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Title: The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 6 (of 18)
       Limberham; Oedipus; Troilus and Cressida; The Spanish Friar

Author: John Dryden

Editor: Walter Scott

Release Date: August 6, 2005 [EBook #16456]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Fred Robinson and the Online
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Κην με φαγης επι ριζαν, ομως ετι καρποφορησω.

Ανθολογια Δεντιρα.

Hic nuptarum insanit amoribus; hic meretricum:
Omnes hi metuunt versus; odere poetas.




The extreme indelicacy of this play would, in the present times furnish ample and most just grounds for the unfavourable reception it met with from the public. But in the reign of Charles II. many plays were applauded, in which the painting is, at least, as coarse as that of Dryden. "Bellamira, or the Mistress," a gross translation by Sir Charles Sedley of Terence's "Eunuchus," had been often represented with the highest approbation. But the satire of Dryden was rather accounted too personal, than too loose. The character of Limberham has been supposed to represent Lauderdale, whose age and uncouth figure rendered ridiculous his ungainly affectation of fashionable vices. Mr Malone intimates a suspicion, that Shaftesbury was the person levelled at, whose lameness and infirmities made the satire equally poignant. In either supposition, a powerful and leading nobleman was offended, to whose party all seem to have drawn, whose loose conduct, in that loose age, exposed them to be duped like the hero of the play. It is a singular mark of the dissolute manners of those times, that an audience, to whom matrimonial infidelity was nightly held out, not only as the most venial of trespasses, but as a matter of triumphant applause, were unable to brook any ridicule, upon the mere transitory connection formed betwixt the keeper and his mistress. Dryden had spared neither kind of union; and accordingly his opponents exclaimed, "That he lampooned the court, to oblige his friends in the city, and ridiculed the city, to secure a promising lord at court; exposed the kind keepers of Covent Garden, to please the cuckolds of Cheapside; and drolled on the city Do-littles, to tickle the Covent-Garden Limberhams[1]." Even Langbaine, relentless as he is in criticism, seems to have considered the condemnation of Limberham as the vengeance of the faction ridiculed.

"In this play, (which I take to be the best comedy of his) he so much exposed the keeping part of the town, that the play was stopt when it had but thrice appeared on the stage; but the 004 author took a becoming care, that the things that offended on the stage, were either altered or omitted in the press. One of our modern writers, in a short satire against keeping, concludes thus:

"Dryden, good man, thought keepers to reclaim,

Writ a kind satire, call'd it Limberham.

This all the herd of letchers straight alarms;

From Charing-Cross to Bow was up in arms:

They damn'd the play all at one fatal blow,

And broke the glass, that did their picture show."

Mr Malone mentions his having seen a MS. copy of this play, found by Lord Bolingbroke among the sweepings of Pope's study, in which there occur several indecent passages, not to be found in the printed copy. These, doubtless, constituted the castrations, which, in obedience to the public voice, our author expunged from his play, after its condemnation. It is difficult to guess what could be the nature of the indecencies struck out, when we consider those which the poet deemed himself at liberty to retain.

The reader will probably easily excuse any remarks upon this comedy. It is not absolutely without humour, but is so disgustingly coarse, as entirely to destroy that merit. Langbaine, with his usual anxiety of research, traces back a few of the incidents to the novels of Cinthio Giraldi, and to those of some forgotten French authors.

Plays, even of this nature, being worth preservation, as containing genuine traces of the manners of the age in which they appear, I cannot but remark the promiscuous intercourse, which, in this comedy and others, is represented as taking place betwixt women of character, and those who made no pretensions to it. Bellamira in Sir Charles Sedley's play, and Mrs Tricksy in the following pages, are admitted into company with the modest female characters, without the least hint of exception or impropriety. Such were actually the manners of Charles the II.d's time, where we find the mistresses of the king, and his brothers, familiar in the highest circles. It appears, from the evidence in the case of the duchess of Norfolk for adultery, that Nell Gwyn was living with her Grace in familiar habits; her society, doubtless, paving the way for the intrigue, by which the unfortunate lady lost her rank and reputation[2]. It is always symptomatic of a total decay of morals, where female reputation neither confers dignity, 005 nor excites pride, in its possessor; but is consistent with her mingling in the society of the libertine and the profligate.

Some of Dryden's libellers draw an invidious comparison betwixt his own private life and this satire; and exhort him to

Be to vices, which he practised, kind.

But of the injustice of this charge on Dryden's character, we have spoken fully elsewhere. Undoubtedly he had the licence of this, and his other dramatic writings, in his mind, when he wrote the following verses; where the impurity of the stage is traced to its radical source, the debauchery of the court:

Then courts of kings were held in high renown,

Ere made the common brothels of the town.

There virgins honourable vows received,

But chaste, as maids in monasteries, lived.

The king himself, to nuptial rites a slave,

No bad example to his poets gave;

And they, not bad, but in a vicious age,

Had not, to please the prince, debauched the stage.

Wife of Bath's Tale.

"Limberham" was acted at the Duke's Theatre in Dorset-Garden; for, being a satire upon a court vice, it was deemed peculiarly calculated for that play-house. The concourse of the citizens thither is alluded to in the prologue to "Marriage-a-la-Mode." Ravenscroft also, in his epilogue to the "Citizen turned Gentleman," acted at the same theatre, disowns the patronage of the courtiers who kept mistresses, probably because they Constituted the minor part of his audience:

From the court party we hope no success;

Our author is not one of the noblesse,

That bravely does maintain his miss in town,

Whilst my great lady is with speed sent down,

And forced in country mansion-house to fix.

That miss may rattle here in coach-and-six.

The stage for introducing "Limberham" was therefore judiciously chosen, although the piece was ill received, and withdrawn after being only thrice represented. It was printed in 1678.


  1. Reasons for Mr Bayes changing his Religion, p. 24.
  2. See State Trials, vol. viii. pp. 17, 18.


My Lord,

I cannot easily excuse the printing of a play at so unseasonable a time[2], when the great plot of the nation, like one of Pharaoh's lean kine, has devoured 007 its younger brethren of the stage. But however weak my defence might be for this, I am sure I should not need any to the world for my dedication to your lordship; and if you can pardon my presumption in it, that a bad poet should address himself to so great a judge of wit, I may hope at least to escape with the excuse of Catullus, when he writ to Cicero:

Gratias tibi maximas Catullus

Agit, pessimus omnium, poeta;

Tanto pessimus omnium poeta,

Quanto tu optimns omnium patronus.

I have seen an epistle of Flecknoe's to a nobleman, who was by some extraordinary chance a scholar; (and you may please to take notice by the way, how natural the connection of thought is betwixt a bad poet and Flecknoe) where he begins thus: Quatuordecim jam elapsi sunt anni, &c.; his Latin, it seems, not holding out to the end of the sentence: but he endeavoured to tell his patron, betwixt two languages which he understood alike, that it was fourteen years since he had the happiness to know him. It is just so long, (and as happy be the omen of dulness to me, as it is to some clergymen and statesmen!) since your lordship has known, that there is a worse poet remaining in the world, than he of scandalous memory, who left it last[3]. I might enlarge 008 upon the subject with my author, and assure you, that I have served as long for you, as one of the patriarchs did for his Old-Testament mistress; but I leave those flourishes, when occasion shall serve, for a greater orator to use, and dare only tell you, that I never passed any part of my life with greater satisfaction or improvement to myself, than those years which I have lived in the honour of your lordship's acquaintance; if I may have only the time abated when the public service called you to another part of the world, which, in imitation of our florid speakers, I might (if I durst presume upon the expression) call the parenthesis of my life.

That I have always honoured you, I suppose I need not tell you at this time of day; for you know I staid not to date my respects to you from that title which now you have, and to which you bring a greater addition by your merit, than you receive from it by the name; but I am proud to let others know, how long it is that I have been made happy by my knowledge of you; because I am sure it will give me a reputation with the present age, and with posterity. And now, my lord, I know you are afraid, lest I should take this occasion, which lies 009 so fair for me, to acquaint the world with some of those excellencies which I have admired in you; but I have reasonably considered, that to acquaint the world, is a phrase of a malicious meaning; for it would imply, that the world were not already acquainted with them. You are so generally known to be above the meanness of my praises, that you have spared my evidence, and spoiled my compliment: Should I take for my common places, your knowledge both of the old and the new philosophy; should I add to these your skill in mathematics and history; and yet farther, your being conversant with all the ancient authors of the Greek and Latin tongues, as well as with the modern—I should tell nothing new to mankind; for when I have once but named you, the world will anticipate all my commendations, and go faster before me than I can follow. Be therefore secure, my lord, that your own fame has freed itself from the danger of a panegyric; and only give me leave to tell you, that I value the candour of your nature, and that one character of friendliness, and, if I may have leave to call it, kindness in you, before all those other which make you considerable in the nation[4].

Some few of our nobility are learned, and therefore I will not conclude an absolute contradiction in the terms of nobleman and scholar; but as the 010 world goes now, 'tis very hard to predicate one upon the other; and 'tis yet more difficult to prove, that a nobleman can be a friend to poetry. Were it not for two or three instances in Whitehall, and in the town, the poets of this age would find so little encouragement for their labours, and so few understanders, that they might have leisure to turn pamphleteers, and augment the number of those abominable scribblers, who, in this time of licence, abuse the press, almost every day, with nonsense, and railing against the government.

It remains, my lord, that I should give you some account of this comedy, which you have never seen; because it was written and acted in your absence, at your government of Jamaica. It was intended for an honest satire against our crying sin of keeping; how it would have succeeded, I can but guess, for it was permitted to be acted only thrice. The crime, for which it suffered, was that which is objected against the satires of Juvenal, and the epigrams of Catullus, that it expressed too much of the vice which it decried. Your lordship knows what answer was returned by the elder of those poets, whom I last mentioned, to his accusers:

—castum esse decet pium poetam

Ipsum. Versiculos nihil necesse est:

Qui tum denique habent salem ac leporem

Si sint molliculi et parum pudici.

But I dare not make that apology for myself; and therefore have taken a becoming care, that those things which offended on the stage, might be either altered, or omitted in the press; for their authority is, and shall be, ever sacred to me, as much absent as present, and in all alterations of their fortune, who for those reasons have stopped its farther appearance on the theatre. And whatsoever hindrance it has been to me in point of profit, many of my 011 friends can bear me witness, that I have not once murmured against that decree. The same fortune once happened to Moliere, on the occasion of his "Tartuffe;" which, notwithstanding, afterwards has seen the light, in a country more bigot than ours, and is accounted amongst the best pieces of that poet. I will be bold enough to say, that this comedy is of the first rank of those which I have written, and that posterity will be of my opinion. It has nothing of particular satire in it; for whatsoever may have been pretended by some critics in the town, I may safely and solemnly affirm, that no one character has been drawn from any single man; and that I have known so many of the same humour, in every folly which is here exposed, as may serve to warrant it from a particular reflection. It was printed in my absence from the town, this summer, much against my expectation; otherwise I had over-looked the press, and been yet more careful, that neither my friends should have had the least occasion of unkindness against me, nor my enemies of upbraiding me; but if it live to a second impression, I will faithfully perform what has been wanting in this. In the mean time, my lord, I recommend it to your protection, and beg I may keep still that place in your favour which I have hitherto enjoyed; and which I shall reckon as one of the greatest blessings which can befall,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient,

Faithful servant,

John Dryden.


  1. John, Lord Vaughan, was the eldest surviving son of Richard, Earl of Carbery, to which title he afterwards succeeded. He was a man of literature, and president of the Royal Society from 1686 to 1689. Dryden was distinguished by his patronage as far back as 1664, being fourteen years before the acting of this play. Lord Vaughan had thus the honour of discovering and admiring the poet's genius, before the public applause had fixed his fame; and, probably better deserved the panegyric here bestowed, than was Usual among Dryden's patrons. He wrote a recommendatory copy of verses, which are prefixed to "The Conquest of Granada." Mr Malone informs us, that this accomplished nobleman died at Chelsea, on 16th January, 1712-13.
  2. The great popish plot, that scene of mystery and blood, broke out in August 1678.
  3. Flecknoe was a Roman Catholic priest, very much addicted to scribbling verses. His name has been chiefly preserved by our author's satire of "Mack-Flecknoe;" in which he has depicted Shadwell, as the literary son and heir of this wretched poetaster. A few farther particulars concerning him may be found prefixed to that poem. Flecknoe, from this dedication, appears to have been just deceased. The particular passage referred to has not been discovered; even Langbaine had never seen it: but Mr Malone points out a letter of Flecknoe to the Cardinal Barberini, whereof the first sentence is in Latin, and the next in English. Our author, in an uncommon strain of self-depreciation, or rather to give a neat turn to his sentence, has avouched himself to be a worse poet than Flecknoe. But expressions of modesty in a dedication, like those of panegyric, are not to be understood literally. As in the latter, Dryden often strains a note beyond Ela, so, on the present occasion, he has certainly sounded the very base string of humility. Poor Flecknoe, indeed, seems to have become proverbial, as the worst of poets. The Earl of Dorset thus begins a satire on Edward Howard:

    Those damned antipodes to common sense,

    Those toils to Flecknoe, pr'ythee, tell me whence

    Does all this mighty mass of dulness spring,

    Which in such loads thou to the stage dost bring?

  4. There is a very flat and prosaic imitation of this sentiment in the Duke of Buckingham's lines to Pope:

    And yet so wondrous, so sublime a thing

    As the great Iliad, scarce could make me sing;

    Except I justly could at once commend

    A good companion, and as firm a friend;

    One moral, or a mere well-natured deed,

    Does all desert in sciences exceed.

    Thus prose may be humbled, as well as exalted; into poetry.



True wit has seen its best days long ago;

It ne'er looked up, since we were dipt in show;

When sense in doggrel rhimes and clouds was lost,

And dulness flourished at the actor's cost.

Nor stopt it here; when tragedy was done,

Satire and humour the same fate have run,

And comedy is sunk to trick and pun.

Now our machining lumber will not sell,

And you no longer care for heaven or hell;

What stuff will please you next, the Lord can tell.

Let them, who the rebellion first began

To wit, restore the monarch, if they can;

Our author dares not be the first bold man.

He, like the prudent citizen, takes care,

To keep for better marts his staple ware;

His toys are good enough for Sturbridge fair.

Tricks were the fashion; if it now be spent,

'Tis time enough at Easter, to invent;

No man will make up a new suit for Lent.

If now and then he takes a small pretence,

To forage for a little wit and sense,

Pray pardon him, he meant you no offence.

Next summer, Nostradamus tells, they say,

That all the critics shall be shipped away,

And not enow be left to damn a play.

To every sail beside, good heaven, be kind;

But drive away that swarm with such a wind,

That not one locust may be left behind!



Aldo, an honest, good-natured, free-hearted old gentleman of the town.

Woodall, his son, under a false name; bred abroad, and now returned from travel.

Limberham, a tame, foolish keeper, persuaded by what is last said to him, and changing next word.

Brainsick, a husband, who, being well conceited of himself, despises his wife: vehement and eloquent, as he thinks; but indeed a talker of nonsense.

Gervase, Woodall's man: formal, and apt to give good counsel.

Giles, Woodall's cast servant.

Mrs Saintly, an hypocritical fanatic, landlady of the boarding-house.

Mrs Tricksy, a termagant kept mistress.

Mrs Pleasance, supposed daughter to Mrs Saintly: Spiteful and satirical; but secretly in love with Woodall.

Mrs Brainsick.

Judith, a maid of the house.

SCENE—A Boarding-house in Town.





SCENE I.—An open Garden-House; a table in it, and chairs.

Enter Woodall and Gervase.

Wood. Bid the footman receive the trunks and portmantua; and see them placed in the lodgings you have taken for me, while I walk a turn here in the garden.

Gerv. It is already ordered, sir. But they are like to stay in the outer-room, till the mistress of the house return from morning exercise.

Wood. What, she's gone to the parish church, it seems, to her devotions!

Gerv. No, sir; the servants have informed me, that she rises every morning, and goes to a private meeting-house; where they pray for the government, and practise against the authority of it.

Wood. And hast thou trepanned me into a tabernacle of the godly? Is this pious boarding-house a place for me, thou wicked varlet?

Gerv. According to human appearance, I must confess, it is neither fit for you, nor you for it; but 016 have patience, sir; matters are not so bad as they may seem. There are pious bawdy-houses in the world, or conventicles would not be so much frequented. Neither is it impossible, but a devout fanatic landlady of a boarding-house may be a bawd.

Wood. Ay, to those of her own church, I grant you, Gervase; but I am none of those.

Gerv. If I were worthy to read you a lecture in the mystery of wickedness, I would instruct you first in the art of seeming holiness: But, heaven be thanked, you have a toward and pregnant genius to vice, and need not any man's instruction; and I am too good, I thank my stars, for the vile employment of a pimp.

Wood. Then thou art even too good for me; a worse man will serve my turn.

Gerv. I call your conscience to witness, how often I have given you wholesome counsel; how often I have said to you, with tears in my eyes, master, or master Aldo—

Wood. Mr Woodall, you rogue! that is my nomme de guerre. You know I have laid by Aldo, for fear that name should bring me to the notice of my father.

Gerv. Cry you mercy, good Mr Woodall. How often have I said,—Into what courses do you run! Your father sent you into France at twelve years old; bred you up at Paris, first in a college, and then at an academy: At the first, instead of running through a course of philosophy, you ran through all the bawdy-houses in town: At the latter, instead of managing the great horse, you exercised on your master's wife. What you did in Germany, I know not; but that you beat them all at their own weapon, drinking, and have brought home a goblet of plate from Munster, for the prize of swallowing a gallon of Rhenish more than the bishop.

017 Wood. Gervase, thou shalt be my chronicler; thou losest none of my heroic actions.

Gerv. What a comfort are you like to prove to your good old father! You have run a campaigning among the French these last three years, without his leave; and now he sends for you back, to settle you in the world, and marry you to the heiress of a rich gentleman, of whom he had the guardianship, yet you do not make your application to him.

Wood. Pr'ythee, no more.

Gerv. You are come over, have been in town above a week incognito, haunting play-houses, and other places, which for modesty I name not; and have changed your name from Aldo to Woodall, for fear of being discovered to him: You have not so much as inquired where he is lodged, though you know he is most commonly in London: And lastly, you have discharged my honest fellow-servant Giles, because—

Wood. Because he was too saucy, and was ever offering to give me counsel: Mark that, and tremble at his destiny.

Gerv. I know the reason why I am kept; because you cannot be discovered by my means; for you took me up in France, and your father knows me not.

Wood. I must have a ramble in the town: When I have spent my money, I will grow dutiful, see my father, and ask for more. In the mean time, I have beheld a handsome woman at a play, I am fallen in love with her, and have found her easy: Thou, I thank thee, hast traced her to her lodging in this boarding-house, and hither I am come, to accomplish my design.

Gerv. Well, heaven mend all. I hear our landlady's voice without; [Noise.] and therefore shall defer my counsel to a fitter season.

018 Wood. Not a syllable of counsel: The next grave sentence, thou marchest after Giles. Woodall's my name; remember that.

Enter Mrs Saintly.

Is this the lady of the house?

Gerv. Yes, Mr Woodall, for want of a better, as she will tell you.

Wood. She has a notable smack with her! I believe zeal first taught the art of kissing close.
[Saluting her.

Saint. You are welcome, gentleman. Woodall is your name?

Wood. I call myself so.

Saint. You look like a sober discreet gentleman; there is grace in your countenance.

Wood. Some sprinklings of it, madam: We must not boast.

Saint. Verily, boasting is of an evil principle.

Wood. Faith, madam—

Saint. No swearing, I beseech you. Of what church are you?

Wood. Why, of Covent-Garden church, I think.

Gerv. How lewdly and ignorantly he answers! [Aside] She means, of what religion are you?

Wood. O, does she so?—Why, I am of your religion, be it what it will; I warrant it a right one: I'll not stand with you for a trifle; presbyterian, independent, anabaptist, they are all of them too good for us, unless we had the grace to follow them.

Saint. I see you are ignorant; but verily, you are a new vessel, and I may season you. I hope you do not use the parish-church.

Wood. Faith, madam—cry you mercy; (I forgot again) I have been in England but five days.

Saint. I find a certain motion within me to this young man, and must secure him to myself, ere he 019 see my lodgers. [Aside.]—O, seriously, I had forgotten; your trunk and portmantua are standing in the hall; your lodgings are ready, and your man may place them, if he please, while you and I confer together.

Wood. Go, Gervase, and do as you are directed. [Exit Ger.

Saint. In the first place, you must know, we are a company of ourselves, and expect you should live conformably and lovingly amongst us.

Wood. There you have hit me. I am the most loving soul, and shall be conformable to all of you.

Saint. And to me especially. Then, I hope, you are no keeper of late hours.

Wood. No, no, my hours are very early; betwixt three and four in the morning, commonly.

Saint. That must be amended; but, to remedy the inconvenience, I will myself sit up for you. I hope, you would not offer violence to me?

Wood. I think I should not, if I were sober.

Saint. Then, if you were overtaken, and should offer violence, and I consent not, you may do your filthy part, and I am blameless.

Wood. [Aside.] I think the devil's in her; she has given me the hint again.—Well, it shall go hard, but I will offer violence sometimes; will that content you?

Saint. I have a cup of cordial water in my closet, which will help to strengthen nature, and to carry off a debauch: I do not invite you thither; but the house will be safe a-bed, and scandal will be avoided.

Wood. Hang scandal; I am above it at those times.

Saint. But scandal is the greatest part of the offence; you must be secret. And I must warn you of another thing; there are, besides myself, two more young women in my house.

020 Wood. [Aside.] That, besides herself, is a cooling card.—Pray, how young are they?

Saint. About my age: some eighteen, or twenty, or thereabouts.

Wood. Oh, very good! Two more young women besides yourself, and both handsome?

Saint. No, verily, they are painted outsides; you must not cast your eyes upon them, nor listen to their conversation: You are already chosen for a better work.

Wood. I warrant you, let me alone: I am chosen, I.

Saint. They are a couple of alluring wanton minxes.

Wood. Are they very alluring, say you? very wanton?

Saint. You appear exalted, when I mention those pit-falls of iniquity.

Wood. Who, I exalted? Good faith, I am as sober, a melancholy poor soul!—

Saint. I see this abominable sin of swearing is rooted in you. Tear it out; oh, tear it out! it will destroy your precious soul.

Wood. I find we two shall scarce agree: I must not come to your closet when I have got a bottle; for, at such a time, I am horribly given to it.

Saint. Verily, a little swearing may be then allowable: You may swear you love me, it is a lawful oath; but then, you must not look on harlots.

Wood. I must wheedle her, and whet my courage first on her; as a good musician always preludes before a tune. Come, here is my first oath.
[Embracing her.

Enter Aldo.

Aldo. How now, Mrs Saintly! what work have we here towards?

Wood. [Aside.] Aldo, my own natural father, as I live! I remember the lines of that hide-bound face: 021 Does he lodge here? If he should know me, I am ruined.

Saint. Curse on his coming! he has disturbed us. [Aside.] Well, young gentleman, I shall take a time to instruct you better.

Wood. You shall find me an apt scholar.

Saint. I must go abroad upon some business; but remember your promise, to carry yourself soberly, and without scandal in my family; and so I leave you to this gentleman, who is a member of it.
[Exit Saint.

Aldo. [Aside.] Before George, a proper fellow, and a swinger he should be, by his make! the rogue would humble a whore, I warrant him.—You are welcome, sir, amongst us; most heartily welcome, as I may say.

Wood. All's well: he knows me not.—Sir, your civility is obliging to a stranger, and may befriend me, in the acquaintance of our fellow-lodgers.

Aldo. Hold you there, sir: I must first understand you a little better; and yet, methinks, you should be true to love.

Wood. Drinking and wenching are but slips of youth: I had those two good qualities from my father.

Aldo. Thou, boy! Aha, boy! a true Trojan, I warrant thee! [Hugging him.] Well, I say no more; but you are lighted into such a family, such food for concupiscence, such bona roba's!

Wood. One I know, indeed; a wife: But bona roba's, say you?

Aldo. I say, bona roba's, in the plural number.

Wood. Why, what a Turk Mahomet shall I be! No, I will not make myself drunk with the conceit of so much joy: The fortune's too great for mortal man; and I a poor unworthy sinner.

Aldo. Would I lie to my friend? Am I a man? Am I a christian? There is that wife you mentioned, 022 a delicate little wheedling devil, with such an appearance of simplicity; and with that, she does so undermine, so fool her conceited husband, that he despises her!

Wood. Just ripe for horns: His destiny, like a Turk's, is written in his forehead.[1]

Aldo. Peace, peace! thou art yet ordained for greater things. There is another, too, a kept mistress, a brave strapping jade, a two-handed whore!

Wood. A kept mistress, too! my bowels yearn to her already: she is certain prize.

Aldo. But this lady is so termagant an empress! and he is so submissive, so tame, so led a keeper, and as proud of his slavery as a Frenchman. I am confident he dares not find her false, for fear of a quarrel with her; because he is sure to be at the charges of the war. She knows he cannot live without her, and therefore seeks occasions of falling out, to make him purchase peace. I believe she is now aiming at a settlement.

Wood. Might not I ask you one civil question? How pass you your time in this noble family? For I find you are a lover of the game, and I should be loth to hunt in your purlieus.

Aldo. I must first tell you something of my condition. I am here a friend to all of them; I am their factotum, do all their business; for, not to boast, sir, I am a man of general acquaintance: There is no news in town, either foreign or domestic, but I have it first; no mortgage of lands, no sale of houses, but I have a finger in them.

023 Wood. Then, I suppose, you are a gainer by your pains.

Aldo. No, I do all gratis, and am most commonly a loser; only a buck sometimes from this good lord, or that good lady in the country: and I eat it not alone, I must have company.

Wood. Pray, what company do you invite?

Aldo. Peace, peace, I am coming to you: Why, you must know I am tender-natured; and if any unhappy difference have arisen betwixt a mistress and her gallant, then I strike in, to do good offices betwixt them; and, at my own proper charges, conclude the quarrel with a reconciling supper.

Wood. I find the ladies of pleasure are beholden to you.

Aldo. Before George, I love the poor little devils. I am indeed a father to them, and so they call me: I give them my counsel, and assist them with my purse. I cannot see a pretty sinner hurried to prison by the land-pirates, but nature works, and I must bail her; or want a supper, but I have a couple of crammed chickens, a cream tart, and a bottle of wine to offer her.

Wood. Sure you expect some kindness in return.

Aldo. Faith, not much: Nature in me is at low water-mark; my body's a jade, and tires under me; yet I love to smuggle still in a corner; pat them down, and pur over them; but, after that, I can do them little harm.

Wood. Then I'm acquainted with your business: You would be a kind of deputy-fumbler under me.

Aldo. You have me right. Be you the lion, to devour the prey; I am your jackall, to provide it for you: There will be a bone for me to pick.

Wood. Your humility becomes your age. For my part, I am vigorous, and throw at all.

024 Aldo. As right as if I had begot thee! Wilt thou give me leave to call thee son?

Wood. With all my heart.

Aldo. Ha, mad son!

Wood. Mad daddy!

Aldo. Your man told me, you were just returned from travel: What parts have you last visited?

Wood. I came from France.

Aldo. Then, perhaps, you may have known an ungracious boy of mine there.

Wood. Like enough: Pray, what's his name?

Aldo. George Aldo.

Wood. I must confess I do know the gentleman; satisfy yourself, he's in health, and upon his return.

Aldo. That's some comfort: But, I hear, a very rogue, a lewd young fellow.

Wood. The worst I know of him is, that he loves a wench; and that good quality he has not stolen. [Music at the Balcony over head: Mrs Tricksy and Judith appear.]—Hark! There's music above.

Aldo. 'Tis at my daughter Tricksy's lodging; the kept mistress I told you of, the lass of mettle. But for all she carries it so high, I know her pedigree; her mother's a sempstress in Dog-and-Bitch yard, and was, in her youth, as right as she is.

Wood. Then she's a two-piled punk, a punk of two descents.

Aldo. And her father, the famous cobler, who taught Walsingham to the black-birds. How stand thy affections to her, thou lusty rogue?

Wood. All on fire: A most urging creature!

Aldo. Peace! they are beginning.




'Gainst keepers we petition,

Who would inclose the common:

'Tis enough to raise sedition

In the free-born subject, woman.

Because for his gold,

I my body have sold,

He thinks I'm a slave for my life;

He rants, domineers,

He swaggers and swears,

And would keep me as bare as his wife.


'Gainst keepers we petition, &c.

'Tis honest and fair,

That a feast I prepare;

But when his dull appetite's o'er,

I'll treat with the rest

Some welcomer guest,

For the reckoning was paid me before.

Wood. A song against keepers! this makes well for us lusty lovers.

Trick. [Above.] Father, father Aldo!

Aldo. Daughter Tricksy, are you there, child? your friends at Barnet are all well, and your dear master Limberham, that noble Hephestion, is returning with them.

Trick. And you are come upon the spur before, to acquaint me with the news.

Aldo. Well, thou art the happiest rogue in a kind keeper! He drank thy health five times, supernaculum,[2] to my son Brain-sick; and dipt my daughter 026 Pleasance's little finger, to make it go down more glibly:[3] And, before George, I grew tory rory, as they say, and strained a brimmer through the lily-white smock, i'faith.

Trick. You will never leave these fumbling tricks, father, till you are taken up on suspicion of manhood, and have a bastard laid at your door: I am sure you would own it, for your credit.

Aldo. Before George, I should not see it starve, for the mother's sake: For, if she were a punk, she was good-natured, I warrant her.

Wood. [Aside.] Well, if ever son was blest with a hopeful father, I am.

Trick. Who is that gentleman with you?

Aldo. A young monsieur returned from travel; a lusty young rogue; a true-milled whoremaster, with the right stamp. He is a fellow-lodger, incorporate in our society: For whose sake he came hither, let him tell you.

027 Wood. [Aside.] Are you gloating already? then there's hopes, i'faith.

Trick. You seem to know him, father.

Aldo. Know him! from his cradle—What's your name?

Wood. Woodall.

Ald. Woodall of Woodall; I knew his father; we were contemporaries, and fellow-wenchers in our youth.

Wood. [Aside.] My honest father stumbles into truth, in spite of lying.

Trick. I was just coming down to the garden-house, before you came.[Tricksy descends.

Aldo. I am sorry I cannot stay to present my son, Woodall, to you; but I have set you together, that's enough for me.

Wood. [Alone.] 'Twas my study to avoid my father, and I have run full into his mouth: and yet I have a strong hank upon him too; for I am privy to as many of his virtues, as he is of mine. After all, if I had an ounce of discretion left, I should pursue this business no farther: but two fine women in a house! well, it is resolved, come what will on it, thou art answerable for all my sins, old Aldo—

Enter Tricksy, with a box of essences.

Here she comes, this heir-apparent of a sempstress, and a cobler! and yet, as she's adorned, she looks like any princess of the blood.
[Salutes her.

Trick. [Aside.] What a difference there is between this gentleman, and my feeble keeper, Mr Limberham! he's to my wish, if he would but make the least advances to me.—Father Aldo tells me, sir, you are a traveller: What adventures have you had in foreign countries?

Wood. I have no adventures of my own, can deserve your curiosity; but, now I think on it, I can 028 tell you one that happened to a French cavalier, a friend of mine, at Tripoli.

Trick. No wars, I beseech you: I am so weary of father Aldo's Loraine and Crequi.

Wood. Then this is as you would desire it, a love-adventure. This French gentleman was made a slave to the Dey of Tripoli; by his good qualities, gained his master's favour; and after, by corrupting an eunuch, was brought into the seraglio privately, to see the Dey's mistress.

Trick. This is somewhat; proceed, sweet sir.

Wood. He was so much amazed, when he first beheld her leaning over a balcony, that he scarcely dared to lift his eyes, or speak to her.

Trick. [Aside.] I find him now.—But what followed of this dumb interview?

Wood. The nymph was gracious, and came down to him; but with so goddess-like a presence, that the poor gentleman was thunder-struck again.

Trick. That savoured little of the monsieur's gallantry, especially when the lady gave him encouragement.

Wood The gentleman was not so dull, but he understood the favour, and was presuming enough to try if she were mortal. He advanced with more assurance, and took her fair hands: was he not too bold, madam? and would not you have drawn back yours, had you been in the sultana's place?

Trick. If the sultana liked him well enough to come down into the garden to him, I suppose she came not thither to gather nosegays.

Wood. Give me leave, madam, to thank you, in my friend's behalf, for your favourable judgment. [Kisses her hand.] He kissed her hand with an exceeding transport; and finding that she prest his at the same instant, he proceeded with a greater eagerness to her lips—but, madam, the story would be 029 without life, unless you give me leave to act the circumstances.
[Kisses her.

Trick. Well, I'll swear you are the most natural historian!

Wood. But now, madam, my heart beats with joy, when I come to tell you the sweetest part of his adventure: opportunity was favourable, and love was on his side; he told her, the chamber was more private, and a fitter scene for pleasure. Then, looking on her eyes, he found them languishing; he saw her cheeks blushing, and heard her voice faultering in a half-denial: he seized her hand with an amorous ecstacy, and—
[Takes her hand.

Trick. Hold, sir, you act your part too far. Your friend was unconscionable, if he desired more favours at the first interview.

Wood. He both desired and obtained them, madam, and so will—

Trick. [A noise within.] Heavens! I hear Mr Limberham's voice: he's returned from Barnet.

Wood. I'll avoid him.

Trick. That's impossible; he'll meet you. Let me think a moment:—Mrs Saintly is abroad, and cannot discover you: have any of the servants seen you?

Wood. None.

Trick. Then you shall pass for my Italian merchant of essences: here's a little box of them just ready.

Wood. But I speak no Italian; only a few broken scraps, which I picked from Scaramouch and Harlequin at Paris.

Trick. You must venture that: When we are rid of Limberham, 'tis but slipping into your chamber, throwing off your black perriwig, and riding suit, and you come out an Englishman. No more; he's here.

030 Enter Limberham.

Limb. Why, how now, Pug? Nay, I must lay you over the lips, to take hansel of them, for my welcome.

Trick. [Putting him back.] Foh! how you smell of sweat, dear!

Limb. I have put myself into this same unsavoury heat, out of my violent affection to see thee, Pug. Before George, as father Aldo says, I could not live without thee; thou art the purest bed-fellow, though I say it, that I did nothing but dream of thee all night; and then I was so troublesome to father Aldo, (for you must know he and I were lodged together) that, in my conscience, I did so kiss him, and so hug him in my sleep!

Trick. I dare be sworn 'twas in your sleep; for, when you are waking, you are the most honest, quiet bed-fellow, that ever lay by woman.

Limb. Well, Pug, all shall be amended; I am come home on purpose to pay old debts. But who is that same fellow there? What makes he in our territories?

Trick. You oaf you, do you not perceive it is the Italian seignior, who is come to sell me essences?

Limb. Is this the seignior? I warrant you, it is he the lampoon was made on.
[Sings the tune of Seignior, and ends with,
Ho, ho.

Trick. Pr'ythee leave thy foppery, that we may have done with him. He asks an unreasonable price, and we cannot agree. Here, seignior, take your trinkets, and be gone.

Wood. [Taking the box.] A dio, seigniora.

Limb. Hold, pray stay a little, seignior; a thing is come into my head of the sudden.

Trick. What would you have, you eternal sot? the man's in haste.

031 Limb. But why should you be in your frumps, Pug, when I design only to oblige you? I must present you with this box of essences; nothing can be too dear for thee.

Trick. Pray let him go, he understands no English.

Limb. Then how could you drive a bargain with him, Pug?

Trick. Why, by signs, you coxcomb.

Limb. Very good! then I'll first pull him by the sleeve, that's a sign to stay. Look you, Mr Seignior, I would make a present of your essences to this lady; for I find I cannot speak too plain to you, because you understand no English. Be not you refractory now, but take ready money: that's a rule.

Wood. Seignioro, non intendo Inglese.

Limb. This is a very dull fellow! he says, he does not intend English. How much shall I offer him, Pug?

Trick. If you will present me, I have bidden him ten guineas.

Limb. And, before George, you bid him fair. Look you, Mr Seignior, I will give you all these. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Do you see, Seignior?

Wood. Seignior, si.

Limb. Lo' you there, Pug, he does see. Here, will you take me at my word?

Wood. [Shrugging up] Troppo poco, troppo poco.

Limb. A poco, a poco! why a pox on you too, an' you go to that. Stay, now I think on't, I can tickle him up with French; he'll understand that sure. Monsieur, voulez vous prendre ces dix guinees, pour ces essences? mon foy c'est assez.

Wood. Chi vala, amici: Ho di casa! taratapa, taratapa, eus, matou, meau!—[To her.] I am at the end of my Italian; what will become of me?

032 Trick. [To him.] Speak any thing, and make it pass for Italian; but be sure you take his money.

Wood. Seignior, io non canno takare ten guinneo possibilmentè; 'tis to my losso.

Limb. That is, Pug, he cannot possibly take ten guineas, 'tis to his loss: Now I understand him; this is almost English.

Trick. English! away, you fop: 'tis a kind of lingua Franca, as I have heard the merchants call it; a certain compound language, made up of all tongues, that passes through the Levant.

Limb. This lingua, what you call it, is the most rarest language! I understand it as well as if it were English; you shall see me answer him: Seignioro, stay a littlo, and consider wello, ten guinnio is monyo, a very considerablo summo.

Trick. Come, you shall make it twelve, and he shall take it for my sake.

Limb. Then, Seignioro, for Pugsakio, addo two moro: je vous donne bon advise: prenez vitement: prenez me à mon mot.

Wood. Io losero multo; ma pergagnare il vestro costumo, datemi hansello.

Limb. There is both hansello and guinnio; tako, tako, and so good-morrow.

Trick. Good-morrow, seignior; I like your spirits very well; pray let me have all your essence you can spare.

Limb. Come, Puggio, and let us retire in secreto, like lovers, into our chambro; for I grow impatiento —bon matin, monsieur, bon matin et bon jour.
[Exeunt Limberham and Tricksy.

Wood. Well, get thee gone, 'squire Limberhamo, for the easiest fool I ever knew, next my naunt of fairies in the Alchemist[4]. I have escaped, thanks 033 to my mistress's lingua França: I'll steal to my chamber, shift my perriwig and clothes; and then, with the help of resty Gervase, concert the business of the next campaign. My father sticks in my stomach still; but I am resolved to be Woodall with him, and Aldo with the women.


Enter Woodall and Gervase.

Wood. Hitherto, sweet Gervase, we have carried matters swimmingly. I have danced in a net before my father, almost check-mated the keeper, retired to my chamber undiscovered, shifted my habit, and am come out an absolute monsieur, to allure the ladies. How sits my chedreux?

Gerv. O very finely! with the locks combed down, like a mermaid's on a sign-post. Well, you think now your father may live in the same house with you till doomsday, and never find you; or, when he has found you, he will be kind enough not to consider what a property you have made of him. My employment is at an end; you have got a better pimp, thanks to your filial reverence.

Wood. Pr'ythee, what should a man do with such a father, but use him thus? besides, he does journey-work under me; 'tis his humour to fumble, and my duty to provide for his old age.

Gerv. Take my advice yet; down o' your marrow bones, and ask forgiveness; espouse the wife he has provided for you; lie by the side of a wholesome woman, and procreate your own progeny in the fear of heaven.

Wood. I have no vocation to it, Gervase: A man of sense is not made for marriage; 'tis a game, 034 which none but dull plodding fellows can play at well; and 'tis as natural to them, as crimp is to a Dutchman.

Gerv. Think on't, however, sir; debauchery is upon its last legs in England: Witty men began the fashion, and now the fops are got into it, 'tis time to leave it.

Enter Aldo.

Aldo. Son Woodall, thou vigorous young rogue, I congratulate thy good fortune; thy man has told me the adventure of the Italian merchant.

Wood. Well, they are now retired together, like Rinaldo and Armida, to private dalliance; but we shall find a time to separate their loves, and strike in betwixt them, daddy. But I hear there's another lady in the house, my landlady's fair daughter; how came you to leave her out of your catalogue?

Aldo. She's pretty, I confess, but most damnably honest; have a care of her, I warn you, for she's prying and malicious.

Wood. A twang of the mother; but I love to graff on such a crab-tree; she may bear good fruit another year.

Aldo. No, no, avoid her; I warrant thee, young Alexander, I will provide thee more worlds to conquer.

Gerv. [Aside.] My old master would fain pass for Philip of Macedon, when he is little better than Sir Pandarus of Troy.

Wood. If you get this keeper out of doors, father, and give me but an opportunity—

Aldo. Trust my diligence; I will smoke him out, as they do bees, but I will make him leave his honey-comb.

Gerv. [Aside.] If I had a thousand sons, none of 035 the race of the Gervases should ever be educated by thee, thou vile old Satan!

Aldo. Away, boy! Fix thy arms, and whet, like the lusty German boys, before a charge: He shall bolt immediately.

Wood. O, fear not the vigorous five-and-twenty.

Aldo. Hold, a word first: Thou saidst my son was shortly to come over.

Wood. So he told me.

Aldo. Thou art my bosom friend.

Gerv. [Aside.] Of an hour's acquaintance.

Aldo. Be sure thou dost not discover my frailties to the young scoundrel: 'Twere enough to make the boy my master. I must keep up the dignity of old age with him.

Wood. Keep but your own counsel, father; for whatever he knows, must come from you.

Aldo. The truth on't is, I sent for him over; partly to have married him, and partly because his villainous bills came so thick upon me, that I grew weary of the charge.

Gerv. He spared for nothing; he laid it on, sir, as I have heard.

Wood. Peace, you lying rogue!—Believe me, sir, bating his necessary expences of women, which I know you would not have him want, in all things else, he was the best manager of your allowance; and, though I say it—

Gerv. [Aside.] That should not say it.

Wood. The most hopeful young gentleman in Paris.

Aldo. Report speaks otherwise; and, before George, I shall read him a wormwood lecture, when I see him. But, hark, I hear the door unlock; the lovers are coming out: I'll stay here, to wheedle him abroad; but you must vanish.

036 Wood. Like night and the moon, in the Maid's Tragedy: I into mist; you into day[5].
[Exeunt Wood. and Ger.

SCENE changes to Limberham's apartment.

Enter Limberham and Tricksy.

Limb. Nay, but dear sweet honey Pug, forgive me but this once: It may be any man's case, when his desires are too vehement.

Trick. Let me alone; I care not.

Limb. But then thou wilt not love me, Pug.

Aldo. How now, son Limberham? There's no quarrel towards, I hope.

Trick. You had best tell now, and make yourself ridiculous.

Limb. She's in passion: Pray do you moderate this matter, father Aldo.

Trick. Father Aldo! I wonder you are not ashamed to call him so; you may be his father, if the truth were known.

Aldo. Before George, I smell a rat, son Limberham. I doubt, I doubt, here has been some great omission in love affairs.

Limb. I think all the stars in heaven have conspired my ruin. I'll look in my almanack.—As I hope for mercy, 'tis cross day now.

Trick. Hang your pitiful excuses. 'Tis well known what offers I have had, and what fortunes I might have made with others, like a fool as I was, to throw 037 away my youth and beauty upon you. I could have had a young handsome lord, that offered me my coach and six; besides many a good knight and gentleman, that would have parted with their own ladies, and have settled half they had upon me.

Limb. Ay, you said so.

Trick. I said so, sir! Who am I? Is not my word as good as yours?

Limb. As mine gentlewoman? though I say it, my word will go for thousands.

Trick. The more shame for you, that you have done no more for me: But I am resolved I'll not lose my time with you; I'll part.

Limb. Do, who cares? Go to Dog-and-Bitch yard, and help your mother to make footmen's shirts.

Trick. I defy you, slanderer; I defy you.

Aldo. Nay, dear daughter!

Limb. I defy her too.

Aldo. Nay, good son!

Trick. Let me alone: I'll have him cudgelled by my footman.

Enter Saintly.

Saint. Bless us! what's here to do? My neighbours will think I keep a nest of unclean birds here.

Limb. You had best peach now, and make her house be thought a bawdy-house!

Trick. No, no: While you are in it, you will secure it from that scandal.—Hark hither, Mrs Saintly. [Whispers.]

Limb. Do, tell, tell, no matter for that.

Saint. Who would have imagined you had been such a kind of man, Mr Limberham! O heaven, O heaven!

Limb. So, now you have spit your venom, and the storm's over.

038 Aldo. [Crying.] That I should ever live to see this day!

Trick. To show I can live honest, in spite of all mankind, I'll go into a nunnery, and that is my resolution.

Limb. Do not hinder her, good father Aldo; I am sure she will come back from France, before she gets half way over to Calais.

Aldo. Nay, but son Limberham, this must not be. A word in private;—you will never get such another woman, for love nor money. Do but look upon her; she is a mistress for an emperor.

Limb. Let her be a mistress for a pope, like a whore of Babylon, as she is.

Aldo. Would I were worthy to be a young man, for her sake! She should eat pearls, if she would have them.

Limb. She can digest them, and gold too. Let me tell you, father Aldo, she has the stomach of an ostrich.

Aldo. Daughter Tricksy, a word with you.

Trick. I'll hear nothing: I am for a nunnery.

Aldo. I never saw a woman, before you, but first or last she would be brought to reason. Hark you, child, you will scarcely find so kind a keeper. What if he has some impediment one way? Every body is not a Hercules. You shall have my son Woodall, to supply his wants; but, as long as he maintains you, be ruled by him that bears the purse.


I my own jailor was; my only foe,

Who did my liberty forego;

I was a prisoner, because I would be so.

Aldo. Why, look you now, son Limberham, is this a song to be sung at such a time, when I am 039 labouring your reconcilement? Come, daughter Tricksy, you must be ruled; I'll be the peace-maker.

Trick. No, I'm just going.

Limb. The devil take me, if I call you back.

Trick. And his dam take me, if I return, except you do.

Aldo. So, now you will part, for a mere punctilio! Turn to him, daughter: Speak to her, son: Why should you be so refractory both, to bring my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave?

Limb. I'll not be forsworn, I swore first;

Trick. Thou art a forsworn man, however; for thou sworest to love me eternally.

Limb. Yes, I was such a fool, to swear so.

Aldo. And will you have that dreadful oath lie gnawing on your conscience?

Trick. Let him be damned; and so farewell for ever.—[Going.]

Limb. Pug!

Trick. Did you call, Mr Limberham?

Limb. It may be, ay; it may be, no.

Trick. Well, I am going to the nunnery; but, to shew I am in charity, I'll pray for you.

Aldo. Pray for him! fy, daughter, fy; is that an answer for a Christian?

Limb. What did Pug say? will she pray for me? Well, to shew I am in charity, she shall not pray for me. Come back, Pug. But did I ever think thou couldst have been so unkind to have parted with me?

Aldo. Look you, daughter, see how nature works in him.

Limb. I'll settle two hundred a-year upon thee, because thou said'st thou would'st pray for me.

Aldo. Before George, son Limberham, you will spoil all, if you underbid so. Come, down with your dust, man: What, shew a base mind, when a fair lady's in question!

040 Limb. Well, if I must give three hundred—

Trick. No, it is no matter; my thoughts are on a better place.

Aldo. Come, there is no better place than little London. You shall not part for a trifle. What, son Limberham! four hundred a year is a square sum, and you shall give it.

Limb. It is a round sum indeed; I wish a three-cornered sum would have served her turn.—Why should you be so pervicacious now, Pug? Pray take three hundred. Nay, rather than part, Pug, it shall be so.—[She frowns.]

Aldo. It shall be so, it shall be so: Come, now buss, and seal the bargain.

Trick. [Kissing him.] You see what a good natured fool I am, Mr Limberham, to come back into a wicked world, for love of you.—You will see the writings drawn, father?

Aldo. Ay; and pay the lawyer too. Why, this is as it should be! I'll be at the charge of the reconciling supper.—[To her aside.] Daughter, my son Woodall is waiting for you.—Come away, son Limberham to the temple.

Limb. With all my heart, while she is in a good humour: It would cost me another hundred, if I should stay till Pug were in wrath again. Adieu, sweet Pug.—[Exeunt Aldo, and Limb.]

Trick. That he should be so silly to imagine I would go into a nunnery! it is likely; I have much nun's flesh about me. But here comes my gentleman.

Enter Woodall, not seeing her.

Wood. Now the wife's returned, and the daughter too, and I have seen them both, and am more distracted than before: I would enjoy all, and have not yet determined with which I should begin. It is but a kind of clergy-covetousness in me, to desire so many; if I stand gaping after pluralities, one of 041 them is in danger to be made a sine cure—[Sees her.] O, fortune has determined for me. It is just here, as it is in the world; the mistress will be served before the wife.

Trick. How now, sir, are you rehearsing your lingua Franca by yourself, that you walk so pensively?

Wood. No faith, madam, I was thinking of the fair lady, who, at parting, bespoke so cunningly of me all my essences.

Trick. But there are other beauties in the house; and I should be impatient of a rival: for I am apt to be partial to myself, and think I deserve to be preferred before them.

Wood. Your beauty will allow of no competition; and I am sure my love could make none.

Trick. Yes, you have seen Mrs Brainsick; she's a beauty.

Wood. You mean, I suppose, the peaking creature, the married woman, with a sideling look, as if one cheek carried more bias than the other?

Trick. Yes, and with a high nose, as visible as a land-mark.

Wood. With one cheek blue, the other red; just like the covering of Lambeth Palace.

Trick. Nay, but her legs, if you could see them—

Wood. She was so foolish to wear short petticoats, and show them. They are pillars, gross enough to support a larger building; of the Tuscan order, by my troth.

Trick. And her little head, upon that long neck, shows like a traitor's skull upon a pole. Then, for her wit—

Wood. She can have none: There's not room enough for a thought to play in.

Trick. I think indeed I may safely trust you with 042 such charms; and you have pleased me with your description of her.

Wood. I wish you would give me leave to please you better. But you transact as gravely with me as a Spaniard; and are losing love, as he does Flanders: you consider and demur, when the monarch is up in arms, and at your gates[6].

Trick. But to yield upon the first summons, ere you have laid a formal siege—To-morrow may prove a luckier day to you.

Wood. Believe me, madam, lovers are not to trust to-morrow. Love may die upon our hands, or opportunity be wanting; 'tis best securing the present hour.

Trick. No, love's like fruit; it must have time to ripen on the tree; if it be green gathered, 'twill but wither afterwards.

Wood. Rather 'tis like gun powder; that which fires quickest, is commonly the strongest.—By this burning kiss—

Trick. You lovers are such froward children, ever crying for the breast; and, when you have once had it, fall fast asleep in the nurse's arms. And with what face should I look upon my keeper after it?

Wood. With the same face that all mistresses look upon theirs. Come, come.

Trick. But my reputation!

Wood. Nay, that's no argument, if I should be so base to tell; for women get good fortunes now-a-days, by losing their credit, as a cunning citizen does by breaking.

043 Trick. But, I'm so shame-faced! Well, I'll go in, and hide my blushes. [Exit.

Wood. I'll not be long after you; for I think I have hidden my blushes where I shall never find them.

Re-enter Tricksy.

Trick. As I live, Mr Limberham and father Aldo are just returned; I saw them entering. My settlement will miscarry, if you are found here: What shall we do?

Wood. Go you into your bed-chamber, and leave me to my fortune.

Trick. That you should be so dull! their suspicion will be as strong still: for what should make you here?

Wood. The curse on't is too, I bid my man tell the family I was gone abroad; so that, if I am seen, you are infallibly discovered.

Trick. Hark, I hear them! Here's a chest which I borrowed of Mrs Pleasance; get quickly into it, and I will lock you up: there's nothing in't but clothes of Limberham's, and a box of writings.

Wood. I shall be smothered.

Trick. Make haste, for heaven's sake; they'll quickly be gone, and then—

Wood. That then will make a man venture any thing. [He goes in, and she locks the chest.

Enter Limberham and Aldo.

Limb. Dost thou not wonder to see me come again so quickly, Pug?

Trick. No, I am prepared for any foolish freak of yours: I knew you would have a qualm, when you came to settlement.

Limb. Your settlement depends most absolutely on that chest.

044 Trick. Father Aldo, a word with you, for heaven's sake.

Aldo. No, no, I'll not whisper. Do not stand in your own light, but produce the keys, daughter.

Limb. Be not musty, my pretty St Peter, but produce the keys. I must have the writings out, that concern thy settlement.

Trick. Now I see you are so reasonable, I'll show you I dare trust your honesty; the settlement shall be deferred till another day.

Aldo. No deferring in these cases, daughter.

Trick. But I have lost the keys.

Limb. That's a jest! let me feel in thy pocket, for I must oblige thee.

Trick. You shall feel no where: I have felt already and am sure they are lost.

Aldo. But feel again, the lawyer stays.

Trick. Well, to satisfy you, I will feel.—They are not here—nor here neither.
[She pulls out her handkerchief, and the keys drop after it: Limberham takes them up.

Limb. Look you now, Pug! who's in the right? Well, thou art born to be a lucky Pug, in spite of thyself.

Trick [Aside.] O, I am ruined!—One word, I beseech you, father Aldo.

Aldo. Not a syllable. What the devil's in you, daughter? Open, son, open.

Trick. [Aloud.] It shall not be opened; I will have my will, though I lose my settlement. Would I were within the chest! I would hold it down, to spite you. I say again, would I were within the chest, I would hold it so fast, you should not open it.—The best on't is, there's good inkle on the top of the inside, if he have the wit to lay hold on't.

045 Limb. [Going to open it.] Before George, I think you have the devil in a string, Pug; I cannot open it, for the guts of me. Hictius doctius! what's here to do? I believe, in my conscience, Pug can conjure: Marry, God bless us all good Christians!

Aldo. Push hard, son.

Limb. I cannot push; I was never good at pushing. When I push, I think the devil pushes too. Well, I must let it alone, for I am a fumbler. Here, take the keys, Pug.

Trick. [Aside.] Then all's safe again.

Enter Judith and Gervase.

Jud. Madam, Mrs Pleasance has sent for the chest you borrowed of her. She has present occasion for it; and has desired us to carry it away.

Limb. Well, that's but reason: If she must have it, she must have it.

Trick Tell her, it shall be returned some time to-day; at present we must crave her pardon, because we have some writings in it, which must first be taken out, when we can open it.

Limb. Nay, that's but reason too: Then she must not have it.

Gerv. Let me come to't; I'll break it open, and you may take out your writings.

Limb. That's true: 'Tis but reasonable it should be broken open.

Trick. Then I may be bound to make good the loss.

Limb. 'Tis unreasonable it should be broken open.

Aldo. Before George, Gervase and I will carry it away; and a smith shall be sent for to my daughter Pleasance's chamber, to open it without damage.

Limb. Why, who says against it? Let it be carried; I'm all for reason.

Trick. Hold; I say it shall not stir.

046 Aldo. What? every one must have their own; Fiat justitia, aut ruat mundus.

Limb. Ay, fiat justitia, Pug: She must have her own; for justitia is Latin for justice.
[Aldo and Gerv. lift at it.

Aldo. I think the devil's in't.

Gerv. There's somewhat bounces, like him, in't. 'Tis plaguy heavy; but we'll take t'other heave.

Trick. [Taking hold of the chest.] Then you shall carry me too. Help, murder, murder!
[A confused gabbling among them.

Enter Mrs Saintly.

Saint. Verily, I think all hell's broke loose among you. What, a schism in my family! Does this become the purity of my house? What will the ungodly say?

Limb. No matter for the ungodly; this is all among ourselves: For, look you, the business is this. Mrs Pleasance has sent for this same business here, which she lent to Pug; now Pug has some private businesses within this business, which she would take out first, and the business will not be opened: and this makes all the business.

Saint. Verily, I am raised up for a judge amongst you; and I say—

Trick. I'll have no judge: it shall not go.

Aldo. Why son, why daughter, why Mrs Saintly; are you all mad? Hear me, I am sober, I am discreet; let a smith be sent for hither, let him break open the chest; let the things contained be taken out, and the thing containing be restored.

Limb. Now hear me too, for I am sober and discreet; father Aldo is an oracle: It shall be so.

Trick. Well, to show I am reasonable, I am content. Mr Gervase and I will fetch an instrument from the next smith; in the mean time, let the 047 chest remain where it now stands, and let every one depart the chamber.

Limb. That no violence be offered to the person of the chest, in Pug's absence.

Aldo. Then this matter is composed.

Trick. [Aside.] Now I shall have leisure to instruct his man, and set him free, without discovery. Come, Mr Gervase.
[Exeunt all but Saintly.

Saint. There is a certain motion put into my mind, and it is of good. I have keys here, which a precious brother, a devout blacksmith, made me, and which will open any lock of the same bore. Verily, it can be no sin to unlock this chest therewith, and take from thence the spoils of the ungodly. I will satisfy my conscience, by giving part thereof to the hungry and the needy; some to our pastor, that he may prove it lawful; and some I will sanctify to my own use.
[She unlocks the chest, and Woodall starts up.

Wood. Let me embrace you, my dear deliverer! Bless us! is it you, Mrs Saintly? [She shrieks.

Saint. [Shrieking.] Heaven of his mercy! Stop thief, stop thief!

Wood. What will become of me now?

Saint. According to thy wickedness, shall it be done unto thee. Have I discovered thy backslidings, thou unfaithful man! thy treachery to me shall be rewarded, verily; for I will testify against thee.

Wood. Nay, since you are so revengeful, you shall suffer your part of the disgrace; if you testify against me for adultery, I shall testify against you for theft: There's an eighth for your seventh.

Saint. Verily, they are approaching: Return to my embraces, and it shall be forgiven thee.

Wood. Thank you, for your own sake. Hark! 048 they are coming! cry thief again, and help to save all yet.

Saint. Stop thief, stop thief!

Wood. Thank you for your own sake; but I fear 'tis too late.

Enter Tricksy and Limberham.

Trick. [Entering.] The chest open, and Woodall discovered! I am ruined.

Limb. Why all this shrieking, Mrs Saintly?

Wood. [Rushing him down.] Stop thief, stop thief! cry you mercy, gentleman, if I have hurt you.

Limb. [Rising.] 'Tis a fine time to cry a man mercy, when you have beaten his wind out of his body.

Saint. As I watched the chest, behold a vision rushed out of it, on the sudden; and I lifted up my voice, and shrieked.

Limb. A vision, landlady! what, have we Gog and Magog in our chamber?

Trick. A thief, I warrant you, who had gotten into the chest.

Wood. Most certainly a thief; for, hearing my landlady cry out, I flew from my chamber to her help, and met him running down stairs, and then he turned back to the balcony, and leapt into the street.

Limb. I thought, indeed, that something held down the chest, when I would have opened it:—But my writings are there still, that's one comfort.—Oh seignioro, are you here?

Wood. Do you speak to me, sir?

Saint. This is Mr Woodall, your new fellow-lodger.

Limb. Cry you mercy, sir; I durst have sworn you could have spoken lingua Franca—I thought, 049 in my conscience, Pug, this had been thy Italian merchanto.

Wood. Sir, I see you mistake me for some other: I should be happy to be better known to you.

Limb. Sir, I beg your pardon, with all my hearto. Before George, I was caught again there! But you are so very like a paltry fellow, who came to sell Pug essences this morning, that one would swear those eyes, and that nose and mouth, belonged to that rascal.

Wood. You must pardon me, sir, if I do not much relish the close of your compliment.

Trick. Their eyes are nothing like:—you'll have a quarrel.

Limb. Not very like, I confess.

Trick. Their nose and mouth are quite different.

Limb. As Pug says, they are quite different, indeed; but I durst have sworn it had been he; and, therefore, once again, I demand your pardono.

Trick. Come, let us go down; by this time Gervase has brought the smith, and then Mrs Pleasance may have her chest. Please you, sir, to bear us company.

Wood. At your service, madam.

Limb. Pray lead the way, sir.

Wood. 'Tis against my will, sir; but I must leave you in possession.[Exeunt.


Enter Saintly and Pleasance.

Pleas. Never fear it, I'll be a spy upon his actions; he shall neither whisper nor gloat on either of them, but I'll ring him such a peal!

Saint. Above all things, have a care of him yourself; for surely there is witchcraft betwixt his lips: 050 He is a wolf within the sheepfold; and therefore I will be earnest, that you may not fall.

Pleas. Why should my mother be so inquisitive about this lodger? I half suspect old Eve herself has a mind to be nibbling at the pippin. He makes love to one of them, I am confident; it may be to both; for, methinks, I should have done so, if I had been a man; but the damned petticoats have perverted me to honesty, and therefore I have a grudge to him for the privilege of his sex. He shuns me, too, and that vexes me; for, though I would deny him, I scorn he should not think me worth a civil question.

Re-enter Woodall, with Tricksy, Mrs Brainsick, Judith, and Music.

Mrs Brain. Come, your works, your works; they shall have the approbation of Mrs Pleasance.

Trick. No more apologies; give Judith the words, she sings at sight.

Jud. I'll try my skill.


By a dismal cypress lying,

Damon cried, all pale and dying,—

Kind is death, that ends my pain,

But cruel she I loved in vain.

The mossy fountains

Murmur my trouble,

And hollow mountains

My groans redouble:

Every nymph mourns me,

Thus while I languish;

She only scorns me,

Who caused my anguish.

No love returning me, but all hope denying;

By a dismal cypress lying,

Like a swan, so sung he dying,—

051 Kind is death, that ends my pain,

But cruel she I loved in vain.

Pleas. By these languishing eyes, and those simagres of yours, we are given to understand, sir, you have a mistress in this company; come, make a free discovery which of them your poetry is to charm, and put the other out of pain.

Trick. No doubt 'twas meant to Mrs Brainsick.

Mrs Brain. We wives are despicable creatures; we know it, madam, when a mistress is in presence.

Pleas. Why this ceremony betwixt you? 'Tis a likely proper fellow, and looks as he could people a new isle of Pines[7].

Mrs Brain. 'Twere a work of charity to convert a fair young schismatick, like you, if 'twere but to gain you to a better opinion of the government.

Pleas. If I am not mistaken in you, too, he has works of charity enough upon his hands already; but 'tis a willing soul, I'll warrant him, eager upon the quarry, and as sharp as a governor of Covent-Garden.

Wood. Sure this is not the phrase of your family! I thought to have found a sanctified sister; but I suspect now, madam, that if your mother kept a pension in your father's time, there might be some gentleman-lodger in the house; for I humbly conceive you are of the half-strain at least.

Pleas. For all the rudeness of your language, I am resolved to know upon what voyage you are bound; your privateer of love, you Argier's man, that cruize up and down for prize in the Straitsmouth; 052 which of the vessels would you snap now?

Trick. We are both under safe convoy, madam; a lover and a husband.

Pleas. Nay, for your part, you are notably guarded, I confess; but keepers have their rooks, as well as gamesters; but they only venture under them till they pick up a sum, and then push for themselves.

Wood. [Aside.] A plague of her suspicions; they'll ruin me on that side.

Pleas. So; let but little minx go proud, and the dogs in Covent-Garden have her in the wind immediately; all pursue the scent.

Trick. Not to a boarding-house, I hope?

Pleas. If they were wise, they would rather go to a brothel-house; for there most mistresses have left behind them their maiden-heads, of blessed memory: and those, which would not go off in that market, are carried about by bawds, and sold at doors, like stale flesh in baskets. Then, for your honesty, or justness, as you call it, to your keepers, your kept-mistress is originally a punk; and let the cat be changed into a lady never so formally, she still retains her natural property of mousing.

Mrs. Brain. You are very sharp upon the mistresses; but I hope you'll spare the wives.

Pleas. Yes, as much as your husbands do after the first month of marriage; but you requite their negligence in household-duties, by making them husbands of the first head, ere the year be over.

Wood. [Aside.] She has me there, too!

Pleas. And as for you, young gallant—

Wood. Hold, I beseech you! a truce for me.

Pleas. In troth, I pity you; for you have undertaken a most difficult task,—to cozen two women, who are no babies in their art: if you bring it about, you perform as much as he that cheated the very lottery.

053 Wood. Ladies, I am sorry this should happen to you for my sake: She is in a raging fit, you see; 'tis best withdrawing, till the spirit of prophecy has left her.

Trick. I'll take shelter in my chamber,—whither, I hope, he'll have the grace to follow me. [Aside.

Mrs Brain. And now I think on't, I have some letters to dispatch. [Exit Trick. and Mrs Brain. severally.

Pleas. Now, good John among the maids, how mean you to bestow your time? Away to your study, I advise you; invoke your muses, and make madrigals upon absence.

Wood. I would go to China, or Japan, to be rid of that impetuous clack of yours. Farewell, thou legion of tongues in one woman!

Pleas. Will you not stay, sir? it may be I have a little business with you.

Wood. Yes, the second part of the same tune! Strike by yourself, sweet larum; you're true bell-metal I warrant you.

Pleas. This spitefulness of mine will be my ruin: To rail them off, was well enough; but to talk him away, too! O tongue, tongue, thou wert given for a curse to all our sex!

Enter Judith.

Jud. Madam, your mother would speak with you.

Pleas. I will not come; I'm mad, I think; I come immediately. Well, I'll go in, and vent my passion, by railing at them, and him too.

Jud. You may enter in safety, sir; the enemy's marched off.

Re-enter Woodall.

Wood. Nothing, but the love I bear thy mistress, 054 could keep me in the house with such a fury. When will the bright nymph appear?

Jud. Immediately; I hear her coming.

Wood. That I could find her coming, Mrs Judith!

Enter Mrs Brainsick.

You have made me languish in expectation, madam. Was it nothing, do you think, to be so near a happiness, with violent desires, and to be delayed?

Mrs Brain. Is it nothing, do you think, for a woman of honour, to overcome the ties of virtue and reputation; to do that for you, which I thought I should never have ventured for the sake of any man?

Wood. But my comfort is, that love has overcome. Your honour is, in other words, but your good repute; and 'tis my part to take care of that: for the fountain of a woman's honour is in the lover, as that of the subject is in the king.

Mrs Brain. You had concluded well, if you had been my husband: you know where our subjection lies.

Wood. But cannot I be yours without a priest? They were cunning people, doubtless, who began that trade; to have a double hank upon us, for two worlds: that no pleasure here, or hereafter, should be had, without a bribe to them.

Mrs Brain. Well, I'm resolved, I'll read, against the next time I see you; for the truth is, I am not very well prepared with arguments for marriage; meanwhile, farewell.

Wood. I stand corrected; you have reason indeed to go, if I can use my time no better: We'll withdraw if you please, and dispute the rest within.

Mrs Brain. Perhaps, I meant not so.

Wood, I understand your meaning at your eyes. You'll watch, Judith?

055 Mrs Brain. Nay, if that were all, I expect not my husband till to-morrow. The truth is, he is so oddly humoured, that, if I were ill inclined, it would half justify a woman; he's such a kind of man!

Wood. Or, if he be not, well make him such a kind of man.

Mrs Brain. So fantastical, so musical, his talk all rapture, and half nonsense: like a clock out of order, set him a-going, and he strikes eternally. Besides, he thinks me such a fool, that I could half resolve to revenge myself, in justification of my wit.

Wood. Come, come, no half resolutions among lovers; I'll hear no more of him, till I have revenged you fully. Go out and watch, Judith.
[Exit Judith.

Mrs Brain. Yet, I could say, in my defence, that my friends married me to him against my will.

Wood. Then let us put your friends, too, into the quarrel: it shall go hard, but I'll give you a revenge for them.

Enter Judith again, hastily.

How now? what's the matter?

Mrs Brain. Can'st thou not speak? hast thou seen a ghost?—As I live, she signs horns! that must be for my husband: he's returned.
[Judith looks ghastly, and signs horns.

Jud. I would have told you so, if I could have spoken for fear.

Mrs Brain. Hark, a knocking! What shall we do? [Knocking.
There's no dallying in this case: here you must not be found, that's certain; but Judith hath a chamber within mine; haste quickly thither; I'll secure the rest.

Jud. Follow me, sir. [Exeunt Woodall, Judith.

056 Knocking again. She opens: Enter Brainsick.

Brain. What's the matter, gentlewoman? Am I excluded from my own fortress; and by the way of barricado? Am I to dance attendance at the door, as if I were some base plebeian groom? I'll have you know, that, when my foot assaults, the lightning and the thunder are not so terrible as the strokes: brazen gates shall tremble, and bolts of adamant dismount from off their hinges, to admit me.

Mrs Brain. Who would have thought, that 'nown dear would have come so soon? I was even lying down on my bed, and dreaming of him. Tum a' me, and buss, poor dear; piddee buss.

Brain. I nauseate these foolish feats of love.

Mrs Brain. Nay, but why should he be so fretful now? and knows I dote on him? to leave a poor dear so long without him, and then come home in an angry humour! indeed I'll ky.

Brain. Pr'ythee, leave thy fulsome fondness; I have surfeited on conjugal embraces.

Mrs Brain. I thought so: some light huswife has bewitched him from me: I was a little fool, so I was, to leave a dear behind at Barnet, when I knew the women would run mad for him.

Brain. I have a luscious air forming, like a Pallas, in my brain-pain: and now thou com'st across my fancy, to disturb the rich ideas, with the yellow jaundice of thy jealousy.
[Noise within.
Hark, what noise is that within, about Judith's bed?

Mrs Brain. I believe, dear, she's making it.—Would the fool would go![Aside.

Brain. Hark, again!

Mrs Brain. [Aside] I have a dismal apprehension in my head, that he's giving my maid a cast of his office, in my stead. O, how it stings me!
[Woodall sneezes.

057 Brain. I'll enter, and find the reason of this tumult.

Mrs Brain. [Holding him.] Not for the world: there may be a thief there; and should I put 'nown dear in danger of his life?—What shall I do? betwixt the jealousy of my love, and fear of this fool, I am distracted: I must not venture them together, whatever comes on it. [Aside.] Why Judith, I say! come forth, damsel.

Wood. [Within.] The danger's over; I may come out safely.

Jud. [Within.] Are you mad? you shall not.

Mrs Brain. [Aside.] So, now I'm ruined unavoidably.

Brain. Whoever thou art, I have pronounced thy doom; the dreadful Brainsick bares his brawny arm in tearing terror; kneeling queens in vain should beg thy being.—Sa, sa, there.

Mrs Brain. [Aside.] Though I believe he dares not venture in, yet I must not put it to the trial. Why Judith, come out, come out, huswife.

Enter Judith, trembling.

What villain have you hid within?

Jud. O Lord, madam, what shall I say?

Mrs Brain. How should I know what you should say? Mr Brainsick has heard a man's voice within; if you know what he makes there, confess the truth; I am almost dead with fear, and he stands shaking.

Brain. Terror, I! 'tis indignation shakes me. With this sabre I'll slice him as small as atoms; he shall be doomed by the judge, and damned upon the gibbet.

Jud. [Kneeling.] My master's so outrageous! sweet madam, do you intercede for me, and I'll tell you all in private.
058 If I say it is a thief, he'll call up help; I know not what of the sudden to invent.

Mrs Brain. Let me alone.—And is this all? Why would you not confess it before, Judith? when you know I am an indulgent mistress.

Brain. What has she confessed?

Mrs Brain. A venial love-trespass, dear: 'tis a sweetheart of hers; one that is to marry her; and she was unwilling I should know it, so she hid him in her chamber.

Enter Aldo.

Aldo. What's the matter trow? what, in martial posture, son Brainsick?

Jud. Pray, father Aldo, do you beg my pardon of my master. I have committed a fault; I have hidden a gentleman in my chamber, who is to marry me without his friends' consent, and therefore came in private to me.

Aldo. That thou should'st think to keep this secret! why, I know it as well as he that made thee.

Mrs Brain. [Aside.] Heaven be praised, for this knower of all things! Now will he lie three or four rapping volunteers, rather than be thought ignorant in any thing.

Brain. Do you know his friends, father Aldo?

Aldo. Know them! I think I do. His mother was an arch-deacon's daughter; as honest a woman as ever broke bread: she and I have been cater-cousins in our youth; we have tumbled together between a pair of sheets, i'faith.

Brain. An honest woman, and yet you two have tumbled together! those are inconsistent.

Aldo. No matter for that.

Mrs Brain. He blunders; I must help him. [Aside.] I warrant 'twas before marriage, that you were so great.

059 Aldo. Before George, and so it was: for she had the prettiest black mole upon her left ancle, it does me good to think on't! His father was squire What-d'ye-call-him, of what-d'ye-call-em shire. What think you, little Judith? do I know him now?

Jud. I suppose you may be mistaken: my servant's father is a knight of Hampshire.

Aldo. I meant of Hampshire. But that I should forget he was a knight, when I got him knighted, at the king's coming in! Two fat bucks, I am sure he sent me.

Brain. And what's his name?

Aldo. Nay, for that, you must excuse me; I must not disclose little Judith's secrets.

Mrs Brain. All this while the poor gentleman is left in pain: we must let him out in secret; for I believe the young fellow is so bashful, he would not willingly be seen.

Jud. The best way will be, for father Aldo to lend me the key of his door, which opens into my chamber; and so I can convey him out.

Aldo. [Giving her a key.] Do so, daughter. Not a word of my familiarity with his mother, to prevent bloodshed betwixt us: but I have her name down in my almanack, I warrant her.

Jud. What, kiss and tell, father Aldo? kiss and tell![Exit.

Mrs Brain. I'll go and pass an hour with Mrs Tricksy.[Exit.

Enter Limberham.

Brain. What, the lusty lover Limberham!

Enter Woodall, at another door.

Aldo. O here's a monsieur, new come over, and a fellow-lodger; I must endear you two to one another.

Brain. Sir, 'tis my extreme ambition to be better 060 known to you; you come out of the country I adore. And how does the dear Battist[8]? I long for some of his new compositions in the last opera. A propos! I have had the most happy invention this morning, and a tune trouling in my head; I rise immediately in my night-gown and slippers, down I put the notes slap-dash, made words to them like lightning; and I warrant you have them at the circle in the evening.

Wood. All were complete, sir, if S. Andre would make steps to them.

Brain. Nay, thanks to my genius, that care's over: you shall see, you shall see. But first the air. [Sings.] Is it not very fine? Ha, messieurs!

Limb. The close of it is the most ravishing I ever heard!

Brain. I dwell not on your commendations. What say you, sir? [To Wood.] Is it not admirable? Do you enter into it?

Wood. Most delicate cadence!

Brain. Gad, I think so, without vanity. Battist and I have but one soul. But the close, the close! [Sings it thrice over.] I have words too upon the air; but I am naturally so bashful!

Wood. Will you oblige me, sir?

Brain. You might command me, sir; for I sing too en cavalier: but—

Limb. But you would be entreated, and say, Nolo, nolo, nolo, three times, like any bishop, when your mouth waters at the diocese.

Brain. I have no voice; but since this gentleman commands me, let the words commend themselves.
My Phillis is charming—

Limb. But why, of all names, would you chuse a Phillis? There have been so many Phillises in songs, 061 I thought there had not been another left, for love or money.

Brain. If a man should listen to a fop![Sings.
My Phillis—

Aldo. Before George, I am on t'other side: I think, as good no song, as no Phillis.

Brain. Yet again!—My Phillis—[Sings.

Limb. Pray, for my sake, let it be your Chloris.

Brain. [Looking scornfully at him.] My Phillis— [Sings.

Limb. You had as good call her your Succuba.

Brain. Morbleu! will you not give me leave? I am full of Phillis. [Sings.] My Phillis—

Limb. Nay, I confess, Phillis is a very pretty name.

Brain. Diable! Now I will not sing, to spite you. By the world, you are not worthy of it. Well, I have a gentleman's fortune; I have courage, and make no inconsiderable figure in the world: yet I would quit my pretensions to all these, rather than not be author of this sonnet, which your rudeness has irrevocably lost.

Limb. Some foolish French quelque chose, I warrant you.

Brain. Quelque chose! O ignorance, in supreme perfection! he means a kek shose[9].

Limb. Why a kek shoes let it be then! and a kek shoes for your song.

Brain. I give to the devil such a judge. Well, were I to be born again, I would as soon be the elephant, as a wit; he's less a monster in this age of malice. I could burn my sonnet, out of rage.

062 Limb. You may use your pleasure with your own.

Wood. His friends would not suffer him: Virgil was not permitted to burn his Æneids.

Brain. Dear sir, I'll not die ungrateful for your approbation. [Aside to Wood.] You see this fellow? he is an ass already; he has a handsome mistress, and you shall make an ox of him ere long.

Wood. Say no more, it shall be done.

Limb. Hark you, Mr Woodall; this fool Brainsick grows insupportable; he's a public nuisance; but I scorn to set my wit against him: he has a pretty wife: I say no more; but if you do not graff him—

Wood. A word to the wise: I shall consider him, for your sake.

Limb. Pray do, sir: consider him much.

Wood. Much is the word.—This feud makes well for me.[Aside.

Brain. [To Wood.] I'll give you the opportunity, and rid you of him.—Come away, little Limberham; you, and I, and father Aldo, will take a turn together in the square.

Aldo. We will follow you immediately.

Limb. Yes, we will come after you, bully Brainsick: but I hope you will not draw upon us there.

Brain. If you fear that, Bilbo shall be left behind.

Limb. Nay, nay, leave but your madrigal behind: draw not that upon us, and it is no matter for your sword.
[Exit Brain.

Enter Tricksy, and Mrs Brainsick, with a note for each.

Wood. [Aside.] Both together! either of them, apart, had been my business: but I shall never play well at this three-hand game.

Limb. O Pug, how have you been passing your time?

063 Trick. I have been looking over the last present of orange gloves you made me; and methinks I do not like the scent.—O Lord, Mr Woodall, did you bring those you wear from Paris?

Wood. Mine are Roman, madam.

Trick. The scent I love, of all the world. Pray let me see them.

Mrs Brain. Nay, not both, good Mrs Tricksy; for I love that scent as well as you.

Wood. [Pulling them off, and giving each one.] I shall find two dozen more of women's gloves among my trifles, if you please to accept them, ladies.

Trick. Look to it; we shall expect them.—Now to put in my billet-doux!

Mrs Brain. So, now, I have the opportunity to thrust in my note.

Trick. Here, sir, take your glove again; the perfume's too strong for me.

Mrs Brain. Pray take the other to it; though I should have kept it for a pawn.
[Mrs Brainsick's note falls out, Limb. takes it up.

Limb. What have we here? [Reads.] for Mr Woodall!

Both Women. Hold, hold, Mr Limberham! [They snatch it.

Aldo. Before George, son Limberham, you shall read it.

Wood. By your favour, sir, but he must not.

Trick. He'll know my hand, and I am ruined!

Mrs Brain. Oh, my misfortune! Mr Woodall, will you suffer your secrets to be discovered!

Wood. It belongs to one of them, that's certain.—Mr Limberham, I must desire you to restore this letter; it is from my mistress.

Trick. The devil's in him; will he confess?

Wood. This paper was sent me from her this morning; and I was so fond of it, that I left it in 064 my glove: If one of the ladies had found it there, I should have been laughed at most unmercifully.

Mrs Brain. That's well come off!

Limb. My heart was at my mouth, for fear it had been Pug's. [Aside.]—There 'tis again—Hold, hold; pray let me see it once more: a mistress, said you?

Aldo. Yes, a mistress, sir. I'll be his voucher, he has a mistress, and a fair one too.

Limb. Do you know it, father Aldo.

Aldo. Know it! I know the match is as good as made already: old Woodall and I are all one. You, son, were sent for over on purpose; the articles for her jointure are all concluded, and a friend of mine drew them.

Limb. Nay, if father Aldo knows it, I am satisfied.

Aldo. But how came you by this letter, son Woodall? let me examine you.

Wood. Came by it! (pox, he has non-plus'd me!) How do you say I came by it, father Aldo?

Aldo. Why, there's it, now. This morning I met your mistress's father, Mr you know who—

Wood. Mr who, sir?

Aldo. Nay, you shall excuse me for that; but we are intimate: his name begins with some vowel or consonant, no matter which: Well, her father gave me this very numerical letter, subscribed, for Mr. Woodall.

Limb. Before George, and so it is.

Aldo. Carry me this letter, quoth he, to your son Woodall; 'tis from my daughter such a one, and then whispered me her name.

Wood. Let me see; I'll read it once again.

Limb. What, are you not acquainted with the contents of it?

Wood. O, your true lover will read you over a letter from his mistress, a thousand times.

065 Trick. Ay, two thousand, if he be in the humour.

Wood. Two thousand! then it must be hers. [Reads to himself.] "Away to your chamber immediately, and I'll give my fool the slip."—The fool! that may be either the keeper, or the husband; but commonly the keeper is the greater. Humh! without subscription! it must be Tricksy.—Father Aldo, pr'ythee rid me of this coxcomb.

