And not to be reveal'd. With your favour, signior,
I am, in private, to confer awhile
With this signora: but I'll pawn my honour,
That neither my terse language, nor my habit,
Howe'er it may convince, nor my new shrugs,
Shall render her enamour'd.
Char. Take your pleasure;
A little of these apish tricks may pass,
Too much is tedious. [Exit.
Cal. The prince, in this paper,
Presents his service. Nay, it is not courtly
To see the seal broke open; so I leave you.—
Signiors of the villa, I'll descend to be
Familiar with you.
Cap. Have you forgot to dance?
Cal. No, I am better'd.
Pet. Will you join with us?
Cal. As I like the project.
Let me warm my brains first with the richest grape,
And then I'm for you.
Cap. We will want no wine.
[Exeunt all but Lidia.
Lid. That this comes only from the best of princes,
With a kind of adoration does command me
To entertain it; and the sweet contents
[Kissing the letter.
That are inscribed here by his hand must be
Much more than musical to me. All the service
[Pg 170]Of my life at no part can deserve this favour.
O, what a virgin longing I feel on me
To unrip the seal, and read it! yet, to break
What he hath fastened, rashly, may appear
A saucy rudeness in me.—I must do it,
(Nor can I else learn his commands, or serve them,)
But with such reverence, as I would open
Some holy writ, whose grave instructions beat down
Rebellious sins, and teach my better part
How to mount upward.—So, [opens the letter] 'tis done, and I
With eagle's eyes will curiously peruse it. [Reads.
Were I more deaf than adders, these sweet charms
Would through my ears find passage to my soul,
And soon enchant it. To save such a prince,
Who would not perish? Virtue in him must suffer,
And piety be forgotten. The duke's passion,
[Pg 171] Though it raged more than Tarquin's, shall not reach me.
All quaint inventions of chaste virgins aid me!
My prayers are heard; I have 't. The duke ne'er saw me—
Or, if that fail, I am again provided—
But for the servants!—They will take what form
I please to put upon them. Giovanni,
Be safe; thy servant Lidia assures it.
Let mountains of afflictions fall on me,
Their weight is easy, so I set thee free. [Exit.
Another Room in the same.
Enter Cozimo, Giovanni, Sanazarro, Charomonte, and Attendants.
Sanaz. Are you not tired with travel, sir?
Coz. No, no;
I am fresh and lusty.
Char. This day shall be ever
A holiday to me, that brings my prince
Under my humble roof. [Weeps.
Giov. See, sir, my good tutor
Sheds tears for joy.
Coz. Dry them up, Charomonte;
And all forbear the room, while we exchange
Some private words together.
Giov. O, my lord,
How grossly have we overshot ourselves!
Sanaz. In what, sir?
Giov. In forgetting to acquaint
[Pg 172]My guardian with our purpose: all that Lidia
Can do avails us nothing, if the duke
Find out the truth from him.
Sanaz. 'Tis now past help,
And we must stand the hazard:—hope the best, sir.
[Exeunt Giovanni, Sanazarro, and Attendants.
Char. My loyalty doubted, sir!
Coz. 'Tis more. Thou hast
Abused our trust, and in a high degree
Char. Treason! 'Tis a word
My innocence understands not. Were my breast
Transparent, and my thoughts to be discern'd,
Not one spot shall be found to taint the candour
Of my allegiance: and I must be bold
To tell you, sir, (for he that knows no guilt
Can know no fear,) 'tis tyranny to o'ercharge
An honest man; and such, till now, I've lived,
And such, my lord, I'll die.
Coz. Sir, do not flatter
Yourself with hope, these great and glorious words,
Which every guilty wretch, as well as you,
That's arm'd with impudence, can with ease deliver,
And with as full a mouth, can work on us:
Nor shall gay flourishes of language clear
What is in fact apparent.
Char. Fact! what fact?
You, that know only what it is, instruct me,
For I am ignorant.
Coz. This, then, sir: We gave up,
On our assurance of your faith and care,
Our nephew Giovanni, nay, our heir
In expectation, to be train'd up by you
[Pg 173] As did become a prince.
Char. And I discharged it:
Is this the treason?
Coz. Take us with you, sir.
And, in respect we knew his youth was prone
To women, and that, living in our court,
He might make some unworthy choice, before
His weaker judgment was confirm'd, we did
Remove him from it; constantly presuming,
You, with your best endeavours, rather would
Have quench'd those heats in him, than light a torch,
As you have done, to his looseness.
Char. I! my travail
Is ill requited, sir; for, by my soul,
I was so curious that way, that I granted
Access to none could tempt him; nor did ever
One syllable, or obscene accent, touch
His ear, that might corrupt him.
Coz. No! Why, then,
With your allowance, did you give free way
To all familiar privacy between
My nephew and your daughter? Or why did you
(Had you no other ends in 't but our service)
Read to them, and together, as they had been
Scholars of one form, grammar, rhetoric,
Philosophy, story, and interpret to them
The close temptations of lascivious poets?
Or wherefore, for we still had spies upon you,
Was she still present, when, by your advice,
[Pg 174]He was taught the use of his weapon, horsemanship,
Nay, wrestling, but to fan a love in her?
And then, forsooth, his exercises ended,
A fair pretence of recreation for him,
(When Lidia was instructed in those graces
That add to beauty,) he, brought to admire her,
Must hear her sing, while to her voice her hand
Made ravishing music; and, this applauded, dance
A light lavolta with her.
Char. Have you ended
All you can charge me with?
Coz. Nor stopt you there,
But they must unattended walk into
The silent groves, and hear the amorous birds
Warbling their wanton notes; here, a sure shade
Of barren sicamores, which the all-seeing sun
Could not pierce through; near that, an arbour hung
With spreading eglantine; there, a bubbling spring
Watering a bank of hyacinths and lilies;
With all allurements that could move to love.
And could this, Charomonte, (should I grant
They had been equals both in birth and fortune,)
Become your gravity? nay, 'tis clear as air,
That your ambitious hopes to match your daughter
Into our family, gave connivance to it:
And this, though not in act, in the intent
I call high treason.
Char. Hear my just defence, sir;
And, though you are my prince, it will not take from
[Pg 175]Your greatness, to acknowledge with a blush,
In this my accusation you have been
More sway'd by spleen, and jealous suppositions,
Than certain grounds of reason. You had a father,
(Blest be his memory!) that made frequent proofs
Of my loyalty and faith, and, would I boast
The dangers I have broke through in his service,
I could say more. Nay, you yourself, dread sir,
Whenever I was put unto the test,
Found me true gold, and not adulterate metal;
And am I doubted now?
Coz. This is from the purpose.
Char. I will come to it, sir: Your grace well knew,
Before the prince's happy presence made
My poor house rich, the chiefest blessing which
I gloried in, though now it prove a curse,
Was an only daughter. Nor did you command me,
As a security to your future fears,
To cast her off: which had you done, howe'er
She was the light of my eyes, and comfort of
My feeble age, so far I prized my duty
Above affection, she now had been
A stranger to my care. But she is fair!
Is that her fault, or mine? Did ever father
Hold beauty in his issue for a blemish?
You may, if you think fit, before my face,
In recompense of all my watchings for you,
With burning corrosives transform her to
An ugly leper. This I will rather suffer, sir,
Than live suspected by you.
Coz. Let not passion
Carry you beyond your reason.
Char. I am calm, sir;
Yet you must give me leave to grieve I find
[Pg 176]My actions misinterpreted. Alas! sir,
Was Lidia's desire to serve the prince
Call'd an offence? or did she practise to
Seduce his youth, because with her best zeal
And fervour she endeavour'd to attend him?
'Tis a hard construction. Though she be my daughter,
I may thus far speak her: from her infancy
She was ever civil, her behaviour nearer
Simplicity than craft; and malice dares not
Affirm, in one loose gesture, or light language,
She gave a sign she was in thought unchaste.
I'll fetch her to you, sir; and but look on her
With equal eyes, you must in justice grant
That your suspicion wrongs her.
Coz. It may be;
But I must have stronger assurance of it
Than passionate words: and, not to trifle time,
As we came unexpected to your house,
We will prevent all means that may prepare her
How to answer that with which we come to charge her.
And howsoever it may be received
As a foul breach to hospitable rites,
On thy allegiance and boasted faith,
Nay, forfeit of thy head, we do confine thee
Close prisoner to thy chamber till all doubts
Are clear'd that do concern us.
Char. I obey, sir,
And wish your grace had followed my hearse
To my sepulchre, my loyalty unsuspected,
Rather than now——But I am silent, sir,
And let that speak my duty. [Exit.
[Pg 177]Coz. If this man
Be false, disguised treachery ne'er put on
A shape so near to truth. Within, there!
Re-enter Giovanni and Sanazarro, ushering in Petronella. Calandrino and others setting forth a Banquet.
Coz. Bring Lidia forth.
Giov. She comes, sir, of herself,
To present her service to you.
Coz. Ha! This personage
Cannot invite affection.
Sanaz. See you keep state.
Petron. I warrant you.
Coz. The manners of her mind
Must be transcendent, if they can defend
Her rougher outside. May we with your liking
Salute you, lady?
Petron. Let me wipe my mouth, sir,
With my cambric handkerchief, and then have at you.
Coz. Can this be possible?
Sanaz. Yes, sir; you will find her
Such as I gave her to you.
Petron. Will your dukeship
Sit down and eat some sugar-plums? Here's a castle
Of march-pane too; and this quince-marmalade was
Of my own making; all summ'd up together,
Did cost the setting on: and here is wine too,
[Pg 178]As good as e'er was tapp'd. I'll be your taster,
For I know the fashion. [Drinks all off.]—Now you must do me right, sir;
You shall nor will nor choose.
Giov. She's very simple.
Coz. Simple! 'tis worse. Do you drink thus often, lady?
Petron. Still when I am thirsty, and eat when I am hungry:
Such junkets come not every day. Once more to you,
With a heart and a half, i' faith.
Coz. Pray you, pause a little.
Petron. Then I'll drink for you.
Coz. I'll find you out a pledge
That shall supply my place: what think you of
This complete signior? You are a Juno,
And in such state must feast this Jupiter:
What think you of him?
Petron. I desire no better.
Coz. And you will undertake this service for me?
You are good at the sport.
Cal. Who, I? a piddler, sir.
Coz. Nay, you shall sit enthroned, and eat and drink
As you were a duke.
Cal. If your grace will have me,
I'll eat and drink like an emperor.
Coz. Take your place, then:
[Calandrino takes the duke's chair.
We are amazed.
Giov. This is gross; nor can the imposture
But be discover'd.
Sanaz. The duke is too sharp-sighted
To be deluded thus.
Cal. Nay, pray you eat fair;
[Pg 179]Or divide, and I will choose. Cannot you use
Your fork, as I do? Gape, and I will feed you.
Gape wider yet; this is courtlike.
Petron. To choke daws with:——
I like it not.
Cal. But you like this?
Petron. Let it come, boy. [They drink.
Coz. What a sight is this! We could be angry with you.
How much you did belie her when you told us
She was only simple! this is barbarous rudeness,
Giov. I would not speak her, sir,
Worse than she was.
Sanaz. And I, my lord, chose rather
To deliver her better parted than she is,
Than to take from her.
Enter Caponi, with his fellow-servants for the dance.
Cap. Ere I'll lose my dance,
[Pg 180]I'll speak to the purpose. I am, sir, no prologue;
But in plain terms must tell you we are provided
Of a lusty hornpipe.
Coz. Prithee let us have it,
For we grow dull.
Cap. But to make up the medley,
For it is of several colours, we must borrow
Your grace's ghost here.
Cal. Pray you, sir, depose me;
It will not do else. I am, sir, the engine
[Rises, and resigns his chair.
By which it moves.
Petron. I will dance with my duke too;
I will not out.
Coz. Begin then.—[They dance.]—There's more in this
Than yet I have discover'd. Some Œdipus
Resolve this riddle.
Petron. Did I not foot it roundly? [Falls.
Coz. As I live, stark drunk! away with her. We'll reward you
[Exeunt Servants with Petronella.
When you have cool'd yourselves in the cellar.
Cap. Heaven preserve you!
Coz. We pity Charomonte's wretched fortune
In a daughter, nay, a monster. Good old man!—
The place grows tedious; our remove shall be
With speed: we'll only, in a word or two,
Take leave, and comfort him.
Sanaz. 'Twill rather, sir,
Increase his sorrow, that you know his shame;
Your grace may do it by letter.
Coz. Who sign'd you
A patent to direct us? Wait our coming,
[Pg 181]In the garden.
Giov. All will out.
Sanaz. I more than fear it.
[Exeunt Giovanni and Sanazarro.
Coz. These are strange chimeras to us: what to judge of 't,
Is past our apprehension. One command
Charomonte to attend us. [Exit an Attendant.]
Can it be
That Contarino could be so besotted,
As to admire this prodigy! or her father
To dote upon it! Or does she personate,
For some ends unknown to us, this rude behaviour,
Which, in the scene presented, would appear
Ridiculous and impossible?—O, you are welcome.
We now acknowledge the much wrong we did you
In our unjust suspicion. We have seen
The wonder, sir, your daughter.
Char. And have found her
Such as I did report her. What she wanted
In courtship, was, I hope, supplied in civil
And modest entertainment.
Coz. Pray you, tell us,
And truly, we command you—Did you never
Observe she was given to drink?
Char. To drink, sir!
Coz. Dare you trust your own eyes, if you find her now
More than distemper'd?
Char. I will pull them out, sir,
If your grace can make this good. And if you please
To grant me liberty, as she is I'll fetch her,
And in a moment.
Coz. Look you do, and fail not,
On the peril of your head.
Char. Drunk!—She disdains it. [Exit.
Coz. Such contrarieties were never read of.
Charomonte is no fool; nor can I think
His confidence built on sand. We are abused,
'Tis too apparent.
Re-enter Charomonte, with Lidia.
Lid. I am indisposed, sir;
And that life you once tender'd, much endanger'd
In forcing me from my chamber.
Char. Here she is, sir;
Suddenly sick, I grant; but sure, not drunk:
Speak to my lord the duke.
Lid. All is discover'd. [Kneels.
Coz. Is this your only daughter?
Char. And my heir, sir;
Nor keep I any woman in my house
(Unless for sordid offices) but one
I do maintain, trimm'd up in her cast habits,
To make her sport: and she, indeed, loves wine,
And will take too much of it; and, perhaps, for mirth,
She was presented to you.
Coz. It shall yield
No sport to the contrivers. 'Tis too plain now.
Her presence does confirm what Contarino
[Pg 183]Deliver'd of her; nor can sickness dim
The splendour of her beauties: being herself, then,
She must exceed his praise.
Lid. Will your grace hear me?
I'm faint, and can say little.
Coz. Here are accents
Whose every syllable is musical!
Pray you, let me raise you, and awhile rest here.
False Sanazarro, treacherous Giovanni!
But stand we talking!——
Char. Here's a storm soon raised.
Coz. As thou art our subject, Charomonte, swear
To act what we command.
Char. That is an oath
I long since took.
Coz. Then, by that oath we charge thee,
Without excuse, denial, or delay,
To apprehend, and suddenly, Sanazarro,
And our ingrateful nephew. We have said it.
Do it without reply, or we pronounce thee,
Like them, a traitor to us. See them guarded
In several lodgings, and forbid access
To all, but when we warrant. Is our will
Heard sooner than obey'd?
Char. These are strange turns;
But I must not dispute them. [Exit.
Coz. Be severe in 't.—
O my abused lenity! from what height
Is my power fall'n!
Lid. O me most miserable!
That, being innocent, makes others guilty.
Most gracious prince——
Coz. Pray you rise, and then speak to me.
Lid. My knees shall first be rooted in this earth,
[Pg 184]And, Myrrha-like, I'll grow up to a tree,
Dropping perpetual tears of sorrow, which
Harden'd by the rough wind, and turn'd to amber,
Unfortunate virgins like myself shall wear,
Before I'll make petition to your greatness,
But with such reverence, my hands held up thus,
As I would do to heaven. You princes are
As gods on earth to us, and to be sued to
With such humility, as his deputies
May challenge from their vassals.
Coz. Here's that form
Of language I expected; pray you, speak:
What is your suit?
Lid. That you look upon me
As an humble thing, that millions of degrees
Is placed beneath you: for what am I, dread sir,
Or what can fall in the whole course of my life,
That may be worth your care, much less your trouble?
As the lowly shrub is to the lofty cedar,
Or a molehill to Olympus, if compared,
I am to you, sir. Or, suppose the prince,
(Which cannot find belief in me,) forgetting
The greatness of his birth and hopes, hath thrown
An eye of favour on me, in me punish,
That am the cause, the rashness of his youth.
Shall the queen of the inhabitants of the air,
The eagle, that bears thunder on her wings,
In her angry mood destroy her hopeful young,
For suffering a wren to perch too near them?
Such is our disproportion.
Coz. With what fervour
She pleads against herself!
Lid. For me, poor maid,
[Pg 185]I know the prince to be so far above me,
That my wishes cannot reach him. Yet I am
So much his creature, that, to fix him in
Your wonted grace and favour, I'll abjure
His sight for ever, and betake myself
To a religious life, (where in my prayers
I may remember him,) and ne'er see man more,
But my ghostly father. Will you trust me, sir?
In truth I'll keep my word; or, if this fail,
A little more of fear what may befall him
Will stop my breath for ever.
Coz. Had you thus argued
As you were yourself, and brought as advocates
Your health and beauty to make way for you,
No crime of his could put on such a shape
But I should look with the eyes of mercy on it.
What would I give to see this diamond
In her perfect lustre, as she was before
The clouds of sickness dimm'd it! Yet, take comfort;
And, as you would obtain remission for
His treachery to me, cheer your drooping spirits,
And call the blood again into your cheeks,
And then plead for him; and in such a habit
As in your highest hopes you would put on,
If we were to receive you for our bride.
Lid. I'll do my best, sir.
Coz. And that best will be
A crown of all felicity to me. [Exeunt.
The same. An upper Chamber in Charomonte's House.
Sanaz. 'Tis proved in me: the curse of human frailty,
Adding to our afflictions, makes us know
What's good; and yet our violent passions force us
To follow what is ill. Reason assured me
It was not safe to shave a lion's skin;
And that to trifle with a sovereign was
To play with lightning: yet imperious beauty,
Treading upon the neck of understanding,
Compell'd me to put off my natural shape
Of loyal duty, to disguise myself
In the adulterate and cobweb-mask
Of disobedient treachery. Where is now
My borrow'd greatness, or the promised lives
Of following courtiers echoing my will?
In a moment vanish'd! Power that stands not on
Its proper base, which is peculiar only
To absolute princes, falls or rises with
Their frown or favour. The great duke, my master,
(Who almost changed me to his other self,)
No sooner takes his beams of comfort from me,
But I, as one unknown, or unregarded,
Unpitied suffer. Who makes intercession
To his mercy for me now? who does remember
[Pg 187]The service I have done him? not a man:
And such as spake no language but my lord
The favourite of Tuscany's grand duke,
Deride my madness.—Ha! what noise of horses?
[He looks out at the back window.
A goodly troop! This back part of my prison
Allows me liberty to see and know them.
Contarino! yes, 'tis he, and Lodovico:
And the duchess Fiorinda, Urbin's heir,
A princess I have slighted: yet I wear
Her favours; and, to teach me what I am,
She whom I scorn'd can only mediate for me.
This way she makes, yet speak to her I dare not;
And how to make suit to her is a task
Of as much difficulty.—Yes, thou blessed pledge
[Takes off the ring.
Of her affection, aid me! This supplies
The want of pen and ink; and this, of paper.
[Takes a pane of glass.
It must be so; and I in my petition
Concise and pithy. [Exit.
The Court before Charomonte's House.
Enter Contarino, leading in Fiorinda, Alphonso, Hippolito, Hieronimo, and Calaminta.
Fior. 'Tis a goodly pile, this.
Hier. But better by the owner.
Alph. But most rich
In the great states it covers.
Fior. The duke's pleasure
Commands us hither.
Cont. Which was laid on us
To attend you to it.
Hip. Signior Charomonte,
To see your excellence his guest, will think
Himself most happy.
Fior. Tie my shoe.—[The pane falls down.]—What's that?
A pane thrown from the window, no wind stirring!
Calam. And at your feet too fall'n:—there's something writ on 't.
Cont. Some courtier, belike, would have it known
He wore a diamond.
Calam. Ha! it is directed
To the princess Fiorinda.
Fior. We will read it. [Reads.
Of me the most beloved; and I will save thee,
Or perish with thee. Sure, thy fault must be
Of some prodigious shape, if that my prayers
And humble intercession to the duke
Enter Cozimo and Charomonte.
Prevail not with him. Here he comes; delay
Shall not make less my benefit.
Coz. What we purpose
Shall know no change, and therefore move we not:
[Pg 189]We were made as properties, and what we shall
Determine of them cannot be call'd rigour,
But noble justice. When they proved disloyal,
They were cruel to themselves. The prince that pardons
The first affront offer'd to majesty,
Invites a second, rendering that power
Subjects should tremble at, contemptible.
Ingratitude is a monster, Carolo,
To be strangled in the birth, not to be cherish'd.
Madam, you're happily met with.
Fior. Sir, I am
An humble suitor to you; and the rather
Am confident of a grant, in that your grace,
When I made choice to be at your devotion,
Vow'd to deny me nothing.
Coz. To this minute
We have confirm'd it. What's your boon?
Fior. It is, sir,
That you, in being gracious to your servant,
The ne'er sufficiently praised Sanazarro,
That now under your heavy displeasure suffers,
Would be good unto yourself. His services,
So many, and so great, (your storm of fury
Calm'd by your better judgment,) must inform you
Some little slip, for sure it is no more,
From his loyal duty, with your justice cannot
Make foul his fair deservings. Great sir, therefore,
Look backward on his former worth, and turning
Your eye from his offence, what 'tis I know not,
And, I am confident, you will receive him
Once more into your favour.
Coz. You say well,
You are ignorant in the nature of his fault;
[Pg 190]Which when you understand, as we'll instruct you,
Your pity will appear a charity,
It being conferr'd on an unthankful man,
To be repented. He's a traitor, madam,
To you, to us, to gratitude; and in that
All crimes are comprehended.
Fior. If his offence
Aim'd at me only, whatsoe'er it is,
'Tis freely pardon'd.
Coz. This compassion in you
Must make the colour of his guilt more ugly.
The honours we have hourly heap'd upon him,
The titles, the rewards, to the envy of
The old nobility, as the common people,
We now forbear to touch at, and will only
Insist on his gross wrongs to you. You were pleased,
Forgetting both yourself and proper greatness,
To favour him, nay, to court him to embrace
A happiness, which, on his knees, with joy
He should have sued for. Who repined not at
The grace you did him? yet, in recompense
Of your large bounties, the disloyal wretch
Makes you a stale; and, what he might be by you,
Scorn'd and derided, gives himself up wholly
To the service of another. If you can
Bear this with patience, we must say you have not
The bitterness of spleen, or ireful passions
Familiar to women. Pause upon it,
And when you seriously have weigh'd his carriage,
Move us again, if your reason will allow it,
His treachery known: and then, if you continue
An advocate for him, we perhaps, because
We would deny you nothing, may awake
Our sleeping mercy. Carolo!
[Pg 191] Char. My lord. [They talk aside.
Fior. To endure a rival that were equal to me,
Cannot but speak my poverty of spirit;
But an inferior, more: yet true love must not
Know or degrees, or distances. Lidia may be
As far above me in her form, as she
Is in her birth beneath me; and what I
In Sanazarro liked, he loves in her.
But, if I free him now, the benefit
Being done so timely, and confirming too
My strength and power, my soul's best faculties being
Bent wholly to preserve him, must supply me
With all I am defective in, and bind him
My creature ever. It must needs be so,
Nor will I give it o'er thus.
Coz. Does your nephew
Bear his restraint so constantly, as you
Deliver it to us?
Char. In my judgment, sir,
He suffers more for his offence to you,
Than in his fear of what can follow it.
For he is so collected, and prepared
To welcome that you shall determine of him,
As if his doubts and fears were equal to him.
And sure he's not acquainted with much guilt,
That more laments the telling one untruth,
Under your pardon still, for 'twas a fault, sir,
Than others, that pretend to conscience, do
Their crying secret sins.
Coz. No more; this gloss
Defends not the corruption of the text.
Urge it no more.
[Pg 192] [Charomonte and the others talk aside.
Fior. I once more must make bold, sir,
To trench upon your patience. I have
Consider'd my wrongs duly: yet that cannot
Divert my intercession for a man
Your grace, like me, once favour'd. I am still
A suppliant to you, that you would vouchsafe
The hearing his defence, and that I may,
With your allowance, see and comfort him.
Then, having heard all that he can allege
In his excuse, for being false to you,
Censure him as you please.
Coz. You will o'ercome;
There's no contending with you. Pray you, enjoy
What you desire, and tell him, he shall have
A speedy trial; in which, we will forbear
To sit a judge, because our purpose is
To rise up his accuser.
Fior. All increase
Of happiness wait on Cozimo!
[Exeunt Fiorinda and Calaminta.
Alph. Was it no more?
Char. My honour's pawn'd for it.
Cont. I'll second you.
Hip. Since it is for the service and the safety
Of the hopeful prince, fall what can fall, I'll run
The desperate hazard.
Hier. He's no friend to virtue
That does decline it.
[They all come forward and kneel.
Coz. Ha! what sue you for?
Shall we be ever troubled? Do not tempt
That anger may consume you.
Char. Let it, sir:
The loss is less, though innocents we perish,
[Pg 193]Than that your sister's son should fall, unheard,
Under your fury. Shall we fear to entreat
That grace for him, that are your faithful servants,
Which you vouchsafe the count, like us a subject?
Coz. Did not we vow, till sickness had forsook
Thy daughter Lidia, and she appear'd
In her perfect health and beauty to plead for him,
We were deaf to all persuasion?
Char. And that hope, sir,
Hath wrought a miracle. She is recover'd,
And, if you please to warrant her, will bring
The penitent prince before you.
Coz. To enjoy
Such happiness, what would we not dispense with?
Alph. Hip. Hier. We all kneel for the prince.
Cont. Nor can it stand
With your mercy, that are gracious to strangers,
To be cruel to your own.
Coz. But art thou certain
I shall behold her at the best?
Char. If ever
She was handsome, as it fits not me to say so,
She is now much better'd.
Coz. Rise; thou art but dead,
If this prove otherwise. Lidia, appear,
And feast an appetite almost pined to death
With longing expectation to behold
Thy excellencies: thou, as beauty's queen,
Shalt censure the detractors. Let my nephew
Be led in triumph under her command;
[Pg 194]We'll have it so; and Sanazarro tremble
To think whom he hath slander'd. We'll retire
Ourselves a little, and prepare to meet
A blessing, which imagination tells us
We are not worthy of: and then come forth,
But with such reverence, as if I were
Myself the priest, the sacrifice my heart,
To offer at the altar of that goodness
That must or kill or save me. [Exit.
Char. Are not these
Strange gambols in the duke?
Alph. Great princes have,
Like meaner men, their weakness.
Hip. And may use it
Without control or check.
Cont. 'Tis fit they should;
Their privilege were less else, than their subjects'.
Hier. Let them have their humours; there's no crossing them. [Exeunt.
A State-room in the same.
Enter Fiorinda, Sanazarro, and Calaminta.
Sanaz. And can it be, your bounties should fall down
In showers on my ingratitude, or the wrongs
Your greatness should revenge, teach you to pity?
What retribution can I make, what service
Pay to your goodness, that, in some proportion,
May to the world express I would be thankful?
Since my engagements are so great, that all
[Pg 195]My best endeavours to appear your creature
Can but proclaim my wants, and what I owe
To your magnificence.
Fior. All debts are discharged
In this acknowledgment: yet, since you please
I shall impose some terms of satisfaction
For that which you profess yourself obliged for,
They shall be gentle ones, and such as will not,
I hope, afflict you.
Sanaz. Make me understand,
Great princess, what they are, and my obedience
Shall, with all cheerful willingness, subscribe
To what you shall command.
Fior. I will bind you to
Make good your promise. First, I then enjoin you
To love a lady, that, a noble way,
Truly affects you; and that you would take
To your protection and care the dukedom
Of Urbin, which no more is mine, but yours.
And that, when you have full possession of
My person as my fortune, you would use me,
Not as a princess, but instruct me in
The duties of an humble wife, for such,
The privilege of my birth no more remember'd,
I will be to you. This consented to,
All injuries are forgotten.
Sanaz. I am wretched,
In having but one life to be employ'd
As you please to dispose it. And, believe it,
If it be not already forfeited
To the fury of my prince, as 'tis your gift,
With all the faculties of my soul I'll study,
In what I may, to serve you.
Fior. I am happy [Pg 196]
Enter Giovanni and Lidia.
In this assurance. What sweet lady's this?
Sanaz. 'Tis Lidia, madam, she——
Fior. I understand you.
Nay, blush not; by my life, she is a rare one!
And, if I were your judge, I would not blame you
To like and love her. But, sir, you are mine now;
And I presume so on your constancy,
That I dare not be jealous.
Sanaz. All thoughts of her
Are in your goodness buried.
Lid. Pray you, sir,
Be comforted; your innocence should not know
What 'tis to fear; and if that you but look on
The guards that you have in yourself, you cannot.
The duke's your uncle, sir, and, though a little
Incensed against you, when he sees your sorrow,
He must be reconciled. What rugged Tartar,
Or cannibal, though bathed in human gore,
But, looking on your sweetness, would forget
His cruel nature, and let fall his weapon,
Though then aim'd at your throat?
Giov. O Lidia,
Of maids the honour, and your sex's glory!
It is not fear to die, but to lose you,
That brings this fever on me. I will now
Discover to you, that which, till this minute,
I durst not trust the air with. Ere you knew
What power the magic of your beauty had,
I was enchanted by it, liked, and loved it,
My fondness still increasing with my years;
[Pg 197]And, flatter'd by false hopes, I did attend
Some blessed opportunity to move
The duke with his consent to make you mine:
But now, such is my star-cross'd destiny,
When he beholds you as you are, I may
As well entreat him give away his crown,
As to part from a jewel of more value.
Yet, howsoever, when you are his duchess,
And I am turn'd into forgotten dust,
Pray you, love my memory:—I should say more,
But I'm cut off.
Enter Cozimo, Charomonte, Contarino, Hieronimo, Hippolito, and Alphonso.
Sanaz. The duke! That countenance, once,
When it was clothed in smiles, show'd like an angel's,
But, now 'tis folded up in clouds of fury,
'Tis terrible to look on.
Coz. A while
Silence your musical tongue, and let me feast
My eyes with the most ravishing object that
They ever gazed on. There's no miniature
In her fair face, but is a copious theme
Which would, discoursed at large of, make a volume.
What clear arch'd brows! what sparkling eyes! the lilies
Contending with the roses in her cheeks,
Who shall most set them off. What ruby lips!—
Or unto what can I compare her neck,
But to a rock of crystal? every limb
Proportion'd to love's wish, and in their neatness
Add lustre to the riches of her habit,
[Pg 198] Not borrow from it.
Lid. You are pleased to show, sir,
The fluency of your language, in advancing
A subject much unworthy.
Coz. How! unworthy?
By all the vows which lovers offer at
The Cyprian goddess' altars, eloquence
Itself presuming, as you are, to speak you,
Would be struck dumb!—And what have you deserved then, [Giovanni and Sanazarro kneel.
(Wretches, you kneel too late,) that have endeavour'd
To spout the poison of your black detraction
On this immaculate whiteness? Was it malice
To her perfections? or——
Fior. Your highness promised
A gracious hearing to the count.
Lid. And prince too:
Do not make void so just a grant.
Coz. We will not:
Yet, since their accusation must be urged,
And strongly, ere their weak defence have hearing,
We seat you here, as judges, to determine
Of your gross wrongs and ours. [Seats the Ladies in the chairs of state.] And now, remembering
Whose deputies you are, be neither sway'd
Or with particular spleen, or foolish pity,
For neither can become you.
Char. There's some hope yet,
Since they have such gentle judges.
Coz. Rise, and stand forth, then,
And hear, with horror to your guilty souls,
What we will prove against you. Could this princess,
[Pg 199]Thou enemy to thyself, [To Sanazarro.] stoop her high flight
Of towering greatness to invite thy lowness
To look up to it, and with nimble wings
Of gratitude couldst thou forbear to meet it?
Were her favours boundless in a noble way,
And warranted by our allowance, yet,
In thy acceptation, there appear'd no sign
Of a modest thankfulness?
Fior. Pray you, forbear
To press that further; 'tis a fault we have
Already heard, and pardon'd.
Coz. We will then
Pass over it, and briefly touch at that
Which does concern ourself; in which both being
Equal offenders, what we shall speak points
Indifferently at either. How we raised thee,
Forgetful Sanazarro! of our grace,
To a full possession of power and honours,
It being too well known, we'll not remember.
And what thou wert, rash youth, in expectation,
And from which headlong thou hast thrown thyself,
Not Florence, but all Tuscany, can witness
With admiration. To assure thy hopes,
We did keep constant to a widow'd bed,
And did deny ourself those lawful pleasures
Our absolute power and height of blood allow'd us;
Made both, the keys that open'd our heart's secrets,
And what you spake, believed as oracles:
But you, in recompense of this, to him
That gave you all, to whom you owed your being,
With treacherous lies endeavour'd to conceal
This jewel from our knowledge, which ourself
[Pg 200] Could only lay just claim to.
