Act 2, Scene III

Scene: Before the House of Leonidas.

Enter THEANOR, CRATES, and ERATON, bringing MERIONE.

Eraton.
This is her brother's door.
Crates.
There lay her down then;
Lay her along. She is fast still?
Eraton.
As forgetfulness.
Crates.
Be not you stirr'd now, but away to your mother,
Give all attendance, let no stain appear
Of fear, or doubt in your face; carry yourself confidently.
Theanor.
But whither runs your drift now?
Crates.
When she wakes,
Either what's done will shew a mere dream to her,
And carry no more credit; or, say she find it,
Say she remember all the circumstances,
Twenty to one the shapes in which they were acted,
The horrors, and the still affrights we shew'd her,
Rising in wilder figures to her memory,
Will run her mad, and no man guess the reason.
If all these fail, and that she rise up perfect,
And so collect herself, believe this, sir,
Not knowing who it was that did this to her,
Nor having any power to guess; the thing done too
Being the utter undoing of her honour
If it be known, and to the world's eye publish'd,
Especially at this time when Fortune courts her,
She must and will conceal it, nay, forget it:
The woman is no Lucrece. Get you gone, sir;
And, as you would have more of this sport, fear not.
Theanor.
I am confirm'd. Farewell!
[Exit THEANOR.
Crates.
Farewell! Away, sir.—
Disperse yourselves; and, as you love his favour,
And that that crowns it, gold, no tongues amongst ye!
You know your charge; this way goes no suspicion.
[Exeunt.

Enter AGENOR, and LEONIDAS, with two Gentlemen, with lights.

Agenor.
You are stirring early, sir.
Leonidas.
It was my duty
To wait upon your grace.
Agenor.
How fares your sister,
My beauteous mistress? What, is she ready yet?
Leonidas.
No doubt she'll lose no time, sir: Young maids in her way
Tread upon thorns, and think an hour an age,
Till the priest has done his part, that theirs may follow.
I saw her not since yesterday i' th' evening;
But, sir, I am sure she is not slack: Believe me,
Your grace will find a loving soul.
Agenor.
A sweet one;
And so much joy I carry in the thought of it,
So great a happiness to know she is mine,
(Believe me, noble brother) that to express it
Metliinks a tongue's a poor thing, can do nothing,
Imagination less.—Who's that that lies there?
Leonidas.
Where, sir?
Agenor.
Before the door; it looks like a woman.
Leonidas.
This way I came abroad, but then there was nothing.
One of the maids o'erwatched, belike.
Agenor.
It maybe.
Leonidas.
But methinks this is no fit place to sleep in.
1 Gentleman.
'Tis sure a woman, sir; she has jewels on too:
She fears no foul play, sure.
Leonidas.
Bring a torch hither;
Yet 'tis not perfect day. I should know those garments
Agenor.
How sound she sleeps!
Leonidas.
I am sorry to see this!
Agenor.
Do you know her?
Leonidas.
And you now, I am sure, sir.
Agenor.
My mistress? How comes this?

Enter QUEEN, THEANOR, BELIZA, EUPHANES, NEANTHES, and Attendants.