Aldo. Come, son Limberham, we let our friend Brainsick walk too long alone: Shall we follow him? we must make haste; for I expect a whole bevy of whores, a chamber-full of temptation this afternoon: 'tis my day of audience.

Limb. Mr Woodall, we leave you here—you remember? [Exeunt Limb. and Aldo.

Wood. Let me alone.—Ladies, your servant; I have a little private business with a friend of mine.

Mrs Brain. Meaning me.—Well, sir, your servant.

Trick. Your servant, till we meet again. [Exeunt severally.

SCENE II.—Mr Woodall's Chamber.

Mrs Brainsick alone.

Mrs Brain. My note has taken, as I wished: he will be here immediately. If I could but resolve to lose no time, out of modesty; but it is his part to be violent, for both our credits. Never so little force and ruffling, and a poor weak woman is excused. [Noise.] Hark, I hear him coming.—Ah me! the steps beat double: He comes not alone. If it should be my husband with him! where shall I hide myself? I see no other place, but under his bed: I must lie as silently as my fear will suffer me. Heaven send me safe again to my own chamber!
[Creeps under the Bed.

066 Enter Woodall and Tricksy.

Wood. Well, fortune at the last is favourable, and now you are my prisoner.

Trick. After a quarter of an hour, I suppose, I shall have my liberty upon easy terms. But pray let us parley a little first.

Wood. Let it be upon the bed then. Please you to sit?

Trick. No matter where; I am never the nearer to your wicked purpose. But you men are commonly great comedians in love-matters; therefore you must swear, in the first place—

Wood. Nay, no conditions: The fortress is reduced to extremity; and you must yield upon discretion, or I storm.

Trick. Never to love any other woman.

Wood. I kiss the book upon it. [Kisses her. Mrs Brain. pinches him from underneath the Bed.] Oh, are you at your love-tricks already? If you pinch me thus, I shall bite your lip.

Trick. I did not pinch you: But you are apt, I see, to take any occasion of gathering up more close to me.—Next, you shall not so much as look on Mrs Brainsick.

Wood. Have you done? these covenants are so tedious!

Trick. Nay, but swear then.

Wood. I do promise, I do swear, I do any thing. [Mrs Brain. runs a pin into him.] Oh, the devil! what do you mean to run pins into me? this is perfect caterwauling.

Trick. You fancy all this; I would not hurt you for the world. Come, you shall see how well I love you. [Kisses him: Mrs Brain. pricks her.] Oh! I think you have needles growing in your bed.
[Both rise up.

067 Wood. I will see what is the matter in it.

Saint. [Within.] Mr Woodall, where are you, verily?

Wood. Pox verily her! it is my landlady: Here, hide yourself behind the curtains, while I run to the door, to stop her entry.

Trick. Necessity has no law; I must be patient. [She gets into the Bed, and draws the clothes over her.

Enter Saintly.

Saint. In sadness, gentleman, I can hold no longer: I will not keep your wicked counsel, how you were locked up in the chest; for it lies heavy upon my conscience, and out it must, and shall.

Wood. You may tell, but who will believe you? where's your witness?

Saint. Verily, heaven is my witness.

Wood. That's your witness too, that you would have allured me to lewdness, have seduced a hopeful young man, as I am; you would have enticed youth: Mark that, beldam.

Saint. I care not; my single evidence is enough to Mr Limberham; he will believe me, that thou burnest in unlawful lust to his beloved: So thou shalt be an outcast from my family.

Wood. Then will I go to the elders of thy church, and lay thee open before them, that thou didst feloniously unlock that chest, with wicked intentions of purloining: So thou shalt be excommunicated from the congregation, thou Jezebel, and delivered over to Satan.

Saint. Verily, our teacher will not excommunicate me, for taking the spoils of the ungodly, to clothe him; for it is a judged case amongst us, that a married woman may steal from her husband, to 068 relieve a brother. But yet them mayest atone this difference betwixt us; verily, thou mayest.

Wood. Now thou art tempting me again. Well, if I had not the gift of continency, what might become of me?

Saint. The means have been offered thee, and thou hast kicked with the heel. I will go immediately to the tabernacle of Mr Limberham, and discover thee, O thou serpent, in thy crooked paths.

Wood. Hold, good landlady, not so fast; let me have time to consider on't; I may mollify, for flesh is frail. An hour or two hence we will confer together upon the premises.

Saint. Oh, on the sudden, I feel myself exceeding sick! Oh! oh!

Wood. Get you quickly to your closet, and fall to your mirabilis; this is no place for sick people. Begone, begone!

Saint. Verily, I can go no farther.

Wood. But you shall, verily. I will thrust you down, out of pure pity.

Saint. Oh, my eyes grow dim! my heart quops, and my back acheth! here I will lay me down, and rest me.
[Throws herself suddenly down upon the Bed; Tricksy shrieks, and rises; Mrs Brain. rises from under the Bed in a fright.

Wood. So! here's a fine business! my whole seraglio up in arms!

Saint. So, so; if Providence had not sent me hither, what folly had been this day committed!

Trick. Oh the old woman in the oven! we both overheard your pious documents: Did we not, Mrs Brainsick?

Mrs Brain. Yes, we did overhear her; and we will both testify against her.

069 Wood. I have nothing to say for her. Nay, I told her her own; you can both bear me witness. If a sober man cannot be quiet in his own chamber for her—

Trick. For, you know, sir, when Mrs Brainsick and I over-heard her coming, having been before acquainted with her wicked purpose, we both agreed to trap her in it.

Mrs Brain. And now she would 'scape herself, by accusing us! but let us both conclude to cast an infamy upon her house, and leave it.

Saint. Sweet Mr Woodall, intercede for me, or I shall be ruined.

Wood. Well, for once I'll be good-natured, and try my interest.—Pray, ladies, for my sake, let this business go no farther.

Trick. and Mrs Brain. You may command us.

Wood. For, look you, the offence was properly to my person; and charity has taught me to forgive my enemies. I hope, Mrs Saintly, this will be a warning to you, to amend your life: I speak like a Christian, as one that tenders the welfare of your soul.

Saint. Verily, I will consider.

Wood. Why, that is well said.—[Aside.] Gad, and so must I too; for my people is dissatisfied, and my government in danger: But this is no place for meditation.—Ladies, I wait on you.


Enter Aldo and Geoffery.

Aldo. Despatch, Geoffery, despatch: The outlying punks will be upon us, ere I am in a readiness to give audience. Is the office well provided?

Geoff. The stores are very low, sir: Some dolly petticoats, and manteaus we have; and half a 070 dozen pair of laced shoes, bought from court at second hand.

Aldo. Before George, there is not enough to rig out a mournival of whores: They'll think me grown a mere curmudgeon. Mercy on me, how will this glorious trade be carried on, with such a miserable stock!

Geoff. I hear a coach already stopping at the door.

Aldo. Well, somewhat in ornament for the body, somewhat in counsel for the mind; one thing must help out another, in this bad world: Whoring must go on.

Enter Mrs Overdon, and her Daughter Prue.

Mrs Over. Ask blessing, Prue: He is the best father you ever had.

Aldo. Bless thee, and make thee a substantial, thriving whore. Have your mother in your eye, Prue; it is good to follow good example. How old are you, Prue? Hold up your head, child.

Pru. Going o'my sixteen, father Aldo.

Aldo. And you have been initiated but these two years: Loss of time, loss of precious time! Mrs Overdon, how much have you made of Prue, since she has been man's meat?

Mrs Over. A very small matter, by my troth; considering the charges I have been at in her education: Poor Prue was born under an unlucky planet; I despair of a coach for her. Her first maiden-head brought me in but little, the weather-beaten old knight, that bought her of me, beat down the price so low. I held her at an hundred guineas, and he bid ten; and higher than thirty would not rise.

Aldo. A pox of his unlucky handsel! He can but fumble, and will not pay neither.

Pru. Hang him; I could never endure him, father: 071 He is the filthiest old goat; and then he comes every day to our house, and eats out his thirty guineas; and at three months end, he threw me off.

Mrs Over. And since then, the poor child has dwindled, and dwindled away. Her next maiden-head brought me but ten; and from ten she fell to five; and at last to a single guinea: She has no luck to keeping; they all leave her, the more my sorrow.

Aldo. We must get her a husband then in the city; they bite rarely at a stale whore at this end of the town, new furbished up in a tawdry manteau.

Mrs Over. No: Pray let her try her fortune a little longer in the world first: By my troth, I should be loth to be at all this cost, in her French, and her singing, to have her thrown away upon a husband.

Aldo. Before George, there can come no good of your swearing, Mrs Overdon: Say your prayers, Prue, and go duly to church o'Sundays, you'll thrive the better all the week. Come, have a good heart, child; I will keep thee myself: Thou shalt do my little business; and I'll find thee an able young fellow to do thine.

Enter Mrs PAD.

Daughter Pad, you are welcome: What, you have performed the last Christian office to your keeper; I saw you follow him up the heavy hill to Tyburn. Have you had never a business since his death?

Mrs Pad. No indeed, father; never since execution-day. The night before, we lay together most lovingly in Newgate; and the next morning he lift up his eyes, and prepared his soul with a prayer, 072 while one might tell twenty; and then mounted the cart as merrily, as if he had been going for a purse.

Aldo. You are a sorrowful widow, daughter Pad; but I'll take care of you.—Geoffery, see her rigged out immediately for a new voyage: Look in figure 9, in the upper drawer, and give her out the flowered justacorps, with the petticoat belonging to it.

Mrs Pad. Could you not help to prefer me, father?

Aldo. Let me see—let me see:—Before George, I have it, and it comes as pat too! Go me to the very judge that sate upon him; it is an amorous, impotent old magistrate, and keeps admirably. I saw him leer upon you from the bench: He will tell you what is sweeter than strawberries and cream, before you part.

Enter Mrs Termagant.

Mrs Term. O father, I think I shall go mad.

Aldo. You are of the violentest temper, daughter Termagant! When had you a business last?

Mrs Term. The last I had was with young Caster, that son-of-a-whore gamester: he brought me to taverns, to draw in young cullies, while he bubbled them at play; and, when he had picked up a considerable sum, and should divide, the cheating dog would sink my share, and swear,—Damn him, he won nothing.

Aldo. Unconscionable villain, to cozen you in your own calling!

Mrs Term. When he loses upon the square, he comes home zoundsing and blooding; first beats me unmercifully, and then squeezes me to the last penny. He has used me so, that, Gad forgive me, I could almost forswear my trade. The rogue starves me too: He made me keep Lent last year till Whitsuntide, 073 and out-faced me with oaths it was but Easter. And what mads me most, I carry a bastard of the rogue's in my belly; and now he turns me off, and will not own it.

Mrs Over. Lord, how it quops! you are half a year gone, madam.— [Laying her hand on her belly.

Mrs Term. I feel the young rascal kicking already, like his father.—Oh, there is an elbow thrusting out: I think, in my conscience, he is palming and topping in my belly; and practising for a livelihood, before he comes into the world.

Aldo. Geoffery, set her down in the register, that I may provide her a mid-wife, and a dry and wet nurse: When you are up again, as heaven send you a good hour, we will pay him off at law, i'faith. You have him under black and white, I hope?

Mrs Term. Yes, I have a note under his hand for two hundred pounds.

Aldo. A note under his hand! that is a chip in porridge; it is just nothing.—Look, Geoffery, to the figure 12, for old half-shirts for childbed linen.

Enter Mrs Hackney.

Hack. O, madam Termagant, are you here? Justice, father Aldo, justice!

Aldo. Why, what is the matter, daughter Hackney?

Hack. She has violated the law of nations; for yesterday she inveigled my own natural cully from me, a married lord, and made him false to my bed, father.

Term. Come, you are an illiterate whore. He is my lord now; and, though you call him fool, it is well known he is a critic, gentlewoman. You never read a play in all your life; and I gained him by my wit, and so I'll keep him.

Hack. My comfort is, I have had the best of him; 074 he can take up no more, till his father dies: And so, much good may do you with my cully, and my clap into the bargain.

Aldo. Then there is a father for your child, my lord's son and heir by Mr Caster. But henceforward, to preserve peace betwixt you, I ordain, that you shall ply no more in my daughter Hackney's quarters: You shall have the city, from White-Chapel to Temple-Bar, and she shall have to Covent-Garden downwards: At the play-houses, she shall ply the boxes, because she has the better face; and you shall have the pit, because you can prattle best out of a vizor mask.

Mrs Pad. Then all friends, and confederates. Now let us have father Aldo's delight, and so adjourn the house.

Aldo. Well said, daughter.—Lift up your voices, and sing like nightingales, you tory rory jades. Courage, I say; as long as the merry pence hold out, you shall none of you die in Shoreditch.

Enter Woodall.

A hey, boys, a hey! here he comes, that will swinge you all! down, you little jades, and worship him; it is the genius of whoring.

Wood. And down went chairs and table, and out went every candle. Ho, brave old patriarch in the middle of the church militant! whores of all sorts; forkers and ruin-tailed: Now come I gingling in with my bells, and fly at the whole covey.

Aldo. A hey, a hey, boys! the town's thy own; burn, ravish, and destroy!

Wood. We will have a night of it, like Alexander, when he burnt Persepolis: tuez, tuez, tuez! point de quartier.
[He runs in amongst them, and they scuttle about the room.

075 Enter Saintly, Pleasance, Judith, with Broom-sticks.

Saint. What, in the midst of Sodom! O thou lewd young man! my indignation boils over against these harlots; and thus I sweep them from out my family.

Pleas. Down with the Suburbians, down with them.

Aldo. O spare my daughters, Mrs Saintly! Sweet Mrs Pleasance, spare my flesh and blood!

Wood. Keep the door open, and help to secure the retreat, father: There is no pity to be expected.
[The Whores run out, followed by Saintly, Pleasance, and Judith.

Aldo. Welladay, welladay! one of my daughters is big with bastard, and she laid at her gascoins most unmercifully! every stripe she had, I felt it: The first fruit of whoredom is irrecoverably lost!

Wood. Make haste, and comfort her.

Aldo. I will, I will; and yet I have a vexatious business, which calls me first another way. The rogue, my son, is certainly come over; he has been seen in town four days ago.

Wood. It is impossible: I'll not believe it.

Aldo. A friend of mine met his old man, Giles, this very morning, in quest of me; and Giles assured him, his master is lodged in this very street.

Wood. In this very street! how knows he that?

Aldo. He dogged him to the corner of it; and then my son turned back, and threatened him. But I'll find out Giles, and then I'll make such an example of my reprobate!

Wood. If Giles be discovered, I am undone!—Why, Gervase, where are you, sirrah! Hey, hey!

076 Enter Gervase.

Run quickly to that betraying rascal Giles, a rogue, who would take Judas's bargain out of his hands, and undersell him. Command him strictly to mew himself up in his lodgings, till farther orders: and in case he be refractory, let him know, I have not forgot to kick and cudgel. That memento would do well for you too, sirrah.

Gerv. Thank your worship; you have always been liberal of your hands to me.

Wood. And you have richly deserved it.

Gerv. I will not say, who has better deserved it of my old master.

Wood. Away, old Epictetus, about your business, and leave your musty morals, or I shall—

Gerv. Nay, I won't forfeit my own wisdom so far as to suffer for it. Rest you merry: I'll do my best, and heaven mend all.

Enter Saintly.

Saint. Verily, I have waited till you were alone, and am come to rebuke you, out of the zeal of my spirit.

Wood. It is the spirit of persecution. Dioclesian, and Julian the apostate, were but types of thee. Get thee hence, thou old Geneva testament: thou art a part of the ceremonial law, and hast been abolished these twenty years.

Saint. All this is nothing, sir. I am privy to your plots: I'll discover them to Mr Limberham, and make the house too hot for you.

Wood. What, you can talk in the language of the world, I see!

Saint. I can, I can, sir; and in the language of the flesh and devil too, if you provoke me to despair: You must, and shall be mine, this night.

077 Wood. The very ghost of queen Dido in the ballad.[10]

Saint. Delay no longer, or—

Wood. Or! you will not swear, I hope?

Saint. Uds-niggers but I will; and that so loud, that Mr Limberham shall hear me.

Wood. Uds-niggers, I confess, is a very dreadful oath. You could lie naturally before, as you are a fanatic; if you can swear such rappers too, there is hope of you; you may be a woman of the world in time. Well, you shall be satisfied, to the utmost farthing, to-night, and in your own chamber.

Saint. Or, expect to-morrow—

Wood. All shall be atoned ere then. Go, provide the bottle of clary, the Westphalia ham, and other fortifications of nature; we shall see what may be done. What! an old woman must not be cast away.
[Chucks her.

Saint. Then, verily, I am appeased.

Wood. Nay, no relapsing into verily; that is in our bargain. Look how she weeps for joy! It is a good old soul, I warrant her.

Saint. You will not fail?

Wood. Dost thou think I have no compassion for thy gray hairs? Away, away; our love may be discovered: We must avoid scandal; it is thy own maxim.
[Exit Saintly.
They are all now at ombre; and Brainsick's maid has promised to send her mistress up.

078 Enter Pleasance.

That fury here again!

Pleas. [Aside.] I'll conquer my proud spirit, I am resolved on it, and speak kindly to him.—What, alone, sir! If my company be not troublesome; or a tender young creature, as I am, may safely trust herself with a man of such prowess, in love affairs—It wonnot be.

Wood. So! there is one broadside already: I must sheer off.[Aside.

Pleas. What, you have been pricking up and down here upon a cold scent[11]; but, at last, you have hit it off, it seems! Now for a fair view at the wife or mistress: up the wind, and away with it: Hey, Jowler!—I think I am bewitched, I cannot hold.

Wood. Your servant, your servant, madam: I am in a little haste at present.[Going.

Pleas. Pray resolve me first, for which of them you lie in ambush; for, methinks, you have the mien of a spider in her den. Come, I know the web is spread, and whoever comes, Sir Cranion stands ready to dart out, hale her in, and shed his venom.

Wood. [Aside.] But such a terrible wasp, as she, will spoil the snare, if I durst tell her so.

Pleas. It is unconscionably done of me, to debar you the freedom and civilities of the house. Alas, poor gentleman! to take a lodging at so dear a rate, and not to have the benefit of his bargain!—Mischief on me, what needed I have said that?

Wood. The dialogue will go no farther. Farewell, gentle, quiet lady.

Pleas. Pray stay a little; I'll not leave you thus.

Wood. I know it; and therefore mean to leave you first.

Pleas. O, I find it now! you are going to set up 079 your bills, like a love-mountebank, for the speedy cure of distressed widows, old ladies, and languishing maids in the green-sickness: a sovereign remedy.

Wood. That last, for maids, would be thrown away: Few of your age are qualified for the medicine. What the devil would you be at, madam?

Pleas. I am in the humour of giving you good counsel. The wife can afford you but the leavings of a fop; and to a witty man, as you think yourself, that is nauseous: The mistress has fed upon a fool so long, she is carrion too, and common into the bargain. Would you beat a ground for game in the afternoon, when my lord mayor's pack had been before you in the morning?

Wood. I had rather sit five hours at one of his greasy feasts, then hear you talk.

Pleas. Your two mistresses keep both shop and warehouse; and what they cannot put off in gross, to the keeper and the husband, they sell by retail to the next chance-customer. Come, are you edified?

Wood. I am considering how to thank you for your homily; and, to make a sober application of it, you may have some laudable design yourself in this advice.

Pleas. Meaning, some secret inclination to that amiable person of yours?

Wood. I confess, I am vain enough to hope it; for why should you remove the two dishes, but to make me fall more hungrily on the third?

Pleas. Perhaps, indeed, in the way of honour—

Wood. Paw, paw! that word honour has almost turned my stomach: it carries a villainous interpretation of matrimony along with it. But, in a civil way, I could be content to deal with you, as the church does with the heads of your fanatics, offer you a lusty benefice to stop your mouth; if fifty 080 guineas, and a courtesy more worth, will win you.

Pleas. Out upon thee! fifty guineas! Dost thou think I'll sell myself? And at a playhouse price too? Whenever I go, I go all together: No cutting from the whole piece; he who has me shall have the fag-end with the rest, I warrant him. Be satisfied, thy sheers shall never enter into my cloth. But, look to thyself, thou impudent belswagger: I will he revenged; I will.

Wood. The maid will give warning, that is my comfort; for she is bribed on my side. I have another kind of love to this girl, than to either of the other two; but a fanatic's daughter, and the noose of matrimony, are such intolerable terms! O, here she comes, who will sell me better cheap.

SCENE opens to Brainsick's Apartment.

Enter Mrs Brainsick.

Mrs Brain. How now, sir? what impudence is this of yours, to approach my lodgings?

Wood. You lately honoured mine; and it is the part of a well-bred man, to return your visit.

Mrs Brain. If I could have imagined how base a fellow you had been, you should not then have been troubled with my company.

Wood. How could I guess, that you intended me the favour, without first acquainting me?

Mrs Brain. Could I do it, ungrateful as you are, with more obligation to you, or more hazard to myself, than by putting my note into your glove?

Wood. Was it yours, then? I believed it came from Mrs Tricksy.

Mrs Brain. You wished it so; which made you so easily believe it. I heard the pleasant dialogue betwixt you.

Wood. I am glad you did; for you could not but observe, with how much care I avoided all occasions 081 of railing at you; to which she urged me, like a malicious woman, as she was.

Mrs Brain. By the same token, you vowed and swore never to look on Mrs Brainsick!

Wood. But I had my mental reservations in a readiness. I had vowed fidelity to you before; and there went my second oath, i'faith: it vanished in a twinkling, and never gnawed my conscience in the least.

Mrs Brain. Well, I shall never heartily forgive you.

Jud. [Within.] Mr Brainsick, Mr Brainsick, what do you mean, to make my lady lose her game thus? Pray, come back, and take up her cards again.

Mrs Brain. My husband, as I live! Well, for all my quarrel to you, step immediately into that little dark closet: it is for my private occasions; there is no lock, but he will not stay.

Wood. Thus am I ever tantalized![Goes in.

Enter Brainsick.

Brain. What, am I become your drudge? your slave? the property of all your pleasures? Shall I, the lord and master of your life, become subservient; and the noble name of husband be dishonoured? No, though all the cards were kings and queens, and Indies to be gained by every deal—

Mrs Brain. My dear, I am coming to do my duty. I did but go up a little, (I whispered you for what) and am returning immediately.

Brain. Your sex is but one universal ordure, a nuisance, and incumbrance of that majestic creature, man: yet I myself am mortal too. Nature's necessities have called me up; produce your utensil of urine.

Mrs Brain. It is not in the way, child: You may go down into the garden.

082 Brain. The voyage is too far: though the way were paved with pearls and diamonds, every step of mine is precious, as the march of monarchs.

Mrs Brain. Then my steps, which are not so precious, shall be employed for you: I will call up Judith.

Brain. I will not dance attendance. At the present, your closet shall be honoured.

Mrs Brain. O lord, dear, it is not worthy to receive such a man as you are.

Brain. Nature presses; I am in haste.

Mrs Brain. He must be discovered, and I unavoidably undone![Aside.
[Brainsick goes to the door, and Woodall meets him: She shrieks out.

Brain. Monsieur Woodall!

Wood. Sir, begone, and make no noise, or you will spoil all.

Brain. Spoil all, quotha! what does he mean, in the name of wonder?

Wood. [Taking him aside.] Hark you, Mr Brainsick, is the devil in you, that you and your wife come hither, to disturb my intrigue, which you yourself engaged me in, with Mrs Tricksy, to revenge you on Limberham? Why, I had made an appointment with her here; but, hearing somebody come up, I retired into the closet, till I was satisfied it was not the keeper.

Brain. But why this intrigue in my wife's chamber?

Wood. Why, you turn my brains, with talking to me of your wife's chamber! do you lie in common? the wife and husband, the keeper and the mistress?

Mrs Brain. I am afraid they are quarrelling; pray heaven I get off.

Brain. Once again, I am the sultan of this place: Mr Limberham is the mogul of the next mansion.

Wood. Though I am a stranger in the house, it 083 is impossible I should be so much mistaken: I say, this is Limberham's lodging.

Brain. You would not venture a wager of ten pounds, that you are not mistaken?

Wood. It is done: I will lay you.

Brain. Who shall be judge?

Wood. Who better than your wife? She cannot be partial, because she knows not on which side you have laid.

Brain. Content.—Come hither, lady mine: Whose lodgings are these? who is lord, and grand seignior of them?

Mrs Brain. [Aside.] Oh, goes it there?—Why should you ask me such a question, when every body in the house can tell they are 'nown dear's?

Brain. Now are you satisfied? Children and fools, you know the proverb—

Wood. Pox on me! nothing but such a positive coxcomb as I am, would have laid his money upon such odds; as if you did not know your own lodgings better than I, at half a day's warning! And that which vexes me more than the loss of my money, is the loss of my adventure!

Brain. It shall be spent: We will have a treat with it. This is a fool of the first magnitude.

Mrs Brain. Let my own dear alone, to find a fool out.

Enter Limberham.

Limb. Bully Brainsick, Pug has sent me to you on an embassy, to bring you down to cards again; she is in her mulligrubs already; she will never forgive you the last vol you won. It is but losing a little to her, out of complaisance, as they say, to a fair lady; and whatever she wins, I will make up to you again in private.

Brain. I would not be that slave you are, to enjoy 084 the treasures of the east. The possession of Peru, and of Potosi, should not buy me to the bargain.

Limb. Will you leave your perboles, and come then?

Brain. No; for I have won a wager, to be spent luxuriously at Long's; with Pleasance of the party, and Termagant Tricksy; and I will pass, in person, to the preparation: Come, matrimony.
[Exeunt Brainsick, Mrs Brain.

Enter Saintly, and Pleasance.

Pleas. To him: I'll second you: now for mischief!

Saint. Arise, Mr Limberham, arise; for conspiracies are hatched against you, and a new Faux is preparing to blow up your happiness.

Limb. What is the matter, landlady? Pr'ythee, speak good honest English, and leave thy canting.

Saint. Verily, thy beloved is led astray, by the young man Woodall, that vessel of uncleanness: I beheld them communing together; she feigned herself sick, and retired to her tent in the garden-house; and I watched her out-going, and behold he followed her.

Pleas. Do you stand unmoved, and hear all this?

Limb. Before George, I am thunder-struck!

Saint. Take to thee thy resolution, and avenge thyself.

Limb. But give me leave to consider first: A man must do nothing rashly.

Pleas. I could tear out the villain's eyes, for dishonouring you, while you stand considering, as you call it. Are you a man, and suffer this?

Limb. Yes, I am a man; but a man's but a man, you know: I am recollecting myself, how these things can be.

085 Saint. How they can be! I have heard them; I have seen them.

Limb. Heard them, and seen them! It may be so; but yet I cannot enter into this same business: I am amazed, I must confess; but the best is, I do not believe one word of it.

Saint. Make haste, and thine own eyes shall testify against her.

Limb. Nay, if my own eyes testify, it may be so:—but it is impossible, however; for I am making a settlement upon her, this very day.

Pleas. Look, and satisfy yourself, ere you make that settlement on so false a creature.

Limb. But yet, if I should look, and not find her false, then I must cast in another hundred, to make her satisfaction.

Pleas. Was there ever such a meek, hen-hearted creature!

Saint. Verily, thou has not the spirit of a cock-chicken.

Limb. Before George, but I have the spirit of a lion, and I will tear her limb from limb—if I could believe it.

Pleas. Love, jealousy, and disdain, how they torture me at once! and this insensible creature—were I but in his place—[To him.] Think, that this very instant she is yours no more: Now, now she is giving up herself, with so much violence of love, that if thunder roared, she could not hear it.

Limb. I have been whetting all this while: They shall be so taken in the manner, that Mars and Venus shall be nothing to them.

Pleas. Make haste; go on then.

Limb. Yes, I will go on;—and yet my mind misgives me plaguily.

Saint. Again backsliding!

Pleas. Have you no sense of honour in you?

086 Limb. Well, honour is honour, and I must go: But I shall never get me such another Pug again! O, my heart! my poor tender heart! it is just breaking with Pug's unkindness!
[They drag him out.

SCENE II.—Woodall and Tricksy discovered in the Garden-house.

Enter Gervase to them.

Gerv. Make haste, and save yourself, sir; the enemy's at hand: I have discovered him from the corner, where you set me sentry.

Wood. Who is it?

Gerv. Who should it be, but Limberham? armed with a two-hand fox. O Lord, O Lord!

Trick. Enter quickly into the still-house, both of you, and leave me to him: There is a spring-lock within, to open it when we are gone.

Wood. Well, I have won the party and revenge, however: A minute longer, and I had won the tout.
[They go in: She locks the Door.

Enter Limberham, with a great Sword.

Limb. Disloyal Pug!

Trick. What humour is this? you are drunk, it seems: Go sleep.

Limb. Thou hast robbed me of my repose for ever: I am like Macbeth, after the death of good king Duncan; methinks a voice says to me,—Sleep no more; Tricksy has murdered sleep.

Trick. Now I find it: You are willing to save your settlement, and are sent by some of your wise counsellors, to pick a quarrel with me.

Limb. I have been your cully above these seven years; but, at last, my eyes are opened to your witchcraft; and indulgent heaven has taken care 087 of my preservation. In short, madam, I have found you out; and, to cut off preambles, produce your adulterer.

Trick. If I have any, you know him best: You are the only ruin of my reputation. But if I have dishonoured my family, for the love of you, methinks you should be the last man to upbraid me with it.

Limb. I am sure you are of the family of your abominable great grandam Eve; but produce the man, or, by my father's soul—

Trick. Still I am in the dark.

Limb. Yes, you have been in the dark; I know it: But I shall bring you to light immediately.

Trick. You are not jealous?

Limb. No; I am too certain to be jealous: But you have a man here, that shall be nameless; let me see him.

Trick. Oh, if that be your business, you had best search: And when you have wearied yourself, and spent your idle humour, you may find me above, in my chamber, and come to ask my pardon.

Limb. You may go, madam; but I shall beseech your ladyship to leave the key of the still-house door behind you: I have a mind to some of the sweet-meats you have locked up there; you understand me. Now, for the old dog-trick! you have lost the key, I know already, but I am prepared for that; you shall know you have no fool to deal with.

Trick. No; here is the key: Take it, and satisfy your foolish curiosity.

Limb. [Aside.] This confidence amazes me! If those two gipsies have abused me, and I should not find him there now, this would make an immortal quarrel.

Trick. [Aside.] I have put him to a stand.

088 Limb. Hang it, it is no matter; I will be satisfied: If it comes to a rupture, I know the way to buy my peace. Pug, produce the key.

Trick. [Takes him about the neck.] My dear, I have it for you: come, and kiss me. Why would you be so unkind to suspect my faith now! when I have forsaken all the world for you.—[Kiss again.] But I am not in the mood of quarrelling to-night; I take this jealousy the best way, as the effect of your passion. Come up, and we will go to bed together, and be friends.
[Kiss again.

Limb. [Aside.] Pug is in a pure humour to-night, and it would vex a man to lose it; but yet I must be satisfied:—and therefore, upon mature consideration, give me the key.

Trick. You are resolved, then?

Limb. Yes, I am resolved; for I have sworn to myself by Styx; and that is an irrevocable oath.

Trick. Now, see your folly: There's the key. [Gives it him.

Limb. Why, that is a loving Pug; I will prove thee innocent immediately: And that will put an end to all controversies betwixt us.

Trick. Yes, it shall put an end to all our quarrels: Farewell for the last time, sir. Look well upon my face, that you may remember it; for, from this time forward, I have sworn it irrevocably too, that you shall never see it more.

Limb. Nay, but hold a little, Pug. What's the meaning of this new commotion?

Trick. No more; but satisfy your foolish fancy, for you are master: and, besides, I am willing to be justified.

Limb. Then you shall be justified. [Puts the Key in the Door.

Trick. I know I shall: Farewell.

Limb. But, are you sure you shall?

089 Trick. No, no, he is there: You'll find him up in the chimney, or behind the door; or, it may be, crowded into some little galley-pot.

Limb. But you will not leave me, if I should look?

Trick. You are not worthy my answer: I am gone. [Going out.

Limb. Hold, hold, divine Pug, and let me recollect a little.—This is no time for meditation neither: while I deliberate, she may be gone. She must be innocent, or she could never be so confident and careless.—Sweet Pug, forgive me.

Trick. I am provoked too far.

Limb. It is the property of a goddess to forgive. Accept of this oblation; with this humble kiss, I here present it to thy fair hand: I conclude thee innocent without looking, and depend wholly upon thy mercy.
[Offers the Key.

Trick. No, keep it, keep it: the lodgings are your own.

Limb. If I should keep it, I were unworthy of forgiveness: I will no longer hold this fatal instrument of our separation.

Trick. [Taking it.] Rise, sir: I will endeavour to overcome my nature, and forgive you; for I am so scrupulously nice in love, that it grates my very soul to be suspected: Yet, take my counsel, and satisfy yourself.

Limb. I would not be satisfied, to be possessor of Potosi, as my brother Brainsick says. Come to bed, dear Pug.—Now would not I change my condition, to be an eastern monarch!

Enter Woodall and Gervase.

Gerv. O lord, sir, are we alive!

Wood. Alive! why, we were never in any danger: Well, she is a rare manager of a fool!

090 Gerv. Are you disposed yet to receive good counsel? Has affliction wrought upon you?

Wood. Yes, I must ask thy advice in a most important business. I have promised a charity to Mrs Saintly, and she expects it with a beating heart a-bed: Now, I have at present no running cash to throw away; my ready money is all paid to Mrs Tricksy, and the bill is drawn upon me for to-night.

Gerv. Take advice of your pillow.

Wood. No, sirrah; since you have not the grace to offer yours, I will for once make use of my authority and command you to perform the foresaid drudgery in my place.

Gerv. Zookers, I cannot answer it to my conscience.

Wood. Nay, an your conscience can suffer you to swear, it shall suffer you to lie too: I mean in this sense. Come, no denial, you must do it; she is rich, and there is a provision for your life.

Gerv. I beseech you, sir, have pity on my soul.

Wood. Have you pity of your body: There is all the wages you must expect.

Gerv. Well, sir, you have persuaded me: I will arm my conscience with a resolution of making her an honourable amends by marriage; for to-morrow morning a parson shall authorise my labours, and turn fornication into duty. And, moreover, I will enjoin myself, by way of penance, not to touch her for seven nights after.

Wood. Thou wert predestinated for a husband, I see, by that natural instinct: As we walk, I will instruct thee how to behave thyself, with secrecy and silence.

Gerv. I have a key of the garden, to let us out the back-way into the street, and so privately to our lodging.

Wood. 'Tis well: I will plot the rest of my affairs 091 a-bed; for it is resolved that Limberham shall not wear horns alone: and I am impatient till I add to my trophy the spoils of Brainsick.


Enter Woodall and Judith.

Jud. Well, you are a lucky man! Mrs Brainsick is fool enough to believe you wholly innocent; and that the adventure of the garden-house, last night, was only a vision of Mrs Saintly's.

Wood. I knew, if I could once speak with her, all would be set right immediately; for, had I been there, look you—

Jud. As you were, most certainly.

Wood. Limberham must have found me out; that fe-fa-fum of a keeper would have smelt the blood of a cuckold-maker: They say, he was peeping and butting about in every cranny.

Jud. But one. You must excuse my unbelief, though Mrs Brainsick is better satisfied. She and her husband, you know, went out this morning to the New Exchange: There she has given him the slip; and pretending to call at her tailor's to try her stays for a new gown—

Wood. I understand thee;—she fetched me a short turn, like a hare before her muse, and will immediately run hither to covert?

Jud. Yes; but because your chamber will be least suspicious, she appoints to meet you there; that, if her husband should come back, he may think her still abroad, and you may have time—

Wood. To take in the horn-work. It happens as I wish; for Mrs Tricksy, and her keeper, are gone out with father Aldo, to complete her settlement; my landlady is safe at her morning exercise with 092 my man Gervase, and her daughter not stirring: the house is our own, and iniquity may walk bare-faced.

Jud. And, to make all sure, I am ordered to be from home. When I come back again, I shall knock at your door, with,
Speak, brother, speak;[Singing.
Is the deed done?

Wood. Long ago, long ago;—and then we come panting out together. Oh, I am ravished with the imagination on't!

Jud. Well, I must retire; good-morrow to you, sir.[Exit.

Wood. Now do I humbly conceive, that this mistress in matrimony will give me more pleasure than the former; for your coupled spaniels, when they are once let loose, are afterwards the highest rangers.

Enter Mrs Brainsick, running.

Mrs Brain. Oh dear Mr Woodall, what shall I do?

Wood. Recover breath, and I'll instruct you in the next chamber.

Mrs Brain. But my husband follows me at heels.

Wood. Has he seen you?

Mrs Brain. I hope not: I thought I had left him sure enough at the Exchange; but, looking behind me, as I entered into the house, I saw him walking a round rate this way.

Wood. Since he has not seen you, there is no danger; you need but step into my chamber, and there we will lock ourselves up, and transform him in a twinkling.

Mrs Brain. I had rather have got into my own; but Judith is gone out with the key, I doubt.

Wood. Yes, by your appointment. But so much 093 the better; for when the cuckold finds no company, he will certainly go a sauntering again.

Mrs Brain. Make haste, then.

Wood. Immediately.—[Goes to open the Door hastily, and breaks his Key.] What is the matter here? the key turns round, and will not open! As I live, we are undone! with too much haste it is broken!

Mrs Brain. Then I am lost; for I cannot enter into my own.

Wood. This next room is Limberham's. See! the door's open; and he and his mistress are both abroad.

Mrs Brain. There is no remedy, I must venture in; for his knowing I am come back so soon, must be cause of jealousy enough, if the fool should find me.

Wood. [Looking in.] See there! Mrs Tricksy has left her Indian gown upon the bed; clap it on, and turn your back: he will easily mistake you for her, if he should look in upon you.

Mrs Brain. I will put on my vizor-mask, however, for more security. [Noise.] Hark! I hear him.
[Goes in.

Enter Brainsick.

Brain. What, in a musty musing, monsieur Woodall! Let me enter into the affair.

Wood. You may guess it, by the post I have taken up.

Brain. O, at the door of the damsel Tricksy! your business is known by your abode; as the posture of a porter before a gate, denotes to what family he belongs. [Looks in.] It is an assignation, I see; for yonder she stands, with her back toward me, drest up for the duel, with all the ornaments of the east. Now for the judges of the field, to 094 divide the sun and wind betwixt the combatants, and a tearing trumpeter to sound the charge.

Wood. It is a private quarrel, to be decided without seconds; and therefore you would do me a favour to withdraw.

Brain. Your Limberham is nearer than you imagine: I left him almost entering at the door.

Wood. Plague of all impertinent cuckolds! they are ever troublesome to us honest lovers: so intruding!

Brain. They are indeed, where their company is not desired.

Wood. Sure he has some tutelar devil to guard his brows! just when she had bobbed him, and made an errand home, to come to me!

Brain. It is unconscionably done of him. But you shall not adjourn your love for this: the Brainsick has an ascendant over him; I am your guarantee; he is doomed a cuckold, in disdain of destiny.

Wood. What mean you?

Brain. To stand before the door with my brandished blade, and defend the entrance: He dies upon the point, if he approaches.

Wood. If I durst trust it, it is heroic.

Brain. It is the office of a friend: I will do it.

Wood. [Aside.] Should he know hereafter his wife were here, he would think I had enjoyed her, though I had not; it is best venturing for something. He takes pains enough, on conscience, for his cuckoldom; and, by my troth, has earned it fairly.—But, may a man venture upon your promise?

Brain. Bars of brass, and doors of adamant, could not more secure you.

Wood. I know it; but still gentle means are best: 095 You may come to force at last. Perhaps you may wheedle him away: it is but drawing a trope or two upon him.

Brain. He shall have it, with all the artillery of eloquence.

Wood. Ay, ay; your figure breaks no bones. With your good leave.— [Goes in.

Brain. Thou hast it, boy. Turn to him, madam; to her Woodall: and St George for merry England. Tan ta ra ra ra, ra ra! Dub, a dub, dub; Tan ta ra ra ra.

Enter Limberham.

Limb. How now, bully Brainsick! What, upon the Tan ta ra, by yourself?

Brain. Clangor, taratantara, murmur.

Limb. Commend me to honest lingua Franca. Why, this is enough to stun a Christian, with your Hebrew, and your Greek, and such like Latin.

Brain. Out, ignorance!

Limb. Then ignorance, by your leave; for I must enter. [Attempts to pass.

Brain. Why in such haste? the fortune of Greece depends not on it.

Limb. But Pug's fortune does: that is dearer to me than Greece, and sweeter than ambergrease.

Brain. You will not find her here. Come, you are jealous; you are haunted with a raging fiend, that robs you of your sweet repose.

Limb. Nay, an you are in your perbole's again! Look you, it is Pug is jealous of her jewels: she has left the key of her cabinet behind, and has desired me to bring it back to her.

Brain. Poor fool! he little thinks she is here before him!—Well, this pretence will never pass on me; for I dive deeper into your affairs; you are 096 jealous. But, rather than my soul should be concerned for a sex so insignificant—Ha! the gods! If I thought my proper wife were now within, and prostituting all her treasures to the lawless love of an adulterer, I would stand as intrepid, as firm, and as unmoved, as the statue of a Roman gladiator.

Limb. [In the same tone.] Of a Roman gladiator!—Now are you as mad as a March hare; but I am in haste, to return to Pug: yet, by your favour, I will first secure the cabinet.

Brain. No, you must not.

Limb. Must not? What, may not a man come by you, to look upon his own goods and chattels, in his own chamber?

Brain. No; with this sabre I defy the destinies, and dam up the passage with my person; like a rugged rock, opposed against the roaring of the boisterous billows. Your jealousy shall have no course through me, though potentates and princes—

Limb. Pr'ythee, what have we to do with potentates and princes? Will you leave your troping, and let me pass?

Brain. You have your utmost answer.

Limb. If this maggot bite a little deeper, we shall have you a citizen of Bethlem yet, ere dog-days. Well, I say little; but I will tell Pug on it.

Brain. She knows it already, by your favour— [Knocking.
Sound a retreat, you lusty lovers, or the enemy will charge you in the flank, with a fresh reserve: March off, march off upon the spur, ere he can reach you.

097 Enter Woodall.

Wood. How now, baron Tell-clock[12], is the passage clear?

Brain. Clear as a level, without hills or woods, and void of ambuscade.

Wood. But Limberham will return immediately, when he finds not his mistress where he thought he left her.

Brain. Friendship, which has done much, will yet do more. [Shows a key.] With this passe par tout, I will instantly conduct her to my own chamber, that she may out-face the keeper, she has been there; and, when my wife returns, who is my slave, I will lay my conjugal commands upon her, to affirm, they have been all this time together.

Wood. I shall never make you amends for this kindness, my dear Padron. But would it not be better, if you would take the pains to run after Limberham, and stop him in his way ere he reach the place where he thinks he left his mistress; then hold him in discourse as long as possibly you can, till you guess your wife may be returned, that so they may appear together?

Brain. I warrant you: laissez faire a Marc Antoine.[Exit.

Wood. Now, madam, you may venture out in safety.

098 Mrs Brain. [Entering.] Pray heaven I may. [Noise.

Wood. Hark! I hear Judith's voice: it happens well that she's returned: slip into your chamber immediately, and send back the gown.

Mrs Brain. I will:—but are not you a wicked man, to put me into all this danger? [Exit.

Wood. Let what can happen, my comfort is, at least, I have enjoyed. But this is no place for consideration. Be jogging, good Mr Woodall, out of this family, while you are well; and go plant in some other country, where your virtues are not so famous.

Enter Tricksy, with a box of writings.

Trick. What, wandering up and down, as if you wanted an owner? Do you know that I am lady of the manor; and that all wefts and strays belong to me?

Wood. I have waited for you above an hour; but friar Bacon's head has been lately speaking to me,—that time is past. In a word, your keeper has been here, and will return immediately; we must defer our happiness till some more favourable time.

Trick. I fear him not; he has this morning armed me against himself, by this settlement; the next time he rebels, he gives me a fair occasion of leaving him for ever.

Wood. But is this conscience in you? not to let him have his bargain, when he has paid so dear for it?

Trick. You do not know him: he must perpetually be used ill, or he insults. Besides, I have gained an absolute dominion over him: he must not see, when I bid him wink. If you argue after this, either you love me not, or dare not.

Wood. Go in, madam: I was never dared before. 099 I'll but scout a little, and follow you immediately. [Trick. goes in.] I find a mistress is only kept for other men: and the keeper is but her man in a green livery, bound to serve a warrant for the doe, whenever she pleases, or is in season.

Enter Judith, with the Night-gown.

Jud. Still you're a lucky man! Mr Brainsick has been exceeding honourable: he ran, as if a legion of bailiffs had been at his heels, and overtook Limberham in the street. Here, take the gown; lay it where you found it, and the danger's over.

Wood. Speak softly; Mrs Tricksy is returned. [Looks in.] Oh, she's gone into her closet, to lay up her writings: I can throw it on the bed, ere she perceive it has been wanting.
[Throws it in.

Jud. Every woman would not have done this for you, which I have done.

Wood. I am sensible of it, little Judith; there's a time to come shall pay for all. I hear her returning: not a word; away.
[Exit Judith.

Re-enter Tricksy.

Trick. What, is a second summons needful? my favours have not been so cheap, that they should stick upon my hands. It seems, you slight your bill of fare, because you know it; or fear to be invited to your loss.

Wood. I was willing to secure my happiness from interruption. A true soldier never falls upon the plunder, while the enemy is in the field.

Trick. He has been so often baffled, that he grows contemptible. Were he here, should he see you enter into my closet; yet—

Wood. You are like to be put upon the trial, for I hear his voice.

Trick. 'Tis so: go in, and mark the event now: 100 be but as unconcerned, as you are safe, and trust him to my management.

Wood. I must venture it; because to be seen here would have the same effect, as to be taken within. Yet I doubt you are too confident.
[He goes in.

Enter Limberham and Brainsick.

Limb. How now, Pug? returned so soon!

Trick. When I saw you came not for me, I was loth to be long without you.

Limb. But which way came you, that I saw you not?

Trick. The back way; by the garden door.

Limb. How long have you been here?

Trick. Just come before you.

Limb. O, then all's well. For, to tell you true, Pug, I had a kind of villainous apprehension that you had been here longer: but whatever thou sayest is an oracle, sweet Pug, and I am satisfied.

Brain. [Aside.] How infinitely she gulls him! and he so stupid not to find it! [To her.] If he be still within, madam, (you know my meaning?) here's Bilbo ready to forbid your keeper entrance.

Trick. [Aside.] Woodall must have told him of our appointment.—What think you of walking down, Mr Limberham?

Limb. I'll but visit the chamber a little first.

Trick. What new maggot's this? you dare not, sure, be jealous!

Limb. No, I protest, sweet Pug, I am not: only to satisfy my curiosity; that's but reasonable, you know.

Trick. Come, what foolish curiosity?

Limb. You must know, Pug, I was going but just now, in obedience to your commands, to enquire of the health and safety of your jewels, and my brother Brainsick most barbarously forbade me entrance:—nay, 101 I dare accuse you, when Pug's by to back me;—but now I am resolved I will go see them, or somebody shall smoke for it.

Brain. But I resolve you shall not. If she pleases to command my person, I can comply with the obligation of a cavalier.

Trick. But what reason had you to forbid him, then, sir?

Limb. Ay, what reason had you to forbid me, then, sir?

Brain. 'Twas only my caprichio, madam.—Now must I seem ignorant of what she knows full well.

Trick. We'll enquire the cause at better leisure; come down, Mr Limberham.

Limb. Nay, if it were only his caprichio, I am satisfied; though I must tell you, I was in a kind of huff, to hear him Tan ta ra, tan ta ra, a quarter of an hour together; for Tan ta ra is but an odd kind of sound, you know, before a man's chamber.

Enter Pleasance.

Pleas. [Aside.] Judith has assured me, he must be there; and, I am resolved, I'll satisfy my revenge at any rate upon my rivals.

Trick. Mrs Pleasance is come to call us: pray let us go.

Pleas. Oh dear, Mr Limberham, I have had the dreadfullest dream to-night, and am come to tell it you: I dreamed you left your mistress's jewels in your chamber, and the door open.

Limb. In good time be it spoken; and so I did, Mrs Pleasance.

Pleas. And that a great swinging thief came in, and whipt them out.

Limb. Marry, heaven forbid!

Trick. This is ridiculous: I'll speak to your mother, 102 madam, not to suffer you to eat such heavy suppers.

Limb. Nay, that's very true; for, you may remember she fed very much upon larks and pigeons; and they are very heavy meat, as Pug says.

Trick. The jewels are all safe; I looked on them.

Brain. Will you never stand corrected, Mrs Pleasance?

Pleas. Not by you; correct your matrimony.—And methought, of a sudden this thief was turned to Mr Woodall; and that, hearing Mr Limberham come, he slipt for fear into the closet.

Trick. I looked all over it; I'm sure he is not there.—Come away, dear.

Brain. What, I think you are in a dream too, brother Limberham.

Limb. If her dream should come out now! 'tis good to be sure, however.

Trick. You are sure; have not I said it?—You had best make Mr Woodall a thief, madam.

Pleas. I make him nothing, madam: but the thief in my dream was like Mr Woodall; and that thief may have made Mr Limberham something.

Limb. Nay, Mr Woodall is no thief, that's certain; but if a thief should be turned to Mr Woodall, that may be something.

Trick. Then I'll fetch out the jewels: will that satisfy you?

Brain. That shall satisfy him.

Limb. Yes, that shall satisfy me.

Pleas. Then you are a predestinated fool, and somewhat worse, that shall be nameless. Do you not see how grossly she abuses you? my life on't, there's somebody within, and she knows it; otherwise she would suffer you to bring out the jewels.

Limb. Nay, I am no predestinated fool; and therefore, Pug, give way.

103 Trick. I will not satisfy your humour.

Limb. Then I will satisfy it myself: for my generous blood is up, and I'll force my entrance.

Brain. Here's Bilbo, then, shall bar you; atoms are not so small, as I will slice the slave. Ha! fate and furies!

Limb. Ay, for all your fate and furies, I charge you, in his majesty's name, to keep the peace: now, disobey authority, if you dare.

Trick. Fear him not, sweet Mr Brainsick.

Pleas. to Brain. But, if you should hinder him, he may trouble you at law, sir, and say you robbed him of his jewels.

Limb. That is well thought on. I will accuse him heinously; there—and therefore fear and tremble.

Brain. My allegiance charms me: I acquiesce. The occasion is plausible to let him pass.—Now let the burnished beams upon his brow blaze broad, for the brand he cast upon the Brainsick.

Trick. Dear Mr Limberham, come back, and hear me.

Limb. Yes, I will hear thee, Pug.

Pleas. Go on; my life for yours, he is there.

Limb. I am deaf as an adder; I will not hear thee, nor have no commiseration.
[Struggles from her, and rushes in.

Trick. Then I know the worst, and care not. [Limberham comes running out with the Jewels, followed by Woodall, with his Sword drawn.

Limb. O save me, Pug, save me! [Gets behind her.

Wood. A slave, to come and interrupt me at my devotions! but I will—

Limb. Hold, hold, since you are so devout; for heaven's sake, hold!

104 Brain. Nay, monsieur Woodall!

Trick. For my sake, spare him.

Limb. Yes, for Pug's sake, spare me.

Wood. I did his chamber the honour, when my own was not open, to retire thither; and he to disturb me, like a profane rascal as he was.

Limb. [Aside.] I believe he had the devil for his chaplain, an' a man durst tell him so.

Wood. What is that you mutter?

Limb. Nay, nothing; but that I thought you had not been so well given. I was only afraid of Pug's jewels.

Wood. What, does he take me for a thief? nay then—

Limb. O mercy, mercy!

Pleas. Hold, sir; it was a foolish dream of mine that set him on. I dreamt, a thief, who had been just reprieved for a former robbery, was venturing his neck a minute after in Mr Limberham's closet.

Wood. Are you thereabouts, i'faith! A pox of Artemidorus[13].

Trick. I have had a dream, too, concerning Mrs Brainsick, and perhaps—

Wood. Mrs Tricksy, a word in private with you, by your keeper's leave.

Limb. Yes, sir, you may speak your pleasure to her; and, if you have a mind to go to prayers together, the closet is open.

Wood. [To Trick.] You but suspect it at most, and cannot prove it: if you value me, you will not engage me in a quarrel with her husband.

105 Trick. Well, in hope you will love me, I will obey.

Brain. Now, damsel Tricksy, your dream, your dream!

Trick. It was something of a flagelet, that a shepherd played upon so sweetly, that three women followed him for his music, and still one of them snatched it from the other.

Pleas. [Aside.] I understand her; but I find she is bribed to secrecy.

Limb. That flagelet was, by interpretation,—but let that pass; and Mr Woodall, there, was the shepherd, that played the tan ta ra upon it: but a generous heart, like mine, will endure the infamy no longer; therefore, Pug, I banish thee for ever.

Trick. Then farewell.

Limb. Is that all you make of me?

Trick. I hate to be tormented with your jealous humours, and am glad to be rid of them.

Limb. Bear witness, good people, of her ingratitude! Nothing vexes me, but that she calls me jealous; when I found him as close as a butterfly in her closet.

Trick. No matter for that; I knew not he was there.

Limb. Would I could believe thee!

Wood. You have both our words for it.

Trick. Why should you persuade him against his will?

Limb. Since you won't persuade me, I care not much; here are the jewels in my possession, and I'll fetch out the settlement immediately.

Wood. [Shewing the Box.] Look you, sir, I'll spare your pains; four hundred a-year will serve to comfort a poor cast mistress.

Limb. I thought what would come of your devil's pater nosters!

106 Brain. Restore it to him for pity, Woodall.

Trick. I make him my trustee; he shall not restore it.

Limb. Here are jewels, that cost me above two thousand pounds; a queen might wear them. Behold this orient necklace, Pug! 'tis pity any neck should touch it, after thine, that pretty neck! but oh, 'tis the falsest neck that e'er was hanged in pearl.

Wood. 'Twould become your bounty to give it her at parting.

Limb. Never the sooner for your asking. But oh, that word parting! can I bear it? if she could find in her heart but so much grace, as to acknowledge what a traitress she has been, I think, in my conscience I could forgive her.

Trick. I'll not wrong my innocence so much, nor this gentleman's; but, since you have accused us falsely, four hundred a-year betwixt us two will make us some part of reparation.

Wood. I answer you not, but with my leg, madam.

Pleas. [Aside.] This mads me; but I cannot help it.

Limb. What, wilt thou kill me, Pug, with thy unkindness, when thou knowest I cannot live without thee? It goes to my heart, that this wicked fellow—

Wood. How's that, sir?

Limb. Under the rose, good Mr Woodall; but, I speak it with all submission, in the bitterness of my spirit, that you, or any man, should have the disposing of my four hundred a-year gratis; therefore dear Pug, a word in private, with your permission, good Mr Woodall.

107 Trick. Alas, I know, by experience, I may safely trust my person with you. [Exeunt Limb. and Trick.

Enter Aldo.

Pleas. O, father Aldo, we have wanted you! Here has been made the rarest discovery!

Brain. With the most comical catastrophe!

Wood. Happily arrived, i'faith, my old sub-fornicator; I have been taken up on suspicion here with Mrs Tricksy.

Aldo. To be taken, to be seen! Before George, that's a point next the worst, son Woodall.

Wood. Truth is, I wanted thy assistance, old Methusalem; but, my comfort is, I fell greatly.

Aldo. Well, young Phæton, that's somewhat yet, if you made a blaze at your departure.

Enter Giles, Mrs Brainsick, and Judith.

Giles. By your leave, gentlemen, I have followed an old master of mine these two long hours, and had a fair course at him up the street; here he entered, I'm sure.

Aldo. Whoop holyday! our trusty and well-beloved Giles, most welcome! Now for some news of my ungracious son.

Wood. [Aside.] Giles here! O rogue, rogue! Now, would I were safe stowed over head and ears in the chest again.

Aldo. Look you now, son Woodall, I told you I was not mistaken; my rascal's in town, with a vengeance to him.

Giles. Why, this is he, sir; I thought you had known him.

Aldo. Known whom?

Giles. Your son here, my young master.

Aldo. Do I dote? or art thou drunk, Giles?

108 Giles. Nay, I am sober enough, I'm sure; I have been kept fasting almost these two days.

Aldo. Before George, 'tis so! I read it in that leering look: What a Tartar have I caught!

Brain. Woodall his son!

Pleas. What, young father Aldo!

Aldo. [Aside.] Now cannot I for shame hold up my head, to think what this young rogue is privy to!

Mrs Brain. The most dumb interview I ever saw!

Brain. What, have you beheld the Gorgon's head on either side?

Aldo. Oh, my sins! my sins! and he keeps my book of conscience too! He can display them, with a witness! Oh, treacherous young devil!

Wood. [Aside.] Well, the squib's run to the end of the line, and now for the cracker: I must bear up.

Aldo. I must set a face of authority on the matter, for my credit.—Pray, who am I? do you know me, sir?

Wood. Yes, I think I should partly know you, sir: You may remember some private passages betwixt us.

Aldo. [Aside.] I thought as much; he has me already!—But pray, sir, why this ceremony amongst friends? Put on, put on; and let us hear what news from France. Have you heard lately from my son? does he continue still the most hopeful and esteemed young gentleman in Paris? does he manage his allowance with the same discretion? and, lastly, has he still the same respect and duty for his good old father?

Wood. Faith, sir, I have been too long from my catechism, to answer so many questions; but, suppose there be no news of your quondam son, you may comfort up your heart for such a loss; father 109 Aldo has a numerous progeny about the town, heaven bless them.

Aldo. It is very well, sir; I find you have been searching for your relations, then, in Whetstone's Park[14]!

Wood. No, sir; I made some scruple of going to the foresaid place, for fear of meeting my own father there.

Aldo. Before George, I could find in my heart to disinherit thee.

Pleas. Sure you cannot be so unnatural.

Wood. I am sure I am no bastard; witness one good quality I have. If any of your children have a stronger tang of the father in them, I am content to be disowned.

Aldo. Well, from this time forward, I pronounce thee—no son of mine.

Wood. Then you desire I should proceed to justify I am lawfully begotten? The evidence is ready, sir; and, if you please, I shall relate, before this honourable assembly, those excellent lessons of morality you gave me at our first acquaintance. As, in the first place—

Aldo. Hold, hold; I charge thee hold, on thy obedience. I forgive thee heartily: I have proof enough thou art my son; but tame thee that can, thou art a mad one.

Pleas. Why this is as it should be.

Aldo. [To him.] Not a word of any passages betwixt us; it is enough we know each other; hereafter 110 we will banish all pomp and ceremony, and live familiarly together. I'll be Pylades, and thou mad Orestes, and we will divide the estate betwixt us, and have fresh wenches, and ballum rankum every night.

Wood. A match, i'faith: and let the world pass.

Aldo. But hold a little; I had forgot one point: I hope you are not married, nor engaged?

Wood. To nothing but my pleasures, I.

Aldo. A mingle of profit would do well though. Come, here is a girl; look well upon her; it is a mettled toad, I can tell you that: She will make notable work betwixt two sheets, in a lawful way.

Wood. What, my old enemy, Mrs Pleasance!

Mrs Brain. Marry Mrs Saintly's daughter!

Aldo. The truth is, she has past for her daughter, by my appointment; but she has as good blood running in her veins, as the best of you. Her father, Mr Palms, on his death-bed, left her to my care and disposal, besides a fortune of twelve hundred a year; a pretty convenience, by my faith.

Wood. Beyond my hopes, if she consent.

Aldo. I have taken some care of her education, and placed her here with Mrs Saintly, as her daughter, to avoid her being blown upon by fops, and younger brothers. So now, son, I hope I have matched your concealment with my discovery; there is hit for hit, ere I cross the cudgels.

Pleas. You will not take them up, sir?

Wood. I dare not against you, madam: I am sure you will worst me at all weapons. All I can say is, I do not now begin to love you.

Aldo. Let me speak for thee: Thou shalt be used, little Pleasance, like a sovereign princess: Thou shalt not touch a bit of butchers' meat in a twelve-month; and thou shall be treated—

111 Pleas. Not with ballum rankum every night, I hope!

Aldo. Well, thou art a wag; no more of that. Thou shall want neither man's meat, nor woman's meat, as far as his provision will hold out.

Pleas. But I fear he is so horribly given to go a house-warming abroad, that the least part of the provision will come to my share at home.

Wood. You will find me so much employment in my own family, that I shall have little need to look out for journey-work.

Aldo. Before George, he shall do thee reason, ere thou sleepest.

Pleas. No; he shall have an honourable truce for one day at least; for it is not fair to put a fresh enemy upon him.

Mrs Brain. [To Pleas.] I beseech you, madam, discover nothing betwixt him and me.

Pleas. [To her.] I am contented to cancel the old score; but take heed of bringing me an after-reckoning.

Enter Gervase, leading Saintly.

Gerv. Save you, gentlemen; and you, my quondam master: You are welcome all, as I may say.

Aldo. How now, sirrah? what is the matter?

Gerv. Give good words, while you live, sir; your landlord, and Mr Saintly, if you please.

Wood. Oh, I understand the business; he is married to the widow.

Saint. Verily the good work is accomplished.

Brain. But, why Mr Saintly?

Gerv. When a man is married to his betters, it is but decency to take her name. A pretty house, a pretty situation, and prettily furnished! I have been unlawfully labouring at hard duty; but a parson has soldered up the matter: Thank your worship, Mr 112 Woodall—How? Giles here!

Wood. This business is out, and I am now Aldo. My father has forgiven me, and we are friends.

Gerv. When will Giles, with his honesty, come to this?

Wood. Nay, do not insult too much, good Mr Saintly: Thou wert but my deputy; thou knowest the widow intended it to me.

Gerv. But I am satisfied she performed it with me, sir. Well, there is much good will in these precise old women; they are the most zealous bed-fellows! Look, an' she does not blush now! you see there is grace in her.

Wood. Mr Limberham, where are you? Come, cheer up, man! How go matters on your side of the country? Cry him, Gervase.

Gerv. Mr Limberham, Mr Limberham, make your appearance in the court, and save your recognizance.

Enter Limberham and Tricksy.

Wood. Sir, I should now make a speech to you in my own defence; but the short of all is this: If you can forgive what is past, your hand, and I'll endeavour to make up the breach betwixt you and your mistress: If not, I am ready to give you the satisfaction of a gentleman.

Limb. Sir, I am a peaceable man, and a good Christian, though I say it, and desire no satisfaction from any man. Pug and I are partly agreed upon the point already; and therefore lay thy hand upon thy heart, Pug, and, if thou canst, from the bottom of thy soul, defy mankind, naming no body, I'll forgive thy past enormities; and, to give good example to all Christian keepers, will take thee to be my wedded wife; and thy four hundred a-year shall be settled upon thee, for separate maintenance.

113 Trick. Why, now I can consent with honour.

Aldo. This is the first business that was ever made up without me.

Wood. Give you joy, Mr Bridegroom.

Limb. You may spare your breath, sir, if you please; I desire none from you. It is true, I am satisfied of her virtue, in spite of slander; but, to silence calumny, I shall civilly desire you henceforth, not to make a chapel-of-ease of Pug's closet.

Pleas. [Aside.] I'll take care of false worship, I'll warrant him. He shall have no more to do with Bel and the Dragon.

Brain. Come hither, wedlock, and let me seal my lasting love upon thy lips. Saintly has been seduced, and so has Tricksy; but thou alone art kind and constant. Hitherto I have not valued modesty, according to its merit; but hereafter, Memphis shall not boast a monument more firm than my affection.

Wood. A most excellent reformation, and at a most seasonable time! The moral of it is pleasant, if well considered. Now, let us to dinner.—Mrs Saintly, lead the way, as becomes you, in your own house.
[The rest going off.

Pleas. Your hand, sweet moiety.

Wood. And heart too, my comfortable importance.
Mistress and wife, by turns, I have possessed:
He, who enjoys them both in one, is blessed.


  1. The Mahommedan doctrine of predestination is well known. They reconcile themselves to all dispensations, by saying, "They are written on the forehead" of him, to whose lot they have fallen.
  2. The custom of drinking supernaculum, consisted in turning down the cup upon the thumb-nail of the drinker after his pledge, when, if duly quaffed off, no drop of liquor ought to appear upon his nail.

    With that she set it to her nose,

    And off at once the rumkin goes;

    No drops beside her muzzle falling,

    Until that she had supped it all in:

    Then turning't topsey on her thumb,

    Says—look, here's supernaculum.

    Cotton's Virgil travestie.

    This custom seems to have been derived from the Germans, who held, that if a drop appeared on the thumb, it presaged grief and misfortune to the person whose health was drunk.

  3. This piece of dirty gallantry seems to have been fashionable:

    Come, Phyllis, thy finger, to begin the go round;

    How the glass in thy hand with charms does abound!

    You and the wine to each other lend arms,

    And I find that my love

    Does for either improve,

    For that does redouble, as you double your charms.

  4. Dapper, a silly character in Jonson's Alchemist, tricked by an astrologer, who persuades him the queen of fairies is his aunt.
  5. The mask, introduced in the first act of the Maid's Tragedy, ends with the following dialogue betwixt Cinthia and Night:

    Cinthia Whip up thy team,
    The day breaks here, and yon sun-flaring beam
    Shot from the south. Say, which way wilt thou go?

    Night. I'll vanish into mists.

    Cinthia. I into day.

  6. In spring 1677, whilst the treaty of Nimeguen was under discussion, the French took the three important frontier towns, Valenciennes, St Omer, and Cambray. The Spaniards seemed, with the most passive infatuation, to have left the defence of Flanders to the Prince of Orange and the Dutch.
  7. Alluding to the imaginary history of Pine, a merchant's clerk, who, being wrecked on a desert island in the South Seas, bestowed on it his own name, and peopled it by the assistance of his master's daughter and her two maid servants, who had escaped from the wreck by his aid.
  8. Sulli, the famous composer.
  9. It would seem that about this time the French were adopting their present mode of pronunciation, so capriciously distinct from the orthography.
  10. "Queen Dido, or the wandering Prince of Troy," an old ballad, printed in the "Reliques of Ancient Poetry," in which the ghost of queen Dido thus addresses the perfidious Æneas:

    Therefore prepare thy flitting soul,

    To wander with me in the air;

    When deadly grief shall make it howl,

    Because of me thou took'st no care.

    Delay not time, thy glass is run,

    Thy date is past, thy life is done.

  11. Pricking, in hare-hunting, is tracking the foot of the game by the eye, when the scent is lost.
  12. The facetious Tom Brown, in his 2d dialogue on Mr Bayes' changing his religion, introduces our poet saying,

    "Likewise he (Cleveland) having the misfortune to call that domestic animal a cock,

    The Baron Tell-clock of the night,

    I could never, igad, as I came home from the tavern, meet a watchman or so, but I presently asked him, 'Baron Tell-clock of the night, pr'ythee how goes the time?"

  13. Artemidorus, the sophist of Cnidos, was the soothsayer who prophesied the death of Cæsar. Shakespeare has introduced him in his tragedy of "Julius Cæsar."
  14. A common rendezvous of the rakes and bullies of the time; "For when they expected the most polished hero in Nemours, I gave them a ruffian reeking from Whetstone's Park." Dedication to Lee's "Princess of Cleves." In his translation of Ovid's "Love Elegies," Lib. II, Eleg. XIX. Dryden mentions, "an easy Whetstone whore."


I beg a boon, that, ere you all disband,

Some one would take my bargain off my hand:

To keep a punk is but a common evil;

To find her false, and marry,—that's the devil.

Well, I ne'er acted part in all my life,

But still I was fobbed off with some such wife.

I find the trick; these poets take no pity

Of one that is a member of the city.

We cheat you lawfully, and in our trades;

You cheat us basely with your common jades.

Now I am married, I must sit down by it;

But let me keep my dear-bought spouse in quiet.

Let none of you damned Woodalls of the pit,

Put in for shares to mend our breed in wit;

We know your bastards from our flesh and blood,

Not one in ten of yours e'er comes to good.

In all the boys, their fathers' virtues shine,

But all the female fry turn Pugs—like mine.

When these grow up, Lord, with what rampant gadders

Our counters will be thronged, and roads with padders!

This town two bargains has, not worth one farthing,—

A Smithfield horse, and wife of Covent-Garden[1].


  1. Alluding to an old proverb, that whoso goes to Westminster for a wife, to St Paul's for a man, and to Smithfield for a horse, may meet with a whore, a knave, and a jade. Falstaff, on being informed that Bardolph is gone to Smithfield to buy him a horse, observes, "I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in Smithfield; an I could get me but a wife in the stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived." Second Part of Henry IV. Act I. Scene II.




Hi proprium decus et partum indignantur honorem,
Ni teneant


Vos exemplaria Græca
Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurnâ.


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The dreadful subject of this piece has been celebrated by several ancient and modern dramatists. Of seven tragedies of Sophocles which have reached our times, two are founded on the history of Œdipus. The first of these, called "Œdipus Tyrannus," has been extolled by every critic since the days of Aristotle, for the unparalleled art with which the story is managed. The dreadful secret, the existence of which is announced by the pestilence, and by the wrath of the offended deities, seems each moment on the verge of being explained, yet, till the last act, the reader is still held in horrible suspense. Every circumstance, resorted to for the purpose of evincing the falsehood of the oracle, tends gradually to confirm the guilt of Œdipus, and to accelerate the catastrophe; while his own supposed consciousness of innocence, at once interests us in his favour, and precipitates the horrible discovery. Dryden, who arranged the whole plan of the following tragedy, although assisted by Lee in the execution, was fully aware of the merit of the "Œdipus Tyrannus;" and, with the addition of the under-plot of Adrastus and Eurydice, has traced out the events of the drama, in close imitation of Sophocles. The Grecian bard, however, in concurrence with the history or tradition of Greece, has made Œdipus survive the discovery of his unintentional guilt, and reserved him, in blindness and banishment, for the subject of his second tragedy of "Œdipus Coloneus." This may have been well judged, considering that the audience were intimately acquainted with the important scenes which were to follow among the descendants of Œdipus, with the first and second wars against Thebes, and her final conquest by the ancestors of those Athenians, before whom the play was rehearsed, led on by their demi-god Theseus. They were also prepared to receive, with reverence and faith, the belief on which the whole interest turns, that if Œdipus should be restored to Thebes, the vengeance of the gods against the devoted city might be averted; and to applaud his determination to remain on Athenian ground, that the predestined curse might descend on his unnatural sons and ungrateful country. But while the modern reader admires the lofty tone of poetry and high strain of morality which pervades "Œdipus Coloneus," it must appear more natural to his feelings, that the life of 118 the hero, stained with unintentional incest and parricide, should be terminated, as in Dryden's play, upon the discovery of his complicated guilt and wretchedness. Yet there is something awful in the idea of the monarch, blind and exiled, innocent in intention, though so horribly criminal in fact, devoted, as it were, to the infernal deities, and sacred from human power and violence by the very excess of his guilt and misery. The account of the death of Œdipus Coloneus reaches the highest tone of sublimity. While the lightning flashes around him, he expresses the feeling, that his hour is come; and the reader anticipates, that, like Malefort in the "Unnatural Combat," he is to perish by a thunder-bolt. Yet, for the awful catastrophe, which we are artfully led to expect, is substituted a mysterious termination, still more awful. Œdipus arrays himself in splendid apparel, and dismisses his daughters and the attending Athenians. Theseus alone remains with him. The storm subsides, and the attendants return to the place, but Œdipus is there no longer—he had not perished by water, by sword, nor by fire—no one but Theseus knew the manner of his death. With an impressive hint, that it was as strange and wonderful as his life had been dismally eventful, the poet drops a curtain over the fate of his hero. This last sublime scene Dryden has not ventured to imitate; and the rants of Lee are a poor substitute for the calm and determined despair of the "Œdipus Coloneus."

Seneca, perhaps to check the seeds of vice in Nero, his pupil, to whom incest and blood were afterwards so familiar[1], composed the Latin tragedy on the subject of Œdipus, which is alluded to by Dryden in the following preface. The cold declamatory rhetorical stile of that philosopher was adapted precisely to counteract the effect, which a tale of terror produces on the feelings and imagination. His taste exerted itself in filling up and garnishing the more trifling passages, which Sophocles had passed over as unworthy of notice, and in adjusting incidents laid in the heroic age of Grecian simplicity, according to the taste and customs of the court of Nero[2]. Yet though devoid of dramatic effect, of fancy, and of genius, the Œdipus of Seneca displays the masculine eloquence and high moral sentiment of its author; and if it does not interest us in the scene of fiction, it often compels us to turn our thoughts inward, and to study our own hearts.

119 The Œdipe of Corneille is in all respects unworthy of its great author. The poet considering, as he states in his introduction, that the subject of Œdipus tearing out his eyes was too horrible to be presented before ladies, qualifies its terrors by the introduction of a love intrigue betwixt Theseus and Dirce. The unhappy propensity of the French poets to introduce long discussions upon la belle passion, addressed merely to the understanding, without respect to feeling or propriety, is nowhere more ridiculously displayed than in "Œdipe." The play opens with the following polite speech of Theseus to Dirce:

N'ecoutez plus, madame, une pitie cruelle,

Qui d'un fidel amant vous ferait un rebelle:

La gloire d'obeir n'a rien que me soit doux,

Lorsque vous m'ordonnez de m'eloigner de vous.

Quelque ravage affreux qu'etale ici la peste,

L'absence aux vrais amans est encore plus funeste;

Et d'un si grand peril l'image s'offre en vain,

Quand ce peril douteux epargne un mal certain.

Act premiere, Scene premiere.

It is hardly possible more prettily to jingle upon the peril douteux, and the mal certain; but this is rather an awkward way of introducing the account of the pestilence, with which all the other dramatists have opened their scene. Œdipus, however, is at once sensible of the cause which detained Theseus at his melancholy court, amidst the horrors of the plague:

Je l'avais bien juge qu' un interet d'amour

Fermait ici vos yeux aux perils de ma cour.

Œdipo conjectere opus est—it would have been difficult for any other person to have divined such a motive. The conduct of the drama is exactly suitable to its commencement; the fate of Œdipus and of Thebes, the ravages of the pestilence, and the avenging of the death of Laius, are all secondary and subordinate considerations to the loves of Theseus and Dirce, as flat and uninteresting a pair as ever spoke platitudes in French hexameters. So much is this the engrossing subject of the drama, that Œdipus, at the very moment when Tiresias is supposed to be engaged in raising the ghost of Laius, occupies himself in a long scene of scolding about love and duty with Dirce; and it is not till he is almost bullied by her off the stage, that he suddenly recollects, as an apology for his retreat,

Mais il faut aller voir ce qu'a fait Tiresias.

Considering, however, the declamatory nature of the French dialogue, and the peremptory rule of their drama, that love, or rather gallantry, must be the moving principle of every performance, 120 it is more astonishing that Corneille should have chosen so masculine and agitating a subject, than that he should have failed in treating it with propriety or success.

In the following tragedy, Dryden has avowedly adopted the Greek model; qualified, however, by the under plot of Adrastus and Eurydice, which contributes little either to the effect or merit of the play. Creon, in his ambition and his deformity, is a poor copy of Richard III., without his abilities; his plots and treasons are baffled by the single appearance of Œdipus; and as for the loves and woes of Eurydice, and the prince of Argos, they are lost in the horrors of the principal story, like the moonlight amid the glare of a conflagration. In other respects, the conduct of the piece closely follows the "Œdipus Tyrannus," and, in some respects, even improves on that excellent model. The Tiresias of Sophocles, for example, upon his first introduction, denounces Œdipus as the slayer of Laius, braves his resentment, and prophesies his miserable catastrophe. In Dryden's play, the first anathema of the prophet is levelled only against the unknown murderer; and it is not till the powers of hell have been invoked, that even the eye of the prophet can penetrate the horrible veil, and fix the guilt decisively upon Œdipus. By this means, the striking quarrel betwixt the monarch and Tiresias is, with great art, postponed to the third act; and the interest, of course, is more gradually heightened than in the Grecian tragedy.

The first and third acts, which were wholly written by Dryden, maintain a decided superiority over the rest of the piece. Yet there are many excellent passages scattered through Lee's scenes; and as the whole was probably corrected by Dryden, the tragedy has the appearance of general consistence and uniformity. There are several scenes, in which Dryden seems to have indulged his newly adopted desire of imitating the stile of Shakespeare. Such are, in particular, the scene of Œdipus walking in his sleep, which bears marks of Dryden's pen; and such, also, is the incantation in the third act. Seneca and Corneille have thrown this last scene into narrative. Yet, by the present large size of our stages, and the complete management of light and shade, the incantation might be represented with striking effect; an advantage which, I fear, has been gained by the sacrifice of others, much more essential to the drama, considered as a dignified and rational amusement. The incantation itself is nobly written, and the ghost of Laius can only be paralleled in Shakespeare.

The language of Œdipus is, in general, nervous, pure, and elegant; and the dialogue, though in so high a tone of passion, is natural and affecting. Some of Lee's extravagancies are lamentable exceptions to this observation. This may be instanced in the passage, where Jocasta threatens to fire Olympus, destroy the heavenly 121 furniture, and smoke the deities like bees out of their ambrosial hives; and such is the still more noted wish of Œdipus;

Through all the inmost chambers of the sky,

May there not be a glimpse, one starry spark,

But gods meet gods, and jostle in the dark!

These blemishes, however, are entitled to some indulgence from the reader, when they occur in a work of real genius. Those, who do not strive at excellence, will seldom fall into absurdity; as he, who is contented to walk, is little liable to stumble.

Notwithstanding the admirable disposition of the parts of this play, the gradual increase of the interest, and the strong impassioned language of the dialogue, the disagreeable nature of the plot forms an objection to its success upon a British stage. Distress, which turns upon the involutions of unnatural or incestuous passion, carries with it something too disgusting for the sympathy of a refined age; whereas, in a simple state of society, the feelings require a more powerful stimulus; as we see the vulgar crowd round an object of real horror, with the same pleasure we reap from seeing it represented on a theatre. Besides, in ancient times, in those of the Roman empire at least, such abominations really occurred, as sanctioned the story of Œdipus. But the change of manners has introduced not only greater purity of moral feeling, but a sensibility, which retreats with abhorrence even from a fiction turning upon such circumstances. Hence, Garrick, who well knew the taste of an English audience, renounced his intention of reviving the excellent old play of "King and no King;" and hence Massinger's still more awful tragedy of "The Unnatural Combat," has been justly deemed unfit for a modern stage. Independent of this disgusting circumstance, it may be questioned Whether the horror of this tragedy is not too powerful for furnishing mere amusement? It is said in the "Companion to the Playhouse," that when the piece was performing at Dublin, a musician, in the orchestra, was so powerfully affected by the madness of Œdipus, as to become himself actually delirious: and though this may be exaggerated, it is certain, that, when the play was revived about thirty years ago, the audience were unable to support it to an end; the boxes being all emptied before the third act was concluded. Among all our English plays, there is none more determinedly bloody than "Œdipus," in its progress and conclusion. The entrance of the unfortunate king, with his eyes torn from their sockets, is too disgusting for representation[3]. Of all the 122 persons of the drama, scarce one survives the fifth act. Œdipus dashes out his brains, Jocasta stabs herself, their children are strangled, Creon kills Eurydice, Adrastus kills Creon, and the insurgents kill Adrastus; when we add to this, that the conspirators are hanged, the reader will perceive, that the play, which began with a pestilence, concludes with a massacre,

And darkness is the burier of the dead.

Another objection to Œdipus has been derived from the doctrine of fatalism, inculcated by the story. There is something of cant in talking much upon the influence of a theatre on public morals; yet, I fear, though the most moral plays are incapable of doing much good, the turn of others may make a mischievous impression, by embodying in verse, and rendering apt for the memory, maxims of an impious or profligate tendency. In this point of view, there is, at least, no edification in beholding the horrible crimes unto which Œdipus is unwillingly plunged, and in witnessing the dreadful punishment he sustains, though innocent of all moral or intentional guilt, Corneille has endeavoured to counterbalance the obvious conclusion, by a long tirade upon free-will, which I have subjoined, as it contains some striking ideas.[4] But the doctrine, which it expresses, is contradictory of the whole 123 tenor of the story; and the correct deduction is much more justly summed up by Seneca, in the stoical maxim of necessity:

Fatis agimur, cedite Fatis;

Non solicitæ possunt curæ,

Mutare rati stamina fusi;

Quicquid patimur mortale genus,

Quicquid facimus venit ex alto;

Servatque sua decreta colus,

Lachesis dura revoluta manu.