Giov. 'Tis most true, sir.
Sanaz. We both confess a guilty cause.
Coz. Look on her.
Is this a beauty fit to be embraced
By any subject's arms? can any tire
Become that forehead but a diadem?
Or, should we grant your being false to us
Could be excused, your treachery to her,
In seeking to deprive her of that greatness
(Her matchless worth consider'd) she was born to,
Must ne'er find pardon. We have spoken, ladies,
Like a rough orator, that brings more truth
Than rhetoric to make good his accusation;
And now expect your sentence.
[The Ladies descend from the state.
Lid. In your birth, sir,
You were mark'd out the judge of life and death,
And we, that are your subjects, to attend,
With trembling fear, your doom.
Fior. We do resign
This chair, as only proper to yourself.
Giov. And, since injustice we are lost, we fly
Unto your saving mercy. [All kneeling.
Sanaz. Which sets off
A prince much more than rigour.
Char. And becomes him,
When 'tis express'd to such as fell by weakness,
That being a twin-born brother to affection,
Better than wreaths of conquest.
Hier. Hip. Cont. Alph. We all speak
[Pg 201] Their language, mighty sir.
Coz. You know our temper,
And therefore with more boldness venture on it:
And, would not our consent to your demands
Deprive us of a happiness hereafter
Ever to be despair'd of, we, perhaps,
Might hearken nearer to you; and could wish
With some qualification, or excuse,
You might make less the mountains of your crimes,
And so invite our clemency to feast with you.
But you, that knew with what impatiency
Of grief we parted from the fair Clarinda,
Our duchess, (let her memory still be sacred!)
And with what imprecations on ourself
We vow'd, not hoping e'er to see her equal,
Ne'er to make trial of a second choice,
If nature framed not one that did excel her,
As this maid's beauty prompts us that she does:—
And yet, with oaths then mix'd with tears, upon
Her monument we swore our eye should never
Again be tempted;—'tis true, and those vows
Are register'd above, something here tells me.—
Carolo, thou heard'st us swear.
Char. And swear so deeply,
That if all women's beauties were in this,
(As she's not to be named with the dead duchess,)
Nay, all their virtues bound up in one story,
(Of which mine is scarce an epitome,)
If you should take her as a wife, the weight
Of your perjuries would sink you. If I durst,
I had told you this before.
Coz. 'Tis strong truth, Carolo:
And yet what was necessity in us
Cannot free them from treason.
[Pg 202]Char. There's your error:
The prince, in care to have you keep your vows
Made unto Heaven, vouchsafed to love my daughter.
Lid. He told me so, indeed, sir.
Fior. And the count
Averr'd as much to me.
Cos. You all conspire,
To force our mercy from us.
Char. Which given up,
To aftertimes preserves you unforsworn:
An honour which will live upon your tomb
When your greatness is forgotten.
Coz. Though we know
All this is practice, and that both are false,
Such reverence we will pay to dead Clarinda,
And to our serious oaths, that we are pleased
With our own hand to blind our eyes, and not
Know what we understand. Here, Giovanni,
We pardon thee; and take from us, in this,
More than our dukedom: love her. As I part
With her, all thoughts of women fly fast from us.
Sanazarro, we forgive you: in your service
[Pg 203]To this princess, merit it. Yet let not others
That are in trust and grace, as you have been,
By the example of our lenity,
Presume upon their sovereign's clemency.
Enter Calandrino and Petronella.
All. Long live great Cozimo!
Cal. Sure the duke is
In the giving vein, they are so loud. Come on, spouse;
We have heard all, and we will have our boon too.
Coz. What is it?
Cal. That your grace, in remembrance of
My share in a dance, and that I play'd your part
When you should have drunk hard, would get this signior's grant
To give this damsel to me in the church,
For we are contracted. In it you shall do
Your dukedom pleasure.
Cal. Why, the whole race
Of such as can act naturally fools' parts
Are quite worn out; and they that do survive
Do only zany us: and we will bring you,
If we die not without issue, of both sexes
Such chopping mirth-makers, as shall preserve
Perpetual cause of sport, both to your grace
And your posterity, that sad melancholy
Shall ne'er approach you.
Coz. We are pleased in it,
And will pay her portion.——[Comes forward.
May the passage prove,
Of what's presented, worthy of your love
And favour, as was aim'd; and we have all
That can in compass of our wishes fall. [Exeunt.
The Bondman was performed, as we learn from the Office-book of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels, at the Cockpit in Drury-lane, December 3, 1623. It was printed the following year, and again in 1638.
The main incident of the plot is taken from the life of Timoleon, as related by Plutarch. The revolt and subsequent reduction of the slaves to their duty may have been taken either from Herodotus or Justin, or Purchas's Pilgrim. The artifice by which they are quelled is silly and unnatural, and its introduction degrades a very beautifully managed plot.
The play was revived in 1660 by Betterton, who played Pisander; and several alterations of it have since been produced, but without success.
Our author never writes with more effect than when he combines his own fancy with real history; and in The Bondman he has produced a piece which is, with few exceptions, at once stately and playful, impressive and tender. He matures the love under the cover of the history; till at length the interest changes, and the history becomes subordinate to the love.
The characters are drawn with much variety and interest. The modest gravity and self-command of Timoleon well agrees with the ancient descriptions of the man from whose mouth nihil unquam insolens, neque gloriosum exiit.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, MY SINGULAR GOOD LORD,
PHILIP, EARL OF MONTGOMERY,
KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, &C.
However I could never arrive at the happiness to be made known to your lordship, yet a desire, born with me, to make a tender of all duties and service to the noble family of the Herberts, descended to me as an inheritance from my dead father, Arthur Massinger. Many years he happily spent in the service of your honourable house, and died a servant to it; leaving his to be ever most glad and ready to be at the command of all such as derive themselves from his most honoured master, your lordship's most noble father. The consideration of this encouraged me (having no other means to present my humblest service to your honour) to shroud this trifle under the wings of your noble protection; and I hope, out of the clemency of your heroic disposition, it will find, though perhaps not a welcome entertainment, yet, at the worst, a gracious pardon. When it was first acted, your lordship's liberal suffrage taught others to allow it for current, it having received the undoubted stamp of your lordship's allowance: and if in the perusal of any vacant hour, when your honour's more serious occasions shall give you leave to read it, it answer, in your lordship's judgment, the report and opinion it had upon the stage, I shall esteem my labours not ill employed, and, while I live, continue
the humblest of those that
truly honour your lordship,
|Timoleon, the general, of Corinth.|
|Archidamus, prætor of Syracusa.|
|Diphilus, a senator of Syracusa.|
|Cleon, a fat foolish lord.|
|Marullo, the Bondman (i. e. Pisander, a gentleman of Thebes, disguised as a slave).|
|Poliphron, friend to Marullo, also disguised as a slave.|
|Leosthenes, a gentleman of Syracusa, enamoured of Cleora.|
|Asotus, a foolish lover, and the son of Cleon.|
|Timagoras, the son of Archidamus.|
|Cleora, daughter of Archidamus.|
|Corisca, a proud lady, wife to Cleon.|
|Olympia, a rich widow.|
|Timandra, slave to Cleora (i. e. Statilia, sister to Pisander).|
|Zanthia, slave to Corisca.|
|Other Slaves, Soldiers, Officers, Senators.|
SCENE, Syracuse, and the adjacent country.
The Camp of Timoleon, near Syracuse.
Enter Timagoras and Leosthenes.
Timag. Why should you droop, Leosthenes, or despair
My sister's favour? What, before, you purchased
By courtship and fair language, in these wars
(For from her soul you know she loves a soldier)
You may deserve by action.
Leost. Good Timagoras,
When I have said my friend, think all is spoken
That may assure me yours; and pray you believe,
The dreadful voice of war that shakes the city,
The thundering threats of Carthage, nor their army
Raised to make good those threats, affright not me.—
If fair Cleora were confirm'd his prize
That has the strongest arm and sharpest sword,
I'd court Bellona in her horrid trim,
As if she were a mistress; and bless fortune,
That offers my young valour to the proof,
[Pg 210]How much I dare do for your sister's love.
But, when that I consider how averse
Your noble father, great Archidamus,
Is, and hath ever been, to my desires,
Reason may warrant me to doubt and fear,
What seeds soever I sow in these wars
Of noble courage, his determinate will
May blast, and give my harvest to another,
That never toil'd for it.
Timag. Prithee, do not nourish
These jealous thoughts; I am thine, (and pardon me,
Though I repeat it,) thy Timagoras,
That, for thy sake, when the bold Theban sued,
Far-famed Pisander, for my sister's love,
Sent him disgraced and discontented home.
I wrought my father then; and I, that stopp'd not
In the career of my affection to thee,
When that renowned worthy, that brought with him
High birth, wealth, courage, as feed advocates
To mediate for him; never will consent
A fool, that only has the shape of man,
Asotus, though he be rich Cleon's heir,
Shall bear her from thee.
Leost. In that trust I love.
Timag. Which never shall deceive you.
Mar. Sir, the general,
Timoleon, by his trumpets hath given warning
For a remove.
Timag. 'Tis well; provide my horse.
Mar. I shall, sir. [Exit.
[Pg 211] Leost. This slave has a strange aspect.
Timag. Fit for his fortune; 'tis a strong-limb'd knave:
My father bought him for my sister's litter.
O pride of women! Coaches are too common—
They surfeit in the happiness of peace,
And ladies think they keep not state enough,
If, for their pomp and ease, they are not borne
In triumph on men's shoulders.
Leost. Who commands
The Carthaginian fleet?
Timag. Gisco's their admiral,
And 'tis our happiness; a raw young fellow,
One never train'd in arms, but rather fashion'd
To tilt with ladies' lips, than crack a lance;
Ravish a feather from a mistress' fan,
And wear it as a favour. A steel helmet,
Made horrid with a glorious plume, will crack
His woman's neck.
Leost. No more of him.—The motives,
That Corinth gives us aid?
Timag. The common danger;
[Pg 212]For Sicily being afire, she is not safe:
It being apparent that ambitious Carthage,
That, to enlarge her empire, strives to fasten
An unjust gripe on us that live free lords
Of Syracusa, will not end, till Greece
Acknowledge her their sovereign.
Leost. I am satisfied.
What think you of our general?
Timag. He's a man
Of strange and reserved parts; but a great soldier.
His trumpets call us, I'll forbear his character:
To-morrow, in the senate-house, at large
He will express himself.
Leost. I'll follow you. [Exeunt.
Syracuse. The Senate-house.
Enter Archidamus, Cleon, Diphilus, Olympia, Corisca, Cleora, and Zanthia.
Archid. So careless we have been, my noble lords,
In the disposing of our own affairs,
And ignorant in the art of government,
That now we need a stranger to instruct us.
Yet we are happy that our neighbour Corinth,
Pitying the unjust gripe Carthage would lay
On Syracusa, hath vouchsafed to lend us
Her man of men, Timoleon, to defend
Our country and our liberties.
Diph. 'Tis a favour
We are unworthy of, and we may blush
Necessity compels us to receive it.
Archid. O shame! that we, that are a populous nation,
Engaged to liberal nature for all blessings
An island can bring forth; we, that have limbs,
And able bodies; shipping, arms, and treasure,
The sinews of the war, now we are call'd
To stand upon our guard, cannot produce
One fit to be our general.
Cleon. I am old and fat;
I could say something, else.
Archid. We must obey
The time and our occasions; ruinous buildings,
Whose bases and foundations are infirm,
Must use supporters: we are circled round
With danger; o'er our heads, with sail-stretch'd wings,
Destruction hovers, and a cloud of mischief
Ready to break upon us; no hope left us
That may divert it, but our sleeping virtue,
Roused up by brave Timoleon.
Cleon. When arrives he?
Diph. He is expected every hour.
Archid. The braveries
Of Syracusa, among whom my son,
Timagoras, Leosthenes, and Asotus,
Your hopeful heir, lord Cleon, two days since
Rode forth to meet him, and attend him to
The city; every minute we expect
To be bless'd with his presence.
[Shouts within; then a flourish of trumpets.
Cleon. What shout's this?
Diph. 'Tis seconded with loud music.
Archid. Which confirms
[Pg 214] His wish'd-for entrance. Let us entertain him
With all respect, solemnity, and pomp,
A man may merit, that comes to redeem us
From slavery and oppression.
Cleon. I'll lock up
My doors, and guard my gold: these lads of Corinth
Have nimble fingers, and I fear them more,
Being within our walls, than those of Carthage;
They are far off.
Archid. And, ladies, be it your care
To welcome him and his followers with all duty:
For rest resolved, their hands and swords must keep you
In that full height of happiness you live;
A dreadful change else follows.
[Exeunt Archidamus, Cleon, and Diphilus.
Olymp. We are instructed.
Coris. Musing, Cleora?
Olymp. She's studying how to entertain these strangers,
And to engross them to herself.
Cleor. No, surely.
Olymp. No more; they come.
Flourish of trumpets. Enter Timagoras, Leosthenes, Asotus, Timoleon in black, led in by Archidamus, Diphilus, and Cleon; followed by Marullo, Gracculo, Cimbrio, and other Slaves.
Archid. It is your seat: which, with a general suffrage, [Offering Timoleon the state.
[Pg 215] As to the supreme magistrate, Sicily tenders,
And prays Timoleon to accept.
Timol. Such honours
To one ambitious of rule or titles,
Whose heaven on earth is placed in his command,
And absolute power o'er others, would with joy,
And veins swollen high with pride, be entertain'd.
They take not me; for I have ever loved
An equal freedom, and proclaim'd all such
As would usurp on others' liberties
Rebels to nature, to whose bounteous blessings
All men lay claim as true legitimate sons:
But such as have made forfeit of themselves
By vicious courses, and their birthright lost,
'Tis not injustice they are mark'd for slaves,
To serve the virtuous. For myself, I know
Honours and great employments are great burdens,
And must require an Atlas to support them.
He that would govern others, first should be
The master of himself, richly endued
[Pg 216]With depth of understanding, height of courage,
And those remarkable graces which I dare not
Ascribe unto myself.
Archid. Sir, empty men
Are trumpets of their own deserts; but you,
That are not in opinion, but in proof,
Really good, and full of glorious parts,
Leave the report of what you are to fame,
Which, from the ready tongues of all good men,
Aloud proclaims you.
Diph. Besides, you stand bound,
Having so large a field to exercise
Your active virtues offer'd you, to impart
Your strength to such as need it.
Timol. 'Tis confess'd;
And, since you'll have it so, such as I am,
For you, and for the liberty of Greece,
I am most ready to lay down my life:
But yet consider, men of Syracusa,
Before that you deliver up the power,
Which yet is yours, to me,—to whom 'tis given;
To an impartial man, with whom nor threats
Nor prayers shall prevail; for I must steer
An even course.
Archid. Which is desired of all.
Timol. Timophanes, my brother, for whose death
I am tainted in the world, and foully tainted;
In whose remembrance I have ever worn,
In peace and war, this livery of sorrow;
Can witness for me how much I detest
Tyrannous usurpation. With grief
I must remember it; for when no persuasion
Could win him to desist from his bad practice,
To change the aristocracy of Corinth
Into an absolute monarchy, I chose rather
To prove a pious and obedient son
To my country, my best mother, than to lend
Assistance to Timophanes, though my brother,
That, like a tyrant, strove to set his foot
Upon the city's freedom.
Timag. 'Twas a deed
Deserving rather trophies than reproof.
Leost. And will be still remember'd to your honour,
If you forsake not us.
Diph. If you free Sicily
From barbarous Carthage' yoke, it will be said
In him you slew a tyrant.
Archid. But, giving way
To her invasion, not vouchsafing us
That fly to your protection aid and comfort,
'Twill be believed that, for your private ends,
You kill'd a brother.
Timol. As I then proceed,
To all posterity may that act be crown'd
With a deserved applause, or branded with
The mark of infamy.—Stay yet: ere I take
This seat of justice, or engage myself
To fight for you abroad, or to reform
Your state at home, swear all upon my sword,
And call the gods of Sicily to witness
The oath you take, that whatsoe'er I shall
Propound for safety of your commonwealth,
Not circumscribed or bound in, shall by you
Be willingly obey'd.
Archid. Diph. Cleon. So may we prosper,
As we obey in all things!
Timag. Leost. Asot. And observe
All your commands as oracles!
Timol. Do not repent it. [Takes the state.
Olymp. He ask'd not our consent.
Coris. He's a clown, I warrant him.
Olymp. He thinks women
No part of the republic.
Coris. He shall find
We are a commonwealth.
Cleo. The less your honour.
Timol. First, then, a word or two, but without bitterness,
(And yet mistake me not, I am no flatterer,)
Concerning your ill government of the state;
In which the greatest, noblest, and most rich,
Stand, in the first file, guilty.
[Pg 219] Cleon. Ha! how's this?
Timol. You have not, as good patriots should do, studied
The public good, but your particular ends;
Factious among yourselves, preferring such
To offices and honours, as ne'er read
The elements of saving policy,
But deeply skill'd in all the principles
That usher to destruction.
Timag. The better.
Timol. Your senate-house, which used not to admit
A man, however popular, to stand
At the helm of government, whose youth was not
Made glorious by action; whose experience,
Crown'd with gray hairs, gave warrant to his counsels,
Heard and received with reverence; is now fill'd
With green heads, that determine of the state
Over their cups, or when their sated lusts
Afford them leisure; or supplied by those
Who, rising from base arts and sordid thrift,
Are eminent for their wealth, not for their wisdom:
Which is the reason that to hold a place
In council, which was once esteem'd an honour,
And a reward for virtue, hath quite lost
Lustre and reputation, and is made
A mercenary purchase.
Timag. He speaks home.
Leost. And to the purpose.
Timol. From whence it proceeds,
That the treasure of the city is engross'd
By a few private men, the public coffers
[Pg 220]Hollow with want; and they, that will not spare
One talent for the common good, to feed
The pride and bravery of their wives, consume,
In plate, in jewels, and superfluous slaves,
What would maintain an army.
Coris. Have at us!
Olymp. We thought we were forgot.
Cleo. But it appears
You will be treated of.
Timol. Yet, in this plenty,
And fat of peace, your young men ne'er were train'd
In martial discipline; and your ships unrigg'd
Rot in the harbour: no defence prepared,
But thought unuseful; as if that the gods,
Indulgent to your sloth, had granted you
A perpetuity of pride and pleasure,
No change fear'd or expected. Now you find
That Carthage, looking on your stupid sleeps
And dull security, was invited to
Invade your territories.
Archid. You have made us see, sir,
To our shame, the country's sickness: now from you,
As from a careful and a wise physician,
We do expect the cure.
Timol. Old fester'd sores
Must be lanced to the quick, and cauterized;
Which borne with patience, after I'll apply
Soft unguents. For the maintenance of the war,
It is decreed all moneys in the hand
Of private men shall instantly be brought
To the public treasury.
Timag. This bites sore.
Cleon. The cure
Is worse than the disease; I'll never yield to 't:
What could the enemy, though victorious,
[Pg 221]Inflict more on us? All that my youth hath toil'd for,
Purchased with industry, and preserved with care,
Forced from me in a moment!
Diph. This rough course
Will never be allow'd of.
Timol. O blind men!
If you refuse the first means that is offer'd
To give you health, no hope's left to recover
Your desperate sickness. Do you prize your muck
Above your liberties? and rather choose
To be made bondmen, than to part with that
To which already you are slaves? Or can it
Be probable, in your flattering apprehensions,
You can capitulate with the conquerors,
And keep that yours which they come to possess,
And, while you kneel in vain, will ravish from you?
—But take your own ways; brood upon your gold.
Sacrifice to your idol, and preserve
The prey entire, and merit the report
Of careful stewards: yield a just account
To your proud masters, who, with whips of iron,
Will force you to give up what you conceal,
Or tear it from your throats: adorn your walls
With Persian hangings wrought of gold and pearl;
Cover the floors on which they are to tread
With costly Median silks; perfume the rooms
With cassia and amber, where they are
To feast and revel; while, like servile grooms,
You wait upon their trenchers: feed their eyes
With massy plate, until your cupboards crack
With the weight that they sustain; and, to perfect
Their entertainment, offer up your sons
[Pg 222]And able men for slaves; while you, that are
Unfit for labour, are spurn'd out to starve,
Unpitied, in some desert, no friend by,
Whose sorrow may spare one compassionate tear
In the remembrance of what once you were.
Leost. The blood turns.
Timag. Observe how old Cleon shakes,
As if in picture he had shown him what
He was to suffer.
Coris. I am sick: the man
Speaks poniards and diseases.
Olymp. O my doctor!
I never shall recover.
Cleo. [coming forward.] If a virgin,
Whose speech was ever yet usher'd with fear,
One knowing modesty and humble silence
To be the choicest ornaments of our sex,
In the presence of so many reverend men
Struck dumb with terror and astonishment,
Presume to clothe her thought in vocal sounds,
Let her find pardon. First to you, great sir,
A bashful maid's thanks, and her zealous prayers
Wing'd with pure innocence, bearing them to heaven,
For all prosperity that the gods can give
To one whose piety must exact their care,
Thus low I offer.
Timol. 'Tis a happy omen.
Rise, blest one, and speak boldly. On my virtue,
I am thy warrant from so clear a spring
Sweet rivers ever flow.
Cleo. Then, thus to you,
My noble father, and these lords, to whom
[Pg 223]I next owe duty: no respect forgotten
To you, my brother, and these bold young men,
(Such I would have them,) that are, or should he,
The city's sword and target of defence.
To all of you I speak; and, if a blush
Steal on my cheeks, it is shown to reprove
Your paleness, willingly I would not say,
Your cowardice or fear: Think you all treasure
Hid in the bowels of the earth, or shipwreck'd
In Neptune's wat'ry kingdom, can hold weight,
When liberty and honour fill one scale,
Triumphant Justice sitting on the beam?
Or dare you but imagine that your gold is
Too dear a salary for such as hazard
Their blood and lives in your defence? For me,
An ignorant girl, bear witness, heaven! so far
I prize a soldier, that, to give him pay,
With such devotion as our flamens offer
Their sacrifices at the holy altar,
I do lay down these jewels, will make sale
Of my superfluous wardrobe, to supply
The meanest of their wants.
[Lays down her jewels, &c.; the rest follow her example.
Timol. Brave masculine spirit!
Diph. We are shown, to our shame, what we in honour
Should have taught others.
Archid. Such a fair example
Must needs be follow'd.
Timag. Ever my dear sister,
But now our family's glory!
Leost. Were she deform'd,
[Pg 224]The virtues of her mind would force a stoic
To sue to be her servant.
Cleon. I must yield;
And, though my heart-blood part with it, I will
Deliver in my wealth.
Asot. I would say something;
But, the truth is, I know not what.
Timol. We have money;
And men must now be thought on.
Archid. We can press
Of labourers in the country, men inured
To cold and heat, ten thousand.
Diph. Or, if need be,
Enrol our slaves, lusty and able varlets,
And fit for service.
Cleon. They shall go for me;
I will not pay and fight too.
Cleo. How! your slaves?
O stain of honour!——Once more, sir, your pardon;
And, to their shames, let me deliver what
I know in justice you may speak.
Timol. Most gladly:
I could not wish my thoughts a better organ
Than your tongue, to express them.
Cleo. Are you men!
(For age may qualify, though not excuse,
The backwardness of these,) able young men!
Yet, now your country's liberty's at the stake,
Honour and glorious triumph made the garland
For such as dare deserve them; a rich feast
Prepared by Victory, of immortal viands,
Not for base men, but such as with their swords
Dare force admittance, and will be her guests:
[Pg 225]And can you coldly suffer such rewards
To be proposed to labourers and slaves?
While you, that are born noble, to whom these,
Valued at their best rate, are next to horses,
Or other beasts of carriage, cry aim!
Like idle lookers on, till their proud worth
Make them become your masters!
Timol. By my hopes,
There's fire and spirit enough in this to make
Cleo. No; far, far be it from you:
Let these of meaner quality contend
Who can endure most labour; plough the earth,
And think they are rewarded when their toil
Brings home a fruitful harvest to their lords;
Let them prove good artificers, and serve you
For use and ornament, but not presume
To touch at what is noble. If you think them
Unworthy to taste of those cates you feed on,
Or wear such costly garments, will you grant them
The privilege and prerogative of great minds,
Which you were born to? Honour won in war,
And to be styled preservers of their country,
Are titles fit for free and generous spirits,
And not for bondmen. Had I been born a man,
And such ne'er-dying glories made the prize
To bold heroic courage, by Diana,
I would not to my brother, nay, my father,
Be bribed to part with the least piece of honour
I should gain in this action!
Timol. She's inspired,
Or in her speaks the genius of your country,
[Pg 226]To fire your blood in her defence: I am rapt
With the imagination. Noble maid,
Timoleon is your soldier, and will sweat
Drops of his best blood, but he will bring home
Triumphant conquest to you. Let me wear
Your colours, lady; and though youthful heats,
That look no further than your outward form,
Are long since buried in me; while I live,
I am a constant lover of your mind,
That does transcend all precedents.
Cleo. 'Tis an honour,
[Gives her scarf.
And so I do receive it.
Leost. I am for the journey.
Timag. May all diseases sloth and luxury bring
Fall upon him that stays at home!
Archid. Though old,
I will be there in person.
Diph. So will I:
Methinks I am not what I was; her words
Have made me younger, by a score of years,
Than I was when I came hither.
Cleon. I shall never
Make a good soldier, and therefore desire
To be excused at home.
Asot. 'Tis my suit too.
Timol. Have your desires; you would be burthens to us.—
Lead, fairest, to the temple; first we'll pay
A sacrifice to the gods for good success:
For all great actions the wish'd course do run,
That are, with their allowance, well begun.
[Exeunt all but, Mar. Grac. and Cimb.
Mar. Stay, Cimbrio and Gracculo.
Cimb. The business?
Mar. Meet me to-morrow night near to the grove,
Neighbouring the east part of the city.
Mar. And bring the rest of our condition with you:
I've something to impart may break our fetters,
If you dare second me.
Cimb. We'll not fail.
Grac. A cart-rope
Shall not bind me at home.
Mar. Think on 't, and prosper. [Exeunt.
The same. A Room in Archidamus's House.
Enter Archidamus, Timagoras, Leosthenes, with gorgets; and Marullo.
Archid. So, so, 'tis well: how do I look?
Mar. Most sprightfully.
Archid. I shrink not in the shoulders; though I'm old
I'm tough, steel to the back; I have not wasted
My stock of strength in featherbeds: here's an arm too;
There's stuff in 't, and I hope will use a sword
As well as any beardless boy of you all.
Timag. I'm glad to see you, sir, so well prepared
To endure the travail of the war.
Archid. Go to, sirrah!
I shall endure, when some of you keep your cabins,
[Pg 228]For all your flaunting feathers; nay, Leosthenes,
You are welcome too, all friends and fellows now.
Leost. Your servant, sir.
Archid. Pish! leave these compliments,
They stink in a soldier's mouth; I could be merry,
For, now my gown's off, farewell gravity!
I fear ye, when you come to the test.—Old stories tell us,
There's a month call'd October, which brings in
Cold weather; there are trenches too, 'tis rumour'd,
In which to stand all night to the knees in water,
In gallants breeds the toothach; there's a sport too,
Named lying perdue, do you mark me? 'tis a game
[Pg 229]Which you must learn to play at: now in these seasons,
And choice variety of exercises,
(Nay, I come to you,) and fasts, not for devotion,
Your rambling youngster feels strange alterations;
And in a frosty morning.——O welcome! welcome!
Enter Diphilus and Cleora.
You have cut off my discourse; but I will perfect
My lecture in the camp.
Diph. Come, we are stay'd for;
The general's afire for a remove,
And longs to be in action.
Archid. 'Tis my wish too.
We must part—nay, no tears, my best Cleora;
I shall melt too, and that were ominous.
Millions of blessings on thee! All that's mine
I give up to thy charge; and, sirrah, look
You with that care and reverence observe her,
Which you would pay to me.—A kiss; farewell, girl!
Diph. Peace wait upon you, fair one!
[Exeunt Archidamus, Diphilus, and Marullo.
Timag. 'Twere impertinence
To wish you to be careful of your honour,
That ever keep in pay a guard about you
Of faithful virtues: farewell!—Friend, I leave you
To wipe our kisses off; I know that lovers
Part with more circumstance and ceremony:
Which I give way to. [Exit.
Leost. 'Tis a noble favour,
For which I ever owe you. We are alone;
But how I should begin, or in what language
[Pg 230]Speak the unwilling word of parting from you,
I am yet to learn.
Cleo. And still continue ignorant;
For I must be most cruel to myself,
If I should teach you.
Leost. Yet it must be spoken,
Or you will chide my slackness. You have fired me
With the heat of noble action to deserve you;
And the least spark of honour that took life
From your sweet breath, still fann'd by it and cherish'd,
Must mount up in a glorious flame, or I
Am much unworthy.
Cleo. May it not burn here,
And, as a seamark, serve to guide true lovers
Safe from the rocks of passion to the harbour
Of pure affection? rising up an example
Which aftertimes shall witness, to our glory,
First took from us beginning.
Leost. 'Tis a happiness
My duty to my country, and mine honour
Cannot consent to; besides, add to these,
It was your pleasure, fortified by persuasion,
And strength of reason, for the general good,
That I should go.
Cleo. Alas! I then was witty
To plead against myself; and mine eye, fix'd
Upon the hill of honour, ne'er descended
To look into the vale of certain dangers,
Through which you were to cut your passage to it.
Leost. I'll stay at home, then.
Cleo. No, that must not be;
[Pg 231]For so, to serve my own ends, and to gain
A petty wreath myself, I rob you of
A certain triumph, which must fall upon you,
Or Virtue's turn'd a handmaid to blind Fortune.
How is my soul divided! to confirm you
In the opinion of the world, most worthy
To be beloved, (with me you're at the height,
And can advance no further,) I must send you
To court the goddess of stern war, who, if
She see you with my eyes, will ne'er return you,
But grow enamour'd of you.
Leost. Sweet, take comfort!
And what I offer you, you must vouchsafe me,
Or I am wretched. All the dangers that
I can encounter in the war are trifles;
My enemies abroad to be contemn'd:
The dreadful foes, that have the power to hurt me,
I leave at home with you.
Cleo. With me!
Leost. Nay, in you,
In every part about you, they are arm'd
To fight against me.
Leost. There's no perfection
That you are mistress of, but musters up
A legion against me, and all sworn
To my destruction.
Cleo. This is strange!
Leost. But true, sweet;
Excess of love can work such miracles!
Upon this ivory forehead are intrench'd
Ten thousand rivals, and these suns command
Supplies from all the world, on pain to forfeit
Their comfortable beams; these ruby lips,
[Pg 232]A rich exchequer to assure their pay:
This hand, Sibylla's golden bough to guard them
Through hell, and horror, to the Elysian springs;
Which who'll not venture for? and, should I name
Such as the virtues of your mind invite,
Their numbers would be infinite.
Cleo. Can you think
I may be tempted?
Leost. You were never proved.
For me, I have conversed with you no further
Than would become a brother. I ne'er tuned
Loose notes to your chaste ears; or brought rich presents
For my artillery, to batter down
The fortress of your honour; I never practised
The cunning and corrupting arts they study,
That wander in the wild maze of desire;
Honest simplicity and truth were all
The agents I employ'd; and when I came
To see you, it was with that reverence
As I beheld the altars of the gods:
And Love, that came along with me, was taught
To leave his arrows and his torch behind,
Quench'd in my fear to give offence.
Cleo. And 'twas
That modesty that took me, and preserves me,
Like a fresh rose, in mine own natural sweetness;
Which, sullied with the touch of impure hands,
Loses both scent and beauty.
Leost. But, Cleora,
When I am absent, as I must go from you,
(Such is the cruelty of my fate,) and leave you,
Unguarded, to the violent assaults
Of loose temptations; when the memory
Of my so many years of love and service
Is lost in other objects; when you are courted
By such as keep a catalogue of their conquests,
Won upon credulous virgins; when nor father
Is here to owe you, brother to advise you,
Nor your poor servant by, to keep such off,
By love instructed how to undermine,
And blow your constancy up; when your weak senses,
At once assaulted, shall conspire against you,
And play the traitors to your soul, your virtue;
How can you stand? 'Faith, though you fall, and I
The judge, before whom you then stood accused,
I should acquit you.
Cleo. Will you then confirm
That love and jealousy, though of different natures,
Must of necessity be twins; the younger
Created only to defeat the elder,
And spoil him of his birthright? 'tis not well.
But being to part, I will not chide, I will not;
Nor with one syllable or tear, express
How deeply I am wounded with the arrows
Of your distrust: but when that you shall hear,
At your return, how I have borne myself,
[Pg 234]And what an austere penance I take on me,
To satisfy your doubts; when, like a vestal,
I show you, to your shame, the fire still burning,
Committed to my charge by true affection,
The people joining with you in the wonder;
When, by the glorious splendour of my sufferings,
The prying eyes of jealousy are struck blind,
The monster too that feeds on fears e'en starved
For want of seeming matter to accuse me;
Expect, Leosthenes, a sharp reproof
From my just anger.
Leost. What will you do?
Cleo. Obey me,
Or from this minute you are a stranger to me;
And do 't without reply. All-seeing sun,
Thou witness of my innocence, thus I close
Mine eyes against thy comfortable light,
'Till the return of this distrustful man!
