Act 1, Scene II

Scene: A Room in the House of Leonidas.

Enter LEONIDAS, MERIONE, and BELIZA.

Leonidas.
Sister, I reap the harvest of my labours
In your preferment; be you worthy of it,
And with an open bosom entertain
A greater fortune than my love durst hope for!
Be wise and welcome it: Play not the coy
And foolish wanton, with the offer'd bounties
Of him that is a prince. I was woo'd for you,
And won, Merione; then, if you dare
Believe the object that took me was worthy,
Or trust my judgment, in me think you were
Courted, sued to, and conquer'd.
Merione.
Noble brother,
I have and still esteem you as a father,
And will as far obey you: my heart speaks it:
And yet, without your anger, give me leave
To say, that in the choice of that on which
All my life's joys or sorrows have dependence,
It had been fit, ere you had made a full
And absolute grant of me to any other,
I should have used mine own eyes, or at least
Made you to understand, whether it were
Within my power to make a second gift
Of my poor self.
Leonidas.
I know what 'tis you point at,
The prince Theanor's love: let not that cheat you;
His vows were but mere courtship; all his service
But practice how to entrap a credulous lady,
Or, grant it serious, yet you must remember,
He's not to love, but where the queen his mother
Must give allowance, which to you is barr'd up;
And therefore study to forget that ever
You cherish'd such a hope.
Merione.
I would I could!
Leonidas.
But brave Agenor, who is come in person
To celebrate this marriage, for your love
Forgives the forfeit of ten thousand lives,
That must have fall'n under the sword of war
Had not this peace been made; which general good
Both countries owe to his affection to you.
Oh, happy sister, ask this noble lady,
Your bosom friend (since I fail in my credit)
What palm Agenor's name, above all princes
That Greece is proud of, carries, and with lustre.
Beliza.
Indeed, fame gives him out for excellent;
And, friend, I doubt not but when you shall see him,

Enter a Servant, who whispers Beliza.

He'll so appear to you—Art sure 'tis he?

Servant.
As I live madam——
Beliza.
Virtue enable me to contain my joy!
'Tis my Euplianes?
Servant.
Yes.
Beliza.
And he's in health?
Servant.
Most certainly, madam.
Beliza.
I'll see him instantly.
So, pr'ythee tell him.
[Exit Servant.
Merione.
I yield myself too weak
In argument to oppose you; You may lead me
Whither you please.
Leonidas.
'Tis answer'd like my sister;
And if in him you find not ample cause
To pray for me, and daily, on your knees,
Conclude I have no judgment.
Merione.
May it prove so!—
Friend, shall we have your company?
Beliza.
Two hours hence
I will not fail you.
Leonidas.
At your pleasure, madam.
[Exeunt Leonidas and Merione.

Enter EUPHANES.

Beliza.
Could I in one word speak a thousand welcomes,
And hearty ones, you have 'em. Fy! my hand?
We stand at no such distance: By my life,
The parting kiss you took before your travel
Is yet a virgin on my lips, preserved
With as much care as I would do my fame,
To entertain your wish'd return.
Euphanes.
Best lady,
That I do honour you, and with as much reason
As ever man did virtue; that I love you,
Yet look upon you with that reverence
As holy men behold the sun, the stars,
The temples, and their gods, they all can witness
And that you have deserved this duty from me,
The life, and means of life, for which I owe you,
Commands me to profess it, since my fortune
Affords no other payment.
Beliza.
I had thought,
That for the trifling courtesies, as I call them,
(Though you give them another name) you had
Made ample satisfaction in the acceptance;
And therefore did presume you had brought home
Some other language.
Euphanes.
No one I have learn'd
Yields words sufficient to express your goodness
Nor can I ever chuse another theme,
And not be thought unthankful.
Beliza.
Pray you no more,
As you respect me.
Euphanes.
That charm is too powerful
For me to disobey it. 'Tis your pleasure,
And not my boldness, madam.
Beliza.
Good Euphanes,
Believe I am not one of those weak ladies,
That (barren of all inward worth) are proud
Of what they cannot truly call their own,
Their birth or fortune, which are things without them:
Nor in this will I imitate the world,
Whose greater part of men think when they give
They purchase bondmen, not make worthy friends:
By all that's good I swear, I never thought
My great estate was an addition to me,
Or that your wants took from you.
Euphanes.
There are few
So truly understanding or themselves
Or what they do possess.
Beliza.
Good Euphanes, where benefits
Are ill conferr'd, as on unworthy men,
That turn them to bad uses, the bestower,
For wanting judgment how and on whom to place them,
Is partly guilty: But when we do favours
To such as make them grounds on which they build
Their noble actions, there we improve our fortunes
To the most fair advantage. If I speak
Too much, though I confess I speak well,
Pr'ythee remember 'tis a woman's weakness,
And then thou wilt forgive it.
Euphanes.
You speak nothing
But what would well become the wisest man:
And that by you deliver'd is so pleasing
That I could hear you ever.
Beliza.
Fly not from
Your word, for I arrest it: And will now
Express myself a little more, and prove
That whereas you profess yourself my debtor,
That I am yours.
Euphanes.
Your ladyship then must use
Some sophistry I ne'er heard of.
Beliza.
By plain reasons;
For, look you, had you never sunk beneath
Your wants, or if those wants had found supply
From Crates, your unkind and covetous brother,
Or any other man, I then had miss'd
A subject upon which I worthily
Might exercise my bounty': Whereas now,
By having happy opportunity
To furnish you before, and in your travels,
With all conveniencies that you thought useful,
That gold which would have rusted in my coffers,
Being thus employ'd, has render'd me a partner
In all your glorious actions. And whereas,
Had you not been, I should have died a thing
Scarce known, or soon forgotten; there's no trophy
In which Euphanes for his worth is mention'd,
But there you have been careful to remember,
That all the good you did came from Beliza.
Euphanes.
That was but thankfulness.
Beliza.
'Twas such an honour,
And such a large return for the poor trash
I ventured with you, that, if I should part
With all that I possess, and myself too,
In satisfaction for it, 'twere still short
Of your deservings.
Euphanes.
You o'erprize them, madam.
Beliza.
The queen herself hath given me gracious thanks
In your behalf; for she hath beard, Euphanes,
How gallantly you have maintain'd her honour
In all the courts of Greece; And rest assured
(Though yet unknown) when I present you to her,
Which I will do this evening, you shall find
That she intends good to you.
Euphanes.
Worthiest lady,
Since all you labour for is the advancement
Of him that will live ever your poor servant,
He must not contradict it.
Beliza.
Here's your brother
'Tis strange to see him here.