Some degree of poetical justice might have been preserved, and a valuable moral inculcated, had the conduct of Œdipus, in his combat with Laius, been represented as atrocious, or, at least, unwarrantable; as the sequel would then have been a warning, how impossible it is to calculate the consequences or extent of a single act of guilt. But, after all, Dryden perhaps extracts the true moral, while stating our insufficiency to estimate the distribution of good and evil in human life, in a passage, which, in excellent poetry, expresses more sound truth, than a whole shelf of philosophers:

The Gods are just—

But how can finite measure infinite?

Reason! alas, it does not know itself!

Yet man, vain man, would, with this, short-lined plummet,

Fathom the vast abyss of heavenly justice.

Whatever is, is in its causes just,

Since all things are by fate. But purblind man

Sees but a part o'the chain; the nearest links;

His eyes not carrying to that equal beam,

That poises all above.—

The prologue states, that the play, if damned, may be recorded as the "first buried since the Woollen Act." This enables us to fix the date of the performance. By the 30th Charles II. cap. 3. all persons were appointed to be buried in woollen after 1st August, 1678. The play must therefore have been represented early in the season 1678-9. It was not printed until 1679.


  1. Nero is said to have represented the character of Œdipus, amongst others of the same horrible cast.—Suetonius, Lib. VI. Cap. 21.
  2. Thus Seneca is justly ridiculed by Dacier, for sending Laius forth with a numerous party of guards, to avoid the indecorum of a king going abroad too slenderly attended. The guards lose their way within a league of their master's capital; and, by this awkward contrivance, their absence is accounted for, when he is met by Œdipus.
  3. Voltaire, however, held a different opinion. He thought a powerful effect might be produced by the exhibition of the blind king, indistinctly seen in the back ground, amid the shrieks of Jocasta, and the exclamations of the Thebans; provided the actor was capable of powerful gesture, and of expressing much passion, with little declamation.
  4. Quoi! la necessite des vertus et des vices

    D'un astre imperieux doit suivre les caprices?

    Et Delphes malgré nous conduit nos actions

    Au plus bizarre effet de ses predictions?

    L'ame est donc toute esclave; une loi soveraine

    Vers le bien ou le mal incessamment l'entraine;

    Et nous recevons ni crainte ni desir,

    De cette liberté qui n'a rien a choisir;

    Attachés sans relache á cet ordre sublime,

    Vertueux sans merite, et vicieux sans crime;

    Qu'on massare les rois, qu'on brise les autels,

    C'est la faute des dieux, et non pas des mortels;

    De toute la vertu sur la terre epandue

    Tout le prix ces dieux, toute la gloire est due;

    Ils agissent en nous, quand nous pensons agir,

    Alons qu'on delibere, on ne fait qu'obeir;

    Et notre volonté n'aime, hait, cherche, evite,

    Que suivant que d'en haut leur bras la precipite!

    D'un tel aveuglement daignez me dispenser

    Le ciel juste a punir, juste a recompenser,

    Pour rendre aux actions leur peine ou leur salaire,

    Doit nous offrir son aide et puis nous laisser faire.



Though it be dangerous to raise too great an expectation, especially in works of this nature, where we are to please an insatiable audience, yet it is reasonable to prepossess them in favour of an author; and therefore, both the prologue and epilogue informed you, that Œdipus was the most celebrated piece of all antiquity; that Sophocles, not only the greatest wit, but one of the greatest men in Athens, made it for the stage at the public cost; and that it had the reputation of being his masterpiece, not only among the seven of his which are still remaining, but of the greater number which are perished. Aristotle has more than once admired it, in his Book of Poetry; Horace has mentioned it: Lucullus, Julius Cæsar, and other noble Romans, have written on the same subject, though their poems are wholly lost; but Seneca's is still preserved. In our own age, Corneille has attempted it, and, it appears by his preface, with great success. But a judicious reader will easily observe, how much the copy is inferior to the original. He tells you himself, that he owes a great part of his success, to the happy episode of Theseus and Dirce; which is the same thing, as if we should acknowledge, that we were 125 indebted for our good fortune to the under-plot of Adrastus, Eurydice, and Creon. The truth is, he miserably failed in the character of his hero: If he desired that Œdipus should be pitied, he should have made him a better man. He forgot, that Sophocles had taken care to show him, in his first entrance, a just, a merciful, a successful, a religious prince, and, in short, a father of his country. Instead of these, he has drawn him suspicious, designing, more anxious of keeping the Theban crown, than solicitous for the safety of his people; hectored by Theseus, condemned by Dirce, and scarce maintaining a second part in his own tragedy. This was an error in the first concoction; and therefore never to be mended in the second or the third. He introduced a greater hero than Œdipus himself; for when Theseus was once there, that companion of Hercules must yield to none. The poet was obliged to furnish him with business, to make him an equipage suitable to his dignity; and, by following him too close, to lose his other king of Brentford in the crowd. Seneca, on the other side, as if there were no such thing as nature to be minded in a play, is always running after pompous expression, pointed sentences, and philosophical notions, more proper for the study than the stage: the Frenchman followed a wrong scent; and the Roman was absolutely at cold hunting. All we could gather out of Corneille was, that an episode must be, but not his way: and Seneca supplied us with no new hint, but only a relation which he makes of his Tiresias raising the ghost of Laius; which is here performed in view of the audience,—the rites and ceremonies, so far his, as he agreed with antiquity, and the religion of the Greeks. But he himself was beholden to Homer's Tiresias, in the "Odysses," for some of them; and the rest have been collected from Heliodore's "Ethiopiques," 126 and Lucan's Erictho[1]. Sophocles, indeed, is admirable everywhere; and therefore we have followed him as close as possibly we could. But the Athenian theatre, (whether more perfect than ours, is not now disputed,) had a perfection differing from ours. You see there in every act a single scene, (or two at most,) which manage the business of the play; and after that succeeds the chorus, which commonly takes up more time in singing, than there has been employed in speaking. The principal person appears almost constantly through the play; but the inferior parts seldom above once in the whole tragedy. The conduct of our stage is much more difficult, where we are obliged never to lose any considerable character, which we have once presented. Custom likewise has obtained, that we must form an under-plot of second persons, which must be depending on the first; and their by-walks must be like those in a labyrinth, which all of them lead into the great parterre; or like so many several lodging chambers, which have their outlets into the same gallery. Perhaps, after all, if we could think so, the ancient method, as it is the easiest, is also the most natural, and the best. For variety, as it is managed, is too often subject to breed distraction; and while we would please too many 127 ways, for want of art in the conduct, we please in none[2]. But we have given you more already than was necessary for a preface; and, for aught we know, may gain no more by our instructions, than that politic nation is like to do, who have taught their enemies to fight so long, that at last they are in a condition to invade them[3].


  1. Heliodorus, bishop of Trica, wrote a romance in Greek, called the "Ethiopiques," containing the amours of Theagenes and Chariclea. He was so fond of this production, that, the option being proposed to him by a synod, he rather chose to resign his bishopric than destroy his work. There occurs a scene of incantation in this romance. The story of Lucan's witch occurs in the sixth book of the Pharsalia.

    Dryden has judiciously imitated Seneca, in representing necromancy as the last resort of Tiresias, after all milder modes of augury had failed.

  2. It had been much to be wished, that our author had preferred his own better judgment, and the simplicity of the Greek plot, to compliance with this foolish custom.
  3. This seems to allude to the French, who, after having repeatedly reduced the Dutch to extremity, were about this period defeated by the Prince of Orange, in the battle of Mons. See the next note.


When Athens all the Grecian slate did guide,

And Greece gave laws to all the world beside;

Then Sophocles with Socrates did sit,

Supreme in wisdom one, and one in wit:

And wit from wisdom differed not in those,

But as 'twas sung in verse, or said in prose.

Then, Œdipus, on crowded theatres,

Drew all admiring eyes and list'ning ears:

The pleased spectator shouted every line,

The noblest, manliest, and the best design!

And every critic of each learned age,

By this just model has reformed the stage.

Now, should it fail, (as heaven avert our fear!)

Damn it in silence, lest the world should hear.

For were it known this poem did not please,

You might set up for perfect savages:

Your neighbours would not look on you as men,

But think the nation all turned Picts again.

Faith, as you manage matters, 'tis not fit

You should suspect yourselves of too much wit:

Drive not the jest too far, but spare this piece;

And, for this once, be not more wise than Greece.

See twice! do not pell-mell to damning fall,

Like true-born Britons, who ne'er think at all:

Pray be advised; and though at Mons[1] you won,

On pointed cannon do not always run.

129 With some respect to ancient wit proceed;

You take the four first councils for your creed.

But, when you lay tradition wholly by,

And on the private spirit alone rely,

You turn fanatics in your poetry.

If, notwithstanding all that we can say,

You needs will have your penn'orths of the play,

And come resolved to damn, because you pay,

Record it, in memorial of the fact,

The first play buried since the woollen act.


  1. On the 17th of August, 1678, the Prince of Orange, afterwards William III. marched to the attack of the French army, which blockaded Mons, and lay secured by the most formidable entrenchments. Notwithstanding a powerful and well-served artillery, the duke of Luxemburgh was forced to abandon his trenches, and retire with great loss. The English and Scottish regiments, under the gallant earl of Ossory, had their full share in the glory of the day. It is strongly suspected, that the Prince of Orange, when he undertook this perilous atchievement, knew that a peace had been signed betwixt France and the States, though the intelligence was not made public till next day. Carleton says, that the troops, when drawn up for the attack, supposed the purpose was to fire a feu-de-joie for the conclusion of the war. The enterprize, therefore, though successful, was needless as well as desperate, and merited Dryden's oblique censure.


Œdipus, King of Thebes.
Adrastus, Prince of Argos.
Creon, Brother to Jocasta.
Tiresias, a blind Prophet.
Hæmon, Captain of the Guard.

Lords of Creon's faction.

Phorbas, an old Shepherd.
Dymas, the Messenger returned from Delphos.
Ægeon, the Corinthian Embassador.
Ghost of Laius, the late King of Thebes.

Jocasta, Queen of Thebes.
Eurydice, her Daughter, by Laius, her first husband.
Manto, Daughter of Tiresias.

Priests, Citizens, Attendants, &c.




SCENE I.—The Curtain rises to a plaintive Tune, representing the present condition of Thebes; dead Bodies appear at a distance in the Streets; some faintly go over the Stage, others drop.

Enter Alcander, Diocles, and Pyracmon.

Alc. Methinks we stand on ruins; nature shakes
About us; and the universal frame
So loose, that it but wants another push,
To leap from off its hinges.

Dioc. No sun to cheer us; but a bloody globe,
That rolls above, a bald and beamless fire,
His face o'er-grown with scurf: The sun's sick, too;
Shortly he'll be an earth.

Pyr. Therefore the seasons
Lie all confused; and, by the heavens neglected,
Forget themselves: Blind winter meets the summer
In his mid-way, and, seeing not his livery,
Has driven him headlong back; and the raw damps,
With flaggy wings, fly heavily about,
132 Scattering their pestilential colds and rheums
Through all the lazy air.

Alc. Hence murrains followed
On bleating flocks, and on the lowing herds:
At last, the malady
Grew more domestic, and the faithful dog
Died at his master's feet[1].

Dioc. And next, his master:
For all those plagues, which earth and air had brooded,
First on inferior creatures tried their force,
And last they seized on man.

Pyr. And then a thousand deaths at once advanced,
And every dart took place; all was so sudden,
That scarce a first man fell; one but began
To wonder, and straight fell a wonder too;
A third, who stooped to raise his dying friend,
Dropt in the pious act.—Heard you that groan?[Groan within.

Dioc. A troop of ghosts took flight together there.
Now death's grown riotous, and will play no more
For single stakes, but families and tribes.
How are we sure we breathe not now our last,
And that, next minute,
Our bodies, cast into some common pit,
Shall not be built upon, and overlaid
By half a people?

Alc. There's a chain of causes
Linked to effects; invincible necessity,
That whate'er is, could not but so have been;
That's my security.

To them, enter Creon.

Cre. So had it need, when all our streets lie covered
133 With dead and dying men;
And earth exposes bodies on the pavements,
More than she hides in graves.
Betwixt the bride and bridegroom have I seen
The nuptial torch do common offices
Of marriage and of death.

Dioc. Now Œdipus
(If he return from war, our other plague)
Will scarce find half he left, to grace his triumphs.

Pyr. A feeble pæan will be sung before him.

Alc. He would do well to bring the wives and children
Of conquered Argians, to renew his Thebes.

Cre. May funerals meet him at the city gates,
With their detested omen!

Dioc. Of his children.

Cre. Nay, though she be my sister, of his wife.

Alc. O that our Thebes might once again behold
A monarch, Theban born!

Dioc. We might have had one.

Pyr. Yes, had the people pleased.

Cre. Come, you are my friends:
The queen my sister, after Laius' death,
Feared to lie single; and supplied his place
With a young successor.

Dioc. He much resembles
Her former husband too.

Alc. I always thought so.

Pyr. When twenty winters more have grizzled his black locks,
He will be very Laius.

Cre. So he will.
Meantime, she stands provided of a Laius,
More young, and vigorous too, by twenty springs.
These women are such cunning purveyors!
Mark, where their appetites have once been pleased,
The same resemblance, in a younger lover,
134 Lies brooding in their fancies the same pleasures,
And urges their remembrance to desire.

Dioc. Had merit, not her dotage, been considered;
Then Creon had been king; but Œdipus,
A stranger!

Cre. That word, stranger, I confess,
Sounds harshly in my ears.

Dioc. We are your creatures.
The people, prone, as in all general ills,
To sudden change; the king, in wars abroad;
The queen, a woman weak and unregarded;
Eurydice, the daughter of dead Laius,
A princess young and beauteous, and unmarried,—
Methinks, from these disjointed propositions,
Something might be produced.

Cre. The gods have done
Their part, by sending this commodious plague.
But oh, the princess! her hard heart is shut
By adamantine locks against my love.

Alc. Your claim to her is strong; you are betrothed.

Pyr. True, in her nonage.

Dioc. I heard the prince of Argos, young Adrastus,
When he was hostage here—

Cre. Oh name him not! the bane of all my hopes.
That hot-brained, head-long warrior, has the charms
Of youth, and somewhat of a lucky rashness,
To please a woman yet more fool than he.
That thoughtless sex is caught by outward form.
And empty noise, and loves itself in man.

Alc. But since the war broke out about our frontiers,
He's now a foe to Thebes.

Cre. But is not so to her. See, she appears;
Once more I'll prove my fortune. You insinuate
Kind thoughts of me into the multitude;
Lay load upon the court; gull them with freedom;
And you shall see them toss their tails, and gad,
As if the breeze had stung them.

135 Dioc. We'll about it. [Exeunt Alc. Dioc. and Pyr.

Enter Eurydice.

Cre. Hail, royal maid! thou bright Eurydice,
A lavish planet reigned when thou wert born,
And made thee of such kindred mould to heaven,
Thou seem'st more heaven's than ours.

Eur. Cast round your eyes,
Where late the streets were so thick sown with men,
Like Cadmus' brood, they jostled for the passage;
Now look for those erected heads, and see them,
Like pebbles, paving all our public ways;
When you have thought on this, then answer me,—
If these be hours of courtship?

Cre. Yes, they are;
For when the gods destroy so fast, 'tis time
We should renew the race.

Eur. What, in the midst of horror?

Cre. Why not then?
There's the more need of comfort.

Eur. Impious Creon!

Cre. Unjust Eurydice! can you accuse me
Of love, which is heaven's precept, and not fear
That vengeance, which you say pursues our crimes,
Should reach your perjuries?

Eur. Still the old argument.
I bade you cast your eyes on other men,
Now cast them on yourself; think what you are.

Cre. A man.

Eur. A man!

Cre. Why, doubt you I'm a man?

Eur. 'Tis well you tell me so; I should mistake you
For any other part o'the whole creation,
Rather than think you man. Hence from my sight,
Thou poison to my eyes!

136 Cre. 'Twas you first poisoned mine; and yet, methinks,
My face and person should not make you sport.

Eur. You force me, by your importunities,
To shew you what you are.

Cre. A prince, who loves you;
And, since your pride provokes me, worth your love.
Even at its highest value.

Eur. Love from thee!
Why love renounced thee ere thou saw'st the light;
Nature herself start back when thou wert born,
And cried,—the work's not mine.
The midwife stood aghast; and when she saw
Thy mountain back, and thy distorted legs,
Thy face itself;
Half-minted with the royal stamp of man,
And half o'ercome with beast, stood doubting long,
Whose right in thee were more;
And knew not, if to burn thee in the flames
Were not the holier work.

Cre. Am I to blame, if nature threw my body
In so perverse a mould? yet when she cast
Her envious hand upon my supple joints,
Unable to resist, and rumpled them
On heaps in their dark lodging, to revenge
Her bungled work, she stampt my mind more fair;
And as from chaos, huddled and deformed,
The god struck fire, and lighted up the lamps
That beautify the sky, so he informed
This ill-shaped body with a daring soul;
And, making less than man, he made me more.

Eur. No; thou art all one error, soul and body;
The first young trial of some unskilled power,
Rude in the making art, and ape of Jove.
Thy crooked mind within hunched out thy back,
And wandered in thy limbs. To thy own kind
Make love, if thou canst find it in the world;
137 And seek not from our sex to raise an offspring,
Which, mingled with the rest, would tempt the gods,
To cut off human kind.

Cre. No; let them leave
The Argian prince for you. That enemy
Of Thebes has made you false, and break the vows
You made to me.

Eur. They were my mother's vows,
Made when I was at nurse.

Cre. But hear me, maid:
This blot of nature, this deformed, loathed Creon,
Is master of a sword, to reach the blood
Of your young minion, spoil the gods' fine work,
And stab you in his heart.

Eur. This when thou dost,
Then mayst thou still be cursed with loving me;
And, as thou art, be still unpitied, loathed;
And let his ghost—No, let his ghost have rest—
But let the greatest, fiercest, foulest fury,
Let Creon haunt himself.[Exit Eur.

Cre. 'Tis true, I am
What she has told me—an offence to sight:
My body opens inward to my soul,
And lets in day to make my vices seen
By all discerning eyes, but the blind vulgar.
I must make haste, ere Œdipus return,
To snatch the crown and her—for I still love,
But love with malice. As an angry cur
Snarls while he feeds, so will I seize and stanch
The hunger of my love on this proud beauty,
And leave the scraps for slaves.

Enter Tiresias, leaning on a staff, and led by his Daughter Manto.

What makes this blind prophetic fool abroad?
Would his Apollo had him! he's too holy
138 For earth and me; I'll shun his walk, and seek
My popular friends.[Exit Creon.

Tir. A little farther; yet a little farther,
Thou wretched daughter of a dark old man,
Conduct my weary steps: And thou, who seest
For me and for thyself, beware thou tread not,
With impious steps, upon dead corps. Now stay;
Methinks I draw more open, vital air.
Where are we?

Man. Under covert of a wall;
The most frequented once, and noisy part
Of Thebes; now midnight silence reigns even here,
And grass untrodden springs beneath our feet.

Tir. If there be nigh this place a sunny bank,
There let me rest awhile:—A sunny bank!
Alas! how can it be, where no sun shines,
But a dim winking taper in the skies,
That nods, and scarce holds up his drowzy head,
To glimmer through the damps! [A Noise within. Follow, follow, follow! A Creon, A Creon, A Creon!
Hark! a tumultuous noise, and Creon's name
Thrice echoed.

Man. Fly, the tempest drives this way.

Tir. Whither can age and blindness take their flight?
If I could fly, what could I suffer worse,
Secure of greater ills? [Noise again, Creon, Creon, Creon!

Enter Creon, Diocles, Alcander, Pyracmon; followed by the Crowd.

Cre. I thank ye, countrymen; but must refuse
The honours you intend me; they're too great,
And I am too unworthy; think again,
And make a better choice.

1 Cit. Think twice! I ne'er thought twice in all my life;
That's double work.

139 2 Cit. My first word is always my second; and therefore I'll have no second word; and therefore, once again, I say, A Creon!

All. A Creon, A Creon, A Creon!

Cre. Yet hear me, fellow-citizens.

Dioc. Fellow-citizens! there was a word of kindness!

Alc. When did Œdipus salute you by that familiar name?

1 Cit. Never, never; he was too proud.

Cre. Indeed he could not, for he was a stranger;
But under him our Thebes is half destroyed.
Forbid it, heaven, the residue should perish
Under a Theban born!
'Tis true, the gods might send this plague among you,
Because a stranger ruled; but what of that?
Can I redress it now?

3 Cit. Yes, you or none.
'Tis certain that the gods are angry with us,
Because he reigns.

Cre. Œdipus may return; you may be ruined.

1 Cit. Nay, if that be the matter, we are ruined already.

2 Cit. Half of us, that are here present, were living men but yesterday; and we, that are absent, do but drop and drop, and no man knows whether he be dead or living. And therefore, while we are sound and well, let us satisfy our consciences, and make a new king.

3 Cit. Ha, if we were but worthy to see another coronation! and then, if we must die, we'll go merrily together.

All. To the question, to the question.

Dioc. Are you content, Creon should be your king?

All A Creon, A Creon, A Creon!

Tir. Hear me, ye Thebans, and thou Creon, hear me.

140 1 Cit. Who's that would be heard? we'll hear no man; we can scarce hear one another.

Tir. I charge you, by the gods, to hear me.

2 Cit. Oh, it is Apollo's priest, we must hear him; it is the old blind prophet, that sees all things.

3 Cit. He comes from the gods too, and they are our betters; and, in good manners, we must hear him:—Speak, prophet.

2 Cit. For coming from the gods, that's no great matter, they can all say that: but he is a great scholar; he can make almanacks, an' he were put to it; and therefore I say, hear him.

Tir. When angry heaven scatters its plagues among you,
Is it for nought, ye Thebans? are the gods
Unjust in punishing? are there no crimes,
Which pull this vengeance down?

1 Cit. Yes, yes; no doubt there are some sins stirring, that are the cause of all.

3 Cit. Yes, there are sins, or we should have no taxes.

2 Cit. For my part, I can speak it with a safe conscience, I never sinned in all my life.

1 Cit. Nor I.

3 Cit. Nor I.

2 Cit. Then we are all justified; the sin lies not at our doors.

Tir. All justified alike, and yet all guilty!
Were every man's false dealing brought to light,
His envy, malice, lying, perjuries,
His weights and measures, the other man's extortions,
With what face could you tell offended heaven,
You had not sinned?

2 Cit. Nay, if these be sins, the case is altered; for my part, I never thought any thing but murder had been a sin.

141 Tir. And yet, as if all these were less than nothing,
You add rebellion to them, impious Thebans!
Have you not sworn before the gods to serve
And to obey this Œdipus, your king
By public voice elected? answer me,
If this be true!

2 Cit. This is true; but its a hard world, neighbours,
If a man's oath must be his master.

Cre. Speak, Diocles; all goes wrong.

Dioc. How are you traitors, countrymen of Thebes?
This holy sire, who presses you with oaths,
Forgets your first; were you not sworn before
To Laius and his blood?

All. We were; we were.

Dioc. While Laius has a lawful successor,
Your first oath still must bind: Eurydice
Is heir to Laius; let her marry Creon.
Offended heaven will never be appeased,
While Œdipus pollutes the throne of Laius,
A stranger to his blood.

All. We'll no Œdipus, no Œdipus.

1 Cit. He puts the prophet in a mouse-hole.

2 Cit. I knew it would be so; the last man ever speaks the best reason.

Tir. Can benefits thus die, ungrateful Thebans!
Remember yet, when, after Laius' death,
The monster Sphinx laid your rich country waste,
Your vineyards spoiled, your labouring oxen slew,
Yourselves for fear mewed up within your walls;
She, taller than your gates, o'er-looked your town;
But when she raised her bulk to sail above you,
She drove the air around her like a whirlwind,
And shaded all beneath; till, stooping down,
142 She clap'd her leathern wing against your towers,
And thrust out her long neck, even to your doors[2].

Dioc. Alc. Pyr. We'll hear no more.

Tir. You durst not meet in temples,
To invoke the gods for aid; the proudest he,
Who leads you now, then cowered, like a dared[3] lark:
This Creon shook for fear,
The blood of Laius curdled in his veins,
'Till Œdipus arrived.
Called by his own high courage and the gods,
Himself to you a god, ye offered him
Your queen and crown; (but what was then your crown!)
And heaven authorized it by his success.
Speak then, who is your lawful king?

All. 'Tis Œdipus.

Tir. 'Tis Œdipus indeed: Your king more lawful
Than yet you dream; for something still there lies
In heaven's dark volume, which I read through mists:
'Tis great, prodigious; 'tis a dreadful birth,
Of wondrous fate; and now, just now disclosing.
I see, I see! how terrible it dawns,
And my soul sickens with it!

1 Cit. How the god shakes him!

Tir. He comes, he comes! Victory! conquest! triumph!
143 But oh! guiltless and guilty: murder! parricide!
Incest! discovery! punishment—'tis ended,
And all your sufferings o'er.

A Trumpet within: enter Hæmon.

Hæm. Rouse up, you Thebans; tune your Io Pæans!
Your king returns; the Argians are o'ercome;
Their warlike prince in single combat taken,
And led in bands by god-like Œdipus!

All. Œdipus, Œdipus, Œdipus!

Creon. Furies confound his fortune!—[Aside.
Haste, all haste,[To them.
And meet with blessings our victorious king;
Decree processions; bid new holidays;
Crown all the statues of our gods with garlands;
And raise a brazen column, thus inscribed,—
To Œdipus, now twice a conqueror; deliverer of his Thebes.
Trust me, I weep for joy to see this day.

Tir. Yes, heaven knows why thou weep'st.—Go, countrymen,
And, as you use to supplicate your gods,
So meet your king with bays, and olive branches;
Bow down, and touch his knees, and beg from him
An end of all your woes; for only he
Can give it you. [Exit Tiresias, the People following.

Enter Œdipus in triumph; Adrastus prisoner; Dymas, Train.

Cre. All hail, great Œdipus!
Thou mighty conqueror, hail; welcome to Thebes;
To thy own Thebes; to all that's left of Thebes;
For half thy citizens are swept away,
And wanting for thy triumphs;
144 And we, the happy remnant, only live
To welcome thee, and die.

Œdip. Thus pleasure never comes sincere to man,
But lent by heaven upon hard usury;
And while Jove holds us out the bowl of joy,
Ere it can reach our lips, 'tis dashed with gall
By some left-handed god. O mournful triumph!
O conquest gained abroad, and lost at home!
O Argos, now rejoice, for Thebes lies low!
Thy slaughtered sons now smile, and think they won,
When they can count more Theban ghosts than theirs.

Adr. No; Argos mourns with Thebes; you tempered so
Your courage while you fought, that mercy seemed
The manlier virtue, and much more prevailed;
While Argos is a people, think your Thebes
Can never want for subjects. Every nation
Will crowd to serve where Œdipus commands.

Cre. [To Hæm.] How mean it shews, to fawn upon the victor!

Hæm. Had you beheld him fight, you had said otherwise.
Come, 'tis brave bearing in him, not to envy
Superior virtue.

Œdip. This indeed is conquest,
To gain a friend like you: Why were we foes?

Adr. 'Cause we were kings, and each disdained an equal.
I fought to have it in my power to do
What thou hast done, and so to use my conquest.
To shew thee, honour was my only motive,
Know this, that were my army at thy gates,
And Thebes thus waste, I would not take the gift,
Which, like a toy dropt from the hands of fortune,
Lay for the next chance-comer.

145 Œdip. [Embracing.] No more captive,
But brother of the war. 'Tis much more pleasant,
And safer, trust me, thus to meet thy love,
Than when hard gauntlets clenched our warlike hands,
And kept them from soft use.

Adr. My conqueror!

Œdip. My friend! that other name keeps enmity alive.
But longer to detain thee were a crime;
To love, and to Eurydice, go free.
Such welcome, as a ruined town can give,
Expect from me; the rest let her supply.

Adr. I go without a blush, though conquered twice,
By you, and by my princess.[Exit Adrastus.

Cre. [Aside.] Then I am conquered thrice; by Œdipus,
And her, and even by him, the slave of both.
Gods, I'm beholden to you, for making me your image;
Would I could make you mine![Exit Creon.

Enter the People with branches in their hands, holding them up, and kneeling: Two Priests before them.

Œdip. Alas, my people!
What means this speechless sorrow, downcast eyes,
And lifted hands? If there be one among you,
Whom grief has left a tongue, speak for the rest.

1 Pr. O father of thy country!
To thee these knees are bent, these eyes are lifted,
As to a visible divinity;
A prince, on whom heaven safely might repose
The business of mankind; for Providence
Might on thy careful bosom sleep secure,
And leave her task to thee.
But where's the glory of thy former acts?
Even that's destroyed, when none shall live to speak it.
Millions of subjects shalt thou have; but mute.
146 A people of the dead; a crowded desert;
A midnight silence at the noon of day.

Œdip. O were our gods as ready with their pity,
As I with mine, this presence should be thronged
With all I left alive; and my sad eyes
Not search in vain for friends, whose promised sight
Flattered my toils of war.

1 Pr. Twice our deliverer!

Œdip. Nor are now your vows
Addrest to one who sleeps.
When this unwelcome news first reached my ears,
Dymas was sent to Delphos, to enquire
The cause and cure of this contagious ill,
And is this day returned; but, since his message
Concerns the public, I refused to hear it
But in this general presence: Let him speak.

Dym. A dreadful answer from the hallowed urn,
And sacred tripos, did the priestess give,
In these mysterious words.

The Oracle. Shed in a cursed hour, by cursed hand,
Blood-royal unrevenged has cursed the land.
When Laius' death is expiated well,
Your plague shall cease. The rest let Laius tell.

Œdip. Dreadful indeed! Blood, and a king's blood too!
And such a king's, and by his subjects shed!
(Else why this curse on Thebes?) No wonder then
If monsters, wars, and plagues, revenge such crimes!
If heaven be just, its whole artillery,
All must be emptied on us: Not one bolt
Shall err from Thebes; but more be called for, more;
New-moulded thunder of a larger size,
Driven by whole Jove. What, touch anointed power!
Then, Gods, beware; Jove would himself be next,
Could you but reach him too.

2 Pr. We mourn the sad remembrance.

Œdip. Well you may;
147 Worse than a plague infects you: You're devoted
To mother earth, and to the infernal powers;
Hell has a right in you. I thank you, gods,
That I'm no Theban born: How my blood curdles!
As if this curse touched me, and touched me nearer
Than all this presence!—Yes, 'tis a king's blood,
And I, a king, am tied in deeper bonds
To expiate this blood. But where, from whom,
Or how must I atone it? Tell me, Thebans,
How Laius fell; for a confused report
Passed through my ears, when first I took the crown;
But full of hurry, like a morning dream,
It vanished in the business of the day.[4]

1 Pr. He went in private forth, but thinly followed,
And ne'er returned to Thebes.

Œdip. Nor any from him? came there no attendant?
None to bring news?

2 Pr. But one; and he so wounded,
He scarce drew breath to speak some few faint words.

Œdip. What were they? something may be learnt from thence.

1 Pr. He said, a band of robbers watched their passage,
Who took advantage of a narrow way,
To murder Laius and the rest; himself
Left too for dead.

Œdip. Made you no more enquiry,
But took this bare relation?

2 Pr. 'Twas neglected;
For then the monster Sphinx began to rage,
And present cares soon buried the remote:
So was it hushed, and never since revived.

148 Œdip. Mark, Thebans, mark!
Just then, the Sphinx began to rage among you;
The gods took hold even of the offending minute,
And dated thence your woes: Thence will I trace them.

1 Pr. 'Tis just thou should'st.

Œdip. Hear then this dreadful imprecation; hear it;
'Tis laid on all; not any one exempt:
Bear witness, heaven, avenge it on the perjured!
If any Theban born, if any stranger
Reveal this murder, or produce its author,
Ten attick talents be his just reward:
But if, for fear, for favour, or for hire,
The murderer he conceal, the curse of Thebes
Fall heavy on his head: Unite our plagues,
Ye gods, and place them there: From fire and water,
Converse, and all things common, be he banished.
But for the murderer's self, unfound by man,
Find him, ye powers celestial and infernal!
And the same fate, or worse than Laius met,
Let be his lot: His children be accurst;
His wife and kindred, all of his, be cursed!

Both Pr. Confirm it, heaven!

Enter Jocasta, attended by Women.

Joc. At your devotions? Heaven succeed your wishes;
And bring the effect of these your pious prayers
On you, and me, and all.

Pr. Avert this omen, heaven!

Œdip. O fatal sound! unfortunate Jocasta!
What hast thou said! an ill hour hast thou chosen
For these fore-boding words! why, we were cursing!

Joc. Then may that curse fall only where you laid it.

Œdip. Speak no more!
For all thou say'st is ominous: We were cursing;
149 And that dire imprecation has thou fastened
On Thebes, and thee, and me, and all of us.

Joc. Are then my blessings turned into a curse?
O unkind Œdipus! My former lord
Thought me his blessing; be thou like my Laius.

Œdip. What, yet again? the third time hast thou cursed me:
This imprecation was for Laius' death,
And thou hast wished me like him.

Joc. Horror seizes me!

Œdip. Why dost thou gaze upon me? pr'ythee, love,
Take off thy eye; it burdens me too much.

Joc. The more I look, the more I find of Laius:
His speech, his garb, his action; nay, his frown,—
For I have seen it,—but ne'er bent on me.

Œdip. Are we so like?

Joc. In all things but his love.

Œdip. I love thee more: So well I love, words cannot speak how well.
No pious son e'er loved his mother more,
Than I my dear Jocasta.

Joc. I love you too
The self-same way; and when you chid, methought
A mother's love start[5] up in your defence,
And bade me not be angry. Be not you;
For I love Laius still, as wives should love;
But you more tenderly, as part of me:
And when I have you in my arms, methinks
I lull my child asleep.

Œdip. Then we are blest;
And all these curses sweep along the skies
Like empty clouds, but drop not on our heads.

Joc. I have not joyed an hour since you departed,
For public miseries, and for private fears;
150 But this blest meeting has o'er-paid them all.
Good fortune, that comes seldom, comes more welcome.
All I can wish for now, is your consent
To make my brother happy.

Œdip. How, Jocasta?

Joc. By marriage with his niece, Eurydice.

Œdip. Uncle and niece! they are too near, my love;
'Tis too like incest; 'tis offence to kind:
Had I not promised, were there no Adrastus,
No choice but Creon left her of mankind,
They should not marry: Speak no more of it;
The thought disturbs me.

Joc. Heaven can never bless
A vow so broken, which I made to Creon;
Remember, he is my brother.

Œdip. That is the bar;
And she thy daughter: Nature would abhor
To be forced back again upon herself,
And, like a whirlpool, swallow her own streams.

Joc. Be not displeased: I'll move the suit no more.

Œdip. No, do not; for, I know not why, it shakes me,
When I but think on incest. Move we forward,
To thank the gods for my success, and pray
To wash the guilt of royal blood away.[Exeunt.

SCENE I.—An open Gallery. A Royal Bed-chamber being supposed behind.
The Time, Night. Thunder, &c.

Enter Hæmon, Alcander, and Pyracmon.

Hæm. Sure 'tis the end of all things! fate has torn
The lock of time off, and his head is now
The ghastly ball of round eternity!
151 Call you these peals of thunder, but the yawn
Of bellowing clouds? By Jove, they seem to me
The world's last groans; and those vast sheets of flame
Are its last blaze. The tapers of the gods,
The sun and moon, run down like waxen-globes;
The shooting stars end all in purple jellies[6],
And chaos is at hand.

Pyr. 'Tis midnight, yet there's not a Theban sleeps,
But such as ne'er must wake. All crowd about
The palace, and implore, as from a god,
Help of the king; who, from the battlement,
By the red lightning's glare descried afar,
Atones the angry powers.[Thunder, &c.

Hæm. Ha! Pyracmon, look;
Behold, Alcander, from yon' west of heaven,
The perfect figures of a man and woman;
A sceptre, bright with gems, in each right hand,
Their flowing robes of dazzling purple made:
Distinctly yonder in that point they stand,
Just west; a bloody red stains all the place;
And see, their faces are quite hid in clouds.

Pyr. Clusters of golden stars hang o'er their heads,
And seem so crowded, that they burst upon them:
All dart at once their baleful influence,
In leaking fire.

Alc. Long-bearded comets stick,
Like flaming porcupines, to their left sides,
As they would shoot their quills into their hearts.

Hæm. But see! the king, and queen, and all the court!
152 Did ever day or night shew aught like this? [Thunders again. The Scene draws, and discovers the Prodigies.

Enter Œdipus, Jocasta, Eurydice, Adrastus; and all coming forward with amazement.

Œdip. Answer, you powers divine! spare all this noise,
This rack of heaven, and speak your fatal pleasure.
Why breaks yon dark and dusky orb away?
Why from the bleeding womb of monstrous night,
Burst forth such myriads of abortive stars?
Ha! my Jocasta, look! the silver moon!
A settling crimson stains her beauteous face!
She's all o'er blood! and look, behold again,
What mean the mystic heavens she journies on?
A vast eclipse darkens the labouring planet:—
Sound there, sound all our instruments of war;
Clarions and trumpets, silver, brass, and iron,
And beat a thousand drums, to help her labour.

Adr. 'Tis vain; you see the prodigies continue;
Let's gaze no more, the gods are humorous.

Œdip. Forbear, rash man.—Once more I ask your pleasure!
If that the glow-worm light of human reason
Might dare to offer at immortal knowledge,
And cope with gods, why all this storm of nature?
Why do the rocks split, and why rolls the sea?
Why those portents in heaven, and plagues on earth?
Why yon gigantic forms, ethereal monsters?
Alas! is all this but to fright the dwarfs,
Which your own hands have made? Then be it so.
Or if the fates resolve some expiation
For murdered Laius; hear me, hear me, gods!
Hear me thus prostrate: Spare this groaning land,
Save innocent Thebes, stop the tyrant death;
Do this, and lo, I stand up an oblation,
153 To meet your swiftest and severest anger;
Shoot all at once, and strike me to the centre.

The Cloud draws, that veiled the Heads of the Figures in the Sky, and shews them crowned, with the names of Œdipus and Jocasta, written above in great characters of gold.

Adr. Either I dream, and all my cooler senses
Are vanished with that cloud that fleets away,
Or just above those two majestic heads,
I see, I read distinctly, in large gold,
Œdipus and Jocasta.

Alc. I read the same.

Adr. 'Tis wonderful; yet ought not man to wade
Too far in the vast deep of destiny. [Thunder; and the Prodigies vanish.

Joc. My lord, my Œdipus, why gaze you now,
When the whole heaven is clear, as if the gods
Had some new monsters made? will you not turn,
And bless your people, who devour each word
You breathe?

Œdip. It shall be so.
Yes, I will die, O Thebes, to save thee!
Draw from my heart my blood, with more content
Than e'er I wore thy crown.—Yet, O Jocasta!
By all the endearments of miraculous love,
By all our languishings, our fears in pleasure,
Which oft have made us wonder; here I swear,
On thy fair hand, upon thy breast I swear,
I cannot call to mind, from budding childhood
To blooming youth, a crime by me committed,
For which the awful gods should doom my death.

Joc. 'Tis not you, my lord,
But he who murdered Laius, frees the land.
Were you, which is impossible, the man,
Perhaps my poniard first should drink your blood;
But you are innocent, as your Jocasta,
154 From crimes like those. This made me violent
To save your life, which you unjust would lose:
Nor can you comprehend, with deepest thought,
The horrid agony you cast me in,
When you resolved to die.

Œdip. Is't possible?

Joc. Alas! why start you so? Her stiffening grief,
Who saw her children slaughtered all at once,
Was dull to mine: Methinks, I should have made
My bosom bare against the armed god,
To save my Œdipus!

Œdip. I pray, no more.

Joc. You've silenced me, my lord.

Œdip. Pardon me, dear Jocasta!
Pardon a heart that sinks with sufferings,
And can but vent itself in sobs and murmurs:
Yet, to restore my peace, I'll find him out.
Yes, yes, you gods! you shall have ample vengeance
On Laius' murderer. O, the traitor's name!
I'll know't, I will; art shall be conjured for it,
And nature all unravelled.

Joc. Sacred sir—

Œdip. Rage will have way, and 'tis but just; I'll fetch him,
Though lodged in air upon a dragon's wing,
Though rocks should hide him: Nay, he shall be dragged
From hell, if charms can hurry him along:
His ghost shall be, by sage Tiresias' power,—
Tiresias, that rules all beneath the moon,—
Confined to flesh, to suffer death once more;
And then be plunged in his first fires again.

Enter Creon.

Cre. My lord,
Tiresias attends your pleasure.

Œdip. Haste, and bring him in.—
155 O, my Jocasta, Eurydice, Adrastus,
Creon, and all ye Thebans, now the end
Of plagues, of madness, murders, prodigies,
Draws on: This battle of the heavens and earth
Shall by his wisdom be reduced to peace.

Enter Tiresias, leaning on a staff, led by his Daughter Manto, followed by other Thebans.

O thou, whose most aspiring mind
Knows all the business of the courts above,
Opens the closets of the gods, and dares
To mix with Jove himself and Fate at council;
O prophet, answer me, declare aloud
The traitor, who conspired the death of Laius;
Or be they more, who from malignant stars
Have drawn this plague, that blasts unhappy Thebes?

Tir. We must no more than Fate commissions us
To tell; yet something, and of moment, I'll unfold,
If that the god would wake; I feel him now,
Like a strong spirit charmed into a tree,
That leaps, and moves the wood without a wind:
The roused god, as all this while he lay
Entombed alive, starts and dilates himself;
He struggles, and he tears my aged trunk
With holy fury; my old arteries burst;
My rivell'd skin,
Like parchment, crackles at the hallowed fire;
I shall be young again:—Manto, my daughter,
Thou hast a voice that might have saved the bard
Of Thrace, and forced the raging bacchanals,
With lifted prongs, to listen to thy airs.
O charm this god, this fury in my bosom,
Lull him with tuneful notes, and artful strings,
With powerful strains; Manto, my lovely child,
Sooth the unruly godhead to be mild.


Phœbus, god beloved by men,

At thy dawn, every beast is roused in his den;


At thy setting, all the birds of thy absence complain,

And we die, all die, till the morning comes again.

Phœbus, god beloved by men!

Idol of the eastern kings,

Awful as the god who flings

His thunder round, and the lightning wings;

God of songs, and Orphean strings,

Who to this mortal bosom brings

All harmonious heavenly things!

Thy drowsy prophet to revive,

Ten thousand thousand forms before him drive:

With chariots and horses all o'fire awake him,

Convulsions, and furies, and prophesies shake him:

Let him tell it in groans, though he bend with the load,

Though he burst with the weight of the terrible god.

Tir. The wretch, who shed the blood of old Labdacides,
Lives, and is great;
But cruel greatness ne'er was long.
The first of Laius' blood his life did seize,
And urged his fate,
Which else had lasting been and strong.
The wretch, who Laius killed, must bleed or fly;
Or Thebes, consumed with plagues, in ruins lie.

Œdip. The first of Laius' blood! pronounce the person;
May the god roar from thy prophetic mouth,
That even the dead may start up, to behold;
Name him, I say, that most accursed wretch,
For, by the stars, he dies!
Speak, I command thee;
By Phœbus, speak; for sudden death's his doom:
Here shall he fall, bleed on this very spot;
His name, I charge thee once more, speak.

Tir. 'Tis lost,
Like what we think can never shun remembrance;
157 Yet of a sudden's gone beyond the clouds.

Œdip. Fetch it from thence; I'll have't, wheree'er it be.

Cre. Let me entreat you, sacred sir, be calm,
And Creon shall point out the great offender.
'Tis true, respect of nature might enjoin
Me silence, at another time; but, oh,
Much more the power of my eternal love!
That, that should strike me dumb; yet Thebes, my country—
I'll break through all, to succour thee, poor city!
O, I must speak.

Œdip. Speak then, if aught thou knowest,
As much thou seem'st to know,—delay no longer.

Cre. O beauty! O illustrious, royal maid!
To whom my vows were ever paid, till now;
And with such modest, chaste, and pure affection,
The coldest nymph might read'em without blushing;
Art thou the murdress, then, of wretched Laius?
And I, must I accuse thee! O my tears!
Why will you fall in so abhorred a cause?
But that thy beauteous, barbarous hand destroyed
Thy father, (O monstrous act!) both gods
And men at once take notice.

Œdip. Eurydice!

Eur. Traitor, go on; I scorn thy little malice;
And knowing more my perfect innocence,
Than gods and men, then how much more than thee,
Who art their opposite, and formed a liar,
I thus disdain thee! Thou once didst talk of love;
Because I hate thy love,
Thou dost accuse me.

Adr. Villain, inglorious villain,
And traitor, doubly damned, who durst blaspheme
The spotless virtue of the brightest beauty;
Thou diest: Nor shall the sacred majesty, [Draws and wounds him.
158 That guards this place, preserve thee from my rage.

Œdip. Disarm them both!—Prince, I shall make you know,
That, I can tame you twice. Guards, seize him.

Adr. Sir,
I must acknowledge, in another cause
Repentance might abash me; but I glory
In this, and smile to see the traitor's blood.

Œdip. Creon, you shall be satisfied at full.

Cre. My hurt is nothing, sir; but I appeal
To wise Tiresias, if my accusation
Be not most true. The first of Laius' blood
Gave him his death. Is there a prince before her?
Then she is faultless, and I ask her pardon.
And may this blood ne'er cease to drop, O Thebes,
If pity of thy sufferings did not move me,
To shew the cure which heaven itself prescribed.

Eur. Yes, Thebans, I will die to save your lives.
More willingly than you can wish my fate;
But let this good, this wise, this holy man,
Pronounce my sentence: For to fall by him,
By the vile breath of that prodigious villain,
Would sink my soul, though I should die a martyr.

Adr. Unhand me, slaves.—O mightiest of kings,
See at your feet a prince not used to kneel;
Touch not Eurydice, by all the gods,
As you would save your Thebes, but take my life:
For should she perish, heaven would heap plagues on plagues,
Rain sulphur down, hurl kindled bolts
Upon your guilty heads.

Cre. You turn to gallantry, what is but justice;
Proof will be easy made. Adrastus was
The robber, who bereft the unhappy king
Of life; because he flatly had denied
To make so poor a prince his son-in-law;
Therefore 'twere fit that both should perish.

159 1 Theb. Both, let both die.

All Theb. Both, both; let them die.

Œdip. Hence, you wild herd! For your ringleader here,
He shall be made example. Hæmon, take him.

1 Theb. Mercy, O mercy!

Œdip. Mutiny in my presence!
Hence, let me see that busy face no more.

Tir. Thebans, what madness makes you drunk with rage?
Enough of guilty death's already acted:
Fierce Creon has accused Eurydice,
With prince Adrastus; which the god reproves
By inward checks, and leaves their fates in doubt.

Œdip. Therefore instruct us what remains to do,
Or suffer; for I feel a sleep like death
Upon me, and I sigh to be at rest.

Tir. Since that the powers divine refuse to clear
The mystic deed, I'll to the grove of furies;
There I can force the infernal gods to shew
Their horrid forms; each trembling ghost shall rise,
And leave their grisly king without a waiter.
For prince Adrastus and Eurydice,
My life's engaged, I'll guard them in the fane,
'Till the dark mysteries of hell are done.
Follow me, princes; Thebans, all to rest.
O, Œdipus, to-morrow—but no more.
If that thy wakeful genius will permit,
Indulge thy brain this night with softer slumbers:
To-morrow, O to-morrow!—Sleep, my son;
And in prophetic dreams thy fate be shown. [Exeunt Tir. Adr. Eur. Man. and Theb.

Manent Œdipus, Jocasta, Creon, Pyracmon, Hæmon, and Alcander.

Œdip. To bed, my fair, my dear, my best Jocasta.
After the toils of war, 'tis wondrous strange
160 Our loves should thus be dashed. One moment's thought,
And I'll approach the arms of my beloved.

Joc. Consume whole years in care, so now and then
I may have leave to feed my famished eyes
With one short passing glance, and sigh my vows:
This, and no more, my lord, is all the passion
Of languishing Jocasta.[Exit.

Œdip. Thou softest, sweetest of the world! good night.—
Nay, she is beauteous too; yet, mighty love!
I never offered to obey thy laws,
But an unusual chillness came upon me;
An unknown hand still checked my forward joy,
Dashed me with blushes, though no light was near;
That even the act became a violation.

Pyr. He's strangely thoughtful.

Œdip. Hark! who was that? Ha! Creon, didst thou call me?

Cre. Not I, my gracious lord, nor any here.

Œdip. That's strange! methought I heard a doleful voice
Cry, Œdipus.—The prophet bade me sleep.
He talked of dreams, and visions, and to-morrow!
I'll muse no more; come what will, or can,
My thoughts are clearer than unclouded stars;
And with those thoughts I'll rest. Creon, good-night. [Exit with Hæm.

Cre. Sleep seal your eyes up, sir,—eternal sleep!
But if he sleep and wake again, O all
Tormenting dreams, wild horrors of the night,
And hags of fancy, wing him through the air:
From precipices hurl him headlong down,
Charybdis roar, and death be set before him!

Alc. Your curses have already taken effect,
For he looks very sad.

Cre. May he be rooted, where he stands, for ever;
161 His eye-balls never move, brows be unbent,
His blood, his entrails, liver, heart, and bowels,
Be blacker than the place I wish him, hell.

Pyr. No more; you tear yourself, but vex not him.
Methinks 'twere brave this night to force the temple,
While blind Tiresias conjures up the fiends,
And pass the time with nice Eurydice.

Alc. Try promises and threats, and if all fail,
Since hell's broke loose, why should not you be mad?
Ravish, and leave her dead with her Adrastus.

Cre. Were the globe mine, I'd give a province hourly
For such another thought.—Lust and revenge!
To stab at once the only man I hate,
And to enjoy the woman whom I love!
I ask no more of my auspicious stars,
The rest as fortune please; so but this night
She play me fair, why, let her turn for ever.

Enter Hæmon.

Hæm. My lord, the troubled king is gone to rest;
Yet, ere he slept, commanded me to clear
The antichambers; none must dare be near him.

Cre. Hæmon, you do your duty;[Thunder.
And we obey.—The night grows yet more dreadful!
'Tis just that all retire to their devotions.
The gods are angry; but to-morrow's dawn,
If prophets do not lie, will make all clear.

As they go off, Œdipus enters, walking asleep in his shirt, with a dagger in his right hand, and a taper in his left.

Œdip. O, my Jocasta! 'tis for this, the wet
Starved soldier lies on the cold ground;
For this, he bears the storms
Of winter camps, and freezes in his arms;
To be thus circled, to be thus embraced.
162 That I could hold thee ever!—Ha! where art thou?
What means this melancholy light, that seems
The gloom of glowing embers?
The curtain's drawn; and see she's here again!
Jocasta? Ha! what, fallen asleep so soon?
How fares my love? this taper will inform me.—
Ha! Lightning blast me, thunder
Rivet me ever to Prometheus' rock,
And vultures gnaw out my incestuous heart!—
By all the gods, my mother Merope!
My sword! a dagger! ha, who waits there? Slaves,
My sword!—What, Hæmon, dar'st thou, villain, stop me?
With thy own poniard perish.—Ha! who's this?
Or is't a change of death? By all my honours,
New murder; thou hast slain old Polybus:
Incest and parricide,—thy father's murderer!
Out, thou infernal flame!—Now all is dark,
All blind and dismal, most triumphant mischief!
And now, while thus I stalk about the room,
I challenge Fate to find another wretch
Like Œdipus![Thunder, &c.

Enter Jocasta attended, with Lights, in a Night-gown.

Œdip. Night, horror, death, confusion, hell, and furies!
Where am I?—O, Jocasta, let me hold thee,
Thus to my bosom! ages let me grasp thee!
All that the hardest-tempered weathered flesh,
With fiercest human spirit inspired, can dare,
Or do, I dare; but, oh you powers, this was,
By infinite degrees, too much for man.
Methinks my deafened ears
Are burst; my eyes, as if they had been knocked
By some tempestuous hand, shoot flashing fire;—
That sleep should do this!

Joc. Then my fears were true.
163 Methought I heard your voice,—and yet I doubted,—
Now roaring like the ocean, when the winds
Fight with the waves; now, in a still small tone
Your dying accents fell, as wrecking ships,
After the dreadful yell, sink murmuring down,
And bubble up a noise.

Œdip. Trust me, thou fairest, best of all thy kind,
None e'er in dreams was tortured so before.
Yet what most shocks the niceness of my temper,
Even far beyond the killing of my father,
And my own death, is, that this horrid sleep
Dashed my sick fancy with an act of incest:
I dreamt, Jocasta, that thou wert my mother;
Which, though impossible, so damps my spirits,
That I could do a mischief on myself,
Lest I should sleep, and dream the like again.

Joc. O Œdipus, too well I understand you!
I know the wrath of heaven, the care of Thebes,
The cries of its inhabitants, war's toils,
And thousand other labours of the state,
Are all referred to you, and ought to take you
For ever from Jocasta.

Œdip. Life of my life, and treasure of my soul,
Heaven knows I love thee.

Joc. O, you think me vile,
And of an inclination so ignoble,
That I must hide me from your eyes for ever.
Be witness, gods, and strike Jocasta dead,
If an immodest thought, or low desire,
Inflamed my breast, since first our loves were lighted.

Œdip. O rise, and add not, by thy cruel kindness,
A grief more sensible than all my torments.
Thou thinkest my dreams are forged; but by thyself,
The greatest oath, I swear, they are most true;
But, be they what they will, I here dismiss them.
Begone, chimeras, to your mother clouds!
Is there a fault in us? Have we not searched
164 The womb of heaven, examined all the entrails
Of birds and beasts, and tired the prophet's art?
Yet what avails? He, and the gods together,
Seem, like physicians, at a loss to help us;
Therefore, like wretches that have lingered long,
We'll snatch the strongest cordial of our love;
To bed, my fair.

Ghost. [Within.] Œdipus!

Œdip. Ha! who calls?
Didst thou not hear a voice?

Joc. Alas! I did.

Ghost. Jocasta!

Joc. O my love, my lord, support me!

Œdip. Call louder, till you burst your airy forms!—
Rest on my hand. Thus, armed with innocence,
I'll face these babbling dæmons of the air;
In spite of ghosts, I'll on.
Though round my bed the furies plant their charms,
I'll break them, with Jocasta in my arms;
Clasped in the folds of love, I'll wait my doom;
And act my joys, though thunder shake the room.[Exeunt.

SCENE I.—A dark Grove.

Enter Creon and Diocles.

Cre. 'Tis better not to be, than be unhappy.

Dioc. What mean you by these words?

Cre. 'Tis better not to be, than to be Creon.
A thinking soul is punishment enough;
But when 'tis great, like mine, and wretched too,
Then every thought draws blood.

Dioc. You are not wretched.

165 Cre. I am: my soul's ill married to my body.
I would be young, be handsome, be beloved:
Could I but breathe myself into Adrastus!—

Dioc. You rave; call home your thoughts.

Cre. I pr'ythee let my soul take air a while;
Were she in Œdipus, I were a king;
Then I had killed a monster, gained a battle,
And had my rival prisoner; brave, brave actions!
Why have not I done these?

Dioc. Your fortune hindered.

Cre. There's it; I have a soul to do them all:
But fortune will have nothing done that's great,
But by young handsome fools; body and brawn
Do all her work: Hercules was a fool,
And straight grew famous; a mad boist'rous fool,
Nay worse, a woman's fool;
Fool is the stuff, of which heaven makes a hero.

Dioc. A serpent ne'er becomes a flying dragon,
Till he has eat a serpent[7].

Cre. Goes it there?
I understand thee; I must kill Adrastus.

Dioc. Or not enjoy your mistress:
Eurydice and he are prisoners here,
But will not long be so: This tell-tale ghost
Perhaps will clear 'em both.

Cre. Well: 'tis resolved.

Dioc. The princess walks this way;
You must not meet her,
Till this be done.

Cre. I must.

Dioc. She hates your sight;
And more, since you accused her.

166 Cre. Urge it not.
I cannot stay to tell thee my design;
For she's too near.

Enter Eurydice.

How, madam, were your thoughts employed?

Eur. On death, and thee.

Cre. Then were they not well sorted: Life and me
Had been the better match.

Eur. No, I was thinking
On two the most detested things in nature:
And they are death and thee.

Cre. The thought of death to one near death is dreadful!
O 'tis a fearful thing to be no more;
Or, if to be, to wander after death;
To walk as spirits do, in brakes all day;
And when the darkness comes, to glide in paths
That lead to graves; and in the silent vault,
Where lies your own pale shroud, to hover o'er it,
Striving to enter your forbidden corps,
And often, often, vainly breathe your ghost
Into your lifeless lips;
Then, like a lone benighted traveller,
Shut out from lodging, shall your groans be answered
By whistling winds, whose every blast will shake
Your tender form to atoms.

Eur. Must I be this thin being? and thus wander?
No quiet after death!

Cre. None: You must leave
This beauteous body; all this youth and freshness
Must be no more the object of desire,
But a cold lump of clay;
Which then your discontented ghost will leave,
And loath its former lodging.
This is the best of what comes after death.
Even to the best.

167 Eur. What then shall be thy lot?—
Eternal torments, baths of boiling sulphur,
Vicissitudes of fires, and then of frosts;
And an old guardian fiend, ugly as thou art,
To hollow in thy ears at every lash,—
This for Eurydice; these for her Adrastus!

Cre. For her Adrastus!

Eur. Yes; for her Adrastus:
For death shall ne'er divide us: Death? what's death!

Dioc. You seemed to fear it.

Eur. But I more fear Creon:
To take that hunch-backed monster in my arms!
The excrescence of a man!

Dioc. to Cre. See what you've gained.

Eur. Death only can be dreadful to the bad:
To innocence, 'tis like a bug-bear dressed
To frighten children; pull but off his masque,
And he'll appear a friend.

Cre. You talk too slightly
Of death and hell. Let me inform you better.

Eur. You best can tell the news of your own country.

Dioc. Nay, now you are too sharp.

Eur. Can I be so to one, who has accused me
Of murder and of parricide?

Cre. You provoked me:
And yet I only did thus far accuse you,
As next of blood to Laius: Be advised,
And you may live.

Eur. The means?

Cre. 'Tis offered you.
The fool Adrastus has accused himself.

Eur. He has indeed, to take the guilt from me.

Cre. He says he loves you; if he does, 'tis well:
He ne'er could prove it in a better time.

Eur. Then death must be his recompence for love?

Cre. 'Tis a fool's just reward;
168 The wise can make a better use of life.
But 'tis the young man's pleasure; his ambition:
I grudge him not that favour.

Eur. When he's dead,
Where shall I find his equal!

Cre. Every where.
Fine empty things, like him, the court swarms with them.
Fine fighting things; in camps they are so common,
Crows feed on nothing else: plenty of fools;
A glut of them in Thebes.
And fortune still takes care they should be seen:
She places 'em aloft, o'th' topmost spoke
Of all her wheel. Fools are the daily work
Of nature; her vocation; if she form
A man, she loses by't, 'tis too expensive;
'Twould make ten fools: A man's a prodigy.

Eur. That is, a Creon: O thou black detractor,
Who spit'st thy venom against gods and men!
Thou enemy of eyes;
Thou, who lov'st nothing but what nothing loves,
And that's thyself; who hast conspired against
My life and fame, to make me loathed by all,
And only fit for thee.
But for Adrastus' death,—good Gods, his death!—
What curse shall I invent?

Dioc. No more: he's here.

Eur. He shall be ever here.
He who would give his life, give up his fame—

Enter Adrastus.

If all the excellence of woman-kind
Were mine;—No, 'tis too little all for him:
Were I made up of endless, endless joys!

Adr. And so thou art:
The man, who loves like me,
Would think even infamy, the worst of ills,
169 Were cheaply purchased, were thy love the price.
Uncrowned, a captive, nothing left but honour,—
'Tis the last thing a prince should throw away;
But when the storm grows loud, and threatens love,
Throw even that o'er-board; for love's the jewel,
And last it must be kept.

Cre. [To Dioc.] Work him, be sure,
To rage; he is passionate;
Make him the aggressor.

Dioc. O false love, false honour!

Cre. Dissembled both, and false!

Adr. Darest thou say this to me?

Cre. To you! why what are you, that I should fear you?
I am not Laius. Hear me, prince of Argos;
You give what's nothing, when you give your honour:
'Tis gone; 'tis lost in battle. For your love,
Vows made in wine are not so false as that:
You killed her father; you confessed you did:
A mighty argument to prove your passion to the daughter!

Adr. [Aside.] Gods, must I bear this brand, and not retort
The lye to his foul throat!

Dioc. Basely you killed him.

Adr. [Aside.] O, I burn inward: my blood's all on fire!
Alcides, when the poisoned shirt sate closest,
Had but an ague-fit to this my fever.
Yet, for Eurydice, even this I'll suffer,
To free my love.—Well then, I killed him basely.

Cre. Fairly, I'm sure, you could not.

Dioc. Nor alone.

Cre. You had your fellow thieves about you, prince;
They conquered, and you killed.

170 Adr. [Aside.] Down, swelling heart!
'Tis for thy princess all:—O my Eurydice!—[To her.

Eur. [To him.] Reproach not thus the weakness of my sex,
As if I could not bear a shameful death,
Rather than see you burdened with a crime
Of which I know you free.

Cre. You do ill, madam,
To let your head-long love triumph o'er nature:
Dare you defend your father's murderer?

Eur. You know he killed him not.

Cre. Let him say so.

Dioc. See, he stands mute.

Cre. O power of conscience, even in wicked men!
It works, it stings, it will not let him utter
One syllable, one,—no, to clear himself
From the most base, detested, horrid act
That ere could stain a villain,—not a prince.

Adr. Ha! villain!

Dioc. Echo to him, groves: cry villain.

Adr. Let me consider—did I murder Laius,
Thus, like a villain?

Cre. Best revoke your words,
And say you killed him not.

Adr. Not like a villain; pr'ythee, change me that
For any other lye.

Dioc. No, villain, villain.

Cre. You killed him not! proclaim your innocence,
Accuse the princess: So I knew 'twould be.

Adr. I thank thee, thou instructest me:
No matter how I killed him.

Cre. [Aside.] Cooled again!

Eur. Thou, who usurp'st the sacred name of conscience,
Did not thy own declare him innocent?
171 To me declare him so? The king shall know it.

Cre. You will not be believed, for I'll forswear it.

Eur. What's now thy conscience?

Cre. 'Tis my slave, my drudge, my supple glove,
My upper garment, to put on, throw off,
As I think best: 'Tis my obedient conscience.

Adr. Infamous wretch!

Cre. My conscience shall not do me the ill office
To save a rival's life; when thou art dead,
(As dead thou shalt be, or be yet more base
Than thou think'st me,
By forfeiting her life, to save thy own,—)
Know this,—and let it grate thy very soul,—
She shall be mine: (she is, if vows were binding;)
Mark me, the fruit of all thy faith and passion,
Even of thy foolish death, shall all be mine.

Adr. Thine, say'st thou, monster! shall my love be thine?
O, I can bear no more!
Thy cunning engines have with labour raised
My heavy anger, like a mighty weight,
To fall and pash thee dead.
See here thy nuptials; see, thou rash Ixion,[Draws.
Thy promised Juno vanished in a cloud;
And in her room avenging thunder rolls,
To blast thee thus!—Come both!—[Both draw.

Cre. 'Tis what I wished.
Now see whose arm can launch the surer bolt,
And who's the better Jove![Fight.

Eur. Help; murther, help!

Enter Hæmon and guards, run betwixt them, and beat down their swords.

Hæm. Hold, hold your impious hands! I think the furies,
172 To whom this grove is hallowed, have inspired you:
Now, by my soul, the holiest earth of Thebes
You have profaned with war. Nor tree, nor plant
Grows here, but what is fed with magick juice;
All full of human souls, that cleave their barks
To dance at midnight by the moon's pale beams:
At least two hundred years these reverend shades
Have known no blood, but of black sheep and oxen,
Shed by the priest's own hand to Proserpine.

Adr. Forgive a stranger's ignorance: I knew not
The honours of the place.

Hæm. Thou, Creon, didst.
Not Œdipus, were all his foes here lodged,
Durst violate the religion of these groves,
To touch one single hair; but must, unarmed,
Parle as in truce, or surlily avoid
What most he longed to kill[8].

173 Cre. I drew not first,
But in my own defence.

Adr. I was provoked
Beyond man's patience; all reproach could urge
Was used to kindle one, not apt to bear.

Hæm. 'Tis Œdipus, not I, must judge this act.—
Lord Creon, you and Diocles retire:
Tiresias, and the brother-hood of priests,
Approach the place: None at these rites assist,
But you the accused, who by the mouth of Laius
Must be absolved or doomed.

Adr. I bear my fortune.

Eur. And I provoke my trial.

Hæm. 'Tis at hand.
For see, the prophet comes, with vervain crowned;
The priests with yew, a venerable band;
We leave you to the gods. [Exit Hæmon with Creon and Diocles.

Enter Tiresias, led by Manto: The Priests follow; all cloathed in long black habits.

Tir. Approach, ye lovers;
Ill-fated pair! whom, seeing not, I know,
This day your kindly stars in heaven were joined;
174 When lo, an envious planet interposed,
And threatened both with death: I fear, I fear!—

Eur. Is there no God so much a friend to love,
Who can controul the malice of our fate?
Are they all deaf; or have the giants heaven?

Tir. The gods are just;
But how can finite measure infinite?
Reason! alas, it does not know itself!
Yet man, vain man, would with this short-lined plummet,
Fathom the vast abyss of heavenly justice.
Whatever is, is in its causes just;
Since all things are by fate. But purblind man
Sees but a part o'the chain; the nearest links;
His eyes not carrying to that equal beam,
That poises all above.

Eur. Then we must die!

Tir. The danger's imminent this day.

Adr. Why then there's one day less for human ills;
And who would moan himself, for suffering that,
Which in a day must pass? something, or nothing;—
I shall be what I was again, before
I was Adrastus.—
Penurious heaven, can'st thou not add a night
To our one day? give me a night with her,
And I'll give all the rest.

Tir. She broke her vow,
First made to Creon: But the time calls on;
And Laius' death must now be made more plain.
How loth I am to have recourse to rites
So full of horror, that I once rejoice
I want the use of sight!—

1 Pr. The ceremonies stay.

Tir. Chuse the darkest part o'the grove:
Such as ghosts at noon-day love.
Dig a trench, and dig it nigh
175 Where the bones of Laius lie;
Altars, raised of turf or stone,
Will the infernal powers have none.
Answer me, if this be done?

All Pr. 'Tis done.

Tir. Is the sacrifice made fit?
Draw her backward to the pit:
Draw the barren heifer back;
Barren let her be, and black.
Cut the curled hair, that grows
Full betwixt her horns and brows:
And turn your faces from the sun:
Answer me, if this be done?

All Pr. 'Tis done.

Tir. Pour in blood, and blood like wine,
To mother Earth and Proserpine:
Mingle milk into the stream;
Feast the ghosts that love the steam;
Snatch a brand from funeral pile;
Toss it in to make them boil:
And turn your faces from the sun:
Answer me, if all be done?

All Pr. All is done. [Peal of Thunder; and flashes of Lightning; then groaning below the stage.

Man. O, what laments are those?

Tir. The groans of ghosts, that cleave the heart with pain,
And heave it up: they pant and stick half-way. [The Stage wholly darkened.

Man. And now a sudden darkness covers all,
True genuine night, night added to the groves;
The fogs are blown full in the face of heaven.

Tir. Am I but half obeyed? infernal gods,
Must you have musick too? then tune your voices,
And let them have such sounds as hell ne'er heard,
Since Orpheus bribed the shades.

176 Musick First. Then Song.

1. Hear, ye sullen powers below:
Hear, ye taskers of the dead.
2. You that boiling cauldrons blow,
You that scum the molten lead.
3. You that pinch with red-hot tongs;
1. You that drive the trembling hosts
Of poor, poor ghosts,
With your sharpened prongs;
2. You that thrust them off the brim;
3. You that plunge them when they swim:
1. Till they drown;
Till they go
On a row,
Down, down, down:
Ten thousand, thousand, thousand fathoms low.

Chorus. Till they drown, &c.

1. Musick for awhile
Shall your cares beguile:
Wondering how your pains were eased;
2. And disdaining to be pleas'd;
1. Till Alecto free the dead
From their eternal bands;
Till the snakes drop from her head,
And whip from out her hands.
1. Come away,
Do not stay,
But obey,
While we play,
For hell's broke up, and ghosts have holiday.

Chorus. Come away, &c. [A flash of Lightning: The Stage is made bright, and the Ghosts are seen passing betwixt the Trees.

1. Laius! 2. Laius! 3. Laius!

177 1. Hear! 2. Hear! 3. Hear!

Tir. Hear and appear!
By the Fates that spun thy thread!

Cho. Which are three.

Tir. By the furies fierce and dread!

Cho. Which are three.

Tir. By the judges of the dead!

Cho. Which are three.
Three times three!

Tir. By hell's blue flame:
By the Stygian Lake:
And by Demogorgon's name,
At which ghosts quake,
Hear and appear!
[The Ghost of Laius rises armed in his chariot, as he was slain. And behind his Chariot, sit the three who were murdered with him.

Ghost of Laius. Why hast thou drawn me from my pain below,
To suffer worse above? to see the day,
And Thebes, more hated? Hell is heaven to Thebes.
For pity send me back, where I may hide,
In willing night, this ignominious head:
In hell I shun the public scorn; and then
They hunt me for their sport, and hoot me as I fly:
Behold even now they grin at my gored side,
And chatter at my wounds.

Tir. I pity thee:
Tell but why Thebes is for thy death accurst,
And I'll unbind the charm.

Ghost. O spare my shame!

Tir. Are these two innocent?

Ghost. Of my death they are.
But he who holds my crown,—Oh, must I speak!—
Was doomed to do what nature most abhors.
The Gods foresaw it; and forbade his being,
Before he yet was born. I broke their laws,
178 And clothed with flesh his pre-existing soul.
Some kinder power, too weak for destiny,
Took pity, and endued his new-formed mass
With temperance, justice, prudence, fortitude,
And every kingly virtue: But in vain.
For fate, that sent him hood-winked to the world,
Performed its work by his mistaking hands.
Ask'st thou who murdered me? 'twas Œdipus:
Who stains my bed with incest? Œdipus:
For whom then are you curst, but Œdipus!
He comes, the parricide! I cannot bear him:
My wounds ake at him: Oh, his murderous breath
Venoms my airy substance! hence with him,
Banish him; sweep him out; the plague he bears
Will blast your fields, and mark his way with ruin.
From Thebes, my throne, my bed, let him be driven:
Do you forbid him earth, and I'll forbid him heaven. [Ghost descends.

Enter Œdipus, Creon, Hæmon, &c.

Œdip. What's this! methought some pestilential blast
Struck me, just entering; and some unseen hand
Struggled to push me backward! tell me why
My hair stands bristling up, why my flesh trembles?
You stare at me! then hell has been among ye,
And some lag fiend yet lingers in the grove.

Tir. What omen sawest thou, entering?

Œdip. A young stork,
That bore his aged parent on his back;
Till weary with the weight, he shook him off,
And pecked out both his eyes.

Adr. Oh, Œdipus!

Eur. Oh, wretched Œdipus!

Tir. Oh, fatal king!

Œdip. What mean these exclamations on my name?
I thank the gods, no secret thoughts reproach me:
179 No: I dare challenge heaven to turn me outward,
And shake my soul quite empty in your sight.
Then wonder not that I can bear unmoved
These fixed regards, and silent threats of eyes.
A generous fierceness dwells with innocence;
And conscious virtue is allowed some pride.

Tir. Thou knowest not what thou sayest.

Œdip. What mutters he? tell me, Eurydice:
Thou shak'st: Thy soul's a woman;—speak, Adrastus,
And boldly, as thou met'st my arms in fight:—
Dar'st thou not speak? why then 'tis bad indeed.—
Tiresias, thee I summon by thy priesthood,
Tell me what news from hell; where Laius points,
And whose the guilty head!

Tir. Let me not answer.

Œdip. Be dumb then, and betray thy native soil
To farther plagues.

Tir. I dare not name him to thee.

Œdip. Dar'st thou converse with hell, and canst thou fear
An human name?

Tir. Urge me no more to tell a thing, which, known,
Would make thee more unhappy: 'Twill be found,
Though I am silent.

Œdip. Old and obstinate! Then thou thyself
Art author or accomplice of this murther,
And shun'st the justice, which by public ban
Thou hast incurred.

Tir. O, if the guilt were mine,
It were not half so great: Know, wretched man,
Thou only, thou art guilty! thy own curse
Falls heavy on thyself.

Œdip. Speak this again:
But speak it to the winds, when they are loudest,
Or to the raging seas; they'll hear as soon,
And sooner will believe.

Tir. Then hear me, heaven!
180 For, blushing, thou hast seen it; hear me, earth,
Whose hollow womb could not contain this murder,
But sent it back to light! And thou, hell, hear me!
Whose own black seal has 'firmed this horrid truth,
Œdipus murthered Laius!

Œdip. Rot the tongue,
And blasted be the mouth that spoke that lie!
Thou blind of sight, but thou more blind of soul!

Tir. Thy parents thought not so.

Œdip. Who were my parents?

Tir. Thou shalt know too soon.

Œdip. Why seek I truth from thee?
The smiles of courtiers, and the harlot's tears,
The tradesman's oaths, and mourning of an heir,
Are truths to what priests tell.
O why has priest-hood privilege to lie,
And yet to be believed!—thy age protects thee.

Tir. Thou canst not kill me; 'tis not in thy fate,
As 'twas to kill thy father, wed thy mother,
And beget sons, thy brothers[9].

Œdip. Riddles, riddles!

Tir. Thou art thyself a riddle; a perplext
Obscure enigma, which when thou unty'st,
Thou shalt be found and lost.

Œdip. Impossible!—
Adrastus, speak; and, as thou art a king,
Whose royal word is sacred, clear my fame.

Adr. Would I could!

Œdip. Ha, wilt thou not? Can that plebeian vice
Of lying mount to kings? Can they be tainted?
Then truth is lost on earth.

Cre. The cheat's too gross.
Adrastus is his oracle, and he,
The pious juggler, but Adrastus' organ.

181 Œdip. 'Tis plain, the priest's suborned to free the prisoner.

Cre. And turn the guilt, on you.

Œdip. O, honest Creon, how hast thou been belied!

Eur. Hear me.

Cre. She's bribed to save her lover's life.

Adr. If, Œdipus, thou think'st—

Cre. Hear him not speak.

Adr. Then hear these holy men.

Cre. Priests, priests; all bribed, all priests.

Œdip. Adrastus, I have found thee:
The malice of a vanquished man has seized thee!

Adr. If envy and not truth—

Œdip. I'll hear no more: Away with him. [Hæmon takes him off by force: Creon and Eurydice follow.
[To Tir.] Why stand'st thou here, impostor?
So old, and yet so wicked,—Lie for gain?
And gain so short as age can promise thee!

Tir. So short a time as I have yet to live,
Exceeds thy 'pointed hour;—remember Laius!
No more; if e'er we meet again, 'twill be
In mutual darkness; we shall feel before us
To reach each other's hand;—remember Laius! [Exit Tiresias: Priests follow.

Œdipus solus.

Remember Laius! that's the burden still:
Murther and incest! but to hear them named
My soul starts in me: The good sentinel
Stands to her weapons, takes the first alarm
To guard me from such crimes.—Did I kill Laius?
Then I walked sleeping, in some frightful dream;
My soul then stole my body out by night;
And brought me back to bed ere morning-wake
It cannot be even this remotest way,
182 But some dark hint would justle forward now,
And goad my memory.—Oh my Jocasta!

Enter Jocasta.

Joc. Why are you thus disturbed?

Œdip. Why, would'st thou think it?
No less than murder.

Joc. Murder! what of murder?

Œdip. Is murder then no more? add parricide,
And incest; bear not these a frightful sound?

Joc. Alas!

Œdip. How poor a pity is alas,
For two such crimes!—was Laius us'd to lie?

Joc. Oh no: The most sincere, plain, honest man;
One who abhorred a lie.

Œdip. Then he has got that quality in hell.
He charges me—but why accuse I him?
I did not hear him speak it: They accuse me,—
The priest, Adrastus and Eurydice,—
Of murdering Laius!—Tell me, while I think on't,
Has old Tiresias practised long this trade?

Joc. What trade?

Œdip. Why, this foretelling trade.

Joc. For many years.

Œdip. Has he before this day accused me?

Joc. Never.

Œdip. Have you ere this inquired who did this murder?

Joc. Often; but still in vain.

Œdip. I am satisfied.
Then 'tis an infant-lye; but one day old.
The oracle takes place before the priest;
The blood of Laius was to murder Laius:
I'm not of Laius' blood.

Joc. Even oracles
Are always doubtful, and are often forged:
183 Laius had one, which never was fulfilled,
Nor ever can be now.

Œdip. And what foretold it?

Joc. That he should have a son by me, foredoomed
The murderer of his father: True, indeed,
A son was born; but, to prevent that crime,
The wretched infant of a guilty fate,
Bored through his untried feet, and bound with cords,
On a bleak mountain naked was exposed:
The king himself lived many, many years,
And found a different fate; by robbers murdered,
Where three ways met: Yet these are oracles,
And this the faith we owe them.

Œdip. Sayest thou, woman?
By heaven, thou hast awakened somewhat in me,
That shakes my very soul!

Joc. What new disturbance?

Œdip. Methought thou said'st—(or do I dream thou said'st it!)
This murder was on Laius' person done,
Where three ways meet?

Joc. So common fame reports.

Œdip. Would it had lied!

Joc. Why, good my lord?

Œdip. No questions.
'Tis busy time with me; despatch mine first;
Say where, where was it done!

Joc. Mean you the murder?

Œdip. Could'st thou not answer without naming murder?

Joc. They say in Phocide; on the verge that parts it
From Daulia, and from Delphos.

Œdip. So!—How long? when happened this?

184 Joc. Some little time before you came to Thebes.

Œdip. What will the gods do with me!

Joc. What means that thought?

Œdip. Something: But 'tis not yet your turn to ask:
How old was Laius, what his shape, his stature,
His action, and his mien? quick, quick, your answer!—

Joc. Big made he was, and tall: His port was fierce,
Erect his countenance: Manly majesty
Sate in his front, and darted from his eyes,
Commanding all he viewed: His hair just grizzled,
As in a green old age: Bate but his years,
You are his picture.

Œdip. [Aside.] Pray heaven he drew me not!—
Am I his picture?

Joc. So I have often told you.

Œdip. True, you have;
Add that unto the rest:—How was the king
Attended, when he travelled?

Joc. By four servants:
He went out private.

Œdip. Well counted still:—
One 'scaped, I hear; what since became of him?

Joc. When he beheld you first, as king in Thebes,
He kneeled, and trembling begged I would dismiss him:
He had my leave; and now he lives retired.

Œdip. This man must be produced: he must, Jocasta.

Joc. He shall—yet have I leave to ask you why?

Œdip. Yes, you shall know: For where should I repose
The anguish of my soul, but in your breast!
I need not tell you Corinth claims my birth;
My parents, Polybus and Merope,
185 Two royal names; their only child am I.
It happened once,—'twas at a bridal feast,—
One, warm with wine, told me I was a foundling,
Not the king's son; I, stung with this reproach,
Struck him: My father heard of it: The man
Was made ask pardon; and the business hushed.

Joc. 'Twas somewhat odd.

Œdip. And strangely it perplexed me.
I stole away to Delphos, and implored
The god, to tell my certain parentage.
He bade me seek no farther:—'Twas my fate
To kill my father, and pollute his bed,
By marrying her who bore me.

Joc. Vain, vain oracles!

Œdip. But yet they frighted me;
I looked on Corinth as a place accurst,
Resolved my destiny should wait in vain,
And never catch me there.

Joc. Too nice a fear.

Œdip. Suspend your thoughts; and flatter not too soon.
Just in the place you named, where three ways met.
And near that time, five persons I encountered;
One was too like, (heaven grant it prove not him!)
Whom you describe for Laius: insolent,
And fierce they were, as men who lived on spoil.
I judged them robbers, and by force repelled
The force they used: In short, four men I slew:
The fifth upon his knees demanding life,
My mercy gave it;—Bring me comfort now.
If I slew Laius, what can be more wretched!
From Thebes, and you, my curse has banished me:
From Corinth, fate.