Now bind them sure;—nay, do 't: [He binds her eyes with her scarf.] If, uncompell'd,
I loose this knot, until the hands that made it
Be pleased to untie it, may consuming plagues
Fall heavy on me! pray you guide me to your lips.
This kiss, when you come back, shall be a virgin
To bid you welcome; nay, I have not done yet:
I will continue dumb, and, you once gone,
No accent shall come from me. Now to my chamber,
My tomb, if you miscarry: there I'll spend
My hours in silent mourning, and thus much
Shall be reported of me to my glory,
And you confess it, whether I live or die,
My constancy triumphs o'er your jealousy.
[Exeunt. [Pg 235]
The same. A Room in Cleon's House.
Enter Asotus, driving in Gracculo.
Asot. You slave! you dog! down, cur!
Grac. Hold, good young master,
For pity's sake!
Asot. Now am I in my kingdom:—
Who says I am not valiant? I begin
To frown again: quake, villain!
Grac. So I do, sir;
Your looks are agues to me.
Asot. Are they so, sir!
'Slight, if I had them at this bay that flout me,
And say I look like a sheep and an ass, I'd make them
Feel that I am a lion.
Grac. Do not roar, sir,
As you are a valiant beast: but do you know
Why you use me thus?
Asot. I'll beat thee a little more,
Then study for a reason. O! I have it:
One brake a jest on me, and then I swore,
(Because I durst not strike him,) when I came home,
That I would break thy head.
Grac. Plague on his mirth!
I am sure I mourn for 't.
Asot. Remember too, I charge you,
To teach my horse good manners yet; this morning,
As I rode to take the air, the untutor'd jade
Threw me, and kick'd me.
Grac. I thank him for 't. [Aside. [Pg 236]
Asot. What's that?
Grac. I say, sir, I will teach him to hold his heels,
If you will rule your fingers.
Asot. I'll think upon 't.
Grac. I am bruised to jelly: better be a dog,
Than slave to a fool or coward. [Aside.
Asot. Here's my mother,
Enter Corisca and Zanthia.
She is chastising too: how brave we live,
That have our slaves to beat, to keep us in breath
When we want exercise!
Coris. Careless creature,
Look to 't; if a curl fall, or wind or sun
Take my complexion off, I will not leave
One hair upon thine head.
Grac. Here's a second show
Of the family of pride! [Aside.
Coris. Fie on these wars!
I'm starved for want of action. When were you with
Your mistress, fair Cleora?
Asot. Two days sithence;
But she's so coy, forsooth, that ere I can
Speak a penn'd speech I have bought and studied for her,
Her woman calls her away.
Coris. Here's a dull thing!
Zant. Madam, my lord.
Cleon. Where are you, wife? I fain would go abroad,
But cannot find my slaves that bear my litter;
[Pg 237]I am tired. Your shoulder, son;—nay, sweet, thy hand too:
A turn or two in the garden, and then to supper,
And so to bed.
Asot. Never to rise, I hope, more.
A Grove near the Walls of Syracuse.
Enter Marullo and Poliphron. A Table set out with Wine, &c.
Mar. 'Twill take, I warrant thee.
Poliph. You may do your pleasure;
But, in my judgment, better to make use of
The present opportunity.
Mar. No more.
Poliph. I am silenced.
Mar. More wine; prithee drink hard, friend,
And when we're hot, whatever I propound,
Enter Cimbrio, Gracculo, and other Slaves.
Second with vehemence.—Men of your words, all welcome!
Slaves use no ceremony; sit down; here's a health.
Poliph. Let it run round; fill every man his glass.
Grac. We look for no waiters;—this is wine!
Mar. The better,
Strong, lusty wine: drink deep; this juice will make us
As free as our lords. [Drinks.
Grac. But if they find we taste it,
[Pg 238]We are condemn'd to the quarry during life,
Without hope of redemption.
Mar. Pish! for that
We'll talk anon: another rouse! we lose time;
When our low blood's wound up a little higher,
I'll offer my design; nay, we are cold yet;
These glasses contain nothing:—do me right,
[Takes the bottle.
As e'er you hope for liberty. 'Tis done bravely:
How do you feel yourselves now?
Cimb. I begin
To have strange conundrums in my head.
Grac. And I
To loathe base water. I would be hang'd in peace now
For one month of such holidays.
Mar. An age, boys,
And yet defy the whip; if you are men,
Or dare believe you have souls.
Cimb. We are no brokers.
Mar. Our lords are no gods—
Grac. They are devils to us, I am sure.
Mar. But subject to
Cold, hunger, and diseases.
Grac. In abundance.
Mar. Equal Nature fashion'd us
All in one mould. The bear serves not the bear,
Nor the wolf the wolf; 'twas odds of strength in tyrants
That pluck'd the first link from the golden chain
With which that Thing of Things bound in the world.
[Pg 239]Why then, since we are taught, by their examples,
To love our liberty, if not command,
Should the strong serve the weak, the fair, deform'd ones?
Or such as know the cause of things pay tribute
To ignorant fools? All's but the outward gloss,
And politic form, that does distinguish us.—
Cimbrio, thou art a strong man; if, in place
Of carrying burthens, thou hadst been train'd up
In martial discipline, thou might'st have proved
A general, fit to lead and fight for Sicily,
As fortunate as Timoleon.
Cimb. A little fighting
Will serve a general's turn.
Mar. Thou, Gracculo,
Hast fluency of language, quick conceit;
And, I think, cover'd with a senator's robe,
Formally set on the bench, thou wouldst appear
As brave a senator.
Grac. Would I had lands,
Or money to buy a place! and if I did not
Sleep on the bench with the drowsiest of them,
Play with my chain, look on my watch, and wear
A state beard, with my barber's help, rank with them
In their most choice peculiar gifts, degrade me,
And put me to drink water again, which, now
I have tasted wine, were poison!
Mar. 'Tis spoke nobly,
And like a gownman: none of these, I think too,
But would prove good burghers.
Grac. Hum! the fools are modest;
[Pg 240]I know their insides: here's an ill-faced fellow,
(But that will not be seen in a dark shop;)
If he did not in a month learn to outswear,
In the selling of his wares, the cunning'st tradesman
In Syracuse, I have no skill. Here's another;
Observe but what a cozening look he has!—
Hold up thy head, man! If, for drawing gallants
Into mortgages for commodities, cheating heirs
With your new counterfeit gold thread, and gumm'd velvets,
He does not transcend all that went before him,
Call in his patent.
Mar. Is 't not pity, then,
Men of such eminent virtues should be slaves?
Cimb. Our fortune.
Mar. 'Tis your folly: daring men
Command and make their fates. Say, at this instant,
I mark'd you out a way to liberty;
Possess'd you of those blessings our proud lords
So long have surfeited in; and, what is sweetest,
Arm you with power, by strong hand to revenge
[Pg 241]Your stripes, your unregarded toil, the pride,
The insolence, of such as tread upon
Your patient sufferings; fill your famish'd mouths
With the fat and plenty of the land; redeem you
From the dark vale of servitude, and seat you
Upon a hill of happiness; what would you do
To purchase this, and more?
Grac. Do! any thing:
To burn a church or two, and dance by the light on 't,
Were but a May-game.
Poliph. I have a father living;
But if the cutting of his throat could work this,
He should excuse me.
Cimb. 'Slight! I would cut mine own,
Rather than miss it; so I might but have
A taste on 't ere I die.
Mar. Be resolute men;
You shall run no such hazard, nor groan under
The burden of such crying sins.
Poliph. Do not torment us
Mar. Thus, then:—Our proud masters,
And all the able freemen of the city,
Are gone unto the wars——
Poliph. Observe but that.
Mar. Old men, and such as can make no resistance,
Are only left at home——
Grac. And the proud young fool,
My master—if this take, I'll hamper him.
Mar. Their arsenal, their treasure, 's in our power,
If we have hearts to seize them. If our lords fall
In the present action, the whole country's ours:
[Pg 242]Say they return victorious, we have means
To keep the town against them; at the worst,
To make our own conditions. If you dare break up
Their iron chests, banquet in their rich halls,
And carve yourselves of all delights and pleasures
You have been barr'd from, with one voice cry with me,
All. Liberty! liberty!
Mar. Go, then, and take possession: use all freedom;
But shed no blood. [Exeunt Slaves.]—So, this is well begun;
But not to be commended till 't be done. [Exit.
The same. A Gallery in Archidamus's House.
Enter Marullo and Timandra.
Mar. Why, think you that I plot against myself?
Fear nothing, you are safe: these thick-skinn'd slaves,
I use as instruments to serve my ends,
Pierce not my deep designs; nor shall they dare
To lift an arm against you.
Timand. With your will.
But turbulent spirits, raised beyond themselves
With ease, are not so soon laid; they oft prove
Dangerous to him that call'd them up.
Mar. 'Tis true,
In what is rashly undertook. Long since
I have consider'd seriously their natures,
Proceeded with mature advice, and know
I hold their will and faculties in more awe
Than I can do my own. Now, for their licence,
And riot in the city, I can make
A just defence and use: it may appear, too,
A politic prevention of such ills
As might, with greater violence and danger,
Hereafter be attempted; though some smart for 't,
It matters not:—however, I'm resolved;
And sleep you with security. Holds Cleora
Constant to her rash vow?
Timand. Beyond belief;
To me, that see her hourly, it seems a fable.
By signs I guess at her commands, and serve them
With silence; such her pleasure is, made known
By holding her fair hand thus. She eats little,
Sleeps less, as I imagine; once a day
I lead her to this gallery, where she walks
Some half a dozen turns, and, having offer'd
To her absent saint a sacrifice of sighs,
She points back to her prison.
Mar. Guide her hither,
And make her understand the slaves' revolt;
And, with your utmost eloquence, enlarge
Their insolence, and wrongs done in the city.
Forget not, too, I am their chief, and tell her
You strongly think my extreme dotage on her,
As I'm Marullo, caused this sudden uproar,
To gain possession of her.
I will discharge my part. [Exit. [Pg 244]
Poliph. O, sir, I sought you:
There's such variety of all disorders
Among the slaves; answer'd with crying, howling,
By the citizens and their wives; such a confusion,
In a word, not to tire you, as I think
The like was never read of.
Mar. This is some
Revenge for my disgrace.
Poliph. But, sir, I fear,
If your authority restrain them not,
They'll fire the city, or kill one another,
They are so apt to outrage; neither know I
Whether you wish it, and came therefore to
Acquaint you with so much.
Mar. I will among them;
But must not long be absent.
Poliph. At your pleasure. [Exeunt.
The same. A Room in the same.
Shouts within. Enter Cleora and Timandra.
Timand. They are at our gates: my heart! affrights and horrors
Increase each minute. No way left to save us,
No flattering hope to comfort us, or means,
But miracle, to redeem us from base wrongs
And lawless rapine! Are there gods, yet suffer
Such innocent sweetness to be made the spoil
Of brutish violence? And, of these rebel slaves,
He that should offer up his life to guard you,
[Pg 245]Marullo, cursed Marullo, your own bondman,
Purchased to serve you, and fed by your favours—
Nay, start not: it is he; he, the grand captain
Of these libidinous beasts, that have not left
One cruel act undone that barbarous conquest
Yet ever practised in a captive city;
He, doting on your beauty, and to have fellows
In his foul sin, hath raised these mutinous slaves.
Wring not your hands, 'tis bootless; use the means
That may preserve you. 'Tis no crime to break
A vow when you are forced to it; show your face,
And with the majesty of commanding beauty
Strike dead his loose affections: if that fail,
Give liberty to your tongue, and use entreaties:
There cannot be a breast of flesh and blood,
Or heart so made of flint, but must receive
Impression from your words; or eyes so stern,
But, from the clear reflection of your tears,
Must melt, and bear them company. Will you not
Do these good offices to yourself? poor I, then,
Can only weep your fortune.—Here he comes.
Enter Marullo, speaking at the door.
Mar. He that advances
A foot beyond this comes upon my sword:
You have had your ways, disturb not mine.
Timand. Speak gently;
Her fears may kill her else.
Mar. Now Love inspire me!
Still shall this canopy of envious night
Obscure my suns of comfort? and those dainties
Of purest white and red, which I take in at
My greedy eyes, denied my famish'd senses?—
The organs of your hearing yet are open;
[Pg 246]And you infringe no vow, though you vouchsafe
To give them warrant to convey unto
Your understanding parts the story of
A tortured and despairing lover, whom
Not fortune but affection marks your slave:—
Shake not, best lady! for, believe 't, you are
As far from danger as I am from force:
All violence I shall offer tends no further
Than to relate my sufferings, which I dare not
Presume to do, till, by some gracious sign,
You show you are pleased to hear me.
Timand. If you are,
Hold forth your right hand.
[Cleora holds forth her right hand.
Mar. So, 'tis done; and I
With my glad lips seal humbly on your robe
My soul's thanks for the favour: I forbear
To tell you who I am, what wealth, what honours
I made exchange of, to become your servant:
And though I knew worthy Leosthenes
(For sure he must be worthy, for whose love
You have endured so much) to be my rival,
When rage and jealousy counsell'd me to kill him,
Which then I could have done with much more ease,
Than now, in fear to grieve you, I dare speak it,
Love, seconded with duty, boldly told me
The man I hated, fair Cleora favour'd;
And that was his protection. [Cleora bows.
Timand. See, she bows
Her head in sign of thankfulness.
Mar. He removed by
The occasion of the war, (my fires increasing
By being closed and stopp'd up,) frantic affection
Prompted me to do something in his absence
[Pg 247]That might deliver you into my power,
Which you see is effected: and even now,
When my rebellious passions chide my dulness,
And tell me how much I abuse my fortunes,
Now it is in my power to bear you hence,
(Nay, fear not, madam; true love is a servant,
But brutish lust a tyrant,) only thus much
Be pleased I may speak in my own dear cause;
And think it worthy your consideration,
(I have loved truly, cannot say deserved,
Since duty must not take the name of merit,)
That I so far prize your content, before
All blessings that my hope can fashion to me,
That willingly I entertain despair,
And, for your sake, embrace it; for I know,
This opportunity lost, by no endeavour
The like can be recover'd. To conclude,
Forget not that I lose myself to save you:
For what can I expect but death and torture,
The war being ended? and, what is a task
Would trouble Hercules to undertake,
I do deny you to myself, to give you,
A pure unspotted present, to my rival.
I have said: if it distaste not, best of virgins!
Reward my temperance with some lawful favour,
Though you contemn my person.
[Cleora kneels, then pulls off her glove, and offers her hand to Marullo.
Timand. See, she kneels,
And seems to call upon the gods to pay
The debt she owes your virtue: to perform which,
As a sure pledge of friendship, she vouchsafes you
Her fair right hand.
Mar. I am paid for all my sufferings.
Now, when you please, pass to your private chamber:
My love and duty, faithful guards, shall keep you
From all disturbance; and when you are sated
With thinking of Leosthenes, as a fee
Due to my service, spare one sigh for me.
[Exeunt. Cleora makes a low courtesy as she goes off.
The same. A Room in Cleon's House.
Enter Gracculo, leading Asotus in an ape's habit, with a chain about his neck; Zanthia in Corisca's clothes, she bearing up her train.
Grac. Come on, sir.
Grac. Do you grumble? you were ever
A brainless ass; but if this hold, I'll teach you
To come aloft and do tricks like an ape.
Your morning's lesson: if you miss——
Asot. O no, sir.
Grac. What for the Carthaginians? [Asotus makes moppes.] A good beast.
What for ourself, your lord? [Dances.] Exceeding well.
[Pg 249]There's your reward. [Gives him an apple.]—Not kiss your paw! So, so, so.
Zant. Was ever lady, the first day of her honour,
So waited on by a wrinkled crone? She looks now,
Without her painting, curling, and perfumes,
Like the last day of January. Further off!
So—stand there like an image; if you stir,
Till, with a quarter of a look, I call you,
You know what follows.
Coris. O, what am I fallen to!
But 'tis a punishment for my cruel pride,
Justly return'd upon me.
Grac. How dost thou like
Thy ladyship, Zanthia?
Zant. Very well; and bear it
With as much state as your lordship.
Grac. Give me thy hand:
Let us, like conquering Romans, walk in triumph,
Our captives following; then mount our tribunals,
And make the slaves our footstools.
Zant. Fine, by Jove!
Are your hands clean, minion?
[Pg 250] Coris. Yes, forsooth.
Zant. Fall off then. She and I have changed our parts;
She does what she forced me to do in her reign,
And I must practise it in mine.
Grac. 'Tis justice:
O! here come more.
Enter Cimbrio, Cleon, Poliphron, and Olympia.
Cimb. Discover to a drachma,
Or I will famish thee.
Cleon. O! I am pined already.
Poliph. Spare the old jade, he's founder'd.
Grac. Cut his throat then,
And hang him out for a scarecrow.
Poliph. You have all your wishes
In your revenge, and I have mine. You see
I use no tyranny: once I was her slave,
And in requital of her courtesies,
Having made one another free, we are married:
And, if you wish us joy, join with us in
A dance at our wedding.
Grac. Agreed; for I have thought of
A most triumphant one, which shall express
We are lords, and these our slaves.
Poliph. But we shall want
Grac. No, here's Jane-of-apes shall serve;
Carry your body swimming.—Where's the music?
Poliph. I have placed it in yon window.
Grac. Begin then sprightly.
[Music, and then a dance.
Enter Marullo behind.
Poliph. Well done on all sides! I have prepared a banquet;
Let's drink and cool us.
Grac. A good motion.
Cimb. Wait here;
You have been tired with feasting, learn to fast now.
Grac. I'll have an apple for jack, and may be some scraps
May fall to your share.
[Exeunt Grac. Zant. Cimb. Poliph. and Olymp.
Coris. Whom can we accuse
But ourselves, for what we suffer? Thou art just,
Thou all-creating Power! and misery
Instructs me now, that yesterday acknowledged
No deity beyond my pride and pleasure,
There is a heaven above us, that looks down
With the eyes of justice, upon such as number
Those blessings freely given, in the accompt
Of their poor merits: else it could not be,
Now miserable I, to please whose palate
The elements were ransack'd, yet complain'd
Of nature, as not liberal enough
In her provision of rarities
To soothe my taste, and pamper my proud flesh,
Should wish in vain for bread.
Cleon. Yes, I do wish too,
For what I fed my dogs with.
Coris. I, that forgot
I was made of flesh and blood, and thought the silk
Spun by the diligent worm out of their entrails,
[Pg 252]Too coarse to clothe me, and the softest down
Too hard to sleep on; that disdain'd to look
On virtue being in rags, that from my servants
Expected adoration, am made justly
The scorn of my own bondwoman.
Cleon. I know I cannot
Last long, that's all my comfort.
Mar. What a true mirror
Were this sad spectacle for secure greatness!
Here they, that never see themselves, but in
The glass of servile flattery, might behold
The weak foundation upon which they build
Their trust in human frailty. Happy are those,
That knowing, in their births, they are subject to
Uncertain change, are still prepared, and arm'd
For either fortune: a rare principle,
And, with much labour, learn'd in wisdom's school!
For, as these bondmen, by their actions, show
That their prosperity, like too large a sail
For their small bark of judgment, sinks them with
A fore-right gale of liberty, ere they reach
The port they long to touch at: so these wretches,
Swollen with the false opinion of their worth,
And proud of blessings left them, not acquired;
That did believe they could with giant arms
Fathom the earth, and were above their fates,
Those borrow'd helps, that did support them, vanish'd,
Fall of themselves, and by unmanly suffering
Betray their proper weakness, and make known
Their boasted greatness was lent, not their own.
Cleon. O for some meat! they sit long.
Coris. We forgot,
When we drew out intemperate feasts till midnight;
[Pg 253]Their hunger was not thought on, nor their watchings;
Nor did we hold ourselves served to the height,
But when we did exact and force their duties
Beyond their strength and power.
Asot. We pay for 't now:
Re-enter Poliphron, Cimbrio, Gracculo, Zanthia, and Olympia, drunk and quarrelling.
Cimb. Do not hold me:
Not kiss the bride!
Poliph. No, sir.
Mar. [coming forward] Hold!
Zant. Here's Marullo.
Olymp. He's your chief.
Mar. Take heed; I've news will cool this heat, and make you
Remember what you were.
Mar. Send off these,
And then I'll tell you.
[Exeunt Cleon, Asot. Zant. Olymp. and Coris.
Cimb. What would you impart?
Mar. What must invite you
To stand upon your guard, and leave your feasting;
Our masters are victorious.
A day's march of the city, flesh'd with spoil,
And proud of conquest; the armado sunk,
The Carthaginian admiral, hand to hand,
Slain by Leosthenes.
Cimb. I feel the whip
Upon my back already.
Grac. Every man
Seek a convenient tree, and hang himself.
Poliph. Better die once, than live an age to suffer
New tortures every hour.
Cimb. Say, we submit,
And yield us to their mercy?—
Mar. Can you flatter
Yourselves with such false hopes? Or dare you think
That your imperious lords, that never fail'd
To punish with severity petty slips
In your neglect of labour, may be won
To pardon those licentious outrages
Which noble enemies forbear to practise
Upon the conquer'd? We have gone too far
To think now of retiring; in our courage,
And daring, lies our safety: if you are not
Slaves in your abject minds, as in your fortunes,
Since to die is the worst, better expose
Our naked breasts to their keen swords, and sell
Our lives with the most advantage, than to trust
In a forestall'd remission, or yield up
Our bodies to the furnace of their fury,
Thrice heated with revenge.
Grac. You led us on.
Cimb. And 'tis but justice you should bring us off.
Grac. And we expect it.
Mar. Hear then, and obey me;
And I will either save you, or fall with you.
Man the walls strongly, and make good the ports;
Boldly deny their entrance, and rip up
Your grievances, and what compell'd you to
This desperate course: if they disdain to hear
Of composition, we have in our powers
[Pg 255]Their aged fathers, children, and their wives,
Who, to preserve themselves, must willingly
Make intercession for us. 'Tis not time now
To talk, but do: a glorious end, or freedom,
Is now proposed us; stand resolved for either,
And, like good fellows, live or die together.
The Country near Syracuse. The Camp of Timoleon.
Enter Leosthenes and Timagoras.
Timag. I am so far from envy, I am proud
You have outstripp'd me in the race of honour.
O 'twas a glorious day, and bravely won!
Your bold performance gave such lustre to
Timoleon's wise directions, as the army
Rests doubtful, to whom they stand most engaged
For their so great success.
Leost. The gods first honour'd,
The glory be the general's; 'tis far from me
To be his rival.
Timag. You abuse your fortune,
To entertain her choice and gracious favours
With a contracted brow; plumed Victory
Is truly painted with a cheerful look,
Equally distant from proud insolence,
And base dejection.
Leost. O Timagoras,
You only are acquainted with the cause
That loads my sad heart with a hill of lead;
[Pg 256]Whose ponderous weight, neither my new-got honour,
Assisted by the general applause
The soldier crowns it with, nor all war's glories,
Can lessen or remove: and, would you please,
With fit consideration, to remember
How much I wrong'd Cleora's innocence
With my rash doubts; and what a grievous penance
She did impose upon her tender sweetness,
To pluck away the vulture, jealousy,
That fed upon my liver; you cannot blame me,
But call it a fit justice on myself,
Though I resolve to be a stranger to
The thought of mirth or pleasure.
Timag. You have redeem'd
The forfeit of your fault with such a ransom
Of honourable action, as my sister
Must of necessity confess her sufferings,
Weigh'd down by your fair merits; and, when she views you,
Like a triumphant conqueror, carried through
The streets of Syracusa, the glad people
Pressing to meet you, and the senators
Contending who shall heap most honours on you;
The oxen, crown'd with garlands, led before you,
Appointed for the sacrifice; and the altars
Smoking with thankful incense to the gods:
The soldiers chanting loud hymns to your praise,
The windows fill'd with matrons and with virgins,
Throwing upon your head, as you pass by,
The choicest flowers, and silently invoking
The queen of love, with their particular vows,
To be thought worthy of you; can Cleora
(Though, in the glass of self-love, she behold
[Pg 257]Her best deserts) but with all joy acknowledge
What she endured was but a noble trial
You made of her affection? and her anger,
Rising from your too amorous cares, soon drench'd
In Lethe, and forgotten.
Leost. If those glories
You so set forth were mine, they might plead for me;
But I can lay no claim to the least honour
Which you, with foul injustice, ravish from her.
Her beauty in me wrought a miracle,
Taught me to aim at things beyond my power,
Which her perfections purchased, and gave to me
From her free bounties; she inspired me with
That valour which I dare not call mine own;
And, from the fair reflection of her mind,
My soul received the sparkling beams of courage.
She, from the magazine of her proper goodness,
Stock'd me with virtuous purposes; sent me forth
To trade for honour; and, she being the owner
Of the bark of my adventures, I must yield her
A just account of all, as fits a factor.
And, howsoever others think me happy,
And cry aloud, I have made a prosperous voyage;
One frown of her dislike at my return,
Which, as a punishment for my fault, I look for,
Strikes dead all comfort.
Timag. Tush! these fears are needless;
She cannot, must not, shall not, be so cruel.
A free confession of a fault wins pardon,
But, being seconded by desert, commands it.
The general is your own, and, sure, my father
Repents his harshness; for myself, I am
[Pg 258]Ever your creature.—One day shall be happy
In your triumph, and your marriage.
Leost. May it prove so,
With her consent and pardon.
Timag. Ever touching
On that harsh string! She is your own, and you
Without disturbance seize on what's your due.
Syracuse. A Room in Archidamus's House.
Enter Marullo and Timandra.
Mar. She has her health, then?
Timand. Yes, sir; and as often
As I speak of you, lends attentive ear
To all that I deliver; nor seems tired,
Though I dwell long on the relation of
Your sufferings for her, heaping praise on praise
On the unequall'd temperance, and command
You hold o'er your affections.
Mar. To my wish:
Have you acquainted her with the defeature
Of the Carthaginians, and with what honours
Leosthenes comes crown'd home with?
Timand. With all care.
Mar. And how does she receive it?
Timand. As I guess,
With a seeming kind of joy; but yet appears not
Transported, or proud of his happy fortune.
But when I tell her of the certain ruin
[Pg 259]You must encounter with at their arrival
In Syracusa, and that death, with torments,
Must fall upon you, which you yet repent not,
Esteeming it a glorious martyrdom,
And a reward of pure unspotted love,
Preserved in the white robe of innocence,
Though she were in your power; and, still spurr'd on
By powerful love, you rather chose to suffer
The fury of your lord, than that she should
Be grieved or tainted in her reputation——
Mar. Pities she my misfortune?
Timand. She express'd
All signs of sorrow which, her vow observed,
Could witness a grieved heart. At the first hearing,
She fell upon her face, rent her fair hair,
Her hands held up to heaven, and vented sighs,
In which she silently seem'd to complain
Of heaven's injustice.
Mar. 'Tis enough: wait carefully,
And, on all watch'd occasions, continue
Speech and discourse of me: 'tis time must work her.
Timand. I'll not be wanting, but still strive to serve you. [Exit.
Mar. Now, Poliphron, the news?
Poliph. The conquering army
Is within ken.
Mar. How brook the slaves the object?
Poliph. Cheerfully yet; they do refuse no labour,
And seem to scoff at danger; 'tis your presence
That must confirm them: with a full consent
You are chosen to relate the tyranny
[Pg 260]Of our proud masters; and what you subscribe to,
They gladly will allow of, or hold out
To the last man.
Mar. I'll instantly among them.
If we prove constant to ourselves, good fortune
Will not, I hope, forsake us.
Poliph. 'Tis our best refuge. [Exeunt.
Before the Walls of Syracuse.
Enter Timoleon, Archidamus, Diphilus, Leosthenes, Timagoras, and Soldiers.
Timol. Thus far we are return'd victorious; crown'd
With wreaths triumphant, (famine, blood, and death,
Banish'd your peaceful confines,) and bring home
Security and peace. 'Tis therefore fit
That such as boldly stood the shock of war,
And with the dear expense of sweat and blood
Have purchased honour, should with pleasure reap
The harvest of their toil: and we stand bound,
Out of the first file of the best deservers,
(Though all must be consider'd to their merits,)
To think of you, Leosthenes, that stand,
And worthily, most dear in our esteem,
For your heroic valour.
Archid. When I look on
The labour of so many men and ages,
This well-built city, not long since design'd
To spoil and rapine, by the favour of
The gods, and you, their ministers, preserved,
[Pg 261]I cannot, in my height of joy, but offer
These tears for a glad sacrifice.
Diph. Sleep the citizens?
Or are they overwhelm'd with the excess
Of comfort that flows to them?
Leost. We receive
A silent entertainment.
Timag. I long since
Expected that the virgins and the matrons,
The old men striving with their age, the priests,
Carrying the images of their gods before them,
Should have met us with procession.—Ha! the gates
Are shut against us!
Archid. And, upon the walls,
Arm'd men seem to defy us!
Enter above, on the Walls, Marullo, Poliphron, Cimbrio, Gracculo, and other Slaves.
Diph. I should know
These faces: they are our slaves.
Timag. The mystery, rascals!
Open the ports, and play not with an anger
That will consume you.
Timol. This is above wonder.
Archid. Our bondmen stand against us!
Grac. Some such things
We were in man's remembrance. The slaves are turn'd
Lords of the town, or so—nay, be not angry:
Perhaps, upon good terms, giving security
You will be quiet men, we may allow you
Some lodgings in our garrets or outhouses:
Your great looks cannot carry it.
Cimb. The truth is,
We have been bold to rifle your rich chests,
Been busy with your wardrobes.
Timag. Can we endure this?
Leost. O my Cleora!
Grac. A caudle for the gentleman;
He'll die o' the pip else.
Timag. Scorn'd too! are you turn'd stone?
Hold parley with our bondmen! force our entrance,
Then, villains, expect——
Timol. Hold! You wear men's shapes,
And if, like men, you have reason, show a cause
That leads you to this desperate course, which must end
In your destruction.
Grac. That, as please the Fates;
But we vouchsafe——Speak, captain.
Timag. Hell and furies!
Archid. Bay'd by our own curs!
Cimb. Take heed you be not worried.
Poliph. We are sharp set.
Cimb. And sudden.
Mar. Briefly thus, then,
Since I must speak for all—Your tyranny
Drew us from our obedience. Happy those times
When lords were styled fathers of families,
And not imperious masters! when they number'd
Their servants almost equal with their sons,
Or one degree beneath them! when their labours
Were cherish'd and rewarded, and a period
Set to their sufferings; when they did not press
Their duties or their wills, beyond the power
And strength of their performance! all things order'd
[Pg 263]With such decorum, as wise lawmakers,
From each well-govern'd private house derived
The perfect model of a commonwealth.
Humanity then lodged in the hearts of men,
And thankful masters carefully provided
For creatures wanting reason. The noble horse,
That, in his fiery youth, from his wide nostrils
Neigh'd courage to his rider, and brake through
Groves of opposed pikes, bearing his lord
Safe to triumphant victory; old or wounded,
Was set at liberty, and freed from service.
The Athenian mules, that from the quarry drew
Marble, hew'd for the temples of the gods,
The great work ended, were dismiss'd, and fed
At the public cost; nay, faithful dogs have found
Their sepulchres; but man, to man more cruel,
Appoints no end to the sufferings of his slave;
Since pride stepp'd in and riot, and o'erturn'd
This goodly frame of concord, teaching masters
To glory in the abuse of such as are
Brought under their command; who, grown unuseful,
Are less esteem'd than beasts.—This you have practised,
Practised on us with rigour; this hath forced us
To shake our heavy yokes off; and, if redress
Of these just grievances be not granted us,
We'll right ourselves, and by strong hand defend
What we are now possess'd of.
Grac. And not leave
One house unfired.
Cimb. Or throat uncut of those
We have in our power.
Poliph. Nor will we fall alone;
You shall buy us dearly.
Timag. O the gods!
Timol. What are your demands?
Mar. A general pardon first, for all offences
Committed in your absence. Liberty
To all such as desire to make return
Into their countries; and, to those that stay,
A competence of land freely allotted
To each man's proper use, no lord acknowledged:
Lastly, with your consent, to choose them wives
Out of your families.
Timag. Let the city sink first.
Leost. And ruin seize on all, ere we subscribe
To such conditions.
Archid. Carthage, though victorious,
Could not have forced more from us.
Leost. Scale the walls;
Timol. He that wins the top first
Shall wear a mural wreath. [Exeunt.
Mar. Each to his place.
[Flourish and alarms.
Or death or victory! Charge them home, and fear not. [Exeunt Marullo and Slaves. [Pg 265]
Re-enter Timoleon, Archidamus, and Senators.
Timol. We wrong ourselves, and we are justly punish'd,
To deal with bondmen, as if we encounter'd
An equal enemy.
Archid. They fight like devils;
And run upon our swords, as if their breasts
Were proof beyond their armour.
Re-enter Leosthenes and Timagoras.
Timag. Make a firm stand.
The slaves, not satisfied they have beat us off,
Prepare to sally forth.
Timol. They are wild beasts,
And to be tamed by policy. Each man take
A tough whip in his hand, such as you used
To punish them with, as masters: in your looks
Carry severity and awe: 'twill fright them
More than your weapons. Savage lions fly from
The sight of fire; and these, that have forgot
That duty you ne'er taught them with your swords,
When, unexpected, they behold those terrors
Advanced aloft, that they were made to shake at,
'Twill force them to remember what they are,
And stoop to due obedience.
Archid. Here they come.
Enter from the City, Cimbrio, Gracculo, and other Slaves.
