Act 3, Scene II

Scene: A Room in the House of Leonidas, hung with black; Tapers on the Walls

Enter AGENOR, LEONIDAS, MERIONE, and BELIZA.

SONG.
Weep no more, nor sigh nor groan,
Sorrow calls no time that's gone;
Violets pluck'd, the sweetest rain
Makes not fresh nor grow again
Trim thy locks, look cheerfully,
Fate's hidden ends eyes cannot see.
Joys as winged dreams fly fast,
Why should sadness longer last?
Grief is but a wound to woe;
Gentlest fair, mourn, mourn no moe.
Agenor.
These airs feed sorrow in her, lady,
And nourish it too strongly; like a mother
That spoils her child with giving on't the will.
Beliza.
Some lighter note.
SONG.
Court-ladies, laugh and wonder. Here is one
That weeps because her maidenhead is gone;
Whilst you do never fret, nor chafe, nor cry,
But when too long it keeps you company.
Too well you know, maids are like towns on fire,
Wasting themselves, if no man quench desire.
Weep then no more, fool: A, new maidenhead
Thou suffer'st loss of, in each chaste tear shed.
Leonidas.
How like a hill of show she sits, and melts
Before the unchaste fires of others' lust!
What heart can see her passion, and not break?
Agenor.
Take comfort, gentle madam! You know well
Even actual sins, committed without will,
Are neither sins nor shame, much more compell'd;
Your bonour's no whit less, your chastity
No whit impair'd, for fair Merione
Is more a virgin yet than all her sex.
Merione.
Alas, 'tis done!
Agenor.
Why burn these tapers now?
Wicked and frantic creatures joy in night.
Leonidas.
Imagine fair Merione had dream'd
She had been ravish'd, would she sit thus then
Excruciate?
Merione.
Oh!
Beliza.
Fy, fy! how fond is this!
What reason for this surfeit of remorse?
How many that have done ill, and proceed,
Women that take degrees in wantonness,
Commence, and rise in rudiments of lust,
That feel no scruple of this tenderness?
Merione.
Pish!
Beliza.
Nor are you matchless in mishap; even I
Do bear an equal part of misery;
That love, beloved, a man the crown of men,
Whom I have friended, and how raised, 'tis better
That all do know and speak it than myself.
When he sail'd low I might have made him mine,
Now, at his full gale, it is questionable
If ever I o'ertake him.
Agenor.
Wherefore sits
My Phoebe shadow'd in a sable cloud?
Those pearly drops which thou let'st fall like beads,
Numb'ring on them thy vestal orisons,
Alas, are spent in vain! I love thee still;
In midst of all these showers thou sweetlier scent'st,
Like a green meadow on an April-day,
In which the sun and west wind play together,
Striving to catch and drink the balmy drops.

Enter EUPHANES and Servant.

Servant.
The lord Euphanes, madam.
[Exit MERIONE.
Agenor.
Poor Merione!
She loaths the light, and men.
[Exit with LEONIDAS.
Euphanes.
The virtuous gods preserve my mistress!
Beliza.
Oh, my most honour'd lord, those times are changed.
Euphanes.
Let times and men change! Could Heaven change, Euphanes
Should never change to be devoted ever
To fair Beliza. Should my load of honours,
Or any grace which you were author of,
Detract mine honour, and diminish grace?
The gods forbid! You here behold your servant,
Your creature, gentle lady, whose sound sleeps
You purchased for him, whose food you paid for,
Whose garments were your charge, whose first preferment
You founded; then, what since the gracious queen
Hath, or can rear, is upon your free land,
And you are mistress of.
Beliza.
Mock me not, gentle lord;
You shine now in too high a sphere for me:
We are planets now disjoin'd for ever! Yet,
Poor superstitious innocent that I am,
Give leave that I may lift my hands, and love,
Not in idolatry, but perfect zeal:
For, credit me, I repent nothing I have done,
But, were it to begin, would do the same.
Euphanes.
There are two seas in Corinth, and two queens,
And but there, not two such in the spacious universe,
I me to tender you the man you have made,
And, like a thankful stream, to retribute
All you, my ocean, have enrich'd me with.
You told me once you'd marry me.
Beliza.
Another mock? You were wont to play fair play.
You scorn poor helps; he, that is sure to win,
May slight mean hearts, whose hand commands the queen.
Euphanes.
Let me be held the knave through all the stock,
When I do slight my mistress! You know well
The gracious inclination of the queen,
Who sent me leave this morning to proceed
To marry as I saw convenience,
And a great gift of jewels: Three days hence
The general sacrifice is done to Vesta,
And can you by then be accommodated,
Your servant shall wait on you to the temple.
Beliza.
Till now I never felt a real joy indeed.
Euphanes.
Here then I seal my duty, here my love.
Till which vouchsafe to wear this ring, dear mistress;
'Twas the queen's token, and shall celebrate
Our nuptials.
Beliza.
Honour still raise, and preserve
My honour'd lord, as he preserves all honour!
[Exit EUPHANES.

Enter AGENOR, LEONIDAS, and MERIONE.

Agenor.
Why shift you places thus, Merine,
And will not lend a word? Couldst thou so soon
Leave sorrow as the place, how blest were I!
But 'twill not be; grief is an impudent guest,
A follower everywhere, a hanger-on,
That words nor blows can drive away.
Leonidas.
Dear sister!
Beliza.
Who can be sad? Out with these tragic lights,
And let day repossess her natural hours;
Tear down these blacks, cast ope the casements wide,
That we may jocundly behold the sun.
I did partake with sad Merione
In all her mourning; let her now rejoice
With glad Beliza, for Euphanes is
As full of love, full of humility,
As when he wanted.
Merione.
Oh! That—
Leonidas.
Help! she faints!
Her grief has broke her heart.
Merione.
No: That——that——
Agenor.
Mistress, what point you at?
Her lamps are out, yet still she extends her hand
As if she saw something antipathous
Unto her virtuous life.
Leonidas.
Stilt, still she points,
And her lips move, but no articulate sound
Breathes from 'em.—Sister, speak, what moves you thus?
Beliza.
Her spirits return.
Merione.
Oh, hide that fatal ring!
Where had it you, Beliza?
Beliza.
What hid fate
Depends on it?—Euphanes gave it me,
As holy pledge of future marriage.
Merione.
Then is Euphanes the foul ravisher!
Let me speak this, and die. That dismal night
Which seal'd my shame upon me, was that ring
The partner of my robb'd virginity.
Leonidas.
Euphanes?
Agenor.
Strange!
Beliza.
Impossible!
Merione.
Impossible to have redress on him,
Chief servant to the queen. Ha! I have read
Somewhere, I am sure, of such an injury
Done to a lady, and how she durst die!
[Exit.
Agenor.
Oh, follow her, Beliza.
Beliza.
To assure her
The unlikelihood of this.
[Exit.
Agenor.
Love hides all sins,
What's to be done, Leonidas?
Leonidas.
Why, this——
Amazement takes up all my faculties!
The plagues of gods and men will muster all,
To avenge this tyranny. Oh, frontless man,
To dare do ill, and hope to bear it thus!
First let's implore, then cure.
Agenor.
Who, who can trust
The gentle looks and words of two-faced man?
Like Corinth's double torrent, you and I
Will rush upon the land; nor shall the queen
Defend this villain in his villainy:
Lust's violent flames can never be withstood,
Nor quench'd, but with as violent streams of blood.
[Exeunt.