Joc. Perplex not thus your mind.
My husband fell by multitudes opprest;
So Phorbas said: This band you chanced to meet:
186 And murdered not my Laius, but revenged him.

Œdip. There's all my hope: Let Phorbas tell me this,
And I shall live again.—
To you, good gods, I make my last appeal;
Or clear my virtue, or my crime reveal:
If wandering in the maze of fate I run,
And backward trod the paths I sought to shun,
Impute my errors to your own decree;
My hands are guilty, but my heart is free.[Exeunt.


Enter Pyracmon and Creon.

Pyr. Some business of import, that triumph wears,
You seem to go with; nor is it hard to guess
When you are pleased, by a malicious joy,
Whose red and fiery beams cast through your visage
A glowing pleasure. Sure you smile revenge,
And I could gladly hear.

Cre. Would'st thou believe!
This giddy hair-brained king, whom old Tiresias
Has thunder-struck with heavy accusation,
Though conscious of no inward guilt, yet fears:
He fears Jocasta, fears himself, his shadow;
He fears the multitude; and,—which is worth
An age of laughter,—out of all mankind,
He chuses me to be his orator;
Swears that Adrastus, and the lean-looked prophet[10],
Are joint conspirators; and wished me to
187 Appease the raving Thebans; which I swore
To do.

Pyr. A dangerous undertaking;
Directly opposite to your own interest.

Cre. No, dull Pyracmon; when I left his presence
With all the wings, with which revenge could aid
My flight, I gained the midst o'the city;
There, standing on a pile of dead and dying,
I to the mad and sickly multitude,
With interrupting sobs, cry'd out,—O Thebes!
O wretched Thebes, thy king, thy Œdipus,
This barbarous stranger, this usurper, monster,
Is by the oracle, the wise Tiresias,
Proclaimed the murderer of thy royal Laius:
Jocasta too, no longer now my sister,
Is found complotter in the horrid deed.
Here I renounce all tie of blood and nature,
For thee, O Thebes, dear Thebes, poor bleeding Thebes!—
And there I wept, and then the rabble howled.
And roared, and with a thousand antic mouths
Gabbled revenge! revenge was all the cry.

Pyr. This cannot fail: I see you on the throne:
And Œdipus cast out.

Cre. Then strait came on
Alcander, with a wild and bellowing crowd,
Whom he had wrought; I whispered him to join.
And head the forces while the heat was in them.
So to the palace I returned, to meet
The king, and greet him with another story.—
But see, he enters.

Enter Œdipus and Jocasta, attended.

Œdip. Said you that Phorbas is returned, and yet
Intreats he may return, without being asked
188 Of aught concerning what we have discovered?

Joc. He started when I told him your intent,
Replying, what he knew of that affair
Would give no satisfaction to the king;
Then, falling on his knees, begged, as for life,
To be dismissed from court: He trembled too,
As if convulsive death had seized upon him,
And stammered in his abrupt prayer so wildly,
That had he been the murderer of Laius,
Guilt and distraction could not have shook him more.

Œdip. By your description, sure as plagues and death
Lay waste our Thebes, some deed that shuns the light
Begot those fears; if thou respect'st my peace,
Secure him, dear Jocasta; for my genius
Shrinks at his name.

Joc. Rather let him go:
So my poor boding heart would have it be,
Without a reason.

Œdip. Hark, the Thebans come!
Therefore retire: And, once more, if thou lovest me,
Let Phorbas be retained.

Joc. You shall, while I
Have life, be still obeyed.
In vain you sooth me with your soft endearments,
And set the fairest countenance to view;
Your gloomy eyes, my lord, betray a deadness
And inward languishing: That oracle
Eats like a subtle worm its venomed way,
Preys on your heart, and rots the noble core,
Howe'er the beauteous out-side shews so lovely.

Œdip. O, thou wilt kill me with thy love's excess!
All, all is well; retire, the Thebans come.[Exit Joc.

Ghost. Œdipus!

Œdip. Ha! again that scream of woe!
189 Thrice have I heard, thrice, since the morning dawned,
It hollowed loud, as if my guardian spirit
Called from some vaulted mansion, Œdipus!
Or is it but the work of melancholy?
When the sun sets, shadows, that shewed at noon
But small, appear most long and terrible;
So, when we think fate hovers o'er our heads,
Our apprehensions shoot beyond all bounds;
Owls, ravens, crickets seem the watch of death;
Nature's worst vermin scare her godlike sons;
Echoes, the very leavings of a voice,
Grow babbling ghosts, and call us to our graves;
Each mole-hill thought swells to a huge Olympus;
While we fantastic dreamers heave and puff,
And sweat with an imagination's weight;
As if, like Atlas, with these mortal shoulders
We could sustain the burden of the world.[Creon comes forward.

Cre. O, sacred sir, my royal lord—

Œdip. What now?
Thou seem'st affrighted at some dreadful action;
Thy breath comes short, thy darted eyes are fixt
On me for aid, as if thou wert pursued:
I sent thee to the Thebans; speak thy wonder:
Fear not; this palace is a sanctuary,
The king himself's thy guard.

Cre. For me, alas,
My life's not worth a thought, when weighed with yours!
But fly, my lord; fly as your life is sacred.
Your fate is precious to your faithful Creon,
Who therefore, on his knees, thus prostrate begs
You would remove from Thebes, that vows your ruin.
When I but offered at your innocence,
They gathered stones, and menaced me with death,
190 And drove me through the streets, with imprecations
Against your sacred person, and those traitors
Who justified your guilt, which cursed Tiresias
Told, as from heaven, was cause of their destruction.

Œdip. Rise, worthy Creon; haste and take our guard,
Rank them in equal part upon the square,
Then open every gate of this our palace,
And let the torrent in. Hark, it comes.[Shout.
I hear them roar: Begone, and break down all
The dams, that would oppose their furious passage. [Exit Creon with Guards.

Enter Adrastus, his sword drawn.

Adr. Your city
Is all in arms, all bent to your destruction:
I heard but now, where I was close confined,
A thundering shout, which made my jailors vanish,
Cry,—fire the palace! where is the cruel king?
Yet, by the infernal Gods, those awful powers
That have accused you, which these ears have heard,
And these eyes seen, I must believe you guiltless;
For, since I knew the royal Œdipus,
I have observed in all his acts such truth,
And god-like clearness, that, to the last gush
Of blood and spirits, I'll defend his life,
And here have sworn to perish by his side.

Œdip. Be witness, Gods, how near this touches me. [Embracing him.
O what, what recompence can glory make?

Adr. Defend your innocence, speak like yourself,
And awe the rebels with your dauntless virtue.
But hark! the storm comes nearer.

Œdip. Let it come.
The force of majesty is never known
But in a general wreck: Then, then is seen
The difference 'twixt a threshold and a throne.

191 Enter Creon, Pyracmon, Alcander, Tiresias, Thebans.

Alc. Where, where's this cruel king?—Thebans, behold,
There stands your plague, the ruin, desolation
Of this unhappy—speak; shall I kill him?
Or shall he be cast out to banishment?

All Theb. To banishment, away with him!

Œdip. Hence, you barbarians, to your slavish distance!
Fix to the earth your sordid looks; for he,
Who stirs, dares more than madmen, fiends, or furies.
Who dares to face me, by the Gods, as well
May brave the majesty of thundering Jove.
Did I for this relieve you, when besieged
By this fierce prince, when cooped within your walls,
And to the very brink of fate reduced;
When lean-jawed famine made more havock of you,
Than does the plague? But I rejoice I know you,
Know the base stuff that tempered your vile souls:
The Gods be praised, I needed not your empire,
Born to a greater, nobler, of my own;
Nor shall the sceptre of the earth now win me
To rule such brutes, so barbarous a people.

Adr. Methinks, my lord, I see a sad repentance,
A general consternation spread among them.

Œdip. My reign is at an end; yet, ere I finish,
I'll do a justice that becomes a monarch;
A monarch, who, in the midst of swords and javelins,
Dares act as on his throne, encompast round
With nations for his guard. Alcander, you
Are nobly born, therefore shall lose your head:[Seizes him.
Here, Hæmon, take him: but for this, and this,
Let cords dispatch them. Hence, away with them!

Tir. O sacred prince, pardon distracted Thebes,
192 Pardon her, if she acts by heaven's award;
If that the infernal spirits have declared
The depth of fate; and if our oracles
May speak, O do not too severely deal!
But let thy wretched Thebes at least complain.
If thou art guilty, heaven will make it known;
If innocent, then let Tiresias die.

Œdip. I take thee at thy word.—Run, haste, and save Alcander:
I swear, the prophet, or the king shall die.
Be witness, all you Thebans, of my oath;
And Phorbas be the umpire.

Tir. I submit.[Trumpet sounds.

Œdip. What mean those trumpets?

Enter Hæmon with Alcander, &c.

Hæm. From your native country,
Great sir, the famed Ægeon is arrived,
That renowned favourite of the king your father:
He comes as an ambassador from Corinth,
And sues for audience.

Œdip. Haste, Hæmon, fly, and tell him that I burn
To embrace him.

Hæm. The queen, my lord, at present holds him
In private conference; but behold her here.

Enter Jocasta, Eurydice, &c.

Joc. Hail, happy Œdipus, happiest of kings!
Henceforth be blest, blest as thou canst desire;
Sleep without fears the blackest nights away;
Let furies haunt thy palace, thou shalt sleep
Secure, thy slumbers shall be soft and gentle
As infants' dreams.

Œdip. What does the soul of all my joys intend?
And whither would this rapture?

Joc. O, I could rave,
Pull down those lying fanes, and burn that vault,
193 From whence resounded those false oracles,
That robbed my love of rest: If we must pray,
Rear in the streets bright altars to the Gods,
Let virgins' hands adorn the sacrifice;
And not a grey-beard forging priest come near,
To pry into the bowels of the victim,
And with his dotage mad the gaping world.
But see, the oracle that I will trust,
True as the Gods, and affable as men.

Enter Ægeon. Kneels.

Œdip. O, to my arms, welcome, my dear Ægeon;
Ten thousand welcomes! O, my foster-father,
Welcome as mercy to a man condemned!
Welcome to me, as, to a sinking mariner,
The lucky plank that bears him to the shore!
But speak, O tell me what so mighty joy
Is this thou bring'st, which so transports Jocasta?

Joc. Peace, peace, Ægeon, let Jocasta tell him!—
O that I could for ever charm, as now,
My dearest Œdipus! Thy royal father,
Polybus, king of Corinth, is no more.

Œdip. Ha! can it be? Ægeon, answer me;
And speak in short, what my Jocasta's transport
May over-do.

Æge. Since in few words, my royal lord, you ask
To know the truth,—king Polybus is dead.

Œdip. O all you powers, is't possible? what, dead!
But that the tempest of my joy may rise
By just degrees, and hit at last the stars,
Say, how, how died he? ha! by sword, by fire,
Or water? by assassinates, or poison? speak:
Or did he languish under some disease?

Æge. Of no distemper, of no blast he died,
But fell like autumn-fruit that mellowed long;
Even wondered at, because he dropt no sooner.
194 Fate seemed to wind him up for fourscore years;
Yet freshly ran he on ten winters more:
Till, like a clock worn out with eating time,
The wheels of weary life at last stood still.

Œdip. O, let me press thee in my youthful arms,
And smother thy old age in my embraces.
Yes, Thebans, yes, Jocasta, yes, Adrastus,
Old Polybus, the king my father's dead!
Fires shall be kindled in the midst of Thebes;
In the midst of tumult, wars, and pestilence,
I will rejoice for Polybus's death.
Know, be it known to the limits of the world;
Yet farther, let it pass yon dazzling roof,
The mansion of the Gods, and strike them deaf
With everlasting peals of thundering joy.

Tir. Fate! Nature! Fortune! what is all this world?

Œdip. Now, dotard; now, thou blind old wizard prophet,
Where are your boding ghosts, your altars now;
Your birds of knowledge, that in dusky air
Chatter futurity? And where are now
Your oracles, that called me parricide?
Is he not dead? deep laid in his monument?
And was not I in Thebes when fate attacked him?
Avaunt, begone, you vizors of the Gods!
Were I as other sons, now I should weep;
But, as I am, I have reason to rejoice:
And will, though his cold shade should rise and blast me.
O, for this death, let waters break their bounds;
Rocks, valleys, hills, with splitting Io's ring:
Io, Jocasta, Io pæan sing!

Tir. Who would not now conclude a happy end!
But all fate's turns are swift and unexpected.

Æge. Your royal mother Merope, as if
She had no soul since you forsook the land,
Waves all the neighbouring princes that adore her.

195 Œdip. Waves all the princes! poor heart! for what?
O speak.

Æge. She, though in full-blown flower of glorious beauty,
Grows cold, even in the summer of her age,
And, for your sake, has sworn to die unmarried.

Œdip. How! for my sake, die and not marry! O
My fit returns.

Æge. This diamond, with a thousand kisses blest,
With thousand sighs and wishes for your safety,
She charged me give you, with the general homage
Of our Corinthian lords.

Œdip. There's magic in it, take it from my sight;
There's not a beam it darts, but carries hell,
Hot flashing lust, and necromantic incest:
Take it from these sick eyes, oh hide it from me!—
No, my Jocasta, though Thebes cast me out,
While Merope's alive, I'll ne'er return.
O, rather let me walk round the wide world
A beggar, than accept a diadem
On such abhorred conditions.

Joc. You make, my lord, your own unhappiness,
By these extravagant and needless fears.

Œdip. Needless! O, all you Gods! By heaven, I would rather
Embrue my arms, up to my very shoulders,
In the dear entrails of the best of fathers,
Than offer at the execrable act
Of damned incest: therefore no more of her.

Æge. And why, O sacred sir, if subjects may
Presume to look into their monarch's breast,
Why should the chaste and spotless Merope
Infuse such thoughts, as I must blush to name?

Œdip. Because the god of Delphos did forewarn me,
With thundering oracles.

Æge. May I entreat to know them?

Œdip. Yes, my Ægeon; but the sad remembrance
196 Quite blasts my soul: See then the swelling priest!
Methinks, I have his image now in view!—
He mounts the tripos in a minute's space,
His clouded head knocks at the temple-roof;
While from his mouth,
These dismal words are heard:
"Fly, wretch, whom fate has doomed thy father's blood to spill,
And with preposterous births thy mother's womb to fill!"

Æge. Is this the cause,
Why you refuse the diadem of Corinth?

Œdip. The cause! why, is it not a monstrous one!

Æge. Great sir, you may return; and though you should
Enjoy the queen, (which all the Gods forbid!)
The act would prove no incest.

Œdip. How, Ægeon?
Though I enjoy my mother, not incestuous!
Thou ravest, and so do I; and these all catch
My madness; look, they're dead with deep distraction:
Not incest! what, not incest with my mother?

Æge. My lord, queen Merope is not your mother.

Œdip. Ha! did I hear thee right? not Merope
My mother!

Æge. Nor was Polybus your father.

Œdip. Then all my days and nights must now be spent
In curious search, to find out those dark parents
Who gave me to the world; speak then, Ægeon.
By all the Gods celestial and infernal,
By all the ties of nature, blood and friendship,
Conceal not from this racked despairing king,
A point or smallest grain of what thou knowest:
Speak then, O answer to my doubts directly,
If royal Polybus was not my father,
Why was I called his son?

197 Æge. He from my arms
Received you, as the fairest gift of nature.
Not but you were adorned with all the riches
That empire could bestow, in costly mantles,
Upon its infant heir.

Œdip. But was I made the heir of Corinth's crown,
Because Ægeon's hands presented me?

Æge. By my advice,
Being past all hope of children,
He took, embraced, and owned you for his son.

Œdip. Perhaps I then am yours; instruct me, sir;
If it be so, I'll kneel and weep before you.
With all the obedience of a penitent child,
Imploring pardon.
Kill me, if you please;
I will not writhe my body at the wound,
But sink upon your feet with a last sigh,
And ask forgiveness with my dying hands.

Æge. O rise, and call not to this aged cheek
The little blood which should keep warm my heart;
You are not mine, nor ought I to be blest
With such a god-like offspring. Sir, I found you
Upon the mount Cithæron.

Œdip. O speak, go on, the air grows sensible
Of the great things you utter, and is calm:
The hurried orbs, with storms so racked of late,
Seem to stand still, as if that Jove were talking.
Cithæron! speak, the valley of Cithæron!

Æge. Oft-times before, I thither did resort,
Charmed with the conversation of a man,
Who led a rural life, and had command
O'er all the shepherds, who about those vales
Tended their numerous flocks: in this man's arms,
I saw you smiling at a fatal dagger,
Whose point he often offered at your throat;
But then you smiled, and then he drew it back,
Then lifted it again,—you smiled again:
'Till he at last in fury threw it from him,
198 And cried aloud,—The Gods forbid thy death.
Then I rushed in, and, after some discourse,
To me he did bequeath your innocent life;
And I, the welcome care to Polybus.

Œdip. To whom belongs the master of the shepherds?

Æge. His name I knew not, or I have forgot:
That he was of the family of Laius,
I well remember.

Œdip. And is your friend alive? for if he be,
I'll buy his presence, though it cost my crown.

Æge. Your menial attendants best can tell
Whether he lives, or not; and who has now
His place.

Joc. Winds, bear me to some barren island,
Where print of human feet was never seen;
O'er-grown with weeds of such a monstrous height,
Their baleful tops are washed with bellying clouds;
Beneath whose venomous shade I may have vent
For horrors, that would blast the barbarous world!

Œdip. If there be any here that knows the person
Whom he described, I charge him on his life
To speak; concealment shall be sudden death:
But he, who brings him forth, shall have reward
Beyond ambition's lust.

Tir. His name is Phorbas:
Jocasta knows him well; but, if I may
Advise, rest where you are, and seek no farther.

Œdip. Then all goes well, since Phorbas is secured
By my Jocasta.—Haste, and bring him forth:
My love, my queen, give orders, Ha! what mean
These tears, and groans, and strugglings? speak, my fair,
What are thy troubles?

Joc. Yours; and yours are mine:
Let me conjure you, take the prophet's counsel,
And let this Phorbas go.

199 Œdip. Not for the world.
By all the Gods, I'll know my birth, though death
Attends the search. I have already past
The middle of the stream; and to return,
Seems greater labour than to venture over:
Therefore produce him.

Joc. Once more, by the Gods,
I beg, my Œdipus, my lord, my life,
My love, my all, my only, utmost hope!
I beg you, banish Phorbas: O, the Gods,
I kneel, that you may grant this first request.
Deny me all things else; but for my sake,
And as you prize your own eternal quiet,
Never let Phorbas come into your presence.

Œdip. You must be raised, and Phorbas shall appear,
Though his dread eyes were basilisks. Guards, haste,
Search the queen's lodgings; find, and force him hither. [Exeunt Guards.

Joc. O, Œdipus, yet send,
And stop their entrance, ere it be too late;
Unless you wish to see Jocasta rent
With furies,—slain out-right with mere distraction!
Keep from your eyes and mine the dreadful Phorbas.
Forbear this search, I'll think you more than mortal;
Will you yet hear me?

Œdip. Tempests will be heard,
And waves will dash, though rocks their basis keep.
But see, they enter. If thou truly lovest me,
Either forbear this subject, or retire.

Enter Hæmon, Guards, with Phorbas.

Joc. Prepare then, wretched prince, prepare to hear
A story, that shall turn thee into stone.
Could there be hewn a monstrous gap in nature,
A flaw made through the centre, by some God,
200 Through which the groans of ghosts may strike thy ears,
They would not wound thee, as this story will.
Hark, hark! a hollow voice calls out aloud,
Jocasta! Yes, I'll to the royal bed,
Where first the mysteries of our loves were acted,
And double-dye it with imperial crimson;
Tear off this curling hair,
Be gorged with fire, stab every vital part,
And, when at last I'm slain, to crown the horror,
My poor tormented ghost shall cleave the ground,
To try if hell can yet more deeply wound.[Exit.

Œdip. She's gone; and, as she went, methought her eyes
Grew larger, while a thousand frantic spirits,
Seething like rising bubbles on the brim,
Peeped from the watry brink, and glowed upon me.
I'll seek no more; but hush my genius up,
That throws me on my fate.—Impossible!
O wretched man, whose too too busy thoughts
Hide swifter than the gallopping heaven's round,
With an eternal hurry of the soul.
Nay, there's a time when even the rolling year
Seems to stand still, dead calms are in the ocean,
When not a breath disturbs the drowzy waves:
But man, the very monster of the world,
Is ne'er at rest; the soul for ever wakes.
Come then, since destiny thus drives us on,
Let us know the bottom.—Hæmon, you I sent;
Where is that Phorbas?

Hæm. Here, my royal lord.

Œdip. Speak first, Ægeon, say, is this the man?

Æge. My lord, it is; Though time has ploughed that face
With many furrows since I saw it first,
Yet I'm too well acquainted with the ground,
Quite to forget it.

201 Œdip. Peace; stand back a while.—
Come hither, friend; I hear thy name is Phorbas.
Why dost thou turn thy face? I charge thee answer
To what I shall enquire: Wert thou not once
The servant to king Laius here in Thebes?

Phor. I was, great sir, his true and faithful servant;
Born and bred up in court, no foreign slave.

Œdip. What office hadst thou? what was thy employment?

Phor. He made me lord of all his rural pleasures;
For much he loved them: oft I entertained him
With sporting swains, o'er whom I had command.

Œdip. Where was thy residence? to what part of the country
Didst thou most frequently resort?

Phor. To mount Cithæron, and the pleasant vallies
Which all about lie shadowing its large feet.

Œdip. Come forth, Ægeon.—Ha! why start'st thou, Phorbas?
Forward, I say, and face to face confront him:
Look wistly on him,—through him, if thou canst!
And tell me on thy life, say, dost thou know him?
Didst thou e'er see him? e'er converse with him
Near mount Cithæron?

Phor. Who, my lord, this man?

Œdip. This man, this old, this venerable man:
Speak, did'st thou ever meet him there?

Phor. Where, sacred sir?

Œdip. Near mount Cithæron; answer to the purpose,
'Tis a king speaks; and royal minutes are
Of much more worth than thousand vulgar years:
Did'st thou e'er see this man near mount Cithæron?

Phor. Most sure, my lord, I have seen lines like those
His visage bears; but know not where, nor when.

202 Æge. Is't possible you should forget your ancient friend?
There are, perhaps,
Particulars, which may excite your dead remembrance.
Have you forgot I took an infant from you,
Doomed to be murdered in that gloomy vale?
The swaddling-bands were purple, wrought with gold.
Have you forgot, too, how you wept, and begged
That I should breed him up, and ask no more?

Phor. Whate'er I begged, thou, like a dotard, speak'st
More than is requisite; and what of this?
Why is it mentioned now? And why, O why
Dost thou betray the secrets of thy friend?

Æge. Be not too rash. That infant grew at last
A king; and here the happy monarch stands.

Phor. Ha! whither would'st thou? O what hast thou uttered!
For what thou hast said, death strike thee dumb for ever!

Œdip. Forbear to curse the innocent; and be
Accurst thyself, thou shifting traitor, villain,
Damned hypocrite, equivocating slave!

Phor. O heavens! wherein, my lord, have I offended?

Œdip. Why speak you not according to my charge?
Bring forth the rack: since mildness cannot win you,
Torments shall force.

Phor. Hold, hold, O dreadful sir!
You will not rack an innocent old man?

Œdip. Speak then.

Phor. Alas! What would you have me say?

Œdip. Did this old man take from your arms an infant?

Phor. He did: And, Oh! I wish to all the gods,
Phorbas had perished in that very moment.

203 Œdip. Moment! Thou shalt be hours, days, years, a dying.—
Here, bind his hands; he dallies with my fury:
But I shall find a way—

Phor. My lord, I said
I gave the infant to him.

Œdip. Was he thy own, or given thee by another?

Phor. He was not mine, but given me by another.

Œdip. Whence? and from whom? what city? of what house?

Phor. O, royal sir, I bow me to the ground;
Would I could sink beneath it! by the gods,
I do conjure you to inquire no more.

Œdip. Furies and hell! Hæmon, bring forth the rack,
Fetch hither cords, and knives, and sulphurous flames:
He shall be bound and gashed, his skin flead off,
And burnt alive.

Phor. O spare my age.

Œdip. Rise then, and speak.

Phor. Dread sir, I will.

Œdip. Who gave that infant to thee?

Phor. One of king Laius' family.

Œdip. O, you immortal gods!—But say, who was't?
Which of the family of Laius gave it?
A servant, or one of the royal blood?

Phor. O wretched state! I die, unless I speak;
And if I speak, most certain death attends me!

Œdip. Thou shalt not die. Speak, then, who was it? speak,
While I have sense to understand the horror;
For I grow cold.

Phor. The queen Jocasta told me,
It was her son by Laius.

Œdip. O you gods!—But did she give it thee?

Phor. My lord, she did.

204 Œdip. Wherefore? for what?—O break not yet, my heart;
Though my eyes burst, no matter:—wilt thou tell me,
Or must I ask for ever? for what end,
Why gave she thee her child?

Phor. To murder it.

Œdip. O more than savage! murder her own bowels,
Without a cause!

Phor. There was a dreadful one,
Which had foretold, that most unhappy son
Should kill his father, and enjoy his mother.

Œdip. But one thing more.
Jocasta told me, thou wert by the chariot
When the old king was slain: Speak, I conjure thee,
For I shall never ask thee aught again,—
What was the number of the assassinates?

Phor. The dreadful deed was acted but by one;
And sure that one had much of your resemblance.

Œdip. 'Tis well! I thank you, gods! 'tis wondrous well!
Daggers, and poison! O there is no need
For my dispatch: And you, you merciless powers,
Hoard up your thunder-stones; keep, keep your bolts,
For crimes of little note.[Falls.

Adr. Help, Hæmon, help, and bow him gently forward;
Chafe, chafe his temples: How the mighty spirits,
Half-strangled with the damp his sorrows raised,
Struggle for vent! But see, he breathes again,
And vigorous nature breaks through opposition.—
How fares my royal friend?

Œdip. The worse for you.
O barbarous men, and oh the hated light,
Why did you force me back, to curse the day;
To curse my friends; to blast with this dark breath
205 The yet untainted earth and circling air?
To raise new plagues, and call new vengeance down,
Why did you tempt the gods, and dare to touch me?
Methinks there's not a hand that grasps this hell,
But should run up like flax all blazing fire.
Stand from this spot, I wish you as my friends,
And come not near me, lest the gaping earth
Swallow you too.—Lo, I am gone already. [Draws, and claps his Sword to his Breast, which Adrastus strikes away with his Foot.

Adr. You shall no more be trusted with your life:—
Creon, Alcander, Hæmon, help to hold him.

Œdip. Cruel Adrastus! wilt thou, Hæmon, too?
Are these the obligations of my friends?
O worse than worst of my most barbarous foes!
Dear, dear Adrastus, look with half an eye
On my unheard of woes, and judge thyself,
If it be fit that such a wretch should live!
O, by these melting eyes, unused to weep,
With all the low submissions of a slave,
I do conjure thee, give my horrors way!
Talk not of life, for that will make me rave:
As well thou may'st advise a tortured wretch,
All mangled o'er from head to foot with wounds,
And his bones broke, to wait a better day.

Adr. My lord, you ask me things impossible;
And I with justice should be thought your foe,
To leave you in this tempest of your soul.

Tir. Though banished Thebes, in Corinth you may reign;
The infernal powers themselves exact no more:
Calm then your rage, and once more seek the gods.

Œdip. I'll have no more to do with gods, nor men;
Hence, from my arms, avaunt. Enjoy thy mother!
What, violate, with bestial appetite,
The sacred veils that wrapt thee yet unborn!
206 This is not to be borne! Hence; off, I say!
For they, who let my vengeance, make themselves
Accomplices in my most horrid guilt.

Adr. Let it be so; we'll fence heav'n's fury from you,
And suffer all together. This, perhaps,
When ruin comes, may help to break your fall.

Œdip. O that, as oft I have at Athens seen
The stage arise, and the big clouds descend;
So now, in very deed I might behold
The pond'rous earth, and all yon marble roof
Meet, like the hand of Jove, and crush mankind!
For all the elements, and all the powers
Celestial, nay, terrestrial, and infernal,
Conspire the wreck of out-cast Œdipus!
Fall darkness then, and everlasting night
Shadow the globe; may the sun never dawn;
The silver moon be blotted from her orb;
And for an universal rout of nature
Through all the inmost chambers of the sky,
May there not be a glimpse, one starry spark,
But gods meet gods, and jostle in the dark;
That jars may rise, and wrath divine be hurled,
Which may to atoms shake the solid world![Exeunt.


Enter Creon, Alcander, and Pyracmon.

Creon. Thebes is at length my own; and all my wishes,
Which sure were great as royalty e'er formed,
Fortune and my auspicious stars have crowned.
O diadem, thou centre of ambition,
Where all its different lines are reconciled,
As if thou wert the burning glass of glory!

207 Pyr. Might I be counsellor, I would intreat you
To cool a little, sir; find out Eurydice;
And, with the resolution of a man
Marked out for greatness, give the fatal choice
Of death or marriage.

Alc. Survey cursed Œdipus,
As one who, though unfortunate, beloved,
Thought innocent, and therefore much lamented
By all the Thebans: you must mark him dead,
Since nothing but his death, not banishment,
Can give assurance to your doubtful reign.

Cre. Well have you done, to snatch me from the storm
Of racking transport, where the little streams
Of love, revenge, and all the under passions,
As waters are by sucking whirlpools drawn,
Were quite devoured in the vast gulph of empire.
Therefore, Pyracmon, as you boldly urged,
Eurydice shall die, or be my bride.
Alcander, summon to their master's aid
My menial servants, and all those whom change
Of state, and hope of the new monarch's favour,
Can win to take our part: Away.—What now?[Exit Alcander.

Enter Hæmon.

When Hæmon weeps, without the help of ghosts
I may foretel there is a fatal cause.

Hæm. Is't possible you should be ignorant
Of what has happened to the desperate king?

Cre. I know no more but that he was conducted
Into his closet, where I saw him fling
His trembling body on the royal bed;
All left him there, at his desire, alone;
But sure no ill, unless he died with grief,
Could happen, for you bore his sword away.

208 Hæm. I did; and, having locked the door, I stood;
And through a chink I found, not only heard,
But saw him, when he thought no eye beheld him.
At first, deep sighs heaved from his woful heart
Murmurs, and groans that shook the outward rooms.
And art thou still alive, O wretch! he cried;
Then groaned again, as if his sorrowful soul
Had cracked the strings of life, and burst away.

Cre. I weep to hear; how then should I have grieved,
Had I beheld this wondrous heap of sorrow!
But, to the fatal period.

Hæm. Thrice he struck,
With all his force, his hollow groaning breast,
And thus, with outcries, to himself complained:—
But thou canst weep then, and thou think'st 'tis well,
These bubbles of the shallowest emptiest sorrow,
Which children vent for toys, and women rain
For any trifle their fond hearts are set on;
Yet these thou think'st are ample satisfaction
For bloodiest murder, and for burning lust:
No, parricide! if thou must weep, weep blood;
Weep eyes, instead of tears:—O, by the gods!
'Tis greatly thought, he cried, and fits my woes.
Which said, he smiled revengefully, and leapt
Upon the floor; thence gazing at the skies,
His eye-balls fiery red, and glowing vengeance,—
Gods I accuse you not, though I no more
Will view your heaven, till, with more durable glasses,
The mighty soul's immortal perspectives,
I find your dazzling beings: Take, he cried,
Take, eyes, your last, your fatal farewel-view.
Then with a groan, that seemed the call of death,
With horrid force lifting his impious hands,
He snatched, he tore, from forth their bloody orbs,
The balls of sight, and dashed them on the ground.

Cre. A master-piece of horror; new and dreadful!

Hæm. I ran to succour him; but, oh! too late;
209 For he had plucked the remnant strings away.
What then remains, but that I find Tiresias,
Who, with his wisdom, may allay those furies,
That haunt his gloomy soul?[Exit.

Cre. Heaven will reward
Thy care, most honest, faithful,—foolish Hæmon!
But see, Alcander enters, well attended.

Enter Alcander, attended.

I see thou hast been diligent.

Alc. Nothing these,
For number, to the crowds that soon will follow;
Be resolute,
And call your utmost fury to revenge.

Cre. Ha! thou hast given
The alarm to cruelty; and never may
These eyes be closed, till they behold Adrastus
Stretched at the feet of false Eurydice.
But see, they are here! retire a while, and mark.

Enter Adrastus, and Eurydice, attended.

Adr. Alas, Eurydice, what fond rash man,
What inconsiderate and ambitious fool,
That shall hereafter read the fate of Œdipus,
Will dare, with his frail hand, to grasp a sceptre?

Eur. 'Tis true, a crown seems dreadful, and I wish
That you and I, more lowly placed, might pass
Our softer hours in humble cells away:
Not but I love you to that infinite height,
I could (O wondrous proof of fiercest love!)
Be greatly wretched in a court with you.

Adr. Take then this most loved innocence away;
Fly from tumultuous Thebes, from blood and murder,
Fly from the author of all villainies,
Rapes, death, and treason, from that fury Creon:
210 Vouchsafe that I, o'er-joyed, may bear you hence,
And at your feet present the crown of Argos. [Creon and attendants come up to him.

Cre. I have o'er-heard thy black design, Adrastus,
And therefore, as a traitor to this state,
Death ought to be thy lot: Let it suffice
That Thebes surveys thee as a prince; abuse not
Her proffered mercy, but retire betimes,
Lest she repent, and hasten on thy doom.

Adr. Think not, most abject, most abhorred of men,
Adrastus will vouchsafe to answer thee;—
Thebans to you I justify my love:
I have addrest my prayer to this fair princess;
But, if I ever meant a violence,
Or thought to ravish, as that traitor did,
What humblest adorations could not win,
Brand me, you gods, blot me with foul dishonour,
And let men curse me by the name of Creon!

Eur. Hear me, O Thebans, if you dread the wrath
Of her whom fate ordained to be your queen;
Hear me, and dare not, as you prize your lives,
To take the part of that rebellious traitor.
By the decree of royal Œdipus,
By queen Jocasta's order, by what's more,
My own dear vows of everlasting love,
I here resign, to prince Adrastus' arms,
All that the world can make me mistress of.

Cre. O perjured woman!
Draw all; and when I give the word, fall on.—
Traitor, resign the princess, or this moment
Expect, with all those most unfortunate wretches,
Upon this spot straight to be hewn in pieces.

Adr. No, villain, no;
With twice those odds of men,
I doubt not in this cause to vanquish thee.—
Captain remember to your care I give
211 My love; ten thousand, thousand times more clear,
Than life or liberty.

Cre. Fall on, Alcander.—
Pyracmon you and I must wheel about
For nobler game, the princess.

Adr. Ah, traito2, dost thou shun me?
Follow, follow,
My brave companions! see, the cowards fly! [Exeunt fighting: Cruon's Party beaten off by Adrastus.

Enter Œdipus.

Œdip.O, 'tis too little this; thy loss of sight,
What has it done? I shall be gazed at now
The more; be pointed at, There goes the monster!
Nor have I hid my horrors from myself;
For, though corporeal light be lost for ever,
The bright reflecting soul, through glaring optics,
Presents in larger size her black ideas,
Doubling the bloody prospect of my crimes;
Holds fancy down, and makes her act again,
With wife and mother:—Tortures, hell and furies!
Ha! now the baleful offspring's brought to light!
In horrid form, they rank themselves before me;—
What shall I call this medley of creation?
Here one, with all the obedience of a son,
Borrowing Jocasta's look, kneels at my feet,
And calls me father; there, a sturdy boy,
Resembling Laius just as when I killed him,
Bears up, and with his cold hand grasping mine,
Cries out, how fares my brother Œdipus?
What, sons and brothers! Sisters and daughters too!
Fly all, begone, fly from my whirling brain!
Hence, incest, murder! hence, you ghastly figures!
O Gods! Gods, answer; is there any mean?
Let me go mad, or die.

212 Enter Jocasta.

Joc. Where, where is this most wretched of mankind,
This stately image of imperial sorrow,
Whose story told, whose very name but mentioned,
Would cool the rage of fevers, and unlock
The hand of lust from the pale virgin's hair,
And throw the ravisher before her feet?

Œdip. By all my fears, I think Jocasta's voice!—
Hence fly; begone! O thou far worse than worst
Of damning charmers! O abhorred, loathed creature!
Fly, by the gods, or by the fiends, I charge thee,
Far as the East, West, North, or South of heaven,
But think not thou shalt ever enter there;
The golden gates are barred with adamant,
'Gainst thee, and me; and the celestial guards,
Still as we rise, will dash our spirits down.

Joc. O wretched pair! O greatly wretched we!
Two worlds of woe!

Œdip. Art thou not gone then? ha!
How darest thou stand the fury of the gods?
Or comest thou in the grave to reap new pleasures?

Joc. Talk on, till thou mak'st mad my rolling brain;
Groan still more death; and may those dismal sources
Still bubble on, and pour forth blood and tears.
Methinks, at such a meeting, heaven stands still;
The sea, nor ebbs, nor flows; this mole-hill earth
Is heaved no more; the busy emmets cease:
Yet hear me on—

Œdip. Speak, then, and blast my soul.

Joc. O, my loved lord, though I resolve a ruin,
To match my crimes; by all my miseries,
'Tis horror, worse than thousand thousand deaths,
To send me hence without a kind farewell.

213 Œdip. Gods, how she shakes me!—stay thee, O Jocasta!
Speak something ere thou goest for ever from me!

Joc. 'Tis woman's weakness, that I would be pitied;
Pardon me then, O greatest, though most wretched.
Of all thy kind! My soul is on the brink,
And sees the boiling furnace just beneath:
Do not thou push me off, and I will go,
With such a willingness, as if that heaven
With all its glory glowed for my reception.

Œdip. O, in my heart I feel the pangs of nature;
It works with kindness o'er: give, give me way!
I feel a melting here, a tenderness,
Too mighty for the anger of the gods!
Direct me to thy knees: yet, oh forbear,
Lest the dead embers should revive.
Stand off, and at just distance
Let me groan my horrors!—here
On the earth, here blow my utmost gale;
Here sob my sorrows, till I burst with sighing;
Here gasp and languish out my wounded soul.

Joc. In spite of all those crimes the cruel gods
Can charge me with, I know my innocence;
Know yours. 'Tis fate alone that makes us wretched,
For you are still my husband.

Œdip. Swear I am,
And I'll believe thee; steal into thy arms,
Renew endearments, think them no pollutions,
But chaste as spirits' joys. Gently I'll come,
Thus weeping blind, like dewy night, upon thee,
And fold thee softly in my arms to slumber. [The Ghost of Laius ascends by degrees, pointing at Jocasta.

Joc. Begone, my lord! Alas, what are we doing?
Fly from my arms! Whirlwinds, seas, continents,
And worlds, divide us! O, thrice happy thou,
Who hast no use of eyes; for here's a sight
214 Would turn the melting face of mercy's self
To a wild fury.

Œdip. Ha! what seest thou there?

Joc. The spirit of my husband! O, the gods!
How wan he looks!

Œdip. Thou ravest; thy husband's here.

Joc. There, there he mounts
In circling fire among the blushing clouds!
And see, he waves Jocasta from the world!

Ghost. Jocasta, Œdipus. [Vanish with thunder.

Œdip. What wouldst thou have?
Thou knowest I cannot come to thee, detained
In darkness here, and kept from means of death.
I've heard a spirit's force is wonderful;
At whose approach, when starting from his dungeon,
The earth does shake, and the old ocean groans,
Rocks are removed, and towers are thundered down;
And walls of brass, and gates of adamant
Are passable as air, and fleet like winds.

Joc. Was that a raven's croak, or my son's voice?
No matter which; I'll to the grave and hide me.
Earth open, or I'll tear thy bowels up.
Hark! he goes on, and blabs the deed of incest.

Œdip. Strike then, imperial ghost; dash all at once
This house of clay into a thousand pieces;
That my poor lingering soul may take her flight
To your immortal dwellings.

Joc. Haste thee, then,
Or I shall be before thee. See,—thou canst not see!
Then I will tell thee that my wings are on.
I'll mount, I'll fly, and with a port divine
Glide all along the gaudy milky soil,
To find my Laius out; ask every god
In his bright palace, if he knows my Laius,
My murdered Laius!

Œdip. Ha! how's this, Jocasta?
Nay, if thy brain be sick, then thou art happy.
215 Joc. Ha! will you not? shall I not find him out?
Will you not show him? are my tears despised?
Why, then I'll thunder, yes, I will be mad,
And fright you with my cries. Yes, cruel gods,
Though vultures, eagles, dragons tear my heart,
I'll snatch celestial flames, fire all your dwellings,
Melt down your golden roofs, and make your doors
Of crystal fly from off their diamond hinges;
Drive you all out from your ambrosial hives,
To swarm like bees about the field of heaven.
This will I do, unless you show me Laius,
My dear, my murdered lord. O Laius! Laius! Laius! [Exit Jocasta.

Œdip. Excellent grief! why, this is as it should be!
No mourning can be suitable to crimes
Like ours, but what death makes, or madness forms.
I could have wished, methought, for sight again,
To mark the gallantry of her distraction;
Her blazing eyes darting the wandering stars,
To have seen her mouth the heavens, and mate the gods,
While with her thundering voice she menaced high,
And every accent twanged with smarting sorrow;
But what's all this to thee? thou, coward, yet
Art living, canst not, wilt not find the road
To the great palace of magnificent Death;
Though thousand ways lead to his thousand doors,
Which, day and night, are still unbarred for all. [Clashing of Swords. Drums and Trumpets without.
Hark! 'tis the noise of clashing swords! the sound
Comes near;—O, that a battle would come o'er me!
If I but grasp a sword, or wrest a dagger,
I'll make a ruin with the first that falls.

Enter Hæmon, with Guards.

Hæm. Seize him, and bear him to the western tower.—
216 Pardon me, sacred sir; I am informed
That Creon has designs upon your life:
Forgive me, then, if, to preserve you from him,
I order your confinement.

Œdip. Slaves, unhand me!—
I think thou hast a sword;—'twas the wrong side.
Yet, cruel Hæmon, think not I will live;
He, that could tear his eyes out, sure can find
Some desperate way to stifle this cursed breath:
Or if I starve!—but that's a lingering fate;
Or if I leave my brains upon the wall!—
The airy soul can easily o'er-shoot
Those bounds, with which thou striv'st to pale her in.
Yes, I will perish in despite of thee;
And, by the rage that stirs me, if I meet thee
In the other world, I'll curse thee for this usage.[Exit.

Hæm. Tiresias, after him, and with your counsel,
Advise him humbly: charm, if possible,
These feuds within; while I without extinguish,
Or perish in the attempt, the furious Creon;
That brand which sets our city in a flame.

Tir. Heaven prosper your intent, and give a period
To all our plagues. What old Tiresias can,
Shall straight be done.—Lead, Manto, to the tower. [Exeunt Tiresias and Manto.

Hæm. Follow me all, and help to part this fray, [Trumpets again.
Or fall together in the bloody broil.[Exeunt.

Enter Creon with Eurydice; Pyracmon, and his party, giving Ground to Adrastus.

Cre. Hold, hold your arms, Adrastus, prince of Argos!
Hear, and behold; Eurydice is my prisoner.

Adr. What would'st thou, hell-hound?

Cre. See this brandished dagger;
Forego the advantage which thy arms have won.
217 Or, by the blood which trembles through the heart
Of her, whom more than life I know thou lovest,
I'll bury to the haft, in her fair breast,
This instrument of my revenge.

Adr. Stay thee, damned wretch; hold, stop thy bloody hand!

Cre. Give order, then, that on this instant, now,
This moment, all thy soldiers straight disband.

Adr. Away, my friends, since fate has so allotted;
Begone, and leave me to the villain's mercy.

Eur. Ah, my Adrastus! call them, call them back!
Stand there; come back! O, cruel barbarous men!
Could you then leave your lord, your prince, your king,
After so bravely having fought his cause,
To perish by the hand of this base villain?
Why rather rush you not at once together
All to his ruin? drag him through the streets,
Hang his contagious quarters on the gates;
Nor let my death affright you.

Cre. Die first thyself, then.

Adr. O, I charge thee hold!—
Hence from my presence, all; he's not my friend
That disobeys.—See, art thou now appeased?[Exeunt Attendants.
Or is there aught else yet remains to do,
That can atone thee? slake thy thirst of blood
With mine; but save, O save that innocent wretch!

Cre. Forego thy sword, and yield thyself my prisoner.

Eur. Yet, while there's any dawn of hope to save
Thy precious life, my dear Adrastus,
Whate'er thou dost, deliver not thy sword;
With that thou may'st get off, tho' odds oppose thee.
For me, O fear not; no, he dares not touch me;
His horrid love will spare me. Keep thy sword;
Lest I be ravished after thou art slain.

Adr. Instruct me, gods, what shall Adrastus do?

218 Cre. Do what thou wilt, when she is dead; my soldiers
With numbers will o'erpower thee. Is't thy wish
Eurydice should fall before thee?

Adr. Traitor, no;
Better that thou, and I, and all mankind,
Should be no more.

Cre. Then cast thy sword away,
And yield thee to my mercy, or I strike.

Adr. Hold thy raised arm; give me a moment's pause.
My father, when he blest me, gave me this:
My son, said he, let this be thy last refuge;
If thou forego'st it, misery attends thee.—
Yet love now charms it from me; which in all
The hazards of my life I never lost.
'Tis thine, my faithful sword; my only trust;
Though my heart tells me that the gift is fatal.[Gives it.

Cre. Fatal! yes, foolish love-sick prince, it shall:
Thy arrogance, thy scorn, my wound's remembrance.
Turn all at once the fatal point upon thee.—
Pyracmon to the palace; dispatch
The king; hang Hæmon up, for he is loyal,
And will oppose me.—Come, sir, are you ready?

Adr. Yes, villain, for whatever thou canst dare.

Eur. Hold, Creon, or through me, through me you wound.

Adr. Off, madam, or we perish both; behold
I'm not unarmed, my poniard's in my hand;
Therefore, away.

Eur. I'll guard your life with mine.

Cre. Die both, then; there is now no time for dallying. [Kills Eurydice.

Eur. Ah, prince, farewell! farewell, my dear Adrastus! [Dies.

219 Adr. Unheard-of monster! eldest-born of hell!
Down, to thy primitive flame.[Stabs Creon.

Cre. Help, soldiers, help;
Revenge me.

Adr. More; yet more; a thousand wounds!
I'll stamp thee still, thus, to the gaping furies. [Adrastus falls, killed by the soldiers.

Enter Hæmon, Guards, with Alcander and Pyracmon bound; the Assassins are driven off.

O Hæmon, I am slain; nor need I name
The inhuman author of all villainies;
There he lies gasping.

Cre. If I must plunge in flames,
Burn first my arm; base instrument, unfit
To act the dictates of my daring mind;
Burn, burn for ever, O weak substitute
Of that, the god, ambition.[Dies.

Adr. She's gone;—O deadly marksman, in the heart!
Yet in the pangs of death she grasps my hand;
Her lips too tremble, as if she would speak
Her last farewell.—O, Œdipus, thy fall
Is great; and nobly now thou goest attended!
They talk of heroes, and celestial beauties,
And wondrous pleasures in the other world;
Let me but find her there, I ask no more.[Dies.

Enter a Captain to Hæmon; with Teresias and Manto.

Cap. O, sir, the queen Jocasta, swift and wild,
As a robbed tygress bounding o'er the woods,
Has acted murders that amaze mankind;
In twisted gold I saw her daughters hang
On the bed-royal, and her little sons
Stabbed through the breasts upon the bloody pillows.

Hæm. Relentless heavens! is then the fate of Laius
Never to be atoned? How sacred ought
220 Kings' lives be held, when but the death of one
Demands an empire's blood for expiation!
But see! the furious mad Jocasta's here.

Scene draws, and discovers Jocasta held by her women and stabbed in many places of her Bosom, her Hair dishevelled, her Children slain upon the Bed.

Was ever yet a sight of so much horror
And pity brought to view!

Joc. Ah, cruel women!
Will you not let me take my last farewell
Of those dear babes? O let me run, and seal
My melting soul upon their bubbling wounds!
I'll print upon their coral mouths such kisses,
As shall recal their wandering spirits home.
Let me go, let me go, or I will tear you piece-meal.
Help, Hæmon, help;
Help, Œdipus; help, Gods; Jocasta dies.

Enter Œdipus above.

Œdip. I've found a window, and I thank the gods
'Tis quite unbarred; sure, by the distant noise,
The height will fit my fatal purpose well.

Joc. What hoa, my Œdipus! see where he stands!
His groping ghost is lodged upon a tower,
Nor can it find the road. Mount, mount, my soul;
I'll wrap thy shivering spirit in lambent flames; and so we'll sail.—
But see! we're landed on the happy coast;
And all the golden strands are covered o'er
With glorious gods, that come to try our cause.
Jove, Jove, whose majesty now sinks me down,
He, who himself burns in unlawful fires,
Shall judge, and shall acquit us. O, 'tis done;
'Tis fixt by fate, upon record divine;
And Œdipus shall now be ever mine.[Dies.

221 Œdip. Speak, Hæmon; what has fate been doing there?
What dreadful deed has mad Jocasta done?

Hæm. The queen herself, and all your wretched offspring,
Are by her fury slain.

Œdip. By all my woes,
She has outdone me in revenge and murder,
And I should envy her the sad applause:
But oh, my children! oh, what have they done?
This was not like the mercy of the heavens,
To set her madness on such cruelty:
This stirs me more than all my sufferings,
And with my last breath I must call you tyrants.

Hæm. What mean you, sir?

Œdip. Jocasta! lo, I come.
O Laius, Labdacus, and all you spirits
Of the Cadmean race, prepare to meet me,
All weeping ranged along the gloomy shore;
Extend your arms to embrace me, for I come.
May all the gods, too, from their battlements,
Behold and wonder at a mortal's daring;
And, when I knock the goal of dreadful death,
Shout and applaud me with a clap of thunder.
Once more, thus winged by horrid fate, I come,
Swift as a falling meteor; lo, I fly,
And thus go downwards to the darker sky. [Thunder. He flings himself from the Window: The Thebans gather about his Body.

Hæm. O prophet, Œdipus is now no more!
O cursed effect of the most deep despair!

Tir. Cease your complaints, and bear his body hence;
The dreadful sight will daunt the drooping Thebans,
Whom heaven decrees to raise with peace and glory.
Yet, by these terrible examples warned,
The sacred Fury thus alarms the world:—
Let none, though ne'er so virtuous, great, and high,
Be judged entirely blest before they die.[Exeunt.


  1. Imitated from the commencement of the plague in the first book of the Iliad.
  2. The story of the Sphinx is generally known: She was a monster, who delighted in putting a riddle to the Thebans, and slaying each poor dull Bœotian, who could not interpret it. Œdipus guessed the enigma, on which the monster destroyed herself for shame. Thus he attained the throne of Thebes, and the bed of Jocasta.
  3. To dare a lark, is to fly a hawk, or present some other object of fear, to engage the bird's attention, and prevent it from taking wing, while the fowler draws his net:

    Farewell, nobility; let his grace go forward,

    And dare us with his cap, like larks.

    Henry VIII. Act III. Scene II.

  4. The carelessness of Œdipus about the fate of his predecessor is very unnatural; but to such expedients dramatists are often reduced, to communicate to their audience what must have been known to the persons of the drama.
  5. Start is here, and in p. 136, used for started, being borrowed from sterte, the old perfect of the verb.
  6. It is a common idea, that falling stars, as they are called, are converted into a sort of jelly. "Among the rest, I had often the opportunity to see the seeming shooting of the stars from place to place, and sometimes they appeared as if falling to the ground, where I once or twice found a white jelly-like matter among the grass, which I imagined to be distilled from them; and hence foolishly conjectured, that the stars themselves must certainly consist of a like substance."
  7. Serpens, serpentem vorans, fit draco. Peccata, peccatis superaddita, monstra fiunt. Hieroglyphica animalium, per Archibaldum Simsonum Dalkethensis Ecclesiæ pastorem, p. 95.
  8. The idea of this sacred grove seems to be taken from that of Colonus near Athens, dedicated to the Eumenides, which gives name to Sophocles's second tragedy. Seneca describes the scene of the incantation in the following lines:

    Est procul ab urbe lucus illicibus niger

    Dircæa circa vallis irriguæ loca.

    Cupressus altis exerens silvis caput

    Virente semper alligat trunco nemus;

    Curvosque tendit quercus et putres situ

    Annosa ramos: hujus abrupit latus

    Edax vetustas: illa jam fessa cadens

    Radice, fulta pendet aliena trabe.

    Amara baccas laurus; et tiliæ leves

    Et Paphia myrtus; et per immensum mare

    Motura remos alnus; et Phœbo obvia

    Enode Zephyris pinus opponens latus.

    Medio stat ingens arbor, atque umbra gravi

    Silvas minores urget; et magno ambitu

    Diffusa ramos, una defendit nemus.

    Tristis sub illa, lucis et Phœbi inscius

    Restagnat humor, frigore æterno rigens.

    Limosa pigrum circuit fontem palus.

    Actus Tertius. Scena prima.

    This diffuse account of the different kinds of forest trees, which composed the enchanted grove, is very inartificially put into the mouth of Creon, who, notwithstanding the horrible message which he has to deliver to Œdipus from the ghost, finds time to solace the king with this long description of a place, which he doubtless knew as well as Creon himself. Dryden, on the contrary, has, with great address, rendered the description necessary, by the violence committed within the sacred precinct, and turned it, not upon minute and rhetorical detail, but upon the general awful properties of this consecrated ground. Lucan's fine description of the Massyllian forest, and that of the enchanted grove in Tasso, have been both consulted by our author.

  9. The quarrel betwixt Œdipus and the prophet, who announces his guilt, is imitated from a similar scene in the Œdipus Tyrannus.
  10. Borrowed from Shakespeare;

    And lean-looked prophets whisper fearful change.

    Richard II.



What Sophocles could undertake alone,

Our poets found a work for more than one;

And therefore two lay tugging at the piece,

With all their force, to draw the ponderous mass from Greece;

A weight that bent even Seneca's strong muse,

And which Corneille's shoulders did refuse.

So hard it is the Athenian harp to string!

So much two consuls yield to one just king.

Terror and pity this whole poem sway;

The mightiest machines that can mount a play.

How heavy will those vulgar souls be found,

Whom two such engines cannot move from ground!

When Greece and Rome have smiled upon this birth,

You can but damn for one poor spot of earth;

And when your children find your judgment such,

They'll scorn their sires, and wish themselves born Dutch;

Each haughty poet will infer with ease,

How much his wit must under-write to please.

As some strong churl would, brandishing, advance

The monumental sword that conquered France;

So you, by judging this, your judgment teach,

Thus far you like, that is, thus far you reach.

Since then the vote of full two thousand years

Has crowned this plot, and all the dead are theirs,

Think it a debt you pay, not alms you give,

And, in your own defence, let this play live.

Think them not vain, when Sophocles is shown,

To praise his worth they humbly doubt their own.

Yet as weak states each other's power assure,

Weak poets by conjunction are secure.

Their treat is what your palates relish most,

Charm! song! and show! a murder and a ghost!

We know not what you can desire or hope,

To please you more, but burning of a Pope.[1]


  1. The burning a Pope in effigy, was a ceremony performed upon the anniversary of queen Elizabeth's coronation. When parties ran high betwixt the courtiers and opposition, in the latter part of Charles the II. reign, these anti-papal solemnities were conducted by the latter, with great state and expence, and employed as engines to excite the popular resentment against the duke of York, and his religion. The following curious 223 Footnote: description of one of these tumultuary processions, in 1679, was extracted by Ralph, from a very scarce pamphlet; it is the ceremony referred to in the epilogue; and it shall be given at length, as the subject is frequently alluded to by Dryden.

    The Solemn Mock Procession of the POPE, Cardinals, Friars, &c.
    Through the
    CITY OF LONDON November 1679.
    The Solemn Mock Procession of the POPE, Cardinals, Friars, &c.

    "On the said 17th of November, 1679, the bells, generally, about the town, began to ring at three o'clock in the morning. At the approach of the evening, (all things being in readiness) the solemn procession began, setting forth from Moregate, and so passed, first to Aldgate, and thence through Leadenhall-street, by the Royal Exchange, through Cheapside, and so to Temple-bar in the ensuing order, viz.

    1. "Came six whifflers, to clear the way, in pioneer caps, and red waistcoats.
    2. "A bellman ringing, and with a loud (but doleful) voice, crying out all the way, remember Justice Godfrey.
    3. "A dead body, representing justice Godfrey, in a decent black habit, carried before a jesuit, in black, on horse-back, in like manner as he was carried by the assassins to Primrose Hill.
    4. "Next after Sir Edmonbury, so mounted, came a priest in a surplice, with a cope embroidered with dead bones, skeletons, skulls, and the like, giving pardons very plentifully to all those who should murder protestants; and proclaiming it meritorious.
    5. "Then a priest in black alone, with a great silver cross.
    6. "Four carmelites, in white and black habits.
    7. "Four grey-friars, in the proper habits of their order.
    8. "Six jesuits, with bloody daggers.
    9. "A concert of wind music.
    10. "Four bishops, in purple, and lawn sleeves, with a golden crosier on their breast, and crosier-staves in their hands.
    11. "Four other bishops, in Pontificalibus, with surplices, and rich embroidered copes, and golden mitres on their heads.
    12. "Six cardinals, in scarlet robes and caps.
    13. "The Pope's doctor, i.e. Wakeman,[a] with jesuits-powder in one hand, and an urinal in the other.
    14. "Two priests in surplices, with two golden crosses.

    "Lastly, The Pope, in a lofty, glorious pageant, representing a chair of state, covered with scarlet, richly embroidered and fringed, and bedecked with golden balls and crosses: At his feet a cushion of state, and two boys in surplices with white silk banners, and bloody crucifixes and daggers with an incense pot before them, censing his holiness, who was arrayed in a splendid scarlet gown, lined through with ermin, and richly daubed with gold and silver lace; on his head a triple crown of gold, and a glorious collar of gold and precious stones, St Peter's keys, a number of beads, agnus deis, and other catholic trumpery. At his back, his holiness's privy counsellor, the degraded Seraphim, (anglice the devil,) frequently caressing, hugging, and whispering him, and oft times instructing him aloud to destroy his majesty, to forge a protestant plot, and to fire the city again, to which purpose he held an infernal torch in his hand.

    224 "The whole procession was attended with 150 flambeaux and lights, by order; but so many more came in volunteers, as made up some thousands.

    "Never were the balconies, windows, and houses more numerously lined, or the streets closer throng'd with multitudes of people, all expressing their abhorrence of Popery, with continual shouts and exclamations; so that 'tis modestly computed, that, in the whole progress, there could not be fewer than two hundred thousand spectators.

    "Thus with a slow, and solemn state, they proceeded to Temple Bar; where with innumerable swarms, the houses seemed to be converted into heaps of men, and women, and children, for whose diversion there were provided great variety of excellent fireworks.

    "Temple Bar being, since its rebuilding, adorned with four stately statues, viz. those of Queen Elizabeth and King James, on the inward, or eastern side, fronting the city; and those of King Charles the I. of blessed memory, and our present gracious sovereign, (whom God, in mercy to these nations, long preserve!) on the outside, facing towards Westminster; and the statue of Queen Elizabeth in regard to the day, having on a crown of gilded laurel, and in her hand a golden shield, with this motto inscribed: The Protestant Religion, and Magna Charta, and flambeaux placed before it. The Pope being brought up near thereunto, the following song, alluding to the posture of those statues, was sung in parts, between one representing the English Cardinal (Howard)[b] and others acting the people:


    From York to London town we come,

    To talk of Popish ire,

    To reconcile you all to Rome,

    And prevent Smithfield fire.


    Cease, cease, thou Norfolk Cardinal,

    See yonder stands Queen Bess;

    Who sav'd our souls from Popish thrall:

    O Queen Bess, Queen Bess, Queen Bess!

    Your Popish plot, and Smithfield threat,

    We do not fear at all;

    For lo! beneath Queen Bess's feet,

    You fall, you fall, you fall.

    "'Tis true, our King's on t'other side,

    A looking tow'rds Whitehall:

    But could we bring him round about;

    He'd counterplot you all.


    "Then down with James, and set up Charles,

    On good Queen Bess's side;

    That all true Commons, Lords, and Earls,

    May wish him a fruitfull bride."

    Now God preserve great Charles our King,

    And eke all honest men;

    And traitors all to justice bring:

    Amen, Amen, Amen.

    "Then having entertained the thronging spectators for some time, with the ingenious fireworks, a vast bonfire being prepared, just over against the inner temple gate, his holiness, after some compliments and reluctancies, was decently toppled from all his grandeur, into the impartial flames; the crafty devil leaving his infallibilityship in the lurch, and laughing as heartily at his deserved ignominious end, as subtle jesuits do at the ruin of bigotted Lay Catholics, whom themselves have drawn in; or, as credulous Coleman's abettors did, when, with pretences of a reprieve at last gasp, they had made him vomit up his soul with a lye, and sealed his dangerous chops with a halter. This justice was attended with a prodigious shout, that might be heard far beyond Somerset-house; and 'twas believed the echo, by continued reverberations, before it ceased, reached Scotland, (the Duke was then there;) France, and even Rome, itself, damping them all with a dreadfull astonishment."

    From a very rare broadside, in the collection made by Narcissus Luttrell.


    1. Sir George Wakeman was physician to the queen, and a catholic. He was tried for the memorable Popish plot and acquitted, the credit of the witnesses being now blasted, by the dying declarations of those who suffered.
    2. Philip, the 3d son of Henry Earl of Arundel, and brother to the Duke of Norfolk, created a Cardinal in 1675. He was a second cousin of Lady Elizabeth Howard, afterwards the wife of our poet.
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Rectius Iliacum carmen deducis in actus,
Quam si proferres ignota indictaque primus.




The story of Troilus and Cressida was one of the more modern fables, engrafted, during the dark ages, on "the tale of Troy divine." Chaucer, who made it the subject of a long and somewhat dull poem, professes to have derived his facts from an author of the middle ages, called Lollius, to whom he often refers, and who he states to have written in Latin. Tyrwhitt disputes the existence of this personage, and supposes Chaucer's original to have been the Philostrato dell' amorose fatiche de Troilo, a work of Boccacio. But Chaucer was never reluctant in acknowledging obligations to his contemporaries, when such really existed; and Mr Tyrwhitt's opinion seems to be successfully combated by Mr Godwin, in his "Life of Chaucer." The subject, whencesoever derived, was deemed by Shakespeare worthy of the stage; and his tragedy, of Troilus and Cressida, contains so many scenes of distinguished excellence, that it could have been wished our author had mentioned it with more veneration. In truth, even the partiality of an editor must admit, that on this occasion, the modern improvements of Dryden shew to very little advantage beside the venerable structure to which they have been attached. The arrangement of the plot is, indeed, more artificially modelled; but the preceding age, during which the infidelity of Cressida was proverbially current, could as little have endured a catastrophe turning upon the discovery of her innocence, as one which should have exhibited Helen chaste, or Hector a coward. In Dryden's time, the prejudice against this unfortunate female was probably forgotten, as her history had become less popular. There appears, however, something too nice and fastidious in the critical rule, which exacts that the hero and heroine of the drama shall be models of virtuous perfection. In the most interesting of the ancient plays we find this limitation neglected, with great success; and it would have been more natural to have brought about the catastrophe on the plan of Shakespeare and Chaucer, than by the forced mistake in which Dryden's lovers are involved, and the stale expedient of Cressida's killing herself, to evince her innocence. For the superior order, and regard to the unity of place, with which Dryden has new-modelled the scenes and entries, he must be allowed the full praise which he claims in the preface.

229 In the dialogue, considered as distinct from the plot, Dryden appears not to have availed himself fully of the treasures of his predecessor. He has pitilessly retrenched the whole scene, in the 3d act, between Ulysses and Achilles, full of the purest and most admirable moral precept, expressed in the most poetical and dignified language[1]. Probably this omission arose from Dryden's desire to simplify the plot, by leaving out the intrigues of the Grecian chiefs, and limiting the interest to the amours of Troilus and 230 Cressida. But he could not be insensible to the merit of this scene, though he has supplied it by one far inferior, in which Ulysses is introduced, using gross flattery to the buffoon Thersites. In the latter part of the play, Dryden has successfully exerted his own inventive powers. The quarrelling scene between Hector and Troilus is very impressive, and no bad imitation of that betwixt Brutus and Cassius, with which Dryden seems to have been so much charmed, and which he has repeatedly striven to emulate. The parting of Hector and Andromache contains some affecting passages, some of which may be traced back to Homer; although the pathos, upon the whole, is far inferior to that of the noted scene in the Iliad, and destitute of the noble simplicity of the Grecian bard.

Mr Godwin has justly remarked, that the delicacy of Chaucer's ancient tale has suffered even in the hands of Shakespeare; but in those of Dryden it has undergone a far deeper deterioration. Whatever is coarse and naked in Shakespeare, has been dilated into ribaldry by the poet laureat of Charles the second; and the character of Pandarus, in particular, is so grossly heightened, as to disgrace even the obliging class to whom that unfortunate procurer has bequeathed his name. So far as this play is to be considered as an alteration of Shakespeare, I fear it must be allowed, that our author has suppressed some of his finest poetry, and exaggerated some of his worst faults.

Troilus and Cressida was published in 1679.


  1. I need only recall to the reader's remembrance the following beautiful passage, inculcating the unabating energy necessary to maintain, in the race of life, the ground which has been already gained.

    Ulys. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
    Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
    A great-siz'd monster of ingratitudes:
    These scraps are good deeds past; which are devour'd
    As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
    As done: Perséverance, dear my lord,
    Keeps honour bright: To have done, is to hang
    Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
    In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
    For honour travels in a strait so narrow,
    Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
    For emulation hath a thousand sons,
    That one by one pursue: If you give way,
    Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
    Like to an enter'd tide, they all rush by,
    And leave you hindmost.—
    Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank,
    Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
    O'er run and trampled on: Then what they do in present,
    Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours:
    For time is like a fashionable host,
    That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand;
    And with his arms out stretch'd, as he would fly,
    Grasps-in the comer: Welcome ever smiles,
    And Farewel goes out sighing. O, let not virtue seek
    Remuneration for the thing it was;
    For beauty, wit,
    High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
    Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
    To envious and calumniating time.
    One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,—
    That all, with one consent, praise new-born gawds,
    Though they are made and moulded of things past;
    And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
    More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
    The present eye praises the present object:
    Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
    That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax;
    Since things in motion sooner catch the eye,
    Than what not stirs. The cry went once on thee,
    And still it might, and yet it may again,
    If thou would'st not entomb thyself alive,
    And case thy reputation in thy tent;
    Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late,
    Made emulous missions 'mongst the gods themselves,
    And drave great Mars to faction.



My Lord,

Since I cannot promise you much of poetry in my play, it is but reasonable that I should secure you from any part of it in my dedication. And indeed I cannot better distinguish the exactness of your taste from that of other men, than by the plainness and sincerity of my address. I must keep my hyperboles in reserve for men of other understandings. 232 An hungry appetite after praise, and a strong digestion of it, will bear the grossness of that diet; but one of so critical a judgment as your lordship, who can set the bounds of just and proper in every subject, would give me small encouragement for so bold an undertaking. I more than suspect, my lord, that you would not do common justice to yourself; and, therefore, were I to give that character of you, which I think you truly merit, I would make my appeal from your lordship to the reader, and would justify myself from flattery by the public voice, whatever protestation you might enter to the contrary. But I find I am to take other measures with your lordship; I am to stand upon my guard with you, and to approach you as warily as Horace did Augustus:

Cui malè si palpere, recalcitrat undique tutus.

An ill-timed, or an extravagant commendation, would not pass upon you; but you would keep off such a dedicator at arms-end, and send him back with his encomiums to this lord, or that lady, who stood in need of such trifling merchandise. You see, my lord, what an awe you have upon me, when I dare not offer you that incense which would be acceptable to other patrons; but am forced to curb myself from ascribing to you those honours, which even an enemy could not deny you. Yet I must confess, I never practised that virtue of moderation (which is properly your character) with so much reluctancy as now: for it hinders me from being true to my own knowledge, in not witnessing your worth, and deprives me of the only means which I had left, to shew the world that true honour and uninterested respect which I have always paid you. I would say somewhat, if it were possible which might distinguish that veneration I have 233 for you, from the flatteries of those who adore your fortune. But the eminence of your condition, in this particular, is my unhappiness; for it renders whatever I would say suspected. Professions of service, submissions, and attendance, are the practice of all men to the great; and commonly they, who have the least sincerity, perform them best; as they, who are least engaged in love, have their tongues the freest to counterfeit a passion. For my own part, I never could shake off the rustic bashfulness which hangs upon my nature; but, valuing myself at as little as I am worth, have been afraid to render even the common duties of respect to those who are in power. The ceremonious visits, which are generally paid on such occasions, are not my talent. They may be real even in courtiers, but they appear with such a face of interest, that a modest man would think himself in danger of having his sincerity mistaken for his design. My congratulations keep their distance, and pass no farther than my heart. There it is that I have all the joy imaginable, when I see true worth rewarded, and virtue uppermost in the world.

If, therefore, there were one to whom I had the honour to be known; and to know him so perfectly, that I could say, without flattery, he had all the depth of understanding that was requisite in an able statesman, and all that honesty which commonly is wanting; that he was brave without vanity, and knowing without positiveness; that he was loyal to his prince, and a lover of his country; that his principles were full of moderation, and all his counsels such as tended to heal, and not to widen, the breaches of the nation: that in all his conversation there appeared a native candour, and a desire of doing good in all his actions: if such an one, whom I have described, were at the helm; if he had risen 234 by his merits, and were chosen out in the necessity and pressures of affairs, to remedy our confusions by the seasonableness of his advice, and to put a stop to our ruin, when we were just rolling downward to the precipice; I should then congratulate the age in which I live, for the common safety; I should not despair of the republic, though Hannibal were at the gates; I should send up my vows for the success of such an action, as Virgil did, on the like occasion, for his patron, when he was raising up his country from the desolations of a civil war:

Hunc saltem everso juvenem succurrere seclo

Ne, superi, prohibete.

I know not whither I am running, in this extacy which is now upon me: I am almost ready to re-assume the ancient rights of poetry; to point out, and prophecy the man, who was born for no less an undertaking, and whom posterity shall bless for its accomplishment. Methinks, I am already taking fire from such a character, and making room for him, under a borrowed name, amongst the heroes of an epic poem. Neither could mine, or some more happy genius, want encouragement under such a patron:

Pollio amat nostram, quamvis sit rustica, musam.

But these are considerations afar off, my lord: the former part of the prophecy must be first accomplished; the quiet of the nation must be secured; and a mutual trust, betwixt prince and people, be renewed; and then this great and good man will have leisure for the ornaments of peace; and make our language as much indebted to his care, as the French is to the memory of their famous Richelieu[2]. 235 You know, my lord, how low he laid the foundations of so great a work; that he began it with a grammar and a dictionary; without which all those remarks and observations, which have since been made, had been performed to as little purpose, as it would be to consider the furniture of the rooms, before the contrivance of the house. Propriety must first be stated, ere any measures of elegance can be taken. Neither is one Vaugelas sufficient for such a work[3]. It was the employment of the whole academy for many years; for the perfect knowledge of a tongue was never attained by any single person. The court, the college, and the town, must be joined in it. And as our English is a composition of the dead and living tongues, there is required a perfect knowledge, not only of the Greek and Latin, but of the old German, the French, and the Italian; and, to help all these, a conversation with those authors of our own, who have written with the fewest faults in prose and verse. But how barbarously we yet write and speak, your lordship knows, and I am sufficiently sensible in my own English. For I am often put to a stand, in considering whether what I write be the idiom of the tongue, or false grammar, and nonsense couched beneath that specious name of Anglicism; and have no other way to clear my doubts, but by translating my English into Latin, and thereby trying what sense the words will bear in a more stable language. I am desirous, if it were possible, that we might all write with the same certainty of words, and purity of phrase, to which the Italians first arrived, and after them the French; at least that we might advance so far, as our tongue is capable of such a standard. It would mortify an 236 Englishman to consider, that from the time of Boccace and of Petrarch, the Italian has varied very little; and that the English of Chaucer, their contemporary, is not to be understood without the help of an old dictionary. But their Goth and Vandal had the fortune to be grafted on a Roman stock; ours has the disadvantage to be founded on the Dutch[4]. We are full of monosyllables, and those clogged with consonants, and our pronunciation is effeminate; all which are enemies to a sounding language. It is true, that to supply our poverty, we have trafficked with our neighbour nations; by which means we abound as much in words, as Amsterdam does in religions; but to order them, and make them useful after their admission, is the difficulty. A greater progress has been made in this, since his majesty's return, than, perhaps, since the conquest to his time. But the better part of the work remains unfinished; and that which has been done already, since it has only been in the practice of some few writers, must be digested into rules and method, before it can be profitable to the general. Will your lordship give me leave to speak out at last? and to acquaint the world, that from your encouragement and patronage, we may one day expect to speak and write a language, worthy of the English wit, and which foreigners may not disdain to learn? Your birth, your education, your natural endowments, the former employments which you have had abroad, and that which, to the joy of good men you now exercise at home, seem all to conspire to this design: the genius of the nation seems to call you out as it were by name, to polish and adorn your native language, and to take from it the reproach of its barbarity. It is upon this 237 encouragement that I have adventured on the following critique, which I humbly present you, together with the play; in which, though I have not had the leisure, nor indeed the encouragement, to proceed to the principal subject of it, which is the words and thoughts that are suitable to tragedy; yet the whole discourse has a tendency that way, and is preliminary to it. In what I have already done, I doubt not but I have contradicted some of my former opinions, in my loose essays of the like nature; but of this, I dare affirm, that it is the fruit of my riper age and experience, and that self-love, or envy have no part in it. The application to English authors is my own, and therein, perhaps, I may have erred unknowingly; but the foundation of the rules is reason, and the authority of those living critics who have had the honour to be known to you abroad, as well as of the ancients, who are not less of your acquaintance. Whatsoever it be, I submit it to your lordship's judgment, from which I never will appeal, unless it be to your good nature, and your candour. If you can allow an hour of leisure to the perusal of it, I shall be fortunate that I could so long entertain you; if not, I shall at least have the satisfaction to know, that your time was more usefully employed upon the public. I am,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most Obedient,

Humble Servant,

John Dryden.


  1. This was the famous Earl of Sunderland, who, being a Tory under the reign of Charles, a Papist in that of his successor, and a Whig in that of William, was a favourite minister of all these monarchs. He was a man of eminent abilities; and our author shews a high opinion of his taste, by abstaining from the gross flattery, which was then the fashionable stile of dedication.
  2. Alluding to the institution of an academy for fixing the language, often proposed about this period.
  3. Author of a treatise on the French language.
  4. Dutch is here used generally for the High Dutch or German.


The poet Æschylus was held in the same veneration by the Athenians of after-ages, as Shakespeare is by us; and Longinus has judged, in favour of him, that he had a noble boldness of expression, and that his imaginations were lofty and heroic; but, on the other side, Quintilian affirms, that he was daring to extravagance. It is certain, that he affected pompous words, and that his sense was obscured by figures; notwithstanding these imperfections, the value of his writings after his decease was such, that his countrymen ordained an equal reward to those poets, who could alter his plays to be acted on the theatre, with those whose productions were wholly new, and of their own. The case is not the same in England; though the difficulties of altering are greater, and our reverence for Shakespeare much more just, than that of the Grecians for Æschylus. In the age of that poet, the Greek tongue was arrived to its full perfection; they had 239 then amongst them an exact standard of writing and of speaking: the English language is not capable of such a certainty; and we are at present so far from it, that we are wanting in the very foundation of it, a perfect grammar. Yet it must be allowed to the present age, that the tongue in general is so much refined since Shakespeare's time, that many of his words, and more of his phrases, are scarce intelligible. And of those which we understand, some are ungrammatical, others coarse; and his whole style is so pestered with figurative expressions, that it is as affected as it is obscure. It is true, that in his latter plays he had worn off somewhat of the rust; but the tragedy, which I have undertaken to correct, was in all probability one of his first endeavours on the stage.

The original story was written by one Lollius a Lombard, in Latin verse, and translated by Chaucer into English; intended, I suppose, a satire on the inconstancy of women: I find nothing of it among the ancients; not so much as the name Cressida once mentioned. Shakespeare, (as I hinted) in the apprenticeship of his writing, modelled it into that play, which is now called by the name of "Troilus and Cressida," but so lamely is it left to us, that it is not divided into acts; which fault I ascribe to the actors who printed it after Shakespeare's death; and that too so carelessly, that a more uncorrected copy I never saw. For the play itself, the author seems to have begun it with some fire; the characters of Pandarus and Thersites, are promising enough; but as if he grew weary of his task, after an entrance or two, he lets them fall: and the latter part of the tragedy is nothing but a confusion of drums and trumpets, excursions and alarms. The chief persons, who give name to the tragedy, are left alive; Cressida is false, and is not 240 punished. Yet, after all, because the play was Shakespeare's, and that there appeared in some places of it the admirable genius of the author, I undertook to remove that heap of rubbish under which many excellent thoughts lay wholly buried. Accordingly, I new modelled the plot, threw out many unnecessary persons, improved those characters which were begun and left unfinished, as Hector, Troilus, Pandarus, and Thersites, and added that of Andromache. After this, I made, with no small trouble, an order and connection of all the scenes; removing them from the places where they were inartificially set; and, though it was impossible to keep them all unbroken, because the scene must be sometimes in the city and sometimes in the camp, yet I have so ordered them, that there is a coherence of them with one another, and a dependence on the main design; no leaping from Troy to the Grecian tents, and thence back again, in the same act, but a due proportion of time allowed for every motion. I need not say that I have refined his language, which before was obsolete; but I am willing to acknowledge, that as I have often drawn his English nearer to our times, so I have sometimes conformed my own to his; and consequently, the language is not altogether so pure as it is significant. The scenes of Pandarus and Cressida, of Troilus and Pandarus, of Andromache with Hector and the Trojans, in the second act, are wholly new; together with that of Nestor and Ulysses with Thersites, and that of Thersites with Ajax and Achilles. I will not weary my reader with the scenes which are added of Pandarus and the lovers, in the third, and those of Thersites, which are wholly altered; but I cannot omit the last scene in it, which is almost half the act, betwixt Troilus and Hector. The occasion of raising it was hinted to 241 me by Mr Betterton; the contrivance and working of it was my own. They who think to do me an injury, by saying, that it is an imitation of the scene betwixt Brutus and Cassius, do me an honour, by supposing I could imitate the incomparable Shakespeare; but let me add, that if Shakespeare's scene, or that faulty copy of it in "Amintor and Melantius," had never been, yet Euripides had furnished me with an excellent example in his "Iphigenia," between Agamemnon and Menelaus; and from thence, indeed, the last turn of it is borrowed. The occasion which Shakespeare, Euripides, and Fletcher, have all taken, is the same,—grounded upon friendship; and the quarrel of two virtuous men, raised by natural degrees to the extremity of passion, is conducted in all three, to the declination of the same passion, and concludes with a warm renewing of their friendship. But the particular ground-work which Shakespeare has taken, is incomparably the best; because he has not only chosen two of the greatest heroes of their age, but has likewise interested the liberty of Rome, and their own honours, who were the redeemers of it, in this debate. And if he has made Brutus, who was naturally a patient man, to fly into excess at first, let it be remembered in his defence, that, just before, he has received the news of Portia's death; whom the poet, on purpose neglecting a little chronology, supposes to have died before Brutus, only to give him an occasion of being more easily exasperated. Add to this, that the injury he had received from Cassius, had long been brooding in his mind; and that a melancholy man, upon consideration of an affront, especially from a friend, would be more eager in his passion, than he who had given it, though naturally more choleric. Euripides, whom I have followed, has raised the quarrel betwixt two brothers, 242 who were friends. The foundation of the scene was this: The Grecians were wind-bound at the port of Aulis, and the oracle had said, that they could not sail, unless Agamemnon delivered up his daughter to be sacrificed: he refuses; his brother Menelaus urges the public safety; the father defends himself by arguments of natural affection, and hereupon they quarrel. Agamemnon is at last convinced, and promises to deliver up Iphigenia, but so passionately laments his loss, that Menelaus is grieved to have been the occasion of it, and, by a return of kindness, offers to intercede for him with the Grecians, that his daughter might not be sacrificed. But my friend Mr Rymer has so largely, and with so much judgment, described this scene, in comparing it with that of Melantius and Amintor, that it is superfluous to say more of it; I only named the heads of it, that any reasonable man might judge it was from thence I modelled my scene betwixt Troilus and Hector. I will conclude my reflections on it, with a passage of Longinus, concerning Plato's imitation of Homer: "We ought not to regard a good imitation as a theft, but as a beautiful idea of him who undertakes to imitate, by forming himself on the invention and the work of another man; for he enters into the lists like a new wrestler, to dispute the prize with the former champion. This sort of emulation, says Hesiod, is honourable, Αγαθη δ’ ερις εστι Βροτοισιν—when we combat for victory with a hero, and are not without glory even in our overthrow. Those great men, whom we propose to ourselves as patterns of our imitation, serve us as a torch, which is lifted up before us, to enlighten our passage, and often elevate our thoughts as high as the conception we have of our author's genius."