Cimb. Leave not a man alive; a wound's but a flea-biting,
To what we suffer'd, being slaves.
Grac. O, my heart!
Cimbrio, what do we see? the whip! our masters!
Timag. Dare you rebel, slaves!
[The Senators shake their whips, the Slaves throw away their weapons, and run off.
Cimb. Mercy! mercy! where
Shall we hide us from their fury?
Grac. Fly, they follow.
O, we shall be tormented!
Timol. Enter with them,
But yet forbear to kill them: still remember
They are part of your wealth; and being disarm'd,
There is no danger.
Archid. Let us first deliver
Such as they have in fetters, and at leisure
Determine of their punishment.
Leost. Friend, to you
I leave the disposition of what's mine:
I cannot think I am safe without your sister,
She is only worth my thought; and, till I see
What she has suffer'd, I am on the rack,
And Furies my tormentors. [Exeunt.
Syracuse. A Room in Archidamus's House.
Enter Marullo and Timandra.
Mar. I know I am pursued; nor would I fly,
Although the ports were open, and a convoy
[Pg 267]Ready to bring me off: the baseness of
These villains, from the pride of all my hopes,
Hath thrown me to the bottomless abyss
Of horror and despair: had they stood firm,
I could have bought Cleora's free consent
With the safety of her father's life, and brother's;
And forced Leosthenes to quit his claim,
And kneel a suitor for me.
Timand. You must not think
What might have been, but what must now be practised,
And suddenly resolve.
Mar. All my poor fortunes
Are at the stake, and I must run the hazard.
Unseen, convey me to Cleora's chamber;
For in her sight, if it were possible,
I would be apprehended: do not inquire
The reason why, but help me. [Knocking within.
Timand. Make haste,—one knocks.
Jove turn all to the best!
You are welcome, sir.
Leost. Thou giv'st it in a heavy tone.
Timand. Alas! sir,
We have so long fed on the bread of sorrow,
Drinking the bitter water of afflictions,
Made loathsome too by our continued fears,
Comfort 's a stranger to us.
Leost. Fears! your sufferings:—
[Pg 268]For which I am so overgone with grief,
I dare not ask, without compassionate tears,
The villain's name that robb'd thee of thy honour:
For being train'd up in chastity's cold school,
And taught by such a mistress as Cleora,
'Twere impious in me to think Timandra
Fell with her own consent.
Timand. How mean you, fell, sir?
I understand you not.
Leost. I would thou didst not,
Or that I could not read upon thy face,
In blushing characters, the story of
Libidinous rape: confess it, for you stand not
Accountable for a sin, against whose strength
Your o'ermatch'd innocence could make no resistance;
Under which odds, I know, Cleora fell too,
Heaven's help in vain invoked; the amazed sun
Hiding his face behind a mask of clouds,
Nor daring to look on it! In her sufferings
All sorrow's comprehended: what Timandra,
Or the city, has endured, her loss consider'd,
Deserves not to be named.
Timand. Pray you, do not bring, sir,
In the chimeras of your jealous fears,
New monsters to affright us.
Leost. O, Timandra,
That I had faith enough but to believe thee!
I should receive it with a joy beyond
Assurance of Elysian shades hereafter,
Or all the blessings, in this life, a mother
Could wish her children crown'd with—but I must not
Credit impossibilities; yet I strive
To find out that whose knowledge is a curse,
[Pg 269]And ignorance a blessing. Come, discover
What kind of look he had that forced thy lady,
(Thy ravisher I will inquire at leisure),
That when, hereafter, I behold a stranger
But near him in aspect, I may conclude,
Though men and angels should proclaim him honest,
He is a hell bred villain.
Timand. You are unworthy
To know she is preserved, preserved untainted:
Sorrow, but ill bestow'd, hath only made
A rape upon her comforts in your absence.
Come forth, dear madam. [Leads in Cleora.
Leost. Ha! [Kneels.
Timand. Nay, she deserves
The bending of your heart; that, to content you,
Has kept a vow, the breach of which a Vestal,
Though the infringing it had call'd upon her
A living funeral, must of force have shrunk at.
No danger could compel her to dispense with
Her cruel penance, though hot lust came arm'd
To seize upon her; when one look or accent
Might have redeem'd her.
Leost. Might! O do not show me
A beam of comfort, and straight take it from me.
The means by which she was freed? speak, O speak quickly;
[Pg 270]Each minute of delay 's an age of torment;
O speak, Timandra.
Timand. Free her from her oath;
Herself can best deliver it.
Leost. O blest office!
[Unbinds her eyes.
Never did galley-slave shake off his chains,
Or look'd on his redemption from the oar,
With such true feeling of delight, as now
I find myself possessed of.—Now I behold
True light indeed; for, since these fairest stars,
Cover'd with clouds of your determinate will,
Denied their influence to my optic sense,
The splendour of the sun appear'd to me
But as some little glimpse of his bright beams
Convey'd into a dungeon, to remember
The dark inhabitants there, how much they wanted.
Open these long-shut lips, and strike mine ears
With music more harmonious than the spheres
Yield in their heavenly motions: and if ever
A true submission for a crime acknowledged
May find a gracious hearing, teach your tongue,
In the first sweet articulate sounds it utters,
To sign my wish'd-for pardon.
Cleo. I forgive you.
Leost. How greedily I receive this! Stay, best lady,
And let me by degrees ascend the height
Of human happiness! all at once deliver'd,
The torrent of my joys will overwhelm me:—
So! now a little more; and pray excuse me,
If, like a wanton epicure, I desire
[Pg 271]The pleasant taste these cates of comfort yield me,
Should not too soon be swallow'd. Have you not,
By your unspotted truth I do conjure you
To answer truly, suffer'd in your honour,
By force, I mean, for in your will I free you,
Since I left Syracusa?
Cleo. I restore
This kiss, so help me goodness! which I borrow'd,
When I last saw you.
Leost. Miracle of virtue!
One pause more, I beseech you: I am like
A man whose vital spirits consumed and wasted
With a long and tedious fever, unto whom
Too much of a strong cordial, at once taken,
Brings death, and not restores him. Yet I cannot
Fix here; but must inquire the man to whom
I stand indebted for a benefit,
Which to requite at full, though in this hand
I grasp all sceptres the world's empire bows to,
Would leave me a poor bankrupt. Name him, lady;
If of a mean estate, I'll gladly part with
My utmost fortunes to him; but if noble,
In thankful duty study how to serve him;
Or if of higher rank, erect him altars,
And as a god adore him.
Cleo. If that goodness,
And noble temperance, the queen of virtues,
Bridling rebellious passions, to whose sway,
Such as have conquer'd nations have lived slaves,
Did ever wing great minds to fly to heaven,
He, that preserved mine honour, may hope boldly
To fill a seat among the gods, and shake off
Our frail corruption.
Cleo. Or if ever
The Powers above did mask in human shapes,
To teach mortality, not by cold precepts
Forgot as soon as told, but by examples,
To imitate their pureness, and draw near
To their celestial natures, I believe
He's more than man.
Leost. You do describe a wonder.
Cleo. Which will increase, when you shall understand
He was a lover.
Leost. Not yours, lady?
Loved me, Leosthenes; nay, more, so doted,
(If e'er affections scorning gross desires
May without wrong be styled so,) that he durst not,
With an immodest syllable or look,
In fear it might take from me, whom he made
The object of his better part, discover
I was the saint he sued to.
Leost. A rare temper!
Cleo. I cannot speak it to the worth: all praise
I can bestow upon it will appear
Envious detraction. Not to rack you further,
Yet make the miracle full, though, of all men,
He hated you, Leosthenes, as his rival,
So high yet he prized my content, that, knowing
You were a man I favour'd, he disdain'd not,
Against himself, to serve you.
Leost. You conceal still
The owner of these excellencies.
Cleo. 'Tis Marullo,
My father's bondman.
[Pg 273] Leost. Ha, ha, ha!
Cleo. Why do you laugh?
Leost. To hear the labouring mountain of your praise
Deliver'd of a mouse.
Cleo. The man deserves not
This scorn, I can assure you.
Leost. Do you call
What was his duty, merit?
Cleo. Yes, and place it
As high in my esteem, as all the honours
Descended from your ancestors, or the glory,
Which you may call your own, got in this action,
In which, I must confess, you have done nobly;
And I could add, as I desired, but that
I fear 't would make you proud.
Leost. Why, lady, can you
Be won to give allowance, that your slave
Should dare to love you?
Cleo. The immortal gods
Accept the meanest altars, that are raised
By pure devotions; and sometimes prefer
An ounce of frankincense, honey, or milk,
Before whole hecatombs, or Sabæan gums,
Offer'd in ostentation.—Are you sick
Of your old disease? I'll fit you. [Aside.
Leost. You seem moved.
Cleo. Zealous, I grant, in the defence of virtue.
Why, good Leosthenes, though I endured
A penance for your sake, above example;
I have not so far sold myself, I take it,
To be at your devotion, but I may
Cherish desert in others, where I find it.
[Pg 274]How would you tyrannize, if you stood possess'd of
That which is only yours in expectation,
That now prescribe such hard conditions to me?
Leost. One kiss, and I am silenced.
Cleo. I vouchsafe it;
Yet, I must tell you 'tis a favour that
Marullo, when I was his, not mine own,
Durst not presume to ask: no; when the city
Bow'd humbly to licentious violence,
And when I was, of men and gods forsaken,
Deliver'd to his power, he did not press me
To grace him with one look or syllable,
Or urged the dispensation of an oath
Made for your satisfaction:—the poor wretch,
Having related only his own sufferings,
And kiss'd my hand, which I could not deny him,
Defending me from others, never since
Solicited my favours.
Leost. Pray you, end:
The story does not please me.
Cleo. Well, take heed
Of doubts and fears;—for know, Leosthenes,
A greater injury cannot be offer'd
To innocent chastity, than unjust suspicion.
I love Marullo's fair mind, not his person;
Let that secure you. And I here command you,
If I have any power in you, to stand
Between him and all punishment, and oppose
His temperance to his folly: if you fail——
No more; I will not threaten. [Exit.
Leost. What a bridge
Of glass I walk upon, over a river
Of certain ruin, mine own weighty fears
[Pg 275]Cracking what should support me! and those helps,
Which confidence lends to others, are from me
Ravish'd by doubts, and wilful jealousy. [Exit.
Another Room in the same.
Enter Timagoras, Cleon, Asotus, Corisca, and Olympia.
Cleon. But are you sure we are safe?
Timag. You need not fear;
They are all under guard, their fangs pared off:
The wounds their insolence gave you, to be cured
With the balm of your revenge.
Asot. And shall I be
The thing I was born, my lord?
Timag. The same wise thing.
'Slight, what a beast they have made thee! Afric never
Produced the like.
Asot. I think so:—nor the land
Where apes and monkeys grow, like crabs and walnuts,
On the same tree. Not all the catalogue
Of conjurers or wise women bound together
Could have so soon transform'd me, as my rascal
Did with his whip; for not in outside only,
But in my own belief, I thought myself
As perfect a baboon——
Timag. An ass thou wert ever.
Asot. And would have given one leg, with all my heart,
[Pg 276]For good security to have been a man
After three lives, or one and twenty years,
Though I had died on crutches.
Cleon. Never varlets
So triumph'd o'er an old fat man: I was famish'd.
Timag. Indeed you are fallen away.
Asot. Three years of feeding
On cullises and jelly, though his cooks
Lard all he eats with marrow, or his doctors
Pour in his mouth restoratives as he sleeps,
Will not recover him.
Timag. But your ladyship looks
Sad on the matter, as if you had miss'd
Your ten-crown amber possets, good to smooth
The cutis, as you call it.
Coris. Pray you, forbear;
I am an alter'd woman.
Timag. So it seems;
A part of your honour's ruff stands out of rank too.
Coris. No matter, I have other thoughts.
Timag. O strange!
Not ten days since it would have vex'd you more
Than the loss of your good name.
Enter Leosthenes and Diphilus with a Guard.
How now, friend!
Looks our Cleora lovely?
Leost. In my thoughts, sir.
Timag. But why this guard?
Diph. It is Timoleon's pleasure:
The slaves have been examined, and confess
Their riot took beginning from your house;
And the first mover of them to rebellion
Your slave Marullo. [Exeunt Diph. and Guard.
[Pg 277] Leost. Ha! I more than fear.
Timag. They may search boldly.
Enter Timandra, speaking to the Guard within.
Timand. You are unmanner'd grooms.
To pry into my lady's private lodgings:
There's no Marullos there.
Re-enter Diphilus, and Guard, with Marullo.
Timag. Now I suspect too.
Where found you him?
Diph. Close hid in your sister's chamber.
Timag. Is that the villain's sanctuary?
Leost. This confirms
All she deliver'd, false.
Timag. But that I scorn
To rust my good sword in thy slavish blood,
Thou now wert dead.
Mar. He's more a slave than fortune
Or misery can make me, that insults
Upon unweapon'd innocence.
Timag. Prate you, dog?
Mar. Curs snap at lions in the toil, whose looks
Frighted them, being free.
Timag. As a wild beast,
Drive him before you.
Mar. O divine Cleora!
Leost. Darest thou presume to name her?
Mar. Yes, and love her;
And may say, have deserved her.
Timag. Stop his mouth,
Load him with irons too.
[Exit Guard with Marullo.
Cleon. I am deadly sick
To look on him.
Asot. If he get loose, I know it,
I caper like an ape again: I feel
The whip already.
Timand. This goes to my lady. [Exit.
Timag. Come, cheer you, sir; we'll urge his punishment
To the full satisfaction of your anger.
Leost. He is not worth my thoughts. No corner left
In all the spacious rooms of my vex'd heart,
But is fill'd with Cleora: and the rape
She has done upon her honour, with my wrong,
The heavy burden of my sorrow's song. [Exeunt.
The same. A Room in Archidamus's House.
Enter Archidamus and Cleora.
Archid. Thou art thine own disposer. Were his honours
And glories centupled, as I must confess,
Leosthenes is most worthy, yet I will not,
However I may counsel, force affection.
Cleo. It needs not, sir; I prize him to his worth,
Nay, love him truly; yet would not live slaved
To his jealous humours: since, by the hopes of heaven,
As I am free from violence, in a thought
I am not guilty.
Archid. 'Tis believed, Cleora;
And much the rather, our great gods be praised for 't!
In that I find, beyond my hopes, no sign
Of riot in my house, but all things order'd,
As if I had been present.
Cleo. May that move you
To pity poor Marullo!
Archid. 'Tis my purpose
To do him all the good I can, Cleora;
But this offence, being against the state,
Must have a public trial. In the mean time,
Be careful of yourself, and stand engaged
No further to Leosthenes, than you may
Come off with honour; for, being once his wife,
You are no more your own, nor mine, but must
Resolve to serve, and suffer his commands,
And not dispute them:—ere it be too late,
Consider it duly. I must to the senate. [Exit.
Cleo. I am much distracted: in Leosthenes
I can find nothing justly to accuse,
But his excess of love, which I have studied
To cure with more than common means; yet still
It grows upon him. And, if I may call
My sufferings merit, I stand bound to think on
Marullo's dangers—though I save his life,
His love is unrewarded:—I confess,
Both have deserved me; yet, of force, must be
Unjust to one; such is my destiny.—
How now! whence flow these tears?
Timand. I have met, madam,
An object of such cruelty, as would force
A savage to compassion.
[Pg 280] Cleo. Speak, what is it?
Timand. Men pity beasts of rapine, if o'ermatch'd,
Though baited for their pleasure: but these monsters
Upon a man that can make no resistance,
Are senseless in their tyranny. Let it be granted
Marullo is a slave, he's still a man;
A capital offender, yet in justice
Not to be tortured, till the judge pronounce
Cleo. Where is he?
Timand. Dragg'd to prison
With more than barbarous violence; spurn'd and spit on
By the insulting officers, his hands
Pinion'd behind his back; loaden with fetters:
Yet, with a saint-like patience, he still offers
His face to their rude buffets.
Cleo. O my grieved soul!—
By whose command?
Timand. It seems, my lord your brother's,
For he's a looker-on: and it takes from
Honour'd Leosthenes to suffer it,
For his respect to you, whose name in vain
The grieved wretch loudly calls on.
Cleo. By Diana,
'Tis base in both; and to their teeth I'll tell them
That I am wrong'd in 't. [Going forth.
Timand. What will you do?
Cleo. In person
Visit and comfort him.
Timand. That will bring fuel
To the jealous fires which burn too hot already
In lord Leosthenes.
Cleo. Let them consume him!
I am mistress of myself. Where cruelty reigns,
There dwells nor love nor honour. [Exit.
Timand. So! it works.
Though hitherto I have run a desperate course
To serve my brother's purposes, now 'tis fit
Enter Leosthenes and Timagoras.
I study mine own ends. They come:—assist me
In these my undertakings, Love's great patron,
As my intents are honest!
Leost. 'Tis my fault:
Distrust of other springs, Timagoras,
From diffidence in ourselves: but I will strive,
With the assurance of my worth and merits,
To kill this monster, jealousy.
Timag. 'Tis a guest,
In wisdom, never to be entertain'd
On trivial probabilities; but, when
He does appear in pregnant proofs, not fashion'd
By idle doubts and fears to be received:
They make their own wrongs that are too secure,
As well as such as give them growth and being
From mere imagination. Though I prize
Cleora's honour equal with mine own,
And know what large additions of power
This match brings to our family, I prefer
Our friendship, and your peace of mind, so far
Above my own respects, or hers, that if
[Pg 282]She hold not her true value in the test,
'Tis far from my ambition, for her cure,
That you should wound yourself.
Timand. This argues for me. [Aside.
Timag. Why she should be so passionate for a bondman,
Falls not in compass of my understanding,
But for some nearer interest; or he raise
This mutiny, if he loved her, as, you say,
She does confess he did, but to possess
The prize he ventured for, to me's a riddle.
Leost. I have answer'd that objection, in my strong
Assurance of her virtue.
Timag. 'Tis unfit, then,
That I should press it further.
Timand. Now I must
Make in, or all is lost.
[Rushes forward distractedly.
Timag. What would Timandra?
Leost. How wild she looks! How is it with thy lady?
Timag. Collect thyself, and speak.
Timand. As you are noble,
Have pity, or love piety.—Oh!
Leost. Take breath.
Timag. Out with it boldly.
Timand. O, the best of ladies,
I fear, is gone for ever.
Leost. Who, Cleora?
Timag. Deliver, how? 'Sdeath, be a man, sir!—Speak.
Timand. Take it then in as many sighs as words,
[Pg 283] Timag. What of her?
Timand. No sooner heard
Marullo was imprison'd, but she fell
Into a deadly swoon.
Timag. But she recover'd:
Say so, or he will sink too. Hold, sir; fie!
This is unmanly.
Timand. Brought again to life,
But with much labour, she awhile stood silent,
Yet in that interim vented sighs, as if
They labour'd, from the prison of her flesh,
To give her grieved soul freedom. On the sudden,
Transported on the wings of rage and sorrow,
She flew out of the house, and, unattended,
Enter'd the common prison.
Leost. This confirms
What but before I fear'd.
Timand. There you may find her;
And, if you love her as a sister——
Timag. Damn her!
Timand. Or you respect her safety as a lover,
Procure Marullo's liberty.
Timand. She'll run mad, else,
Or do some violent act upon herself:
My lord, her father, sensible of her sufferings,
Labours to gain his freedom.
Leost. O, the devil!
Has she bewitch'd him too?
Timag. I'll hear no more.
Come, sir, we'll follow her; and if no persuasion
Can make her take again her natural form,
[Pg 284]Which by some powerful spell she has cast off,
This sword shall disenchant her.
Leost. O my heart-strings!
[Exeunt Leosthenes and Timagoras.
Timand. I knew 't would take. Pardon me, fair Cleora,
Though I appear a traitress; which thou wilt do,
In pity of my woes, when I make known
My lawful claim, and only seek mine own. [Exit.
A Prison. Marullo discovered in chains.
Enter Cleora and Gaoler.
Cleo. There's for your privacy. Stay, unbind his hands.
Gaol. I dare not, madam.
Cleo. I will buy thy danger:
Take more gold;—do not trouble me with thanks;
I do suppose it done. [Exit Gaoler.
Mar. My better angel
Assumes this shape to comfort me, and wisely;
Since, from the choice of all celestial figures,
He could not take a visible form so full
Of glorious sweetness. [Kneels.
Cleo. Rise. I am flesh and blood,
And do partake thy tortures.
Mar. Can it be,
That charity should persuade you to descend
So far from your own height, as to vouchsafe
To look upon my sufferings? How I bless
[Pg 285]My fetters now, and stand engaged to fortune
For my captivity—no, my freedom, rather!
For who dare think that place a prison which
You sanctify with your presence? or believe
Sorrow has power to use her sting on him
That is in your compassion arm'd, and made
Impregnable, though tyranny raise at once
All engines to assault him?
Cleo. Indeed virtue,
With which you have made evident proofs that you
Are strongly fortified, cannot fall, though shaken
With the shock of fierce temptations; but still triumphs
In spite of opposition. For myself,
I may endeavour to confirm your goodness,
(A sure retreat, which never will deceive you,)
And with unfeigned tears express my sorrow
For what I cannot help.
Mar. Do you weep for me?
O, save that precious balm for nobler uses!
I am unworthy of the smallest drop
Which, in your prodigality of pity,
You throw away on me. Ten of these pearls
Were a large ransom to redeem a kingdom
From a consuming plague, or stop heaven's vengeance,
Call'd down by crying sins, though, at that instant,
In dreadful flashes falling on the roofs
Of bold blasphemers. I am justly punish'd
For my intent of violence to such pureness;
And all the torments flesh is sensible of,
A soft and gentle penance.
Cleo. Which is ended
In this your free confession. [Pg 286]
Enter Leosthenes, and Timagoras behind.
Leost. What an object
Have I encounter'd!
Timag. I am blasted too:
Yet hear a little further.
Mar. Could I expire now,
These white and innocent hands closing my eyes thus,
'Twere not to die, but in a heavenly dream
To be transported, without the help of Charon,
To the Elysian shades. You make me bold;
And, but to wish such happiness, I fear,
May give offence.
Cleo. No; for believe 't, Marullo,
You've won so much upon me, that I know not
That happiness in my gift, but you may challenge.
Leost. Are you yet satisfied?
Cleo. Nor can you wish
But what my vows will second, though it were
Your freedom first, and then in me full power
To make a second tender of myself,
And you receive the present. By this kiss,
From me a virgin bounty, I will practise
All arts for your deliverance; and that purchased,
In what concerns your further aims, I speak it,
Do not despair, but hope——
[Timagoras and Leosthenes come forward.
Timag. To have the hangman,
When he is married to the cross, in scorn
To say, Gods give you joy!
Leost. But look on me,
And be not too indulgent to your folly;
[Pg 287]And then, but that grief stops my speech, imagine
What language I should use.
Cleo. Against thyself:
Thy malice cannot reach me.
Cleo. No, brother,
Though you join in the dialogue to accuse me:
What I have done, I'll justify; and these favours,
Which, you presume, will taint me in my honour,
Though jealousy use all her eyes to spy out
One stain in my behaviour, or envy
As many tongues to wound it, shall appear
My best perfections. For, to the world,
I can in my defence allege such reasons,
As my accusers shall stand dumb to hear them;
When in his fetters this man's worth and virtues,
But truly told, shall shame your boasted glories,
Which fortune claims a share in.
Timag. The base villain
Shall never live to hear it. [Draws his sword.
Cleo. Murder! help!
Through me, you shall pass to him.
Enter Archidamus, Diphilus, and Officers.
Archid. What's the matter?
On whom is your sword drawn? are you a judge?
Or else ambitious of the hangman's office,
Before it be design'd you?—You are bold, too;
Unhand my daughter.
Leost. She's my valour's prize.
Archid. With her consent, not otherwise. You may urge
Your title in the court; if it prove good,
Possess her freely.—Guard him safely off too.
[Pg 288] Timag. You'll hear me, sir?
Archid. If you have aught to say,
Deliver it in public; all shall find
A just judge of Timoleon.
Diph. You must
Of force now use your patience.
[Exeunt all but Timagoras and Leosthenes.
Timag. Vengeance rather!
Whirlwinds of rage possess me: you are wrong'd
Beyond a stoic sufferance; yet you stand
As you were rooted.
Leost. I feel something here,
That boldly tells me, all the love and service
I pay Cleora is another's due,
And therefore cannot prosper.
Which now you must not yield to.
Leost. 'Tis apparent:
In fact your sister's innocent, however
Changed by her violent will.
Timag. If you believe so,
Follow the chase still; and in open court
Plead your own interest: we shall find the judge
Our friend, I fear not.
Leost. Something I shall say,
Timag. Collect yourself as we walk thither.
[Exeunt. [Pg 289]
The Court of Justice.
Enter Timoleon, Archidamus, Cleora; and Officers.
Timol. 'Tis wonderous strange! nor can it fall within
The reach of my belief, a slave should be
The owner of a temperance which this age
Can hardly parallel in freeborn lords,
Or kings proud of their purple.
Archid. 'Tis most true;
And, though at first it did appear a fable,
All circumstances meet to give it credit;
Which works so on me, that I am compell'd
To be a suitor, not to be denied,
He may have equal hearing.
Cleo. Sir, you graced me
With the title of your mistress; but my fortune
Is so far distant from command, that I
Lay by the power you gave me, and plead humbly
For the preserver of my fame and honour.
And pray you, sir, in charity believe,
That, since I had ability of speech,
[Pg 290]My tongue has been so much inured to truth,
I know not how to lie.
Timol. I'll rather doubt
The oracles of the gods, than question what
Your innocence delivers; and, as far
As justice and mine honour can give way,
He shall have favour. Bring him in unbound:
And though Leosthenes may challenge from me,
For his late worthy service, credit to
All things he can allege in his own cause,
Marullo, so, I think, you call his name,
Shall find I do reserve one ear for him,
Enter Cleon, Asotus, Diphilus, Olympia, and Corisca.
To let in mercy. Sit, and take your places;
The right of this fair virgin first determined,
Your bondmen shall be censured.
Cleon. With all rigour.
We do expect.
Coris. Temper'd, I say, with mercy.
Enter at one door Leosthenes and Timagoras; at the other, Officers with Marullo, and Timandra.
Timol. Your hand, Leosthenes: I cannot doubt,
You, that have been victorious in the war,
Should, in a combat fought with words, come off
But with assured triumph.
Leost. My deserts, sir,
If, without arrogance, I may style them such,
Arm me from doubt and fear.
Timol. 'Tis nobly spoken.
Nor be thou daunted (howsoe'er thy fortune
Has mark'd thee out a slave) to speak thy merits:
For virtue, though in rags, may challenge more
Than vice, set off with all the trim of greatness.
Mar. I had rather fall under so just a judge,
Than be acquitted by a man corrupt,
And partial, in his censure.
Archid. Note his language;
It relishes of better breeding than
His present state dares promise.
Timol. I observe it.
Place the fair lady in the midst, that both,
Looking with covetous eyes upon the prize
They are to plead for, may, from the fair object,
Teach Hermes eloquence.
Leost. Am I fallen so low?
My birth, my honour, and, what 's dearest to me,
My love, and, witness of my love, my service,
So undervalued, that I must contend
With one, where my excess of glory must
Make his o'erthrow a conquest? Shall my fulness
Supply defects in such a thing, that never
Knew any thing but want and emptiness,
Give him a name, and keep it such, from this
Unequal competition? If my pride,
Or any bold assurance of my worth,
Has pluck'd this mountain of disgrace upon me,
I am justly punish'd, and submit; but if
I have been modest, and esteem'd myself
More injured in the tribute of the praise,
[Pg 292]Which no desert of mine, prized by self-love,
Ever exacted, may this cause and minute
For ever be forgotten! I dwell long
Upon mine anger, and now turn to you,
Ungrateful fair one; and, since you are such,
'Tis lawful for me to proclaim myself,
And what I have deserved.
Cleo. Neglect and scorn
From me, for this proud vaunt.
Leost. You nourish, lady,
Your own dishonour in this harsh reply,
And almost prove what some hold of your sex,
You are all made up of passion: for, if reason
Or judgment could find entertainment with you,
Or that you would distinguish of the objects
You look on, in a true glass, not seduced
By the false light of your too violent will,
I should not need to plead for that which you,
With joy, should offer. Is my high birth a blemish?
Or does my wealth, which all the vain expense
Of women cannot waste, breed loathing in you?
The honours I can call mine own, thought scandals?
Am I deform'd, or, for my father's sins,
Mulcted by nature? If you interpret these
As crimes, 'tis fit I should yield up myself
Most miserably guilty. But, perhaps,
(Which yet I would not credit,) you have seen
This gallant pitch the bar, or bear a burden
Would crack the shoulders of a weaker bondman.
Cleo. You are foul-mouth'd.
Archid. Ill-manner'd too.
Leost. I speak
In the way of supposition, and entreat you,
With all the fervour of a constant lover,
[Pg 293]That you would free yourself from these aspersions,
Or any imputation black-tongued slander
Could throw on your unspotted virgin whiteness:
To which there is no easier way, than by
Vouchsafing him your favour; him, to whom,
Next to the general, and the gods and fautors,
The country owes her safety.
Timag. Are you stupid?
'Slight! leap into his arms, and there ask pardon.—
Oh! you expect your slave's reply; no doubt
We shall have a fine oration: I will teach
My spaniel to howl in sweeter language,
And keep a better method.
Archid. You forget
The dignity of the place.
Timol. [to Marullo.] Speak boldly.
Mar. 'Tis your authority gives me a tongue;
I should be dumb else; and I am secure,
I cannot clothe my thoughts, and just defence,
In such an abject phrase, but 'twill appear
Equal, if not above my low condition.
I need no bombast language, stolen from such
As make nobility from prodigious terms
The hearers understand not; I bring with me
No wealth to boast of, neither can I number
Uncertain fortune's favours with my merits;
I dare not force affection, or presume
To censure her discretion, that looks on me
As a weak man, and not her fancy's idol.
How I have loved, and how much I have suffer'd,
[Pg 294]And with what pleasure undergone the burden
Of my ambitious hopes, (in aiming at
The glad possession of a happiness,
The abstract of all goodness in mankind
Can at no part deserve), with my confession
Of mine own wants, is all that can plead for me.
But if that pure desires, not blended with
Foul thoughts, that, like a river, keeps his course,
Retaining still the clearness of the spring
From whence it took beginning, may be thought
Worthy acceptance; then I dare rise up,
And tell this gay man to his teeth, I never
Durst doubt her constancy, that, like a rock,
Beats off temptations, as that mocks the fury
Of the proud waves; nor, from my jealous fears,
Question that goodness to which, as an altar
Of all perfection, he that truly loved
Should rather bring a sacrifice of service,
Than raze it with the engines of suspicion:
Of which, when he can wash an Æthiop white,
Leosthenes may hope to free himself;
But, till then, never.
Timag. Bold, presumptuous villain!
Mar. I will go further, and make good upon him,
I' the pride of all his honours, birth, and fortunes,
He's more unworthy than myself.
Leost. Thou liest.
Timag. Confute him with a whip, and, the doubt decided,
Punish him with a halter.
Mar. O the gods!
My ribs, though made of brass, cannot contain
My heart, swollen big with rage. The lie!—a whip!—
[Pg 295]Let fury then disperse these clouds, in which
I long have march'd disguised; [Throws off his disguise.] that, when they know
Whom they have injured, they may faint with horror
Of my revenge, which, wretched men! expect,
As sure as fate, to suffer.
Leost. Ha! Pisander!
Timag. 'Tis the bold Theban!
Asot. There's no hope for me then:
I thought I should have put in for a share,
And borne Cleora from them both; but now,
This stranger looks so terrible, that I dare not
So much as look on her.
Pisan. Now as myself,
Thy equal at thy best, Leosthenes.
For you, Timagoras, praise heaven you were born
Cleora's brother; 'tis your safest armour.
But I lose time.—The base lie cast upon me,
I thus return: Thou art a perjured man,
False, and perfidious, and hast made a tender
Of love and service to this lady, when
Thy soul, if thou hast any, can bear witness,
That thou wert not thine own: for proof of this,
Look better on this virgin, and consider,
This Persian shape laid by, and she appearing
In a Greekish dress, such as when first you saw her,
[Pg 296]If she resemble not Pisander's sister,
One call'd Statilia?
Leost. 'Tis the same! My guilt
So chokes my spirits, I cannot deny
My falsehood, nor excuse it.
Pisan. This is she,
To whom thou wert contracted: this the lady,
That, when thou wert my prisoner, fairly taken
In the Spartan war, then, begg'd thy liberty,
And with it gave herself to thee, ungrateful!
Statil. No more, sir, I entreat you: I perceive
True sorrow in his looks, and a consent
To make me reparation in mine honour;
And then I am most happy.
Pisan. The wrong done her
Drew me from Thebes, with a full intent to kill thee:
But this fair object met me in my fury,
And quite disarm'd me. Being denied to have her,
By you, my lord Archidamus, and not able
To live far from her; love, the mistress of
All quaint devices, prompted me to treat
With a friend of mine, who, as a pirate, sold me
For a slave to you, my lord, and gave my sister,
As a present, to Cleora.
Timol. Strange meanders!
Pisan. There how I bare myself, needs no relation:
But, if so far descending from the height
Of my then flourishing fortunes, to the lowest
Condition of a man, to have means only
To feed my eye with the sight of what I honour'd;
The dangers too I underwent, the sufferings;
[Pg 297]The clearness of my interest, may deserve
A noble recompense in your lawful favour;
Now 'tis apparent that Leosthenes
Can claim no interest in you, you may please
To think upon my service.