Leonidas.
The queen and her train.—
Queen.
You know my pleasure.
Euphanes.
And will be most careful.
Queen.
Be not long absent;
The suit you preferr'd is granted.—
Neanthes.
This fellow mounts
Apace, and will tower o'er us like a falcon.—
Queen.
Good morrow to ye all! Why stand ye wond'ring?
Enter the house, sir, and bring out your mistress
You must observe our ceremonies.—What's the matter?
What's that ye stand at?—How! Merione?
Asleep i' th' street; Belike some sudden palsy,
As she stept out last night upon devotion,
To take her farewell of her virgin state,
The air being sharp and piercing, struck her suddenly.
See if she breathe.
Leonidas.
A little.
Queen.
Wake her then;
'Tis sure a fit.
Agenor.
She wakes herself: Give room to her.
Queen.
See how the spirits struggle to recover,
And strongly reinforce their strengths; for certain,
This was no natural sleep.
Theanor.
I am of your mind, madam.
Queen.
No, son, it cannot be.
Theanor.
Pray Heaven, no trick in't!
Good soul, she little merits such a mischief.
Queen.
She is broad awake now, and her sense clears up;
'Twas sure a fit. Stand off.
Merione.
The queen, my love here,
And all my noble friends? Why, where am I?
How am I tranced, and moped! I' th' street? Heaven bless me!
Shame to my sex! o' th' ground too?—Oh, I remember—
Leonidas.
How wild she looks!
Agenor.
Oh, my cold heart, how she trembles!
Merione.
Oh, I remember, I remember!
Queen.
What's that?
Merione.
My shame, my shame, my shame ! Oh, I remember,
My never-dying shame!
Theanor.
Here has been villainy.
Queen.
I fear so too.
Merione.
You are no furies, are ye?
No horrid shapes sent to affright me?
Agenor.
No, sweet;
We are your friends. Look up; I am Agenor,
(Oh, my Merione!) that loves you dearly,
And come to marry you.
Leonidas.
Sister, what ail you?
Speak out your griefs, and boldly.
Agenor.
Something sticks here
Will choak you else.
Merione.
I hope it will.
Queen.
Be free, lady;
You have your loving friends about you.
Agenor.
Dear Merione,
By the unspotted love I ever bore you,
By thine own goodness——
Merione.
Oh, 'tis gone, 'tis gone, sir;
I am now I know not what; pray ye look not on me;
No name is left me, nothing to inherit,
But that detested, base, and branded——
Agenor.
Speak it,
And how: Diseases of most danger,
Their causes once discovered, are easily cured.
My fair Merione——
Merione.
I thank your love, sir
When I was fair Merione, unspotted,
Pure, and unblasted in the bud you honour'd,
White, as the heart of truth, then, prince Agenor,
Even their I was not worthy of your favour.
Wretch that I am, less worthy now of pity!
Let no good thing come near me; Virtue fly me;
You that have honest noble names, despise me:
For I am nothing now but a main pestilence,
Able to poison all! Send those unto me
That have forgot their names, ruin'd their fortunes,
Despised their honuurs; those that have been virgins
Ravish'd and wrong'd, and yet dare live to tell it.
Theanor.
Now it appears too plain.
Merione.
Send those sad people
That hate the light, and curse society;
Whose thoughts are graves, and from whose eyes continually
Their melting souls drop out, send those to me;
And when their sorrows are most excellent,
So full that one grief more cannot be added,
My story like a torrent shall devour 'em.
Hark! it must out: But pray stand close together,
And let not all the world hear.
Leonidas.
Speak it boldly.
Merione.
And, royal lady, think but charitably!
Your grace has known my breeding.
Queen.
Pr'ythee, speak it.
Merione.
Is there no stranger here? Send off your servants.
And yet it must be known.—I shake.
Agenor.
Sweet mistress!
Merione.
I am abused, basely abused! do you guess yet?
Come close; I'll tell ye plainer; I am whored,
Ravish'd, and robb'd of honour!
Leonidas.
Oh, the devil!
Agenor.
What hellish slave was this?
Theanor.
A wretch, a wretch,
A damn'd wretch! Do you know the villain, lady?
Merione.
No.
Theanor.
Not by guess?
Merione.
Oh, no.
Theanor.
It must be known.
Queen.
Where was the place ?
Merione.
I know not neither.
Agenor.
Oh, Heaven!
Is this the happy time? my hope to this come?
Leonidas.
Neither the man nor circumstances?
Theanor.
His tongue,
Did you not hear his tongue? no voice?
Merione.
None, none, sir:
All I know of him was his violence.
Agenor.
How came you hither, sweet?
Merione.
I know not neither.
Theanor.
A cunning piece of villainy.
Merione.
All I remember
Is only this: Going to Vesta's temple,
To give the goddess my last virgin prayers,
Near to that place I was suddenly surprised,
By five or six disguised, and from thence violently
To my dishonour baled: That act perform'd,
Brought back; but how, or whither, till I waked here——
Theanor.
This is so monstrous, the gods cannot suffer it;
I have not read, in all the villainies
Committed by the most obdurate rascals,
An act so truly impious.
Leonidas.
'Would I knew him!
Theanor.
He must be known; the devil cannot hide him.
Queen.
If all the art I have, or power, can do it,
He shall be found; and such a way of justice
Inflicted on him—A lady wrong'd in my court?
And this way robb'd and ruin'd?
Theanor.
Be contented, madam;
If he be above ground, I will have him.
Agenor.
Fair virtuous maid, take comfort yet, and flourish,
In my love flourish; the stain was forced upon you,
None of your will's, nor yours. Rise, and rise mine still,
And rise the same white, sweet, fair soul, I loved ye;
Take me the same.
Merione.
I kneel and thank you, sir;
And I must say you are truly honourable,
And dare confess my will yet still a virgin:
But so unfit and weak a cabinet
To keep your love and virtue in am I now,
That have been forced and broken, lost my lustre
I mean this body, so corrupt a volume,
For you to study goodness in, and honour,
I shall entreat your grace, confer that happiness
Upon a beauty sorrow never saw yet.
And when this grief shall kill me, (as it must do)
Only remember yet you had such a mistress;
And if vou then dare slied a tear, yet honour me.—
Good gentlemen, express your pities to me,
In seeking out this villainy. And my last suit
Is to your grace, that I may have your favour
To live a poor recluse nun with this lady,
From court and company, till Heaven shall hear me,
And send me comfort, or death end my misery.
Queen.
Take your own will; my very heart bleeds for thee.
Agenor.
Farewell, Merione! since I have not thee,
I'll wed thy goodness, and thy memory.
Leonidas.
And I her fair revenge.
Theanor.
Away; let's follow it;
For he's so rank i' th'wind we cannot miss him.
[Exeunt.