I have been so tedious in three acts, that I shall 243 contract myself in the two last. The beginning scenes of the fourth act are either added or changed wholly by me; the middle of it is Shakespeare altered, and mingled with my own; three or four of the last scenes are altogether new. And the whole fifth act, both the plot and the writing, are my own additions.

But having written so much for imitation of what is excellent, in that part of the preface which related only to myself, methinks it would neither be unprofitable nor unpleasant to inquire how far we ought to imitate our own poets, Shakespeare and Fletcher, in their tragedies; and this will occasion another inquiry, how those two writers differ between themselves: but since neither of these questions can be solved, unless some measures be first taken, by which we may be enabled to judge truly of their writings, I shall endeavour, as briefly as I can, to discover the grounds and reason of all criticism, applying them in this place only to Tragedy. Aristotle with his interpreters, and Horace, and Longinus, are the authors to whom I owe my lights; and what part soever of my own plays, or of this, which no mending could make regular, shall fall under the condemnation of such judges, it would be impudence in me to defend. I think it no shame to retract my errors, and am well pleased to suffer in the cause, if the art may be improved at my expence: I therefore proceed to


Tragedy is thus defined by Aristotle (omitting what I thought unnecessary in his definition). It is an imitation of one entire, great, and probable action; not told, but represented; which, by moving 244 in us fear and pity, is conducive to the purging of those two passions in our minds. More largely thus: Tragedy describes or paints an action, which action must have all the properties above named. First, it must be one or single; that is, it must not be a history of one man's life, suppose of Alexander the Great, or Julius Cæsar, but one single action of theirs. This condemns all Shakespeare's historical plays, which are rather chronicles represented, than tragedies; and all double action of plays. As, to avoid a satire upon others, I will make bold with my own "Marriage A-la-mode," where there are manifestly two actions, not depending on one another; but in "Œdipus" there cannot properly be said to be two actions, because the love of Adrastus and Eurydice has a necessary dependence on the principal design into which it is woven. The natural reason of this rule is plain; for two different independent actions distract the attention and concernment of the audience, and consequently destroy the intention of the poet; if his business be to move terror and pity, and one of his actions he comical, the other tragical, the former will divert the people, and utterly make void his greater purpose. Therefore, as in perspective, so in tragedy, there must be a point of sight in which all the lines terminate; otherwise the eye wanders, and the work is false. This was the practice of the Grecian stage. But Terence made an innovation in the Roman: all his plays have double actions; for it was his custom to translate two Greek comedies, and to weave them into one of his, yet so, that both their actions were comical, and one was principal, the other but secondary or subservient. And this has obtained on the English stage, to give us the pleasure of variety.

245 As the action ought to be one, it ought, as such, to have order in it; that is, to have a natural beginning, a middle, and an end. A natural beginning, says Aristotle, is that which could not necessarily have been placed after another thing; and so of the rest. This consideration will arraign all plays after the new model of Spanish plots, where accident is heaped upon accident, and that which is first might as reasonably be last; an inconvenience not to be remedied, but by making one accident naturally produce another, otherwise it is a farce and not a play. Of this nature is the "Slighted Maid;" where there is no scene in the first act, which might not by as good reason be in the fifth. And if the action ought to be one, the tragedy ought likewise to conclude with the action of it. Thus in "Mustapha," the play should naturally have ended with the death of Zanger, and not have given us the grace-cup after dinner, of Solyman's divorce from Roxolana.

The following properties of the action are so easy, that they need not my explaining. It ought to be great, and to consist of great persons, to distinguish it from comedy, where the action is trivial, and the persons of inferior rank. The last quality of the action is, that it ought to be probable, as well as admirable and great. It is not necessary that there should be historical truth in it; but always necessary that there should be a likeness of truth, something that is more than barely possible; probable being that which succeeds, or happens, oftener than it misses. To invent therefore a probability and to make it wonderful, is the most difficult undertaking in the art of poetry; for that, which is not wonderful, is not great; and that, which is not probable, will not delight a reasonable audience. 246 This action, thus described, must be represented and not told, to distinguish dramatic poetry from epic: but I hasten to the end or scope of tragedy, which is, to rectify or purge our passions, fear and pity.

To instruct delightfully is the general end of all poetry. Philosophy instructs, but it performs its work by precept; which is not delightful, or not so delightful as example. To purge the passions by example, is therefore the particular instruction which belongs to tragedy. Rapin, a judicious critic, has observed from Aristotle, that pride and want of commiseration are the most predominant vices in mankind; therefore, to cure us of these two, the inventors of tragedy have chosen to work upon two other passions, which are, fear and pity. We are wrought to fear, by their setting before our eyes some terrible example of misfortune, which happened to persons of the highest quality; for such an action demonstrates to us, that no condition is privileged from the turns of fortune; this must of necessity cause terror in us, and consequently abate our pride. But when we see that the most virtuous, as well as the greatest, are not exempt from such misfortunes, that consideration moves pity in us, and insensibly works us to be helpful to, and tender over, the distressed; which is the noblest and most godlike of moral virtues, Here it is observable, that it is absolutely necessary to make a man virtuous, if we desire he should be pitied: we lament not, but detest, a wicked man; we are glad when we behold his crimes are punished, and that poetical justice is done upon him. Euripides was censured by the critics of his time, for making his chief characters too wicked; for example, Phædra, though she loved her son-in-law with reluctancy, and that it was a curse upon her 247 family for offending Venus, yet was thought too ill a pattern for the stage. Shall we therefore banish all characters of villainy? I confess I am not of that opinion; but it is necessary that the hero of the play be not a villain; that is, the characters, which should move our pity, ought to have virtuous inclinations, and degrees of moral goodness in them. As for a perfect character of virtue, it never was in nature, and therefore there can be no imitation of it; but there are allays of frailty to be allowed for the chief persons, yet so that the good which is in them shall outweigh the bad, and consequently leave room for punishment on the one side, and pity on the other.

After all, if any one will ask me, whether a tragedy cannot be made upon any other grounds than those of exciting pity and terror in us;—Bossu, the best of modern critics, answers thus in general: That all excellent arts, and particularly that of poetry, have been invented and brought to perfection by men of a transcendent genius; and that, therefore, they, who practise afterwards the same arts, are obliged to tread in their footsteps, and to search in their writings the foundation of them; for it is not just that new rules should destroy the authority of the old. But Rapin writes more particularly thus, that no passions in a story are so proper to move our concernment, as fear and pity; and that it is from our concernment we receive our pleasure, is undoubted. When the soul becomes agitated with fear for one character, or hope for another; then it is that we are pleased in tragedy, by the interest which we take in their adventures.

Here, therefore, the general answer may be given to the first question, how far we ought to imitate Shakespeare and Fletcher in their plots; namely, that we ought to follow them so far only, as they 248 have copied the excellencies of those who invented and brought to perfection dramatic poetry; those things only excepted, which religion, custom of countries, idioms of languages, &c. have altered in the superstructures, but not in the foundation of the design.

How defective Shakespeare and Fletcher have been in all their plots, Mr Rymer has discovered in his criticisms. Neither can we, who follow them, be excused from the same, or greater errors; which are the more unpardonable in us, because we want their beauties to countervail our faults. The best of their designs, the most approaching to antiquity, and the most conducing to move pity, is the "King and no King;" which, if the farce of Bessus were thrown away, is of that inferior sort of tragedies, which end with a prosperous event. It is probably derived from the story of Œdipus, with the character of Alexander the Great, in his extravagances, given to Arbaces. The taking of this play, amongst many others, I cannot wholly ascribe to the excellency of the action; for I find it moving when it is read. It is true, the faults of the plot are so evidently proved, that they can no longer be denied. The beauties of it must therefore lie either in the lively touches of the passion; or we must conclude, as I think we may, that even in imperfect plots there are less degrees of nature, by which some faint emotions of pity and terror are raised in us; as a less engine will raise a less proportion of weight, though not so much as one of Archimedes's making; for nothing can move our nature, but by some natural reason, which works upon passions. And, since we acknowledge the effect, there must be something in the cause.

The difference between Shakespeare and Fletcher, in their plottings, seems to be this; that Shakespeare 249 generally moves more terror, and Fletcher more compassion: for the first had a more masculine, a bolder, and more fiery genius; the second, a more soft and womanish. In the mechanic beauties of the plot, which are the observation of the three unities, time, place, and action, they are both deficient; but Shakespeare most. Ben Jonson reformed those errors in his comedies, yet one of Shakespeare's was regular before him; which is, "The Merry Wives of Windsor." For what remains concerning the design, you are to be referred to our English critic. That method which he has prescribed to raise it, from mistake, or ignorance of the crime, is certainly the best, though it is not the only; for amongst all the tragedies of Sophocles, there is but one, Œdipus, which is wholly built after that model.

After the plot, which is the foundation of the play, the next thing to which we ought to apply our judgment, is the manners; for now the poet comes to work above ground. The ground-work, indeed, is that which is most necessary, as that upon which depends the firmness of the whole fabric; yet it strikes not the eye so much, as the beauties or imperfections of the manners, the thoughts, and the expressions.

The first rule which Bossu prescribes to the writer of an heroic poem, and which holds too by the same reason in all dramatic poetry, is to make the moral of the work; that is, to lay down to yourself what that precept of morality shall be, which you would insinuate into the people; as, namely, Homer's (which I have copied in my "Conquest of Granada,") was, that union preserves a commonwealth and discord destroys it. Sophocles, in his Œdipus, that no man is to be accounted happy before his death. It is the moral that directs the 250 whole action of the play to one centre; and that action or fable is the example built upon the moral, which confirms the truth of it to our experience. When the fable is designed, then, and not before, the persons are to be introduced, with their manners, characters, and passions.

The manners, in a poem, are understood to be those inclinations, whether natural or acquired, which move and carry us to actions, good, bad, or indifferent, in a play; or which incline the persons to such or such actions. I have anticipated part of this discourse already, in declaring that a poet ought not to make the manners perfectly good in his best persons; but neither are they to be more wicked in any of his characters, than necessity requires. To produce a villain, without other reason than a natural inclination to villainy, is, in poetry, to produce an effect without a cause; and to make him more a villain than he has just reason to be, is to make an effect which is stronger than the cause.

The manners arise from many causes; and are either distinguished by complexion, as choleric and phlegmatic, or by the differences of age or sex, of climates, or quality of the persons, or their present condition. They are likewise to be gathered from the several virtues, vices, or passions, and many other common-places, which a poet must be supposed to have learned from natural philosophy, ethics, and history; of all which, whosoever is ignorant, does not deserve the name of poet.

But as the manners are useful in this art, they may be all comprised under these general heads: First, they must be apparent; that is, in every character of the play, some inclinations of the person must appear; and these are shown in the actions and discourse. Secondly, the manners must be 251 suitable, or agreeing to the persons; that is, to the age, sex, dignity, and the other general heads of manners: thus, when a poet has given the dignity of a king to one of his persons, in all his actions and speeches, that person must discover majesty, magnanimity, and jealousy of power, because these are suitable to the general manners of a king[1]. The third property of manners is resemblance; and this is founded upon the particular characters of men, as we have them delivered to us by relation or history; that is, when a poet has the known character of this or that man before him, he is bound to represent him such, at least not contrary to that which fame has reported him to have been. Thus, it is not a poet's choice to make Ulysses choleric, or Achilles patient, because Homer has described them quite otherwise. Yet this is a rock, on which ignorant writers daily split; and the absurdity is as monstrous, as if a painter should draw a coward running from a battle, and tell us it was the picture of Alexander the Great.

The last property of manners is, that they be constant and equal, that is, maintained the same through the whole design: thus, when Virgil had once given the name of pious to Æneas, he was 252 bound to show him such, in all his words and actions through the whole poem. All these properties Horace has hinted to a judicious observer.—1. Notandi sunt tibi mores; 2. Aut famam sequere, 3. aut sibi concenientia finge; 4. Sercetur ad imum, qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.

From the manners, the characters of persons are derived; for, indeed, the characters are no other than the inclinations, as they appear in the several persons of the poem; a character being thus defined,—that which distinguishes one man from another. Not to repeat the same things over again, which have been said of the manners, I will only add what is necessary here. A character, or that which distinguishes one man from all others, cannot be supposed to consist of one particular virtue, or vice, or passion only; but it is a composition of qualities which are not contrary to one another in the same person. Thus, the same man may be liberal and valiant, but not liberal and covetous; so in a comical character, or humour, (which is an inclination to this or that particular folly) Falstaff is a liar, and a coward, a glutton, and a buffoon, because all these qualities may agree in the same man; yet it is still to be observed, that one virtue, vice, and passion, ought to be shown in every man, as predominant over all the rest; as covetousness in Crassus, love of his country in Brutus; and the same in characters which are feigned.

The chief character or hero in a tragedy, as I have already shown, ought in prudence to be such a man, who has so much more of virtue in him than of vice, that he may be left amiable to the audience, which otherwise cannot have any concernment for his sufferings; and it is on this one character, that the pity and terror must be principally, if not wholly, founded: a rule which is extremely 253 necessary, and which none of the critics, that I know, have fully enough discovered to us. For terror and compassion work but weakly when they are divided into many persons. If Creon had been the chief character in "Œdipus," there had neither been terror nor compassion moved; but only detestation of the man, and joy for his punishment; if Adrastus and Eurydice had been made more appearing0characters, then the pity had been divided, and lessened on the part of Œdipus. But making Œdipus the best and bravest person, and even Jocasta but an underpart to him, his virtues, and the punishment of his fatal crime, drew both the pity, and the terror to himself.

By what has been said of the manners, it will be easy for a reasonable man to judge, whether the characters be truly or falsely drawn in a tragedy; for if there be no manners appearing in the characters, no concernment for the persons can be raised; no pity or horror can be moved, but by vice or virtue; therefore, without them, no person can have any business in the play. If the inclinations be obscure, it is a sign the poet is in the dark, and knows not what manner of man he presents to you; and consequently you can have no idea, or very imperfect, of that man; nor can judge what resolutions he ought to take; or what words or actions are proper for him. Most comedies, made up of accidents or adventures, are liable to fall into this error; and tragedies with many turns are subject to it; for the manners can never be evident, where the surprises of fortune take up all the business of the stage; and where the poet is more in pain, to tell you what happened to such a man, than what he was. It is one of the excellencies of Shakespeare, that the manners of his persons are generally apparent; and you see their bent and inclinations. Fletcher comes far 254 short of him in this, as indeed he does almost in every thing. There are but glimmerings of manners in most of his comedies, which run upon adventures; and in his tragedies, Rollo, Otto, the King and no King, Melantius, and many others of his best, are but pictures shown you in the twilight; you know not whether they resemble vice or virtue, and they are either good, bad, or indifferent, as the present scene requires it. But of all poets, this commendation is to be given to Ben Jonson, that the manners even of the most inconsiderable persons in his plays, are every where apparent.

By considering the second quality of manners, which is, that they be suitable to the age, quality, country, dignity, &c. of the character, we may likewise judge whether a poet has followed nature. In this kind, Sophocles and Euripides have more excelled among the Greeks than Æschylus; and Terence more than Plautus, among the Romans. Thus, Sophocles gives to Œdipus the true qualities of a king, in both those plays which bear his name; but in the latter, which is the "Œdipus Coloneus," he lets fall on purpose his tragic style; his hero speaks not in the arbitrary tone; but remembers, in the softness of his complaints, that he is an unfortunate blind old man; that he is banished from his country, and persecuted by his next relations. The present French poets are generally accused, that wheresoever they lay the scene, or in whatsoever age, the manners of their heroes are wholly French. Racine's Bajazet is bred at Constantinople; but his civilities are conveyed to him, by some secret passage, from Versailles into the seraglio. But our Shakespeare, having ascribed to Henry the Fourth the character of a king and of a father, gives him the perfect manners of each relation, when either he transacts with his son or with his subjects. Fletcher, 255 on the other side, gives neither to Arbaces, nor to his king, in "The Maid's Tragedy," the qualities which are suitable to a monarch; though he may be excused a little in the latter, for the king there is not uppermost in the character; it is the lover of Evadne, who is king only in a second consideration; and though he be unjust, and has other faults which shall be nameless, yet he is not the hero of the play. It is true, we find him a lawful prince, (though I never heard of any king that was in Rhodes) and therefore Mr Rymer's criticism stands good,—that he should not be shown in so vicious a character. Sophocles has been more judicious in his "Antigona;" for, though he represents in Creon a bloody prince, yet he makes him not a lawful king, but an usurper, and Antigona herself is the heroine of the tragedy: but when Philaster wounds Arethusa and the boy; and Perigot his mistress, in the "Faithful Shepherdess," both these are contrary to the character of manhood. Nor is Valentinian managed much better; for, though Fletcher has taken his picture truly, and shown him as he was, an effeminate, voluptuous man, yet he has forgotten that he was an emperor, and has given him none of those royal marks, which ought to appear in a lawful successor of the throne. If it be enquired, what Fletcher should have done on this occasion; ought he not to have represented Valentinian as he was;—Bossu shall answer this question for me, by an instance of the like nature: Mauritius, the Greek emperor, was a prince far surpassing Valentinian, for he was endued with many kingly virtues; he was religious, merciful, and valiant, but withal he was noted of extreme covetousness, a vice which is contrary to the character of a hero, or a prince: therefore, says the critic, that emperor was no fit person to be represented in 256 a tragedy, unless his good qualities were only to be shown, and his covetousness (which sullied them all) were slurred over by the artifice of the poet. To return once more to Shakespeare; no man ever drew so many characters, or generally distinguished them better from one another, excepting only Jonson. I will instance but in one, to show the copiousness of his invention; it is that of Caliban, or the monster, in "The Tempest." He seems there to have created a person which was not in nature, a boldness which, at first sight, would appear intolerable; for he makes him a species of himself, begotten by an incubus on a witch; but this, as I have elsewhere proved, is not wholly beyond the bounds of credibility, at least the vulgar still believe it. We have the separated notions of a spirit, and of a witch; (and spirits, according to Plato, are vested with a subtle body; according to some of his followers, have different sexes;) therefore, as from the distinct apprehensions of a horse, and of a man, imagination has formed a centaur; so, from those of an incubus and a sorceress, Shakespeare has produced his monster. Whether or no his generation can be defended, I leave to philosophy; but of this I am certain, that the poet has most judiciously furnished him with a person, a language, and a character, which will suit him, both by father's and mother's side: he has all the discontents, and malice of a witch, and of a devil, besides a convenient proportion of the deadly sins; gluttony, sloth, and lust, are manifest; the dejectedness of a slave is likewise given him, and the ignorance of one bred up in a desert island. His person is monstrous, and he is the product of unnatural lust; and his language is as hobgoblin as his person; in all things he is distinguished from other mortals. The characters of Fletcher are poor and narrow, in comparison 257 of Shakspeare's; I remember not one which is not borrowed from him; unless you will except that strange mixture of a man in the "King and no King;" so that in this part Shakespeare is generally worth our imitation; and to imitate Fletcher is but to copy after him who was a copyer.

Under this general head of manners, the passions are naturally included, as belonging to the characters. I speak not of pity and of terror, which are to be moved in the audience by the plot; but of anger, hatred, love, ambition, jealousy, revenge, &c. as they are shown in this or that person of the play. To describe these naturally, and to move them artfully, is one of the greatest commendations which can be given to a poet: to write pathetically, says Longinus, cannot proceed but from a lofty genius. A poet must be born with this quality: yet, unless he help himself by an acquired knowledge of the passions, what they are in their own nature, and by what springs they are to be moved, he will be subject either to raise them where they ought not to be raised, or not to raise them by the just degrees of nature, or to amplify them beyond the natural bounds, or not to observe the crisis and turns of them, in their cooling and decay; all which errors proceed from want of judgment in the poet, and from being unskilled in the principles of moral philosophy. Nothing is more frequent in a fanciful writer, than to foil himself by not managing his strength; therefore, as, in a wrestler, there is first required some measure of force, a well-knit body and active limbs, without which all instruction would be vain; yet, these being granted, if he want the skill which is necessary to a wrestler, he shall make but small advantage of his natural robustuousness: so, in a poet, his inborn vehemence and force of spirit will only run him out of breath the sooner, 258 if it be not supported by the help of art. The roar of passion, indeed, may please an audience, three parts of which are ignorant enough to think all is moving which is noisy, and it may stretch the lungs of an ambitious actor, who will die upon the spot for a thundering clap; but it will move no other passion than indignation and contempt from judicious men. Longinus, whom I have hitherto followed, continues thus:—If the passions be artfully employed, the discourse becomes vehement and lofty: if otherwise, there is nothing more ridiculous than a great passion out of season: and to this purpose he animadverts severely upon Æschylus, who writ nothing in cold blood, but was always in a rapture, and in fury with his audience: the inspiration was still upon him, he was ever tearing it upon the tripos; or (to run off as madly as he does, from one similitude to another) he was always at high-flood of passion, even in the dead ebb, and lowest water-mark of the scene. He who would raise the passion of a judicious audience, says a learned critic, must be sure to take his hearers along with him; if they be in a calm, 'tis in vain for him to be in a huff: he must move them by degrees, and kindle with them; otherwise he will be in danger of setting his own heap of stubble on fire, and of burning out by himself, without warming the company that stand about him. They who would justify the madness of poetry from the authority of Aristotle, have mistaken the text, and consequently the interpretation: I imagine it to be false read, where he says of poetry, that it is Ευφυους η μανικου, that it had always somewhat in it either of a genius, or of a madman. 'Tis more probable that the original ran thus, that poetry was Ευφυους ου μανικου, That it belongs to a witty man, but not to a madman. Thus then the passions, as they 259 are considered simply and in themselves, suffer violence when they are perpetually maintained at the same height; for what melody can be made on that instrument, all whose strings are screwed up at first to their utmost stretch, and to the same sound? But this is not the worst: for the characters likewise bear a part in the general calamity, if you consider the passions as embodied in them; for it follows of necessity, that no man can be distinguished from another by his discourse, when every man is ranting, swaggering, and exclaiming with the same excess: as if it were the only business of all the characters to contend with each other for the prize at Billingsgate; or that the scene of the tragedy lay in Bethlem. Suppose the poet should intend this man to be choleric, and that man to be patient; yet when they are confounded in the writing, you cannot distinguish them from one another: for the man who was called patient and tame, is only so before he speaks; but let his clack be set a-going, and he shall tongue it as impetuously and as loudly, as the arrantest hero in the play. By this means, the characters are only distinct in name; but, in reality, all the men and women in the play are the same person. No man should pretend to write, who cannot temper his fancy with his judgment: nothing is more dangerous to a raw horseman, than a hot-mouthed jade without a curb.

It is necessary therefore for a poet, who would concern an audience by describing of a passion, first to prepare it, and not to rush upon it all at once. Ovid has judiciously shown the difference of these two ways, in the speeches of Ajax and Ulysses: Ajax, from the very beginning, breaks out into his exclamations, and is swearing by his Maker,—Agimus, proh Jupiter, inquit. Ulysses, 260 on the contrary, prepares his audience with all the submissiveness he can practise, and all the calmness of a reasonable man; he found his judges in a tranquillity of spirit, and therefore set out leisurely and softly with them, till he had warmed them by degrees; and then he began to mend his pace, and to draw them along with his own impetuousness: yet so managing his breath, that it might not fail him at his need, and reserving his utmost proofs of ability even to the last. The success, you see, was answerable; for the crowd only applauded the speech of Ajax;—

Vulgique secutum ultima murmur erat:—

But the judges awarded the prize, for which they contended, to Ulysses;

Mota manus procerum est; et quid facundia posset

Tum patuit, fortisque viri tulit arma disertus.

The next necessary rule is, to put nothing into the discourse, which may hinder your moving of the passions. Too many accidents, as I have said, incumber the poet, as much as the arms of Saul did David; for the variety of passions, which they produce, are ever crossing and justling each other out of the way. He, who treats of joy and grief together, is in a fair way of causing neither of those effects. There is yet another obstacle to be removed, which is,—pointed wit, and sentences affected out of season; these are nothing of kin to the violence of passion: no man is at leisure to make sentences and similes, when his soul is in an agony. I the rather name this fault, that it may serve to mind me of my former errors; neither will I spare myself, but give an example of this 261 kind from my "Indian Emperor." Montezuma, pursued by his enemies, and seeking sanctuary, stands parleying without the fort, and describing his danger to Cydaria, in a simile of six lines;

As on the sands the frighted traveller

Sees the high seas come rolling from afar, &c.

My Indian potentate was well skilled in the sea for an inland prince, and well improved since the first act, when he sent his son to discover it. The image had not been amiss from another man, at another time: Sed nunc non erat his locus: he destroyed the concernment which the audience might otherwise have had for him; for they could not think the danger near, when he had the leisure to invent a simile.

If Shakespeare be allowed, as I think he must, to have made his characters distinct, it will easily be inferred, that he understood the nature of the passions: because it has been proved already, that confused passions make distinguishable characters: yet I cannot deny that he has his failings; but they are not so much in the passions themselves, as in his manner of expression: he often obscures his meaning by his words, and sometimes makes it unintelligible. I will not say of so great a poet, that he distinguished not the blown puffy stile, from true sublimity; but I may venture to maintain, that the fury of his fancy often transported him beyond the bounds of judgment, either in coining of new words and phrases, or racking words which were in use, into the violence of a catachresis. It is not that I would explode the use of metaphors from passion, for Longinus thinks them necessary to raise it: but to use them at every word, to say nothing without a metaphor, a simile, an image, or 262 description; is, I doubt, to smell a little too strongly of the buskin. I must be forced to give an example of expressing passion figuratively; but that I may do it with respect to Shakespeare, it shall not be taken from any thing of his: it is an exclamation against Fortune, quoted in his Hamlet, but written by some other poet:

Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! all you gods,

In general synod, take away her power;

Break all the spokes and felleys from her wheel,

And bowl the round nave down the hill of heav'n,

As low as to the fiends.

And immediately after, speaking of Hecuba, when Priam was killed before her eyes:

But who, ah woe! had seen the mobled queen

Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flame

With bisson rheum; a clout about that head,

Where late the diadem stood; and, for a rob

About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins,

A blanket in th' alarm of fear caught up.

Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd

'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounc'd;

But if the gods themselves did see her then,

When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport

In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,

The instant burst of clamour that she made

(Unless things mortal move them not at all)

Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,

And passion in the gods.

What a pudder is here kept in raising the expression of trifling thoughts! would not a man have thought that the poet had been bound prentice to a wheel-wright, for his first rant? and had followed a rag-man, for the clout and blanket, in the second? Fortune is painted on a wheel, and therefore the writer, in a rage, will have poetical justice done 263 upon every member of that engine: after this execution, he bowls the nave down-hill, from heaven, to the fiends: (an unreasonable long mark, a man would think;) 'tis well there are no solid orbs to stop it in the way, or no element of fire to consume it: but when it came to the earth, it must be monstrous heavy, to break ground as low as the center. His making milch the burning eyes of heaven, was a pretty tolerable flight too: and I think no man ever drew milk out of eyes before him: yet, to make the wonder greater, these eyes were burning. Such a sight indeed were enough to have raised passion in the gods; but to excuse the effects of it, he tells you, perhaps they did not see it. Wise men would be glad to find a little sense couched under all these pompous words; for bombast is commonly the delight of that audience, which loves poetry, but understands it not: and as commonly has been the practice of those writers, who, not being able to infuse a natural passion into the mind, have made it their business to ply the ears, and to stun their judges by the noise. But Shakespeare does not often thus; for the passions in his scene between Brutus and Cassius are extremely natural, the thoughts are such as arise from the matter, the expression of them not viciously figurative. I cannot leave this subject, before I do justice to that divine poet, by giving you one of his passionate descriptions: 'tis of Richard the Second when he was deposed, and led in triumph through the streets of London by Henry of Bolingbroke: the painting of it is so lively, and the words so moving that I have scarce read any thing comparable to it, in any other language. Suppose you have seen already the fortunate usurper passing through the crowd, and followed by the shouts and acclamations of the people; and now behold King Richard 264 entering upon the scene: consider the wretchedness of his condition, and his carriage in it; and refrain from pity, if you can:

As in a theatre, the eyes of men,

After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage,

Are idly bent on him that enters next,

Thinking his prattle to be tedious:

Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes

Did scowl on Richard: no man cry'd, God save him:

No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home,

But dust was thrown upon his sacred head,

Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,

His face still combating with tears and smiles,

(The badges of his grief and patience)

That had not God (for some strong purpose) steel'd

The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,

And barbarism itself have pitied him.

To speak justly of this whole matter: it is neither height of thought that is discommended, nor pathetic vehemence, nor any nobleness of expression in its proper place; but it is a false measure of all these, something which is like them, and is not them: it is the Bristol-stone, which appears like a diamond; it is an extravagant thought, instead of a sublime one; it is roaring madness, instead of vehemence; and a sound of words, instead of sense. If Shakespeare were stripped of all the bombasts in his passions, and dressed in the most vulgar words, we should find the beauties of his thoughts remaining; if his embroideries were burnt down, there would still be silver at the bottom of the melting-pot: but I fear (at least let me fear it for myself) that we, who ape his sounding words, have nothing of his thought, but are all outside; there is not so much as a dwarf within our giant's clothes. Therefore, let not Shakespeare suffer for our sakes; it is our fault, who succeed him in an age which is more refined, if we imitate him so ill, that we copy his 265 failings only, and make a virtue of that in our writings, which in his was an imperfection.

For what remains, the excellency of that poet was, as I have said, in the more manly passions; Fletcher's in the softer: Shakespeare writ better betwixt man and man; Fletcher, betwixt man and woman: consequently, the one described friendship better; the other love: yet Shakespeare taught Fletcher to write love: and Juliet and Desdemona are originals. It is true, the scholar had the softer soul; but the master had the kinder. Friendship is both a virtue and a passion essentially; love is a passion only in its nature, and is not a virtue but by accident: good nature makes friendship; but effeminacy love. Shakespeare had an universal mind, which comprehended all characters and passions; Fletcher a more confined and limited: for though he treated love in perfection, yet honour, ambition, revenge, and generally all the stronger, passions, he either touched not, or not masterly. To conclude all, he was a limb of Shakespeare.

I had intended to have proceeded to the last property of manners, which is, that they must be constant, and the characters maintained the same from the beginning to the end; and from thence to have proceeded to the thoughts and expressions suitable to a tragedy: but I will first see how this will relish with the age. It is, I confess, but cursorily written; yet the judgment, which is given here, is generally founded upon experience: but because many men are shocked at the name of rules, as if they were a kind of magisterial prescription upon poets, I will conclude with the words of Rapin, in his Reflections on Aristotle's Work of Poetry: "If the rules be well considered, we shall find them to be made only to reduce nature into method, to trace her step by step, and not to suffer the least mark of her 266 to escape us: it is only by these, that probability in fiction is maintained, which is the soul of poetry. They are founded upon good sense, and sound reason, rather than on authority; for though Aristotle and Horace are produced, yet no man must argue, that what they write is true, because they writ it; but 'tis evident, by the ridiculous mistakes and gross absurdities, which have been made by those poets who have taken their fancy only for their guide, that if this fancy be not regulated, it is a mere caprice, and utterly incapable to produce a reasonable and judicious poem."


  1. The dictum of Rymer, concerning the royal prerogative in poetry, is thus expressed: "We are to presume the highest virtues, where we find the highest of rewards; and though it is not necessary that all heroes should be kings, yet, undoubtedly, all crowned heads, by poetical right, are heroes. This character is a flower; a prerogative so certain, so inseparably annexed to the crown, as by no parliament of poets ever to be invaded." The Tragedies of the last Age considered, p. 61. Dryden has elsewhere given his assent to this maxim, that a king, in poetry, as in our constitution, can do no wrong. The only apology for introducing a tyrant upon the stage, was to make him at the same time an usurper.



See, my loved Britons, see your Shakespeare rise,

An awful ghost confessed to human eyes!

Unnamed, methinks, distinguished I had been

From other shades, by this eternal green,

About whose wreaths the vulgar poets strive,

And with a touch, their withered bays revive.

Untaught, unpractised, in a barbarous age,

I found not, but created first the stage.

And, if I drained no Greek or Latin store,

'Twas, that my own abundance gave me more.

On foreign trade I needed not rely,

Like fruitful Britain, rich without supply.

In this my rough-drawn play, you shall behold

Some master-strokes, so manly and so bold,

That he who meant to alter, found 'em such,

He shook, and thought it sacrilege to touch.

Now, where are the successors to my name?

What bring they to fill out a poet's fame?

Weak, short-lived issues of a feeble age;

Scarce living to be christened on the stage!

For humour farce, for love they rhyme dispense,

That tolls the knell for their departed sense.

Dulness might thrive in any trade but this:

'Twould recommend to some fat benefice.

Dulness, that in a playhouse meets disgrace,

Might meet with reverence, in its proper place.

The fulsome clench, that nauseates the town,

Would from a judge or alderman go down,

Such virtue is there in a robe and gown!

And that insipid stuff which here you hate,

Might somewhere else be called a grave debate;

Dulness is decent in the church and state.

But I forget that still 'tis understood,

Bad plays are best decried by showing good.

Sit silent then, that my pleased soul may see

A judging audience once, and worthy me;


My faithful scene from true records shall tell,

How Trojan valour did the Greek excell;

Your great forefathers shall their fame regain,

And Homer's angry ghost repine in vain[1].


  1. The conceit, which our ancestors had adopted, of their descent from Brutus, a fugitive Trojan, induced their poets to load the Grecian chiefs with every accusation of cowardice and treachery, and to extol the character of the Trojans in the same proportion. Hector is always represented as having been treacherously slain.


Sons of Priam.

Priam, King of Troy.
Æneas, a Trojan Warrior.
Pandarus, Uncle to Cressida.
Calchas, a Trojan Priest, and Father to Cressida, a fugitive to the Grecian camp.

Grecian Warriors, engaged in the siege of Troy.

Thersites, a slanderous Buffoon.

Cressida, Daughter to Calchas.
Andromache, Wife to Hector.



SCENE I.—A Camp.

Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Diomedes, and Nestor.

Agam. Princes, it seems not strange to us, nor new,
That, after nine years siege, Troy makes defence,
Since every action of recorded fame
Has with long difficulties been involved,
Not answering that idea of the thought,
Which gave it birth; why then, you Grecian chiefs,
With sickly eyes do you behold our labours,
And think them our dishonour, which indeed
Are the protractive trials of the gods,
To prove heroic constancy in men?

Nest. With due observance of thy sovereign seat,
Great Agamemnon, Nestor shall apply
Thy well-weighed words. In struggling with misfortunes
Lies the true proof of virtue: On smooth seas,
How many bauble-boats dare set their sails,
And make an equal way with firmer vessels!
But let the tempest once enrage that sea,
And then behold the strong-ribbed argosie,
Bounding between the ocean and the air,
Like Perseus mounted on his Pegasus.
270 Then where are those weak rivals of the main?
Or, to avoid the tempest, fled to port,
Or made a prey to Neptune. Even thus
Do empty show, and true-prized worth, divide
In storms of fortune.

Ulys. Mighty Agamemnon!
Heart of our body, soul of our designs,
In whom the tempers, and the minds of all
Should be inclosed,—hear what Ulysses speaks.

Agam. You have free leave.

Ulys. Troy had been down ere this, and Hector's sword
Wanted a master, but for our disorders:
The observance due to rule has been neglected,
Observe how many Grecian tents stand void
Upon this plain, so many hollow factions:
For, when the general is not like the hive,
To whom the foragers should all repair,
What honey can our empty combs expect?
Or when supremacy of kings is shaken,
What can succeed? How could communities,
Or peaceful traffic from divided shores,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
But by degree, stand on their solid base?
Then every thing resolves to brutal force,
And headlong force is led by hoodwinked will.
For wild ambition, like a ravenous wolf,
Spurred on by will, and seconded by power,
Must make an universal prey of all,
And last devour itself.

Nest. Most prudently Ulysses has discovered
The malady, whereof our state is sick.

Diom. 'Tis truth he speaks; the general's disdained
By him one step beneath, he by the next;
That next by him below: So each degree
Spurns upward at superior eminence.
Thus our distempers are their sole support;
271 Troy in our weakness lives, not in her strength.

Agam. The nature of this sickness found, inform us
From whence it draws its birth?

Ulys. The great Achilles, whom opinion crowns
The chief of all our host,
Having his ears buzzed with his noisy fame,
Disdains thy sovereign charge, and in his tent
Lies, mocking our designs; with him Patroclus,
Upon a lazy bed, breaks scurril jests,
And with ridiculous and aukward action,
Which, slanderer, he imitation calls,
Mimics the Grecian chiefs.

Agam. As how, Ulysses?

Ulys. Even thee, the king of men, he does not spare,
(The monkey author) but thy greatness pageants,
And makes of it rehearsals: like a player,
Bellowing his passion till he break the spring,
And his racked voice jar to his audience;
So represents he thee, though more unlike
Than Vulcan is to Venus.
And at this fulsome stuff,—the wit of apes,—
The large Achilles, on his prest bed lolling,
From his deep chest roars out a loud applause,
Tickling his spleen, and laughing till he wheeze.

Nest. Nor are you spared, Ulysses; but, as you speak in council,
He hems ere he begins, then strokes his beard,
Casts down his looks, and winks with half an eye;
Has every action, cadence, motion, tone,
All of you but the sense.

Agam. Fortune was merry
When he was born, and played a trick on nature,
To make a mimic prince; he ne'er acts ill,
But when he would seem wise:
For all he says or does, from serious thought,
Appears so wretched, that he mocks his title,
272 And is his own buffoon.

Ulys. In imitation of this scurril fool,
Ajax is grown self-willed as broad Achilles.
He keeps a table too, makes factious feasts,
Rails on our state of war, and sets Thersites
(A slanderous slave of an o'erflowing gall)
To level us with low comparisons.
They tax our policy with cowardice,
Count wisdom of no moment in the war,
In brief, esteem no act, but that of hand;
The still and thoughtful parts, which move those hands,
With them are but the tasks cut out by fear,
To be performed by valour.

Agam. Let this be granted, and Achilles' horse
Is more of use than he; but you, grave pair,
Like Time and Wisdom marching hand in hand,
Must put a stop to these encroaching ills:
To you we leave the care;
You, who could show whence the distemper springs,
Must vindicate the dignity of kings.[Exeunt.


Enter Pandarus and Troilus.

Troil. Why should I fight without the Trojan walls,
Who, without fighting, am o'erthrown within?
The Trojan who is master of a soul,
Let him to battle; Troilus has none.

Pand. Will this never be at an end with you?

Troil. The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their strength,
Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness wary;
But I am weaker than a woman's tears,
Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,
And artless as unpractised infancy.

Pand Well, I have told you enough of this; for 273 my part I'll not meddle nor make any further in your love; he, that will eat of the roastmeat, must stay for the kindling of the fire.

Troil. Have I not staid?

Pand. Ay, the kindling; but you must stay the spitting of the meat.

Troil. Have I not staid?

Pand. Ay, the spitting; but there's two words to a bargain; you must stay the roasting too.

Troil. Still have I staid; and still the farther off.

Pand. That's but the roasting, but there's more in this word stay; there's the taking off the spit, the making of the sauce, the dishing, the setting on the table, and saying grace; nay, you must stay the cooling too, or you may chance to burn your chaps.

Troil. At Priam's table pensive do I sit,
And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts—
(Can she be said to come, who ne'er was absent!)

Pand. Well, she's a most ravishing creature; and she looked yesterday most killingly; she had such a stroke with her eyes, she cut to the quick with every glance of them.

Troil. I was about to tell thee, when my heart
Was ready with a sigh to cleave in two,
Lest Hector or my father should perceive me,
I have, with mighty anguish of my soul,
Just at the birth, stifled this still-born sigh,
And forced my face into a painful smile.

Pand. I measured her with my girdle yesterday; she's not half a yard about the waist, but so taper a shape did I never see; but when I had her in my arms, Lord, thought I,—and by my troth I could not forbear sighing,—If prince Troilus had her at this advantage and I were holding of the door!—An she were a thought taller,—but as she is, she wants not an inch of Helen neither; but there's no more comparison 274 between the women—there was wit, there was a sweet tongue! How her words melted in her mouth! Mercury would have been glad to have such a tongue in his mouth, I warrant him. I would somebody had heard her talk yesterday, as I did.

Troil. Oh Pandarus, when I tell thee I am mad
In Cressid's love, thou answer'st she is fair;
Praisest her eyes, her stature, and her wit;
But praising thus, instead of oil and balm,
Thou lay'st, in every wound her love has given me,
The sword that made it.

Pand. I give her but her due.

Troil. Thou giv'st her not so much.

Pand. Faith, I'll speak no more of her, let her be as she is; if she be a beauty, 'tis the better for her; an' she be not, she has the mends in her own hands, for Pandarus.

Troil. In spite of me, thou wilt mistake my meaning.

Pand. I have had but my labour for my pains; ill thought on of her, and ill thought on of you; gone between and between, and am ground in the mill-stones for my labour.

Troil. What, art thou angry, Pandarus, with thy friend?

Pand. Because she's my niece, therefore she's not so fair as Helen; an' she were not my niece, show me such another piece of woman's flesh: take her limb by limb: I say no more, but if Paris had seen her first, Menelaus had been no cuckold: but what care I if she were a blackamoor? what am I the better for her face?

Troil. Said I she was not beautiful?

Pand. I care not if you did; she's a fool to stay behind her father Calchas: let her to the Greeks; and so I'll tell her. For my part, I am resolute, I'll meddle no more in your affairs.

Troil. But hear me!

275 Pand. Not I.

Troil. Dear Pandarus—

Pand. Pray speak no more on't; I'll not burn my fingers in another body's business; I'll leave it as I found it, and there's an end.

Troil. O gods, how do you torture me!
I cannot come to Cressida but by him,
And he's as peevish to be wooed to woo,
As she is to be won.

Enter Æneas.

Æneas. How now, prince Troilus; why not in the battle?

Troil. Because not there. This woman's answer suits me,
For womanish it is to be from thence.
What news, Æneas, from the field to-day?

Æn. Paris is hurt.

Troil. By whom?

Æn. By Menelaus. Hark what good sport[Alarm within.
Is out of town to-day! When I hear such music,
I cannot hold from dancing.

Troil. I'll make one,
And try to lose an anxious thought or two
In heat of action.
Thus, coward-like, from love to war I run,
Seek the less dangers, and the greater shun.[Exit Troil.

Enter Cressida.

Cres. My lord Æneas, who were those went by?
I mean the ladies.

Æn. Queen Hecuba and Helen.

Cres. And whither go they?

Æn. Up to the western tower,
Whose height commands, as subject, all the vale,
To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
Is fixed like that of heaven, to-day was moved;
276 He chid Andromache, and struck his armourer,
And, as there were good husbandry in war.
Before the sun was up he went to field;
Your pardon, lady, that's my business too.[Exit Æneas.

Cres. Hector's a gallant warrior.

Enter Pandarus.

Pand. What's that, what's that?

Cres. Good-morrow, uncle Pandarus.

Pand. Good-morrow, cousin Cressida. When were you at court?

Cres. This morning, uncle.

Pand. What were you a talking, when I came? Was Hector armed, and gone ere ye came? Hector was stirring early.

Cres. That I was talking of, and of his anger.

Pand. Was he angry, say you? true, he was so, and I know the cause. He was struck down yesterday in the battle, but he'll lay about him; he'll cry quittance with them to-day. I'll answer for him. And there's Troilus will not come far behind him: let them take heed of Troilus, I can tell them that too.

Cres. What, was he struck down too?

Pand. Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of the two.

Cres. Oh Jupiter! there's no comparison! Troilus the better man.

Pand. What, no comparison between Hector and Troilus? do you know a man if you see him?

Cres. No: for he may look like a man, and not be one.

Pand. Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.

Cres. That's what I say; for I am sure he is not Hector.

Pand. No, nor Hector is not Troilus: make your best of that, niece!

277 Cres. 'Tis true, for each of them is himself.

Pand. Himself! alas, poor Troilus! I would he were himself: well, the gods are all-sufficient, and time must mend or end. I would he were himself, and would I were a lady for his sake. I would not answer for my maidenhead.—No, Hector is not a better man than Troilus.

Cres. Excuse me.

Pand. Pardon me; Troilus is in the bud, 'tis early day with him; you shall tell me another tale when Troilus is come to bearing; and yet he will not bear neither, in some sense. No, Hector shall never have his virtues.

Cres. No matter.

Pand. Nor his beauty, nor his fashion, nor his wit; he shall have nothing of him.

Cres. They would not become him, his own are better.

Pand. How, his own better! you have no judgment, niece; Helen herself swore, the other day, that Troilus, for a manly brown complexion,—for so it is, I must confess—not brown neither.

Cres. No, but very brown.

Pand. Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown. Come, I swear to you, I think Helen loves him better than Paris: nay, I'm sure she does. She comes me to him the other day, into the bow-window,—and you know Troilus has not above three or four hairs on his chin,—

Cres. That's but a bare commendation.

Pand. But to prove to you that Helen loves him, she comes, and puts me her white hand to his cloven chin.

Cres. Has he been fighting then? how came it cloven?

Pand. Why, you know it is dimpled. I cannot chuse but laugh, to think how she tickled his cloven 278 chin. She has a marvellous white hand, I must needs confess. But let that pass, for I know who has a whiter. Well, cousin, I told you a thing yesterday; think on it, think on it.

Cres. So I do, uncle.

Pand. I'll be sworn it is true; he will weep ye, an' it were a man born in April.[A retreat sounded.
Hark, they are returning from the field; shall we stay and see them as they come by, sweet niece? do, sweet niece Cressida.

Cres. For once you shall command me.

Pand. Here, here, here is an excellent place; we may see them here most bravely, and I'll tell you all their names as they pass by; but mark Troilus above the rest; mark Troilus, he's worth your marking.

Æneas passes over the Stage.

Cres. Speak not so loud then.

Pand. That's Æneas. Is it not a brave man that? he's a swinger, many a Grecian he has laid with his face upward; but mark Troilus: you shall see anon.

Enter Antenor passing.

That's Antenor; he has a notable head-piece I can tell you, and he's the ablest man for judgment in all Troy; you may turn him loose, i'faith, and by my troth a proper person. When comes Troilus? I'll shew you Troilus anon; if he see me, you shall see him nod at me.

Hector passes over.

That's Hector, that, that, look you that; there's a fellow! go thy way, Hector; there's a brave man, niece. O brave Hector, look how he looks! there's a countenance. Is it not a brave man, niece?

279 Cres. I always told you so.

Pand. Is he not? it does a man's heart good to look on him; look you, look you there, what hacks are on his helmet! this was no boy's play, i'faith; he laid it on with a vengeance, take it off who will, as they say! there are hacks, niece!

Cres. Were those with swords?

Pand. Swords, or bucklers, faulchions, darts, and lances! any thing, he cares not! an' the devil come, it is all one to him: by Jupiter he looks so terribly, that I am half afraid to praise him.

Enter Paris.

Yonder comes Paris, yonder comes Paris! look ye yonder, niece; is it not a brave young prince too? He draws the best bow in all Troy; he hits you to a span twelve-score level:—who said he came home hurt to-day? why, this will do Helen's heart good now! ha! that I could see Troilus now!

Enter Helenus.

Cres. Who's that black man, uncle?

Pand. That is Helenus.—I marvel where Troilus is all this while;—that is Helenus.—I think Troilus went not forth to-day;—that's Helenus.

Cres. Can Helenus fight, uncle?

Pand. Helenus! No, yes; he'll fight indifferently well.—I marvel in my heart what's become of Troilus:—Hark! do you not hear the people cry, Troilus?—Helenus is a priest, and keeps a whore; he'll fight for his whore, or he's no true priest, I warrant him.

Enter Troilus passing over.

Cres. What sneaking fellow comes yonder?

Pand. Where, yonder? that's Deiphobus: No, I lie. I lie, that's Troilus! there's a man, niece! 280 hem! O brave Troilus! the prince of chivalry, and flower of fidelity!

Cres. Peace, for shame, peace!

Pand. Nay, but mark him then! O brave Troilus! there's a man of men, niece! look you how his sword is bloody, and his helmet more hacked than Hector's, and how he looks, and how he goes! O admirable youth! he never saw two-and-twenty. Go thy way, Troilus, go thy way! had I a sister were a grace, and a daughter a goddess, he should take his choice of them. O admirable man! Paris, Paris is dirt to him, and I warrant, Helen, to change, would give all the shoes in her shop to boot.

Enter common Soldiers passing over.

Cres. Here come more.

Pand. Asses, fools, dolts, dirt, and dung, stuff, and lumber, porridge after meat; but I could live and die with Troilus. Ne'er look, niece, ne'er look, the lions are gone: apes and monkeys, the fag end of the creation. I had rather be such a man as Troilus, than Agamemnon and all Greece.

Cres. There's Achilles among the Greeks, he's a brave man.

Pand. Achilles! a carman, a beast of burden; a very camel: have you any eyes, niece? do you know a man? is he to be compared with Troilus?

Enter Page.

Page. Sir, my lord Troilus would instantly speak with you.

Pand. Where boy, where?

Page. At his own house, if you think convenient.

Pand. Good boy, tell him I come instantly: I doubt he's wounded. Farewell, good niece. But I'll be with you by and by.

Cres. To bring me, uncle!

281 Pand. Ay, a token from prince Troilus.[Exit Pandar.

Cres. By the same token, you are a procurer, uncle.

Cressida alone.

A strange dissembling sex we women are:
Well may we men, when we ourselves deceive.
Long has my secret soul loved Troilus;
I drunk his praises from my uncle's mouth,
As if my ears could ne'er be satisfied:
Why then, why said I not, I love this prince?
How could my tongue conspire against my heart,
To say I loved him not? O childish love!
'Tis like an infant, froward in his play,
And what he most desires, he throws away.[Exit.

SCENE I.—Troy.

Enter Priam, Hector, Troilus, and Æneas.

Priam. After the expence of so much time and blood,
Thus once again the Grecians send to Troy;—
Deliver Helen, and all other loss
Shall be forgotten.—Hector, what say you to it?

Hect. Though no man less can fear the Greeks than I,
Yet there's no virgin of more tender heart,
More ready to cry out,—who knows the consequence?
Than Hector is; for modest doubt is mixed
With manly courage best: let Helen go.
If we have lost so many lives of ours,
To keep a thing not ours, not worth to us
The value of a man, what reason is there
Still to retain the cause of so much ill?

282 Troil. Fye, fye, my noble brother!
Weigh you the worth and honour of a king,
So great as Asia's monarch, in a scale
Of common ounces thus?
Are fears and reasons fit to be considered,
When a king's fame is questioned?

Hect. Brother, she's not worth
What her defence has cost us.

Troil. What's aught, but as 'tis valued?

Hect. But value dwells not in opinion only:
It holds the dignity and estimation,
As well, wherein 'tis precious of itself,
As in the prizer: 'tis idolatry,
To make the service greater than the god.

Troil. We turn not back the silks upon the merchant,
When we have worn them; the remaining food
Throw not away, because we now are full.
If you confess, 'twas wisdom Paris went;—
As you must needs, for you all cried, Go, go:
If you'll confess, he brought home noble prize;—
As you must needs, for you all clapped your hands,
And cried, Inestimable!—Why do you now
So under-rate the value of your purchase?
For, let me tell you, 'tis unmanly theft,
When we have taken what we fear to keep.

Æne. There's not the meanest spirit in our party,
Without a heart to dare, or sword to draw,
When Helen is defended: None so noble,
Whose life were ill bestowed, or death unfamed,
When Helen is the subject.

Priam. So says Paris,
Like one besotted on effeminate joys;
He has the honey still, but these the gall.

Æne. He not proposes merely to himself
The pleasures such a beauty brings with it;
But he would have the stain of Helen's rape
283 Wiped off, in honourable keeping her.

Hect. Troilus and Æneas, you have said;
If saying superficial things be reason.
But if this Helen be another's wife,
The moral laws of nature and of nations
Speak loud she be restored. Thus to persist
In doing wrong, extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more so. Hector's opinion
Is this, in way of truth: yet, ne'ertheless,
My sprightly brother, I incline to you
In resolution to defend her still:
For 'tis a cause on which our Trojan honour
And common reputation will depend.

Troil. Why there you touched the life of our design:
Were it not glory that we covet more
Than war and vengeance, (beasts' and women's pleasure)
I would not wish a drop of Trojan blood
Spent more in her defence; but oh! my brother,
She is a subject of renown and honour;
And I presume brave Hector would not lose
The rich advantage of his future fame
For the wide world's revenue:—I have business;
But glad I am to leave you thus resolved.
When such arms strike, ne'er doubt of the success.

Æn. May we not guess?

Troil. You may, and be deceived.[Exit Troil.

Hect. A woman, on my life: even so it happens,
Religion, state-affairs, whate'er's the theme,
It ends in woman still.

Enter Andromache.

Priam. See, here's your wife,
To make that maxim good.

Hect. Welcome, Andromache: your looks are chearful,
You bring some pleasing news.

Andro. Nothing that's serious.
284 Your little son Astyanax has employed me
As his ambassadress.

Hect. Upon what errand?

Andro. No less than that his grandfather this day
Would make him knight: he longs to kill a Grecian:
For should he stay to be a man, he thinks
You'll kill them all; and leave no work for him.

Priam. Your own blood, Hector.

Andro. And therefore he designs to send a challenge
To Agamemnon, Ajax, or Achilles,
To prove they do not well to burn our fields,
And keep us cooped like prisoners in a town,
To lead this lazy life.

Hect. What sparks of honour
Fly from this child! the gods speak in him sure:
—It shall be so—I'll do't.

Priam. What means my son?

Hect. To send a challenge to the boldest Greek.
Is not that country ours? those fruitful fields
Washed by yon silver flood, are they not ours?
Those teeming vines that tempt our longing eyes,
Shall we behold them? shall we call them ours,
And dare not make them so? by heavens I'll know
Which of these haughty Grecians dares to think
He can keep Hector prisoner here in Troy.

Priam. If Hector only were a private man,
This would be courage; but in him 'tis madness.
The general safety on your life depends;
And, should you perish in this rash attempt,
Troy with a groan would feel her soul go out,
And breathe her last in you.

Æn. The task you undertake is hazardous:
Suppose you win, what would the profit be?
If Ajax or Achilles fell beneath
Your thundering arm, would all the rest depart?
Would Agamemnon, or his injured brother,
Set sail for this? then it were worth your danger.
But, as it is, we throw our utmost stake
285 Against whole heaps of theirs.

Priam. He tells you true.

Æn. Suppose one Ajax, or Achilles lost,
They can repair with more that single loss:
Troy has but one, one Hector.

Hect. No, Æneas!
What then art thou; and what is Troilus?
What will Astyanax be?

Priam. An Hector one day,
But you must let him live to be a Hector;
And who shall make him such, when you are gone?
Who shall instruct his tenderness in arms,
Or give his childhood lessons of the war?
Who shall defend the promise of his youth,
And make it bear in manhood? the young sapling
Is shrouded long beneath the mother-tree,
Before it be transplanted from its earth,
And trust itself for growth.

Hect. Alas, my father!
You have not drawn one reason from yourself,
But public safety, and my son's green years:
In this neglecting that main argument,
Trust me you chide my filial piety;
As if I could be won from my resolves
By Troy, or by my son, or any name
More dear to me than yours.

Priam. I did not name myself, because I know
When thou art gone, I need no Grecian sword
To help me die, but only Hector's loss.—
Daughter, why speak not you? why stand you silent?
Have you no right in Hector, as a wife?

Andro. I would be worthy to be Hector's wife:
And had I been a man, as my soul's one,
I had aspired a nobler name,—his friend.
How I love Hector,—need I say I love him?—
I am not but in him:
But when I see him arming for his honour,
His country and his gods, that martial fire,
286 That mounts his courage, kindles even to me:
And when the Trojan matrons wait him out
With prayers, and meet with blessings his return,
The pride of virtue beats within my breast,
To wipe away the sweat and dust of war,
And dress my hero glorious in his wounds.

Hect. Come to my arms, thou manlier virtue, come!
Thou better name than wife! would'st thou not blush
To hug a coward thus?[Embrace.

Priam. Yet still I fear!

Andro. There spoke a woman; pardon, royal sir;
Has he not met a thousand lifted swords
Of thick-ranked Grecians, and shall one affright him?
There's not a day but he encounters armies;
And yet as safe, as if the broad-brimmed shield,
That Pallas wears, were held 'twixt him and death.

Hect. Thou know'st me well, and thou shalt praise me more;
Gods make me worthy of thee!

Andro. You shall be
My knight this day; you shall not wear a cause
So black as Helen's rape upon your breast.
Let Paris fight for Helen; guilt for guilt:
But when you fight for honour and for me,
Then let our equal gods behold an act,
They may not blush to crown.

Hect. Æneas, go,
And bear my challenge to the Grecian camp.
If there be one amongst the best of Greece,
Who holds his honour higher than his ease,
Who knows his valour, and knows not his fear;
Who loves his mistress more than in confession,
And dares avow her beauty and her worth,
In other arms than hers,—to him this challenge.
I have a lady of more truth and beauty,
Than ever Greek did compass in his arms;
And will to-morrow, with the trumpet's call,
Mid-way between their tents and these our walls,
287 Maintain what I have said. If any come,
My sword shall honour him; if none shall dare,
Then shall I say, at my return to Troy,
The Grecian dames are sun-burnt, and not worth
The splinter of a lance.

Æn. It shall be told them,
As boldly as you gave it.

Priam. Heaven protect thee![Exeunt.


Enter Pandarus and Cressida.

Pand. Yonder he stands, poor wretch! there stands he with such a look, and such a face, and such begging eyes! there he stands, poor prisoner!

Cress. What a deluge of words do you pour out, uncle, to say just nothing?

Pand. Nothing, do you call it! is that nothing, do you call that nothing? why he looks, for all the world, like one of your rascally malefactors, just thrown off the gibbet, with his cap down, his arms tied down, his feet sprunting, his body swinging. Nothing do you call it? this is nothing, with a vengeance!

Cress. Or, what think you of a hurt bird, that flutters about with a broken wing?

Pand. Why go to then, he cannot fly away then; then, that's certain, that's undoubted: there he lies to be taken up: but if you had seen him, when I said to him,—Take a good heart, man, and follow me; and fear no colours, and speak your mind, man: she can never stand you; she will fall, an' 'twere a leaf in autumn,—

Cress. Did you tell him all this, without my consent?

Pand. Why you did consent, your eyes consented; they blabbed, they leered, their very corners 288 blabbed. But you'll say, your tongue said nothing. No, I warrant it: your tongue was wiser; your tongue was better bred; your tongue kept its own counsel: nay, I'll say that for you, your tongue said nothing.—Well, such a shamefaced couple did I never see, days o'my life! so 'fraid of one another; such ado to bring you to the business! Well, if this job were well over, if ever I lose my pains again with an aukward couple, let me be painted in the sign-post for the labour in vain: Fye upon't, fye upon't! there's no conscience in't: all honest people will cry shame on't.

Cress. Where is this monster to be shown? what's to be given for a sight of him?

Pand. Why, ready money, ready money; you carry it about you: give and take is square-dealing; for in my conscience he's as arrant a maid as you are. I was fain to use violence to him, to pull him hither: and he pulled, and I pulled: for you must know he's absolutely the strongest youth in Troy. T'other day he took Helen in one hand, and Paris in t'other, and danc'd 'em at one another at arms-end an' 'twere two moppets:—there was a back! there were bone and sinews! there was a back for you!

Cress. For these good procuring offices you'll be damned one day, uncle.

Pand. Who, I damned? Faith, I doubt I shall; by my troth I think I shall: nay if a man be damned for doing good, as thou say'st, it may go hard with me.

Cress. Then I'll not see prince Troilus; I'll not be accessary to your damnation.

Pand. How, not see prince Troilus? why I have engaged, I have promised, I have past my word. I care not for damning, let me alone for damning; I value not damning in comparison with my word. If I am damned, it shall be a good damning to thee, 289 girl, thou shalt be my heir; come, 'tis a virtuous girl; thou shalt help me to keep my word, thou shalt see prince Troilus.

Cress. The venture's great.

Pand. No venture in the world; thy mother ventured it for thee, and thou shalt venture it for my little cousin, that must be.

Cress. Weigh but my fears: Prince Troilus is young.—

Pand. Marry is he; there's no fear in that, I hope: the fear were, if he were old and feeble.

Cress. And I a woman.

Pand. No fear yet; thou art a woman, and he's a man; put them together, put them together.

Cress. And if I should be frail—

Pand. There's all my fear, that thou art not frail: thou should'st be frail, all flesh is frail.

Cress. Are you my uncle, and can give this counsel to your own brother's daughter?

Pand. If thou wert my own daughter a thousand times over, I could do no better for thee; what wouldst thou have, girl? he's a prince, and a young prince and a loving young prince! an uncle, dost thou call me? by Cupid, I am a father to thee; get thee in, get thee in, girl, I hear him coming. And do you hear, niece! I give you leave to deny a little, 'twill be decent; but take heed of obstinacy, that's a vice; no obstinacy, my dear niece.
[Exit Cressida.

Enter Troilus.

Troil. Now, Pandarus.

Pand. Now, my sweet prince! have you seen my niece? no, I know you have not.

Troil. No, Pandarus; I stalk about your doors.
Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks,
Staying for waftage. O, be thou my Charon,
290 And give me swift transportance to Elysium,
And fly with me to Cressida.

Pand. Walk here a moment more: I'll bring her strait.

Troil. I fear she will not come; most sure she will not.

Pand. How, not come, and I her uncle! why, I tell you, prince, she twitters at you. Ah poor sweet rogue! ah, little rogue, now does she think, and think, and think again of what must be betwixt you two. Oh sweet,—oh sweet—O—what, not come, and I her uncle?

Troil. Still thou flatter'st me; but pr'ythee flatter still; for I would hope; I would not wake out of my pleasing dream. Oh hope, how sweet thou art! but to hope always, and have no effect of what we hope!

Pand. Oh faint heart, faint heart! well, there's much good matter in these old proverbs! No, she'll not come, I warrant her; she has no blood of mine in her, not so much as will fill a flea. But if she does not come, and come, and come with a swing into your arms—I say no more, but she has renounced all grace, and there's an end.

Troil. I will believe thee: go then, but be sure.

Pand. No, you would not have me go; you are indifferent—shall I go, say you? speak the word then:—yet I care not: you may stand in your own light, and lose a sweet young lady's heart—well, I shall not go then.

Troil. Fly, fly, thou torturest me.

Pand. Do I so, do I so? do I torture you indeed? well, I will go.

Troil. But yet thou dost not go.

Pand. I go immediately, directly, in a twinkling, with a thought: yet you think a man never does enough for you; I have been labouring in your business 291 like any moyle. I was with prince Paris this morning, to make your excuse at night for not supping at court; and I found him—faith, how do you think I found him? it does my heart good to think how I found him: yet you think a man never does enough for you.

Troil. Will you go then?—What's this to Cressida?

Pand. Why, you will not hear a man! what's this to Cressida? Why, I found him a-bed, a-bed with Helena, by my troth: 'Tis a sweet queen, a sweet queen; a very sweet queen,—but she's nothing to my cousin Cressida; she's a blowse, a gipsy, a tawny moor to my cousin Cressida; and she lay with one white arm underneath the whoreson's neck: Oh such a white, lilly-white, round, plump arm as it was—and you must know it was stripped up to the elbows; and she did so kiss him, and so huggle him!—as who should say—

Troil. But still thou stayest:—what's this to Cressida?

Pand. Why, I made your excuse to your brother Paris; that I think's to Cressida:—but such an arm, such a hand, such taper fingers! t'other hand was under the bed-cloaths; that I saw not, I confess; that hand I saw not.

Troil. Again thou torturest me.

Pand. Nay, I was tortured too; old as I am, I was tortured too: but for all that, I could make a shift, to make him, to make your excuse, to make your father—by Jove, when I think of that hand, I am so ravished, that I know not what I say: I was tortured too.
[Troilus turns away discontented.
Well, I go, I go; I fetch her, I bring her, I conduct her; not come quotha, and I her uncle!
[Exit Pandarus.

Troil. I'm giddy; expectation whirls me round:
The imaginary relish is so sweet,
292 That it enchants my sense; what will it be,
When I shall taste that nectar?
It must be either death, or joy too fine
For the capacity of human powers.
I fear it much: and I do fear beside,
That I shall lose distinction in my joys;
As does a battle, when they charge on heaps
A flying enemy.

Re-enter Pandarus.

Pand. She's making her ready; she'll come strait: you must be witty now!—she does so blush, and fetches her breath so short, as if she were frighted with a sprite; 'tis the prettiest villain! she fetches her breath so short, as 'twere a new-ta'en sparrow.

Troil. Just such a passion does heave up my breast!
My heart beats thicker than a feverish pulse:
I know not where I am, nor what I do;
Just like a slave, at unawares encountering
The eye of majesty.—Lead on, I'll follow.[Exeunt.

SCENE III.—The Camp.

Enter Nestor, and Ulysses.

Ulys. I have conceived an embryo in my brain:
Be you my time to bring it to some shape.

Nest. What is't, Ulysses?

Ulys. The seeded pride,
That has to this maturity blown up
In rank Achilles, must or now be cropped,
Or, shedding, breed a nursery of like ill,
To overtop us all.

Nest. That's my opinion.

Ulys. This challenge which Æneas brings from Hector,
However it be spread in general terms,
293 Relates in purpose only to Achilles.
And will it wake him to the answer, think you?

Nest. It ought to do: whom can we else oppose,
Who could from Hector bring his honour off,
If not Achilles? the success of this,
Although particular, will give an omen
Of good or bad, even to the general cause.

Ulys. Pardon me, Nestor, if I contradict you:
Therefore 'tis fit Achilles meet not Hector.
Let us, like merchants, show our coarsest wares,
And think, perchance they'll sell; but, if they do not,
The lustre of our better, yet unshown,
Will show the better: let us not consent,
Our greatest warrior should be matched with Hector;
For both our honour and our shame in this
Shall be attended with strange followers.

Nest. I see them not with my old eyes; what are they?

Ulys. What glory our Achilles gains from Hector,
Were he not proud, we all should share with him:
But he already is too insolent:
And we had better parch in Afric sun,
Than in his pride, should he 'scape Hector fair.
But grant he should be foiled;
Why then our common reputation suffers
In that of our best man. No, make a lottery;
And, by device, let blockish Ajax draw
The chance to fight with Hector: among ourselves,
Give him allowance as the braver man;
For that will physic the great Myrmidon,
Who swells with loud applause; and make him fall
His crest, if brainless Ajax come safe off:
If not, we yet preserve a fair opinion,
That we have better men.

Nest. Now I begin to relish thy advice:
Come, let us go to Agamemnon strait,
To inform him of our project.

294 Ulys. 'Tis not ripe.
The skilful surgeon will not lance a sore,
Till nature has digested and prepared
The growing humours to her healing purpose;
Else must he often grieve the patient's sense,
When one incision, once well-timed, would serve.
Are not Achilles and dull Ajax friends?

Nest. As much as fools can be.

Ulys. That knot of friendship first must be untied,
Ere we can reach our ends; for, while they love each other,
Both hating us, will draw too strong a bias,
And all the camp will lean that way they draw;
For brutal courage is the soldier's idol:
So, if one prove contemptuous, backed by t'other,
'Twill give the law to cool and sober sense,
And place the power of war in madmen's hands.

Nest. Now I conceive you; were they once divided,
And one of them made ours, that one would check
The other's towering growth, and keep both low,
As instruments, and not as lords of war.
And this must be by secret coals of envy
Blown in their breast; comparisons of worth;
Great actions weighed of each; and each the best,
As we shall give him voice.

Ulys. Here comes Thersites,

Enter Thersites.

Who feeds on Ajax, yet loves him not, because he cannot love;
But, as a species differing from mankind,
Hates all he sees, and rails at all he knows;
But hates them most from whom he most receives,
Disdaining that his lot should be so low,
That he should want the kindness which he takes.

Nest. There's none so fit an engine:—Save ye, Thersites.

295 Ulys. Hail, noble Grecian! thou relief of toils,
Soul of our mirth, and joy of sullen war,
In whose converse our winter nights are short,
And summer days not tedious.

Thers. Hang you both.

Nest. How, hang us both!

Thers. But hang thee first, thou very reverend fool!
Thou sapless oak, that liv'st by wanting thought,
And now, in thy three hundredth year, repin'st
Thou shouldst be felled: hanging's a civil death,
The death of men; thou canst not hang; thy trunk
Is only fit for gallows to hang others.

Nest. A fine greeting.

Thers. A fine old dotard, to repine at hanging
At such an age! what saw the Gods in thee,
That a cock-sparrow should but live three years,
And thou shouldst last three ages? he's thy better;
He uses life; he treads himself to death.
Thou hast forgot thy use some hundred years.
Thou stump of man, thou worn-out broom, thou lumber!

Nest. I'll hear no more of him, his poison works;
What, curse me for my age!

Ulys. Hold, you mistake him, Nestor; 'tis his custom:
What malice is there in a mirthful scene?
'Tis but a keen-edged sword, spread o'er with balm,
To heal the wound it makes.

Thers. Thou beg'st a curse?
May'st thou quit scores then, and be hanged on Nestor,
Who hangs on thee! thou lead'st him by the nose;
Thou play'st him like a puppet; speak'st within him;
And when thou hast contrived some dark design,
To lose a thousand Greeks, make dogs-meat of us,
Thou lay'st thy cuckoo's egg within his nest,
And mak'st him hatch it; teachest his remembrance
296 To lie, and say, the like of it was practised
Two hundred years ago; thou bring'st the brain,
And he brings only beard to vouch thy plots.

Nest. I'm no man's fool.

Thers. Then be thy own, that's worse.

Nest. He'll rail all day.

Ulys. Then we shall learn all day.
Who forms the body to a graceful carriage,
Must imitate our aukward motions first;
The same prescription does the wise Thersites
Apply, to mend our minds. The same he uses
To Ajax, to Achilles, to the rest;
His satires are the physic of the camp.

Thers. Would they were poison to't, ratsbane and hemlock!
Nothing else can mend you, and those two brawny fools.

Ulys. He hits 'em right;
Are they not such, my Nestor?

Thers. Dolt-heads, asses,
And beasts of burden; Ajax and Achilles!
The pillars, no, the porters of the war.
Hard-headed rogues! engines, mere wooden engines
Pushed on to do your work.

Nest. They are indeed.

Thers. But what a rogue art thou,
To say they are indeed! Heaven made them horses,
And thou put'st on their harness, rid'st and spurr'st them;
Usurp'st upon heaven's fools, and mak'st them thine.

Nest. No; they are headstrong fools, to be corrected
By none but by Thersites; thou alone
Canst tame and train them to their proper use;
And, doing this, may'st claim a just reward
From Greece and royal Agamemnon's hands.

297 Thers. Ay, when you need a man, you talk of giving,
For wit's a dear commodity among you;
But when you do not want him, then stale porridge,
A starved dog would not lap, and furrow water,
Is all the wine we taste: give drabs and pimps;
I'll have no gifts with hooks at end of them.

Ulys. Is this a man, O Nestor, to be bought?
Asia's not price enough! bid the world for him.
And shall this man, this Hermes, this Apollo,
Sit lag of Ajax' table, almost minstrel,
And with his presence grace a brainless feast?
Why they con sense from him, grow wits by rote,
And yet, by ill repeating, libel him,
Making his wit their nonsense: nay, they scorn him;
Call him bought railer, mercenary tongue!
Play him for sport at meals, and kick him off.

Thers. Yes, they can kick; my buttocks feel they can;
They have their asses tricks; but I'll eat pebbles,
I'll starve,—'tis brave to starve, 'tis like a soldier,—
Before I'll feed those wit-starved rogues with sense.
They shall eat dry, and choak for want of wit,
Ere they be moistened with one drop of mine.
Ajax and Achilles! two mud-walls of fool,
That only differ in degrees of thickness.

Ulys. I'd be revenged of both. When wine fumes high,
Set them to prate, to boast their brutal strength,
To vie their stupid courage, till they quarrel,
And play at hard head with their empty skulls.

Thers. Yes; they shall butt and kick, and all the while
I'll think they kick for me; they shall fell timber
On both sides, and then logwood will be cheap.

Nest. And Agamemnon—

Thers. Pox of Agamemnon!
298 Cannot I do a mischief for myself,
But he must thank me for't?

Ulys. to Nest. Away; our work is done. [Exeunt Ulys. and Nest.

Thers. This Agamemnon is a king of clouts,
A chip in porridge,—

Enter Ajax.

Ajax. Thersites.

Thers. Set up to frighten daws from cherry-trees,—

Ajax. Dog!

Thers. A standard to march under.

Ajax. Thou bitch-wolf! can'st thou not hear? feel then. [Strikes him.

Thers. The plague of Greece, and Helen's pox light on thee,
Thou mongrel mastiff, thou beef-witted lord!

Ajax. Speak then, thou mouldy leaven of the camp;
Speak, or I'll beat thee into handsomeness.

Thers. I shall sooner rail thee into wit; thou canst kick, canst thou? A red murrain on thy jades tricks!

Ajax. Tell me the proclamation.

Thers. Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.

Ajax. You whorson cur, take that.[Strikes him.

Thers. Thou scurvy valiant ass!

Ajax. Thou slave!

Thers. Thou lord!—Ay, do, do,—would my buttocks were iron, for thy sake!

Enter Achilles and Patroclus.

Achil. Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do you this?
How now, Thersites, what's the matter, man?

Thers. I say this Ajax wears his wit in's belly, and his guts in's brains.

Achil. Peace, fool.

Thers. I would have peace, but the fool will not.

299 Patro. But what's the quarrel?

Ajax. I bade him tell me the proclamation, and he rails upon me.

Thers. I serve thee not.

Ajax. I shall cut out your tongue.

Thers. 'Tis no matter; I shall speak as much sense as thou afterwards. I'll see you hanged ere I come any more to your tent; I'll keep where there's wit stirring, and leave the faction of fools.

Achil. Nay, thou shalt not go, Thersites, till we have squeezed the venom out of thee: pr'ythee, inform us of this proclamation.

Thers. Why, you empty fuz-balls, your heads are full of nothing else but proclamations.

Ajax. Tell us the news, I say.

Thers. You say! why you never said any thing in all your life. But, since you will know, it is proclaimed through the army, that Hector is to cudgel you to-morrow.

Achil. How, cudgel him, Thersites!

Thers. Nay, you may take a child's part on't if you have so much courage, for Hector has challenged the toughest of the Greeks; and it is in dispute which of your two heads is the soundest timber. A knotty piece of work he'll have betwixt your noddles.

Achil. If Hector be to fight with any Greek,
He knows his man.

Ajax. Yes; he may know his man without art magic.

Thers. So he had need; for, to my certain knowledge, neither of you two are conjurers to inform him.

Achil. to Ajax. You do not mean yourself, sure?

Ajax. I mean nothing.

Thers. Thou mean'st so always.

Achil. Umh! mean nothing!

300 Thers. [Aside.] Jove, if it be thy will, let these two fools quarrel about nothing! 'tis a cause that's worthy of them.

Ajax. You said he knew his man; is there but one?
One man amongst the Greeks?

Achil. Since you will have it,
But one to fight with Hector.

Ajax. Then I am he.

Achil. Weak Ajax!

Ajax. Weak Achilles.

Thers. Weak indeed; God help you both!

Patro. Come, this must be no quarrel.

Thers. There's no cause for't

Patro. He tells you true, you are both equal.

Thers. Fools.

Achil. I can brook no comparisons.

Ajax. Nor I.

Achil. Well, Ajax.

Ajax. Well, Achilles.

Thers. So, now they quarrel in monosyllables; a word and a blow, an't be thy will.

Achil. You may hear more.

Ajax. I would.

Achil. Expect.

Ajax. Farewell.[Exeunt severally.

Thers. Curse on them, they want wine; your true fool will never fight without it. Or a drab, a drab; Oh for a commodious drab betwixt them! would Helen had been here! then it had come to something.
Dogs, lions, bulls, for females tear and gore;
And the beast, man, is valiant for his whore. [Exit Thersites.



Enter Thersites.

Thers. Shall the idiot Ajax use me thus? he beats me, and I rail at him. O worthy satisfaction! would I could but beat him, and he railed at me! Then there's Achilles, a rare engineer; if Troy be not taken till these two undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of themselves. Now the plague on the whole camp, or rather the pox; for that's a curse dependent on those that fight, as we do, for a cuckold's quean.—What, ho, my lord Achilles!

Enter Patroclus.

Patro. Who's there, Thersites? Good Thersites, come in and rail.

Thers. If I could have remembered an ass with gilt trappings, thou hadst not slipped out of my contemplation. But it is no matter: thyself upon thyself! the common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great abundance! Heavens bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee!—I have said my prayers; and the devil, Envy, say Amen. Where's Achilles?

Enter Achilles.

Achil. Who's there, Thersites? Why, my digestion, why hast thou not served thyself to my table so many meals? Come, begin; what's Agamemnon?

Thers. Thy commander, Achilles.—Then tell me, Patroclus, what's Achilles?

Patro. Thy benefactor, Thersites. Then tell me, pr'ythee, what's thyself?

Thers. Thy knower, Patroclus. Then tell me, Patroclus, what art thou?

302 Patro. Thou mayest tell, that knowest.

Achil. O, tell, tell.—This must be very foolish; and I die to have my spleen tickled.

Thers. I'll decline the whole question. Agamemnon commands Achilles; Achilles is my benefactor; I am Patroclus's knower; and Patroclus is a fool.

Patro. You rascal!

Achil, He is a privileged man; proceed, Thersites. Ha, ha, ha! pr'ythee, proceed, while I am in the vein of laughing.

Thers. And all these foresaid men are fools. Agamemnon's a fool, to offer to command Achilles; Achilles is a fool, to be commanded by him; I am a fool, to serve such a fool; and Patroclus is a fool positive.

Patro. Why am I a fool?

Thers. Make that demand to heaven; it suffices me, thou art one.

Acini. Ha, ha, ha! O give me ribs of steel, or I shall split with pleasure.—Now play me Nestor at a night alarm: mimick him rarely; make him cough and spit, and fumble with his gorget, and shake the rivets with his palsy hand, in and out, in and out; gad, that's exceeding foolish.

Patro. Nestor shall not escape so; he has told us what we are. Come, what's Nestor?

Thers. Why, he is an old wooden top, set up by father Time three hundred years ago, that hums to Agamemnon and Ulysses, and sleeps to all the world besides.

Achil. So let him sleep, for I'll no more of him.—O, my Patroclus, I but force a smile; Ajax has drawn the lot, and all the praise of Hector must be his.

Thers. I hope to see his praise upon his shoulders, in blows and bruises; his arms, thighs, and body, all full of fame, such fame as he gave me; and a 303 wide hole at last full in his bosom, to let in day upon him, and discover the inside of a fool.

Patro. How he struts in expectation of honour! he knows not what he does.

Thers. Nay, that's no wonder, for he never did.

Achil. Pr'ythee, say how he behaves himself?

Thers. O, you would be learning to practise against such another time?—Why, he tosses up his head as he had built castles in the air; and he treads upward to them, stalks into the element; he surveys himself, as it were to look for Ajax: he would be cried, for he has lost himself; nay, he knows nobody; I said, "Good-morrow, Ajax," and he replied, "Thanks, Agamemnon."

Achil. Thou shalt be my ambassador to him, Thersites.

Thers. No, I'll put on his person; let Patroclus make his demands to me, and you shall see the pageant of Ajax.

Achil. To him, Patroclus; tell him I humbly desire the valiant Ajax to invite the noble Hector to my tent; and to procure safe conduct for him from our captain general Agamemnon.

Patro. Jove bless the mighty Ajax!

Thers. Humh!

Patro. I come from the great Achilles.

Thers. Ha!

Patro. Who most humbly desires you to invite Hector to his tent.

Thers. Humh!