Cleo. Sir, my want
Of power to satisfy so great a debt
Makes me accuse my fortune; but if that,
Out of the bounty of your mind, you think
A free surrender of myself full payment,
I gladly tender it.
Archid. With my consent too,
All injuries forgotten.
Timag. I will study,
In my future service, to deserve your favour,
And good opinion.
Leost. Thus I gladly fee
This advocate to plead for me. [Kissing Statilia.
Pisan. You will find me
An easy judge. When I have yielded reasons
Of your bondmen's falling off from their obedience,
Then after, as you please, determine of me.
I found their natures apt to mutiny
From your too cruel usage, and made trial
How far they might be wrought on; to instruct you
To look with more prevention and care
To what they may hereafter undertake
Upon the like occasions. The hurt 's little
They have committed; nor was ever cure,
But with some pain, effected. I confess,
In hope to force a grant of fair Cleora,
I urged them to defend the town against you;
Nor had the terror of your whips, but that
[Pg 298]I was preparing for defence elsewhere,
So soon got entrance: In this I am guilty;
Now, as you please, your censure.
Timol. Bring them in;
And, though you've given me power, I do entreat
Such as have undergone their insolence,
It may not be offensive, though I study
Pity, more than revenge.
Coris. 'Twill best become you.
Cleon. I must consent.
Asot. For me, I'll find a time
To be revenged hereafter.
Timol. And now, the war being ended to our wishes,
And such as went the pilgrimage of love,
Happy in full fruition of their hopes,
'Tis lawful, thanks paid to the Powers divine,
To drown our cares in honest mirth and wine.
The Maid of Honour.] This tragi-comedy, which was first printed in 1632, was, as the old title-page informs us, very frequently acted "at the Phœnix in Drury-lane, by the Queen's Majesty's servants." It was a great favourite, and with justice, for it has a thousand claims to admiration, and is of the higher order of Massinger's plays. It will not, indeed, be very easy to find in any writer a subject more animated, or characters more variously and pointedly drawn. There is no delay in introducing the business of the drama; and nothing is allowed to interfere with its progress. Indeed this is by far too rapid; and event is precipitated upon event without regard to time or place. But Massinger acts with a liberty which it would be absurd to criticise. Thebes and Athens, Palermo and Sienna, are alike to him; and he must be allowed to transport his agents and their concerns from one to another, as often as the exigencies of his ambulatory plan may require.
It is observable, that in this play Massinger has attempted the more difficult part of dramatic writing. He is not content with describing different qualities in his characters; but lays before the reader several differences of the same qualities. The courage of Gonzaga, though by no means inferior to it, is not that of Bertoldo. In the former, it is a fixed and habitual principle, the honourable business of his life. In the latter, it is an irresistible impulse, the instantaneous result of a fiery temper. There is still another remove; and these branches of real courage differ from the poor and forced approaches to valour in Gasparo and Antonio. A broader distinction is used with his two courtiers; and the cold interest of Astutio is fully contrasted with the dazzling and imprudent assumption of Fulgentio. But Camiola herself is the great object that reigns throughout the piece. Every where she animates us with her spirit, and instructs us with her sense. Yet this superiority takes nothing from her softer feelings. Her tears flow with a mingled fondness and regret; and she is swayed by a passion which is only quelled by her greater resolution. The influence of her character is also heightened through the different manner of her lovers; through the mad impatience of the uncontrolled[Pg 302] Bertoldo, the glittering pretensions of Fulgentio, and the humble and sincere attachment of Adorni, who nourishes secret desires of a happiness too exalted for him, faithfully performs commands prejudicial to his own views, through the force of an affection which ensures his obedience, and, amidst so much service, scarcely presumes to hint the passion which consumes him. I know not if even signior Sylli is wholly useless here; he serves at least to show her good-humoured toleration of a being hardly important enough for her contempt.
In the midst of this just praise of Camiola, there are a few things to be regretted. Reason and religion had forbidden her union with Bertoldo; and she had declared herself unalterable in her purpose. His captivity reverses her judgment, and she determines not only to liberate, but to marry him. Unfortunately too she demands a sealed contract as the condition of his freedom; though Bertoldo's ardour was already known to her, and the generosity of her nature ought to have abstained from so degrading a bargain. But Massinger wanted to hinder the marriage of Aurelia; and, with an infelicity which attends many of his contrivances, he provided a prior contract at the expense of the delicacy, as well as the principles of his heroine. It is well, that the nobleness of the conclusion throws the veil over these blemishes. Her determination is at once natural and unexpected. It answers to the original independence of her character, and she retires with our highest admiration and esteem.
It may be observed here, that Massinger was not unknown to Milton. The date of some of Milton's early poems, indeed, is not exactly ascertained; but if the reader will compare the speech of Paulo, with the Penseroso, he cannot fail to remark a similarity in the cadences, as well as in the measure and the solemnity of the thoughts. On many other occasions he certainly remembers Massinger, and frequently in his representations of female purity, and the commanding dignity of virtue.
A noble lesson arises from the conduct of the principal character. A fixed sense of truth and rectitude gives genuine superiority; it corrects the proud, and abashes the vain, and marks the proper limits between humility and presumption. It also governs itself with the same ascendancy which it establishes over others. When the lawful objects of life cannot be possessed with clearness of honour, it provides a nobler pleasure in rising above their attraction, and creates a new happiness by controlling even innocent desires.
MY MOST HONOURED FRIENDS,
SIR FRANCIS FOLJAMBE, KNT. AND BART.
SIR THOMAS BLAND, KNT.
That you have been, and continued so for many years, since you vouchsafed to own me, patrons to me and my despised studies, I cannot but with all humble thankfulness acknowledge: and living, as you have done, inseparable in your friendship, (notwithstanding all differences, and suits in law arising between you,) I held it as impertinent as absurd, in the presentment of my service in this kind, to divide you. A free confession of a debt, in a meaner man, is the amplest satisfaction to his superiors; and I heartily wish that the world may take notice, and from myself, that I had not to this time subsisted, but that I was supported by your frequent courtesies and favours. When your more serious occasions will give you leave, you may please to peruse this trifle, and peradventure find something in it that may appear worthy of your protection. Receive it, I beseech you, as a testimony of his duty who, while he lives, resolves to be
truly and sincerely devoted to your service,
|Roberto, king of Sicily.|
|Ferdinand, duke of Urbin.|
|Bertoldo, the king's natural brother, a knight of Malta.|
|Gonzaga, a knight of Malta, general to the duchess of Sienna.|
|Astutio, a counsellor of state.|
|Fulgentio, the minion of Roberto.|
|Adorni, a follower of Camiola's father.|
|Signior Sylli, a foolish self-lover.|
|}||two rich heirs, city-bred.|
|Pierio, a colonel to Gonzaga.|
|}||captains to Gonzaga.|
|}||captains to duke Ferdinand.|
|Father Paulo, a priest, Camiola's confessor.|
|Ambassador from the duke of Urbin.|
|Aurelia, duchess of Sienna.|
|Camiola, the Maid of Honour.|
|Clarinda, her woman.|
|Scout, Soldiers, Gaoler, Attendants, Servants, &c.|
SCENE, partly in Sicily, and partly in the Siennese.
THE MAID OF HONOUR.
Palermo. A State-room in the Palace.
Enter Astutio and Adorni.
Ador. Good day to your lordship.
Ast. Thanks, Adorni.
Ador. May I presume to ask if the ambassador
Employ'd by Ferdinand, the duke of Urbin,
Hath audience this morning?
Ast. 'Tis uncertain;
For, though a counsellor of state, I am not
Of the cabinet council: but there's one, if he please,
That may resolve you.
Ador. I will move him.—Sir!
Ful. If you've a suit, show water, I am blind else.
Ador. A suit; yet of a nature not to prove
[Pg 306]The quarry that you hawk for: if your words
Are not like Indian wares, and every scruple
To be weigh'd and rated, one poor syllable,
Vouchsafed in answer of a fair demand,
Cannot deserve a fee.
Ful. It seems you are ignorant,
I neither speak nor hold my peace for nothing;
And yet, for once, I care not if I answer
One single question, gratis.
Ador. I much thank you.
Hath the ambassador audience, sir, to-day?
Ador. At what hour?
Ful. I promised not so much.
A syllable you begg'd, my charity gave it;
Move me no further. [Exit.
Ast. This you wonder at:
With me, 'tis usual.
Ador. Pray you, sir, what is he?
Ast. No gentleman, yet a lord. He hath some drops
Of the king's blood running in his veins, derived
Some ten degrees off. His revenue lies
In a narrow compass, the king's ear; and yields him
Every hour a fruitful harvest. Men may talk
Of three crops in a year in the Fortunate Islands,
Or profit made by wool; but, while there are suitors,
His sheepshearing, nay, shaving to the quick,
Is in every quarter of the moon, and constant.
In the time of trussing a point, he can undo,
[Pg 307]Or make a man: his play or recreation,
Is to raise this up, or pull down that; and, though
He never yet took orders, makes more bishops
In Sicily, than the pope himself.
Enter Bertoldo, Gasparo, Antonio, and a Servant.
Ador. Most strange!
Ast. The presence fills. He in the Malta habit
Is the king's natural brother.
Ador. I understand you.
Bert. With this jewel
Presented to Camiola, prepare,
This night, a visit for me. [Exit Servant.] I shall have
Your company, gallants, I perceive, if that
The king will hear of war.
Ant. You are, sir,
A knight of Malta, and, as I have heard,
Have served against the Turk.
Bert. 'Tis true.
Ant. Pray you, show us
The difference between the city valour,
And service in the field.
Bert. 'Tis somewhat more
Than roaring in a tavern or a brothel,
Or to steal a constable from a sleeping watch,
[Pg 308]Then burn their halberds; or, safe guarded by
Your tenant's sons, to carry away a May-pole
From a neighbour village. You will not find there
Your masters of dependencies to take up
A drunken brawl, or, to get you the names
Of valiant chevaliers, fellows that will be,
For a cloak with thrice-dyed velvet, and a cast suit,
Kick'd down the stairs. A knave with a provant sword,
If you bear not yourself both in and upright,
Will slash your scarlets and your plush a new way;
Or, with the hilts, thunder about your ears
Such music as will make your worships dance
To the doleful tune of Lachrymæ.
Gasp. I must tell you
In private, as you are my princely friend,
I do not like such fiddlers.
Bert. No! they are useful
For your imitation; I remember you,
When you came first to the court, and talk'd of nothing
But your rents and your entradas, ever chiming
The golden bells in your pockets; you believed
The taking of the wall as a tribute due to
Your gaudy clothes; and could not walk at midnight
Without a causeless quarrel, as if men
Of coarser outsides were in duty bound
To suffer your affronts: but, when you had been
Cudgell'd well twice or thrice, and from the doctrine
Made profitable uses, you concluded,
The sovereign means to teach irregular heirs
Civility, with conformity of manners,
Were two or three sound beatings.
Ant. I confess
They did much good upon me.
Gasp. And on me:
The principles that they read were sound.
Bert. You'll find
The like instructions in the camp.
Ast. The king!
A flourish. Enter Roberto, Fulgentio, Ambassador, and Attendants.
Rob. [ascends the throne.] We sit prepared to hear.
Amb. Your majesty
Hath been long since familiar, I doubt not,
With the desperate fortunes of my lord; and pity
Of the much that your confederate hath suffer'd,
You being his last refuge, may persuade you
Not alone to compassionate, but to lend
Your royal aids to stay him in his fall
To certain ruin. He, too late, is conscious
That his ambition to encroach upon
His neighbour's territories, with the danger of
His liberty, nay, his life, hath brought in question
His own inheritance: but youth, and heat
Of blood, in your interpretation, may
Both plead and mediate for him. I must grant it
An error in him, being denied the favours
Of the fair princess of Sienna, (though
He sought her in a noble way,) to endeavour
To force affection by surprisal of
Her principal seat, Sienna.
Rob. Which now proves
The seat of his captivity, not triumph:
Heaven is still just.
Amb. And yet that justice is
To be with mercy temper'd, which heaven's deputies
Stand bound to minister. The injured duchess,
By reason taught, as nature, could not, with
The reparation of her wrongs, but aim at
A brave revenge; and my lord feels, too late,
[Pg 311]That innocence will find friends. The great Gonzaga,
The honour of his order, (I must praise
Virtue, though in an enemy,) he whose fights
And conquests hold one number, rallying up
Her scatter'd troops, before we could get time
To victual or to man the conquer'd city,
Sat down before it; and presuming that
'Tis not to be relieved, admits no parley,
Our flags of truce hung out in vain: nor will he
Lend an ear to composition, but exacts,
With the rendering up the town, the goods and lives
Of all within the walls, and of all sexes,
To be at his discretion.
Rob. Since injustice
In your duke meets this correction, can you press us,
With any seeming argument of reason,
In foolish pity to decline his dangers,
To draw them on ourself? Shall we not be
Warn'd by his harms? The league proclaim'd between us
Bound neither of us further than to aid
Each other, if by foreign force invaded;
And so far in my honour I was tied.
But since, without our counsel, or allowance,
He hath ta'en arms; with his good leave, he must
Excuse us if we steer not on a rock
We see, and may avoid. Let other monarchs
Contend to be made glorious by proud war,
And, with the blood of their poor subjects, purchase
[Pg 312]Increase of empire, and augment their cares
In keeping that which was by wrongs extorted,
Gilding unjust invasions with the trim
Of glorious conquests; we, that would be known
The father of our people, in our study
And vigilance for their safety, must not change
Their ploughshares into swords, and force them from
The secure shade of their own vines, to be
Scorch'd with the flames of war; or, for our sport,
Expose their lives to ruin.
Amb. Will you, then,
In his extremity, forsake your friend?
Rob. No; but preserve ourself.
Bert. Cannot the beams
Of honour thaw your icy fears?
Rob. Who's that?
Bert. A kind of brother, sir, howe'er your subject;
Your father's son, and one who blushes that
You are not heir to his brave spirit and vigour,
As to his kingdom.
Rob. How's this!
Bert. Sir, to be
His living chronicle, and to speak his praise,
Cannot deserve your anger.
Rob. Where's your warrant
For this presumption?
Bert. Here, sir, in my heart:
Let sycophants, that feed upon your favours,
Style coldness in you caution, and prefer
Your ease before your honour; and conclude,
To eat and sleep supinely is the end
Of human blessings: I must tell you, sir,
Virtue, if not in action, is a vice;
[Pg 313]And when we move not forward, we go backward:
Nor is this peace, the nurse of drones and cowards,
Our health, but a disease.
Gasp. Well urged, my lord.
Ant. Perfect what is so well begun.
Amb. And bind
My lord your servant.
Rob. Hair-brain'd fool! what reason
Canst thou infer, to make this good?
Bert. A thousand,
Not to be contradicted. But consider
Where your command lies: 'tis not, sir, in France,
Spain, Germany, Portugal, but in Sicily;
An island, sir. Here are no mines of gold
Or silver to enrich you; no worm spins
Silk in her womb, to make distinction
Between you and a peasant, in your habits;
No fish lives near our shores, whose blood can dye
Scarlet or purple; all that we possess,
With beasts we have in common: nature did
Design us to be warriors, and to break through
Our ring, the sea, by which we are environ'd;
And we by force must fetch in what is wanting,
Or precious to us. Add to this, we are
A populous nation, and increase so fast,
That, if we by our providence are not sent
Abroad in colonies, or fall by the sword,
[Pg 314]Not Sicily, though now it were more fruitful
Than when 't was styled the granary of great Rome,
Can yield our numerous fry bread: we must starve,
Or eat up one another.
Ador. The king hears
With much attention.
Ast. And seems moved with what
Bertoldo hath deliver'd.
Bert. May you live long, sir,
The king of peace, so you deny not us
The glory of the war; let not our nerves
Shrink up with sloth, nor, for want of employment,
Make younger brothers thieves: it is their swords, sir,
Must sow and reap their harvest. If examples
May move you more than arguments, look on England,
The empress of the European isles,
And unto whom alone ours yields precedence:
When did she flourish so, as when she was
The mistress of the ocean, her navies
Putting a girdle round about the world?
When the Iberian quaked, her worthies named;
And the fair flower-de-luce grew pale, set by
The red rose and the white? Let not our armour
Hung up, or our unrigg'd armada, make us
Ridiculous to the late poor snakes our neighbours,
Warm'd in our bosoms, and to whom again
We may be terrible. Rouse us, sir, from the sleep
Of idleness, and redeem our mortgaged honours.
Your birth, and justly, claims my father's kingdom;
But his heroic mind descends to me:
I will confirm so much.
Ador. In his looks he seems
To break ope Janus' temple.
Ast. How these younglings
Take fire from him!
Ador. It works an alteration
Upon the king.
Ant. I can forbear no longer:
War, war, my sovereign!
Ful. The king appears
Resolved, and does prepare to speak.
Rob. Think not
Our counsel 's built upon so weak a base,
As to be overturn'd, or shaken, with
Tempestuous winds of words. As I, my lord,
Before resolved you, I will not engage
My person in this quarrel; neither press
My subjects to maintain it: yet, to show
My rule is gentle, and that I have feeling
O' your master's sufferings, since these gallants, weary
Of the happiness of peace, desire to taste
The bitter sweets of war, we do consent
That, as adventurers and volunteers,
No way compell'd by us, they may make trial
Of their boasted valours.
Bert. We desire no more.
Rob. 'Tis well; and, but my grant in this, expect not
Assistance from me. Govern, as you please,
The province you make choice of; for, I vow
By all things sacred, if that thou miscarry
In this rash undertaking, I will hear it
No otherwise than as a sad disaster,
Fallen on a stranger; nor will I esteem
[Pg 316]That man my subject, who, in thy extremes,
In purse or person aids thee. Take your fortune:
You know me; I have said it. So, my lord,
You have my absolute answer.
Amb. My prince pays,
In me, his duty.
Rob. Follow me, Fulgentio,
And you, Astutio.
[Flourish. Exeunt Roberto, Fulgentio, Astutio, and Attendants.
Gasp. What a frown he threw,
At his departure, on you!
Bert. Let him keep
His smiles for his state flatterer, I care not.
Ant. Shall we aboard to night?
Amb. Your speed, my lord,
Doubles the benefit.
Bert. I have a business
Requires despatch; some two hours hence I'll meet you. [Exeunt.
The same. A Room in Camiola's House.
Enter Signior Sylli, walking fantastically, followed by Camiola and Clarinda.
Cam. Nay, signior, this is too much ceremony,
In my own house.
Syl. What's gracious abroad,
Must be in private practised.
Clar. For your mirth's sake
Let him alone; he has been all this morning
[Pg 317]In practice with a peruked gentleman-usher,
To teach him his true amble, and his postures,
[Sylli walking by, and practising.
When he walks before a lady.
Syl. You may, madam,
Perhaps, believe that I in this use art,
To make you dote upon me, by exposing
My more than most rare features to your view:
But I, as I have ever done, deal simply.
Look not with too much contemplation on me;
If you do, you are lost.
Cam. Is 't possible?
What philters or love-powders do you use,
To force affection? I see nothing in
Your person but I dare look on, yet keep
My own poor heart still.
Syl. You are warn'd—be arm'd;
And do not lose the hope of such a husband,
In being too soon enamour'd.
Cam. Never fear it;
Though your best taking part, your wealth, were trebled,
I would not woo you. But since in your pity
You please to give me caution, tell me what
Temptations I must fly from.
Syl. The first is,
That you never hear me sing, for I'm a Syren:
If you observe, when I warble, the dogs howl,
As ravish'd with my ditties; and you will
Run mad to hear me.
Cam. I will stop my ears,
And keep my little wits.
Syl. Next, when I dance,
And come aloft thus, [capers] cast not a sheep's eye
Upon the quivering of my calf.
[Pg 318] Cam. Proceed, sir.
Syl. Nor should your little ladyship be taken with
My pretty spider-fingers, nor my eyes,
That twinkle on both sides.
Cam. Was there ever such
A piece of motley heard of! [A knocking within.] Who's that? [Exit Clarinda.] You may spare
The catalogue of my dangers.
Syl. No, good madam;
I have not told you half.
Cam. Enough, good signior.—
Who is 't?
Clar. The brother of the king.
Syl. Nay, start not.
The brother of the king! is he no more?
Were it the king himself, I'd give him leave
To speak his mind to you, for I am not jealous;
And, to assure your ladyship of so much,
I'll usher him in, and, that done—hide myself,
[Aside, and exit.
Cam. Camiola, if ever, now be constant:
This is, indeed, a suitor, whose sweet presence,
Courtship, and loving language, would have stagger'd
The chaste Penelope; and, to increase
The wonder, did not modesty forbid it,
I should ask that from him he sues to me for:
And yet my reason, like a tyrant, tells me
I must nor give nor take it. [Pg 319]
Re-enter Sylli with Bertoldo.
Syl. I must tell you,
You lose your labour. Yet you shall have my countenance
To parley with her, and I'll take special care
That none shall interrupt you.
Bert. You are courteous.
Syl. Come, wench, wilt thou hear wisdom?
Clar. Yes, from you, sir. [They walk aside.
Bert. If forcing this sweet favour from your hand,
[Kisses her hand.
Fair madam, argue me of too much boldness,
When you are pleased to understand I take
A parting kiss, if not excuse, at least
'Twill qualify the offence.
Cam. A parting kiss, sir!
What nation, envious of the happiness
Which Sicily enjoys in your sweet presence,
Can buy you from her? or what climate yield
Pleasures transcending those which you enjoy here,
Being both beloved and honour'd; the north-star
And guider of all hearts; and, to sum up
Your full account of happiness in a word,
The brother of the king?
Bert. Do you, alone,
And with an unexampled cruelty,
Enforce my absence, and deprive me of
Those blessings which you, with a polish'd phrase,
Seem to insinuate that I do possess,
And yet tax me as being guilty of
My wilful exile? What are titles to me,
Or popular suffrage, or my nearness to
[Pg 320]The king in blood, or fruitful Sicily,
Though it confess'd no sovereign but myself,
When you, that are the essence of my being,
The anchor of my hopes, the real substance
Of my felicity, in your disdain,
Turn all to fading and deceiving shadows?
Cam. You tax me without cause.
Bert. You must confess it.
But answer love with love, and seal the contract
In the uniting of our souls, how gladly
(Though now I were in action, and assured,
Following my fortune, that plumed Victory
Would make her glorious stand upon my tent)
Would I put off my armour, in my heat
Of conquest, and, like Antony, pursue
My Cleopatra! Will you yet look on me
With an eye of favour?
Cam. Truth bear witness for me,
That, in the judgment of my soul, you are
A man so absolute, and circular,
In all those wish'd-for rarities that may take
A virgin captive, that, though at this instant
All scepter'd monarchs of our western world
Were rivals with you, and Camiola worthy
Of such a competition, you alone
Should wear the garland.
Bert. If so, what diverts
Your favour from me?
Cam. No mulct in yourself,
Or in your person, mind, or fortune.
Bert. What then?
Cam. The consciousness of mine own wants: alas! sir,
[Pg 321]We are not parallels; but, like lines divided,
Can ne'er meet in one centre. Your birth, sir,
Without addition, were an ample dowry
For one of fairer fortunes; and this shape,
Were you ignoble, far above all value:
To this so clear a mind, so furnish'd with
Harmonious faculties moulded from heaven,
That though you were Thersites in your features,
Of no descent, and Irus in your fortunes,
Ulysses-like, you'd force all eyes and ears
To love, but seen; and, when heard, wonder at
Your matchless story: but all these bound up
Together in one volume!—give me leave
With admiration to look upon them;
But not presume, in my own flattering hopes,
I may or can enjoy them.
[Pg 322]Bert. How you ruin
What you would seem to build up! I know no
Disparity between us: you're an heir,
Sprung from a noble family; fair, rich, young,
And every way my equal.
Cam. Sir, excuse me;
One aerie with proportion ne'er discloses
The eagle and the wren:—tissue and frieze
In the same garment, monstrous! But suppose
That what 's in you excessive were diminish'd,
And my desert supplied; the stronger bar,
Religion, stops our entrance: you are, sir,
A knight of Malta, by your order bound
To a single life; you cannot marry me;
And, I assure myself, you are too noble
To seek me, though my frailty should consent,
In a base path.
Bert. A dispensation, lady,
Will easily absolve me.
Cam. O take heed, sir!
When what is vow'd to heaven is dispensed with,
To serve our ends on earth, a curse must follow,
And not a blessing.
Bert. Is there no hope left me?
Cam. Nor to myself, but is a neighbour to
Impossibility. True love should walk
On equal feet; in us it does not, sir:
But rest assured, excepting this, I shall be
Devoted to your service.
Bert. And this is your
Cam. Not to be revoked.
Bert. Farewell, then, fairest cruel! all thoughts in me
Of women perish. Let the glorious light
Of noble war extinguish Love's dim taper.
That only lends me light to see my folly:
Honour, be thou my ever-living mistress,
And fond affection, as thy bond-slave, serve thee!
Cam. How soon my sun is set, he being absent,
Never to rise again! What a fierce battle
Is fought between my passions!
Syl. I perceive
He has his answer: now must I step in
To comfort her. [Comes forward.] You have found, I hope, sweet lady,
Some difference between a youth of my pitch,
And this bugbear Bertoldo. Despair not; I
May be in time entreated.
Cam. Be so now, to leave me.—
Lights for my chamber! O my heart!
The same. A Room in the Palace.
Enter Roberto, Fulgentio, and Astutio.
Rob. Embark'd to-night, do you say?
Ful. I saw him aboard, sir.
Rob. And without taking of his leave?
[Pg 324] Ast. 'Twas strange!
Rob. Are we grown so contemptible?
Ful. 'Tis far
From me, sir, to add fuel to your anger,
That, in your ill opinion of him, burns
Too hot already; else, I should affirm
It was a gross neglect.
Rob. A wilful scorn
Of duty and allegiance; you give it
Too fair a name: but we shall think on 't. Can you
Guess what the numbers were, that follow'd him
In his desperate action?
Ful. More than you think, sir.
All ill-affected spirits in Palermo,
Or to your government or person, with
The turbulent swordmen, such whose poverty forced them
To wish a change, are gone along with him;
Creatures devoted to his undertakings,
In right or wrong: and, to express their zeal
And readiness to serve him, ere they went,
Profanely took the sacrament on their knees,
To live and die with him.
Rob. O most impious!
Their loyalty to us forgot?
Ful. I fear so.
Ast. Unthankful as they are!
Ful. Yet this deserves not
One troubled thought in you, sir; with your pardon,
I hold that their remove from hence makes more
For your security than danger.
And, as I'll fashion it, they shall feel it too.
Astutio, you shall presently be despatch'd
[Pg 325]With letters, writ and sign'd with our own hand,
To the duchess of Sienna, in excuse
Of our part in these forces sent against her.
You must, beside, from us take some instructions,
To be imparted, as you judge them useful,
To the general Gonzaga. Instantly
Prepare you for your journey.
Ast. With the wings
Of loyalty and duty. [Exit.
Ful. I am bold
To put your majesty in mind——
Rob. Of my promise,
And aids, to further you in your amorous project
To the fair and rich Camiola? there's my ring;
Whatever you shall say that I entreat,
Or can command by power, I will make good.
Ful. Ever your majesty's creature.
Rob. Venus prove
Propitious to you! [Exit.
Ful. All sorts to my wishes:
Bertoldo was my hindrance; he removed,
I now will court her in the conqueror's style;
"Come, see, and overcome."—Boy!
Page. Sir; your pleasure?
Ful. Haste to Camiola; bid her prepare
An entertainment suitable to a fortune
She could not hope for. Tell her, I vouchsafe
To honour her with a visit.
Page. 'Tis a favour
Will make her proud.
Ful. I know it.
Page. I am gone, sir. [Exit.
Ful. Entreaties fit not me; a man in grace
May challenge awe and privilege, by his place.
The same. A Room in Camiola's House.
Enter Adorni, Sylli, and Clarinda.
Ador. So melancholy, say you!
Clar. Never given
To such retirement.
Ador. Can you guess the cause?
Clar. If it hath not its birth and being from
The brave Bertoldo's absence, I confess
'Tis past my apprehension.
Syl. You are wide,
The whole field wide. I, in my understanding,
Pity your ignorance.
Ador. Resolve us.
Here walks the cause. She dares not look upon me;
My beauties are so terrible and enchanting,
She cannot endure my sight.
Ador. There I believe you.
Syl. But the time will come, be comforted, when I will
Put off this vizor of unkindness to her,
And show an amorous and yielding face:
And, until then, though Hercules himself
[Pg 327]Desire to see her, he had better eat
His club, than pass her threshold; for I will be
Her Cerberus, to guard her.
Ador. A good dog!
Clar. Worth twenty porters.
Page. Keep you open house here?
No groom to attend a gentleman! O, I spy one.
Syl. He means not me, I am sure.
Page. You, sirrah sheep's-head,
With a face cut on a cat-stick, do you hear?
You, yeoman fewterer, conduct me to
The lady of the mansion, or my poniard
Shall disembogue thy soul.
Syl. O terrible! disembogue!
I talk'd of Hercules, and here is one
Bound up in decimo sexto.
Page. Answer, wretch.
Syl. Pray you, little gentleman, be not so furious:
The lady keeps her chamber.
Page. And we present,
Sent on an embassy to her! but here is
Her gentlewoman. Sirrah! hold my cloak,
While I take a leap at her lips: do it, and neatly;
Or, having first tripp'd up thy heels, I'll make
Thy back my footstool. [Kisses Clarinda.
Syl. Tamberlane in little!
Am I turn'd Turk! What an office am I put to!
Clar. My lady, gentle youth, is indisposed.
Page. Though she were dead and buried, only tell her,
The great man in the court, the brave Fulgentio,
Descends to visit her, and it will raise her
Out of the grave for joy.
Syl. Here comes another!
The devil, I fear, in his holiday clothes.
Page. So soon!
My part is at an end then. Cover my shoulders;
When I grow great, thou shalt serve me.
Ful. Are you, sirrah,
An implement of the house? [To Sylli.
Syl. Sure he will make
A jointstool of me!
Ful. Or, if you belong
To the lady of the place, command her hither.
Ador. I do not wear her livery, yet acknowledge
A duty to her; and as little bound
To serve your peremptory will, as she is
To obey your summons. 'Twill become you, sir,
To wait her leisure; then, her pleasure known,
You may present your duty.
Ful. Duty! Slave,
I'll teach you manners.
Ador. I'm past learning; make not
A tumult in the house.
Ful. Shall I be braved thus? [They draw.
Clar. Help! murder!
Cam. What insolence is this? Adorni, hold,
Hold, I command you.
Ful. Saucy groom!
Cam. Not so, sir;
However, in his life, he had dependence
Upon my father, he's a gentleman,
As well born as yourself. Put on your hat.
Ful. In my presence, without leave!
Syl. He has mine, madam.
Cam. And I must tell you, sir, and in plain language,
Howe'er your glittering outside promise gentry,
The rudeness of your carriage and behaviour
Speaks you a coarser thing.
Syl. She means a clown, sir;
I am her interpreter, for want of a better.
Cam. I am a queen in mine own house; nor must you
Expect an empire here.
Syl. Sure I must love her
Before the day, the pretty soul's so valiant.
Cam. What are you? and what would you with me?
Ful. Proud one,
When you know what I am, and what I came for,
And may, on your submission, proceed to,
[Pg 330]You, in your reason, must repent the coarseness
Of my entertainment.
Cam. Why, fine man? what are you?
Ful. A kinsman of the king's.
Cam. I cry you mercy,
For his sake, not your own. But, grant you are so,
'Tis not impossible but a king may have
A fool to his kinsman,—no way meaning you, sir.
Ful. You have heard of Fulgentio?
Cam. Long since, sir;
A suit-broker in court. He has the worst
Report among good men I ever heard of,
For bribery and extortion: in their prayers,
Widows and orphans curse him for a canker
And caterpillar in the state. I hope,
Sir, you are not the man.
Ful. I reply not
As you deserve, being assured you know me;
Pretending ignorance of my person, only
To give me a taste of your wit: 'tis well, and courtly;
I like a sharp wit well.
Syl. I cannot endure it;
Nor any of the Syllis.
Ful. More; I know, too,
This harsh induction must serve as a foil
To the well-tuned observance and respect
You will hereafter pay me, being made
Familiar with my credit with the king,
And that (contain your joy) I deign to love you.
Cam. Love me! I am not rapt with it.
Ful. Hear 't again;
I love you honestly: now you admire me.
Cam. I do, indeed; it being a word so seldom
[Pg 331]Heard from a courtier's mouth. But, pray you, deal plainly,
Since you find me simple; what might be the motives
Inducing you to leave the freedom of
A bachelor's life, on your soft neck to wear
The stubborn yoke of marriage; and, of all
The beauties in Palermo, to choose me,
Poor me? that is the main point you must treat of.
Ful. Why, I will tell you. Of a little thing
You are a pretty peat, indifferent fair too;
And, like a new-rigg'd ship, both tight and yare:
Besides, the quickness of your eye assures
An active spirit.
Cam. You are pleasant, sir;
Yet I presume that there was one thing in me,
Unmention'd yet, that took you more than all
Those parts you have remember'd.
Cam. My wealth, sir.
Ful. You are in the right; without that, beauty is
A flower worn in the morning, at night trod on:
But beauty, youth, and fortune meeting in you,
I will vouchsafe to marry you.