Enter CRATES.

Crates.
You're welcome home, sir!—
Your pardon, madam.—I had thought my house,
Considering who I am, might have been worthy
Of your first visit.
Euphanes.
'Twas not open to me
When last I saw you; and to me 'tis wonder
That absence, which still renders men forgotten,
Should make my presence wish'd for.
Beliza.
That's not it;
Your too-kind brother, understanding that
You stand in no need of him, is bold to offer
His entertainment.
Crates.
He had never wanted
Or yours, or your assistance, had he practised
The way he might have took, to have commanded
Whatever I call mine.
Euphanes.
I studied many,
But could find none.
Crates.
You would not find yourself, sir,
Or in yourself, what was from you due to me;
The privilege my birth bestow'd upon me
Might challenge some regard.
Euphanes.
You had all the land, sir;
What else did you expect? And I am certain
You kept such strong guards to preserve it yours
I could force nothing from you.
Crates.
Did you ever
Demand help from me?
Euphanes.
My wants have, and often,
With open mouths, but you nor heard nor saw them.
May be, you look'd I should petition to you,
As you went to your horse; flatter your servants,
To play the brokers for my furtherance;
Sooth your worst humours, act the parasite
On all occasions; write my name with theirs
That are but one degree removed from slaves
Be drunk when you would have me, then wench with you,
Or play the pandar; enter into quarrels,
Although unjustly grounded, and defend them,
Because they were yours: These are the tyrannies
Most younger brothers groan beneath; yet bear them
From the insulting heir, selling their freedoms
At a less rate than what the state allows
The salary of base and common strumpets:
For my part, ere on such low terms I feed
Upon a brother's trencher, let me die
The beggar's death, and starve!
Crates.
'Tis bravely spoken,
Did what you do rank with it.
Beliza.
Why, what does he
You would not wish were yours?
Crates.
I'll tell you, lady,
Since you rise up his advocate, and boldly
(For now I find, and plainly, in whose favour
My love and service to you was neglected).
For all vour wealth, nay, add to that your beauty,
And put your virtues in, (if you have any)
I would not yet be pointed at, as he is,
For the fine courtier, the woman's man,
That tells my lady stories, dissolves riddles,
Ushers her to her coach, lies at her feet
At solemn masques, applauding what she laughs at;
Reads her asleep a-nights, and takes his oath
Upon her pantofles, that all excellence
In other madams does but zany hers:
These you are perfect in, and yet these take not
Or from your birth or freedom.
Euphanes.
Should another
Say this, my deeds, not looks, should shew——
Beliza.
Contemn it:
His envy feigns this, and he's but reporter,
Without a second, of his own dry fancies.
Crates.
Yes, madam, the whole city speaks it with me;
And though it may distaste, 'tis certain you
Are brought into the scene, and with him censured;
For you are given out for the provident lady,
That, not to be unfurnish'd for her pleasures,
(As, without them, to what vain use is greatness
Have made choice of an able man, a young man,
Of an Herculean back, to do you service;
And one you may command too, that is active,
And does what you would have him.
Beliza.
You are foul-mouth'd!
Crates.
That can speak well, write verses too, and good ones,
Sharp and conceited, whose wit you may lie with
When his performance fails him; one you have
Maintain'd abroad to learn new ways to please you;
And, by the gods, you well reward him for it.
No night in which, while you lie sick and panting,
He watches by you, but is worth a talent;
No conference in your coach, which is not paid with
A scarlet suit: This the poor people mutter,
Though I believe, for I am bound to do so,
A lady of your youth, that feeds high too,
And a most exact lady, may do all this
Out of a virtuous love, the last-bought vizard
That lechery purchased.
Euphanes.
Not a word beyond this!
[Draws.
The reverence I owe to that one womb
In which we both were embrions, makes me suffer
What's past; but if continued——
Beliza.
Stay your hand!
The queen shall right mine honour.
Crates.
Let him do it;
It is but marrying him. And, for your anger,
Know that I slight it! When your goddess here
Is weary of your sacrifice, as she will be,
You know my house, and there amongst my servants
Perhaps you'll find a livery.
[Exit.
Beliza.
Be not moved;
I know the rancour of his disposition,
And turn it on himself by laughing at it;
And in that let me teach you.
Euphanes.
I learn gladly.
[Exeunt.