Patro. And to procure him safe conduct from Agamemnon.

Thers. Agamemnon?

Patro. Ay, my lord.

Thers. Ha!

Patro. What say you to it?

Thers. Farewell, with all my heart.

304 Patro. Your answer, sir?

Thers. If to-morrow be a fair day, by eleven o'clock it will go one way or the other; however, he shall buy me dearly. Fare you well, with all my heart.

Achil. Why, but he is not in this tune, is he?

Thers. No; but he's thus out of tune. What music will be in him when Hector has knocked out his brains, I know not, nor I care not; but if emptiness makes noise, his head will make melody.

Achil. My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred; And I myself see not the bottom on't.

Thers. Would the fountain of his mind were clear, that he might see an ass in it! I had rather be a tick in a sheep, than such a valiant ignorance.

Enter Agamemnon, Ajax, Diomedes, and Menelaus.

Patro. Look, who comes here.

Achil. Patroclus, I'll speak with nobody;—come in after me, Thersites.
[Exeunt Achilles and Thersites.

Again. Where's Achilles?

Patro. Within, but ill disposed, my lord.

Men. We saw him at the opening of his tent.

Again. Let it be known to him, that we are here.

Patro. I shall say so to him.[Exit Patroc.

Diom. I know he is not sick.

Ajax. Yes, lion-sick, sick of a proud heart: you may call it melancholy, if you will humour him; but, on my honour, it is no more than pride; and why should he be proud?

Men. Here comes Patroclus; but no Achilles with him.

305 Enter Patroclus.

Patro. Achilles bids me tell you, he is sorry
If any thing more than your sport and pleasure
Did move you to this visit: He's not well,
And begs you would excuse him, as unfit
For present business.

Agam. How! how's this, Patroclus?
We are too well acquainted with these answers.
Though he has much desert, yet all his virtues
Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss.
We came to speak with him; you shall not err,
If you return, we think him over-proud,
And under-honest. Tell him this; and add,
That if he overhold his price so much,
We'll none of him; but let him, like an engine
Not portable, lie lag of all the camp.
A stirring dwarf is of more use to us,
Than is a sleeping giant: tell him so.

Patro. I shall, and bring his answer presently.

Agam. I'll not be satisfied, but by himself:
So tell him, Menelaus.[Exeunt Menelaus and Patroclus.

Ajax. What's he more than another?

Agam. No more than what he thinks himself.

Ajax. Is he so much? Do you not think, he thinks himself a better man than me?

Diom. No doubt he does.

Ajax. Do you think so?

Agam. No, noble Ajax; you are as strong, as valiant but much more courteous.

Ajax. Why should a man be proud? I know not what pride is; I hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads.

Diom. [Aside.] 'Tis strange he should, and love himself so well.

306 Re-enter Menelaus.

Men. Achilles will not to the field to-morrow.

Agam. What's his excuse?

Men. Why, he relies on none
But his own will; possessed he is with vanity.
What should I say? he is so plaguy proud,
That the death-tokens of it are upon him,
And bode there's no recovery.

Enter Ulysses and Nestor.

Agam. Let Ajax go to him.

Ulys. O Agamemnon, let it not be so.
We'll consecrate the steps that Ajax makes,
When they go from Achilles. Shall that proud man
Be worshipped by a greater than himself,
One, whom we hold our idol?
Shall Ajax go to him? No, Jove forbid,
And say in thunder, go to him, Achilles.

Nest. [Aside.] O, this is well; he rubs him where it itches.

Ajax. If I go to him, with my gauntlet clenched I'll pash him o'er the face.

Agam. O no, you shall not go.

Ajax. An he be proud with me, I'll cure his pride; a paultry insolent fellow!

Nest. How he describes himself![Aside.

Ulys. The crow chides blackness: [Aside.]—Here is a man,—but 'tis before his face, and therefore I am silent.

Nest. Wherefore are you? He is not envious, as Achilles is.

Ulys. Know all the world, he is as valiant.

Ajax. A whoreson dog, that shall palter thus with us! Would a were a Trojan!

Ulys. Thank heaven, my lord, you're of a gentle nature;
307 Praise him that got you, her that brought you forth;
But he, who taught you first the use of arms,
Let Mars divide eternity in two,
And give him half. I will not praise your wisdom,
Nestor shall do't; but, pardon, father Nestor,—
Were you as green as Ajax, and your brain
Tempered like his, you never should excel him,
But be as Ajax is.

Ajax. Shall I call you father?

Ulys. Ay, my good son.

Diom. Be ruled by him, lord Ajax.

Ulys. There is no staying here; the hart Achilles
Keeps thicket;—please it our great general,
I shall impart a counsel, which, observed,
May cure the madman's pride.

Agam. In my own tent our talk will be more private.

Ulys. But nothing without Ajax;
He is the soul and substance of my counsels,
And I am but his shadow.

Ajax. You shall see
I am not like Achilles.
Let us confer, and I'll give counsel too.[Exeunt.


Enter Pandarus, Troilus, and Cressida.

Pand. Come, come, what need you blush? Shame's a baby; swear the oaths now to her, that you swore to me: What, are you gone again? you must be watched ere you are made tame, must you? Why don't you speak to her first?—Come, draw this curtain and let's see your picture; alas-a-day, how loth you are to offend day-light! [They kiss.] That's well, that's well; nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere I part you. So so—so so—

308 Troil. You have bereft me of all words, fair Cressida.

Pand. Words pay no debts; give her deeds.—What billing again! Here's, in witness whereof the parties interchangeably—come in, come in, you lose time both.

Troil. O Cressida, how often have I wished me here!

Cres. Wished, my lord!—The gods grant!—O, my lord—

Troil. What should they grant? what makes this pretty interruption in thy words?

Cres. I speak I know not what!

Troil. Speak ever so; and if I answer you
I know not what—it shows the more of love.
Love is a child that talks in broken language,
Yet then he speaks most plain.

Cres. I find it true, that to be wise, and love,
Are inconsistent things.

Pand. What, blushing still! have you not done talking yet?

Cres. Well, uncle, what folly I commit, I dedicate to you.

Pand. I thank you for that; if my lord get a boy of you, you'll give him me. Be true to my lord; if he flinch, I'll be hanged for him.—Now am I in my kingdom!

Troil. You know your pledges now; your uncle's word, and my firm faith.

Pand. Nay, I'll give my word for her too: Our kindred are constant; they are burs, I can assure you; they'll stick where they are thrown.

Cres. Boldness comes to me now, and I can speak:
Prince Troilus, I have loved you long.

Troil. Why was my Cressida then so hard to win?

Cres. Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord—
What have I blabbed? who will be true to us,
309 When we are so unfaithful to ourselves!
O bid me hold my tongue; for, in this rapture,
Sure I shall speak what I should soon repent.
But stop my mouth.

Troil. A sweet command, and willingly obeyed.[Kisses.

Pand. Pretty, i'faith!

Cres. My lord, I do beseech you pardon me;
'Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss.
I am ashamed;—O heavens, what have I done!
For this time let me take my leave, my lord.

Pand. Leave! an you take leave till to-morrow morning, call me Cut.

Cres. Pray, let me go.

Troil. Why, what offends you, madam?

Cres. My own company.

Troil. You cannot shun yourself.

Cres. Let me go try;
I have a kind of self resides in you.

Troil. Oh that I thought truth could be in a woman,
(As if it can, I will presume in you,)
That my integrity and faith might meet
The same return from her, who has my heart,
How should I be exalted! but, alas,
I am more plain than dull simplicity,
And artless as the infancy of truth!

Cres. In that I must not yield to you, my lord.

Troil. All constant lovers shall, in future ages,
Approve their truth by Troilus. When their verse
Wants similes,—as turtles to their mates,
Or true as flowing tides are to the moon,
Earth to the centre, iron to adamant,—
At last, when truth is tired with repetition,
As true as Troilus, shall crown up the verse,
And sanctify the numbers.

Cres. Prophet may you be!
310 If I am false, or swerve from truth of love,
When Time is old, and has forgot itself
In all things else, let it remember me;
And, after all comparisons of falsehood,
To stab the heart of perjury in maids,
Let it be said—as false as Cressida.

Pand. Go to, little ones; a bargain made. Here I hold your hand, and here my cousin's: if ever you prove false to one another, after I have taken such pains to bring you together, let all pitiful goers-between be called to the world's end after my name, Pandars.

Cres. And will you promise, that the holy priest
Shall make us one for ever?

Pand. Priests! marry hang them, they make you one! Go in, go in, and make yourselves one without a priest; I'll have no priest's work in my house.

Cres. I'll not consent, unless you swear.

Pand. Ay, do, do swear; a pretty woman's worth an oath at any time. Keep or break, as time shall try; but it is good to swear, for the saving of her credit. Hang them, sweet rogues, they never expect a man should keep it. Let him but swear, and that's all they care for.

Troil. Heavens prosper me, as I devoutly swear,
Never to be but yours!

Pand. Whereupon I will lead you into a chamber; and suppose there be a bed in it, as, ifack, I know not, but you'll forgive me if there be—away, away, you naughty hildings; get you together, get you together. Ah you wags, do you leer indeed at one another! do the neyes twinkle at him! get you together, get you together.
[Leads them out.

Enter at one Door Æneas, with a Torch; at another, Hector and Diomede, with Torches.

Hect. So ho, who goes there? Æneas!

311 Æn. Prince Hector!

Diom. Good-morrow, lord Æneas.

Hect. A valiant Greek, Æneas; take his hand;
Witness the process of your speech within;
You told how Diomede a whole week by days
Did haunt you in the field.

Æn. Health to you, valiant sir,
During all business of the gentle truce;
But, when I meet you armed, as black defiance,
As heart can think, or courage execute.

Diom. Both one and t'other Diomede embraces.
Our bloods are now in calm; and so long, health;
But when contention and occasion meet,
By Jove I'll play the hunter for thy life.

Æn. And thou shall hunt a lion, that will fly
With his face backward. Welcome, Diomede,
Welcome to Troy. Now, by Anchises' soul,
No man alive can love in such a sort
The thing he means to kill more excellently.

Diom. We know each other well.

Æn. We do; and long to know each other worse.—
My lord, the king has sent for me in haste;
Know you the reason?

Hect. Yes; his purpose meets you.
It was to bring this Greek to Calchas' house,
Where Pandarus his brother, and his daughter
Fair Cressida reside; and there to render
For our Antenor, now redeemed from prison,
The lady Cressida.

Æn. What! Has the king resolved to gratify
That traitor Calchas, who forsook his country,
And turned to them, by giving up this pledge?

Hect. The bitter disposition of the time
Is such, though Calchas, as a fugitive,
Deserve it not, that we must free Antenor,
On whose wise counsels we can most rely;
And therefore Cressida must be returned.

312 Æn. A word, my lord—Your pardon, Diomede—
Your brother Troilus, to my certain knowledge,
Does lodge this night in Pandarus's house.

Hect. Go you before. Tell him of our approach,
Which will, I fear, be much unwelcome to him.

Æn. I assure you,
Troilus had rather Troy were borne to Greece,
Than Cressida from Troy.

Hect. I know it well; and how he is, beside,
Of hasty blood.

Æn. He will not hear me speak;
But I have noted long betwixt you two
A more than brother's love; an awful homage
The fiery youth pays to your elder virtue.

Hect. Leave it to me; I'll manage him alone;
Attend you Diomede.—My lord, good-morrow;[To Diom.
An urgent business takes me from the pleasure
Your company affords me; but Æneas,
With joy, will undertake to serve you here,
And to supply my room.

Æn. [To Diom.] My lord, I wait you. [Exeunt severally; Diomede with Æneas, Hector at another Door.

Enter Pandarus, a Servant, Music.

Pand. Softly, villain, softly; I would not for half Troy the lovers should be disturbed under my roof: listen, rogue, listen; do they breathe?

Serv. Yes, sir; I hear, by some certain signs, they are both awake.

Pand. That's as it should be; that's well o' both sides. [Listens.]—Yes, 'faith, they are both alive:—There was a creak! there was a creak! they are both alive, and alive like;—there was a creak! a ha, boys!—Is the music ready?

313 Serv. Shall they strike up, sir?

Pand. Art thou sure they do not know the parties?

Serv. They play to the man in the moon, for aught they know.

Pand. To the man in the moon? ah rogue! do they so indeed, rogue! I understand thee; thou art a wag; thou art a wag. Come, towze rowze! in the name of love, strike up, boys.

Music, and then a Song; during which Pandarus listens.


Can life be a blessing,

Or worth the possessing,

Can life be a blessing, if love were away?

Ah, no! though our love all night keep us waking,

And though he torment us with cares all the day,

Yet he sweetens, he sweetens our pains in the taking;

There's an hour at the last, there's an hour to repay.


In every possessing,

The ravishing blessing,

In every possessing, the fruit of our pain,

Poor lovers forget long ages of anguish,

Whate'er they have suffered and done to obtain;

'Tis a pleasure, a pleasure to sigh and to languish,

When we hope, when we hope to be happy again.

Pand. Put up, and vanish; they are coming out: What a ferrup, will you play when the dance is done? I say, vanish.
[Exit music.
[Peeping.] Good, i'faith! good, i'faith! what, hand in hand—a fair quarrel, well ended! Do, do, walk 314 him, walk him;—a good girl, a discreet girl: I see she will make the most of him.

Enter Troilus and Cressida.

Troil. Farewell, my life! leave me, and back to bed:
Sleep seal those pretty eyes,
And tie thy senses in as soft a band,
As infants void of thought.

Pand. [Shewing himself.] How now, how now; how go matters? Hear you, maid, hear you; where's my cousin Cressida?

Cres. Go hang yourself, you naughty mocking uncle:
You bring me to do ill, and then you jeer me!

Pand. What ill have I brought you to do? Say what, if you dare now?—My lord, have I brought her to do ill?

Cres. Come, come,—beshrew your heart, you'll neither be good yourself, nor suffer others.

Pand. Alas, poor wench! alas, poor devil! Has not slept to-night? would a'not, a naughty man, let it sleep one twinkle? A bugbear take him!

Cres. [Knock within.]
Who's that at door? good uncle, go and see:—
My lord, come you again into my chamber.—
You smile and mock, as if I meant naughtily!

Troil. Indeed, indeed!

Cres. Come, you're deceived; I think of no such thing.— [Knock again.
How earnestly they knock! Pray, come in: I would not for all Troy you were seen here.
[Exeunt Troil. and Cres.

Pand. Who's there? What's the matter?
Will you beat down the house there!

315 Enter Hector.

Hect. Good morrow, my lord Pandarus; good morrow!

Pand. Who's there? prince Hector! What news with you so early?

Hect. Is not my brother Troilus here?

Pand. Here! what should he do here?

Hect. Come, he is here, my lord; do not deny him:
It does import him much to speak with me.

Pand. Is he here, say you? It is more than I know, I'll be sworn! For my part, I came in late.—What should he do here?

Hect. Come, come, you do him wrong ere you're aware; you'll be so true to him, that you'll be false to him: You shall not know he's here; but yet go fetch him hither; go.
[Exit Pand.

Enter Troilus.

I bring you, brother, most unwelcome news;
But since of force you are to hear it told,
I thought a friend and brother best might tell it:
Therefore, before I speak, arm well your mind,
And think you're to be touched even to the quick;
That so, prepared for ill, you may be less
Surprised to hear the worst.

Troil. See, Hector, what it is to be your brother!
I stand prepared already.

Hect. Come, you are hot;
I know you, Troilus, you are hot and fiery:
You kindle at a wrong, and catch it quick,
As stubble does the flame.

Troil. 'Tis heat of blood,
And rashness of my youth; I'll mend that error:
Begin, and try my temper.

Hect. Can you think
316 Of that one thing, which most could urge your anger,
Drive you to madness, plunge you in despair,
And make you hate even me?

Troil. There can be nothing.
I love you, brother, with that awful love
I bear to heaven, and to superior virtue:
And when I quit this love, you must be that,
Which Hector ne'er can be.

Hect. Remember well
What you have said; for, when I claim your promise,
I shall expect performance.

Troil. I am taught:
I will not rage.

Hect. Nor grieve beyond a man?

Troil. I will not be a woman.

Hect. Do not, brother:
And I will tell my news in terms so mild,
So tender, and so fearful to offend,
As mothers use to sooth their froward babes;
Nay, I will swear, as you have sworn to me,
That, if some gust of passion swell your soul
To words intemperate, I will bear with you.

Troil. What would this pomp of preparation mean?
Come you to bring me news of Priam's death,
Or Hecuba's?

Hect. The gods forbid I should!
But what I bring is nearer you, more close,
An ill more yours.

Troil. There is but one that can be.

Hect. Perhaps, 'tis that.

Troil. I'll not suspect my fate
So far; I know I stand possessed of that.

Hect. 'Tis well: consider at whose house I find you.

Troil. Ha!

Hect. Does it start you? I must wake you more;
317 Antenor is exchanged.

Troil. For whom?

Hect. Imagine.

Troil. It comes, like thunder grumbling in a cloud,
Before the dreadful break: If here it fall,
The subtle flame will lick up all my blood,
And, in a moment, turn my heart to ashes.

Hect. That Cressida for Antenor is exchanged,
Because I knew 'twas harsh, I would not tell;
Not all at once; but by degrees and glimpses
I let it in, lest it might rush upon you,
And quite o'erpower your soul: In this, I think,
I showed a friend: your part must follow next;
Which is, to curb your choler, tame your grief,
And bear it like a man.

Troil. I think I do,
That I yet live to hear you. But no more;
Hope for no more; for, should some goddess offer
To give herself and all her heaven in change,
I would not part with Cressida: So return
This answer as my last.

Hect. 'Twill not be taken:
Nor will I bear such news.

Troil. You bore me worse.

Hect. Worse for yourself; not for the general state,
And all our common safety, which depends
On freed Antenor's wisdom.

Troil. You would say,
That I'm the man marked out to be unhappy,
And made the public sacrifice for Troy.

Hect. I would say so indeed; for, can you find
A fate more glorious than to be that victim?
If parting from a mistress can procure
A nation's happiness, show me that prince
Who dares to trust his future fame so far,
To stand the shock of annals, blotted thus,—
318 He sold his country for a woman's love!

Troil. O, she's my life, my being, and my soul!

Hect. Suppose she were,—which yet I will not grant,—
You ought to give her up.

Troil. For whom?

Hect. The public.

Troil. And what are they, that I should give up her,
To make them happy? Let me tell you, brother,
The public is the lees of vulgar slaves;
Slaves, with the minds of slaves; so born, so bred.
Yet such as these, united in a herd,
Are called, the public! Millions of such cyphers
Make up the public sum. An eagle's life
Is worth a world of crows. Are princes made
For such as these; who, were one soul extracted
From all their beings, could not raise a man?—

Hect. And what are we, but for such men as these?
'Tis adoration, some say, makes a god:
And who should pay it, where would be their altars,
Were no inferior creatures here on earth?
Even those, who serve, have their expectancies,
Degrees of happiness, which they must share,
Or they'll refuse to serve us.

Troil. Let them have it;
Let them eat, drink, and sleep; the only use
They have of life.

Hect. You take all these away,
Unless you give up Cressida.

Troil. Forbear:
Let Paris give up Helen; she's the cause,
And root, of all this mischief.

Hect. Your own suffrage
Condemns you there: you voted for her stay.

Troil. If one must stay, the other shall not go.

Hect. She shall not?

Troil. Once again I say, she shall not.

319 Hect. Our father has decreed it otherwise.

Troil. No matter.

Hect. How! no matter, Troilus?
A king, a father's will!

Troil. When 'tis unjust.

Hect. Come, she shall go.

Troil. She shall? then I am dared.

Hect. If nothing else will do.

Troil. Answer me first,
And then I'll answer that,—be sure I will,—
Whose hand sealed this exchange?

Hect. My father's first;
Then all the council's after.

Troil. Was yours there?

Hect. Mine was there too.

Troil. Then you're no more my friend:
And for your sake,—now mark me what I say,—
She shall not go.

Hect. Go to; you are a boy.

Troil. A boy! I'm glad I am not such a man,
Not such as thou, a traitor to thy brother;
Nay, more, thy friend: But friend's a sacred name,
Which none but brave and honest men should wear:
In thee 'tis vile; 'tis prostitute; 'tis air;
And thus, I puff it from me.

Hect. Well, young man,
Since I'm no friend, (and, oh, that e'er I was,
To one so far unworthy!) bring her out;
Or, by our father's soul, of which no part
Did e'er descend to thee, I'll force her hence.

Troil. I laugh at thee.

Hect. Thou dar'st not.

Troil. I dare more,
If urged beyond my temper: Prove my daring,
And see which of us has the larger share
Of our great father's soul.

Hect. No more!—thou know'st me.

320 Troil. I do; and know myself.

Hect. All this, ye gods!
And for the daughter of a fugitive,
A traitor to his country!

Troil. 'Tis too much.

Hect. By heaven, too little; for I think her common.

Troil. How, common!

Hect. Common as the tainted shambles,
Or as the dust we tread.

Troil. By heaven, as chaste as thy Andromache. [Hector lays his hand on Troilus's arm, Troilus does the same to him.

Hect. What, namest thou them together!

Troil. No, I do not:
Fair Cressida is first; as chaste as she,
But much more fair.

Hect. O, patience, patience, heaven!
Thou tempt'st me strangely: should I kill thee now,
I know not if the gods can he offended,
Or think I slew a brother: But, begone!
Begone, or I shall shake thee into atoms;
Thou know'st I can.

Troil. I care not if you could.

Hect. [walking off.]
I thank the gods, for calling to my mind
My promise, that no words of thine should urge me
Beyond the bounds of reason: But in thee
'Twas brutal baseness, so forewarned, to fall
Beneath the name of man; to spurn my kindness;
And when I offered thee (thou know'st how loth!)
The wholesome bitter cup of friendly counsel,
To dash it in my face. Farewell, farewell,
Ungrateful as thou art: hereafter use
The name of brother; but of friend no more.[Going out.

321 Troil. Wilt thou not break yet, heart?—stay, brother, stay;
I promised too, but I have broke my vow,
And you keep yours too well.

Hect. What would'st thou more?
Take heed, young man, how you too far provoke me!
For heaven can witness, 'tis with much constraint
That I preserve my faith.

Troil. Else you would kill me?

Hect. By all the gods I would.

Troil. I'm satisfied.
You have condemned me, and I'll do't myself.
What's life to him, who has no use of life?
A barren purchase, held upon hard terms!
For I have lost (oh, what have I not lost!)
The fairest, dearest, kindest, of her sex;
And lost her even by him, by him, ye gods!
Who only could, and only should protect me!
And if I had a joy beyond that love,
A friend, have lost him too!

Hect. Speak that again,—
For I could hear it ever,—saidst thou not,
That if thou hadst a joy beyond that love,
It was a friend? O, saidst thou not, a friend!
That doubting if was kind: then thou'rt divided;
And I have still some part.

Troil. If still you have,
You do not care to have it.

Hect. How, not care!

Troil. No, brother, care not.

Hect. Am I but thy brother?

Troil. You told me, I must call you friend no more.

Hect. How far my words were distant from my heart!
Know, when I told thee so, I loved thee most.
Alas! it is the use of human frailty,
To fly to worst extremities with those,
322 To whom we are most kind.

Troil. Is't possible!
Then you are still my friend.

Hect. Heaven knows I am!

Troil. And can forgive the sallies of my passion?
For I have been to blame, oh! much to blame;
Have said such words, nay, done such actions too,
(Base as I am!) that my awed conscious soul
Sinks in my breast, nor dare I lift an eye
On him I have offended.

Hect. Peace be to thee,
And calmness ever there. I blame thee not:
I know thou lov'st; and what can love not do!
I cast the wild disorderly account,
Of all thy words and deeds, on that mad passion:
I pity thee, indeed I pity thee.

Troil. Do, for I need it: Let me lean my head
Upon thy bosom, all my peace dwells there;
Thou art some god, or much, much more than man!

Hect. Alas, to lose the joys of all thy youth,
One who deserved thy love!

Troil. Did she deserve?

Hect. She did.

Troil. Then sure she was no common creature?

Hect. I said it in my rage; I thought not so.

Troil. That thought has blessed me! But to lose this love,
After long pains, and after short possession!

Hect. I feel it for thee: Let me go to Priam,
I'll break this treaty off; or let me fight:
I'll be thy champion, and secure both her,
And thee, and Troy.

Troil. It must not be, my brother;
For then your error would be more than mine:
I'll bring her forth, and you shall bear her hence;
That you have pitied me is my reward.

Hect. Go, then; and the good gods restore her to thee,
323 And, with her, all the quiet of thy mind!
The triumph of this kindness be thy own;
And heaven and earth this testimony yield,
That friendship never gained a nobler field. [Exeunt severally.


Enter Pandarus and Cressida meeting.

Pand. Is't possible? no sooner got but lost?
The devil take Antenor! the young prince will go mad:
A plague upon Antenor! would they had broke his neck!

Cres. How now? what's the matter? Who was here?

Pand. Oh, oh!

Cres. Why sigh you so? O, where's my Troilus?
Tell me, sweet uncle, what's the matter?

Pand. Would I were as deep under the earth, as
I am above it!

Cres. O, the gods! What's the matter?

Pand. Pr'ythee get thee in; would thou hadst never been born!
I knew thou wouldst be his death; oh, poor gentleman!
A plague upon Antenor!

Cres. Good uncle, I beseech you on my knees, tell me what's the matter?

Pand. Thou must be gone, girl; thou must be gone, to the fugitive rogue-priest, thy father: (and he's my brother too; but that's all one at this time:) A pox upon Antenor!

Cres. O, ye immortal gods! I will not go.

Pand. Thou must, thou must.

Cres. I will not: I have quite forgot my father.
324 I have no touch of birth, no spark of nature,
No kin, no blood, no life; nothing so near me,
As my dear Troilus!

Enter Troilus.

Pand. Here, here, here he comes, sweet duck!

Cres. O, Troilus, Troilus! [They both weep over each other; she running into his arms.

Pand. What a pair of spectacles is here! let me embrace too. Oh, heart,—as the saying is,—
—o heart, o heavy heart,
Why sigh'st thou without breaking!
Where he answers again,
Because thou can'st not ease thy smart,
By friendship nor by speaking.
There was never a truer rhyme: let us cast away nothing, for we may live to have need of such a verse; we see it, we see it.—How now, lambs?

Troil. Cressid, I love thee with so strange a purity,
That the blest gods, angry with my devotions,
More bright in zeal than that I pay their altars,
Will take thee from my sight.

Cres. Have the gods envy?

Pand. Ay, ay, ay; 'tis too plain a case!

Cres. And is it true, that I must go from Troy?

Troil. A hateful truth.

Cres. What, and from Troilus too?

Troil. From Troy and Troilus,—and suddenly;
So suddenly, 'tis counted out by minutes.

Cres. What, not an hour allowed for taking leave?

Troil. Even that's bereft us too: Our envious fates
Jostle betwixt, and part the dear adieus
Of meeting lips, clasped hands, and locked embraces.

Æneas. [Within.] My lord, is the lady ready yet?

Troil. Hark, you are called!—Some say, the genius so
325 Cries,—Come, to him who instantly must die.

Pand. Where are my tears? some rain to lay this wind,
Or my heart will be blown up by the roots!

Troil. Hear me, my love! be thou but true, like me.

Cres. I true! how now, what wicked thought is this?

Troil. Nay, we must use expostulation kindly,
For it is parting from us.
I spoke not, be thou true, as fearing thee;
But be thou true, I said, to introduce
My following protestation,—be thou true,
And I will see thee.

Cres. You'll be exposed to dangers.

Troil. I care not; but be true.

Cres. Be true, again?

Troil. Hear why I speak it, love.
The Grecian youths are full of Grecian arts:
Alas! a kind of holy jealousy,
Which, I beseech you, call a virtuous sin,
Makes me afraid how far you may be tempted.

Cres. O heavens, you love me not!

Troil. Die I a villain then!
In this I do not call your faith in question,
But my own merit.

Cres. Fear not; I'll be true.

Troil. Then, fate, thy worst! for I will see thee, love;
Not all the Grecian host shall keep me out,
Nor Troy, though walled with fire, should hold me in.

Æneas. [Within.] My lord, my lord Troilus! I must call you.

Pand. A mischief call him! nothing but screech-owls? do, do, call again; you had best part them now in the sweetness of their love!—I'll be hanged if this Æneas be the son of Venus, for all his bragging. Honest Venus was a punk; would she have parted 326 lovers? no, he has not a drop of Venus' blood in him—honest Venus was a punk.

Troil. [To Pand.] Pr'ythee, go out, and gain one
minute more.

Pand. Marry and I will: follow you your business; lose no time, 'tis very precious; go, bill again: I'll tell the rogue his own, I warrant him.
[Exit Pandarus.

Cres. What have we gained by this one minute more?

Troil. Only to wish another, and another,
A longer struggling with the pangs of death.

Cres. O, those, who do not know what parting is,
Can never learn to die!

Troil. When I but think this sight may be our last,
If Jove could set me in the place of Atlas,
And lay the weight of heaven and gods upon me,
He could not press me more.

Cres. Oh let me go, that I may know my grief;
Grief is but guessed, while thou art standing by:
But I too soon shall know what absence is.

Troil. Why, 'tis to be no more; another name for death:
'Tis the sun parting from the frozen north;
And I, methinks, stand on some icy cliff,
To watch the last low circles that he makes,
'Till he sink down from heaven! O only Cressida,
If thou depart from me, I cannot live:
I have not soul enough to last for grief,
But thou shalt hear what grief has done with me.

Cres. If I could live to hear it, I were false.
But, as a careful traveller, who, fearing
Assaults of robbers, leaves his wealth behind,
I trust my heart with thee; and to the Greeks
Bear but an empty casket.

Troil. Then I will live, that I may keep that treasure;
327 And, armed with this assurance, let thee go,
Loose, yet secure as is the gentle hawk,
When, whistled off, she mounts into the wind.
Our love's like mountains high above the clouds;
Though winds and tempests beat their aged feet,
Their peaceful heads nor storm nor thunder know,
But scorn the threatening rack that rolls below.[Exeunt.


Achilles and Patroclus standing in their tent.—Ulysses Agamemnon, Menelaus, Nestor, and Ajax, passing over the stage.

Ulys. Achilles stands i' the entrance of his tent:
Please it our general to pass strangely by him,
As if he were forgot; and, princes all,
Look on him with neglectful eyes and scorn:
Pride must be cured by pride.

Agam. We'll execute your purpose, and put on
A form of strangeness as we pass along;
So do each prince; either salute him not,
Or else disdainfully, which will shake him more
Than if not looked on. I will lead the way.

Achil. What, comes the general to speak with me?
You know my mind; I'll fight no more with Troy.

Agam. What says Achilles? would he aught with us?

Nest. Would you, my lord, aught with the general?

Achil. No.

Nest. Nothing, my lord.

Agam. The better.

Menel. How do you, how do you?

Achil. What, does the cuckold scorn me!

Ajax. How now, Patroclus?

Achil. Good morrow, Ajax.

Ajax. Ha!

328 Achil. Good morrow.

Ajax. Ay; and good next day too. [Exeunt all but Achilles and Patroclus.

Achil. What mean these fellows? know they not Achilles?

Patro. They pass by strangely; they were used to bow,
And send their smiles before them to Achilles;
To come as humbly as they used to creep
To holy altars.

Achil. Am I poor of late?
'Tis certain, greatness, once fallen out with fortune,
Must fall out with men too: what the declined is,
He shall as soon read in the eyes of others,
As feel in his own fall; for men, like butterflies,
Show not their mealy wings but to the summer.

Patro. 'Tis known you are in love with Hector's sister,
And therefore will not fight; and your not fighting
Draws on you this contempt. I oft have told you,
A woman, impudent and mannish grown,
Is not more loathed than an effeminate man,
In time of action: I am condemned for this:
They think my little appetite to war
Deads all the fire in you; but rouse yourself,
And love shall from your neck unloose his folds;
Or, like a dew-drop from a lion's mane,
Be shaken into air.

Achil. Shall Ajax fight with Hector?

Patro. Yes, and perhaps shall gain much honour by him.

Achil. I see my reputation is at stake.

Patro. O then beware; those wounds heal ill, that men
Have given themselves, because they give them deepest.

Achil. I'll do something;
329 But what I know not yet.—No more; our champion.

Re-enter Ajax, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Ulysses, Nestor, Diomede, Trumpet.

Agam. Here art thou, daring combat, valiant Ajax.
Give, with thy trumpet, a loud note to Troy,
Thou noble champion, that the sounding air
May pierce the ears of the great challenger,
And call him hither.

Ajax. Trumpet, take that purse:
Now crack thy lungs, and split the sounding brass;
Thou blow'st for Hector. [Trumpet sounds, and is answered from within.

Enter Hector, Æneas, and other Trojans.

Agam. Yonder comes the troop.

Æn. [Coming to the Greeks.]
Health to the Grecian lords:—What shall be done
To him that shall be vanquished? or do you purpose
A victor should be known? will you, the knights
Shall to the edge of all extremity
Pursue each other, or shall be divided
By any voice or order of the field?
Hector bade ask.

Agam. Which way would Hector have it?

Æn. He cares not, he'll obey conditions.

Achil. 'Tis done like Hector, but securely done;
A little proudly, and too much despising
The knight opposed; he might have found his match.

Æn. If not Achilles, sir, what is your name?

Achil. If not Achilles, nothing.

Æn. Therefore Achilles; but whoe'er, know this;
Great Hector knows no pride: weigh him but well,
And that, which looks like pride, is courtesy.
This Ajax is half made of Hector's blood,
In love whereof half Hector stays at home.

Achil. A maiden battle? I perceive you then.

330 Agam. Go, Diomede, and stand by valiant Ajax;
As you and lord Æneas shall consent,
So let the fight proceed, or terminate. [The trumpets sound on both sides, while Æneas and Diomede take their places, as Judges of the field. The Trojans and Grecians rank themselves on either side.

Ulys. They are opposed already. [Fight equal at first, then Ajax has Hector at disadvantage; at last Hector closes, Ajax falls on one knee, Hector stands over him, but strikes not, and Ajax rises.

Æn. [Throwing his gauntlet betwixt them.]
Princes, enough; you have both shown much valour.

Diom. And we, as judges of the field, declare,
The combat here shall cease.

Ajax, I am not warm yet, let us fight again.

Æn. Then let it be as Hector shall determine.

Hect. If it be left to me, I will no more.—
Ajax, thou art my aunt Hesione's son;
The obligation of our blood forbids us.
But, were thy mixture Greek and Trojan so,
That thou couldst say, this part is Grecian all,
And this is Trojan,—hence thou shouldst not bear
One Grecian limb, wherein my pointed sword
Had not impression made. But heaven forbid
That any drop, thou borrowest from my mother,
Should e'er be drained by me: let me embrace thee, cousin.
By him who thunders, thou hast sinewy arms:
Hector would have them fall upon him thus:—[Embrace.
Thine be the honour, Ajax.

Ajax. I thank thee, Hector;
Thou art too gentle, and too free a man.
I came to kill thee, cousin, and to gain
A great addition from that glorious act:
331 But thou hast quite disarmed me.

Hect. I am glad;
For 'tis the only way I could disarm thee.

Ajax. If I might in intreaty find success,
I would desire to see thee at my tent.

Diom. 'Tis Agamemnon's wish, and great Achilles;
Both long to see the valiant Hector there.

Hect. Æneas, call my brother Troilus to me;
And you two sign this friendly interview. [Agamemnon, and the chief of both sides approach.

Agam. [To Hect.] Worthy of arms, as welcome as to one,
Who would be rid of such an enemy.—
[To Troil.] My well-famed lord of Troy, no less to you.

Nest. I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee often,
Labouring for destiny, make cruel way
Through ranks of Grecian youth; and I have seen thee
As swift as lightning spur thy Phrygian steed,
And seen thee scorning many forfeit lives,
When thou hast hung thy advanced sword i' th' air,
Not letting it decline on prostrate foes;
That I have said to all the standers-by,
Lo, Jove is yonder, distributing life.

Hect. Let me embrace thee, good old chronicle,
Who hast so long walked hand in hand with time:
Most reverend Nestor, I am glad to clasp thee.

Ulys. I wonder now, how yonder city stands,
When we have here her base and pillar by us.

Hect. I know your count'nance, lord Ulysses, well.
Ah, sir, there's many a Greek and Trojan dead,
Since first I saw yourself and Diomede
In Ilion, on your Greekish embassy.

Achil. Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee;
I have with exact view perused thee, Hector,
And quoted joint by joint.

Hect. Is this Achilles?

332 Achil. I am Achilles.

Hect. Stand fair, I pr'ythee, let me look on thee.

Achil. Behold thy fill.

Hect. Nay, I have done already.

Achil. Thou art too brief. I will, the second time,
As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.

Hect. O, like a book of sport, thou read'st me o'er;
But there's more in me than thou understand'st.

Achil. Tell me, ye heavens, in which part of his body
Shall I destroy him? there, or there, or there?
That I may give the imagined wound a name,
And make distinct the very breach, whereout
Hector's great spirit flew! answer me, heavens!

Hect. Wert thou an oracle to tell me this,
I'd not believe thee; henceforth guard thee well,
I'll kill thee every where.
Ye noble Grecians, pardon me this boast;
His insolence draws folly from my lips;
But I'll endeavour deeds to match these words,
Else may I never—

Ajax. Do not chafe thee, cousin;—
And you, Achilles, let these threats alone;
You may have every day enough of Hector,
If you have stomach; the general state, I fear,
Can scarce intreat you to perform your boast.

Hect. I pray you, let us see you in the field;
We have had pelting wars, since you refused
The Grecian cause.

Achil. Do'st thou entreat me, Hector?
To-morrow will I meet thee, fierce as death;
To-night, all peace.

Hect. Thy hand upon that match.

Agam. First, all you Grecian princes, go with me,
And entertain great Hector; afterwards,
As his own leisure shall concur with yours,
333 You may invite him to your several tents. [Exeunt Agam. Hect. Menel. Nest. Diom. together.

Troil. My lord Ulysses, tell me, I beseech you,
In what part of the field does Calchas lodge?

Ulys. At Menelaus' tent:
There Diomede does feast with him to-night;
Who neither looks on heaven or on earth,
But gives all gaze and bent of amorous view
On Cressida alone.

Troil. Shall I, brave lord, be bound to you so much,
After we part from Agamemnon's tent,
To bring me thither?

Ulys. I shall wait on you.
As freely tell me, of what honour was
This Cressida in Troy? had she no lovers there,
Who mourn her absence?

Troil. O sir, to such as boasting show their scars,
Reproof is due: she loved and was beloved;
That's all I must impart. Lead on, my lord. [Exeunt Ulysses and Troilus.

Achil [To Patro.] I'll heat his blood with Greekish wine to-night,
Which with my sword I mean to cool to-morrow.
Patroclus, let us feast him to the height.

Enter Thersites.

Patro. Here comes Thersites.

Achil. How now, thou core of envy,
Thou crusty batch of nature, what's the news?

Thers. Why, thou picture of what thou seemest, thou idol of ideot worshippers, there's a letter for thee.

Achil. From whence, fragment?

Thers. Why, thou full dish of fool, from Troy.

Patro. Well said, adversity! what makes thee so keen to-day?

334 Thers. Because a fool's my whetstone.

Patro. Meaning me?

Thers. Yes, meaning thy no meaning; pr'ythee, be silent, boy, I profit not by thy talk. Now the rotten diseases of the south, gut-gripings, ruptures, catarrhs, loads of gravel in the back, lethargies, cold palsies, and the like, take thee, and take thee again! thou green sarcenet flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal's purse, thou! Ah how the poor world is pestered with such water-flies, such diminutives of nature!

Achil. My dear Patroclus, I am quite prevented
From my great purpose, bent on Hector's life.
Here is a letter from my love Polyxena,
Both taxing and engaging me to keep
An oath that I have sworn; and will not break it
To save all Greece. Let honour go or stay,
There's more religion in my love than fame. [Exeunt Achilles and Patroclus.

Thers. With too much blood, and too little brain, these two are running mad before the dog-days. There's Agamemnon, too, an honest fellow enough, and loves a brimmer heartily; but he has not so much brains as an old gander. But his brother Menelaus, there's a fellow! the goodly transformation of Jupiter when he loved Europa; the primitive cuckold; a vile monkey tied eternally to his brother's tail,—to be a dog, a mule, a cat, a toad, an owl, a lizard, a herring without a roe, I would not care; but to be Menelaus, I would conspire against destiny.—Hey day! Will with a Wisp, and Jack a Lanthorn!

Hector, Ajax, Agamemnon, Diomede, Ulysses, Troilus, going with Torches over the Stage.

Agam. We go wrong, we go wrong.

335 Ajax. No, yonder 'tis; there, where we see the light.

Hect. I trouble you.

Ajax. Not at all, cousin; here comes Achilles himself, to guide us.

Enter Achilles.

Achil. Welcome, brave Hector; welcome, princes all.

Agam. So now, brave prince of Troy, I take my leave; Ajax commands the guard to wait on you.

Men. Good night, my lord.

Hect. Good night, sweet lord Menelaus.

Thers. [Aside.] Sweet, quotha! Sweet sink, sweet sewer, sweet jakes!

Achil. Nestor will stay; and you, lord Diomede,
Keep Hector company an hour or two.

Diom. I cannot, sir; I have important business.

Achil. Enter, my lords.

Ulys. [To Troil.] Follow his torch: he goes to Calchas's tent.
[Exeunt Achil. Hect. Ajax, one way; Diomede another; and after him Ulysses and Troilus.

Thers. This Diomede's a false-hearted rogue, an unjust knave; I will no more trust him when he winks with one eye, than I will a serpent when he hisses. He will spend his mouth, and promise, like Brabbler the hound; but when he performs, astronomers set it down for a prodigy: though I long to see Hector, I cannot forbear dogging him. They say he keeps a Trojan drab; and uses Calchas's tent, that fugitive priest of Troy, that canonical rogue of our side. I'll after him; nothing but whoring in this age; all incontinent rascals!
[Exit Thersites.

336 Enter Calchas and Cressida.

Calch. O, what a blessing is a virtuous child!
Thou has reclaimed my mind, and calmed my passions
Of anger and revenge; my love to Troy
Revives within me, and my lost tiara
No more disturbs my mind.

Cres. A virtuous conquest!

Calch. I have a woman's longing to return;
But yet which way, without your aid, I know not.

Cres. Time must instruct us how.

Calch. You must dissemble love to Diomede still:
False Diomede, bred in Ulysses' school,
Can never be deceived,
But by strong arts and blandishments of love.
Put them in practice all; seem lost and won,
And draw him on, and give him line again.
This Argus then may close his hundred eyes,
And leave our flight more easy.

Cres. How can I answer this to love and Troilus?

Calch. Why, 'tis for him you do it; promise largely;
That ring he saw you wear, he much suspects
Was given you by a lover; let him have it.

Diom. [Within.] Ho, Calchas, Calchas!

Calch. Hark! I hear his voice.
Pursue your project; doubt not the success.

Cres. Heaven knows, against my will; and yet my hopes,
This night to meet my Troilus, while 'tis truce,
Afford my mind some ease.

Calch. No more: retire.[Exit Cressida.

Enter Diomede: Troilus and Ulysses appear listening at one Door, and Thersites watching at another.

Diom. I came to see your daughter, worthy Calchas.

337 Calch. My lord, I'll call her to you.[Exit Calchas.

Ulys. [To Troil.] Stand where the torch may not discover us.

Enter Cressida.

Troil. Cressida comes forth to him!

Diom. How now, my charge?

Cres. Now, my sweet guardian; hark, a word with you.[Whisper.

Troil. Ay, so familiar!

Diom. Will you remember?

Cres. Remember? yes.

Troil. Heavens, what should she remember! Plague and madness!

Ulys. Prince, you are moved: let us depart in time,
Lest your displeasure should enlarge itself
To wrathful terms: this place is dangerous;
The time unlit: beseech you, let us go.

Troil. I pray you stay; by hell, and by hell's torments, I will not speak a word.

Diom. I'll hear no more: good night.

Cres. Nay, but you part in anger!

Troil. Does that grieve thee? O withered truth!

Diom. Farewell, cozener.

Cres. Indeed I am not: pray, come back again.

Ulys. You shake, my lord, at something: will you go?
You will break out.

Troil. By all the gods I will not.
There is, between my will and all my actions,
A guard of patience: stay a little while.

Thers. [aside.] How the devil luxury, with his fat rump, and potato-finger, tickles these together!—Put him off a little, you foolish harlot! 'twill sharpen him the more.

Diom. But will you then?

338 Cres. I will, as soon as e'er the war's concluded.

Diom Give me some token, for the surety of it;
The ring I saw you wear.

Cres. [Giving it.] If you must have it.

Troil. The ring? nay, then, 'tis plain! O beauty, where's thy faith!

Ulys. You have sworn patience.

Thers. That's well, that's well, the pledge is given; hold her to her word, good devil, and her soul's thine, I warrant thee.

Diom. Whose was't?

Cres. By all Diana's waiting train of stars,
And by herself, I will not tell you whose.

Diom. Why then thou lov'st him still: farewell for ever:
Thou never shalt mock Diomede again.

Cres. You shall not go: one cannot speak a word,
But straight it starts you.

Diom. I do not like this fooling.

Thers. Nor I, by Pluto: but that, which likes not you, pleases me best.

Diom. I shall expect your promise.

Cres. I'll perform it.
Not a word more, good night—I hope for ever:
Thus to deceive deceivers is no fraud.[Aside.
[Exeunt Diomede and Cressida severally.

Ulys. All's done, my lord.

Troil Is it?

Ulys. Pray let us go.

Troil. Was Cressida here?

Ulys. I cannot conjure, Trojan.

Troil. She was not, sure! she was not;
Let it not be believed, for womanhood:
Think we had mothers, do not give advantage
To biting satire, apt without a theme
For defamation, to square all the sex
By Cressid's rule; rather think this not Cressida.

339 Thers. Will he swagger himself out on's own eyes?

Troil. This she! no, this was Diomede's Cressida.
If beauty have a soul, this is not she:—
I cannot speak for rage;—that ring was mine:—
By heaven I gave it, in that point of time,
When both our joys were fullest!—If he keeps it,
Let dogs eat Troilus.

Thers. He'll tickle it for his concupy: this will be sport to see! Patroclus will give me any thing for the intelligence of this whore; a parrot will not do more for an almond, than he will for a commodious drab:—I would I could meet with this rogue Diomede too: I would croak like a raven to him; I would bode: it shall go hard but I'll find him out.
[Exit Thersites.

Enter Æneas.

Æn. I have been seeking you this hour, my lord:
Hector by this is arming him in Troy.

Ulys. Commend me, gallant Troilus, to your brother:
Tell him, I hope he shall not need to arm;
The fair Polyxena has, by a letter,
Disarmed our great Achilles of his rage.

Troil. This I shall say to Hector.

Ulys. So I hope.
Pray heaven Thersites have informed me true!—[Aside.

Troil. Good night, my lord; accept distracted thanks! [Exit Ulysses.

Enter Pandarus.

Pand. Hear ye, my lord, hear ye; I have been seeing yon poor girl. There have been old doings there, i'faith.

Troil. [Aside.] Hold yet, my spirits: let him pour it in:
340 The poison's kind: the more I drink of it,
The sooner 'twill dispatch me.

Æn. to Pand. Peace, thou babbler!

Pand. She has been mightily made on by the Greeks: she takes most wonderfully among 'em. Achilles kissed her, and Patroclus kissed her: nay, and old Nestor put aside his grey beard, and brushed her with his whiskers. Then comes me Agamemnon with his general's staff, diving with a low bow even to the ground, and rising again, just at her lips: and after him came Ulysses, and Ajax, and Menelaus: and they so pelted her, i'faith, pitter patter, pitter patter, as thick as hail-stones. And after that, a whole rout of 'em: never was a woman in Phrygia better kissed.

Troil. [Aside.] Hector said true: I find, I find it now!

Pand. And, last of all, comes me Diomede, so demurely: that's a notable sly rogue, I warrant him! mercy upon us, how he laid her on upon the lips! for, as I told you, she's most mightily made on among the Greeks. What, cheer up, I say, man! she has every one's good word. I think, in my conscience, she was born with a caul upon her head.

Troil. [Aside.] Hell, death, confusion, how he tortures me!

Pand. And that rogue-priest, my brother, is so courted and treated for her sake: the young sparks do so pull him about, and haul him by the cassock: nothing but invitations to his tent, and his tent, and his tent. Nay, and one of 'em was so bold, as to ask him, if she were a virgin; and with that, the rogue, my brother, takes me up a little god in his hand, and kisses it, and swears devoutly that she was; then was I ready to burst my sides with laughing, to think what had passed betwixt you two.

341 Troil. O I can bear no more! she's falsehood all:
False by both kinds; for with her mother's milk
She sucked the infusion of her father's soul.
She only wants an opportunity;
Her soul's a whore already.

Pand. What, would you make a monopoly of a woman's lips? a little consolation, or so, might be allowed, one would think, in a lover's absence.

Troil. Hence from my sight!
Let ignominy brand thy hated name;
Let modest matrons at thy mention start;
And blushing virgins, when they read our annals,
Skip o'er the guilty page that holds thy legend,
And blots the noble work.

Pand. O world, world: thou art an ungrateful patch of earth! Thus the poor agent is despised! he labours painfully in his calling, and trudges between parties: but when their turns are served, come out's too good for him. I am mighty melancholy. I'll e'en go home, and shut up my doors, and die o' the sullens, like an old bird in a cage!
[Exit Pandarus.

Enter Diomede and Thersites.

Thers. [Aside.] There, there he is; now let it work: now play thy part, jealousy, and twinge 'em: put 'em between thy mill-stones, and grind the rogues together.

Diom. My lord, I am by Ajax sent to inform you,
This hour must end the truce.

Æn. to Troil. Contain yourself:
Think where we are.

Diom. Your stay will be unsafe.

Troil. It may, for those I hate.

Thers. [Aside.] Well said, Trojan: there's the first hit.

342 Diom. Beseech you, sir, make haste; my own affairs call me another way.

Thers. [Aside.] What affairs? what affairs? demand that, dolt-head! the rogue will lose a quarrel, for want of wit to ask that question.

Troil. May I enquire where your affairs conduct you?

Thers. [Aside.] Well said again; I beg thy pardon.

Diom. Oh, it concerns you not.

Troil. Perhaps it does.

Diom. You are too inquisitive: nor am I bound
To satisfy an enemy's request.

Troil. You have a ring upon your finger, Diomede,
And given you by a lady.

Diom. If it were,
'Twas given to one that can defend her gift.

Thers. [Aside.] So, so; the boars begin to gruntle at one another: set up your bristles now, a'both sides: whet and foam, rogues.

Troil. You must restore it, Greek, by heaven you must;
No spoil of mine shall grace a traitor's hand:
And, with it, give me back the broken vows
Of my false fair; which, perjured as she is,
I never will resign, but with my soul.

Diom. Then thou, it seems, art that forsaken fool,
Who, wanting merit to preserve her heart,
Repines in vain to see it better placed;
But know, (for now I take a pride to grieve thee)
Thou art so lost a thing in her esteem,
I never heard thee named, but some scorn followed:
Thou wert our table-talk for laughing meals;
Thy name our sportful theme for evening-walks,
And intermissive hours of cooler love,
When hand in hand we went.

Troil. Hell and furies!

Thers. [Aside.] O well stung, scorpion! 343 Now Menelaus's Greek horns are out o' doors, there's a new cuckold starts up on the Trojan side.

Troil. Yet this was she, ye gods, that very she,
Who in my arms lay melting all the night;
Who kissed and sighed, and sighed and kissed again,
As if her soul flew upward to her lips,
To meet mine there, and panted at the passage;
Who, loth to find the breaking day, looked out,
And shrunk into my bosom, there to make
A little longer darkness.

Diom. Plagues and tortures!

Thers. Good, good, by Pluto! their fool's mad, to lose his harlot; and our fool's mad, that t'other fool had her first. If I sought peace now, I could tell 'em there's punk enough to satisfy 'em both: whore sufficient! but let 'em worry one another, the foolish curs; they think they never can have enough of carrion.

Æn. My lords, this fury is not proper here
In time of truce; if either side be injured,
To-morrow's sun will rise apace, and then—

Troil. And then! but why should I defer till then?
My blood calls now, there is no truce for traitors;
My vengeance rolls within my breast; it must,
It will have vent,—[Draws.

Diom. Hinder us not, Æneas,
My blood rides high as his; I trust thy honour,
And know thou art too brave a foe to break it.—[Draws.

Thers. Now, moon! now shine, sweet moon! let them have just light enough to make their passes; and not enough to ward them.

Æn. [Drawing too.]
By heaven, he comes on this, who strikes the first.
You both are mad; is this like gallant men,
To fight at midnight; at the murderer's hour;
344 When only guilt and rapine draw a sword?
Let night enjoy her dues of soft repose;
But let the sun behold the brave man's courage.
And this I dare engage for Diomede,—
For though I am,—he shall not hide his head,
But meet you in the very face of danger.

Diom. [Putting up.]
Be't so; and were it on some precipice,
High as Olympus, and a sea beneath,
Call when thou dar'st, just on the sharpest point
I'll meet, and tumble with thee to destruction.

Troil. A gnawing conscience haunts not guilty men,
As I'll haunt thee, to summon thee to this;
Nay, shouldst thou take the Stygian lake for refuge,
I'll plunge in after, through the boiling flames,
To push thee hissing down the vast abyss.

Diom. Where shall we meet?

Troil. Before the tent of Calchas.
Thither, through all your troops, I'll fight my way;
And in the sight of perjured Cressida,
Give death to her through thee.

Diom. 'Tis largely promised;
But I disdain to answer with a boast.
Be sure thou shalt be met.

Troil. And thou be found. [Exeunt Troilus and Æneas one way; Diomede the other.

Thers. Now the furies take Æneas, for letting them sleep upon their quarrel; who knows but rest may cool their brains, and make them rise maukish to mischief upon consideration? May each of them dream he sees his cockatrice in t'other's arms; and be stabbing one another in their sleep, to remember them of their business when they wake: let them be punctual to the point of honour; and, if it were possible, let both be first at the place of execution; 345 let neither of them have cogitation enough, to consider 'tis a whore they fight for; and let them value their lives at as little as they are worth: and lastly, let no succeeding fools take warning by them; but, in imitation of them, when a strumpet is in question,
Let them beneath their feet all reason trample,
And think it great to perish by example.[Exit.


Hector, Trojans, Andromache.

Hect. The blue mists rise from off the nether grounds,
And the sun mounts apace. To arms, to arms!
I am resolved to put to the utmost proof
The fate of Troy this day.

Andr. [Aside.] Oh wretched woman, oh!

Hect. Methought I heard you sigh, Andromache.

Andr. Did you, my lord?

Hect. Did you, my lord? you answer indirectly;
Just when I said, that I would put our fate
Upon the extremest proof, you fetched a groan;
And, as you checked yourself for what you did,
You stifled it and stopt. Come, you are sad.

Andr. The gods forbid!

Hect. What should the gods forbid?

Andr. That I should give you cause of just offence.

Hect. You say well; but you look not chearfully.
I mean this day to waste the stock of war,
And lay it prodigally out in blows.
Come, gird my sword, and smile upon me, love;
Like victory, come flying to my arms,
346 And give me earnest of desired success.

Andr. The gods protect you, and restore you to me!

Hect. What, grown a coward! Thou wert used, Andromache,
To give my courage courage; thou would'st cry,—
Go Hector, day grows old, and part of fame
Is ravished from thee by thy slothful stay.

Andr. [Aside.] What shall I do to seem the same I was?—
Come, let me gird thy fortune to thy side,
And conquest sit as close and sure as this. [She goes to gird his sword, and it falls.
Now mercy, heaven! the gods avert this omen!

Hect. A foolish omen! take it up again,
And mend thy error.

Andr. I cannot, for my hand obeys me not;
But, as in slumbers, when we fain would run
From our imagined fears, our idle feet
Grow to the ground, our struggling voice dies inward;
So now, when I would force myself to chear you,
My faltering tongue can give no glad presage:
Alas, I am no more Andromache.

Hect. Why then thy former soul is flown to me;
For I, methinks, am lifted into air,
As if my mind, mastering my mortal part,
Would bear my exalted body to the gods.
Last night I dreamt Jove sat on Ida's top,
And, beckoning with his hand divine from far,
He pointed to a choir of demi-gods,
Bacchus and Hercules, and all the rest,
Who, free from human toils, had gained the pitch
Of blest eternity;—Lo there, he said,
Lo there's a place for Hector.

Andr. Be to thy enemies this boding dream!

Hect. Why, it portends me honour and renown.

347 Andr. Such honour as the brave gain after death;
For I have dreamt all night of horrid slaughters,
Of trampling horses, and of chariot wheels
Wading in blood up to their axle-trees;
Of fiery demons gliding down the skies,
And Ilium brightened with a midnight blaze:
O therefore, if thou lovest me, go not forth.

Hect. Go to thy bed again, and there dream better.—
Ho! bid my trumpet sound.

Andr. No notes of sally, for the heaven's sweet sake!
'Tis not for nothing when my spirits droop;
This is a day when thy ill stars are strong,
When they have driven thy helpless genius down
The steep of heaven, to some obscure retreat.

Hect. No more; even as thou lovest my fame, no more;
My honour stands engaged to meet Achilles.
What will the Grecians think, or what will he,
Or what will Troy, or what wilt thou thyself,
When once this ague fit of fear is o'er,
If I should lose my honour for a dream?

Andr. Your enemies too well your courage know,
And heaven abhors the forfeit of rash vows,
Like spotted livers in a sacrifice.
I cannot, O I dare not let you go;
For, when you leave me, my presaging mind
Says, I shall never, never see you more.

Hect. Thou excellently good, but oh too soft,
Let me not 'scape the danger of this day;
But I have struggling in my manly soul,
To see those modest tears, ashamed to fall,
And witness any part of woman in thee!
And now I fear, lest thou shouldst think it fear,
If, thus dissuaded, I refuse to fight,
And stay inglorious in thy arms at home.

Andr. Oh, could I have that thought, I should not love thee;
348 Thy soul is proof to all things but to kindness;
And therefore 'twas that I forbore to tell thee,
How mad Cassandra, full of prophecy,
Ran round the streets, and, like a Bacchanal,
Cried,—Hold him, Priam, 'tis an ominous day;
Let him not go, for Hector is no more.

Hect. Our life is short, but to extend that span
To vast eternity, is virtue's work;
Therefore to thee, and not to fear of fate,
Which once must come to all, give I this day.
But see thou move no more the like request;
For rest assured, that, to regain this hour,
To-morrow will I tempt a double danger.
Mean time, let destiny attend thy leisure;
I reckon this one day a blank of life.

Enter Troilus.

Troil. Where are you, brother? now, in honour's name,
What do you mean to be thus long unarmed?
The embattled soldiers throng about the gates;
The matrons to the turrets' tops ascend,
Holding their helpless children in their arms,
To make you early known to their young eyes,
And Hector is the universal shout.

Hect. Bid all unarm; I will not fight to-day.

Troil. Employ some coward to bear back this news,
And let the children hoot him for his pains.
By all the gods, and by my just revenge,
This sun shall shine the last for them or us;
These noisy streets, or yonder echoing plains,
Shall be to-morrow silent as the grave.

Andr. O brother, do not urge a brother's fate,
But, let this wreck of heaven and earth roll o'er,
And, when the storm is past, put out to sea.

Troil. O now I know from whence his change proceeds;
349 Some frantic augur has observed the skies;
Some victim wants a heart, or crow flies wrong.
By heaven, 'twas never well, since saucy priests
Grew to be masters of the listening herd,
And into mitres cleft the regal crown;
Then, as the earth were scanty for their power,
They drew the pomp of heaven to wait on them.
Shall I go publish, Hector dares not fight,
Because a madman dreamt he talked with Jove?
What could the god see in a brain-sick priest,
That he should sooner talk to him than me?

Hect. You know my name's not liable to fear.

Troil. Yes, to the worst of fear,—to superstition.
But whether that, or fondness of a wife,
(The more unpardonable ill) has seized you,
Know this, the Grecians think you fear Achilles,
And that Polyxena has begged your life.

Hect. How! that my life is begged, and by my sister?

Troil. Ulysses so informed me at our parting,
With a malicious and disdainful smile:
'Tis true, he said not, in broad words, you feared;
But in well-mannered terms 'twas so agreed,
Achilles should avoid to meet with Hector.

Hect. He thinks my sister's treason my petition;
That, largely vaunting, in my heat of blood,
More than I could, it seems, or durst perform,
I sought evasion.

Troil. And in private prayed—

Hect. O yes, Polyxena to beg my life.

Andr. He cannot think so;—do not urge him thus.

Hect. Not urge me! then thou think'st I need his urging.
By all the gods, should Jove himself descend,
And tell me,—Hector, thou deservest not life,
But take it as a boon,—I would not live.
But that a mortal man, and he, of all men,
350 Should think my life were in his power to give,
I will not rest, till, prostrate on the ground,
I make him, atheist-like, implore his breath
Of me, and not of heaven.

Troil. Then you'll refuse no more to fight?

Hect. Refuse! I'll not be hindered, brother.
I'll through and through them, even their hindmost ranks,
Till I have found that large-sized boasting fool,
Who dares presume my life is in his gift.

Andr. Farewell, farewell; 'tis vain to strive with fate!
Cassandra's raging god inspires my breast
With truths that must be told, and not believed.
Look how he dies! look how his eyes turn pale!
Look how his blood bursts out at many vents!
Hark how Troy roars, how Hecuba cries out,
And widowed I fill all the streets with screams!
Behold distraction, frenzy, and amazement,
Like antiques meet, and tumble upon heaps!
And all cry, Hector, Hector's dead! Oh Hector![Exit.

Hect. What sport will be, when we return at evening,
To laugh her out of countenance for her dreams!

Troil. I have not quenched my eyes with dewy sleep this night;
But fiery fumes mount upward to my brains,
And, when I breathe, methinks my nostrils hiss!
I shall turn basilisk, and with my sight
Do my hands' work on Diomede this day.

Hect. To arms, to arms! the vanguards are engaged
Let us not leave one man to guard the walls;
Both old and young, the coward and the brave,
Be summoned all, our utmost fate to try,
And as one body move, whose soul am I.[Exeunt.


SCENE II—The Camp.

Alarm within. Enter Agamemnon, Ulysses, Menelaus, Soldiers.

Agam. Thus far the promise of the day is fair.
Æneas rather loses ground than gains.
I saw him over-laboured, taking breath,
And leaning on his spear, behold our trenches,
Like a fierce lion looking up to toils,
Which yet he durst not leap.

Ulys. And therefore distant death does all the work;
The flights of whistling darts make brown the sky,
Whose clashing points strike fire, and gild the dusk;
Those, that reach home, from neither host are vain,
So thick the prease; so lusty are their arms,
That death seemed never sent with better will.
Nor was with less concernment entertained.

Enter Nestor.

Agam. Now, Nestor, what's the news?

Nest. I have descried
A cloud of dust, that mounts in pillars upwards,
Expanding as it travels to our camp;
And from the midst I heard a bursting shout,
That rent the heaven; as if all Troy were swarmed.
And on the wing this way.

Menel. Let them come, let them come.

Agam. Where's great Achilles?

Ulys. Think not on Achilles,
Till Hector drag him from his tent to fight;
Which sure he will, for I have laid the train.

Nest. But young Patroclus leads his Myrmidons,
And in their front, even in the face of Hector,
Resolves to dare the Trojans.

352 Agam. Haste, Ulysses, bid Ajax issue forth and second him.

Ulys. Oh noble general, let it not be so.
Oppose not rage, while rage is in its force,
But give it way awhile, and let it waste.
The rising deluge is not stopt with dams;
Those it o'erbears, and drowns the hopes of harvest;
But, wisely managed, its divided strength
Is sluiced in channels, and securely drained.
First, let small parties dally with their fury;
But when their force is spent and unsupplied,
The residue with mounds may be restrained,
And dry-shod we may pass the naked ford.

Enter Thersites.

Thers. Ho, ho, ho!

Menel. Why dost thou laugh, unseasonable fool?

Thers. Why, thou fool in season, cannot a man laugh, but thou thinkest he makes horns at thee? Thou prince of the herd, what hast thou to do with laughing? 'Tis the prerogative of a man, to laugh. Thou risibility without reason, thou subject of laughter, thou fool royal!

Ulys. But tell us the occasion of thy mirth?

Thers. Now a man asks me, I care not if I answer to my own kind.—Why, the enemies are broken into our trenches; fools like Menelaus fall by thousands yet not a human soul departs on either side. Troilus and Ajax have almost beaten one another's heads off, but are both immortal for want of brains. Patroclus has killed Sarpedon, and Hector Patroclus, so there is a towardly springing fop gone off; he might have made a prince one day, but now he's nipt in the very bud and promise of a most prodigious coxcomb.

Agam. Bear off Patroclus' body to Achilles;
Revenge will arm him now, and bring us aid.
353 The alarm sounds near, and shouts are driven upon us,
As of a crowd confused in their retreat.

Ulys. Open your ranks, and make these madmen way,
Then close again to charge upon their backs,
And quite consume the relics of the war. [Exeunt all but Thersites.

Thers. What shoals of fools one battle sweeps away! How it purges families of younger brothers, highways of robbers, and cities of cuckold-makers! There is nothing like a pitched battle for these brisk addle-heads! Your physician is a pretty fellow, but his fees make him tedious, he rides not fast enough; the fools grow upon him, and their horse bodies are poison proof. Your pestilence is a quicker remedy, but it has not the grace to make distinction; it huddles up honest men and rogues together. But your battle has discretion; it picks out all the forward fools, and sowses them together into immortality. [Shouts and alarms within] Plague upon these drums and trumpets! these sharp sauces of the war, to get fools an appetite to fighting! What do I among them? I shall be mistaken for some valiant ass, and die a martyr in a wrong religion.
[Here Grecians fly over the stage pursued by Trojans; one Trojan turns back upon Thersites who is flying too.

Troj. Turn, slave, and fight.

Thers. [turning.] What art thou?

Troj. A bastard son of Priam's.

Thers. I am a bastard too, I love bastards, I am bastard in body, bastard in mind, bastard in valour, in every thing illegitimate. A bear will not fasten upon a bear; why should one bastard offend another! Let us part fair, like true sons of whores, and have the fear of our mothers before our eyes.

354 Troj. The devil take thee, coward.[Exit Troj.

Thers. Now, would I were either invisible or invulnerable! These gods have a fine time on it; they can see and make mischief, and never feel it.
[Clattering of swords at both doors; he runs each way, and meets the noise.

A pox clatter you! I am compassed in. Now would I were that blockhead Ajax for a minute. Some sturdy Trojan will poach me up with a long pole! and then the rogues may kill one another at free cost, and have nobody left to laugh at them. Now destruction! now destruction!

Enter Hector and Troilus driving in the Greeks.

Hect. to Thers. Speak what part thou fightest on!

Thers. I fight not at all; I am for neither side.

Hect. Thou art a Greek; art thou a match for Hector?
Art thou of blood and honour?

Thers. No, I am a rascal, a scurvy railing knave, a very filthy rogue.

Hect. I do believe thee; live.

Thers. God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me; but the devil break thy neck for frighting me. [Aside.

Troil. (returning.) What prisoner have you there?

Hect. A gleaning of the war; a rogue, he says.

Troil. Dispatch him, and away.[Going to kill him.

Thers. Hold, hold!—what, is it no more but dispatch a man and away! I am in no such haste: I will not die for Greece; I hate Greece, and by my good will would never have been born there; I was mistaken into that country, and betrayed by my parents to be born there. And besides, I have a mortal enemy among the Grecians, one Diomede, a 355 damned villain, and cannot die with a safe conscience till I have first murdered him.

Troil. Shew me that Diomede, and thou shalt live.

Thers. Come along with me, and I will conduct thee to Calchas's tent, where I believe he is now, making war with the priest's daughter.

Hect. Here we must part, our destinies divide us;
Brother and friend, farewell.

Troil. When shall we meet?

Hect. When the gods please; if not, we once must part.
Look; on yon hill their squandered troops unite.

Troil. If I mistake not, 'tis their last reserve:
The storm's blown o'er, and those but after-drops.

Hect. I wish our men be not too far engaged;
For few we are and spent, as having born
The burthen of the day: But, hap what can,
They shall be charged; Achilles must be there,
And him I seek, or death.
Divide our troops, and take the fresher half.

Troil. O brother!

Hect. No dispute of ceremony:
These are enow for me, in faith enow.
Their bodies shall not flag while I can lead;
Nor wearied limbs confess mortality,
Before those ants, that blacken all yon hill,
Are crept into the earth. Farewell.[Exit Hect.

Troil. Farewell.—Come, Greek.

Thers. Now these rival rogues will clapperclaw one another, and I shall have the sport of it.
[Exit Troil. with Thers.

Enter Achilles and Myrmidons.

Achill. Which way went Hector?

Myrmid. Up yon sandy hill;
You may discern them by their smoking track:
A wavering body working with bent hams
356 Against the rising, spent with painful march,
And by loose footing cast on heaps together.

Achil. O thou art gone, thou sweetest, best of friends!
Why did I let thee tempt the shock of war,
Ere yet the tender nerves had strung thy limbs,
And knotted into strength! Yet, though too late,
I will, I will revenge thee, my Patroclus!
Nor shall thy ghost thy murderers long attend,
But thou shalt hear him calling Charon back,
Ere thou art wafted to the farther shore.—
Make haste, my soldiers; give me this day's pains
For my dead friend: strike every hand with mine,
Till Hector breathless on the ground we lay!
Revenge is honour, the securest way.[Exit with Myrm.

Enter Thersites, Troilus, Trojans.

Thers. That's Calchas's tent.

Troil. Then, that one spot of earth contains more falsehood,
Than all the sun sees in his race beside.
That I should trust the daughter of a priest!
Priesthood, that makes a merchandise of heaven!
Priesthood, that sells even to their prayers and blessings
And forces us to pay for our own cozenage!

Thers. Nay, cheats heaven too with entrails and with offals;
Gives it the garbage of a sacrifice,
And keeps the best for private luxury.

Troil. Thou hast deserved thy life for cursing priests.
Let me embrace thee; thou art beautiful:
. That back, that nose, those eyes are beautiful:
Live; thou art honest, for thou hat'st a priest.

Thers. [Aside.] Farewell, Trojan; if I escape with life, as I hope, and thou art knocked on the head, as I hope too, I shall be the first that ever escaped 357 the revenge of a priest after cursing him; and thou wilt not be the last, I prophesy, that a priest will bring to ruin.
[Exit Ther.

Troil. Methinks, my soul is roused to her last work;
Has much to do, and little time to spare.
She starts within me, like a traveller,
Who sluggishly outslept his morning hour,
And mends his pace to reach his inn betimes. [Noise within, Follow, follow!
A noise of arms! the traitor may be there;
Or else, perhaps, that conscious scene of love,
The tent, may hold him; yet I dare not search,
For oh, I fear to find him in that place.[Exit Troilus.

Enter Calchas and Cressida.

Cres. Where is he? I'll be justified, or die.

Calch. So quickly vanished! he was here but now.
He must be gone to search for Diomede;
For Diomede told me, here they were to fight.

Cres. Alas!

Calch. You must prevent, and not complain.

Cres. If Troilus die, I have no share in life.

Calch. If Diomede sink beneath the sword of Troilus
We lose not only a protector here,
But are debarred all future means of flight.

Cres. What then remains?

Calch. To interpose betimes
Betwixt their swords; or, if that cannot be,
To intercede for him, who shall be vanquished.
Fate leaves no middle course.[Exit Calchas.

Clashing within.

Cres. Ah me! I hear them,
And fear 'tis past prevention.

358 Enter Diomede, retiring before Troilus, and falling as he enters.

Troil. Now beg thy life, or die.

Diom. No; use thy fortune:
I loath the life, which thou canst give, or take.

Troil. Scorn'st thou my mercy, villain!—Take thy wish.—

Cres. Hold, hold your hand, my lord, and hear me speak.
[Troilus turns back; in which time Diomede rises, Trojans and Greeks enter, and rank themselves on both sides of their Captains.

Troil. Did I not hear the voice of perjured Cressida?
Com'st thou to give the last stab to my heart?
As if the proofs of all thy former falsehood
Were not enough convincing, com'st thou now
To beg my rival's life?
Whom, oh, if any spark of truth remained,
Thou couldst not thus, even to my face, prefer.

Cres. What shall I say!—that you suspect me false,
Has struck me dumb! but let him live, my Troilus;
By all our loves, by all our past endearments,
I do adjure thee, spare him.

Troil. Hell and death!

Cres. If ever I had power to bend your mind,
Believe me still your faithful Cressida;
And though my innocence appear like guilt,
Because I make his forfeit life my suit,
'Tis but for this, that my return to you
Would be cut off for ever by his death;
My father, treated like a slave, and scorned;
Myself in hated bonds a captive held.

Troil. Could I believe thee, could I think thee true,
In triumph would I bear thee back to Troy,
Though Greece could rally all her shattered troops,
And stand embattled to oppose my way.
359 But, oh, thou syren, I will stop my ears
To thy enchanting notes; the winds shall bear
Upon their wings thy words, more light than they.

Cres. Alas! I but dissembled love to him.
If ever he had any proof, beyond
What modesty might give—

Diom. No! witness this.—[The Ring shewn.
There, take her, Trojan, thou deserv'st her best;
You good, kind-natured, well-believing fools,
Are treasures to a woman.
I was a jealous, hard, vexatious lover,
And doubted even this pledge,—till full possession;
But she was honourable to her word,
And I have no just reason to complain.

Cres. O unexampled, frontless impudence!

Troil. Hell, show me such another tortured wretch as Troilus!

Diom. Nay, grieve not; I resign her freely up;
I'm satisfied; and dare engage for Cressida,
That, if you have a promise of her person,
She shall be willing to come out of debt.

Cres. [Kneeling.] My only lord, by all those holy vows,
Which, if there be a Power above, are binding,
Or, if there be a hell below, are fearful,
May every imprecation, which your rage
Can wish on me, take place, if I am false!

Diom. Nay, since you're so concerned to be believed,
I'm sorry I have pressed my charge so far:
Be what you would be thought; I can be grateful.

Troil. Grateful! Oh torment! now hell's bluest flames
Receive her quick, with all her crimes upon her!
Let her sink spotted down! let the dark host
Make room, and point, and hiss her as she goes!
Let the most branded ghosts of all her sex
Rejoice, and cry,—"Here comes a blacker fiend!"
Let her—

360 Cres. Enough, my lord; you've said enough.

This faithless, perjured, hated Cressida,
Shall be no more the subject of your curses:
Some few hours hence, and grief had done your work;
But then your eyes had missed the satisfaction,
Which thus I give you,—thus— [She stabs herself; they both run to her.

Diom. Help! save her, help!

Cres. Stand off, and touch me not, thou traitor Diomede;—
But you, my only Troilus, come near:
Trust me, the wound, which I have given this breast,
Is far less painful than the wound you gave it.
Oh, can you yet believe, that I am true?

Troil. This were too much, even if thou hadst been false!
But oh, thou purest, whitest innocence,—
For such I know thee now, too late I know it!—
May all my curses, and ten thousand more,
Heavier than they, fall back upon my head;
Pelion and Ossa, from the giants' graves
Be torn by some avenging deity,
And hurled at me, a bolder wretch than they,
Who durst invade the skies!

Cres. Hear him not, heavens;
But hear me bless him with my latest breath!
And, since I question not your hard decree,
That doomed my days unfortunate and few,
Add all to him you take away from me;
And I die happy, that he thinks me true.[Dies.

Troil. She's gone for ever, and she blest me dying!
Could she have cursed me worse! she died for me,
And, like a woman, I lament for her.
Distraction pulls me several ways at once:
Here pity calls me to weep out my eyes,
Despair then turns me back upon myself,
And bids me seek no more, but finish here. [Points his Sword to his Breast.
361 Ha, smilest thou, traitor! thou instruct'st me best,
And turn'st my just revenge to punish thee.

Diom. Thy worst, for mine has been beforehand with thee;
I triumph in thy vain credulity,
Which levels thy despairing state to mine;
But yet thy folly, to believe a foe,
Makes thine the sharper and more shameful loss.

Troil. By my few moments of remaining life,
I did not hope for any future joy;
But thou hast given me pleasure ere I die,
To punish such a villain.—Fight apart;[To his Soldiers.
For heaven and hell have marked him out for me,
And I should grudge even his least drop of blood
To any other hand. [Troilus and Diomede fight, and both Parties engage at the same time. The Trojans make the Greeks retire, and Troilus makes Diomede give ground, and hurts him. Trumpets sound. Achilles enters with his Myrmidons, on the backs of the Trojans, who fight in a ring, encompassed round. Troilus, singling Diomede, gets him down, and kills him; and Achilles kills Troilus upon him. All the Trojans die upon the place, Troilus last.

Enter Agamemnon, Menelaus, Ulysses, Nestor, Ajax, and Attendants.

Achil. Our toils are done, and those aspiring walls,
The work of gods, and almost mating heaven,
Must crumble into rubbish on the plain.

Agam. When mighty Hector fell beneath thy sword,
Their old foundations shook; their nodding towers
Threatened from high the amazed inhabitants;
And guardian-gods, for fear, forsook their fanes.

Achil. Patroclus, now be quiet; Hector's dead;
362 And, as a second offering to thy ghost,
Lies Troilus high upon a heap of slain;
And noble Diomede beneath, whose death
This hand of mine revenged.

Ajax. Revenged it basely:
For Troilus fell by multitudes opprest,
And so fell Hector; but 'tis vain to talk.

Ulys. Hail, Agamemnon! truly victor now!
While secret envy, and while open pride,
Among thy factious nobles discord threw;
While public good was urged for private ends,
And those thought patriots, who disturbed it most;
Then, like the headstrong horses of the sun,
That light, which should have cheered the world, consumed it:
Now peaceful order has resumed the reins,
Old Time looks young, and Nature seems renewed.
Then, since from home-bred factions ruin springs,
Let subjects learn obedience to their kings.[Exeunt.



These cruel critics put me into passion;

For, in their lowering looks I read damnation:

You expect a satire, and I seldom fail;

When I'm first beaten, 'tis my part to rail.

You British fools, of the old Trojan stock,

That stand so thick, one cannot miss the flock,

Poets have cause to dread a keeping pit,

When women's cullies come to judge of wit.

As we strew rat's-bane when we vermin fear,

'Twere worth our cost to scatter fool-bane here;

And, after all our judging fops were served,

Dull poets, too, should have a dose reserved;

Such reprobates, as, past all sense of shaming,

Write on, and ne'er are satisfied with damning:

Next, those, to whom the stage does not belong,

Such whose vocation only is—to song;

At most to prologue, when, for want of time,

Poets take in for journey-work in rhime.

But I want curses for those mighty shoals

Of scribbling Chloris's, and Phyllis' fools:

Those oafs should be restrained, during their lives,

From pen and ink, as madmen are from knives.

I could rail on, but 'twere a task as vain,

As preaching truth at Rome, or wit in Spain:

Yet, to huff out our play was worth my trying;

John Lilburn 'scaped his judges by defying:[1]

If guilty, yet I'm sure o' the church's blessing,

By suffering for the plot, without confessing.


  1. Lilburn, the most turbulent, but the boldest and most upright of men, had the merit of defying and resisting the tyranny of the king, of the parliament, and of the protector. He was convicted in the star-chamber, but liberated by the parliament; he was tried on the parliamentary statute for treasons in 1651, and before Cromwell's high court of justice in 1654; and notwithstanding an audacious defence,—which to some has been more perilous than a feeble cause,—he was, in both cases, triumphantly acquitted.
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Ut melius possis fallere, sume togam.


Alterna revisens
Lasit, et in solido rursus fortuna locavit.


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The Spanish Friar, or the Double Discovery, is one of the best and most popular of our poet's dramatic efforts. The plot is, as Johnson remarks, particularly happy, for the coincidence and coalition of the tragic and comic plots. The grounds for this eminent critic's encomium will be found to lie more deep than appears at first sight. It was, indeed, a sufficiently obvious connection, to make the gay Lorenzo an officer of the conquering army, and attached to the person of Torrismond. This expedient could hardly have escaped the invention of the most vulgar playwright, that ever dovetailed tragedy and comedy together. The felicity of Dryden's plot, therefore, does not consist in the ingenuity of his original conception, but in the minutely artificial strokes, by which the reader is perpetually reminded of the dependence of the one part of the play on the other. These are so frequent, and appear so very natural, that the comic plot, instead of diverting our attention from the tragic business, recals it to our mind by constant and unaffected allusion. No great event happens in the higher region of the camp or court, that has not some indirect influence upon the intrigues of Lorenzo and Elvira; and the part which the gallant is called upon to act in the revolution that winds up the tragic interest, while it is highly in character, serves to bring the catastrophe of both parts of the play under the eye of the spectator, at one and the same time. Thus much seemed necessary to explain the felicity of combination, upon which Dryden justly valued himself, and which Johnson sanctioned by his high commendation. But, although artfully conjoined, the different departments of this tragi-comedy are separate subjects of critical remark.