Cam. You speak well;
And, in return, excuse me, sir, if I
Deliver reasons why, upon no terms,
I'll marry you: I fable not.
Syl. I am glad
To hear this: I began to have an ague.
Ful. Come, your wise reasons.
Cam. Such as they are, pray take them:
First, I am doubtful whether you are a man,
Since, for your shape, trimm'd up in a lady's dressing,
You might pass for a woman; for the fairness
Of your complexion, which you think will take me,
The colour, I must tell you, in a man,
Is weak and faint, and never will hold out,
If put to labour: give me the lovely brown,
A thick curl'd hair of the same die, a leg without
An artificial calf;—I suspect yours;
But let that pass.
Syl. She means me all this while,
For I have every one of those good parts;
O Sylli! fortunate Sylli!
Cam. You are moved, sir.
Ful. Fie! no; go on.
Cam. Then, as you are a courtier,
A graced one too, I fear you have been too forward;
And so much for your person. One word more,
And I have done.
Ful. I'll ease you of the trouble,
Coy and disdainful!
Cam. Save me, or else he'll beat me.
Ful. No, your own folly shall; and, since you put me
To my last charm, look upon this, and tremble.
[Shows the king's ring.
Cam. At the sight of a fair ring! the king's, I take it?
I have seen him wear the like: if he hath sent it,
As a favour, to me——
Ful. Yes, 'tis very likely,
[Pg 333]His dying mother's gift, prized as his crown!
By this he does command you to be mine;
By his gift you are so:—you may yet redeem all.
Cam. You are in a wrong account still. Though the king may
Dispose of my life and goods, my mind's mine own,
And never shall be yours. The king, heaven bless him!
Is good and gracious, and will not compel
His subjects against their wills. I believe,
Forgetting it when he wash'd his hands, you stole it,
With an intent to awe me. But you are cozen'd;
I am still myself, and will be.
Ful. A proud haggard,
And not to be reclaim'd! which of your grooms,
Your coachman, fool, or footman, is the lover
Preferr'd before me?
Cam. You are foul-mouth'd.
Ful. Much fairer
Than thy black soul; and so I will proclaim thee.
Cam. Were I a man, thou durst not speak this.
So prosper me, as I resolve to do it
To all men, and in every place: scorn'd by
A tit of ten-pence! [Exeunt Fulgentio and Page.
Syl. Now I begin to be valiant:
Nay, I will draw my sword. O for a brother!
[Pg 334]Do a friend's part; pray you, carry him the length of 't.
I give him three years and a day to match my Toledo,
And then we'll fight like dragons.
Ador. Pray, have patience.
Cam. I may live to have vengeance: my Bertoldo
Would not have heard this.
Cam. Pray you, spare
Your language. Prithee fool, and make me merry. [To Sylli.
Syl. That is my office ever.
Ador. I must do,
Not talk; this glorious gallant shall hear from me.
The Siennese. A Camp before the Walls of Sienna.
Chambers shot off: a Flourish as to an Assault: after which, enter Gonzaga, Pierio, Roderigo, Jacomo, and Soldiers.
Gonz. Is the breach made assaultable?
Pier. Yes, and the moat
Fill'd up; the cannoneer hath done his parts;
We may enter six abreast.
Rod. There's not a man
Dares show himself upon the wall.
Jac. Defeat not
The soldiers' hoped-for spoil.
Pier. If you, sir,
Delay the assault, and the city be given up
To your discretion, you in honour cannot
Use the extremity of war,—but, in
Compassion to them, you to us prove cruel.
Jac. And an enemy to yourself.
Rod. A hindrance to
The brave revenge you have vow'd.
Gonz. Temper your heat,
And lose not, by too sudden rashness, that
Which, be but patient, will be offer'd to you.
Security ushers ruin; proud contempt
Of an enemy three parts vanquish'd, with desire
And greediness of spoil, have often wrested
A certain victory from the conqueror's gripe.
Discretion is the tutor of the war.
Valour the pupil; and, when we command
With lenity, and our direction's follow'd
With cheerfulness, a prosperous end must crown
Our works well undertaken.
Rod. Ours are finish'd——
Pier. If we make use of fortune.
Gonz. Her false smiles
Deprive you of your judgments. The condition
Of our affairs exacts a double care,
And, like bifronted Janus, we must look
Backward, as forward: though a flattering calm
Bids us urge on, a sudden tempest raised,
Not feared, much less expected, in our rear,
May foully fall upon us, and distract us
To our confusion.— [Pg 336]
Enter a Scout, hastily.
Our scout! what brings
Thy ghastly looks, and sudden speed?
Scout. The assurance
Of a new enemy.
Gonz. This I foresaw and fear'd.
What are they, know'st thou?
Scout. They are, by their colours,
Sicilians, bravely mounted, and the brightness
Of their rich armours doubly gilded with
Reflection of the sun.
Gonz. From Sicily?——
The king in league! no war proclaim'd! 'tis foul:
But this must be prevented, not disputed.
Ha! how is this? your estridge plumes, that but
Even now, like quills of porcupines, seem'd to threaten
The stars, drop at the rumour of a shower,
And, like to captive colours, sweep the earth!
Bear up; but in great dangers, greater minds
Are never proud. Shall a few loose troops, untrain'd
But in a customary ostentation,
Presented as a sacrifice to your valours,
Cause a dejection in you?
Pier. No dejection.
Rod. However startled, where you lead we'll follow.
Gonz. 'Tis bravely said. We will not stay their charge,
But meet them man to man, and horse to horse.
Pierio, in our absence hold our place;
[Pg 337]And with our foot men and those sickly troops
Prevent a sally: I in mine own person,
With part of the cavallery, will bid
These hunters welcome to a bloody breakfast:—
But I lose time.
Pier. I'll to my charge. [Exit.
Gonz. And we
To ours: I'll bring you on.
Jac. If we come off,
It's not amiss; if not, my state is settled.
[Exeunt. Alarum within.
The same. The Citadel of Sienna.
Enter Ferdinand, Druso, and Livio, on the Walls.
Fer. No aids from Sicily! Hath hope forsook us;
And that vain comfort to affliction, pity,
By our vow'd friend denied us? we can nor live
Nor die with honour: like beasts in a toil,
We wait the leisure of the bloody hunter,
Who is not so far reconciled unto us,
As in one death to give a period
To our calamities; but in delaying
The fate we cannot fly from, starved with wants,
We die this night, to live again to-morrow,
And suffer greater torments.
Dru. There is not
Three days' provision for every soldier,
At an ounce of bread a day, left in the city.
Liv. To die the beggar's death, with hunger made
[Pg 338]Anatomies while we live, cannot but crack
Our heart-strings with vexation.
Fer. Would they would break,
Break altogether! How willingly, like Cato,
Could I tear out my bowels, rather than
Look on the conqueror's insulting face;
But that religion, and the horrid dream
To be suffer'd in the other world, denies it!
Enter a Soldier.
What news with thee?
Sold. From the turret of the fort,
By the rising clouds of dust, through which, like lightning,
The splendour of bright arms sometimes brake through,
I did descry some forces making towards us;
And, from the camp, as emulous of their glory,
The general, (for I know him by his horse,)
And bravely seconded, encounter'd them.
Their greetings were too rough for friends; their swords,
And not their tongues, exchanging courtesies.
By this the main battalias are join'd;
And, if you please to be spectators of
The horrid issue, I will bring you where,
As in a theatre, you may see their fates
In purple gore presented.
Fer. Heaven, if yet thou art
Appeased for my wrong done to Aurelia,
Take pity of my miseries! Lead the way, friend.
[Exeunt. [Pg 339]
The same. A Plain near the Camp.
A long Charge; after which, a Flourish for Victory: then enter Gonzaga, Jacomo, and Roderigo, wounded; Bertoldo, Gasparo, and Antonio, Prisoners. Officers and Soldiers.
Gonz. We have them yet, though they cost us dear. This was
Charged home, and bravely follow'd. Be to yourselves [To Jacomo and Roderigo.
True mirrors to each other's worth; and, looking
With noble emulation on his wounds,
[Points to Bert.
The glorious livery of triumphant war,
Imagine these with equal grace appear
Upon yourselves. The bloody sweat you have suffer'd
In this laborious, nay, toilsome harvest,
Yields a rich crop of conquest; and the spoil,
Most precious balsam to a soldier's hurts,
Will ease and cure them. Let me look upon
[Gasparo and Antonio are brought forward.
The prisoners' faces. Oh, how much transform'd
From what they were! O Mars! were these toys fashion'd
To undergo the burthen of thy service?
The weight of their defensive armour bruised
Their weak effeminate limbs, and would have forced them,
In a hot day, without a blow to yield.
Ant. This insultation shows not manly in you.
Gonz. To men I had forborne it; you are women,
Or, at the best, loose carpet-knights. What fury
Seduced you to exchange your ease in court
For labour in the field? Perhaps you thought
To charge, through dust and blood, an armed foe,
Was but like graceful running at the ring
For a wanton mistress' glove; and the encounter,
A soft impression on her lips:—but you
Are gaudy butterflies, and I wrong myself
In parling with you.
Gasp. Vœ victis! now we prove it.
Rod. But here's one fashion'd in another mould,
And made of tougher metal.
Gonz. True; I owe him
For this wound bravely given.
Bert. O that mountains
Were heap'd upon me, that I might expire,
A wretch no more remember'd! [Aside.
Gonz. Look up, sir;
To be o'ercome deserves no shame. If you
Had fallen ingloriously, or could accuse
Your want of courage in resistance, 'twere
To be lamented: but, since you perform'd
As much as could be hoped for from a man,
(Fortune his enemy,) you wrong yourself
In this dejection. I am honour'd in
My victory over you; but to have these
[Pg 341]My prisoners, is, in my true judgment, rather
Captivity than a triumph: you shall find
Fair quarter from me, and your many wounds,
Which I hope are not mortal, with such care
Look'd to and cured, as if your nearest friend
Attended on you.
Bert. When you know me better,
You will make void this promise: can you call me
Into your memory?
Gonz. The brave Bertoldo!
A brother of our order! By St. John,
Our holy patron, I am more amazed,
Nay, thunderstruck with thy apostacy,
And precipice from the most solemn vows
Made unto Heaven when this, the glorious badge
Of our Redeemer, was conferred upon thee
By the great master, than if I had seen
A reprobate Jew, an atheist, Turk, or Tartar,
Baptized in our religion!
Bert. This I look'd for;
And am resolved to suffer.
Behold this man, and, taught by his example,
Know that 'tis safer far to play with lightning,
Than trifle in things sacred. In my rage [Weeps.
I shed these at the funeral of his virtue,
Faith, and religion; why, I will tell you:—
He was a gentleman so train'd up and fashion'd
For noble uses, and his youth did promise
Such certainties, more than hopes, of great achievements,
As—if the Christian world had stood opposed
Against the Othoman race, to try the fortune
Of one encounter—this Bertoldo had been,
For his knowledge to direct, and matchless courage
[Pg 342]To execute, without a rival, by
The votes of good men, chosen general;
As the prime soldier, and most deserving
Of all that wear the cross: which now, in justice,
I thus tear from him.
Bert. Let me die with it
Upon my breast.
Gonz. No; by this thou wert sworn,
On all occasions, as a knight, to guard
Weak ladies from oppression, and never
To draw thy sword against them; whereas thou,
In hope of gain or glory, when a princess,
And such a princess as Aurelia is,
Was dispossess'd by violence of what was
Her true inheritance, against thine oath
Hast, to thy uttermost, labour'd to uphold
Her falling enemy. But thou shalt pay
A heavy forfeiture, and learn too late,
Valour employ'd in an ill quarrel turns
To cowardice, and Virtue then puts on
Foul Vice's visor. This is that which cancels
All friendship's bands between us.—Bear them off;
I will hear no reply: and let the ransom
Of these, for they are yours, be highly rated.
In this I do but right, and let it be
Styled justice, and not wilful cruelty. [Exeunt.
The same. A Camp before the Walls of Sienna.
Enter Gonzaga, Astutio, Roderigo, and Jacomo.
Gonz. What I have done, sir, by the law of arms
I can and will make good.
Ast. I have no commission
To expostulate the act. These letters speak
The king my master's love to you, and his
Vow'd service to the duchess, on whose person
I am to give attendance.
Gonz. At this instant,
She's at Fienza: you may spare the trouble
Of riding thither: I have advertised her
Of our success, and on what humble terms
Sienna stands: though presently I can
Possess it, I defer it, that she may
Enter her own, and, as she please, dispose of
The prisoners and the spoil.
Ast. I thank you, sir.
In the mean time, if I may have your licence,
I have a nephew, and one once my ward,
For whose liberties and ransoms I would gladly
Gonz. They are, as I take it,
Call'd Gasparo and Antonio.
Ast. The same, sir.
Gonz. For them, you must treat with these; but, for Bertoldo,
He is mine own: if the king will ransom him,
He pays down fifty thousand crowns; if not,
He lives and dies my slave.
Ast. Pray you, a word:
[Aside to Gonz.
The king will rather thank you to detain him,
Than give one crown to free him.
Gonz. At his pleasure.
I'll send the prisoners under guard: my business
Calls me another way. [Exit.
Ast. My service waits you.
Now, gentlemen, for this ransom, since you are not
[Pg 344]To be brought lower, there is no evading;
I'll be your paymaster.
Rod. We desire no better.
Ast. But not a word of what's agreed between us,
Till I have school'd my gallants.
Jac. I am dumb, sir.
Enter a Guard, with Bertoldo, Antonio, and Gasparo, in irons.
Bert. And where removed now? hath the tyrant found out
Worse usage for us?
Ant. Worse it cannot be.
My greyhound has fresh straw, and scraps, in his kennel;
But we have neither.
Gasp. Did I ever think
To wear such garters on silk stockings? or
That my too curious appetite, that turn'd
At the sight of godwits, pheasant, partridge, quails,
Larks, woodcocks, calver'd salmon, as coarse diet,
Would leap at a mouldy crust?
Ant. And go without it,
So oft as I do? Oh! how have I jeer'd
The city entertainment! A huge shoulder
Of glorious fat ram-mutton, seconded
With a pair of tame cats or conies, a crab-tart,
With a worthy loin of veal, and valiant capon,
[Pg 345]Mortified to grow tender!—these I scorn'd,
From their plentiful horn of abundance, though invited:
But now I could carry my own stool to a tripe,
And call their chitterlings charity, and bless the founder.
Bert. O that I were no further sensible
Of my miseries than you are! you, like beasts,
Feel only stings of hunger, and complain not
But when you're empty: but your narrow souls
(If you have any) cannot comprehend
How insupportable the torments are,
Which a free and noble soul, made captive, suffers.
Most miserable men!—and what am I, then,
That envy you? Fetters, though made of gold,
Express base thraldom; and all delicates
Prepared by Median cooks for epicures,
When not our own, are bitter: quilts fill'd high
With gossamere and roses cannot yield
The body soft repose, the mind kept waking
With anguish and affliction.
Ast. My good lord——
Bert. This is no time nor place for flattery, sir:
Pray you, style me as I am, a wretch forsaken
Of the world, as myself.
Ast. I would it were
In me to help you.
Bert. If that you want power, sir,
Lip-comfort cannot cure me. Pray you, leave me
To mine own private thoughts. [Walks by.
Ast. [comes forward.] My valiant nephew!
And my more than warlike ward! I am glad to see you,
After your glorious conquests. Are these chains
Rewards for your good service? if they are,
You should wear them on your necks, since they are massy,
Like aldermen of the war.
Ant. You jeer us too!
Gasp. Good uncle, name not, as you are a man of honour,
That fatal word of war; the very sound of it
Is more dreadful than a cannon.
Ant. But redeem us
From this captivity, and I'll vow hereafter
Never to wear a sword, or cut my meat
With a knife that has an edge or point; I'll starve first.
Ast. Well, have more wit hereafter: for this time
You are ransom'd.
Jac. Off with their irons!
Rod. Do, do:
If you are ours again, you know your price.
Ant. Pray you, despatch us: I shall ne'er believe
I am a free man, till I set my foot
In Sicily again, and drink Palermo,
And in Palermo too.
Ast. The wind sits fair;
You shall aboard to-night: with the rising sun
[Pg 347]You may touch upon the coast. But take your leaves
Of the late general first.
Gasp. I will be brief.
Ant. And I. My lord, Heaven keep you!
Gasp. Yours, to use
In the way of peace; but as your soldiers, never.
Ant. A pox of war! no more of war.
[Exeunt Rod. Jac. Ant. and Gasp.
Bert. Have you
Authority to loose their bonds, yet leave
The brother of your king, whose worth disdains
Comparison with such as these, in irons?
If ransom may redeem them, I have lands,
A patrimony of mine own, assign'd me
By my deceased sire, to satisfy
Whate'er can be demanded for my freedom.
Ast. I wish you had, sir; but the king, who yields
No reason for his will, in his displeasure
Hath seized on all you had; nor will Gonzaga,
Whose prisoner now you are, accept of less
Than fifty thousand crowns.
Bert. I find it now,
That misery never comes alone. But, grant
The king is yet inexorable, time
May work him to a feeling of my sufferings.
I have friends that swore their lives and fortunes were
At my devotion, and, among the rest,
Yourself, my lord, when forfeited to the law
For a foul murder, and in cold blood done,
I made your life my gift, and reconciled you
To this incensed king, and got your pardon.
—Beware ingratitude! I know you are rich,
And may pay down the sum.
Ast. I might, my lord;
But pardon me.
Bert. And will Astutio prove, then,
To please a passionate man, (the king's no more,)
False to his maker, and his reason, which
Commands more than I ask? O summer friendship,
Whose flattering leaves, that shadow'd us in our
Prosperity, with the least gust drop off
In the autumn of adversity! How like
A prison is to a grave! when dead, we are
With solemn pomp brought thither, and our heirs,
Masking their joy in false dissembled tears,
Weep o'er the herse; but earth no sooner covers
The earth brought thither, but they turn away,
With inward smiles, the dead no more remember'd:
So, enter'd in a prison——
Ast. My occasions
Command me hence, my lord.
Bert. Pray you, leave me, do;
And tell the cruel king, that I will wear
These fetters till my flesh and they are one
Incorporated substance. [Exit Astutio.] In myself,
As in a glass, I'll look on human frailty,
And curse the height of royal blood; since I,
In being born near to Jove, am near his thunder.
Cedars once shaken with a storm, their own
Weight grubs their roots out.—Lead me where you please;
I am his, not fortune's martyr, and will die
The great example of his cruelty. [Exit guarded. [Pg 349]
Palermo. A Grove near the Palace.
Ador. He undergoes my challenge, and contemns it,
And threatens me with the late edict made
'Gainst duellists,—the altar cowards fly to.
But I, that am engaged, and nourish in me
A higher aim than fair Camiola dreams of,
Must not sit down thus. In the court I dare not
Attempt him; and in public he's so guarded,
With a herd of parasites, clients, fools, and suitors,
That a musket cannot reach him:—my designs
Admit of no delay. This is her birthday,
Which, with a fit and due solemnity,
Camiola celebrates: and on it, all such
As love or serve her usually present
A tributary duty. I'll have something
To give, if my intelligence prove true,
Shall find acceptance. I am told, near this grove
Fulgentio, every morning, makes his markets
With his petitioners; I may present him
With a sharp petition!——Ha! 'tis he: my fate
Be ever bless'd for 't!
Enter Fulgentio and Page.
Ful. Command such as wait me
Not to presume, at the least for half an hour,
To press on my retirements. Begone, sir.
[Pg 350]Challenged! 'tis well; and by a groom! still better.
Was this shape made to fight? I have a tongue yet,
Howe'er no sword, to kill him; and what way,
This morning I'll resolve of. [Exit.
Ador. I shall cross
Your resolution, or suffer for you.
[Exit following him.
The same. A Room in Camiola's House.
Enter Camiola, followed by Servants with Presents; Sylli, and Clarinda.
Syl. What are all these?
Clar. Servants with several presents,
And rich ones too.
1 Serv. With her best wishes, madam,
Of many such days to you, the lady Petula
Presents you with this fan.
2 Serv. This diamond,
From your aunt Honoria.
3 Serv. This piece of plate
From your uncle, old Vicentio, with your arms
Graven upon it.
Cam. Good friends, they are too
Munificent in their love and favour to me.
Out of my cabinet return such jewels
As this directs you:—[To Clarinda.]—for your pains; and yours;
Nor must you be forgotten. [Gives them money.] Honour me
With the drinking of a health.
[Pg 351] 1 Serv. Gold, on my life!
2 Serv. She scorns to give base silver.
3 Serv. Would she had been
Born every month in the year!
1 Serv. Month! every day.
2 Serv. Show such another maid.
3 Serv. All happiness wait you!
Clar. I'll see your will done.
[Exeunt Sylli, Clarinda, and Servants.
Enter Adorni wounded.
Cam. How, Adorni wounded!
Ador. A scratch got in your service, else not worth
Your observation: I bring not, madam,
In honour of your birthday, antique plate,
Or pearl, for which the savage Indian dives
Into the bottom of the sea; nor diamonds
Hewn from steep rocks with danger. Such as give
To those that have, what they themselves want, aim at
A glad return with profit: yet, despise not
My offering at the altar of your favour;
Nor let the lowness of the giver lessen
The height of what's presented; since it is
A precious jewel, almost forfeited,
And dimm'd with clouds of infamy, redeem'd,
And, in its natural splendour, with addition
Restored to the true owner.
Cam. How is this?
Ador. Not to hold you in suspense, I bring you, madam,
Your wounded reputation cured, the sting
Of virulent malice, festering your fair name,
Pluck'd out and trod on. That proud man, that was
[Pg 352]Denied the honour of your hand, yet durst,
With his untrue reports, revile your fame,
Compell'd by me, hath given himself the lie,
And in his own blood wrote it:—you may read
Fulgentio subscribed. [Offering a paper.
Cam. I am amazed!
Ador. It does deserve it, madam. Common service
Is fit for hinds, and the reward proportion'd
To their conditions: therefore, look not on me
As a follower of your father's fortunes, or
One that subsists on yours:—you frown! my service
Merits not this aspéct.
Cam. Which of my favours,
I might say bounties, hath begot and nourish'd
This more than rude presumption? Since you had
An itch to try your desperate valour, wherefore
Went you not to the war? Couldst thou suppose
My innocence could ever fall so low
As to have need of thy rash sword to guard it
Against malicious slander? O how much
Those ladies are deceived and cheated, when
The clearness and integrity of their actions
Do not defend themselves, and stand secure
On their own bases! Such as in a colour
Of seeming service give protection to them,
Betray their own strengths. Malice scorn'd, puts out
Itself; but argued, gives a kind of credit
To a false accusation. In this, this your
Most memorable service, you believed
You did me right; but you have wrong'd me more
In your defence of my undoubted honour,
Than false Fulgentio could.
Ador. I am sorry what was
So well intended is so ill received;
Yet, under your correction, you wish'd
Bertoldo had been present.
Cam. True, I did:
But he and you, sir, are not parallels,
Nor must you think yourself so.
Ador. I am what
You'll please to have me.
Cam. If Bertoldo had
Punish'd Fulgentio's insolence, it had shown
His love to her whom, in his judgment, he
Vouchsafed to make his wife; a height, I hope,
Which you dare not aspire to. The same actions
Suit not all men alike;—but I perceive
Repentance in your looks. For this time, leave me;
I may forgive, perhaps forget, your folly:
Conceal yourself till this storm be blown over.
You will be sought for; yet, if my estate
[Gives him her hand to kiss.
Can hinder it, shall not suffer in my service.
This gentleman is of a noble temper;
And I too harsh, perhaps, in my reproof:
Was I not, Clarinda?
Clar. I am not to censure
Your actions, madam; but there are a thousand
Ladies, and of good fame, in such a cause
Would be proud of such a servant.
Cham. It may be; [Pg 354]
Enter a Servant.
Let me offend in this kind. Why, uncall'd for?
Serv. The signiors, madam, Gasparo and Antonio,
Selected friends of the renown'd Bertoldo,
Put ashore this morning.
Cam. Without him?
Serv. I think so.
Cam. Never think more then.
Serv. They have been at court,
Kiss'd the king's hand; and, their first duties done
To him, appear ambitious to tender
To you their second service.
Cam. Wait them hither.
Fear, do not rack me! Reason, now, if ever,
Haste with thy aids, and tell me, such a wonder
As my Bertoldo is, with such care fashion'd,
Must not, nay, cannot, in Heaven's providence
Enter Antonio and Gasparo.
So soon miscarry!—pray you, forbear; ere you take
The privilege, as strangers, to salute me,
(Excuse my manners,) make me first understand
How it is with Bertoldo.
Gasp. The relation
Will not, I fear, deserve your thanks.
Ant. I wish
Some other should inform you.
Cam. Is he dead?
You see, though with some fear, I dare inquire it.
Gasp. Dead! Would that were the worst; a debt were paid then,
Kings in their birth owe nature.
Cam. Is there aught
More terrible than death?
Ant. Yes, to a spirit
Like his; cruel imprisonment, and that
Without the hope of freedom.
Cam. You abuse me:
The royal king cannot, in love to virtue,
(Though all springs of affection were dried up,)
But pay his ransom.
Gasp. When you know what 'tis,
You will think otherwise: no less will do it
Than fifty thousand crowns.
Cam. A petty sum,
The price weigh'd with the purchase: fifty thousand!
To the king 'tis nothing. He that can spare more
To his minion for a masque, cannot but ransom
Such a brother at a million. You wrong
The king's magnificence.
Ant. In your opinion;
But 'tis most certain: he does not alone
In himself refuse to pay it, but forbids
All other men.
Cam. Are you sure of this?
Gasp. You may read
The edict to that purpose, publish'd by him;
That will resolve you.
Cam. Possible! pray you, stand off.
If I do not mutter treason to myself,
My heart will break; and yet I will not curse him;
He is my king. The news you have deliver'd
Makes me weary of your company; we'll salute
[Pg 356]When we meet next. I'll bring you to the door.
Nay, pray you, no more compliments.
Gasp. One thing more,
And that's substantial: let your Adorni
Look to himself.
Ant. The king is much incensed
Against him for Fulgentio.
Cam. As I am,
For your slowness to depart.
Both. Farewell, sweet lady.
[Exeunt Gasparo and Antonio.
Cam. O more than impious times! when not alone
Subordinate ministers of justice are
Corrupted and seduced, but kings themselves,
The greater wheels by which the lesser move,
Are broken, or disjointed! could it be, else,
A king, to sooth his politic ends, should so far
Forsake his honour, as at once to break
The adamant chains of nature and religion,
To bind up atheism, as a defence
To his dark counsels? Will it ever be,
That to deserve too much is dangerous,
And virtue, when too eminent, a crime?
Must she serve fortune still, or, when stripp'd of
Her gay and glorious favours, lose the beauties
Of her own natural shape? O, my Bertoldo,
Thou only sun in honour's sphere, how soon
Art thou eclipsed and darken'd! not the nearness
[Pg 357]Of blood prevailing on the king; nor all
The benefits to the general good dispensed,
Gaining a retribution! But that
To owe a courtesy to a simple virgin
Would take from the deserving, I find in me
Some sparks of fire, which, fann'd with honour's breath,
Might rise into a flame, and in men darken
Their usurp'd splendour. Ha! my aim is high,
And, for the honour of my sex, to fall so,
Can never prove inglorious.—'Tis resolved:
Call in Adorni.
Clar. I am happy in
Such an employment, madam. [Exit.
Cam. He's a man,
I know, that at a reverent distance loves me;
And such are ever faithful. What a sea
Of melting ice I walk on! what strange censures
Am I to undergo! but good intents
Deride all future rumours.
Re-enter Clarinda with Adorni.
Ador. I obey
Your summons, madam.
Cam. Leave the place, Clarinda;
One woman, in a secret of such weight,
Wise men may think too much: [Exit Clarinda.] nearer, Adorni.
I warrant it with a smile.
Ador. I cannot ask
Safer protection; what's your will?
Cam. To doubt
Your ready desire to serve me, or prepare you
With the repetition of former merits,
[Pg 358]Would, in my diffidence, wrong you: but I will,
And without circumstance, in the trust that I
Impose upon you, free you from suspicion.
Ador. I foster none of you.
Cam. I know you do not.
You are, Adorni, by the love you owe me——
Ador. The surest conjuration.
Cam. Take me with you.—
Love born of duty; but advance no further.
You are, sir, as I said, to do me service,
To undertake a task, in which your faith,
Judgment, discretion—in a word, your all
That's good, must be engaged; nor must you study,
In the execution, but what may make
For the ends I aim at.
Ador. They admit no rivals.
Cam. You answer well. You have heard of Bertoldo's
Captivity, and the king's neglect; the greatness
Of his ransom; fifty thousand crowns, Adorni;
Two parts of my estate!
Ador. To what tends this? [Aside.
Cam. Yet I so love the gentleman, for to you
I will confess my weakness, that I purpose
Now, when he is forsaken by the king,
And his own hopes, to ransom him, and receive him
Into my bosom, as my lawful husband—
Why change you colour?
Ador. 'Tis in wonder of
Your virtue, madam.
Cam. You must, therefore, to
Sienna for me, and pay to Gonzaga
[Pg 359]This ransom for his liberty; you shall have
Bills of exchange along with you. Let him swear
A solemn contract to me; for you must be
My principal witness, if he should—but why
Do I entertain these jealousies? You will do this?
Ador. Faithfully, madam—but not live long after. [Aside.
Cam. One thing I had forgot: besides his freedom,
He may want accomodations; furnish him
According to his birth.
I'll instantly despatch you. [Exit.
Ador. Was there ever
Poor lover so employ'd against himself,
To make way for his rival? I must do it,
Nay, more, I will. If loyalty can find
Recompense beyond hope or imagination,
Let it fall on me in the other world,
As a reward, for in this I dare not hope it. [Exit.
The Siennese. A Camp before the Walls of Sienna.
Enter Gonzaga and Pierio.
Gonz. You have seized upon the citadel, and disarm'd
All that could make resistance?
Pier. Hunger had
Done that, before we came; nor was the soldier
Compell'd to seek for prey: the famish'd wretches,
[Pg 360]In hope of mercy, as a sacrifice offer'd
All that was worth the taking.
Gonz. Where is the duke of Urbin?
Pier. Under guard,
As you directed.
Gonz. See the soldiers set
In rank and file, and, as the duchess passes,
Bid them vail their ensigns.
Loud music. Enter Roderigo, Jacomo, and Aurelia under a Canopy. Astutio presents her with letters.
Aurel. But for these aids from Sicily sent against us,
To blast our spring of conquest in the bud;
I cannot find, my lord ambassador,
How we should entertain 't but as a wrong,
With purpose to detain us from our own,
Howe'er the king endeavours, in his letters,
To mitigate the affront.
Ast. Your grace hereafter
May hear from me such strong assurances
Of his unlimited desires to serve you,
As will, I hope, drown in forgetfulness
The memory of what's past.
Aurel. We shall take time
To search the depth of 't further, and proceed
As our council shall direct us.
Gonz. We present you
With the keys of the city; all lets are removed,
Your way is smooth and easy; at your feet
Your proudest enemy falls.
Aurel. We thank your valours:
A victory without blood is twice achieved,
[Pg 361]And the disposure of it, to us tender'd,
The greatest honour. Worthy captains, thanks!
My love extends itself to all.
Gonz. Make way there.
[A Guard drawn up; Aurelia passes through them. Loud music. [Exeunt.
Sienna. A Room in the Prison.
Bertoldo is discovered in fetters, reading.
Bert. 'Tis here determined, (great examples, arm'd
With arguments, produced to make it good,)
That neither tyrants, nor the wrested laws,
The people's frantic rage, sad exile, want,
Nor that which I endure, captivity,
Can do a wise man any injury.
Thus Seneca, when he wrote it, thought.—But then
Felicity courted him; his wealth exceeding
A private man's; happy in the embraces
Of his chaste wife Paulina; his house full
Of children, clients, servants, flattering friends,
Soothing his lip-positions; and created
Prince of the senate, by the general voice,
At his new pupil's suffrage: then, no doubt,
He held, and did believe, this. But no sooner
The prince's frowns and jealousies had thrown him
Out of security's lap, and a centurion
Had offer'd him what choice of death he pleased,
But told him, die he must; when straight the armour
[Pg 362]Of his so boasted fortitude fell off,
[Throws away the book.
Complaining of his frailty. Can it then
Be censured womanish weakness in me, if,
Thus clogg'd with irons, and the period
To close up all calamities denied me,
Which was presented Seneca, I wish
I ne'er had being; at least, never knew
What happiness was; or argue with heaven's justice,
Tearing my locks, and, in defiance, throwing
Dust in the air? or, falling on the ground, thus
With my nails and teeth to dig a grave, or rend
The bowels of the earth, my step-mother,
And not a natural parent? or thus practise
To die, and, as I were insensible,
Believe I had no motion? [Falls on his face.
Enter Gonzaga, Adorni, and Gaoler.
Gonz. There he is:
I'll not inquire by whom his ransom's paid,
I am satisfied that I have it; nor allege
One reason to excuse his cruel usage,
As you may interpret it: let it suffice
It was my will to have it so. He is yours now,
Dispose of him as you please. [Exit.
Ador. Howe'er I hate him,
As one preferr'd before me, being a man,
He does deserve my pity. Sir!—he sleeps:—
Or he is dead?—[kneels by him.]—No, he breathes! Come near,
And, if 't be possible, without his feeling,
Take off his irons.—[His irons taken off.]—So; now leave us private. [Exit Gaoler.