The comic part of the Spanish Friar, as it gives the first title to the play, seems to claim our first attention. Indeed, some precedence is due to it in another point of view; for, though the tragic scenes may be matched in All for Love, Don Sebastian, and else where, the Spanish Friar contains by far the most happy of Dryden's comic effusions. It has, comparatively speaking, this high claim to commendation, that, although the intrigue is licentious, according to the invariable licence of the age, the language is, in general, free from the extreme and disgusting coarseness, which our author too frequently mistook for wit, or was contented to substitute in its stead. The liveliness and even brilliancy of the 368 dialogue, shows that Dryden, from the stores of his imagination, could, when he pleased, command that essential requisite of comedy; and that, if he has seldom succeeded, it was only because he mistook the road, or felt difficulty in travelling it. The character of Dominic is of that broadly ludicrous nature, which was proper to the old comedy. It would be difficult to show an ordinary conception more fully brought out. He is, like Falstaff, a compound of sensuality and talent, finely varied by the professional traits with which it suited the author's purpose to adorn his character. Such an addition was, it is true, more comic than liberal; but Dryden, whose constant dislike to the clerical order glances out in many of his performances, was not likely to be scrupulous, when called upon to pourtray one of their members in his very worst colours. To counterbalance the Friar's scandalous propensities of every sort, and to render him an object of laughter, rather than abhorrence, the author has gifted this reprobate churchman with a large portion of wit; by means of which, and by a ready presence of mind, always indicative of energy, he preserves an ascendence over the other characters, and escapes detection and disgrace, until poetical justice, and the conclusion of the play, called for his punishment. We have a natural indulgence for an amusing libertine; and, I believe, that, as most readers commiserate the disgrace of Falstaff, a few may be found to wish that Dominic's penance had been of a nature more decent and more theatrical than the poet has assigned him[1]. From the dedication, as well as the prologue, it appears that Dryden, however contrary to his sentiments at a future period, was, at present, among those who held up to contempt and execration the character of the Roman catholic priesthood. By one anonymous lampoon, this is ascribed to a temporary desertion of the court party, in resentment for the loss, or discontinuance of his pension. This allowance, during the pressure upon the Exchequer, was, at least, irregularly paid, of which Dryden repeatedly complains, and particularly in a letter to the Earl of Rochester. But the hardship was owing entirely to the poverty of the public purse; and, when the anonymous libeller affirms, that Dryden's pension was withdrawn, on account of his share in the Essay on Satire, he only shows that his veracity 369 is on a level with his poverty[2]. The truth seems to be, that Dryden partook in some degree of the general ferment which the discovery of the Popish Plot had excited; and we may easily suppose him to have done so without any impeachment to his monarchial tenets, since North himself admits, that at the first opening of the plot, the chiefs of the loyal party joined in the cry. Indeed, that mysterious transaction had been investigated by none more warmly than by Danby, the king's favourite minister, and a high favourer of the prerogative. Even when writing Absalom and Achitophel, our author by no means avows an absolute disbelief of the whole plot, while condemning the extraordinary exaggerations, by which it had been rendered the means of much bloodshed and persecution[3]. It seems, therefore, fair to believe, that, without either betraying or disguising his own principles, he chose, as a popular subject for the drama, an attack 370 upon an obnoxious priesthood, whom he, in common with all the nation, believed to have been engaged in the darkest intrigues against the king and government. I am afraid that this task was the more pleasing, from that prejudice against the clergy, of all countries and religions, which, as already noticed, our author displays, in common with other wits of that licentious age[4]. The character of the Spanish Friar was not, however, forgotten, when Dryden became a convert to the Roman Catholic persuasion; and, in many instances, as well as in that just quoted, it was assumed as the means of fixing upon him a charge of inconsistency in politics, and versatility in religion[5].

The tragic part of the "Spanish Friar" has uncommon merit. The opening of the Drama, and the picture of a besieged town in the last extremity, is deeply impressive, while the description of the noise of the night attack, and the gradual manner in which the intelligence of its success is communicated, arrests the attention, and prepares expectation for the appearance of the hero, with all the splendour which ought to attend the principal character in tragedy. The subsequent progress of the plot is liable to a capital objection, from the facility with which the queen, amiable and virtuous, as we are bound to suppose her, consents to the murder of the old dethroned monarch. We question if the operation of any motive, however powerful, could have been pleaded 371 with propriety, in apology for a breach of theatrical decorum, so gross, and so unnatural. But, in fact, the queen is only actuated by a sort of reflected ambition, a desire to secure to her lover a crown, which she thought in danger; but which, according to her own statement, she only valued on his account. This is surely too remote and indirect a motive, to urge a female to so horrid a crime. There is also something vilely cold-hearted, in her attempt to turn the guilt and consequences of her own crime upon Bertran, who, whatever faults he might have to others, was to the queen no otherwise obnoxious, than because the victim of her own inconstancy. The gallant, virtuous, and enthusiastic character of Torrismond, must be allowed, in some measure, to counterbalance that of his mistress, however unhappily he has placed his affections. But the real excellence of these scenes consists less in peculiarity of character, than in the vivacity and power of the language, which, seldom sinking into vulgarity, or rising into bombast, maintains the mixture of force and dignity, best adapted to the expression of tragic passion. Upon the whole, as the comic part of this play is our author's master-piece in comedy, the tragic plot may be ranked with his very best efforts of that kind, whether in "Don Sebastian," or "All for Love."

The "Spanish Friar" appears to have been brought out shortly after Mr Thynne's murder, which is alluded to in the Prologue, probably early in 1681-2. The whimsical caricature, which it presented to the public, in Father Dominic, was received with rapture by the prejudiced spectators, who thought nothing could be exaggerated in the character of a Roman Catholic priest. Yet, the satire was still more severe in the first edition, and afterwards considerably softened[6]. It was, as Dryden himself calls it, a Protestant play; and certainly, as Jeremy Collier somewhere says, was rare Protestant diversion, and much for the credit of the Reformation. Accordingly, the "Spanish Friar" was the only play prohibited by James II. after his accession; an interdict, which may be easily believed no way disagreeable to the author, now a convert to the Roman church. It is very remarkable, that, after the Revolution, it was the first play represented by order of queen Mary, and honoured with her presence; a choice, of which she had abundant reason to repent, as the serious part of the piece gave as much scope for malicious application against herself, as the comic against the religion of her father[7].


  1. Collier remarks the injustice of punishing the agent of Lorenzo's vice, while he was himself brought off with flying colours. He observes, "'Tis not the fault which is corrected, but the priest. The author's discipline is seldom without a bias. He commonly gives the laity the pleasure of an ill action, and the clergy the punishment." View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the Stage, p. 100.
  2. To satire next thy talent was addressed,

    Fell foul on all thy friends among the rest;

    Nay, even thy royal patron was not spared,

    But an obscene, a sauntering wretch declared.

    Thy loyal libel we can still produce,

    Beyond example, and beyond excuse.

    O strange return, to a forgiving king,

    (But the warmed viper wears the greatest sting,)

    For pension lost, and justly without doubt;

    When servants snarl we ought to kick them out.

    They that disdain their benefactor's bread.

    No longer ought by bounty to be fed.

    That lost, the visor changed, you turn about,

    And straight a true-blue protestant crept out.

    The Friar now was writ, and some will say,

    They smell a malcontent through all the play.

    The papist too was damned, unfit for trust,

    Called treacherous, shameless, profligate, unjust,

    And kingly power thought arbitrary lust.

    This lasted till thou didst thy pension gain,

    And that changed both thy morals and thy strain.

    The Laureat, 24th October, 1678.

  3. From hence began that plot, the nation's curse,

    Bad in itself, but represented worse.

    Raised in extremes, and in extremes decryed,

    With oaths affirmed, with dying vows denied;

    Nor weighed nor winnowed by the multitude,

    But swallowed in the mass unchewed and crude.

    Some truth there was, but dashed and bruised with lies,

    To please the fools, and puzzle all the wise.

    Succeeding times did equal folly call.

    Believing nothing, or believing all.

  4. "Thus we see," says Collier, "how hearty these people are in their ill-will; how they attack religion under every form, and pursue the priesthood through all the subdivisions of opinion. Neither Jews nor Heathens, Turk nor Christians, Rome nor Geneva, church nor conventicle, can escape them. They are afraid lest virtue should have any quarters, undisturbed conscience any corner to retire to, or God worshipped in any place." Short View, &c. p. 110.
  5. "I have read somewhere in Mons. Rapin's Reflections sur la Poetique, that a certain Venetian nobleman, Andrea Naugeria by name, was wont every year to sacrifice a Martial to the manes of Catullus: In imitation of this, a celebrated poet, in the preface before the Spanish Friar, is pleased to acquaint the world, that he has indignation enough to burn a Bussy D'Amboys, annually, to the memory of Ben Jonson. Since the modern ceremony, of offering up one author at the altar of another, is likely to advance into a fashion; and having already the authority of two such great men to recommend it, the courteous reader may be pleased to take notice, that the author of the following dialogue is resolved, (God willing) on the festival of the Seven Sleepers, as long as he lives, to sacrifice the Hind and Panther to the memory of Mr Quarels and John Bunyan: Or, if a writer that has notoriously contradicted himself, and espoused the quarrel of two different parties, may be considered under two distinct characters, he designs to deliver up the author of the Hind and Panther, to be lashed severely by, and to beg pardon of, the worthy gentleman that wrote the Spanish Friar, and the Religion Laici." The reason of Mr Bayes' changing his religion. Preface.
  6. "The Revolter," a tragi-comedy, 1687, p. 29.
  7. It is impossible to avoid transcribing the whole account of this representation, with some other curious particulars, contained in a letter from the 372 earl of Nottingham, published by Sir John Dalrymple, from a copy given him by the bishop of Dromore; and also inserted by Mr Malone in his third volume of Dryden's prose works.

    "I am loth to send blank paper by a carrier, but am rather willing to send some of the tattle of the town, than nothing at all; which will at least serve for an hour's chat,—and then convert the scrawl to its proper use.

    "The only day her Majesty gave herself the diversion of a play, and that on which she designed to see another, has furnished the town with discourse for near a month. The choice of the play was THE SPANISH FRIAR, the only play forbid by the late K[ing], Some unhappy expressions, among which those that follow, put her in some disorder, and forced her to hold up her fan, and often look behind her, and call for her palatine and hood, and any thing she could next think of; while those who were in the pit before her, turned their heads over their shoulders, and all in general directed their looks towards her, whenever their fancy led them to make any application of what was said. In one place, where the queen of Arragon is going to church in procession, 'tis said by a spectator, 'Very good; she usurps the throne, keeps the old king in prison, and, at the same time, is praying for a blessing on her army;'—And when said, 'That 'tis observed at Court, who weeps, and who wears black for good king Sancho's death,' 'tis said, 'Who is that, that can flatter a Court like this? Can I sooth tyranny? seem pleas'd to see my Royal Master murthered; his crown usurped; a distaff in the throne?'—And 'What title has this queen, but lawless force; and force must pull her down'—Twenty more things are said, which may be wrested to what they were never designed: but however, the observations then made furnished the town with talk, till something else happened, which gave it much occasion for discourse; for another play being ordered to be acted, the queen came not, being taken up with other diversion. She dined with Mrs Gradens, the famous woman in the hall, that sells fine laces and head-dresses; from thence she went to the Jew's, that sells Indian things; to Mrs Ferguson's, De Vett's, Mrs Harrison's, and other Indian houses; but not to Mrs Potter's, though in her way; which caused Mrs Potter to say, that she might as well have hoped for that honour as others, considering that the whole design of bringing the queen and king was managed at her house, and the consultations held there; so that she might as well have thrown away a little money in raffling there, as well as at the other houses: but it seems that my lord Devonshire has got Mrs Potter to be laundress: she has not much countenance of the queen, her daughter still keeping the Indian house her mother had. The same day the queen went to one Mrs Wise's, a famous woman for telling fortunes, but could not prevail with her to tell anything; though to others she has been very true, and has foretold that king James shall came in again, and the duke of Norfolk shall lose his head: the last, I suppose, will naturally be the consequence of the first. These things, however innocent, have passed the censure of the town: and, besides a private reprimand given, the king gave one in public; saying to the queen, that he heard she dined at a bawdy-house, and desired the next time she went, he might go. She said, she had done nothing but what the late queen had done. He asked her, if she meant to make her, her example. More was said on this occasion than ever was known before; but it was borne with all the submission of a good wife, who leaves all to the direction of the k——, and diverts herself with walking six or seven miles a-day, and looking after her buildings, making of fringes, and such like innocent things; and does not meddle in government, though she has better title to do it than the late queen had."



My Lord,

When I first designed this play, I found, or thought I found, somewhat so moving in the serious part of it, and so pleasant in the comic, as might deserve a more than ordinary care in both; accordingly, I used the best of my endeavour, in the management of two plots, so very different from each other, that it was not perhaps the talent of every writer to have made them of a piece. Neither have I attempted other plays of the 374 same nature, in my opinion, with the same judgment, though with like success. And though many poets may suspect themselves for the fondness and partiality of parents to their youngest children, yet I hope I may stand exempted from this rule, because I know myself too well to be ever satisfied with my own conceptions, which have seldom reached to those ideas that I had within me; and consequently, I may presume to have liberty to judge when I write more or less pardonably, as an ordinary marksman may know certainly when he shoots less wide at what he aims. Besides, the care and pains I have bestowed on this, beyond my other tragi-comedies, may reasonably make the world conclude, that either I can do nothing tolerably, or that this poem is not much amiss. Few good pictures have been finished at one sitting; neither can a true just play, which is to bear the test of ages, be produced at a heat, or by the force of fancy, without the maturity of judgment. For my own part, I have both so just a diffidence of myself, and so great a reverence for my audience, that I dare venture nothing without a strict examination; and am as much ashamed to put a loose indigested play upon the public, as I should be to offer brass money in a payment; for though it should be taken, (as it is too often on the stage) yet it would be found in the second telling; and a judicious reader will discover, in his closet, that trashy stuff, whose glittering deceived him in the action. I have often heard the stationer sighing in his shop, and wishing for those hands to take off his melancholy bargain, which clapped its performance on the stage. In a playhouse, every thing contributes to impose upon the judgment; the lights, the scenes, the habits, and, above all, the grace of action, which is commonly the best where there is the most need of it, 375 surprise the audience, and cast a mist upon their understandings; not unlike the cunning of a juggler, who is always staring us in the face, and over-whelming us with gibberish, only that he may gain the opportunity of making the cleaner conveyance of his trick. But these false beauties of the stage are no more lasting than a rainbow; when the actor ceases to shine upon them, when he gilds them no longer with his reflection, they vanish in a twinkling. I have sometimes wondered, in the reading, what was become of those glaring colours which amazed me in "Bussy D'Amboys" upon the theatre; but when I had taken up what I supposed a fallen star, I found I had been cozened with a jelly[2]; nothing but a cold, dull mass, which glittered no longer than it was shooting; a dwarfish thought, dressed up in gigantic words, repetition in abundance, looseness of expression, and gross hyperboles; the sense of one line expanded prodigiously into ten; and, to sum up all, uncorrect English, and a hideous mingle of false poetry, and true nonsense; or, at best, a scantling of wit, which lay gasping for life, and groaning beneath a heap of rubbish. A famous modern poet used to sacrifice every year a Statius to Virgil's manes[3]; and I have indignation 376 enough to burn a D'AMBOIS annually, to the memory of Jonson[4]. But now, my lord, I am sensible, perhaps too late, that I have gone too far: for, I remember some verses of my own Maximin and Almanzor, which cry vengeance upon me for their extravagance, and which I wish heartily in the same fire with Statius and Chapman. All I can say for those passages, which are, I hope, not many, is, that I knew they were bad enough to please, even when I wrote them; but I repent of them amongst my sins; and, if any of their fellows intrude by chance into my present writings, I draw 377 a stroke over all those Dalilah's of the theatre; and am resolved I will settle myself no reputation by the applause of fools. It is not that I am mortified to all ambition, but I scorn as much to take it from half-witted judges, as I should to raise an estate by cheating of bubbles. Neither do I discommend the lofty style in tragedy, which is naturally pompous and magnificent; but nothing is truly sublime, that is not just and proper. If the antients had judged by the same measure, which a common reader takes, they had concluded Statius to have written higher than Virgil, for,

Quæ super-imposito moles geminata Colosso

378 carries a more thundering kind of sound, than

Tityre, tu patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi:

yet Virgil had all the majesty of a lawful prince, and Statius only the blustering of a tyrant. But when men affect a virtue which they cannot easily reach, they fall into a vice, which bears the nearest resemblance to it. Thus, an injudicious poet, who aims at loftiness, runs easily into the swelling puffy style, because it looks like greatness. I remember, when I was a boy, I thought inimitable Spencer a mean poet, in comparison of Sylvester's "Dubartas," and was wrapt into an ecstasy when I read these lines:

Now, when the winter's keener breath began

To crystalize the Baltic ocean;

To glaze the lakes, to bridle up the floods,

And periwig with snow the bald-pate woods:—[5]

379 I am much deceived if this be not abominable fustian, that is, thoughts and words ill-sorted, and without the least relation to each other; yet I dare not answer for an audience, that they would not clap it on the stage: so little value there is to be given to the common cry, that nothing but madness can please madmen, and the poet must be of a piece with the spectators, to gain a reputation with them. But, as in a room, contrived for state, the height of the roof should bear a proportion to the area; so, in the heightenings of poetry, the strength and vehemence of figures should be suited to the occasion, the subject, and the persons. All beyond this is monstrous: it is out of nature, it is an excrescence, and not a living part of poetry. I had not said thus much, if some young gallants, who pretend to criticism, had not told me, that this tragi-comedy wanted the dignity of style; but, as a man, who is charged with a crime of which he thinks himself innocent, is apt to be too eager in his own defence; so, perhaps, I have vindicated my play with more partiality than I ought, or than such a trifle can deserve. Yet, whatever beauties it may want, it is free at least from the grossness of those faults I mentioned: what credit it has gained upon the stage, I value no farther than in reference to my profit, and the satisfaction I had, in seeing it represented with all the justness and gracefulness of action. But, as it is my interest to please my audience, so it is my ambition to be read: that I am sure is the more lasting and the nobler design: for the propriety of thoughts and words, which are the hidden beauties of a play, are but confusedly judged in the vehemence of action: all things are there beheld, as in a hasty motion, where the objects only glide before the eye, and disappear. The most discerning critic can judge no more of these 380 silent graces in the action, than he who rides post through an unknown country can distinguish the situation of places, and the nature of the soil. The purity of phrase, the clearness of conception and expression, the boldness maintained to majesty, the significancy and sound of words, not strained into bombast, but justly elevated; in short, those very words and thoughts, which cannot be changed, but for the worse, must of necessity escape our transient view upon the theatre; and yet, without all these, a play may take. For, if either the story move us, or the actor help the lameness of it with his performance, or now and then a glittering beam of wit or passion strike through the obscurity of the poem, any of these are sufficient to effect a present liking, but not to fix a lasting admiration; for nothing but truth can long continue; and time is the surest judge of truth. I am not vain enough to think that I have left no faults in this, which that touchstone will not discover; neither, indeed, is it possible to avoid them in a play of this nature. There are evidently two actions in it; but it will be clear to any judicious man, that with half the pains I could have raised a play from either of them; for this time I satisfied my humour, which was to tack two plays together; and to break a rule for the pleasure of variety. The truth is, the audience are grown weary of continued melancholy scenes; and I dare venture to prophecy, that few tragedies, except those in verse, shall succeed in this age, if they are not lightened with a course of mirth; for the feast is too dull and solemn without the fiddles. But how difficult a task this is, will soon be tried; for a several genius is required to either way; and, without both of them, a man, in my opinion, is but half a poet for the stage. Neither is it so trivial an undertaking, to make a 381 tragedy end happily; for it is more difficult to save, than it is to kill. The dagger and the cup of poison are always in a readiness; but to bring the action to the last extremity, and then by probable means to recover all, will require the art and judgement of a writer; and cost him many a pang in the performance.

And now, my lord, I must confess, that what I have written, looks more like a Preface, than a Dedication; and, truly, it was thus far my design, that I might entertain you with somewhat in my own art, which might be more worthy of a noble mind, than the stale exploded trick of fulsome panegyrics. It is difficult to write justly on any thing, but almost impossible in praise. I shall therefore wave so nice a subject; and only tell you, that, in recommending a protestant play to a protestant patron, as I do myself an honour, so I do your noble family a right, who have been always eminent in the support and favour of our religion and liberties. And if the promises of your youth, your education at home, and your experience abroad, deceive me not, the principles you have embraced are such, as will no way degenerate from your ancestors, but refresh their memory in the minds of all true Englishmen, and renew their lustre in your person; which, my lord, is not more the wish, than it is the constant expectation, of

Your lordship's

Most obedient, faithful servant,

John Dryden.


  1. John, Lord Haughton, eldest son of the Earl of Clare. succeeded to his father, was created Marquis of Clare, and died 1711, leaving an only daughter, who married the eldest son of the famous Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford.
  2. See note on Œdipus, p. 151.
  3. Dryden appears to have alluded to the following passage in Strada, though without a very accurate recollection of its contents: "Sane Andreas Naugerius Valerio Martiali acriter infensus, solemne jam habebat in illum aliquanto petulantius jocari. Etenim natali suo, accitis ad geniale epulum amicis, postquam prolixe de poeticæ laudibus super mensam disputaverat; ostensurum se aiebat a cæna, quo tandem modo laudari poesim deceret: Mox aferri jubebat Martialis volumen, (hæc erat mensæ appendix) atque igni proprior factus, illustri conflagratione absumendum flammis imponebat: addebatque eo incendio litare se Musis, Manibusque Virgilij, cujus imitatorem cultoremque prestare se melius haud posset, quam si vilia poetarum capita per undas insecutus ac flammas perpetuo perdidisset. Nec se eo loco tenuit, sed cum Silvas aliquot ab se conscriptas legisset, audissetque Statianu characteri similes videri, iratus sibi, quod a Martiale fugiens alio declinasset a Virgilio, cum primum se recessit domum, in Silvas conjecit ignem." Stradæ Prolusiones, Lib. II. Pro. 5. From this passage, it is obvious, that it was Martial, not Statius, whom Andreas Navagero sacrificed to Virgil, although he burned his own verses when they were accused of a resemblance to the style of the author of the Thebaid. In the same prolusion, Strada quotes the "blustering" line, afterwards censured by Dryden; but erroneously reads,

    Super imposito moles gemmata colosso.

  4. "Bussy D'Ambois," a tragedy, once much applauded, was the favourite production of George Chapman. If Dryden could have exhausted every copy of this bombast performance in one holocaust, the public would have been no great losers, as may be apparent from the following quotations:

    Bussy. I'll sooth his plots, and strew my hate with smiles,
    Till, all at once, the close mines of my heart
    Rise at full state, and rush into his blood.
    I'll bind his arm in silk, and rub his flesh,
    To make the veine swell, that his soule may gush
    Into some kennel, where it loves to lie;
    And policy be flanked with policy.
    Yet shall the feeling centre, where we meet.
    Groan with the weight of my approaching feet.
    I'll make the inspired threshold of his court
    Sweat with the weather of my horrid steps,
    Before I enter; yet, I will appear
    Like calm securitie, befor a ruin.
    A politician must, like lightning, melt
    The very marrow, and not taint the skin;
    His wayes must not be seen through, the superficies
    Of the green centre must not taste his feet,
    When hell is plowed up with the wounding tracts,
    And all his harvest reap't by hellish facts.

    Montsurry, when he discovers that the Friar had acted as confident in the intrigue betwixt his lady and d'Ambois, thus elegantly expresses the common idea of the world being turned upside down.

    Now, is it true, earth moves, and heaven stands still;

    Even heaven itself must see and suffer ill.

    The too huge bias of the world hath swayed

    Her back-part upwards, and with that she braves

    This hemisphere, that long her month hath mocked.

    The gravity of her religious face,

    Now grown too weighty with her sacrilege,

    And here discerned sophisticate enough,

    Turns to the antipodes, and all the forms

    That here allusions have impressed in her,

    Have eaten through her back, and now all see

    How she is riveted with hypocrisie.

    Yet, I observe, from the prologue to the edition of 1641, that the part of D'Ambois was considered as a high test of a players' talents:

    —Field is gone,

    Whose action first did give it name; and one

    Who came the neatest to him, is denied,

    By his grey beard, to shew the height and pride

    Of d'Ambois' youth and braverie. Yet to hold

    Our title still a-foot, and not grow cold,

    By giving't o'er, a third man with his best

    Of care and paines defends our interest.

    As Richard he was liked, nor do we fear,

    In personating d'Ambois, heile appear

    To faint, or goe lesse, so your free consent,

    As heretofore, give him encouragement.

    I believe the successor of Field, in this once favourite character, was Hart. The piece was revived after the Restoration with great success.

  5. Dryden has elsewhere ridiculed this absurd passage. The original has "periwig with wool."


Now, luck for us, and a kind hearty pit;

For he, who pleases, never fails of wit:

Honour is yours;

And you, like kings at city-treats, bestow it;

The writer kneels, and is bid rise a poet;

But you are fickle sovereigns, to our sorrow;

You dub to-day, and hang a man to-morrow:

You cry the same sense up, and down again,

Just like brass-money once a year in Spain:

Take you in the mood, whate'er base metal come,

You coin as fast as groats at Birmingham:

Though 'tis no more like sense, in antient plays,

Than Rome's religion like St Peter's days.

In short, so swift your judgments turn and wind,

You cast our fleetest wits a mile behind.

'Twere well your judgments but in plays did range,

But e'en your follies and debauches change

With such a whirl, the poets of our age

Are tired, and cannot score them on the stage;

Unless each vice in short-hand they indict,

Even as notch'd prentices whole sermons write[1].

The heavy Hollanders no vices know,

But what they used a hundred years ago;

Like honest plants, where they were stuck, they grow.

They cheat, but still from cheating sires they come;

They drink, but they were christened first in mum.

Their patrimonial sloth the Spaniards keep,

And Philip first taught Philip how to sleep.

The French and we still change; but here's the curse,

They change for better, and we change for worse;

They take up our old trade of conquering,

And we are taking theirs, to dance and sing:

Our fathers did, for change, to France repair,

And they, for change, will try our English air;

383 As children, when they throw one toy away,

Strait a more foolish gewgaw comes in play:

So we, grown penitent, on serious thinking,

Leave whoring, and devoutly fall to drinking.

Scowering the watch grows out-of-fashion wit:

Now we set up for tilting in the pit,

Where 'tis agreed by bullies chicken-hearted,

To fright the ladies first, and then be parted.

A fair attempt has twice or thrice been made,

To hire night murderers, and make death a trade[2].

When murder's out, what vice can we advance?

Unless the new-found poisoning trick of France:

And, when their art of rats-bane we have got,

By way of thanks, we'll send them o'er our plot.


  1. It was anciently a part of the apprentice's duty, not only to carry the family bible to church, but to take notes of the sermon for the edification of his master or mistress.
  2. Alluding apparently to the assassination of Thomas Thynne, esq. in Pall-Mall, by the hired bravoes of count Coningsmark.


Torrismond, Son of Sancho, the deposed King, believing himself Son of Raymond.
Bertran, a Prince of the blood.
Alphonso, a general Officer, Brother to Raymond.
Lorenzo, his Son.
Raymond, a Nobleman, supposed Father of Torrismond.
Pedro, an Officer.
Gomez, an old Usurer.
Dominick, the Spanish Friar.

Leonora, Queen of Arragon.
Teresa, Woman to Leonora.
Elvira, Wife to Gomez.







Alphonso and Pedro meet, with Soldiers on each Side, Drums, &c.

Alph. Stand: give the word.

Ped. The queen of Arragon.

Alph. Pedro?—how goes the night?

Ped. She wears apace.

Alph. Then welcome day-light; we shall have warm work on't.
The Moor will 'gage
His utmost forces on this next assault,
To win a queen and kingdom.

Ped. Pox on this lion-way of wooing, though.
Is the queen stirring yet?

386 Alph. She has not been abed, but in her chapel
All night devoutly watched, and bribed the saints
With vows for her deliverance.

Ped. O, Alphonso!
I fear they come too late. Her father's crimes
Sit heavy on her, and weigh down her prayers.
A crown usurped; a lawful king deposed,
In bondage held, debarred the common light;
His children murdered, and his friends destroyed,—
What can we less expect than what we feel,
And what we fear will follow?

Alph. Heaven avert it!

Ped. Then heaven must not be heaven. Judge the event
By what has passed. The usurper joyed not long
His ill-got crown:—'tis true, he died in peace,—
Unriddle that, ye powers!—but left his daughter,
Our present queen, engaged upon his death-bed,
To marry with young Bertran, whose cursed father
Had helped to make him great.
Hence, you well know, this fatal war arose;
Because the Moor Abdalla, with whose troops
The usurper gained the kingdom, was refused;
And, as an infidel, his love despised.

Alph. Well, we are soldiers, Pedro; and, like lawyers,
Plead for our pay.

Ped. A good cause would do well though:
It gives my sword an edge. You see this Bertran
Has now three times been beaten by the Moors:
What hope we have, is in young Torrismond,
Your brother's son.

Alph. He's a successful warrior,
And has the soldiers' hearts: upon the skirts
Of Arragon our squandered troops he rallies.
Our watchmen from the towers with longing eyes
Expect his swift arrival.

387 Ped. It must be swift, or it will come too late.

Alph. No more.—Duke Bertran.

Enter Bertran attended.

Bert. Relieve the sentries that have watched all night.
[To Ped.] Now, colonel, have you disposed your men,
That you stand idle here?

Ped. Mine are drawn off
To take a short repose.

Bert. Short let it be:
For, from the Moorish camp, this hour and more,
There has been heard a distant humming noise,
Like bees disturbed, and arming in their hives.
What courage in our soldiers? Speak! What hope?

Ped. As much as when physicians shake their heads,
And bid their dying patient think of heaven.
Our walls are thinly manned; our best men slain;
The rest, an heartless number, spent with watching,
And harassed out with duty.

Bert. Good-night all, then.

Ped. Nay, for my part, 'tis but a single life
I have to lose. I'll plant my colours down
In the mid-breach, and by them fix my foot;
Say a short soldier's prayer, to spare the trouble
Of my new friends above; and then expect
The next fair bullet.

Alph. Never was known a night of such distraction;
Noise so confused and dreadful; jostling crowds.
That run, and know not whither; torches gliding,
Like meteors, by each other in the streets.

Ped. I met a reverend, fat, old gouty friar,—
With a paunch swoll'n so high, his double chin
Might rest upon it; a true son of the church;
Fresh-coloured, well thriven on his trade,—
388 Come puffing with his greasy bald-pate choir,
And fumbling o'er his beads in such an agony,
He told them false, for fear. About his neck
There hung a wench, the label of his function,
Whom he shook off, i'faith, methought, unkindly.
It seems the holy stallion durst not score
Another sin, before he left the world.

Enter a Captain.

Capt. To arms, my lord, to arms!
From the Moors' camp the noise grows louder still:
Rattling of armour, trumpets, drums, and ataballes;
And sometimes peals of shouts that rend the heavens,
Like victory: then groans again, and howlings,
Like those of vanquished men; but every echo
Goes fainter off, and dies in distant sounds.

Bert. Some false attack: expect on t'other side.
One to the gunners on St Jago's tower; bid them, for shame,
Level their cannon lower: On my soul
They are all corrupted with the gold of Barbary,
To carry over, and not hurt the Moor.

Enter a second Captain.

2 Capt. My lord, here's fresh intelligence arrived.
Our army, led by valiant Torrismond,
Is now in hot engagement with the Moors;
'Tis said, within their trenches.

Bert. I think all fortune is reserved for him!—
He might have sent us word though;
And then we could have favoured his attempt
With sallies from the town.

Alph. It could not be:
We were so close blocked up, that none could peep
Upon the walls and live. But yet 'tis time.

Bert. No, 'tis too late; I will not hazard it:
On pain of death, let no man dare to sally.

389 Ped. Oh envy, envy, how it works within him![Aside.
How now? what means this show?

Alph. 'Tis a procession.
The queen is going to the great cathedral,
To pray for our success against the Moors.

Ped. Very good: she usurps the throne, keeps the old king in prison, and, at the same time, is praying for a blessing. Oh religion and roguery, how they go together!
[A Procession of Priests and Choristers in White, with Tapers, followed by the Queen and Ladies, goes over the Stage: the Choristers singing,

Look down, ye blessed above, look down,

Behold our weeping matrons' tears,

Behold our tender virgins' fears,

And with success our armies crown.

Look down, ye blessed above, look down:

Oh! save us, save as, and our state restore;

For pity, pity, pity, we implore:

For pity, pity, pity, we implore. [The Procession goes off; and shout within. Then

Enter Lorenzo, who kneels to Alphonso.

Bert. [To Alph.] A joyful cry; and see your son Lorenzo. Good news, kind heaven!

Alph. [To Lor.]
O welcome, welcome! is the general safe?
How near our army? when shall we be succoured?
Or, are we succoured? are the Moors removed?
Answer these questions first, and then a thousand more;
Answer them all together.

Lor. Yes, when I have a thousand tongues, I will.
390 The general's well; his army too is safe,
As victory can make them. The Moors' king
Is safe enough, I warrant him, for one.
At dawn of day our general cleft his pate,
Spite of his woollen night-cap: a slight wound;
Perhaps he may recover.

Alph. Thou reviv'st me.

Ped. By my computation now, the victory was gained before the procession was made for it; and yet it will go hard but the priests will make a miracle of it.

Lor. Yes, faith; we came like bold intruding guests,
And took them unprepared to give us welcome.
Their scouts we killed, then found their body sleeping;
And as they lay confused, we stumbled o'er them,
And took what joint came next, arms, heads, or legs,
Somewhat indecently. But when men want light,
They make but bungling work.

Bert. I'll to the queen,
And bear the news.

Ped. That's young Lorenzo's duty.

Bert. I'll spare his trouble.—
This Torrismond begins to grow too fast;
He must be mine, or ruined.[Aside, and Exit.

Lor. Pedro a word:—[whisper.]

Alph. How swift he shot away! I find it stung him,
In spite of his dissembling.
[To Lorenzo.] How many of the enemy are slain?

Lor. Troth, sir, we were in haste, and could not stay
To score the men we killed; but there they lie:
Best send our women out to take the tale;
There's circumcision in abundance for them. [Turns to Pedro again.

391 Alph. How far did you pursue them?

Lor. Some few miles.—
[To Pedro] Good store of harlots, say you, and dog-cheap?
Pedro, they must be had, and speedily;
I've kept a tedious fast.[Whisper again.

Alph. When will he make his entry? he deserves
Such triumphs as were given by ancient Rome:
Ha, boy, what say'st thou?

Lor. As you say, sir, that Rome was very ancient.
[To Pedro.] I leave the choice to you; fair, black, tall, low,
Let her but have a nose; and you may tell her,
I am rich in jewels, rings, and bobbing pearls,
Plucked from Moors' ears.

Alph. Lorenzo.

Lor. Somewhat busy
About affairs relating to the public.—
A seasonable girl, just in the nick now—[To Pedro.
[Trumpets within.

Ped. I hear the general's trumpet. Stand and mark
How he will be received; I fear, but coldly.
There hung a cloud, methought, on Bertran's brow.

Lor. Then look to see a storm on Torrismond's;
Looks fright not men. The general has seen Moors
With as bad faces; no dispraise to Bertran's.

Ped. 'Twas rumoured in the camp, he loves the queen.

Lor. He drinks her health devoutly.

Alph. That may breed bad blood betwixt him and Bertran.

Ped. Yes, in private.
But Bertran has been taught the arts of court,
To gild a face with smiles, and leer a man to ruin,
O here they come.—

392 Enter Torrismond and Officers on one Side, Bertran attended on the other; they embrace, Bertran bowing low.

Just as I prophesied.—

Lor. Death and hell, he laughs at him!—in his face too.

Ped. O you mistake him; 'twas an humble grin,
The fawning joy of courtiers and of dogs.

Lor. Here are nothing but lies to be expected: I'll even go lose myself in some blind alley, and try if any courteous damsel will think me worth the finding.
[Aside, and Exit.

Alph. Now he begins to open.

Bert. Your country rescued, and your queen relieved,—
A glorious conquest, noble Torrismond!
The people rend the skies with loud applause,
And heaven can hear no other name but yours.
The thronging crowds press on you as you pass,
And with their eager joy make triumph slow.

Torr. My lord, I have no taste
Of popular applause; the noisy praise
Of giddy crowds, as changeable as winds;
Still vehement, and still without a cause;
Servant to chance, and blowing in the tide
Of swoln success; but veering with its ebb,
It leaves the channel dry.

Bert. So young a stoick!

Torr. You wrong me, if you think I'll sell one drop
Within these veins for pageants; but, let honour
Call for my blood, and sluice it into streams:
Turn fortune loose again to my pursuit,
And let me hunt her through embattled foes,
In dusty plains, amidst the cannons' roar,
There will I be the first.

Bert. I'll try him farther.—[Aside.
393 Suppose the assembled states of Arragon
Decree a statue to you, thus inscribed:
"To Torrismond, who freed his native land."

Alph. [To Ped.]
Mark how he sounds and fathoms him,
To find the shallows of his soul!

Bert. The just applause
Of god-like senates, is the stamp of virtue,
Which makes it pass unquestioned through the world.
These honours you deserve; nor shall my suffrage
Be last to fix them on you. If refused,
You brand us all with black ingratitude:
For times to come shall say,—Our Spain, like Rome,
Neglects her champions after noble acts,
And lets their laurels wither on their heads.

Torr. A statue, for a battle blindly fought,
Where darkness and surprise made conquest cheap!
Where virtue borrowed but the arms of chance,
And struck a random blow!—'Twas fortune's work,
And fortune take the praise.

Bert. Yet happiness
Is the first fame. Virtue without success
Is a fair picture shewn by an ill light;
But lucky men are favourites of heaven:
And whom should kings esteem above heaven's darlings?
The praises of a young and beauteous queen
Shall crown your glorious acts.

Ped. [To Alph.] There sprung the mine.

Torr. The queen! that were a happiness too great!
Named you the queen, my lord?

Bert. Yes: you have seen her, and you must confess,
A praise, a smile, a look from her is worth
The shouts of thousand amphitheatres.
She, she shall praise you, for I can oblige her:
To-morrow will deliver all her charms
394 Into my arms, and make her mine for ever.—
Why stand you mute?

Torr. Alas! I cannot speak.

Bert. Not speak, my lord! How were your thoughts employed?

Torr. Nor can I think, or I am lost in thought.

Bert. Thought of the queen, perhaps?

Torr. Why, if it were,
Heaven may be thought on, though too high to climb.

Bert. O, now I find where your ambition drives!
You ought not to think of her.

Torr. So I say too,
I ought not; madmen ought not to be mad;
But who can help his frenzy?

Bert. Fond young man!
The wings of your ambition must be clipt:
Your shame-faced virtue shunned the people's praise,
And senate's honours: But 'tis well we know
What price you hold yourself at. You have fought
With some success, and that has sealed your pardon.

Torr. Pardon from thee!—O, give me patience, heaven!—
Thrice vanquished Bertran, if thou dar'st, look out
Upon yon slaughtered host, that field of blood;
There seal my pardon, where thy fame was lost.

Ped. He's ruined, past redemption!

Alph. [To Torr.] Learn respect
To the first prince of the blood.

Bert. O, let him rave!
I'll not contend with madmen.

Torr. I have done:
I know, 'twas madness to declare this truth:
And yet, 'twere baseness to deny my love.
'Tis true, my hopes are vanishing as clouds;
Lighter than children's bubbles blown by winds:
My merit's but the rash result of chance;
395 My birth unequal; all the stars against me:
Power, promise, choice, the living and the dead;
Mankind my foes; and only love to friend:
But such a love, kept at such awful distance,
As, what it loudly dares to tell a rival,
Shall fear to whisper there. Queens may be loved,
And so may gods; else why are altars raised?
Why shines the sun, but that he may be viewed?
But, oh! when he's too bright, if then we gaze,
'Tis but to weep, and close our eyes in darkness.[Exit.

Bert. 'Tis well; the goddess shall be told, she shall,
Of her new worshipper.[Exit.

Ped. So, here's fine work!
He has supplied his only foe with arms
For his destruction. Old Penelope's tale
Inverted; he has unravelled all by day,
That he has done by night. What, planet struck!

Alph. I wish I were; to be past sense of this!

Ped. Would I had but a lease of life so long,
As 'till my flesh and blood rebelled this way,
Against our sovereign lady;—mad for a queen?
With a globe in one hand, and a sceptre in t'other?
A very pretty moppet!

Alph. Then to declare his madness to his rival!
His father absent on an embassy;
Himself a stranger almost; wholly friendless!
A torrent, rolling down a precipice,
Is easier to be stopt, than is his ruin.

Ped. 'Tis fruitless to complain; haste to the court;
Improve your interest there for pardon from the queen.

Alph. Weak remedies;
But all must be attempted.[Exit.



Enter Lorenzo.

Lor. Well, I am the most unlucky rogue! I have been ranging over half the town; but have sprung no game. Our women are worse infidels than the Moors: I told them I was one of the knight-errants, that delivered them from ravishment; and I think in my conscience, that is their quarrel to me.

Ped. Is this a time for fooling? Your cousin is run honourably mad in love with her majesty; he is split upon a rock, and you, who are in chase of harlots, are sinking in the main ocean. I think, the devil's in the family.

Lor. [Solus.] My cousin ruined, says he! hum, not that I wish my kinsman's ruin; that were unchristian: but, if the general is ruined, I am heir; there's comfort for a Christian! Money I have; I thank the honest Moors for it; but I want a mistress. I am willing to be lewd; but the tempter is wanting on his part.

Enter Elvira, veiled.

Elv. Stranger! Cavalier!—will you not hear me? you Moor-killer, you Matador!—

Lor. Meaning me, madam?

Elv. Face about, man! you a soldier, and afraid of the enemy!

Lor. I must confess, I did not expect to have been charged first: I see souls will not be lost for want of diligence in this devil's reign. [Aside.] Now, Madam Cynthia, behind a cloud, your will and pleasure with me?

Elv. You have the appearance of a cavalier; and if you are as deserving as you seem, perhaps you may not repent of your adventure. If a lady like 397 you well enough to hold discourse with you at first sight; you are gentleman enough, I hope, to help her out with an apology, and to lay the blame on stars, or destiny, or what you please, to excuse the frailty of a woman?

Lor. O, I love an easy woman! there's such ado, to crack a thick-shelled mistress; we break our teeth, and find no kernel. 'Tis generous in you, to take pity on a stranger, and not to suffer him to fall into ill hands at his first arrival.

Elv. You may have a better opinion of me than I deserve; you have not seen me yet; and, therefore, I am confident you are heart-whole.

Lor. Not absolutely slain, I must confess; but I am drawing on apace: you have a dangerous tongue in your head, I can tell you that; and if your eyes prove of as killing metal, there is but one way with me. Let me see you, for the safeguard of my honour; 'tis but decent the cannon should be drawn down upon me before I yield.

Elv. What a terrible similitude have you made, colonel, to shew that you are inclining to the wars? I could answer you with another in my profession: Suppose you were in want of money, would you not be glad to take a sum upon content in a sealed bag, without peeping?—but, however, I will not stand with you for a sample.
[Lifts up her veil.

Lor. What eyes were there! how keen their glances! you do well to keep them veiled; they are too sharp to be trusted out of the scabbard.

Elv. Perhaps now, you may accuse my forwardness; but this day of jubilee is the only time of freedom I have had; and there is nothing so extravagant as a prisoner, when he gets loose a little, and is immediately to return into his fetters.

Lor. To confess freely to you, madam, I was never in love with less than your whole sex before; but now I have seen you, I am in the direct road 398 of languishing and sighing; and, if love goes on as it begins, for aught I know, by to-morrow morning you may hear of me in rhyme and sonnet. I tell you truly, I do not like these symptoms in myself. Perhaps I may go shufflingly at first; for I was never before walked in trammels; yet, I shall drudge and moil at constancy, till I have worn off the hitching in my pace.

Elv. Oh, sir, there are arts to reclaim the wildest men, as there are to make spaniels fetch and carry: chide them often, and feed them seldom. Now I know your temper, you may thank yourself, if you are kept to hard meat. You are in for years, if you make love to me.

Lor. I hate a formal obligation with an Anno Domini at end on't; there may be an evil meaning in the word years, called matrimony.

Elv. I can easily rid you of that fear: I wish I could rid myself as easily of the bondage.

Lor. Then you are married?

Elv. If a covetous, and a jealous, and an old man be a husband.

Lor. Three as good qualities for my purpose as I could wish: now love be praised!

Enter Elvira's Duenna, and whispers to her.

Elv. [Aside.] If I get not home before my husband, I shall be ruined. [To him.] I dare not stay to tell you where. Farewell!—Could I once more—

Lor. This is unconscionable dealing; to be made a slave, and know not whose livery I wear. Who have we yonder?

Enter Gomez.

By that shambling in his walk, it should be my rich 399 old banker, Gomez, whom I knew at Barcelona: As I live 'tis he!—What, old Mammon here!
[To Gomez.

Gom. How! young Beelzebub?

Lor. What devil has set his claws in thy haunches, and brought thee hither to Saragossa? Sure he meant a farther journey with thee.

Gom. I always remove before the enemy: When the Moors are ready to besiege one town, I shift quarters to the next; I keep as far from the infidels as I can.

Lor. That's but a hair's breadth at farthest.

Gom. Well, you have got a famous victory; all true subjects are overjoyed at it: There are bonfires decreed; an the times had not been hard, my billet should have burnt too.

Lor. I dare say for thee, thou hast such a respect for a single billet, thou wouldst almost have thrown on thyself to save it; thou art for saving every thing but thy soul.

Gom. Well, well, you'll not believe me generous, 'till I carry you to the tavern, and crack half a pint with you at my own charges.

Lor. No; I'll keep thee from hanging thyself for such an extravagance; and, instead of it, thou shalt do me a mere verbal courtesy. I have just now seen a most incomparable young lady.

Gom. Whereabouts did you see this most incomparable young lady?—My mind misgives me plaguily.

Lor. Here, man, just before this corner-house: Pray heaven, it prove no bawdy-house.

Gom. [Aside.] Pray heaven, he does not make it one!

Lor. What dost thou mutter to thyself? Hast thou any thing to say against the honesty of that house?

400 Gom. Not I, colonel; the walls are very honest stone, and the timber very honest wood, for aught I know; but for the woman, I cannot say, till I know her better: Describe her person, and, if she live in this quarter, I may give you tidings of her.

Lor. She is of a middle stature, dark-coloured hair, the most bewitching leer with her eyes, the most roguish cast! her cheeks are dimpled when she smiles, and her smiles would tempt an hermit.

Gom. [Aside.] I am dead, I am buried, I am damned.—Go on, colonel; have you no other marks of her?

Lor. Thou hast all her marks; but she has a husband, a jealous, covetous, old hunks: Speak! canst thou tell me news of her?

Gom. Yes; this news, colonel, that you have seen your last of her.

Lor. If thou help'st me not to the knowledge of her, thou art a circumcised Jew.

Gom. Circumcise me no more than I circumcise you, colonel Hernando: Once more, you have seen your last of her.

Lor. [Aside.] I am glad he knows me only by that name of Hernando, by which I went at Barcelona; now he can tell no tales of me to my father.—[To him.] Come, thou wer't ever good-natured, when thou couldst get by it—Look here, rogue; 'tis of the right damning colour: Thou art not proof against gold, sure!—Do not I know thee for a covetous—

Gom. Jealous old hunks? those were the marks of your mistress's husband, as I remember, colonel.

Lor. Oh the devil! What a rogue in understanding was I, not to find him out sooner![Aside.

Gom. Do, do, look sillily, good colonel; 'tis a decent melancholy after an absolute defeat.

Lor. Faith, not for that, clear Gomez; but—

401 Gom. But—no pumping, my dear colonel.

Lor. Hang pumping! I was thinking a little upon a point of gratitude. We two have been long acquaintance; I know thy merits, and can make some interest;—Go to; thou wert born to authority; I'll make thee Alcaide, Mayor of Saragossa.

Gom. Satisfy yourself; you shall not make me what you think, colonel.

Lor. Faith, but I will; thou hast the face of a magistrate already.

Gom. And you would provide me with a magistrate's head to my magistrate's face; I thank you, colonel.

Lor. Come, thou art so suspicious upon an idle story! That woman I saw, I mean that little, crooked, ugly woman,—for t'other was a lie,—is no more thy wife,—As I'll go home with thee, and satisfy thee immediately, my dear friend.

Gom. I shall not put you to that trouble; no, not so much as a single visit; not so much as an embassy by a civil old woman, nor a serenade of twinkledum twinkledum under my windows; nay, I will advise you, out of my tenderness to your person, that you walk not near yon corner-house by night; for, to my certain knowledge, there are blunderbusses planted in every loop-hole, that go off constantly of their own accord, at the squeaking of a fiddle, and the thrumming of a guitar.

Lor. Art thou so obstinate? Then I denounce open war against thee; I'll demolish thy citadel by force; or, at least, I'll bring my whole regiment upon thee; my thousand red locusts, that shall devour thee in free quarters. Farewell, wrought night-cap.
[Exit Lorenzo.

Gom. Farewell, Buff. Free quarters for a regiment of red-coat locusts? I hope to see them all in the Red-Sea first! But oh, this Jezabel of mine! I'll 402 get a physician that shall prescribe her an ounce of camphire every morning, for her breakfast, to abate incontinency. She shall never peep abroad, no, not to church for confession; and, for never going, she shall be condemned for a heretic. She shall have stripes by Troy weight, and sustenance by drachms and scruples: Nay, I'll have a fasting almanack, printed on purpose for her use, in which
No Carnival nor Christmas shall appear,
But lents and ember-weeks shall fill the year.[Exit.

SCENE I.—The Queen's Antechamber.

Enter Alphonso and Pedro.

Alph. When saw you my Lorenzo?

Ped. I had a glimpse of him; but he shot by me,
Like a young hound upon a burning scent;
He's gone a harlot-hunting.

Alph. His foreign breeding might have taught him better.

Ped. 'Tis that has taught him this.
What learn our youth abroad, but to refine
The homely vices of their native land?
Give me an honest home-spun country clown
Of our own growth; his dulness is but plain,
But theirs embroidered; they are sent out fools,
But come back fops.

Alph. You know what reasons urged me;
But now, I have accomplished my designs,
I should be glad he knew them. His wild riots
Disturb my soul; but they would sit more close,
Did not the threatened downfal of our house,
403 In Torrismond, o'erwhelm my private ills.

Enter Bertran, attended, and whispering with a Courtier, aside.

Bert. I would not have her think, he dared to love her;
If he presume to own it, she's so proud,
He tempts his certain ruin.

Alph. [To Ped.] Mark how disdainfully he throws his eyes on us.
Our old imprisoned king wore no such looks.

Ped. O! would the general shake off his dotage to the usurping queen,
And re-enthrone good venerable Sancho,
I'll undertake, should Bertran sound his trumpets,
And Torrismond but whistle through his fingers,
He draws his army off.

Alph. I told him so;
But had an answer louder than a storm.

Ped. Now, plague and pox on his smock-loyalty!
I hate to see a brave bold fellow sotted,
Made sour and senseless, turned to whey by love;
A drivelling hero, fit for a romance.—
O, here he comes! what will their greetings be?

Enter Torrismond, attended; Bertran and he meet and jostle.

Bert. Make way, my lords, and let the pageant pass.

Tor. I make my way, where'er I see my foe;
But you, my lord, are good at a retreat.
I have no Moors behind me.

Bert. Death and hell!
Dare to speak thus when you come out again.

Tor. Dare to provoke me thus, insulting man!

404 Enter Teresa.

Ter. My lords, you are too loud so near the queen;
You, Torrismond, have much offended her.
'Tis her command you instantly appear,
To answer your demeanour to the prince. [Exit Teresa; Bertran, with his company, follow her.

Tor. O, Pedro, O, Alphonso, pity me!
A grove of pikes,
Whose polished steel from far severely shines,
Are not so dreadful as this beauteous queen.

Alph. Call up your courage timely to your aid,
And, like a lion, pressed upon the toils,
Leap on your hunters. Speak your actions boldly;
There is a time when modest virtue is
Allowed to praise itself.

Ped. Heart! you were hot enough, too hot, but now;
Your fury then boiled upward to a foam;
But since this message came, you sink and settle,
As if cold water had been poured upon you.

Tor. Alas! thou know'st not what it is to love!
When we behold an angel, not to fear,
Is to be impudent: No, I am resolved,
Like a led victim, to my death I'll go,
And, dying, bless the hand, that gave the blow.[Exeunt.

The Scene draws, and shews the Queen sitting in state; Bertran standing next to her; then Teresa, &c. She rises, and comes to the front.

Leonora. [To Bert.]
I blame not you, my lord; my father's will,
Your own deserts, and all my people's voice,
405 Have placed you in the view of sovereign power.
But I would learn the cause, why Torrismond,
Within my palace-walls, within my hearing,
Almost within my sight,—affronts a prince,
Who shortly shall command him.

Bert. He thinks you owe him more than you can pay;
And looks as he were lord of human kind.

Enter Torrismond, Alphonso, Pedro. Torrismond bows low, then looks earnestly on the Queen, and keeps at Distance.

Teresa. Madam, the general.—

Leo. Let me view him well.
My father sent him early to the frontiers;
I have not often seen him; if I did,
He passed unmarked by my unheeding eyes:—
But where's the fierceness, the disdainful pride,
The haughty port, the fiery arrogance?—
By all these marks, this is not, sure, the man.

Bert. Yet this is he, who filled your court with tumult,
Whose fierce demeanour, and whose insolence,
The patience of a god could not support.

Leo. Name his offence, my lord, and he shall have
Immediate punishment.

Bert. 'Tis of so high a nature, should I speak it,
That my presumption then would equal his.

Leo. Some one among you speak.

Ped. Now my tongue itches.[Aside.

Leo. All dumb! On your allegiance, Torrismond,
By all your hopes, I do command you, speak.

Tor. [Kneeling.]
O seek not to convince me of a crime,
Which I can ne'er repent, nor can you pardon;
Or, if you needs will know it, think, oh think,
That he who, thus commanded, dares to speak,
406 Unless commanded, would have died in silence.
But you adjured me, madam, by my hopes!
Hopes I have none, for I am all despair;
Friends I have none, for friendship follows favour;
Desert I've none, for what I did was duty:—
Oh that it were!—that it were duty all!

Leo. Why do you pause? proceed.

Tor. As one, condemned to leap a precipice,
Who sees before his eyes the depth below,
Stops short, and looks about for some kind shrub
To break his dreadful fall.—so I—
But whither am I going? If to death,
He looks so lovely sweet in beauty's pomp,
He draws me to his dart.—I dare no more.

Bert. He's mad, beyond the cure of hellebore.
Whips, darkness, dungeons, for this insolence.

Tor. Mad as I am, yet I know when to bear.

Leo. You're both too bold.—You, Torrismond, withdraw,
I'll teach you all what's owing to your queen.—
For you, my lord,—
The priest to-morrow was to join our hands;
I'll try if I can live a day without you.—
So both of you depart, and live in peace.

Alph. Who knows which way she points?
Doubling and turning like an hunted hare;—
Find out the meaning of her mind who can.

Pedr. Who ever found a woman's? backward and forward,
The whole sex in every word. In my conscience, when she was getting, her mother was thinking of a riddle.
[Exeunt all but the Queen and Teresa.

Leo. Haste, my Teresa, haste, and call him back.

Ter. Whom, madam?

Leo. Him.

Ter. Prince Bertran?

407 Leo. Torrismond;
There is no other he.

Ter. [Aside.] A rising sun,
Or I am much deceived.[Exit Teresa.

Leo. A change so swift what heart did ever feel!
It rushed upon me like a mighty stream,
And bore me, in a moment, far from shore.
I loved away myself; in one short hour
Already am I gone an age of passion.
Was it his youth, his valour, or success?
These might, perhaps, be found in other men:
'Twas that respect, that awful homage, paid me;
That fearful love, which trembled in his eyes,
And with a silent earthquake shook his soul.
But, when he spoke, what tender words he said!
So softly, that, like flakes of feathered snow,
They melted as they fell.—

Enter Teresa with Torrismond.

Ter. He waits your pleasure.

Leo. 'Tis well; retire.—Oh heavens, that I must speak
So distant from my heart!—[Aside.
[To Tor.] How now! What boldness brings you back again?

Tor. I heard 'twas your command.

Leo. A fond mistake,
To credit so unlikely a command;
And you return, full of the same presumption,
To affront me with your love!

Tor. If 'tis presumption, for a wretch condemned,
To throw himself beneath his judge's feet:
A boldness more than this I never knew;
Or, if I did, 'twas only to your foes.

Leo. You would insinuate your past services,
And those, I grant, were great; but you confess
A fault committed since, that cancels all.

408 Tor. And who could dare to disavow his crime,
When that, for which he is accused and seized,
He bears about him still! My eyes confess it;
My every action speaks my heart aloud:
But, oh, the madness of my high attempt
Speaks louder yet! and all together cry,—
I love and I despair.

Leo. Have you not heard,
My father, with his dying voice, bequeathed
My crown and me to Bertran? And dare you,
A private man, presume to love a queen?

Tor. That, that's the wound! I see you set so high,
As no desert or services can reach.—
Good heavens, why gave you me a monarch's soul,
And crusted it with base plebeian clay?
Why gave you me desires of such extent,
And such a span to grasp them? Sure, my lot
By some o'er-hasty angel was misplaced
In fate's eternal volume!—But I rave,
And, like a giddy bird in dead of night,
Fly round the fire that scorches me to death.

Leo. Yet, Torrismond, you've not so ill deserved,
But I may give you counsel for your cure.

Tor. I cannot, nay, I wish not to be cured.

Leo. [Aside.] Nor I, heaven knows!

Tor. There is a pleasure, sure,
In being mad, which none but madmen know!
Let me indulge it; let me gaze for ever!
And, since you are too great to be beloved,
Be greater, greater yet, and be adored.

Leo. These are the words which I must only hear
From Bertran's mouth; they should displease from you:
I say they should; but women are so vain,
To like the love, though they despise the lover.
Yet, that I may not send you from my sight
In absolute despair,—I pity you.

409 Tor. Am I then pitied! I have lived enough!—
Death, take me in this moment of my joy;
But, when my soul is plunged in long oblivion,
Spare this one thought! let me remember pity,
And, so deceived, think all my life was blessed.

Leo. What if I add a little to my alms?
If that would help, I could cast in a tear
To your misfortunes.

Tor. A tear! You have o'erbid all my past sufferings,
And all my future too!

Leo. Were I no queen—
Or you of royal blood—

Tor. What have I lost by my forefathers' fault!
Why was not I the twentieth by descent
From a long restive race of droning kings?
Love! what a poor omnipotence hast thou,
When gold and titles buy thee?

Leo. [Sighs.] Oh, my torture!—

Tor. Might I presume,—but, oh, I dare not hope
That sigh was added to your alms for me!

Leo. I give you leave to guess, and not forbid you
To make the best construction for your love:
Be secret and discreet; these fairy favours
Are lost, when not concealed[1].—provoke not Bertran.—
Retire: I must no more but this,—Hope, Torrismond.[Exit.

Tor. She bids me hope; oh heavens, she pities me!
And pity still foreruns approaching love,
410 As lightning does the thunder! Tune your harps,
Ye angels, to that sound; and thou, my heart,
Make room to entertain thy flowing joy.
Hence, all my griefs and every anxious care;
One word, and one kind glance, can cure despair.[Exit.

SCENE II.—A Chamber. A Table and Wine set out.

Enter Lorenzo.

Lor. This may hit; 'tis more than barely possible; for friars have free admittance into every house. This jacobin, whom I have sent to, is her confessor; and who can suspect a man of such reverence for a pimp? I'll try for once; I'll bribe him high; for commonly none love money better than they, who have made a vow of poverty.

Enter Servant.

Serv. There's a huge, fat, religious gentleman coming up, sir. He says he's but a friar, but he's big enough to be a pope; his gills are as rosy as a turkey cock's; his great belly walks in state before him, like an harbinger; and his gouty legs come limping after it: Never was such a ton of devotion seen.

Lor. Bring him in, and vanish.[Exit Servant.

Enter Father Dominick.

Lor. Welcome, father.

Dom. Peace be here: I thought I had been sent for to a dying man; to have fitted him for another world.

Lor. No, faith, father, I was never for taking such long journeys. Repose yourself, I beseech you, 411 sir, if those spindle legs of yours will carry you to the next chair.

Dom. I am old, I am infirm, I must confess, with fasting.

Lor. 'Tis a sign by your wan complexion, and your thin jowls, father. Come, to our better acquaintance:—here's a sovereign remedy for old age and sorrow.

Dom. The looks of it are indeed alluring: I'll do you reason.[Drinks.

Lor. Is it to your palate, father?

Dom. Second thoughts, they say, are best: I'll consider of it once again. [Drinks.] It has a most delicious flavour with it. Gad forgive me, I have forgotten to drink your health, Son, I am not used to be so unmannerly.
[Drinks again.

Lor. No, I'll be sworn, by what I see of you, you are not:—To the bottom;—I warrant him a true church-man.—Now, father, to our business: 'tis agreeable to your calling; I do intend to do an act of charity.

Dom. And I love to hear of charity; 'tis a comfortable subject.

Lor. Being in the late battle, in great hazard of my life, I recommended my person to good Saint Dominick.

Dom. You could not have pitched upon a better; he's a sure card; I never knew him fail his votaries.

Lor. Troth, I also made bold to strike up a bargain with him, that, if I escaped with life and plunder, I would present some brother of his order with part of the booty taken from the infidels, to be employed in charitable uses.

Dom. There you hit him; Saint Dominick loves 412 charity exceedingly; that argument never fails with him.

Lor. The spoils were mighty; and I scorn to wrong him of a farthing. To make short my story; I inquired among the jacobins for an almoner, and the general fame has pointed out your reverence as the worthiest man:—here are fifty good pieces in this purse.

Dom. How, fifty pieces? 'tis too much, too much in conscience.

Lor. Here, take them, father.

Dom. No, in troth, I dare not; do not tempt me to break my vow of poverty.

Lor. If you are modest, I must force you; for I am strongest.

Dom. Nay, if you compel me, there's no contending; but, will you set your strength against a decrepit, poor, old man? [Takes the Purse.] As I said, 'tis too great a bounty; but Saint Dominick shall owe you another scape: I'll put him in mind of you.

Lor. If you please, father, we will not trouble him 'till the next battle. But you may do me a greater kindness, by conveying my prayers to a female saint.

Dom. A female saint! good now, good now, how your devotions jump with mine! I always loved the female saints.

Lor. I mean, a female, mortal, married-woman-saint: Look upon the superscription of this note; you know Don Gomez's wife.
[Gives him a Letter.

Dom. Who? Donna Elvira? I think I have some reason; I am her ghostly father.

Lor. I have some business of importance with her, which I have communicated in this paper; but her husband is so horribly given to be jealous,—

Dom. Ho, jealous? he's the very quintessence of 413 jealousy; he keeps no male creature in his house; and from abroad he lets no man come near her.

Lor. Excepting you, father.

Dom. Me, I grant you; I am her director and her guide in spiritual affairs: But he has his humours with me too; for t'other day he called me false apostle.

Lor. Did he so? that reflects upon you all; on my word, father, that touches your copy-hold. If you would do a meritorious action, you might revenge the church's quarrel.—My letter, father,—

Dom. Well, so far as a letter, I will take upon me; for what can I refuse to a man so charitably given?

Lor. If you bring an answer back, that purse in your hand has a twin-brother, as like him as ever he can look; there are fifty pieces lie dormant in it, for more charities.

Dom. That must not be; not a farthing more, upon my priesthood.—But what may be the purport and meaning of this letter? that, I confess, a little troubles me.

Lor. No harm, I warrant you.

Dom. Well, you are a charitable man; and I'll take your word: my comfort is, I know not the contents; and so far I am blameless. But an answer you shall have; though not for the sake of your fifty pieces more: I have sworn not to take them; they shall not be altogether fifty. Your mistress—forgive me, that I should call her your mistress, I meant Elvira,—lives but at next door: I'll visit her immediately; but not a word more of the nine-and-forty pieces.

Lor. Nay, I'll wait on you down stairs.—Fifty pounds for the postage of a letter! to send by the church is certainly the dearest road in Christendom.


SCENE III.—A Chamber.

Enter Gomez and Elvira.

Gom. Henceforth I banish flesh and wine: I'll have none stirring within these walls these twelve months.

Elv. I care not; the sooner I am starved, the sooner I am rid of wedlock. I shall learn the knack to fast o' days; you have used me to fasting nights already.

Gom. How the gipsey answers me! Oh, 'tis a most notorious hilding.

Elv. [Crying.] But was ever poor innocent creature so hardly dealt with, for a little harmless chat?

Gom. Oh, the impudence of this wicked sex! Lascivious dialogues are innocent with you!

Elv. Was it such a crime to inquire how the battle passed?

Gom. But that was not the business, gentlewoman: you were not asking news of a battle passed; you were engaging for a skirmish that was to come.

Elv. An honest woman would be glad to hear, that her honour was safe, and her enemies were slain.

Gom. [In her tone.] And to ask, if he were wounded in your defence; and, in case he were, to offer yourself to be his chirurgeon;—then, you did not describe your husband to him, for a covetous, jealous, rich, old hunks.

Elv. No, I need not; he describes himself sufficiently: but, in what dream did I do this?

Gom. You walked in your sleep, with your eyes broad open, at noon-day; and dreamt you were talking to the foresaid purpose with one Colonel Hernando—

415 Elv. Who, dear husband, who?

Gom. What the devil have I said?—You would have farther information, would you?

Elv. No; but my dear, little, old man, tell me now, that I may avoid him for your sake.

Gom. Get you up into your chamber, cockatrice; and there immure yourself; be confined, I say, during our royal pleasure. But, first, down on your marrowbones, upon your allegiance, and make an acknowledgement of your offences; for I will have ample satisfaction.
[Pulls her down.

Elv. I have done you no injury, and therefore I'll make you no submission: but I'll complain to my ghostly father.

Gom. Ay, there's your remedy; when you receive condign punishment, you run with open mouth to your confessor; that parcel of holy guts and garbadge: he must chuckle you and moan you; but I'll rid my hands of his ghostly authority one day, [Enter Dominick.] and make him know he's the son of a—[Sees him.] So;—no sooner conjure, but the devil's in the circle.

Dom. Son of a what, Don Gomez?

Gom. Why, a son of a church; I hope there's no harm in that, father?

Dom. I will lay up your words for you, till time shall serve; and to-morrow I enjoin you to fast, for penance.

Gom. There's no harm in that; she shall fast too: fasting saves money.[Aside.

Dom. [To Elvira.] What was the reason that I found you upon your knees, in that unseemly posture?

Gom. O horrible! to find a woman upon her knees, he says, is an unseemly posture; there's a priest for you!

416 Elv. [To Dom.] I wish, father, you would give me an opportunity of entertaining you in private: I have somewhat upon my spirits that presses me exceedingly.

Dom. This goes well: [Aside.] Gomez, stand you at a distance,—farther yet,—stand out of ear shot;—I have somewhat to say to your wife in private.

Gom. Was ever man thus priest-ridden? would the steeple of his church were in his belly: I am sure there's room for it.

Elv. I am ashamed to acknowledge my infirmities; but you have been always an indulgent father, and therefore I will venture to—and yet I dare not!—

Dom. Nay, if you are bashful;—if you keep your wound from the knowledge of your surgeon,—

Elv. You know my husband is a man in years; but he's my husband, and therefore I shall be silent; but his humours are more intolerable than his age: he's grown so froward, so covetous, and so jealous, that he has turned my heart quite from him; and, if I durst confess it, has forced me to cast my affections on another man.

Dom. Good:—hold, hold; I meant abominable.—Pray heaven this may be my colonel![Aside.

Elv. I have seen this man, father, and have encouraged his addresses; he's a young gentleman, a soldier, of a most winning carriage: and what his courtship may produce at last, I know not; but I am afraid of my own frailty.

Dom. 'Tis he, for certain;—she has saved the credit of my function, by speaking first; now must I take gravity upon me.

Gom. This whispering bodes me no good, for certain; but he has me so plaguily under the lash, that I dare not interrupt him.

417 Dom. Daughter, daughter, do you remember your matrimonial vow?

Elv. Yes, to my sorrow, father, I do remember it; a miserable woman it has made me: but you know, father, a marriage-vow is but a thing of course, which all women take when they would get a husband.

Dom. A vow is a very solemn thing; and 'tis good to keep it: but, notwithstanding, it may be broken upon some occasions. Have you striven with all your might against this frailty?

Elv. Yes, I have striven; but I found it was against the stream. Love, you know, father, is a great vow-maker; but he's a greater vow-breaker.

Dom. 'Tis your duty to strive always; but, notwithstanding, when we have done our utmost, it extenuates the sin.

Gom. I can hold no longer.—Now, gentlewoman, you are confessing your enormities; I know it, by that hypocritical downcast look:—enjoin her to sit bare upon a bed of nettles, father; you can do no less, in conscience.

Dom. Hold your peace; are you growing malapert? will you force me to make use of my authority? your wife's a well disposed and a virtuous lady; I say it, In verbo sacerdotis.

Elv. I know not what to do, father; I find myself in a most desperate condition; and so is the colonel, for love of me.

Dom. The colonel, say you! I wish it be not the same young gentleman I know. 'Tis a gallant young man, I must confess, worthy of any lady's love in Christendom,—in a lawful way, I mean: of such a charming behaviour, so bewitching to a woman's eye, and, furthermore, so charitably given; by all good tokens, this must be my colonel Hernando.

418 Elv. Ay, and my colonel too, father:—I am overjoyed!—and are you then acquainted with him?

Dom. Acquainted with him! why, he haunts me up and down; and, I am afraid, it is for love of you; for he pressed a letter upon me, within this hour, to deliver to you. I confess I received it, lest he should send it by some other; but with full resolution never to put it into your hands.

Elv. Oh, dear father, let me have it, or I shall die!

Gom. Whispering still! A pox of your close committee! I'll listen, I'm resolved.[Steals nearer.

Dom. Nay, if you are obstinately bent to see it, use your discretion; but, for my part, I wash my hands of it.—What makes you listening there? get farther off; I preach not to thee, thou wicked eaves dropper.

Elv. I'll kneel down, father, as if I were taking absolution, if you'll but please to stand before me.

Dom. At your peril be it then. I have told you the ill consequences; et liberavi animam meam. Your reputation is in danger, to say nothing of your soul. Notwithstanding, when the spiritual means have been applied, and fail, in that case the carnal may be used. You are a tender child, you are, and must not be put into despair; your heart is as soft and melting as your hand.
[He strokes her face, takes her by the hand, and gives the letter.

Gom. Hold, hold, father, you go beyond your commission; palming is always held foul play amongst gamesters.

Dom. Thus good intentions are misconstrued by wicked men; you will never be warned till you are excommunicated.

Gom. Ah, devil on him; there's his hold! If there were no more in excommunication than the 419 church's censure, a wise man would lick his conscience whole with a wet finger; but, if I am excommunicated, I am outlawed, and then there is no calling in my money.

Elv. [Rising.] I have read the note, father, and will send him an answer immediately; for I know his lodgings by his letter.

Dom. I understand it not, for my part; but I wish your intentions be honest. Remember, that adultery, though it be a silent sin, yet it is a crying sin also. Nevertheless, if you believe absolutely he will die, unless you pity him; to save a man's life is a point of charity; and actions of charity do alleviate, as I may say, and take off from the mortality of the sin. Farewell, daughter.—Gomez, cherish your virtuous wife; and thereupon I give you my benediction.

Gom. Stay; I'll conduct you to the door,—that I may be sure you steal nothing by the way. Friars wear not their long sleeves for nothing.—Oh, 'tis a Judas Iscariot.
[Exit after the Friar.

Elv. This friar is a comfortable man! He will understand nothing of the business, and yet does it all.
Pray, wives and virgins, at your time of need,
For a true guide, of my good father's breed.[Exit.

SCENE I.—The Street.

Enter Lorenzo in a Friars Habit, meeting Dominick.

Lor. Father Dominick, father Dominick; why in such haste, man?

420 Dom. It should seem, a brother of our order.

Lor. No, faith, I am only your brother in iniquity; my holiness, like yours, is mere outside.

Dom. What! my noble colonel in metamorphosis! On what occasion are you transformed?

Lor. Love, almighty love; that, which turned Jupiter into a town-bull, has transformed me into a friar. I have had a letter from Elvira, in answer to that I sent by you.

Dom. You see I have delivered my message faithfully; I am a friar of honour, where I am engaged.

Lor. O, I understand your hint; the other fifty pieces are ready to be condemned to charity.

Dom. But this habit, son! this habit!

Lor. It is a habit, that, in all ages, has been friendly to fornication: you have begun the design in this clothing, and I'll try to accomplish it. The husband is absent, that evil counsellor is removed and the sovereign is graciously disposed to hear my grievances.

Dom. Go to, go to; I find good counsel is but thrown away upon you. Fare you well, fare you well, son! Ah—

Lor. How! will you turn recreant at the last cast? You must along to countenance my undertaking: we are at the door, man.

Dom. Well, I have thought on't, and I will not go.

Lor. You may stay, father, but no fifty pounds without it; that was only promised in the bond: "But the condition of this obligation is such, that if the above-named father, father Dominick, do not well and faithfully perform—"

Dom. Now I better think on't, I will bear you company; for the reverence of my presence may be a curb to your exorbitancies.

Lor. Lead up your myrmidons, and enter.[Exeunt.


SCENE II.—Elvira's Chamber.

Enter Elvira.

Elv. He'll come, that's certain; young appetites are sharp, and seldom need twice bidding to such a banquet. Well, if I prove frail,—as I hope I shall not till I have compassed my design,—never woman had such a husband to provoke her, such a lover to allure her, or such a confessor to absolve her. Of what am I afraid, then? not my conscience, that's safe enough; my ghostly father has given it a dose of church-opium, to lull it. Well, for soothing sin, I'll say that for him, he's a chaplain for any court in Christendom.

Enter Lorenzo and Dominick.

O, father Dominick, what news?—How, a companion with you! What game have you in hand, that you hunt in couples?

Lor. [Lifting up his Hood.] I'll shew you that immediately.

Elv. O, my love!

Lor. My life!

Elv. My soul![They embrace.

Dom. I am taken on the sudden with a grievous swimming in my head, and such a mist before my eyes, that I can neither hear nor see.

Elv. Stay, and I'll fetch you some comfortable water.

Dom. No, no; nothing but the open air will do me good. I'll take a turn in your garden; but remember that I trust you both, and do not wrong my good opinion of you.
[Exit Dominick.

Elv. This is certainly the dust of gold which you have thrown in the good man's eyes, that on the 422 sudden he cannot see; for my mind misgives me, this sickness of his is but apocryphal.

Lor. 'Tis no qualm of conscience, I'll be sworn. You see, madam, it is interest governs all the world. He preaches against sin; why? because he gets by it: He holds his tongue; why? because so much more is bidden for his silence.

Elv. And so much for the friar.

Lor. Oh, those eyes of yours reproach me justly, that I neglect the subject which brought me hither.

Elv. Do you consider the hazard I have run to see you here? if you do, methinks it should inform you, that I love not at a common rate.

Lor. Nay, if you talk of considering, let us consider why we are alone. Do you think the friar left us together to tell beads? Love is a kind of penurious god, very niggardly of his opportunities: he must be watched like a hard-hearted treasurer; for he bolts out on the sudden, and, if you take him not in the nick, he vanishes in a twinkling.

Elv. Why do you make such haste to have done loving me? You men are all like watches, wound up for striking twelve immediately; but after you are satisfied, the very next that follows, is the solitary sound of a single—one!

Lor. How, madam! do you invite me to a feast, and then preach abstinence?

Elv. No, I invite you to a feast where the dishes are served up in order: you are for making a hasty meal, and for chopping up your entertainment, like a hungry clown. Trust my management, good colonel, and call not for your desert too soon: believe me, that which comes last, as it is the sweetest, so it cloys the soonest.

Lor. I perceive, madam, by your holding me at this distance, that there is somewhat you expect 423 from me: what am I to undertake, or suffer, ere I can be happy?

Elv. I must first be satisfied, that you love me.

Lor. By all that's holy! by these dear eyes!—

Elv. Spare your oaths and protestations; I know you gallants of the time have a mint at your tongue's end to coin them.

Lor. You know you cannot marry me; but, by heavens, if you were in a condition—

Elv. Then you would not be so prodigal of your promises, but have the fear of matrimony before your eyes. In few words, if you love me, as you profess, deliver me from this bondage, take me out of Egypt, and I'll wander with you as far as earth, and seas, and love, can carry us.

Lor. I never was out at a mad frolic, though this is the maddest I ever undertook. Have with you, lady mine; I take you at your word; and if you are for a merry jaunt, I'll try for once who can foot it farthest. There are hedges in summer, and barns in winter, to be found; I with my knapsack, and you with your bottle at your back: we will leave honour to madmen, and riches to knaves; and travel till we come to' the ridge of the world, and then drop together into the next.

Elv. Give me your hand, and strike a bargain. [He takes her hand, and kisses it.

Lor. In sign and token whereof, the parties interchangeably, and so forth.—When should I be weary of sealing upon this soft wax?

Elv. O heavens! I hear my husband's voice.

Enter Gomez.

Gom. Where are you, gentlewoman? there's something in the wind, I'm sure, because your woman would have run up stairs before me; but I have secured her below, with a gag in her chaps.—Now, 424 in the devil's name, what makes this friar here again? I do not like these frequent conjunctions of the flesh and spirit; they are boding.

Elv. Go hence, good father; my husband, you see, is in an ill humour, and I would not have you witness of his folly.
[Lorenzo going.

Gom. [Running to the door.] By your reverence's favour, hold a little; I must examine you something better, before you go.—Heyday! who have we here? Father Dominick is shrunk in the wetting two yards and a half about the belly. What are become of those two timber logs, that he used to wear for legs, that stood strutting like the two black posts before a door? I am afraid some bad body has been setting him over a fire in a great cauldron, and boiled him down half the quantity, for a recipe. This is no father Dominick, no huge overgrown abbey-lubber; this is but a diminutive sucking friar. As sure as a gun, now, father Dominick has been spawning this young slender anti-christ.

Elv. He will be found, there's no prevention.[Aside.

Gom. Why does he not speak? What! is the friar possessed with a dumb devil? if he be, I shall make bold to conjure him.

Elv. He is but a novice in his order, and is enjoined silence for a penance.

Gom. A novice, quotha! you would make a novice of me, too, if you could. But what was his business here? answer me that, gentlewoman, answer me that.

Elv. What should it be, but to give me some spiritual instructions.

Gom. Very good; and you are like to edify much from a dumb preacher. This will not pass, I must examine the contents of him a little closer.—O thou 425 confessor, confess who thou art, or thou art no friar of this world!—[He comes to Lorenzo, who struggles with him; his Habit flies open, and discovers a Sword; Gomez starts back.]—As I live, this is a manifest member of the church militant.

Lor. [Aside.] I am discovered; now, impudence be my refuge.—Yes, faith, 'tis I, honest Gomez; thou seest I use thee like a friend; this is a familiar visit.

Gom. What! colonel Hernando turned a friar! who could have suspected you of so much godliness?

Lor. Even as thou seest, I make bold here.

Gom. A very frank manner of proceeding; but I do not wonder at your visit, after so friendly an invitation as I made you. Marry, I hope you will excuse the blunderbusses for not being in readiness to salute you; but let me know your hour, and all shall be mended another time.

Lor. Hang it, I hate such ripping up of old unkindness: I was upon the frolic this evening, and came to visit thee in masquerade.

Gom. Very likely; and not finding me at home, you were forced to toy away an hour with my wife, or so.

Lor. Right; thou speak'st my very soul.

Gom. Why, am not I a friend, then, to help thee out? you would have been fumbling half an hour for this excuse. But, as I remember, you promised to storm my citadel, and bring your regiment of red locusts upon me for free quarters: I find, colonel, by your habit, there are black locusts in the world, as well as red.

Elv. When comes my share of the reckoning to be called for?[Aside.

Lor. Give me thy hand; thou art the honestest, 426 kind man!—I was resolved I would not out of thy house till I had seen thee.

Gom. No, in my conscience, if I had staid abroad till midnight. But, colonel, you and I shall talk in another tone hereafter; I mean, in cold friendship, at a bar before a judge, by the way of plaintiff and defendant. Your excuses want some grains to make them current: Hum, and ha, will not do the business.—There's a modest lady of your acquaintance, she has so much grace to make none at all, but silently to confess the power of dame Nature working in her body to youthful appetite.

Elv. How he got in I know not, unless it were by virtue of his habit.

Gom. Ay, ay, the virtues of that habit are known abundantly.

Elv. I could not hinder his entrance, for he took me unprovided.

Gom. To resist him.

Elv. I'm sure he has not been here above a quarter of an hour.

Gom. And a quarter of that time would have served the turn. O thou epitome of thy virtuous sex! Madam Messalina the second, retire to thy apartment: I have an assignation there to make with thee.

Elv. I am all obedience.[Exit Elvira.

Lor. I find, Gomez, you are not the man I thought you. We may meet before we come to the bar, we may; and our differences may be decided by other weapons than by lawyers' tongues. In the mean time, no ill treatment of your wife, as you hope to die a natural death, and go to hell in your bed. Bilbo is the word, remember that and tremble.—
[He's going out.

427 Enter Dominick.

Dom. Where is this naughty couple? where are you, in the name of goodness? My mind misgave me, and I durst trust you no longer with yourselves: Here will be fine work, I'm afraid, at your next confession.

Lor. [Aside.] The devil is punctual, I see; he has paid me the shame he owed me; and now the friar is coming in for his part too.

Dom. [Seeing Gom.] Bless my eyes! what do I see?

Gom. Why, you see a cuckold of this honest gentleman's making; I thank him for his pains.

Dom. I confess, I am astonished!

Gom. What, at a cuckoldom of your own contrivance! your head-piece, and his limbs, have done my business. Nay, do not look so strangely; remember your own words,—Here will be fine work at your next confession. What naughty couple were they whom you durst not trust together any longer?—when the hypocritical rogue had trusted them a full quarter of an hour;—and, by the way, horns will sprout in less time than mushrooms.

Dom. Beware how you accuse one of my order upon light suspicions. The naughty couple, that I meant, were your wife and you, whom I left together with great animosities on both sides. Now, that was the occasion,—mark me, Gomez,—that I thought it convenient to return again, and not to trust your enraged spirits too long together. You might have broken out into revilings and matrimonial warfare, which are sins; and new sins make work for new confessions.

Lor. Well said, i'faith, friar; thou art come off thyself, but poor I am left in limbo.[Aside.

428 Gom. Angle in some other ford, good father, you shall catch no gudgeons here. Look upon the prisoner at the bar, friar, and inform the court what you know concerning him; he is arraigned here by the name of colonel Hernando.

Dom. What colonel do you mean, Gomez? I see no man but a reverend brother of our order, whose profession I honour, but whose person I know not, as I hope for paradise.

Gom. No, you are not acquainted with him, the more's the pity; you do not know him, under this disguise, for the greatest cuckold-maker in all Spain.

Dom. O impudence! O rogue! O villain! Nay, if he be such a man, my righteous spirit rises at him! Does he put on holy garments, for a cover-shame of lewdness?

Gom. Yes, and he's in the right on't, father: when a swinging sin is to be committed, nothing will cover it so close as a friar's hood; for there the devil plays at bo-peep,—puts out his horns to do a mischief, and then shrinks them back for safety, like a snail into her shell.

Lor. It's best marching off, while I can retreat with honour. There's no trusting this friar's conscience; he has renounced me already more heartily than e'er he did the devil, and is in a fair way to prosecute me for putting on these holy robes. This is the old church-trick; the clergy is ever at the bottom of the plot, but they are wise enough to slip their own necks out of the collar, and leave the laity to be fairly hanged for it.
[Aside and exit.

Gom. Follow your leader, friar; your colonel is trooped off, but he had not gone so easily, if I durst have trusted you in the house behind me. Gather up your gouty legs, I say, and rid my house of that huge body of divinity.

429 Dom. I expect some judgment should fall upon you, for your want of reverence to your spiritual director: Slander, covetousness, and jealousy, will weigh thee down.

Gom. Put pride, hypocrisy, and gluttony into your scale, father, and you shall weigh against me: Nay, an sins come to be divided once, the clergy puts in for nine parts, and scarce leaves the laity a tithe.

Dom. How dar'st thou reproach the tribe of Levi?

Gom. Marry, because you make us laymen of the tribe of Issachar. You make asses of us, to bear your burthens. When we are young, you put panniers upon us with your church-discipline; and when we are grown up, you load us with a wife: after that, you procure for other men, and then you load our wives too. A fine phrase you have amongst you to draw us into marriage, you call it—settling of a man; just as when a fellow has got a sound knock upon the head, they say—he's settled: Marriage is a settling-blow indeed. They say every thing in the world is good for something; as a toad, to suck up the venom of the earth; but I never knew what a friar was good for, till your pimping shewed me.

Dom. Thou shalt answer for this, thou slanderer; thy offences be upon thy head.

Gom. I believe there are some offences there of your planting. [Exit Dom.] Lord, Lord, that men should have sense enough to set snares in their warrens to catch polecats and foxes, and yet—
Want wit a priest-trap at their door to lay,
For holy vermin that in houses prey.[Exit Gom.

SCENE III.—A Bed Chamber.

Leonora, and Teresa.

Ter. You are not what you were, since yesterday;
430 Your food forsakes you, and your needful rest;
You pine, you languish, love to be alone;
Think much, speak little, and, in speaking, sigh:
When you see Torrismond, you are unquiet;
But, when you see him not, you are in pain.

Leo. O let them never love, who never tried!
They brought a paper to me to be signed;
Thinking on him, I quite forgot my name,
And writ, for Leonora, Torrismond.
I went to bed, and to myself I thought
That I would think on Torrismond no more;
Then shut my eyes, but could not shut out him.
I turned, and tried each corner of my bed,
To find if sleep were there, but sleep was lost.
Fev'rish, for want of rest, I rose, and walked,
And, by the moon-shine, to the windows went;
There, thinking to exclude him from my thoughts,
I cast my eyes upon the neighbouring fields,
And, ere I was aware, sighed to myself,—
There fought my Torrismond.

Ter. What hinders you to take the man you love?
The people will be glad, the soldiers shout,
And Bertran, though repining, will be awed.

Leo. I fear to try new love,
As boys to venture on the unknown ice,
That crackles underneath them while they slide.
Oh, how shall I describe this growing ill!
Betwixt my doubt and love, methinks I stand
Altering, like one that waits an ague fit;
And yet, would this were all!

Ter. What fear you more?

Leo. I am ashamed to say, 'tis but a fancy.
At break of day, when dreams, they say, are true,
A drowzy slumber, rather than a sleep,
Seized on my senses, with long watching worn:
Methought I stood on a wide river's bank,
Which I must needs o'erpass, but knew not how;
431 When, on a sudden, Torrismond appeared,
Gave me his hand, and led me lightly o'er,
Leaping and bounding on the billows' heads,
'Till safely we had reached the farther shore.

Ter. This dream portends some ill which you shall 'scape.
Would you see fairer visions, take this night
Your Torrismond within your arms to sleep;
And, to that end, invent some apt pretence
To break with Bertran: 'twould be better yet,
Could you provoke him to give you the occasion,
And then, to throw him off.

Enter Bertran at a distance.

Leo. My stars have sent him;
For, see, he comes. How gloomily he looks!
If he, as I suspect, have found my love,
His jealousy will furnish him with fury,
And me with means, to part.

Bert. [Aside.] Shall I upbraid her? Shall I call her false?
If she be false, 'tis what she most desires.
My genius whispers me,—Be cautious, Bertran!
Thou walkest as on a narrow mountain's neck,
A dreadful height, with scanty room to tread.

Leo. What business have you at the court, my lord?

Bert. What business, madam?

Leo. Yes, my lord, what business?
'Tis somewhat, sure, of weighty consequence,
That brings you here so often, and unsent for.

Bert. 'Tis what I feared; her words are cold enough,
To freeze a man to death. [Aside.]—May I presume
To speak, and to complain?

Leo. They, who complain to princes, think them tame:
432 What bull dares bellow, or what sheep dares bleat,
Within the lion's den?

Bert. Yet men are suffered to put heaven in mind
Of promised blessings; for they then are debts.

Leo. My lord, heaven knows its own time when to give;
But you, it seems, charge me with breach of faith!

Bert. I hope I need not, madam;
But as, when men in sickness lingering lie,
They count the tedious hours by months and years,—
So, every day deferred, to dying lovers,
Is a whole age of pain!

Leo. What if I ne'er consent to make you mine?
My father's promise ties me not to time;
And bonds, without a date, they say, are void.

Bert. Far be it from me to believe you bound;
Love is the freest motion of our minds:
O could you see into my secret soul,
There might you read your own dominion doubled,
Both as a queen and mistress. If you leave me,
Know I can die, but dare not be displeased.

Leo. Sure you affect stupidity, my lord;
Or give me cause to think, that, when you lost
Three battles to the Moors, you coldly stood
As unconcerned as now.

Bert. I did my best;
Fate was not in my power.

Leo. And, with the like tame gravity, you saw
A raw young warrior take your baffled work,
And end it at a blow.

Bert. I humbly take my leave; but they, who blast
Your good opinion of me, may have cause
To know, I am no coward.[He is going.

Leo. Bertran, stay.
[Aside.] This may produce some dismal consequence
To him, whom dearer than my life I love.
433 [To him.] Have I not managed my contrivance well,
To try your love, and make you doubt of mine?

Bert. Then, was it but a trial?
Methinks I start as from some dreadful dream,
And often ask myself if yet I wake.—
This turn's too quick to be without design;
I'll sound the bottom of't, ere I believe.[Aside.

Leo. I find your love, and would reward it too,
But anxious fears solicit my weak breast.
I fear my people's faith;
That hot-mouthed beast, that bears against the curb,
Hard to be broken even by lawful kings,
But harder by usurpers.
Judge then, my lord, with all these cares opprest,
If I can think of love.

Bert. Believe me, madam,
These jealousies, however large they spread,
Have but one root, the old imprisoned king;
Whose lenity first pleased the gaping crowd;
But when long tried, and found supinely good,
Like Æsop's Log, they leapt upon his back.
Your father knew them well; and, when he mounted,
He reined them strongly, and he spurred them hard:
And, but he durst not do it all at once,
He had not left alive this patient saint,
This anvil of affronts, but sent him hence
To hold a peaceful branch of palm above,
And hymn it in the quire.

Leo. You've hit upon the very string, which, touched.
Echoes the sound, and jars within my soul;—
There lies my grief.

Bert. So long as there's a head,
Thither will all the mounting spirits fly;
Lop that but off, and then—

Leo. My virtue shrinks from such an horrid act.

Bert. This 'tis to have a virtue out of season.
434 Mercy is good, a very good dull virtue;
But kings mistake its timing, and are mild,
When manly courage bids them be severe:
Better be cruel once, than anxious ever.
Remove this threatening danger from your crown,
And then securely take the man you love.

Leo. [Walking aside.]
Ha! let me think of that:—The man I love?
'Tis true, this murder is the only means,
That can secure my throne to Torrismond:
Nay, more, this execution, done by Bertran,
Makes him the object of the people's hate.

Bert. The more she thinks, 'twill work the stronger in her. [Aside.

Leo. How eloquent is mischief to persuade!
Few are so wicked, as to take delight
In crimes unprofitable, nor do I:
If then I break divine and human laws,
No bribe but love could gain so bad a cause.[Aside.

Bert. You answer nothing.

Leo. 'Tis of deep concernment,
And I a woman, ignorant and weak:
I leave it all to you; think, what you do,
You do for him I love.

Bert. For him she loves?
She named not me; that may be Torrismond,
Whom she has thrice in private seen this day;
Then I am fairly caught in my own snare.
I'll think again. [Aside.]—Madam, it shall be done;
And mine be all the blame.[Exit.

Leo. O, that it were! I would not do this crime,
And yet, like heaven, permit it to be done.
The priesthood grossly cheat us with free-will:
Will to do what—but what heaven first decreed?
Our actions then are neither good nor ill,
Since from eternal causes they proceed;
Our passions,—fear and anger, love and hate,—
435 Mere senseless engines that are moved by fate;
Like ships on stormy seas, without a guide,
Tost by the winds, and driven by the tide.

Enter Torrismond.

Tor. Am I not rudely bold, and press too often
Into your presence, madam? If I am—

Leo. No more, lest I should chide you for your stay:
Where have you been? and how could you suppose,
That I could live these two long hours without you?

Tor. O words, to charm an angel from his orb!
Welcome, as kindly showers to long-parched earth!
But I have been in such a dismal place,
Where joy ne'er enters, which the sun ne'er cheers,
Bound in with darkness, overspread with damps;
Where I have seen (if I could say I saw)
The good old king, majestic in his bonds,
And, 'midst his griefs, most venerably great:
By a dim winking lamp, which feebly broke
The gloomy vapours, he lay stretched along
Upon the unwholesome earth, his eyes fixed upward;
And ever and anon a silent tear
Stole down, and trickled from his hoary beard.

Leo. O heaven, what have I done!—my gentle love,
Here end thy sad discourse, and, for my sake,
Cast off these fearful melancholy thoughts.

Tor. My heart is withered at that piteous sight,
As early blossoms are with eastern blasts:
He sent for me, and, while I raised his head,
He threw his aged arms about my neck;
And, seeing that I wept, he pressed me close:
So, leaning cheek to cheek, and eyes to eyes,
We mingled tears in a dumb scene of sorrow.

Leo. Forbear; you know not how you wound my soul.

Tor. Can you have grief, and not have pity too?
436 He told me,—when my father did return,
He had a wond'rous secret to disclose:
He kissed me, blessed me, nay—he called me son;
He praised my courage; prayed for my success:
He was so true a father of his country,
To thank me, for defending even his foes,
Because they were his subjects.

Leo. If they be,—then what am I?

Tor. The sovereign of my soul, my earthly heaven.

Leo. And not your queen?

Tor. You are so beautiful,
So wond'rous fair, you justify rebellion;
As if that faultless face could make no sin,
But heaven, with looking on it, must forgive.

Leo. The king must die,—he must, my Torrismond,
Though pity softly plead within my soul;
Yet he must die, that I may make you great,
And give a crown in dowry with my love.

Tor. Perish that crown—on any head but yours!
O, recollect your thoughts!
Shake not his hour-glass, when his hasty sand
Is ebbing to the last:
A little longer, yet a little longer,
And nature drops him down, without your sin;
Like mellow fruit, without a winter storm.

Leo. Let me but do this one injustice more.
His doom is past, and, for your sake, he dies.

Tor. Would you, for me, have done so ill an act,
And will not do a good one!
Now, by your joys on earth, your hopes in heaven,
O spare this great, this good, this aged king;
And spare your soul the crime!

Leo. The crime's not mine;
'Twas first proposed, and must be done, by Bertran,
Fed with false hopes to gain my crown and me;
I, to enhance his ruin, gave no leave,
But barely bade him think, and then resolve.

437 Tor. In not forbidding, you command the crime:
Think, timely think, on the last dreadful day;
How will you tremble, there to stand exposed,
And foremost, in the rank of guilty ghosts,
That must be doomed for murder! think on murder:
That troop is placed apart from common crimes;
The damned themselves start wide, and shun that band,
As far more black, and more forlorn than they.

Leo. 'Tis terrible! it shakes, it staggers me;
I knew this truth, but I repelled that thought.
Sure there is none, but fears a future state;
And, when the most obdurate swear they do not,
Their trembling hearts belie their boasting tongues.

Enter Teresa.

Send speedily to Bertran; charge him strictly
Not to proceed, but wait my farther pleasure.

Ter. Madam, he sends to tell you, 'tis performed.[Exit.

Tor. Ten thousand plagues consume him! furies drag him,
Fiends tear him! blasted be the arm that struck,
The tongue that ordered!—only she be spared,
That hindered not the deed! O, where was then
The power, that guards the sacred lives of kings?
Why slept the lightning and the thunder-bolts,
Or bent their idle rage on fields and trees,
When vengeance called them here?

Leo. Sleep that thought too;
'Tis done, and, since 'tis done, 'tis past recal;
And, since 'tis past recal, must be forgotten.

Tor. O, never, never, shall it be forgotten!
High heaven will not forget it; after-ages
Shall with a fearful curse remember ours;
And blood shall never leave the nation more!

Leo. His body shall be royally interred,
438 And the last funeral-pomps adorn his hearse;
I will myself (as I have cause too just,)
Be the chief mourner at his obsequies;
And yearly fix on the revolving day
The solemn marks of mourning, to atone,
And expiate my offence.

Tor. Nothing can,
But bloody vengeance on that traitor's head,—
Which, dear departed spirit, here I vow.

Leo. Here end our sorrows, and begin our joys:
Love calls, my Torrismond; though hate has raged,
And ruled the day, yet love will rule the night.
The spiteful stars have shed their venom down,
And now the peaceful planets take their turn.
This deed of Bertran's has removed all fears,
And given me just occasion to refuse him.
What hinders now, but that the holy priest
In secret join our mutual vows? and then
This night, this happy night, is yours and mine.

Tor. Be still my sorrows, and be loud my joys.
Fly to the utmost circles of the sea,
Thou furious tempest, that hast tossed my mind,
And leave no thought, but Leonora there.—
What's this I feel, a boding in my soul,
As if this day were fatal? be it so;
Fate shall but have the leavings of my love:
My joys are gloomy, but withal are great.
The lion, though he sees the toils are set,
Yet, pinched with raging hunger, scowers away,
Hunts in the face of danger all the day;
At night, with sullen pleasure, grumbles o'er his prey. [Exeunt.


SCENE I.—Before Gomez's Door.

Enter Lorenzo, Dominick, and two Soldiers at a distance.

Dom. I'll not wag an ace farther: the whole world shall not bribe me to it; for my conscience will digest these gross enormities no longer.

Lor. How, thy conscience not digest them! There is ne'er a friar in Spain can shew a conscience, that comes near it for digestion. It digested pimping, when I sent thee with my letter; and it digested perjury, when thou swor'st thou didst not know me: I am sure it has digested me fifty pounds, of as hard gold as is in all Barbary. Pr'ythee, why shouldest thou discourage fornication, when thou knowest thou lovest a sweet young girl?

Dom. Away, away; I do not love them;—pah; no,—[spits.] I do not love a pretty girl—you are so waggish!—
[Spits again.

Lor. Why thy mouth waters at the very mention of them.

Dom. You take a mighty pleasure in defamation, colonel; but I wonder what you find in running restless up and down, breaking your brains, emptying your purse, and wearing out your body, with hunting after unlawful game.

Lor. Why there's the satisfaction on't.

Dom. This incontinency may proceed to adultery, and adultery to murder, and murder to hanging; and there's the satisfaction on't.

440 Lor. I'll not hang alone, friar; I'm resolved to peach thee before thy superiors, for what thou hast done already.

Dom. I'm resolved to forswear it, if you do. Let me advise you better, colonel, than to accuse a church-man to a church-man; in the common cause we are all of a piece; we hang together.

Lor. If you don't, it were no matter if you did.[Aside.

Dom. Nay, if you talk of peaching, I'll peach first, and see whose oath will be believed; I'll trounce you for offering to corrupt my honesty, and bribe my conscience: you shall be summoned by an host of parators; you shall be sentenced in the spiritual court; you shall be excommunicated; you shall be outlawed;—and—
[Here Lorenzo takes a purse, and plays with it, and at last lets the purse fall chinking on the ground, which the Friar eyes.

[In another tone.] I say, a man might do this now, if he were maliciously disposed, and had a mind to bring matters to extremity: but, considering that you are my friend, a person of honour, and a worthy good charitable man, I would rather die a thousand deaths than disoblige you.
[Lorenzo takes up the purse, and pours it into the Friar's sleeve.

Nay, good sir;—nay, dear colonel;—O lord, sir, what are you doing now! I profess this must not be: without this I would have served you to the utter-most; pray command me.—A jealous, foul-mouthed rogue this Gomez is; I saw how he used you, and you marked how he used me too. O he's a bitter man; but we'll join our forces; ah, shall we, colonel? we'll be revenged on him with a witness.

Lor. But how shall I send her word to be ready at the door? for I must reveal it in confession to 441 you, that I mean to carry her away this evening, by the help of these two soldiers. I know Gomez suspects you, and you will hardly gain admittance.

Dom. Let me alone; I fear him not. I am armed with the authority of my clothing: yonder I see him keeping sentry at his door:—have you never seen a citizen, in a cold morning, clapping his sides, and walking forward and backward, a mighty pace before his shop? but I'll gain the pass, in spite of his suspicion; stand you aside, and do but mark how I accost him.

Lor. If he meet with a repulse, we must throw off the fox's skin, and put on the lion's.—Come, gentlemen, you'll stand by me?

Sol. Do not doubt us, colonel. [They retire all three to a corner of the stage; Dominick goes to the door where Gomez stands.

Dom. Good even, Gomez; how does your wife?

Gom. Just as you'd have her; thinking on nothing but her dear colonel, and conspiring cuckoldom against me.

Dom. I dare say, you wrong her; she is employing her thoughts how to cure you of your jealousy.

Gom. Yes, by certainty.

Dom. By your leave, Gomez; I have some spiritual advice to impart to her on that subject.

Gom. You may spare your instructions, if you please, father; she has no farther need of them.

Dom. How, no need of them! do you speak in riddles?

Gom. Since you will have me speak plainer,—she has profited so well already by your counsel, that she can say her lesson without your teaching: Do you understand me now?

Dom. I must not neglect my duty, for all that; once again, Gomez, by your leave.

442 Gom. She's a little indisposed at present, and it will not be convenient to disturb her.
[Dominick offers to go by him, but t'other stands before him.

Dom. Indisposed, say you? O, it is upon those occasions that a confessor is most necessary; I think, it was my good angel that sent me hither so opportunely.

Gom. Ay, whose good angels sent you hither, that you best know, father.

Dom. A word or two of devotion will do her no harm, I'm sure.

Gom. A little sleep will do her more good, I'm sure: You know, she disburthened her conscience but this morning to you.

Dom. But, if she be ill this afternoon, she may have new occasion to confess.

Gom. Indeed, as you order matters with the colonel, she may have occasion of confessing herself every hour.

Dom. Pray, how long has she been sick?

Gom. Lord, you will force a man to speak;—why, ever since your last defeat.

Dom. This can be but some slight indisposition; it will not last, and I may see her.

Gom. How, not last! I say, it will last, and it shall last; she shall be sick these seven or eight days, and perhaps longer, as I see occasion. What? I know the mind of her sickness a little better than you do.

Dom. I find, then, I must bring a doctor.

Gom. And he'll bring an apothecary, with a chargeable long bill of ana's: those of my family have the grace to die cheaper. In a word, Sir Dominick, we understand one another's business here: I am resolved to stand like the Swiss of my own family, to defend the entrance; you may mumble over your 443 pater nosters, if you please, and try if you can make my doors fly open, and batter down my walls with bell, book, and candle; but I am not of opinion, that you are holy enough to commit miracles.

Dom. Men of my order are not to be treated after this manner.

Gom. I would treat the pope and all his cardinals in the same manner, if they offered to see my wife, without my leave.

Dom. I excommunicate thee from the church, if thou dost not open; there's promulgation coming out.

Gom. And I excommunicate you from my wife, if you go to that: there's promulgation for promulgation, and bull for bull; and so I leave you to recreate yourself with the end of an old song—
And sorrow came to the old friar.[Exit.

Lorenzo comes to him.

Lor. I will not ask you your success; for I overheard part of it, and saw the conclusion. I find we are now put upon our last trump; the fox is earthed, but I shall send my two terriers in after him.

Sold. I warrant you, colonel, we'll unkennel him.

Lor. And make what haste you can, to bring out the lady.—What say you, father? Burglary is but a venial sin among soldiers.

Dom. I shall absolve them, because he is an enemy of the church.—There is a proverb, I confess, which says, that dead men tell no tales; but let your soldiers apply it at their own perils.

Lor. What, take away a man's wife, and kill him too! The wickedness of this old villain startles me, and gives me a twinge for my own sin, though it comes far short of his.—Hark you, soldiers, be sure you use as little violence to him as is possible.

444 Dom. Hold a little; I have thought better how to secure him, with less danger to us.

Lor. O miracle, the friar is grown conscientious!

Dom. The old king, you know, is just murdered, and the persons that did it are unknown; let the soldiers seize him for one of the assassinates, and let me alone to accuse him afterwards.

Lor. I cry thee mercy with all my heart, for suspecting a friar of the least good nature; what, would you accuse him wrongfully?

Dom. I must confess, 'tis wrongful, quoad hoc, as to the fact itself; but 'tis rightful, quoad hunc, as to this heretical rogue, whom we must dispatch. He has railed against the church, which is a fouler crime than the murder of a thousand kings. Omne majus continet in se minus: He, that is an enemy to the church, is an enemy unto heaven; and he, that is an enemy to heaven, would have killed the king if he had been in the circumstances of doing it; so it is not wrongful to accuse him.

Lor. I never knew a churchman, if he were personally offended, but he would bring in heaven by hook or crook into his quarrel.—Soldiers, do as you were first ordered.
[Exeunt Soldiers.

Dom. What was't you ordered them? Are you sure it's safe, and not scandalous?

Lor. Somewhat near your own design, but not altogether so mischievous. The people are infinitely discontented, as they have reason; and mutinies there are, or will be, against the queen: now I am content to put him thus far into the plot, that he should be secured as a traitor; but he shall only be prisoner at the soldiers' quarters; and when I am out of reach, he shall be released.

Dom. And what will become of me then? for when he is free, he will infallibly accuse me.

445 Lor. Why then, father, you must have recourse to your infallible church-remedies; lie impudently, and swear devoutly, and, as you told me but now, let him try whose oath will be first believed. Retire, I hear them coming.
[They withdraw.

Enter the Soldiers with Gomez struggling on their backs.

Gom. Help, good Christians! help, neighbours! my house is broken open by force, and I am ravished, and like to be assassinated!—What do you mean, villains? will you carry me away, like a pedlar's pack, upon your backs? will you murder a man in plain day-light?

1 Soldier. No; but we'll secure you for a traitor, and for being in a plot against the state.

Gom, Who, I in a plot! O Lord! O Lord! I never durst be in a plot: Why, how can you in conscience suspect a rich citizen of so much wit as to make a plotter? There are none but poor rogues, and those that can't live without it, that are in plots.

2 Soldier. Away with him, away with him.

Gom. O my gold! my wife! my wife! my gold! As I hope to be saved now, I know no more of the plot than they that made it.
[They carry him off, and exeunt.

Lor. Thus far we have sailed with a merry gale, and now we have the Cape of Good Hope in sight; the trade-wind is our own, if we can but double it.
[He looks out.
[Aside.] Ah, my father and Pedro stand at the corner of the street with company; there's no stirring till they are past.

Enter Elvira with a casket.

Elv. Am I come at last into your arms?

446 Lor. Fear nothing; the adventure's ended, and the knight may carry off the lady safely.

Elv. I'm so overjoyed, I can scarce believe I am at liberty; but stand panting, like a bird that has often beaten her wings in vain against her cage, and at last dares hardly venture out, though she sees it open.

Dom. Lose no time, but make haste while the way is free for you; and thereupon I give you my benediction.

Lor. 'Tis not so free as you suppose; for there's an old gentleman of my acquaintance, that blocks up the passage at the corner of the street.

Dom. What have you gotten there under your arm, daughter? somewhat, I hope, that will bear your charges in your pilgrimage.

Lor. The friar has an hawk's eye to gold and jewels.

Elv. Here's that will make you dance without a fiddle, and provide better entertainment for us, than hedges in summer, and barns in winter. Here's the very heart, and soul, and life-blood of Gomez; pawns in abundance, old gold of widows, and new gold of prodigals, and pearls and diamonds of court ladies, till the next bribe helps their husbands to redeem them.

Dom. They are the spoils of the wicked, and the church endows you with them.

Lor. And, faith, we'll drink the church's health out of them. But all this while I stand on thorns. Pr'ythee, dear, look out, and see if the coast be free for our escape; for I dare not peep, for fear of being known.
[Elvira goes to look, and Gomez comes running in upon her: She shrieks out.

Gom. Thanks to my stars, I have recovered my own territories.—What do I see? I'm ruined! I'm undone! I'm betrayed!

447 Dom. [Aside.] What a hopeful enterprise is here spoiled!

Gom. O, colonel are you there?—and you, friar? nay, then I find how the world goes.

Lor. Cheer up, man, thou art out of jeopardy; I heard thee crying out just now, and came running in full speed, with the wings of an eagle, and the feet of a tiger, to thy rescue.

Gom. Ay, you are always at hand to do me a courtesy, with your eagle's feet, and your tiger's wings.—And what were you here for, friar?

Dom. To interpose my spiritual authority in your behalf.

Gom. And why did you shriek out, gentlewoman?

Elv. 'Twas for joy at your return.

Gom. And that casket under your arm, for what end and purpose?

Elv. Only to preserve it from the thieves.

Gom. And you came running out of doors—

Elv. Only to meet you, sweet husband.

Gom. A fine evidence summed up among you; thank you heartily, you are all my friends. The colonel was walking by accidentally, and hearing my voice, came in to save me; the friar, who was hobbling the same way too, accidentally again, and not knowing of the colonel, I warrant you, he comes in to pray for me; and my faithful wife runs out of doors to meet me, with all my jewels under her arm, and shrieks out for joy at my return. But if my father-in-law had not met your soldiers, colonel, and delivered me in the nick, I should neither have found a friend nor a friar here, and might have shrieked out for joy myself, for the loss of my jewels and my wife.

Dom. Art thou an infidel? Wilt thou not believe us?

Gom. Such churchmen as you would make any 448 man an infidel.—Get you into your kennel, gentlewoman; I shall thank you within doors for your safe custody of my jewels and your own.
[He thrusts his wife off the stage.
As for you, colonel Huffcap, we shall try before a civil magistrate, who's the greater plotter of us two, I against the state, or you against the petticoat.

Lor. Nay, if you will complain, you shall for something.[Beats him.

Gom. Murder, murder! I give up the ghost! I am destroyed! help, murder, murder!

Dom. Away, colonel; let us fly for our lives: the neighbours are coming out with forks, and fire-shovels, and spits, and other domestic weapons; the militia of a whole alley is raised against us.

Lor. This is but the interest of my debt, master usurer; the principal shall be paid you at our next meeting.

Dom. Ah, if your soldiers had but dispatched him, his tongue had been laid asleep, colonel; but this comes of not following good counsel; ah—
[Exeunt Lor. and Friar severally.

Gom. I'll be revenged of him, if I dare; but he's such a terrible fellow, that my mind misgives me; I shall tremble when I have him before the judge. All my misfortunes come together. I have been robbed, and cuckolded, and ravished, and beaten, in one quarter of an hour; my poor limbs smart, and my poor head aches: ay, do, do, smart limb, ache head, and sprout horns; but I'll be hanged before I'll pity you:—you must needs be married, must ye? there's for that; [Beats his own head.] and to a fine, young, modish lady, must ye? there's for that too; and, at threescore, you old, doting cuckold! take that remembrance;—a fine time of day for a man to be bound prentice, when he is past using of his trade; to set up an equipage of noise, when he has 449 most need of quiet; instead of her being under covert-baron, to be under covert-femme myself; to have my body disabled, and my head fortified; and, lastly, to be crowded into a narrow box with a shrill treble,
That with one blast through the whole house does bound,
And first taught speaking-trumpets how to sound.[Exit.

SCENE II.—The Court.

Enter Raymond, Alphonso, and Pedro.

Raym. Are these, are these, ye powers, the promised joys,
With which I flattered my long, tedious absence,
To find, at my return, my master murdered?
O, that I could but weep, to vent my passion!
But this dry sorrow burns up all my tears.

Alph. Mourn inward, brother; 'tis observed at court,
Who weeps, and who wears black; and your return
Will fix all eyes on every act of yours,
To see how you resent King Sancho's death.

Raym. What generous man can live with that constraint
Upon his soul, to bear, much less to flatter,
A court like this! Can I sooth tyranny?
Seem pleased to see my royal master murdered,
His crown usurped, a distaff in the throne,
A council made of such as dare not speak,
And could not, if they durst; whence honest men
Banish themselves, for shame of being there:
A government, that, knowing not true wisdom,
Is scorned abroad, and lives on tricks at home?

Alph. Virtue must be thrown off; 'tis a coarse garment,
450 Too heavy for the sun-shine of a court.

Raym. Well then, I will dissemble, for an end
So great, so pious, as a just revenge:
You'll join with me?

Alph. No honest man but must.

Ped. What title has this queen, but lawless force?
And force must pull her down.

Alph. Truth is, I pity Leonora's case;
Forced, for her safety, to commit a crime,
Which most her soul abhors.

Raym. All she has done, or e'er can do, of good,
This one black deed has damned.

Ped, You'll hardly gain your son to our design.

Raym. Your reason for't?

Ped. I want time to unriddle it:
Put on your t'other face, the queen approaches.

Enter Leonora, Bertran, and Attendants.

Raym. And that accursed Bertran
Stalks close behind her, like a witch's fiend,
Pressing to be employed; stand, and observe them.

Leo. to Bert. Buried in private, and so suddenly!
It crosses my design, which was to allow
The rites of funeral fitting his degree,
With all the pomp of mourning.

Bert. It was not safe:
Objects of pity, when the cause is new,
Would work too fiercely on the giddy crowd:
Had Cæsar's body never been exposed,
Brutus had gained his cause.

Leo. Then, was he loved?

Bert. O, never man so much, for saint-like goodness.

Ped. Had bad men feared him, but as good men loved him,
He had not yet been sainted.[Aside.

Leo. I wonder how the people bear his death.

451 Bert. Some discontents there are; some idle murmurs.

Ped. How, idle murmurs! Let me plainly speak:
The doors are all shut up; the wealthier sort,
With arms across, and hats upon their eyes,
Walk to and fro before their silent shops;
Whole droves of lenders crowd the bankers' doors,
To call in money; those, who have none, mark
Where money goes; for when they rise, 'tis plunder:
The rabble gather round the man of news,
And listen with their mouths;
Some tell, some hear, some judge of news, some make it;
And he, who lies most loud, is most believed.

Leo. This may be dangerous.

Raym. Pray heaven it may![Aside.

Bert. If one of you must fall,
Self-preservation is the first of laws;
And if, when subjects are oppressed by kings,
They justify rebellion by that law,
As well may monarchs turn the edge of right
To cut for them, when self-defence requires it.

Leo. You place such arbitrary power in kings,
That I much fear, if I should make you one,
You'll make yourself a tyrant; let these know
By what authority you did this act.

Bert. You much surprise me, to demand that question:
But, since truth must be told, 'twas by your own.

Leo. Produce it; or, by heaven, your head shall answer
The forfeit of your tongue.

Raym. Brave mischief towards.[Aside.

Bert. You bade me.

Leo. When, and where?

Bert. No, I confess, you bade me not in words;
The dial spoke not, but it made shrewd signs,
452 And pointed full upon the stroke of murder:
Yet this you said,
You were a woman, ignorant and weak,
So left it to my care.

Leo. What, if I said,
I was a woman, ignorant and weak,
Were you to take the advantage of my sex,
And play the devil to tempt me? You contrived,
You urged, you drove me headlong to your toils;
And if, much tired, and frighted more, I paused,
Were you to make my doubts your own commission?

Bert. This 'tis, to serve a prince too faithfully;
Who, free from laws himself, will have that done,
Which, not performed, brings us to sure disgrace;
And, if performed, to ruin.

Leo. This 'tis, to counsel things that are unjust;
First, to debauch a king to break his laws,
Which are his safety, and then seek protection
From him you have endangered; but, just heaven,
When sins are judged, will damn the tempting devil,
More deep than those he tempted.

Bert. If princes not protect their ministers,
What man will dare to serve them?

Leo. None will dare
To serve them ill, when they are left to laws;
But, when a counsellor, to save himself,
Would lay miscarriages upon his prince,
Exposing him to public rage and hate;
O, 'tis an act as infamously base,
As, should a common soldier sculk behind,
And thrust his general in the front of war:
It shews, he only served himself before,
And had no sense of honour, country, king,
But centered on himself, and used his master,
As guardians do their wards, with shews of care,
But with intent to sell the public safety,
And pocket up his prince.

453 Ped. Well said, i'faith;
This speech is e'en too good for an usurper.[Aside.

Bert. I see for whom I must be sacrificed;
And, had I not been sotted with my zeal,
I might have found it sooner.

Leo. From my sight!
The prince, who bears an insolence like this,
Is such an image of the powers above,
As is the statue of the thundering god,
Whose bolts the boys may play with.

Bert. Unrevenged
I will not fall, nor single.[Exit.

Leo. Welcome, welcome! [To RAYM. who kisses her hand.
I saw you not before: One honest lord
Is hid with ease among a crowd of courtiers.
How can I be too grateful to the father
Of such a son as Torrismond?

Raym. His actions were but duty.

Leo. Yet, my lord,
All have not paid that debt, like noble Torrismond.
You hear, how Bertran brands me with a crime,
Of which, your son can witness, I am free.
I sent to stop the murder, but too late;
For crimes are swift, but penitence is slow:
The bloody Bertran, diligent in ill,
Flew to prevent the soft returns of pity.

Raym. O cursed haste, of making sure of sin!—
Can you forgive the traitor?

Leo. Never, never:
'Tis written here in characters so deep,
That seven years hence, ('till then should I not meet him,)
And in the temple then, I'll drag him thence,
Even from the holy altar to the block.

Raym. She's fired, as I would wish her; aid me, justice, [Aside.
454 As all my ends are thine, to gain this point,
And ruin both at once.—It wounds, indeed,[To her.
To bear affronts, too great to be forgiven,
And not have power to punish; yet one way
There is to ruin Bertran.

Leo. O, there's none;
Except an host from heaven can make such haste
To save my crown, as he will do to seize it.
You saw, he came surrounded with his friends,
And knew, besides, our army was removed
To quarters too remote for sudden use.

Raym. Yet you may give commission
To some bold man, whose loyalty you trust,
And let him raise the train-bands of the city.

Leo. Gross feeders, lion talkers, lamb-like fighters.

Raym. You do not know the virtues of your city,
What pushing force they have; some popular chief,
More noisy than the rest, but cries halloo,
And, in a trice, the bellowing herd come out;
The gates are barred, the ways are barricadoed,
And One and all's the word; true cocks o'the game,
That never ask, for what, or whom, they fight;
But turn them out, and shew them but a foe,
Cry—Liberty! and that's a cause of quarrel.

Leo. There may be danger in that boisterous rout:
Who knows, when fires are kindled for my foes,
But some new blast of wind may turn those flames
Against my palace-walls?

Raym. But still their chief
Must be some one, whose loyalty you trust.

Leo. And who more proper for that trust than you,
Whose interests, though unknown to you, are mine?
Alphonso, Pedro, haste to raise the rabble;
He shall appear to head them.

Raym. [Aside to Alph. and Ped.]
First sieze Bertran,
And then insinuate to them, that I bring
455 Their lawful prince to place upon the throne.

Alph. Our lawful prince!

Raym. Fear not; I can produce him.

Ped. [To Alph.]
Now we want your son Lorenzo: what a mighty faction
Would he make for us of the city-wives,
With,—Oh, dear husband, my sweet honey husband,
Wont you be for the colonel? if you love me,
Be for the colonel; Oh, he's the finest man! [Exeunt Alph. and Ped.

Raym. So, now we have a plot behind the plot.
She thinks, she's in the depth of my design,
And that 'tis all for her; but time shall show,
She only lives to help me ruin others,
And last, to fall herself.[Aside.

Leo. Now, to you, Raymond: can you guess no reason
Why I repose such confidence in you?
You needs must think,
There's some more powerful cause than loyalty:
Will you not speak, to save a lady's blush?
Need I inform you, 'tis for Torrismond,
That all this grace is shown?

Raym. By all the powers, worse, worse than what I feared! [Aside.

Leo. And yet, what need I blush at such a choice?
I love a man whom I am proud to love,
And am well pleased my inclination gives
What gratitude would force. O pardon me;
I ne'er was covetous of wealth before;
Yet think so vast a treasure as your son,
Too great for any private man's possession;
And him too rich a jewel, to be set
In vulgar metal, or for vulgar use.

Raym. Arm me with patience, heaven!

Leo. How, patience, Raymond?
What exercise of patience have you here?
456 What find you in my crown to be contemned;
Or in my person loathed? Have I, a queen,
Past by my fellow-rulers of the world,
Whose vying crowns lay glittering in my way,
As if the world were paved with diadems?
Have I refused their blood, to mix with yours,
And raise new kings from so obscure a race,
Fate scarce knew where to find them, when I called?
Have I heaped on my person, crown, and state,
To load the scale, and weighed myself with earth,
For you to spurn the balance?

Raym. Bate the last, and 'tis what I would say:
Can I, can any loyal subject, see
With patience, such a stoop from sovereignty,
An ocean poured upon a narrow brook?
My zeal for you must lay the father by,
And plead my country's cause against my son.
What though his heart be great, his actions gallant,
He wants a crown to poise against a crown,
Birth to match birth, and power to balance power.

Leo. All these I have, and these I can bestow;
But he brings worth and virtue to my bed;
And virtue is the wealth which tyrants want:
I stand in need of one, whose glories may
Redeem my crimes, ally me to his fame,
Dispel the factions of my foes on earth,
Disarm the justice of the powers above.

Raym. The people never will endure this choice.

Leo. If I endure it, what imports it you?
Go, raise the ministers of my revenge,
Guide with your breath this whirling tempest round,
And see its fury fall where I design.
At last a time for just revenge is given;
Revenge, the darling attribute of heaven:
But man, unlike his Maker, bears too long;
Still more exposed, the more he pardons wrong;
457 Great in forgiving, and in suffering brave;
To be a saint, he makes himself a slave.[Exit Queen.

Raym. [Solus.]
Marriage with Torrismond! it must not be,
By heaven, it must not be! or, if it be,
Law, justice, honour, bid farewell to earth,
For heaven leaves all to tyrants.

Enter Torrismond, who kneels to him.

Tor. O, very welcome, sir!
But doubly now! You come in such a time,
As if propitious fortune took a care,
To swell my tide of joys to their full height,
And leave me nothing farther to desire.

Raym. I hope, I come in time, if not to make,
At least to save your fortune and your honour.
Take heed you steer your vessel right, my son;
This calm of heaven, this mermaid's melody,
Into an unseen whirlpool draws you fast,
And, in a moment, sinks you.

Tor. Fortune cannot,
And fate can scarce; I've made the port already,
And laugh securely at the lazy storm,
That wanted wings to reach me in the deep.
Your pardon, sir; my duty calls me hence;
I go to find my queen, my earthly goddess,
To whom I owe my hopes, my life, my love.

Raym. You owe her more, perhaps, than you imagine;
Stay, I command you stay, and hear me first.
This hour's the very crisis of your fate,
Your good or ill, your infamy or fame,
And all the colour of your life, depends
On this important now.

Tor. I see no danger;
The city, army, court, espouse my cause,
458 And, more than all, the queen, with public favour,
Indulges my pretensions to her love.

Raym. Nay, if possessing her can make you happy,
'Tis granted, nothing hinders your design.

Tor. If she can make me blest? she only can;
Empire, and wealth, and all she brings beside,
Are but the train and trappings of her love:
The sweetest, kindest, truest of her sex,
In whose possession years roll round on years,
And joys, in circles, meet new joys again;
Kisses, embraces, languishing, and death,
Still from each other to each other move,
To crown the various seasons of our love;
And doubt you if such love can make me happy?

Raym. Yes; for, I think, you love your honour more.

Tor. And what can shock my honour in a queen?

Raym. A tyrant, an usurper?

Tor. Grant she be;
When from the conqueror we hold our lives,
We yield ourselves his subjects from that hour;
For mutual benefits make mutual ties.

Raym. Why, can you think I owe a thief my life,
Because he took it not by lawless force?
What, if he did not all the ill he could?
Am I obliged by that to assist his rapines,
And to maintain his murders?

Tor. Not to maintain, but bear them unrevenged.
Kings' titles commonly begin by force,
Which time wears off, and mellows into right;
So power, which, in one age, is tyranny,
Is ripened, in the next, to true succession:
She's in possession.

Raym. So diseases are:
Should not a lingering fever be removed,
Because it long has raged within my blood?
Do I rebel, when I would thrust it out?
459 What, shall I think the world was made for one,
And men are born for kings, as beasts for men,
Not for protection, but to be devoured?
Mark those, who dote on arbitrary power,
And you shall find them either hot-brained youth,
Or needy bankrupts, servile in their greatness,
And slaves to some, to lord it o'er the rest.
O baseness, to support a tyrant throne,
And crush your freeborn brethren of the world!
Nay, to become a part of usurpation;
To espouse the tyrant's person and her crimes,
And, on a tyrant, get a race of tyrants,
To be your country's curse in after ages.

Tor. I see no crime in her whom I adore,
Or, if I do, her beauty makes it none:
Look on me as a man abandoned o'er
To an eternal lethargy of love;
To pull, and pinch, and wound me, cannot cure,
And but disturb the quiet of my death.

Raym. O virtue, virtue! what art thou become,
That man should leave thee for that toy, a woman,
Made from the dross and refuse of a man!
Heaven took him, sleeping, when he made her too;
Had man been waking, he had ne'er consented.
Now, son, suppose
Some brave conspiracy were ready formed,
To punish tyrants, and redeem the land,
Could you so far belie your country's hope,
As not to head the party?

Tor. How could my hand rebel against my heart?

Raym. How could your heart rebel against your reason?

Tor. No honour bids me fight against myself;
The royal family is all extinct,
And she, who reigns, bestows her crown on me:
So must I be ungrateful to the living,
To be but vainly pious to the dead,
460 While you defraud your offspring of their fate.

Raym. Mark who defraud their offspring, you or I?
For know, there yet survives the lawful heir
Of Sancho's blood, whom when I shall produce,
I rest assured to see you pale with fear,
And trembling at his name.

Tor. He must be more than man, who makes me tremble.
I dare him to the field, with all the odds
Of justice on his side, against my tyrant:
Produce your lawful prince, and you shall see
How brave a rebel love has made your son.

Raym. Read that; 'tis with the royal signet signed,
And given me, by the king, when time should serve,
To be perused by you.

Tor. [Reads.] I, the king.
My youngest and alone surviving son,
Reported dead, to escape rebellious rage,
Till happier times shall call his courage forth,
To break my fetters, or revenge my fate,
I will that Raymond educate as his,
And call him Torrismond—

If I am he, that son, that Torrismond,
The world contains not so forlorn a wretch!
Let never man believe he can be happy!
For, when I thought my fortune most secure,
One fatal moment tears me from my joys;
And when two hearts were joined by mutual love,
The sword of justice cuts upon the knot,
And severs them for ever.

Raym. True, it must.

Tor. O, cruel man, to tell me that it must!
If you have any pity in your breast,
Redeem me from this labyrinth of fate,
And plunge me in my first obscurity.
The secret is alone between us two;
461 And, though you would not hide me from myself,
O, yet be kind, conceal me from the world,
And be my father still!

Raym. Your lot's too glorious, and the proof's too plain.
Now, in the name of honour, sir, I beg you,—
Since I must use authority no more,—
On these old knees, I beg you, ere I die,
That I may see your father's death revenged.

Tor. Why, 'tis the only business of my life;
My order's issued to recall the army,
And Bertran's death's resolved.

Raym. And not the queen's? O, she's the chief offender!
Shall justice turn her edge within your hand?
No, if she 'scape, you are yourself the tyrant,
And murderer of your father.

Tor. Cruel fates!
To what have you reserved me?

Raym. Why that sigh?

Tor. Since you must know,—but break, O break, my heart,
Before I tell my fatal story out!—
The usurper of my throne, my house's ruin!
The murderer of my father,—is my wife!

Raym. O horror, horror!—After this alliance,
Let tigers match with hinds, and wolves with sheep,
And every creature couple with his foe.
How vainly man designs, when heaven opposes!
I bred you up to arms, raised you to power,
Permitted you to fight for this usurper,
Indeed to save a crown, not hers, but yours,
All to make sure the vengeance of this day,
Which even this day has ruined. One more question
Let me but ask, and I have done for ever;—
Do you yet love the cause of all your woes,
Or is she grown, as sure she ought to be,
More odious to your sight than toads and adders?

462 Tor. O there's the utmost malice of my fate,
That I am bound to hate, and born to love!

Raym. No more!—Farewell, my much lamented king!—
I dare not trust him with himself so far,
To own him to the people as their king,
Before their rage has finished my designs
On Bertran and the queen; but in despite,
Even of himself, I'll save him.[Aside and exit.

Tor. 'Tis but a moment since I have been king,
And weary on't already; I'm a lover,
And loved, possess,—yet all these make me wretched;
And heaven has given me blessings for a curse.
With what a load of vengeance am I prest,
Yet, never, never, can I hope for rest;
For when my heavy burden I remove,
The weight falls down, and crushes her I love.[Exit.

SCENE I.—A Bed-Chamber.

Enter Torrismond.

Tor. Love, justice, nature, pity, and revenge,
Have kindled up a wildfire in my breast,
And I am all a civil war within!

Enter Queen and Teresa, at a distance.

My Leonora there!—
Mine! is she mine? my father's murderer mine?
O! that I could, with honour, love her more,
Or hate her less, with reason!—See, she weeps!
Thinks me unkind, or false, and knows not why
I thus estrange my person from her bed!
463 Shall I not tell her?—no; 'twill break her heart;
She'll know too soon her own and my misfortunes.[Exit.

Leo. He's gone, and I am lost; did'st thou not see
His sullen eyes? how gloomily they glanced?
He looked not like the Torrismond I loved.

Ter. Can you not guess from whence this change proceeds?

Leo. No: there's the grief, Teresa: Oh, Teresa!
Fain would I tell thee what I feel within,
But shame and modesty have tied my tongue!
Yet, I will tell, that thou may'st weep with me.—
How dear, how sweet his first embraces were!
With what a zeal he joined his lips to mine!
And sucked my breath at every word I spoke,
As if he drew his inspiration hence:
While both our souls came upward to our mouths,
As neighbouring monarchs at their borders meet;
I thought—Oh, no; 'tis false! I could not think;
'Twas neither life nor death, but both in one.

Ter. Then, sure his transports were not less than yours.

Leo. More, more! for, by the high-hung tapers' light,
I could discern his cheeks were glowing red,
His very eyeballs trembled with his love,
And sparkled through their casements humid fires;
He sighed, and kissed; breathed short, and would have spoke,
But was too fierce to throw away the time;
All he could say was—love and Leonora.

Ter. How then can you suspect him lost so soon?

Leo. Last night he flew not with a bridegroom's haste,
Which eagerly prevents the appointed hour:
I told the clocks, and watched the wasting light,
And listened to each softly-treading step,
464 In hope 'twas he; but still it was not he.
At last he came, but with such altered looks,
So wild, so ghastly, as if some ghost had met him:
All pale, and speechless, he surveyed me round;
Then, with a groan, he threw himself a-bed,
But, far from me, as far as he could move,
And sighed and tossed, and turned, but still from me.

Ter. What, all the night?

Leo. Even all the livelong night.
At last, (for, blushing, I must tell thee all,)
I pressed his hand, and laid me by his side;
He pulled it back, as if he touched a serpent.
With that I burst into a flood of tears,
And asked him how I had offended him?
He answered nothing, but with sighs and groans;
So, restless, past the night; and, at the dawn,
Leapt from the bed, and vanished.

Ter. Sighs and groans,
Paleness and trembling, all are signs of love;
He only fears to make you share his sorrows.

Leo. I wish 'twere so; but love still doubts the worst;
My heavy heart, the prophetess of woes,
Forebodes some ill at hand: to sooth my sadness,
Sing me the song, which poor Olympia made,
When false Bireno left her.


Farewell, ungrateful traitor!

Farewell, my perjured swain!

Let never injured creature

Believe a man again.

The pleasure of possessing

Surpasses all expressing,

But 'tis too short a blessing,

And love too long a pain.


'Tis easy to deceive us,

In pity of your pain;

But when we love, you leave us,

To rail at you in vain.

Before we have descried it,

There is no bliss beside it;

But she, that once has tried it,

Will never love again.

The passion you pretended,

Was only to obtain;

But when the charm is ended,

The charmer you disdain.

Your love by ours we measure,

Till we have lost our treasure;

But dying is a pleasure,

When living is a pain.

Re-enter Torrismond.

Tor. Still she is here, and still I cannot speak;
But wander, like some discontented ghost,
That oft appears, but is forbid to talk.[Going again.

Leo. O, Torrismond, if you resolve my death,
You need no more, but to go hence again;
Will you not speak?

Tor. I cannot.

Leo. Speak! oh, speak!
Your anger would be kinder than your silence.

Tor. Oh!—

Leo. Do not sigh, or tell me why you sigh.

Tor. Why do I live, ye powers!

Leo. Why do I live to hear you speak that word?
Some black-mouthed villain has defamed my virtue.

Tor. No, no! Pray, let me go.

Leo. [Kneeling.] You shall not go!
466 By all the pleasures of our nuptial bed,
If ever I was loved, though now I'm not,
By these true tears, which, from my wounded heart,
Bleed at my eyes—

Tor. Rise.

Leo. I will never rise;
I cannot chuse a better place to die.

Tor. Oh! I would speak, but cannot.

Leo. [Rising.]
Guilt keeps you silent then; you love me not:
What have I done, ye powers, what have I done,
To see my youth, my beauty, and my love,
No sooner gained, but slighted and betrayed;
And, like a rose, just gathered from the stalk,
But only smelt, and cheaply thrown aside,
To wither on the ground.

Ter. For heaven's sake, madam, moderate your passion!

Leo. Why namest thou heaven? there is no heaven for me.
Despair, death, hell, have seized my tortured soul!
When I had raised his grovelling fate from ground,
To power and love, to empire, and to me;
When each embrace was dearer than the first;
Then, then to be contemned; then, then thrown off!
It calls me old, and withered, and deformed,
And loathsome! Oh! what woman can bear loathsome?
The turtle flies not from his billing mate,
He bills the closer; but, ungrateful man,
Base, barbarous man! the more we raise our love,
The more we pall, and kill, and cool his ardour.
Racks, poison, daggers, rid me of my life;
And any death is welcome.

Tor. Be witness all ye powers, that know my heart,
I would have kept the fatal secret hid;
But she has conquered, to her ruin conquered:
467 Here, take this paper, read our destinies;—
Yet do not; but, in kindness to yourself,
Be ignorantly safe.

Leo. No! give it me,
Even though it be the sentence of my death.

Tor. Then see how much unhappy love has made us.
O Leonora! Oh!
We two were born when sullen planets reigned;
When each the other's influence opposed,
And drew the stars to factions at our birth.
Oh! better, better had it been for us,
That we had never seen, or never loved.

Leo. There is no faith in heaven, if heaven says so;
You dare not give it.

Tor. As unwillingly,
As I would reach out opium to a friend,
Who lay in torture, and desired to die.[Gives the Paper.
But now you have it, spare my sight the pain
Of seeing what a world of tears it costs you.
Go, silently, enjoy your part of grief,
And share the sad inheritance with me.

Leo. I have a thirsty fever in my soul;
Give me but present ease, and let me die. [Exeunt Queen and Teresa.

Enter Lorenzo.

Lor. Arm, arm, my lord! the city bands are up;
Drums beating, colours flying, shouts confused;
All clustering in a heap, like swarming hives,
And rising in a moment.

Tor. With design to punish Bertran, and revenge the king;
'Twas ordered so.

Lor. Then you're betrayed, my lord.
'Tis true, they block the castle kept by Bertran,
468 But now they cry, "Down with the palace, fire it,
Pull out the usurping queen!"

Tor. The queen, Lorenzo! durst they name the queen?

Lor. If railing and reproaching be to name her.

Tor. O sacrilege! say quickly, who commands
This vile blaspheming rout?

Lor. I'm loth to tell you;
But both our fathers thrust them headlong on,
And bear down all before them.

Tor. Death and hell!
Somewhat must be resolved, and speedily.
How say'st thou, my Lorenzo? dar'st thou be
A friend, and once forget thou art a son,
To help me save the queen?

Lor. [Aside.] Let me consider:—
Bear arms against my father? he begat me;—
That's true; but for whose sake did he beget me?
For his own, sure enough: for me he knew not.
Oh! but says conscience,—Fly in nature's face?—
But how, if nature fly in my face first?
Then nature's the aggressor; let her look to't.—
He gave me life, and he may take it back:
No, that's boys' play, say I.
'Tis policy for a son and father to take different sides:
For then, lands and tenements commit no treason.
[To Tor.] Sir, upon mature consideration, I have found my father to be little better than a rebel, and therefore, I'll do my best to secure him, for your sake; in hope, you may secure him hereafter for my sake.

Tor. Put on thy utmost speed to head the troops,
Which every moment I expect to arrive;
Proclaim me, as I am, the lawful king:
I need not caution thee for Raymond's life,
Though I no more must call him father now.

Lor. [Aside.] How! not call him father? I see 469 preferment alters a man strangely; this may serve me for a use of instruction, to cast off my father when I am great. Methought too, he called himself the lawful king; intimating sweetly, that he knows what's what with our sovereign lady:—Well if I rout my father, as I hope in heaven I shall, I am in a fair way to be the prince of the blood.—Farewell, general; I will bring up those that shall try what mettle there is in orange tawny.

Tor. [At the Door.]
Haste there; command the guards be all drawn up
Before the palace-gate.—By heaven, I'll face
This tempest, and deserve the name of king!
O Leonora, beauteous in thy crimes,
Never were hell and heaven so matched before!
Look upward, fair, but as thou look'st on me;
Then all the blest will beg, that thou may'st live,
And even my father's ghost his death forgive.[Exit.

SCENE II.—The Palace-Yard. Drums and Trumpets within.

Enter Raymond, Alphonso, Pedro, and their Party.

Raym. Now, valiant citizens, the time is come,
To show your courage, and your loyalty.
You have a prince of Sancho's royal blood,
The darling of the heavens, and joy of earth;
When he's produced, as soon he shall, among you,
Speak, what will you adventure to reseat him
Upon his father's throne?

Omn. Our lives and fortunes.

Raym. What then remains to perfect our success;
But o'er the tyrant's guards to force our way?

470 Omn. Lead on, lead on. [Drums and Trumpets on the other side.

Enter Torrismond and his Party: As they are going to fight, he speaks.

Tor. [To his.] Hold, hold your arms.

Raym. [To his.] Retire.

Alph. What means this pause?

Ped. Peace; nature works within them. [Alph. and Ped. go apart.

Tor. How comes it, good old man, that we two meet
On these harsh terms? thou very reverend rebel;
Thou venerable traitor, in whose face
And hoary hairs treason is sanctified,
And sin's black dye seems blanched by age to virtue.

Raym. What treason is it to redeem my king,
And to reform the state?

Tor. That's a stale cheat;
The primitive rebel, Lucifer, first used it,
And was the first reformer of the skies.

Raym. What, if I see my prince mistake a poison,
Call it a cordial,—am I then a traitor,
Because I hold his hand, or break the glass?

Tor. How darest thou serve thy king against his will?

Raym. Because 'tis then the only time to serve him.

Tor. I take the blame of all upon myself;
Discharge thy weight on me.

Raym. O never, never!
Why, 'tis to leave a ship, tossed in a tempest,
Without the pilot's care.

Tor. I'll punish thee;
By heaven, I will, as I would punish rebels,
Thou stubborn loyal man!

Raym. First let me see
471 Her punished, who misleads you from your fame;
Then burn me, hack me, hew me into pieces,
And I shall die well pleased.

Tor. Proclaim my title,
To save the effusion of my subjects' blood; and thou shalt still
Be as my foster-father near my breast,
And next my Leonora.

Raym. That word stabs me.
You shall be still plain Torrismond with me;
The abettor, partner, (if you like that name,)
The husband of a tyrant; but no king,
Till you deserve that title by your justice.

Tor. Then farewell, pity; I will be obeyed.—
[To the People.] Hear, you mistaken men, whose loyalty
Runs headlong into treason: See your prince!
In me behold your murdered Sancho's son;
Dismiss your arms, and I forgive your crimes.

Raym. Believe him not; he raves; his words are loose
As heaps of sand, and scattering wide from sense.
You see he knows not me, his natural father;
But, aiming to possess the usurping queen,
So high he's mounted in his airy hopes,
That now the wind is got into his head,
And turns his brains to frenzy.

Tor. Hear me yet; I am—

Raym. Fall on, fall on, and hear him not;
But spare his person, for his father's sake.

Ped. Let me come; if he be mad, I have that shall cure him. There's no surgeon in all Arragon has so much dexterity as I have at breathing of the temple-vein.

Tor. My right for me!

Raym. Our liberty for us!

Omn. Liberty, liberty!

472 As they are ready to Fight, enter Lorenzo and his Party.

Lor. On forfeit of your lives, lay down your arms.

Alph. How, rebel, art thou there?

Lor. Take your rebel back again, father mine: The beaten party are rebels to the conquerors. I have been at hard-head with your butting citizens; I have routed your herd; I have dispersed them; and now they are retreated quietly, from their extraordinary vocation of fighting in the streets, to their ordinary vocation of cozening in their shops.

Tor. [To Raym.]
You see 'tis vain contending with the truth;
Acknowledge what I am.

Raym. You are my king;—would you would be your own!
But, by a fatal fondness, you betray
Your fame and glory to the usurper's bed.
Enjoy the fruits of blood and parricide,
Take your own crown from Leonora's gift,
And hug your father's murderer in your arms!

Enter Queen, Teresa, and Women.

Alph. No more; behold the queen.

Raym. Behold the basilisk of Torrismond,
That kills him with her eyes—I will speak on;
My life is of no farther use to me:
I would have chaffered it before for vengeance;
Now let it go for failing.

Tor. My heart sinks in me while I hear him speak,
And every slackened fibre drops its hold,
Like nature letting down the springs of life;
So much the name of father awes me still—[Aside.
Send off the crowd; for you, now I have conquered,
I can hear with honour your demands.

473 Lor. [To Alph.] Now, sir, who proves the traitor? My conscience is true to me; it always whispers right, when I have my regiment to back it.
[Exeunt Lor. Alph. Ped. &c.

Tor. O Leonora, what can love do more?
I have opposed your ill fate to the utmost;
Combated heaven and earth to keep you mine;
And yet at last that tyrant justice! Oh—

Leo. 'Tis past, 'tis past, and love is ours no more;
Yet I complain not of the powers above;
They made me a miser's feast of happiness,
And could not furnish out another meal.
Now, by yon stars, by heaven, and earth, and men,
By all my foes at once, I swear, my Torrismond,
That to have had you mine for one short day,
Has cancelled half my mighty sum of woes!
Say but you hate me not.

Tor. I cannot hate you.

Raym. Can you not? say that once more,
That all the saints may witness it against you.

Leo. Cruel Raymond!
Can he not punish me, but he must hate?
O, 'tis not justice, but a brutal rage,
Which hates the offender's person with his crimes!
I have enough to overwhelm one woman,
To lose a crown and lover in a day:
Let pity lend a tear, when rigour strikes.

Raym. Then, then you should have thought of tears and pity,
When virtue, majesty, and hoary age,
Pleaded for Sancho's life.

Leo. My future days shall be one whole contrition:
A chapel will I build, with large endowment,
Where every day an hundred aged men
Shall all hold up their withered hands to heaven,
To pardon Sancho's death.

Tor. See, Raymond, see; she makes a large amends:
474 Sancho is dead; no punishment of her
Can raise his cold stiff limbs from the dark grave;
Nor can his blessed soul look down from heaven,
Or break the eternal sabbath of his rest,
To see, with joy, her miseries on earth.

Raym. Heaven may forgive a crime to penitence,
For heaven can judge if penitence be true;
But man, who knows not hearts, should make examples
Which, like a warning piece, must be shot off,
To fright the rest from crimes.

Leo. Had I but known that Sancho was his father,
I would have poured a deluge of my blood,
To save one drop of his.

Tor. Mark that, inexorable Raymond, mark!
'Twas fatal ignorance, that caused his death.

Raym. What! if she did not know he was your father,
She knew he was a man, the best of men;
Heaven's image double-stamped, as man and king.

Leo. He was, he was, even more than you can say;
But yet—

Raym. But yet you barbarously murdered him.

Leo. He will not hear me out!

Tor. Was ever criminal forbid to plead?
Curb your ill-mannered zeal.

Raym. Sing to him, syren;
For I shall stop my ears: Now mince the sin,
And mollify damnation with a phrase;
Say, you consented not to Sancho's death,
But barely not forbade it.

Leo. Hard-hearted man, I yield my guilty cause;
But all my guilt was caused by too much love.
Had I, for jealousy of empire, sought
Good Sancho's death, Sancho had died before.
'Twas always in my power to take his life;
But interest never could my conscience blind,
475 Till love had cast a mist before my eyes,
And made me think his death the only means
Which could secure my throne to Torrismond.

Tor. Never was fatal mischief meant so kind,
For all she gave has taken all away.
Malicious powers! is this to be restored?
'Tis to be worse deposed than Sancho was.

Raym. Heaven has restored you, you depose yourself.
Oh, when young kings begin with scorn of justice,
They make an omen to their after reign,
And blot their annals in the foremost page.

Tor. No more; lest you be made the first example,
To show how I can punish.

Raym. Once again:
Let her be made your father's sacrifice,
And after make me hers.

Tor. Condemn a wife!
That were to atone for parricide with murder.

Raym. Then let her be divorced: we'll be content
With that poor scanty justice; let her part.

Tor. Divorce! that's worse than death, 'tis death of love.

Leo. The soul and body part not with such pain,
As I from you; but yet 'tis just, my lord:
I am the accurst of heaven, the hate of earth,
Your subjects' detestation, and your ruin;
And therefore fix this doom upon myself.

Tor. Heaven! Can you wish it, to be mine no more?

Leo. Yes, I can wish it, as the dearest proof,
And last, that I can make you of my love.
To leave you blest, I would be more accurst
Than death can make me; for death ends our woes,
And the kind grave shuts up the mournful scene:
But I would live without you, to be wretched long;
And hoard up every moment of my life,
476 To lengthen out the payment of my tears,
Till even fierce Raymond, at the last, shall say,—
Now let her die, for she has grieved enough.

Tor. Hear this, hear this, thou tribune of the people!
Thou zealous, public blood-hound, hear, and melt!

Raym. [Aside.]
I could cry now; my eyes grow womanish,
But yet my heart holds out.

Leo. Some solitary cloister will I chuse,
And there with holy virgins live immured:
Coarse my attire, and short shall be my sleep,
Broke by the melancholy midnight bell.
Now, Raymond, now be satisfied at last:
Fasting and tears, and penitence and prayer,
Shall do dead Sancho justice every hour.

Raym. [Aside.] By your leave, manhood! [Wipes his eyes.

Tor. He weeps! now he is vanquished.

Raym. No: 'tis a salt rheum, that scalds my eyes.

Leo. If he were vanquished, I am still unconquered.
I'll leave you in the height of all my love,
Even when my heart is beating out its way,
And struggles to you most.
Farewell, a last farewell, my dear, dear lord!
Remember me!—speak, Raymond, will you let him?
Shall he remember Leonora's love,
And shed a parting tear to her misfortunes?

Raym. [Almost crying.] Yes, yes, he shall; pray go.

Tor. Now, by my soul, she shall not go: why, Raymond,
Her every tear is worth a father's life.
Come to my arms, come, my fair penitent!
Let us not think what future ills may fall.
But drink deep draughts of love, and lose them all. [Exeunt Tor. with the Queen.

Raym. No matter yet, he has my hook within him.
Now let him frisk and flounce, and run and roll,
477 And think to break his hold; he toils in vain.
This love, the bait he gorged so greedily,
Will make him sick, and then I have him sure.

Enter Alphonso and Pedro.

Alph. Brother, there's news from Bertran; he desires
Admittance to the king, and cries aloud,—
This day shall end our fears of civil war!—
For his safe conduct he entreats your presence,
And begs you would be speedy.

Raym. Though I loath
The traitor's sight, I'll go. Attend us here.[Exit.

Enter Gomez, Elvira, Dominick, with Officers, to make the Stage as full as possible.

Ped. Why, how now, Gomez? what mak'st thou here, with a whole brotherhood of city-bailiffs? Why, thou look'st like Adam in Paradise, with his guard of beasts about him.

Gom. Ay, and a man had need of them, Don Pedro; for here are the two old seducers, a wife and priest,—that's Eve and the serpent,—at my elbow.

Dom. Take notice how uncharitably he talks of churchmen.

Gom. Indeed, you are a charitable belswagger! My wife cried out,—"Fire, fire!" and you brought out your church-buckets, and called for engines to play against it.

Alph. I am sorry you are come hither to accuse your wife; her education has been virtuous, her nature mild and easy.

Gom. Yes! she's easy, with a vengeance; there's a certain colonel has found her so.

Alph. She came a spotless virgin to your bed.

Gom. And she's a spotless virgin still for me—she's 478 never the worse for my wearing, I'll take my oath on't. I have lived with her with all the innocence of a man of threescore, like a peaceable bed-fellow as I am.

Elv. Indeed, sir, I have no reason to complain of him for disturbing of my sleep.

Dom. A fine commendation you have given yourself; the church did not marry you for that.

Ped. Come, come, your grievances, your grievances.

Dom. Why, noble sir, I'll tell you.

Gom. Peace, friar! and let me speak first. I am the plaintiff. Sure you think you are in the pulpit, where you preach by hours.

Dom. And you edify by minutes.

Gom. Where you make doctrines for the people, and uses and applications for yourselves.

Ped. Gomez, give way to the old gentleman in black.

Gom. No! the t'other old gentleman in black shall take me if I do; I will speak first!—Nay, I will, friar, for all your verbum sacerdotis. I'll speak truth in few words, and then you may come afterwards and lie by the clock as you use to do.—For, let me tell you, gentlemen, he shall lie and forswear himself with any friar in all Spain; that's a bold word now.—

Dom. Let him alone; let him alone; I shall fetch him back with a circum-bendibus, I warrant him.

Alph. Well, what have you to say against your wife, Gomez?

Gom. Why, I say, in the first place, that I and all men are married for our sins, and that our wives are a judgment; that a batchelor-cobler is a happier man than a prince in wedlock; that we are all visited 479 with a household plague, and, Lord have mercy upon us should be written on all our doors[2].

Dom. Now he reviles marriage, which is one of the seven blessed sacraments.

Gom. 'Tis liker one of the seven deadly sins: but make your best on't, I care not; 'tis but binding a man neck and heels, for all that. But, as for my wife, that crocodile of Nilus, she has wickedly and traitorously conspired the cuckoldom of me, her anointed sovereign lord; and, with the help of the aforesaid friar, whom heaven confound, and with the limbs of one colonel Hernando, cuckold-maker of this city, devilishly contrived to steal herself away, and under her arm feloniously to bear one casket of diamonds, pearls, and other jewels, to the value of 30,000 pistoles.—Guilty, or not guilty? how sayest thou, culprit?

Dom. False and scandalous! Give me the book. I'll take my corporal oath point-blank against every particular of this charge.

Elv. And so will I.

Dom. As I was walking in the streets, telling my beads, and praying to myself, according to my usual custom, I heard a foul out-cry before Gomez' portal; and his wife, my penitent, making doleful lamentations: thereupon, making what haste my limbs would suffer me, that are crippled with often kneeling, I saw him spurning and listing her most unmercifully; whereupon, using Christian arguments with him to desist, he fell violently upon me, without respect to my sacerdotal orders, pushed me from him, and turned me about with a finger 480 and a thumb, just as a man would set up a top. Mercy! quoth I.—Damme! quoth he;—and still continued labouring me, until a good-minded colonel came by, whom, as heaven shall save me, I had never seen before.

Gom. O Lord! O Lord!

Dom. Ay, and O lady! O lady too!—I redouble my oath, I had never seen him. Well, this noble colonel, like a true gentleman, was for taking the weaker part, you may be sure; whereupon this Gomez flew upon him like a dragon, got him down, the devil being strong in him, and gave him bastinado upon bastinado, and buffet upon buffet, which the poor meek colonel, being prostrate, suffered with a most Christian patience.

Gom. Who? he meek? I'm sure I quake at the very thought of him; why, he's as fierce as Rhodomont; he made assault and battery upon my person, beat me into all the colours of the rainbow; and every word this abominable priest has uttered is as false as the Alcoran. But if you want a thorough-paced liar, that will swear through thick and thin, commend me to a friar.

Enter Lorenzo, who comes behind the Company, and stands at his Fathers back unseen, over-against Gomez.

Lor. How now! What's here to do? my cause a trying, as I live, and that before my own father.—Now fourscore take him for an old bawdy magistrate, that stands like the picture of madam Justice, with a pair of scales in his hand, to weigh lechery by ounces!

Alph. Well—but all this while, who is this colonel Hernando?

481 Gom. He's the first begotten of Beelzebub, with a face as terrible as Demogorgon.
[Lorenzo peeps over Alphonso's Head, and stares at Gomez.

No! I lie, I lie. He's a very proper handsome fellow! well proportioned, and clean shaped, with a face like a cherubin.

Ped. What, backward and forward, Gomez! dost thou hunt counter?

Alph. Had this colonel any former design upon your wife? for, if that be proved, you shall have justice.

Gom. [Aside.] Now I dare speak,—let him look as dreadfully as he will.—I say, sir, and I will prove it, that he had a lewd design upon her body, and attempted to corrupt her honesty.
[Lorenzo lifts up his fist clenched at him.
I confess my wife was as willing—as himself; and, I believe, 'twas she corrupted him; for I have known him formerly a very civil and modest person.

Elv. You see, sir, he contradicts himself at every word; he's plainly mad.

Alph. Speak boldly, man! and say what thou wilt stand by: did he strike thee?

Gom. I will speak boldly; he struck me on the face before my own threshold, that the very walls cried shame to him.
[Lorenzo holds up again.
'Tis true, I gave him provocation, for the man's as peaceable a gentleman as any is in all Spain.

Dom. Now the truth comes out, in spite of him.

Ped. I believe the friar has bewitched him.

Alph. For my part, I see no wrong that has been offered him.

Gom. How? no wrong? why, he ravished me, with the help of two soldiers, carried me away vi et 482 armis, and would put me into a plot against government.
[Lorenzo holds up again.
I confess, I never could endure the government, because it was tyrannical; but my sides and shoulders are black and blue, as I can strip and show the marks of them.
[LORENZO again.
But that might happen, too, by a fall that I got yesterday upon the pebbles.[All laugh.

Dom. Fresh straw, and a dark chamber; a most manifest judgment! there never comes better of railing against the church.

Gom. Why, what will you have me say? I think you'll make me mad: truth has been at my tongue's end this half hour, and I have not power to bring it out, for fear of this bloody-minded colonel.

Alph. What colonel?

Gom. Why, my colonel—I mean my wife's colonel, that appears there to me like my malus genius, terrifies me.

Alph. [Turning.] Now you are mad indeed, Gomez; this is my son Lorenzo.

Gom. How? your son Lorenzo! it is impossible.

Alph. As true as your wife Elvira is my daughter.

Lor. What, have I taken all this pains about a sister?

Gom. No, you have taken some about me; I am sure, if you are her brother, my sides can show the tokens of our alliance.

Alph. to Lor. You know I put your sister into a nunnery, with a strict command not to see you, for fear you should have wrought upon her to have taken the habit, which was never my intention; and consequently, I married her without your knowledge, that it might not be in your power to prevent it.

Elv. You see, brother, I had a natural affection to you.

483 Lor. What a delicious harlot have I lost! Now, pox upon me, for being so near a-kin to thee!

Elv. However, we are both beholden to friar Dominick; the church is an indulgent mother, she never fails to do her part.

Dom. Heavens! what will become of me?

Gom. Why, you are not like to trouble heaven; those fat guts were never made for mounting.

Lor. I shall make bold to disburden him of my hundred pistoles, to make him the lighter for his journey: indeed, 'tis partly out of conscience, that I may not be accessory to his breaking his vow of poverty.

Alph. I have no secular power to reward the pains you have taken with my daughter; but I shall do it by proxy, friar: your bishop's my friend, and is too honest to let such as you infect a cloister.

Gom. Ay, do, father-in-law, let him be stript of his habit, and disordered.—I would fain see him walk in querpo, like a cased rabbit, without his holy fur upon his back, that the world may once behold the inside of a friar.

Dom. Farewell, kind gentlemen; I give you all my blessing before I go.—May your sisters, wives, and daughters, be so naturally lewd, that they may have no occasion for a devil to tempt, or a friar to pimp for them.
[Exeunt, with a rabble pushing him.

Enter Torrismond, Leonora, Bertran, Raymond, Teresa, &c.

Tor. He lives! he lives! my royal father lives!
Let every one partake the general joy.
Some angel with a golden trumpet sound,
King Sancho lives! and let the echoing skies
From pole to pole resound, king Sancho lives!—
Bertran, oh! no more my foe, but brother;
484 One act like this blots out a thousand crimes.

Bert. Bad men, when 'tis their interest, may do good.
I must confess, I counselled Sancho's murder;
And urged the queen by specious arguments:
But, still suspecting that her love was changed,
I spread abroad the rumour of his death,
To sound the very soul of her designs.
The event, you know, was answering to my fears;
She threw the odium of the fact on me,
And publicly avowed her love to you.

Raym. Heaven guided all, to save the innocent.

Bert. I plead no merit, but a bare forgiveness.

Tor. Not only that, but favour. Sancho's life,
Whether by virtue or design preserved,
Claims all within my power.

Leo. My prayers are heard;
And I have nothing farther to desire,
But Sancho's leave to authorise our marriage.

Tor. Oh! fear not him! pity and he are one;
So merciful a king did never live;
Loth to revenge, and easy to forgive.
But let the bold conspirator beware,
For heaven makes princes its peculiar care.[Exeunt.


  1. Alluding to the common superstition, that the continuance of the favours of fairies depends upon the receiver's secrecy:—"This is fairy gold, boy, and 'twill prove so: up with it, keep it close; home, home, the nearest way. We are lucky, boy, and, to be so still, requires nothing but secrecy;" Winter's Tale.
  2. A red cross, with the words, "Lord have mercy upon us," was placed, during the great plague, upon the houses visited by the disease.


There's none, I'm sure, who is a friend to love,

But will our Friar's character approve:

The ablest spark among you sometimes needs

Such pious help, for charitable deeds.

Our church, alas! (as Rome objects) does want

These ghostly comforts for the falling saint:

This gains them their whore-converts, and may be

One reason of the growth of popery.

So Mahomet's religion came in fashion,

By the large leave it gave to fornication.

Fear not the guilt, if you can pay for't well;

There is no Dives in the Roman Hell:

Gold opens the strait gate, and lets him in;

But want of money is a mortal sin.

For all besides you may discount to heaven,

And drop a bead to keep the tallies even.

How are men cozened still with shows of good!

The bawd's best mask is the grave friar's hood;

Though vice no more a clergyman displeases,

Than doctors can be thought to hate diseases.

'Tis by your living ill, that they live well,

By your debauches, their fat paunches swell.

'Tis a mock-war between the priest and devil;

When they think fit, they can be very civil.

As some, who did French counsels most advance,

To blind the world, have railed in print at France,

Thus do the clergy at your vices bawl,

That with more ease they may engross them all.

By damning yours, they do their own maintain;

A churchman's godliness is always gain:

Hence to their prince they will superior be;

And civil treason grows church loyalty.

They boast the gift of heaven is in their power;

Well may they give the god, they can devour!

486 Still to the sick and dead their claims they lay;

For 'tis on carrion that the vermin prey.

Nor have they less dominion on our life,

They trot the husband, and they pace the wife.

Rouse up, you cuckolds of the northern climes,

And learn from Sweden to prevent such crimes.

Unman the Friar, and leave the holy drone

To hum in his forsaken hive alone;

He'll work no honey, when his sting is gone.

Your wives and daughters soon will leave the cells,

When they have lost the sound of Aaron's bells.


Printed by J. Ballantyne & Co.

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