[Pg 363]He does begin to stir; and, as transported
With a joyful dream, how he stares! and feels his legs,
As yet uncertain whether it can be
True or fantastical.
Bert. [rising.] Ministers of mercy,
Mock not calamity. Ha! 'tis no vision!
Or, if it be, the happiest that ever
Appear'd to sinful flesh! Who's here? his face
Speaks him Adorni;—but some glorious angel,
Concealing its divinity in his shape,
Hath done this miracle, it being not an act
For wolfish man. Resolve me, if thou look'st for
Bent knees in adoration?
Ador. O forbear, sir!
I am Adorni, and the instrument
Of your deliverance; but the benefit
You owe another.
Bert. If he has a name,
As soon as spoken, 'tis writ on my heart
I am his bondman.
Ador. To the shame of men,
This great act is a woman's.
Bert. The whole sex
For her sake must be deified. How I wander
In my imagination, yet cannot
Guess who this phœnix should be!
Ador. 'Tis Camiola.
Bert. Pray you, speak 't again; there's music in her name.
Once more, I pray you, sir.
The MAID OF HONOUR.
Bert. Cursed atheist that I was,
[Pg 364]Only to doubt it could be any other;
Since she alone, in the abstract of herself,
That small, but ravishing substance, comprehends
Whatever is, or can be wish'd, in the
Idea of a woman! O what service,
Or sacrifice of duty, can I pay her,
If not to live and die her charity's slave,
Which is resolved already!
Ador. She expects not
Such a dominion o'er you. You must now,
Which is the sum of all that she desires,
By a solemn contract bind yourself, when she
Requires it, as a debt due for your freedom,
To marry her.
Bert. This does engage me further;
A payment! an increase of obligation.
To marry her!—'twas my nil ultra ever:
The end of my ambition. O that now
The holy man, she present, were prepared
To join our hands, but with that speed my heart
Wishes mine eyes might see her!
Ador. You must swear this.
Bert. False to Camiola! never.—Shall I now
Begin my vows to you?
Ador. I am no churchman;
Such a one must file it on record: you are free;
And, that you may appear like to yourself,
(For so she wish'd,) here's gold, with which you may
Redeem your trunks and servants, and whatever
Of late you lost. I have found out the captain
Whose spoil they were; his name is Roderigo.
Bert. I know him.
Ador. I have done my parts.
Bert. So much, sir,
As I am ever yours for 't. Now, methinks,
I walk in air! Divine Camiola——
But words cannot express thee: I'll build to thee
An altar in my soul, on which I'll offer
A still-increasing sacrifice of duty. [Exit.
Ador. What will become of me now is apparent.
This Roman resolution of self-murder
Will not hold water at the high tribunal,
When it comes to be argued; my good Genius
Prompts me to this consideration. He
That kills himself to avoid misery, fears it,
And, at the best, shows but a bastard valour.
This life's a fort committed to my trust,
Which I must not yield up till it be forced:
Nor will I. He's not valiant that dares die,
But he that boldly bears calamity. [Exit.
The same. A State-room in the Palace.
A Flourish. Enter Pierio, Roderigo, Jacomo, Gonzaga, Aurelia, Ferdinand, Astutio, and Attendants.
Aurel. A seat here for the duke. It is our glory
To overcome with courtesies, not rigour;
The lordly Roman, who held it the height
Of human happiness to have kings and queens
To wait by his triumphant chariot-wheels,
In his insulting pride, deprived himself
Of drawing near the nature of the gods,
Best known for such, in being merciful.
[Pg 366]Yet, give me leave, but still with gentle language,
And with the freedom of a friend, to tell you,
To seek by force, what courtship could not win,
Was harsh, and never taught in Love's mild school.
Wise poets feign that Venus' coach is drawn
By doves and sparrows, not by bears and tigers.
I spare the application.
Fer. In my fortune,
Heaven's justice hath confirm'd it; yet, great lady,
Since my offence grew from excess of love,
And not to be resisted, having paid, too,
With loss of liberty, the forfeiture
Of my presumption, in your clemency
It may find pardon.
Aurel. You shall have just cause
To say it hath. The charge of the long siege
Defray'd, and the loss my subjects have sustain'd
Made good, since so far I must deal with caution,
You have your liberty.
Fer. I could not hope for
Aurel. My lord Gonzaga,
Since my coming to Sienna, I've heard much of
Your prisoner, brave Bertoldo.
Gonz. Such an one,
Madam, I had.
Ast. And have still, sir, I hope.
Gonz. Your hopes deceive you. He is ransom'd, madam.
Ast. By whom, I pray you, sir?
Gonz. You had best inquire
Of your intelligencer: I am no informer.
Ast. I like not this. [Aside.
Aurel. He is, as 'tis reported,
[Pg 367]A goodly gentleman, and of noble parts;
A brother of your order.
Gonz. He was, madam,
Till he, against his oath, wrong'd you, a princess,
Which his religion bound him from.
Aurel. Great minds,
For trial of their valours, oft maintain
Quarrels that are unjust, yet without malice;
And such a fair construction I make of him:
I would see that brave enemy.
Gonz. My duty
Commands me to seek for him.
Aurel. Pray you do;
And bring him to our presence. [Exit Gonzaga.
Ast. I must blast
His entertainment. [Aside.] May it please your excellency.
He is a man debauch'd, and, for his riots,
Cast off by the king my master; and that, I hope, is
A crime sufficient.
Fer. To you, his subjects,
That like as your king likes.
Aurel. But not to us;
We must weigh with our own scale.
Re-enter Gonzaga, with Bertoldo richly habited, and Adorni.
This is he, sure.
How soon mine eye had found him! what a port
He bears! how well his bravery becomes him!
A prisoner! nay, a princely suitor, rather!
But I'm too sudden. [Aside.
Gonz. Madam, 'twas his suit,
[Pg 368]Unsent for, to present his service to you,
Ere his departure.
Aurel. With what majesty
He bears himself! [Aside.
Ast. The devil, I think, supplies him.
Ransom'd, and thus rich too!
Aurel. You ill deserve
[Bertoldo, kneeling, kisses her hand.
The favour of our hand——we are not well,
Give us more air. [Descends suddenly.
Gonz. What sudden qualm is this?
Aurel.—That lifted yours against me.
Bert. Thus, once more,
I sue for pardon.
Aurel. Sure his lips are poison'd,
And through these veins force passage to my heart,
Which is already seized on. [Aside.
Bert. I wait, madam,
To know what your commands are; my designs
Exact me in another place.
You have our licence to depart! If manners,
Civility of manners, cannot teach you
To attend our leisure, I must tell you, sir,
That you are still our prisoner; nor had you
Commission to free him.
Gonz. How's this, madam?
Aurel. You were my substitute, and wanted power,
Without my warrant, to dispose of him:
I will pay back his ransom ten times over,
Rather than quit my interest.
Bert. This is
Against the law of arms.
Aurel. But not of love.
Why, hath your entertainment, sir, been such,
In your restraint, that, with the wings of fear,
You would fly from it?
Bert. I know no man, madam,
Enamour'd of his fetters, or delighting
In cold or hunger, or that would in reason
Prefer straw in a dungeon before
A down-bed in a palace.
Aurel. How!—Come nearer:
Was his usage such?
Gonz. Yes, and it had been worse,
Had I foreseen this.
Aurel. O such as thou, that have
No share in nature's bounties, know no pity
To such as have them. Look on him with my eyes,
And answer, then, whether this were a man
Whose cheeks of lovely fulness should be made
A prey to meagre famine? or these eyes,
Whose every glance store Cupid's emptied quiver,
To be dimm'd with tedious watching? or these lips,
These ruddy lips, of whose fresh colour cherries
And roses were but copies, should grow pale
For want of nectar? or these limbs, that bear
A burthen of more worth than is supported
By Atlas' wearied shoulders, should be cramp'd
With the weight of iron? O, I could dwell ever
On this description!
Bert. Is this in derision,
Or pity of me?
Aurel. In your charity
Believe me innocent. Now you are my prisoner,
You shall have fairer quarter: you will shame
[Pg 370]The place where you have been, should you now leave it,
Before you are recover'd. I'll conduct you
To more convenient lodgings, and it shall be
My care to cherish you. Repine who dare;
It is our will. You'll follow me?
Bert. To the centre,
Such a Sybilla guiding me.
[Exeunt Aurelia, Bertoldo, and Attendants.
Gonz. Who speaks first?
Fer. We stand as we had seen Medusa's head.
Pier. I know not what to think, I am so amazed.
Rod. Amazed! I am thunderstruck.
Jac. We are enchanted,
And this is some illusion.
Ador. Heaven forbid!
In dark despair it shows a beam of hope:
Contain thy joy, Adorni. [Aside.
Ast. Such a princess,
And of so long experienced reservedness,
Break forth, and on the sudden, into flashes
Of more than doubted love!
Gonz. They come again,
Smiling, as I live!—Some fury hath possess'd her.
If I speak, I may be blasted.
Re-enter Bertoldo and Aurelia.
Aurel. Let not, sir,
The violence of my passion nourish in you
An ill opinion; or, grant my carriage
Out of the road and garb of private women,
'Tis still done with decorum.
Bert. Gracious madam,
[Pg 371]Vouchsafe a little pause; for I am so rapt
Beyond myself, that, till I have collected
My scatter'd faculties, I cannot tender
Aurel. Consider of it:
I will not be long from you.
[Bertoldo walks by musing.
Gonz. Pray you, fair lady,
If you can, in courtesy direct me to
The chaste Aurelia.
Aurel. Are you blind? who are we?
Gonz. Another kind of thing. Her love was govern'd
By her discretion, and not ruled her reason:
The reverence and majesty of Juno
Shined in her looks, and, coming to the camp,
Appear'd a second Pallas. I can see
No such divinities in you: if I,
Without offence, may speak my thoughts, you are,
As 'twere, another Helen.
Aurel. Good! ere long
You shall know me better.
Gonz. Why, if you are Aurelia,
How shall I dispose of the soldier?
Ast. May it please you
To hasten my despatch?
Aurel. Prefer your suits
Unto Bertoldo; we will give him hearing,
And you'll find him your best advocate. [Exit.
Ast. This is rare!
Gonz. What are we come to?
Rod. Grown up in a moment
Ferd. He does take state already.
Bert. No, no; it cannot be:—yet, but Camiola,
There is no step between me and a crown.
Then my ingratitude! a sin in which
All sins are comprehended! Aid me, Virtue,
Or I am lost!
Gonz. May it please your excellence——
Second me, sir.
Bert. Then my so horrid oaths,
And hell-deep imprecations made against it!
Ast. The king, your brother, will thank you for the advancement
Of his affairs.
Bert. And yet who can hold out
Against such batteries as her power and greatness
Raise up against my weak defences?
Do you dream waking? 'Slight, she's here again!
Walks she on woollen feet!
Aurel. You dwell too long
In your deliberation, and come
With a cripple's pace to that which you should fly to.
Bert. It is confess'd: yet why should I, to win
From you, that hazard all to my poor nothing,
By false play send you off a loser from me?
I am already too, too much engaged
To the king my brother's anger; and who knows
But that his doubts and politic fears, should you
Make me his equal, may draw war upon
[Pg 373]Your territories? Were that breach made up,
I should with joy embrace what now I fear
To touch but with due reverence.
Aurel. That hinderance
Is easily removed. I owe the king
For a royal visit, which I straight will pay him;
And having first reconciled you to his favour,
A dispensation shall meet with us.
Bert. I am wholly yours.
Aurel. On this book seal it.
Gonz. What, hand and lip too! then the bargain's sure.——
You have no employment for me?
Aurel. Yes, Gonzaga;
Provide a royal ship.
Gonz. A ship! St. John,
Whither are we bound now?
Aurel. You shall know hereafter.
My lord, your pardon for my too much trenching
Upon your patience.
Ador. Camiola! [Aside to Bertoldo.
Aurel. How do you?
Bert. Indisposed; but I attend you.
[Exeunt all but Adorni.
Ador. The heavy curse that waits on perjury
And foul ingratitude pursue thee ever!
Yet why from me this? in his breach of faith
My loyalty finds reward: what poisons him,
Proves mithridate to me. I have perform'd
All she commanded, punctually; and now,
[Pg 374]In the clear mirror of my truth, she may
Behold his falsehood. O that I had wings
To hear me to Palermo! This, once known,
Must change her love into a just disdain,
And work her to compassion of my pain. [Exit.
Palermo. A Room in Camiola's House.
Enter Sylli, Camiola, and Clarinda, at several doors.
Syl. Undone! undone!—poor I, that whilome was
The top and ridge of my house, am, on the sudden,
Turn'd to the pitifullest animal
O' the lineage of the Syllis!
Cam. What's the matter?
Syl. The king—break, girdle, break!
Cam. Why, what of him?
Syl. Hearing how far you doted on my person,
Is come himself a suitor, with the awl
Of his authority to bore my nose,
And take you from me—Oh, oh, oh!
Cam. Do not roar so:
Syl. The king. Yet loving Sylli is not
So sorry for his own as your misfortune:
If the king should carry you, he can but make you
A queen, and what a simple thing is that
To the being my lawful spouse! the world can never
Afford you such a husband.
Cam. I believe you.
But how are you sure the king is so inclined?
Did not you dream this?
Syl. With these eyes I saw him
Dismiss his train, and lighting from his coach,
Whispering Fulgentio in the ear.
Cam. If so,
I guess the business.
Syl. Yonder they are; I dare not
Enter Roberto and Fulgentio.
Be seen, I am so desperate: if you forsake me,
Send me word, that I may provide a willow garland,
To wear when I drown myself. O Sylli, Sylli!
Ful. It will be worth your pains, sir, to observe
The constancy and bravery of her spirit.
Though great men tremble at your frowns, I dare
Hazard my head your majesty, set off
With terror, cannot fright her.
Rob. May she answer
My expectation! [Aside.
Ful. There she is.
Cam. My knees thus
Bent to the earth, while my vows are sent upward
For the safety of my sovereign, pay the duty
Due for so great an honour, in this favour
Done to your humblest handmaid.
Rob. You mistake me;
I come not, lady, that you may report
The king, to do you honour, made your house
(He being there) his court; but to correct
Your stubborn disobedience. A pardon
[Pg 376]For that, could you obtain it, were well purchased
With this humility.
Cam. A pardon, sir!
Till I am conscious of an offence,
I will not wrong my innocence to beg one.
What is my crime, sir?
Rob. Look on him I favour,
By you scorn'd and neglected.
Cam. Is that all, sir?
Rob. No, minion; though that were too much. How can you
Answer the setting on your desperate bravo
To murder him?
Cam. With your leave, I must not kneel, sir,
While I reply to this: but thus rise up
In my defence, and tell you, as a man,
(Since, when you are unjust, the deity,
Which you may challenge as a king, parts from you,)
'Twas never read in holy writ, or moral,
That subjects on their loyalty were obliged
To love their sovereign's vices: your grace, sir,
To such an undeserver is no virtue.
Ful. What think you now, sir?
Cam. Say you should love wine,
You being the king, and, 'cause I am your subject,
Must I be ever drunk? Tyrants, not kings,
By violence, from humble vassals force
The liberty of their souls. I could not love him;
And to compel affection, as I take it,
Is not found in your prerogative.
Rob. Excellent virgin!
How I admire her confidence! [Aside.
Cam. He complains
[Pg 377]Of wrong done him: but be no more a king,
Unless you do me right. Burn your decrees,
And of your laws and statutes make a fire
To thaw the frozen numbness of delinquents,
If he escape unpunish'd. Do your edicts
Call it death in any man that breaks into
Another's house to rob him, though of trifles;
And shall Fulgentio, your Fulgentio, live,
Who hath committed more than sacrilege,
In the pollution of my clear fame
By his malicious slanders?
Rob. Have you done this?
Answer truly, on your life.
Ful. In the heat of blood,
Some such thing I reported.
Rob. Out of my sight!
For I vow, if by true penitence thou win not
This injured lady to sue out thy pardon,
Thy grave is digg'd already.
Ful. By my own folly
I have made a fair hand of 't. [Aside, and Exit.
Rob. You shall know, lady,
While I wear a crown, Justice shall use her sword
To cut offenders off, though nearest to us.
Cam. Ay, now you show whose deputy you are:
If now I bathe your feet with tears, it cannot
Be censured superstition.
Rob. You must rise;
Rise in our favour and protection ever.
Cam. Happy are subjects, when the prince is still
Guided by justice, not his passionate will.
[Exeunt. [Pg 378]
The same. A Room in Camiola's House.
Enter Camiola and Sylli.
Cam. You see how tender I am of the quiet
And peace of your affection, and what great ones
I put off in your favour.
Syl. You do wisely,
Exceeding wisely; and, when I have said,
I thank you for 't, be happy.
Cam. And good reason,
In having such a blessing.
Syl. When you have it;
But the bait is not yet ready.
Enter Clarinda hastily.
Cam. What news with thee, now?
Clar. Off with that gown, 'tis mine; mine by your promise:
Signior Adorni is return'd! now upon entrance!
Off with it, off with it, madam!
Cam. Be not so hasty:
When I go to bed, 'tis thine.
Syl. You have my grant too;
But, do you hear, lady, though I give way to this,
You must hereafter ask my leave, before
You part with things of moment.
Cam. Very good;
When I'm yours I'll be govern'd.
Syl. Sweet obedience! [Pg 379]
Cam. You are well return'd.
Ador. I wish that the success
Of my service had deserved it.
Cam. Lives Bertoldo?
Ador. Yes, and return'd with safety.
Cam. 'Tis not then
In the power of fate to add to, or take from
My perfect happiness; and yet—he should
Have made me his first visit.
Ador. So I think too;
Syl. Durst not appear, I being present;
That's his excuse, I warrant you.
Cam. Speak, where is he?
With whom? who hath deserved more from him? or
Can be of equal merit? I in this
Do not except the king.
Ador. He's at the palace,
With the duchess of Sienna. One coach brought them hither,
Without a third: he's very gracious with her;
You may conceive the rest.
Cam. My jealous fears
Make me to apprehend.
Ador. Pray you, dismiss
Signior Wisdom, and I'll make relation to you
Of the particulars.
Cam. Servant, I would have you
To haste unto the court.
Syl. I will outrun
A footman for your pleasure.
Cam. There observe
The duchess' train, and entertainment.
Syl. Fear not;
I will discover all that is of weight,
To the liveries of her pages and her footmen.
This is fit employment for me. [Exit.
Cam. Gracious with
The duchess! sure you said so?
Ador. I will use
All possible brevity to inform you, madam,
Of what was trusted to me, and discharged
With faith and loyal duty.
Cam. I believe it;
You ransomed him, and supplied his wants—imagine
That is already spoken; and what vows
Of service he made to me, is apparent;
His joy of me, and wonder too, perspicuous;
Does not your story end so?
Ador. Would the end
Had answered the beginning!—In a word,
Ingratitude and perjury at the height
Cannot express him.
Cam. Take heed.
Ador. Truth is arm'd,
And can defend itself. It must out, madam:
I saw (the presence full) the amorous duchess
Kiss and embrace him; on his part accepted
With equal ardour; and their willing hands
No sooner join'd, but a remove was publish'd,
And put in execution.
Cam. The proofs are
Too pregnant. O Bertoldo!
Ador. He's not worth
Your sorrow, madam.
Cam. Tell me, when you saw this,
Did not you grieve, as I do now to hear it?
Ador. His precipice from goodness raising mine,
And serving as a foil to set my faith off,
I had little reason.
Cam. In this you confess
The malice of your disposition. As
You were a man, you stood bound to lament it;
And not, in flattery of your false hopes,
To glory in it. When good men pursue
The path mark'd out by virtue, the blest saints
With joy look on it, and seraphic angels
Clap their celestial wings in heavenly plaudits,
To see a scene of grace so well presented,
The fiends, and men made up of envy, mourning.
Whereas now, on the contrary, as far
As their divinity can partake of passion,
With me they weep, beholding a fair temple,
Built in Bertoldo's loyalty, turn'd to ashes
By the flames of his inconstancy, the damn'd
Rejoicing in the object.—'Tis not well
In you, Adorni.
Ador. What a temper dwells
In this rare virgin! [Aside.] Can you pity him,
That hath shown none to you?
Cam. I must not be
Cruel by his example. You, perhaps,
Expect now I should seek recovery
Of what I have lost, by tears, and with bent knees
Beg his compassion. No; my towering virtue,
From the assurance of my merit, scorns
To stoop so low. I'll take a nobler course,
[Pg 382]And, confident in the justice of my cause,
The king his brother, and new mistress, judges,
Ravish him from her arms. You have the contract,
In which he swore to marry me?
Ador. 'Tis here, madam.
Cam. He shall be, then, against his will, my husband;
And when I have him, I'll so use him!—Doubt not,
But that, your honesty being unquestion'd,
This writing, with your testimony, clears all.
Ador. And buries me in the dark mists of error.
Cam. I'll presently to court; pray you, give order
For my caroch. [Exit Adorni.] My good angel help me,
In these my extremities!
Syl. If you e'er will see brave sight,
Lose it not now. Bertoldo and the duchess
Are presently to be married: there's such pomp
Cam. If I marry, 'tis
This day, or never.
Syl. Why, with all my heart;
Though I break this, I'll keep the next oath I make,
And then it is quit.
Cam. Follow me to my cabinet;
You know my confessor, father Paulo?
Syl. Yes: shall he
Do the feat for us?
Cam. I will give in writing
Directions to him, and attire myself
Like a virgin bride; and something I will do,
That shall deserve men's praise and wonder too.
The same. A State-room in the Palace.
Loud music. Enter Roberto, Bertoldo, Aurelia, Ferdinand, Astutio, Gonzaga, Roderigo, Jacomo, Pierio, a Bishop, and Attendants.
Rob. Had our division been greater, madam,
Your clemency, the wrong being done to you,
In pardon of it, like the rod of concord,
Must make a perfect union.—Once more,
With a brotherly affection, we receive you
Into our favour: let it be your study
Hereafter to deserve this blessing, far
Beyond your merit.
Bert. As the princess' grace
To me is without limit, my endeavours,
With all obsequiousness to serve her pleasures,
Shall know no bounds: nor will I, being made
Her husband, e'er forget the duty that
I owe her as a servant.
Aurel. I expect not
But fair equality, since I well know,
If that superiority be due,
'Tis not to me. When you are made my consort,
All the prerogatives of my high birth cancell'd,
[Pg 384]I'll practise the obedience of a wife,
And freely pay it.
Gonz. This done, as it is promised, may well stand for
A precedent to great women.
Rob. One word more
Touching the articles.
Enter Fulgentio, Camiola, Sylli, and Adorni.
Ful. In you alone
Lie all my hopes; you can or kill or save me;
But pity in you will become you better
(Though I confess injustice 'tis denied me)
Than too much rigour.
Cam. I will make your peace
As far as it lies in me; but must first
Labour to right myself.
Aurel. Or add or alter
What you think fit; in him I have my all:
Heaven make me thankful for him!
Rob. On to the temple.
Cam. Stay, royal sir; and, as you are a king,
Erect one here, in doing justice to
An injured maid.
Aurel. How's this?
Bert. O, I am blasted!
Rob. I have given some proof, sweet lady, of my promptness
To do you right; you need not, therefore, doubt me;
And rest assured, that, this great work despatch'd,
You shall have audience, and satisfaction
To all you can demand.
Cam. To do me justice
Exacts your present care, and can admit
Of no delay. If, ere my cause be heard,
In favour of your brother you go on, sir,
Your sceptre cannot right me. He's the man,
The guilty man, whom I accuse; and you
Stand bound in duty, as you are supreme,
To be impartial. Since you are a judge,
As a delinquent look on him, and not
As on a brother: Justice painted blind,
Infers her ministers are obliged to hear
The cause, and truth, the judge, determine of it;
And not sway'd or by favour or affection,
By a false gloss, or wrested comment, alter
The true intent and letter of the law.
Rob. Nor will I, madam.
Aurel. You seem troubled, sir.
Gonz. His colour changes too.
Cam. The alteration
Grows from his guilt. The goodness of my cause
Begets such confidence in me, that I bring
No hired tongue to plead for me, that with gay
Rhetorical flourishes may palliate
That which, stripp'd naked, will appear deform'd.
I stand here mine own advocate; and my truth,
Deliver'd in the plainest language, will
Make good itself; nor will I, if the king
Give suffrage to it, but admit of you,
My greatest enemy, and this stranger prince,
To sit assistants with him.
Aurel. I ne'er wrong'd you.
Cam. In your knowledge of the injury, I believe it;
Nor will you, in your justice, when you are
[Pg 386]Acquainted with my interest in this man,
Which I lay claim to.
Rob. Let us take our seats.
What is your title to him?
Cam. By this contract,
Seal'd solemnly before a reverend man,
[Presents a paper to the king.
I challenge him for my husband.
Syl. Ha! was I
Sent for the friar for this?
Rob. This writing is
Aurel. But, done in heat of blood,
Charm'd by her flatteries, as, no doubt, he was,
To be dispensed with.
Fer. Add this, if you please,
The distance and disparity between
Their births and fortunes.
Cam. What can Innocence hope for,
When such as sit her judges are corrupted!
Disparity of birth or fortune, urge you?
Or syren charms? or, at his best, in me
Wants to deserve him? Call some few days back,
And, as he was, consider him, and you
Must grant him my inferior. Imagine
You saw him now in fetters, with his honour,
His liberty lost; with her black wings Despair
Circling his miseries, and this Gonzaga
Trampling on his afflictions; the great sum
Proposed for his redemption; the king
Forbidding payment of it; his near kinsmen,
With his protesting followers and friends,
Falling off from him; by the whole world forsaken;
Dead to all hope, and buried in the grave
[Pg 387]Of his calamities; and then weigh duly
What she deserved, whose merits now are doubted,
That, as his better angel, in her bounties
Appear'd unto him, his great ransom paid,
His wants, and with a prodigal hand, supplied;
Whether, then, being my manumised slave,
He owed not himself to me?
Aurel. Is this true?
Rob. In his silence 'tis acknowledged.
Gonz. If you want
A witness to this purpose, I'll depose it.
Cam. If I have dwelt too long on my deservings
To this unthankful man, pray you pardon me;
The cause required it. And though now I add
A little, in my painting to the life
His barbarous ingratitude, to deter
Others from imitation, let it meet with
A fair interpretation. This serpent,
Frozen to numbness, was no sooner warm'd
In the bosom of my pity and compassion,
But, in return, he ruin'd his preserver,
The prints the irons had made in his flesh
Still ulcerous; but all that I had done,
My benefits, in sand or water written,
As they had never been, no more remember'd!
And on what ground, but his ambitious hopes
To gain this duchess' favour?
Aurel. Yes; the object,
Look on it better, lady, may excuse
The change of his affection.
Cam. The object!
In what? forgive me, modesty, if I say
You look upon your form in the false glass
Of flattery and self-love, and that deceives you.
[Pg 388]That you were a duchess, as I take it, was not
Character'd on your face; and, that not seen,
For other feature, make all these, that are
Experienced in women, judges of them,
And, if they are not parasites, they must grant,
For beauty without art, though you storm at it,
I may take the right-hand file.
Gonz. Well said, i' faith!
I see fair women on no terms will yield
Priority in beauty.
Cam. Down, proud heart!
Why do I rise up in defence of that,
Which, in my cherishing of it, hath undone me!
No, madam, I recant,—you are all beauty,
Goodness, and virtue; and poor I not worthy
As a foil to set you off: enjoy your conquest;
But do not tyrannize. Yet, as I am,
In my lowness, from your height you may look on me,
And, in your suffrage to me, make him know
That, though to all men else I did appear
The shame and scorn of women, he stands bound
To hold me as the masterpiece.
Rob. By my life,
You have shown yourself of such an abject temper,
So poor and low-condition'd, as I grieve for
Your nearness to me.
Fer. I am changed in my
Opinion of you, lady; and profess
The virtues of your mind an ample fortune
For an absolute monarch.
Gonz. Since you are resolved
To damn yourself, in your forsaking of
Your noble order for a woman, do it
[Pg 389]For this. You may search through the world, and meet not
With such another phœnix.
Aurel. On the sudden
I feel all fires of love quench'd in the water
Of my compassion.—Make your peace; you have
My free consent; for here I do disclaim
All interest in you: and, to further your
Desires, fair maid, composed of worth and honour,
The dispensation procured by me,
Freeing Bertoldo from his vow, makes way
To your embraces.
Bert. Oh, how have I stray'd,
And wilfully, out of the noble track
Mark'd me by virtue! till now, I was never
Truly a prisoner. To excuse my late
Captivity, I might allege the malice
Of Fortune; you, that conquer'd me, confessing
Courage in my defence was no way wanting.
But now I have surrender'd up my strengths
Into the power of Vice, and on my forehead
Branded, with mine own hand, in capital letters,
Disloyal, and Ingrateful. Though barr'd from
Human society, and hiss'd into
Some desert ne'er yet haunted with the curses
Of men and women, sitting as a judge
Upon my guilty self, I must confess
It justly falls upon me; and one tear,
Shed in compassion of my sufferings, more
Than I can hope for.
Cam. This compunction
For the wrong that you have done me, though you should
[Pg 390]Fix here, and your true sorrow move no further,
Will, in respect I loved once, make these eyes
Two springs of sorrow for you.
Bert. In your pity
My cruelty shows more monstrous: yet I am not,
Though most ingrateful, grown to such a height
Of impudence, as, in my wishes only,
To ask your pardon. If, as now I fall
Prostrate before your feet, you will vouchsafe
To act your own revenge, treading upon me
As a viper eating through the bowels of
Your benefits, to whom, with liberty,
I owe my being, 'twill take from the burden
That now is insupportable.
Cam. Pray you, rise;
As I wish peace and quiet to my soul,
I do forgive you heartily: yet, excuse me,
Though I deny myself a blessing that,
By the favour of the duchess, seconded
With your submission, is offer'd to me;
Let not the reason I allege for 't grieve you,
You have been false once.—I have done: and if,
When I am married, as this day I will be,
As a perfect sign of your atonement with me,
You wish me joy, I will receive it for
Full satisfaction of all obligations
In which you stand bound to me.
Bert. I will do it,
And, what's more, in despite of sorrow, live
To see myself undone, beyond all hope
To be made up again.
Syl. My blood begins
To come to my heart again.
Cam. Pray you, signior Sylli,
Call in the holy friar: he's prepared
For finishing the work.
Syl. I knew I was
The man: heaven make me thankful! [Exit.
Rob. Who is this?
Ast. His father was the banker of Palermo,
And this the heir of his great wealth: his wisdom
Was not hereditary.
Aurel. For my part,
I cannot guess the issue.
Re-enter Sylli with Father Paulo.
Syl. Do your duty;
And with all speed you can, you may despatch us.
Paul. Thus, as a principal ornament to the church,
I seize her.
Rob. So young, and so religious!
Paul. She has forsook the world.
Syl. I shall run mad.
Rob. Hence with the fool! [Sylli is thrust off.] Proceed, sir.
Paul. Look on this MAID OF HONOUR, now
Truly honour'd in her vow
She pays to heaven. This fair hair
(Favours for great kings to wear)
Must now be shorn; her rich array
Changed into a homely gray:
Instead of dainties, from the spring,
For wine, cold water we will bring;
And with fasting mortify
The feasts of sensuality.
Her jewels, beads; and she must look
[Pg 392]Not in a glass, but holy book,
To teach her the ne'er-erring way
To immortality. O may
She, as she purposes to be
A child new-born to piety,
Perséver in it, and good men,
With saints and angels, say, Amen!
Cam. This is the marriage! this the port to which
My vows must steer me! Fill my spreading sails
With the pure wind of your devotions for me,
That I may touch the secure haven, where
Eternal happiness keeps her residence,
Temptations to frailty never entering!
I am dead to the world, and thus dispose
Of what I leave behind me; and, dividing
My state into three parts, I thus bequeath it:
The first to the fair nunnery, to which
I dedicate the last and better part
Of my frail life; a second portion
To pious uses; and the third to thee,
Adorni, for thy true and faithful service.
And, ere I take my last farewell, with hope
To find a grant, my suit to you is, that
You would, for my sake, pardon this young man,
And to his merits love him, and no further.
Rob. I thus confirm it.
[Gives his hand to Fulgentio.
Cam. And, as e'er you hope,
Like me, to be made happy, I conjure you
To reassume your order; and in fighting
[Pg 393]Bravely against the enemies of our faith,
Redeem your mortgaged honour.
Gonz. I restore this:
[Gives him the white cross.
Once more, brothers in arms.
Bert. I'll live and die so.
Cam. To you my pious wishes! And, to end
All differences, great sir, I beseech you
To be an arbitrator, and compound
The quarrel long continuing between
The duke and duchess.
Rob. I will take it into
My special care.
Cam. I am then at rest. Now, father,
Conduct me where you please.
[Exeunt Paulo and Camiola.
Rob. She well deserves
Her name, the Maid of Honour! May she stand,
To all posterity, a fair example
For noble maids to imitate! Since to live
In wealth and pleasure's common, but to part with
Such poison'd baits is rare; there being nothing
Upon this stage of life to be commended,
Though well begun, till it be fully ended.
END OF VOL. I.
 The register of his birth is not to be found, but all writers of his life agree in naming this city as the place of his nativity; and their account is corroborated by the college entry, which styles him Salisburiensis.
 Dedication to The Bondman.
 Singer's edition, p. 120.
 Introduction to the Works of Massinger, p. xxxviii.
 Vol. ii. p. 933.
 Life of Wolsey, p. 517.
 The entry in the college book styles him "Phillip Massinger, Salisburiensis, generosi filius."
 Dedication to the folio edition of Shakspeare.
 Indulgences were granted to those who attended the representation of them.
 Gorboduc appeared in 1562; Gammer Gurton, in 1566.
 Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iii. p. 83, note 3.
 Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iii. p. 15.
 Gifford's Massinger, vol. i. p. 103.
 This question ought to be set at rest, methinks, by the following extract from the Book of Revels, the oldest that exists, in the office of the auditors of the imprest: "Mrs. Dane, the lynnen dealer, for canvass to paynte for houses for the players, and other properties, as monsters, great hollow trees, and such other, twenty dozen ells, 12l."—See Boswell's Shakspeare, vol. iii. p. 364, et seq.
 The first woman who appeared in a regular drama, on a public stage, played Desdemona, about the year 1660. Her name is unknown.
 Nat. Field. This celebrated actor played female parts. He was the author of two comedies: A Woman's a Weathercock, 1612, and Amends for Ladies, 1618. He also assisted Massinger in The Fatal Dowry.
 Robert Daborne was the author of two plays: The Christian turned Turk, 1612, and The poor Man's Comfort, 1655. He was a gentleman of liberal education, master of arts, and in holy orders. It is supposed that he had preferment in Ireland. A sermon by him, preached at Waterford, in 1618, is extant.
 Additions to Malone's Hist. Account of Eng. Stage, p. 488.
 Perséver.] So this word was anciently written and pronounced: thus the king, in Hamlet:
 Sap. Keep the ports close.] This word, which is directly from the Latin, is so frequently used by Massinger and the writers of his time for the gates of a town, that it appears superfluous to produce any examples of it.—Gifford.
 Kings lackeying by his triumphant chariot.] Running by the side of it like lackeys or foot-boys.—Gifford.
 Flesh'd his maiden sword.] These words are from Shakspeare, of whose works Massinger appears to have been a great reader.
 Whose power, &c.] An imitation of the well-known line, Divisum imperium cum Jove Cæsar habet.—Gifford.
 K. of Epire. We are now
Slaves to thy power, &c.] I have observed several imitations of Massinger in the dramas of Mason: there is, for instance, a striking similarity between this spirited speech, and the indignant exclamation of the brave but unfortunate Caractacus:
 And do 't with safety.] This is admirably expressed: the maxim, however, though just, is of the most dangerous nature; for what ambitious chief will ever allow the state to be "raised to her perfection," or that the time for using "mercy with safety" is arrived? Even Dioclesian has his exceptions,—strong ones too! for Rome was old enough in his time. There is an allusion to Virgil, in the opening of this speech:
 ————as weak Perseus
Did great Æmilius.] It is said that Perseus sent to desire Paulus Æmilius not to exhibit him as a spectacle to the Romans, and to spare him the indignity of being led in triumph. Æmilius replied coldly: The favour he asks of me is in his own power; he can procure it for himself.—Coxeter.
 To match where they affect not.] This does better for modern than Roman practice; and, indeed, the author was thinking more of Hamlet than Dioclesian, in this part of the dialogue.—Gifford.
 Owes.] i. e. owns.
 Fair Venus' son, draw forth a leaden dart.] The idea of this double effect, to which Massinger has more than one allusion, is from Ovid:
 ————The fox,
When he saw first the forest's king, &c.] The fable is from the Greek. In a preceding line there is an allusion to the proverb, Procul a Jove, sed procul a fulmine.—Gifford.
 A governor's place upon thee.] From the Latin: ne sis mihi tutor.—Gifford.
 ——All lets.] i. e. All impediments.
 Theoph. Glad'st thou in such scorn?] Theophilus, who is represented as a furious zealot for paganism, is mortified at the indifference with which Macrinus returns the happiness he had wished him by his god. Mr. M. Mason reads, Gaddest thou in such scorn? He may be right; for Macrinus is evidently anxious to pass on: the reading of the text, however, is that of all the old copies.—Gifford.
 Hand,] here used for inch, moment. We often meet the phrase of his hands, for of his inches.
 ——flies.] This word is used by Ben Jonson, a close and devoted imitator of the ancients, for a domestic parasite, a familiar, &c. and from him, probably, Decker adopted it in the present sense.—Gifford.
 Roman angels,] i. e. the Roman eagle, the well-known military ensign. Angel in the sense of bird is frequently met with among our old writers. Jonson beautifully calls the nightingale "The dear good angel of the spring." And if this should be thought, as it probably is, a Grecism; yet we have the same term in another passage, which will admit of no dispute:
 Harp. This Macrinus,
The line is, &c] The allusion is to the rude fire-works of our ancestors. So, in the Fawne, by Marston:
"Page. There be squibs, sir, running upon lines, like some of our gawdy gallants," &c.—Gifford.
 Conster,] i. e. understand. This word (a corruption of construe), so frequently heard among the common people, has not found a place in any dictionary that I have met with.
 Pash,] i. e. to strike a thing with such force as to dash it to pieces. The word is now obsolete; which is to be regretted, as we have none that can adequately supply its place: it is used in its proper sense by Dryden, which is the latest instance I recollect:
 Owes,] i. e. owns.
 Parted,] i. e. endowed with a part.
 Bandog!] A bandog, as the name imports, was a dog so fierce, as to require to be chained up. Bandogs are frequently mentioned by our old writers (indeed the word occurs three times in this play) and always with a reference to their savage nature. If the term was appropriated to a species, it probably meant a large dog, of the mastiff kind, which, though no longer met with here, is still common in many parts of Germany: it was familiar to Snyders, and is found in most of his hunting-pieces.
In this country the bandog was kept to bait bears: with the decline of that sport, perhaps, the animal fell into disuse, as he was too ferocious for any domestic purpose. Mr. Gilchrist has furnished me with a curious passage from Laneham, which renders any further details on the subject unnecessary. "On the syxth day of her Majestyes cumming, a great sort of bandogs whear thear tyed in the utter coourt, and thyrteen bears in the inner. Whoosoever made the pannel, thear wear enoow for a queast, and one for a challenge and need wear. A wight of great wisdoom and gravitie seemed their foreman to be, had it cum to a jury: but it fell oout that they wear causd to appeer thear upon no such matter, but onlie too onswear too an auncient quarrele between them and the bandogs," &c. Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment at Killingwoorth Castle, in 1575.—Gifford.
 Your son and that.] Macrinus, whom before she had called a pander. M. Mason.
 ——I'll tell you a short tale, &c.] I once thought that I had read this short tale in Arnobius, from whom, and from Augustin, much of the preceding speech is taken; but, upon looking him over again, I can scarcely find a trace of it. Herodotus has, indeed, a story of a king of Egypt (Amasis), which bears a distant resemblance to it; but the application is altogether different:—there is a bason of gold in which he and his guests were accustomed to spit, wash their feet, &c. which is formed into a god; but whether this furnished the poet with any hints I cannot undertake to say.—Gifford.
 The pillars of our faith, &c.] Here, as in many other places, the language of Christianity and paganism is confounded: faith was always the distinctive term for the former, in opposition to heathenism.—Gifford.
 Lamia,] i. e. sorceress, hag. The word is pure Latin.
 Speaking of the remainder of this act, Gifford says, "there may be (and probably are) finer passages in our dramatic poets, but I am not acquainted with them."
 Mac. Strange affection!
Cupid once more hath changed his shafts with Death, And kills, instead of giving life.] This is a beautiful allusion to a little poem among the Elegies of Secundus. Cupid and Death unite in the destruction of a lover, and in endeavouring to recover their weapons from the body of the victim, commit a mutual mistake, each plucking out the "shafts" of the other. The consequences of this are prettily described:
The fable, however, is very ancient.—Gifford.
 Apostata.] Our old writers usually said, apostata, statua, &c. where we now say, apostate, statue.
 Which did require a Hercules to get it.] This beautiful description of Elysium, as Mr. Gilchrist observes to me, has been imitated by Nabbes, in that very poetic rhapsody, Microcosmus: some of the lines may be given:
 Enter Angelo, in the Angel's habit, &c.] It appears that Angelo was not meant to be seen or heard by any of the people present, but Dorothea. In the inventory of the Lord Admiral's properties, given by Mr. Malone, is, "a roobe for to goe invisibell." It was probably of a light gauzy texture, and afforded a sufficient hint to our ancestors, not to see the person invested with it; or rather, to understand that some of the characters on the stage were not to see him.—Gifford.
 ——————Learn all,
By your example, &c.] "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Heb. c. xiii. v. 2. Here is also a beautiful allusion to the parting speech of the "sociable archangel," to Tobit and his son.—Gifford.
 The whole of this scene Gifford ascribes to Decker.
 ——————is not out of hate
To poor tormented wretches, &c.] This is said to distinguish his character from that of Sapritius, whose zeal is influenced by motives of interest, and by many other considerations, which appear to weigh nothing with Theophilus.—Gifford.
 Put on,] i. e. instigated.
 ——this small weapon.] Meaning the "cross of flowers," which he had just found. The language and ideas of this play are purely catholic.—Gifford.
 That my last act the best may parallel.] Thus far Decker; what follows, I apprehend, was written by Massinger. In pathos, strength, and harmony, it is not surpassed by any passage of equal length in the English language.—Gifford.
 As the Sicilian did his brazen bull.] The brazen bull, an ingenious instrument of torture, invented by Perillus, and presented to Phalaris, the tyrant of Agrigentum, was fatal both to its author and its owner. Phalaris made the first experiment of its powers upon Perillus; and when the people, exasperated by his cruelties, eventually rose against him, the tyrant suffered death by its means himself.
 Sir Robert Wiseman was the eldest son of Richard Wiseman, a merchant of London, who, having acquired an ample fortune, retired into Essex, in which county he possessed considerable estates, where he died in 1618, and was succeeded by Sir Robert. The friend of Massinger was the oldest of fourteen children, and a man of an amiable character. He died unmarried the 11th May, 1641, in his sixty-fifth year.—Gilchrist.
 Giovanni.] This word is used as a quadrisyllable. This is incorrect, and shows that Massinger had studied the language in books only: no Italian would or could pronounce it in this manner. He makes the same mistake in the name of the duchess:—Fiorinda is a trisyllable; yet he adopts the division of poor Calandrino, and constantly pronounces it Fi-o-rin-da.—Gifford.
 Running at the ring.] This amusement made a part of nearly all those magnificent spectacles which used to be given on public occasions. A ring of a very small diameter was suspended by a string from a kind of gibbet, of which the horizontal beam moved on a swivel. At this the competitors ran with their spears couched, with loose reins, and, as the public regulations have it, "as much speed as the horses have." The object was to carry off the ring on the point of the spear, which was light, taper, and adapted to the purpose. It was of difficult attainment; for, from an account of a match made by King Edward the Sixth, seventeen against seventeen, of which he has left a description, it appears, that "in one hundred and twenty courses the ring was carried off but three times."—King Edward's Journal, p. 26. The victor was usually rewarded with a ring set with precious stones, and bestowed by the lady of the day.
 So passionate!] i. e. so deeply affected. In this sense the word perpetually occurs in our old writers.
 To imp.] i. e. to insert a new feather into the wing of a hawk in the place of a broken one.—These lines are perhaps the most beautiful of a scene eminently graceful and elegant.
 Divert us.] i. e. turn us aside from following your advice.
 ——————that the world,
In her whole course of life, &c.] This is awkwardly expressed, a circumstance most unusual with Massinger; but seems to mean, in her various excellences and virtues.—Gifford.
 Glorious,] i. e. vain, empty, vaunting.
 All courtship,] i. e. all court breeding.
 Take up, take up.] i. e. stop, check yourself.
 He's blind with too much light.] Ennobled by Milton—"dark with excess of light."
 Tramontanes,] i. e. strangers, barbarians: so the Italians called, and still call, all who live beyond the Alps, ultra montes. In a subsequent speech, the author does not forget to satirize the acknowledged propensity of his countrymen to drinking: "Your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander, are nothing to your Englishman."
If Caponi, as well as Iago, be not, however, too severe upon us, it must be confessed that our ancestors were apt scholars, and soon bettered the instructions which they received. Sir Richard Baker (as Mr. Gilchrist observes), treating of the wars in the Low-Countries about the end of the sixteenth century, says, "Here it must not be omitted, that the English (who, of all the dwellers in the northern parts of the world, were hitherto the least drinkers, and deservedly praised for their sobriety) in these Dutch wars learned to be drunkards, and brought the vice so far to overspread the kingdom, that laws were fain to be enacted for repressing it." Chron. fol. p. 382.—Gifford.
 ——————Can charms
Be writ on such pure rubies?] This, I believe, alludes to a very old opinion, that some sorts of gems (from an inherent sanctity) could not be profaned, or applied to the purposes of magic. The notion took its rise probably from some superstitious ideas respecting the precious stones employed in the breastplate of the high-priest of the Jews.—Gifford.
 Stole courtesy from heaven.] This is from Shakspeare; and the plain meaning of the phrase is, that the affability and sweetness of Giovanni were of a heavenly kind.—Gifford.
 Smile at lovers' perjuries.
It would be as well if the queen of love had been a little more fastidious on this subject. Her facility, I fear, has done much mischief, as lovers of all ages have availed themselves of it: but she had it from her father, whose laxity of principle is well known:
 Possessed,] i. e. informed.
 Censure,] i. e. judgment.
 Blasphémous.] So the word was usually accented in Massinger's time, and with strict regard to its Greek derivation.
 ——————that knows not to use it,] i. e. his command, authority: the expression is harsh, but is not uncommon in the writers of Massinger's time.—Gifford.
 Packing,] i. e. insidious contrivance: so the word is used by Shakspeare, and others.
 Cal. I have all that's requisite
To the making up of a signior: my spruce ruff,
My hooded cloak, long stocking, and paned hose,
My case of toothpicks, and my silver fork.] Calandrino is very correct in his enumeration of the articles which in his time made up a complete signior: and which are frequently introduced with evident marks of disapprobation and ridicule by our old poets. The ruff, cloak, and long stocking, are sufficiently familiar: hose are breeches: paned hose are breeches composed of small squares or pannels. Toothpicks, the next accompaniment of state, were newly imported from Italy, as were forks; the want of which our ancestors supplied, as well as they could, with their fingers.—Gifford.
 Cal. My grand signior,
Vouchsafe a beso las manos, &c.] This is the phrase in which Calandrino supposes his "quondam fellows" will address him. In Massinger's time these tags of politeness were in everybody's mouth, and better understood than they are at this day.—Gifford.
 I have restricted myself to as few remarks as possible on the beauties of the author, but I cannot forbear observing, on the present occasion, that the act we have just finished, for language, sentiment, surprising yet natural turns, and general felicity of conduct, is scarcely to be paralleled in any drama with which I am acquainted.—Gifford.
 Take us with you, sir.] i. e. understand our meaning fully, before you form your conclusions: this expression is common to all our old writers.
 Story,] i. e. history. The two words were formerly synonymous.
 Lavolta,] i. e. the waltz. This dance, originally imported from Italy, was a great favourite with our ancestors.
 This scene is exquisitely written. It must, however, be confessed, that Charomonte's justification of himself is less complete than might be expected from one who had so good a cause to defend.—Gifford. I can't perceive the deficiency.
 March-pane,] a cake composed of sugar and almonds.
 Parted,] i. e. gifted or endowed with parts.
It seems to have been the opinion of Massinger and his fellow dramatists, that no play could succeed without the admission of some kind of farcical interlude among the graver scenes. If the dramas of our author be intimately considered, few will be found without some extraneous mummery of this description; and, indeed, nothing but a persuasion of the nature which I have just mentioned could give birth to the poor mockery before us. As a trick, it is so gross and palpable, that the duke could not have been deceived by it for a moment; (to do him justice, he frequently hints his suspicions;) and as a piece of humour, it is so low, and even disagreeable, that I cannot avoid regretting a proper regard for his characters had not prevented the author from adopting it on the present occasion.—Gifford.
 Courtship,] i. e. the grace and elegance of a court.
 Lodovico,] i. e. Lodovico Hippolito.
 States,] i. e. statesmen, men of power. A common acceptation of the word.
 So constantly,] i. e. with such constancy.
 Censure.] It has been already observed, that this word is used by our old writers, where we should now use judge, and with the same latitude of meaning through its various acceptations.—Gifford.
 The state,] i. e. the raised platform on which the chairs were placed.
 The prince, in care to have you keep your vows
Made unto Heaven, vouchsafed to love my daughter.] This attempt to impose upon the great duke is more deplorable than the former. It has falsehood and improbability written on its face. The duke, indeed, is not deceived by it; but surely the author showed a strange want of judgment in this gratuitous degradation of three of his most estimable characters.—Gifford.
Surely Massinger intended that his characters should here be understood as speaking the truth. The contrivance by which he exculpates Giovanni is a clumsy one; but he was anxious to conclude his play, and took the first that suggested itself. Awkward as it may appear to the reader, it has, perhaps, quite enough dramatic probability to satisfy an audience.
 Practice,] i. e. artifice, or insidious combination.
 If, for their pomp and ease, &c.] Mr. Gilchrist thinks (and I believe rightly) that Massinger, who evidently regarded the Duke of Buckingham with no favourable eye, here reflects on the use of sedan-chairs, which his grace first introduced, from Spain, about this period. They were carried, as Massinger says, "on men's shoulders," and the novelty provoked no small displeasure against the favourite, who, in thus employing his servants, was charged, by the writers of those times, with "degrading Englishmen into slaves and beasts of burden, to gratify his inordinate vanity."—Gifford.
 Fan.] The fan of our ancestors was not at all in the shape of the implement now used under the same name, but more like a hand-skreen. It had a roundish handle, and was frequently composed of feathers.
 The braveries,] i. e. the gay and fashionable gallants of the town.
 The state.] This was a raised platform, on which was placed a chair with a canopy over it. The word occurs perpetually in our old writers. It is used by Dryden, but seems to have been growing obsolete while he was writing: in the first edition of Mac Fleckno, the monarch is placed on a state; in the subsequent ones, he is seated like his fellow kings, on a throne: it occurs also, and I believe for the last time, in Swift: "As she affected not the grandeur of a state with a canopy, she thought there was no offence in an elbow chair."—Hist. of John Bull, c. i.—Gifford.
 ————Such honours
To one ambitious of rule, &c.] Massinger has here finely drawn the character of Timoleon, and been very true to history. He was descended from one of the noblest families in Corinth, loved his country passionately, and discovered upon all occasions a singular humanity of temper, except against tyrants and bad men. He was an excellent captain; and as in his youth he had all the maturity of age, in age he had all the fire and courage of the most ardent youth.—Coxeter.
 Timol. Timophanes, my brother, &c.] Timoleon had an elder brother, called Timophanes, whom he tenderly loved, as he had demonstrated in a battle, in which he covered him with his body, and saved his life at the great danger of his own. But his country was still dearer to him. That brother having made himself tyrant of it, so black a crime gave him the sharpest affliction. He made use of all possible means to bring him back to his duty: kindness, friendship, affection, remonstrances, and even menaces. But finding all his endeavours ineffectual, and that nothing could prevail upon a heart abandoned to ambition he caused his brother to be assassinated by two of his friends and intimates, and thought that upon such an occasion the laws of nature ought to give place to those of his country.—Coxeter.
 To my country, my best mother.] In this expression Timoleon alludes to the conduct of his natural mother, who would never see him after the assassination of his brother, and always, as Cornelius Nepos informs us, called him fratricidam, impiumque.—Gifford.
 Diph. If you free Sicily
From barbarous Carthage' yoke, &c.] This speech and the next are literally from Plutarch. Massinger has in this instance adhered more closely to his story than usual.—Gifford.
 Cry aim!] i. e. encourage them, as the bystanders do those who are about to shoot at a trial of skill in archery.
 ——————nay, Leosthenes,
You are welcome too, &c.] It should be remembered that Archidamus is, with great judgment, represented in the first scene as averse to the marriage of Leosthenes with his daughter.—Gifford.
 For, now my gown's off, farewell gravity!] This is said to have been a frequent expression with the great but playful Sir Thomas More, who was never so happy as when he shook off the pomp of office. Fuller tells a similar story of Lord Burleigh.—Gifford.
 There's a month call'd October, &c.] This pleasant old man forgets that he is talking of Sicily, where October is the most delightful month of the year. All our old poets loved and thought only of their country. Whatever region was the subject, England was the real theme: their habits, customs, peculiarities were all derived from thence. This, though it must condemn them as historians, may save them as patriots: and, indeed, it is not much to be regretted that they should overlook manners, with which they were very imperfectly acquainted, in favour of those with which they were hourly conversant—at least it would be ungrateful in us, who profit so much by their minute descriptions, to be offended at their disregard of "the proper costumi."—Gifford.
 Here,] i. e. in Syracuse.
 Leost. You were never proved.] The whole of this scene is eminently beautiful; yet I cannot avoid recommending to the reader's particular notice the speech which follows. Its rhythm is so perfect, that it drops on the ear like the sweetest melody.—Gifford.
 Owe,] i. e. own.
 And spoil him of his birthright?] This is a happy allusion to the history of Jacob and Esau. It is the more so, for being void of all profaneness; to which, indeed, Massinger had no tendency.—Gifford.
 Rouse,] i. e. full glass, bumper.
 That Thing of Things.] A literal translation, as Mr. M. Mason observes, of Ens Entium. I know not where Pisander acquired his revolutionary philosophy: his golden chain, perhaps, he found in Homer.—Gifford.
 For commodities, &c.] i. e. for wares, of which the needy borrower made what he could. Our old writers are extremely pleasant on the heterogeneous articles which the usurers of their days forced on the necessity of the thoughtless spendthrift in lieu of the money for which he had rashly signed. Fielding has imitated them in his Miser, without adding much to their humour; and Foote, in The Minor, has servilely followed his example. The spectators of those scenes probably thought that the writers had gone beyond real life, and drawn on imagination for their amusement: but transactions (not altogether proper, perhaps, to be specified here) have actually taken place in our own times, which leave their boldest conceptions at an humble distance; and prove, beyond a doubt, that, in the arts of raising money, the invention of the most fertile poet must yield to that of the meanest scrivener.—Gifford.
 Mar. Why, think you that I plot against myself?] The plot opens here with wonderful address; and the succeeding conference, or rather scene, between Pisander and Cleora, is inimitably beautiful.—Gifford.
 Moppes,] i. e. the quick and grinning motions of the teeth and lips which apes make when they are irritated.
 What for ourself, your lord?] Here Asotus must be supposed to leap, or rather tumble, in token of obedience. Our ancestors certainly excelled us in the education which they bestowed on their animals. Banks's horse far surpassed all that have been brought up in the academy of Mr. Astley; and the apes of these days are mere clowns to their progenitors. The apes of Massinger's time were gifted with a pretty smattering of politics and philosophy. The widow Wild had one of them: "He would come over for all my friends, but was the dogged'st thing to my enemies! he would sit upon his tail before them, and frown like John-a-napes when the pope is named." The Parson's Wedding.—Gifford.
 Let us, like conquering Romans, walk in triumph.] Gracculo speaks in the spirit of prophecy; for the conquering Romans were at this time struggling with their neighbours for a few miserable huts to hide their heads in; and if any captives followed, or rather preceded, their triumphs, it was a herd of stolen beeves.—Gifford.
 Jane-of-apes;] Meaning Corisca: he plays upon Jack-an-apes, the name he had given to Asotus.—Gifford.
 Defeature,] i. e. defeat. The two words were used indiscriminately by our old writers.
 As is, in this passage, an ellipsis of that, as usual. Some of the incidents mentioned in this speech, Massinger derived from Plutarch—Gifford.
 Mar. A general pardon, &c.] It is evident, from the unreasonable nature of these demands, that Pisander does not wish them to be accepted. The last article, indeed, has a reference to himself, but he seems desirous of previously trying the fortune of arms. See, however, the next scene, and his defence in the last act.—Gifford.
 Herodotus relates this tale, and Justin repeats it. Massinger may have taken it from Purchas's Pilgrims, a book that formed the delight of our ancestors; and in which it is said, that the Boiards of Noviorogod reduced their slaves, who had seized the town, by the whip, just as the Scythians are said to have done theirs.
 Leost. Fears! your sufferings:—] The character of Leosthenes is every where preserved with great nicety. His jealous disposition breaks out in this scene with peculiar beauty.—Gifford.
 Though the infringing it had call'd upon her
A living funeral, &c.] The poet alludes to the manner in which the Vestals, who had broken their vow of chastity, were punished. They had literally a living funeral, being plunged alive into a subterraneous cavern, of which the opening was immediately closed upon them, and walled up. The confusion of countries and customs may possibly strike the critical reader; but of this, as I have already observed, our old dramatists were either not aware or not solicitous.—Gifford.
 To remember,] i. e. to remind, in which sense it frequently occurs in our old writers.
 My fault:] i. e. my misfortune. That the word anciently had this meaning could be proved by many examples; e. g.
 Cleo. Sir, you graced me
With the title of your mistress.] This alludes to the request in the first act, that he might be permitted to wear her colours. In those days of gallantry, I mean those of Massinger, not of Timoleon, to wear a lady's colours, that is, a scarf, or a riband, taken from her person, was to become her authorized champion and servant.—Gifford.
 Censured,] i. e. judged. It may be observed, that our ancestors used censure precisely as we now do judgment: sometimes for a quality of the mind, and sometimes for a judicial determination.—Gifford.
 The gods and fautors,] in the language of the author means the favouring gods.
 This Persian shape laid by,] i. e. the dress of a Persian slave, which Statilia had assumed, with the name of Timandra. Shape is a term borrowed from the tiring-room of the theatres. In the list of dramatis personæ prefixed to The Virgin Martyr, Harpax is said to be, "an evil spirit following Theophilus in the shape (habit) of a secretary."—Gifford.
 Notwithstanding all differences, and suits in late arising between you.] The suits in law subsisting between these fast friends of Massinger—Sir Francis Foljambe, of Walton, in the county of Derby, and Sir Thomas Bland, of Kippax Park, in the county of York—originated in a question as to the right of working some coal-mines.—Gilchrist.
 Show water,] i. e. to clear his sight. A proverbial periphrasis for a bribe, which, in Massinger's days, (though happily not since,) was found to be the only collyrium for the eyes of a courtier.—Gifford.
 Quarry,] i. e. the game sought.
 Trussing a point,] i. e. tying the strings that support the hose or breeches. These strings were tagged, and are therefore called points.
 The Malta habit.] The dress of the knights of Malta was black, having a cross of white waxed cloth on the left side of their cloak. None were admitted into the order but those who were noble both on the father and mother's side for four generations, unless they were, like Bertoldo, the natural sons of kings and princes.
 Or to steal a constable from a sleeping watch.] The constable was the captain of the band; this therefore was to deprive these trusty guardians of the night of their leader.—Gifford.
 Masters of dependencies.] They were a set of needy bravoes, who undertook to ascertain the authentic grounds of a quarrel, and in some cases to settle it, for the timorous or unskilful. In the punctilious days of our author, all matters relative to duelling were arranged, in set treatises, with a gravity that, in a business less serious, would be infinitely ridiculous. Troops of disbanded soldiers, or rather of such as pretended to be so, took up the "noble science of arms," and, with the use of the small sword, (then a novelty,) taught a jargon respecting the various modes of "honourable quarrelling," which, though seemingly calculated to baffle alike the patience and the understanding, was a fashionable object of study. The dramatic poets, faithful to the moral end of their high art, combated this contagious folly with the united powers of wit and humour; and, after a long and well-conducted struggle, succeeded in rendering it as contemptible as it was odious, and finally suppressed it altogether.—Gifford.
 A provant sword.] A plain, unornamented sword, such as the army is supplied with. Properly speaking, provant means provisions; but our old writers extend it to all the articles that make up the magazine of an army.—Gifford.
 Lachrymæ.] The first word of the title of a musical work composed by John Dowland, in the time of James the First. The full title was, "Lachrymæ; or, Seven Teares figured in seaven passionate Pavans (i. e. affecting, serious dances); with divers other Pavans, Galiards, and Almands, set forth to the Lute, Viols, or Violins, in five Parts." This work was very popular, and is frequently alluded to by the writers of our author's age.
 Entradas,] i. e. rents, revenues.
 To decline,] i. e. to divert from their course. This sense of the word is frequent in our old poets.
 Virtue, if not in action, is a vice;
And when we move not forward, we go backward.] This is a beautiful improvement on Horace:
The last line of the text alludes to the Latin adage Non progredi est regredi.—Gifford.
 A piece of motley,] i. e. a fool. Alluding to the parti-coloured garments worn by the domestic fool of our ancestors.—Gifford.
 We are not parallels; but, like lines divided,
Can ne'er meet in one centre.] Not only Massinger, but many of our old writers, use parallels for radii.
In the Proëme to Herbert's Travels, which were printed not long after The Maid of Honour, a similar expression is found: "Great Britaine—containes the summe and abridge of all sorts of excellencies, met here like parallels in their proper centre."
In the life of Dr. H. More (1710) there is a letter to a correspondent who had sent him a pious treatise, in which the same expression occurs, and is thus noticed by the doctor: "There is but one passage that I remember, which will afford them (the profane and atheistical rout of the age) a disingenuous satisfaction; which is in p. 489, where you say that straight lines drawn from the centre run parallel together. To a candid reader your intended sense can be no other than that they run παῥ αλλἡλας, that is, by one another; which they may do, though they do not run all along equidistantly one by another, which is the mathematical sense of the word parallel."—Gent. Mag. May, 1782. The good doctor is, I think, the best critic on the subject that has yet appeared, and sufficiently explains Massinger.—Gifford.
 One aerie with proportion ne'er discloses
The eagle and the wren.] Aerie is the nest of a bird of prey; disclose is to hatch: the meaning is, eagles and wrens are too disproportionate in bulk to be hatched in the same nest.—Gifford.
 The whole field wide.] This expression, however signior Sylli picked it up, is a Latinism: Erras, tota via aberras.—Gifford.
 A cat-stick.] This, I believe, is what is now called a buck-stick, used by children in the game of tip-cat, or kit-cat.—Gifford.
 Fewterer,] i. e. a dog-keeper, or one who lets the dogs loose in the chase. The word is a corruption of the French vautrier, or vaultier.
 Tamberlane in little!
Am I turned Turk!] Tamberlane was a proverbial term for a bully. To turn Turk, in our old dramatists, is generally used for a change of situation, occupation, mode of thought or action. The allusion, perhaps, is to the story of Tamberlane, who is said to have mounted his horse from the back of Bajazet, the Turkish emperor.—Gifford.
 Peat,] i. e. a delicate person. The modern word pet is supposed to be the same, probably from the French petit.
 Haggard,] i. e. a wild hawk.
 O for a brother,] i. e. a brother in arms, to do what he immediately requests Adorni to do for him: the expression was common at the time, and well understood by Massinger's audience.—Gifford.
 Fool,] i. e. play the fool.
 Estridge,] i. e. ostrich.
 Carpet-knights.] A term of contempt very frequently used by our old writers. Carpet-knights were such as were made on occasion of public festivities, marriages, births, &c., in contradistinction to those that were created on the field of battle, after a victory. They were naturally little regarded by the latter; and, indeed, their title had long been given in scorn, to effeminate courtiers, favourites, &c.—Gifford.
 Calver'd salmon appears to have differed but little from what is now called pickled salmon, as the directions for preparing it are—"to boil it in vinegar with oil and spices." The word is still in use, but not in the exact sense of the text. To calver fish is now a very simple process.—Gifford.
 ————To a tripe,] i. e. to a tripe shop. By "carrying his own stool," he means that he would not wait for the formality of an invitation, but trust to the vender's hospitality for a meal. The singular custom of uninvited or unexpected guests bringing their seats with them is frequently noticed by the writers of Massinger's time. It is probable that the practice originated in necessity. Our ancient houses were not much encumbered with furniture, and the little which they had was moved from place to place as occasion required.—Gifford.
 In being born near to Jove, am near his thunder.] Πορρω Διος και τε πορρω κεραυνου.
 Abuse me,] i. e. practise on my credulity with a forged tale; the word often occurs in this sense.—Gifford.
 Atheism.] Our old writers seem to have used such words as profaneness, blasphemy, atheism, &c. with a laxity which modern practice does not acknowledge. They applied them to any extraordinary violation of moral or natural decorum.—Gifford.
 Take me with you.] i. e. hear me out. The expression is common in our old writers.—Gifford.
 Walks she on woollen feet.] The expression is classical (lanei pedes), but does not bear the classical sense. How Massinger understood it I cannot tell; perhaps, as equivalent to motion without noise.—Gifford.
 Mithridate.] An antidote. "Mithridate is one of the capital medicines of the shops, consisting of a great number of ingredients, and has its name from its inventor, Mithridates, King of Pontus."—Quiney.
 Caroch,] i. e. a large coach. Coaches are said to have been first brought into England in 1564, by William Booner, a Dutchman, who became coachman to Queen Elizabeth.—Nares.
 Erect one here,] i. e. a temple.—M. Mason.
 Perséver.] So this word was anciently written and pronounced.—Gifford.
Obvious printer's errors have been repaired, other inconsistent spellings have been kept, including inconsistent use of hyphen (e.g. "master-piece" and "masterpiece") or accent (e.g. "blasphémous" and "blasphemous").