Act 2, Scene I

Scene: A Room in Gondarino's House

Enter GONDARINO and Servants.

Servant.
My lord!
Gondarino.
Ha!
Servant.
Here's one hath brought you a present.
Gondarino.
From whom? from a woman? if it be from a woman, bid him carry it back, and tell her she's a whore. What is it?
Servant.
A fish-head, my lord.
Gondarino.
What fish-head?
Servant.
I did not ask that, my lord.
Gondarino.
Whence comes it?
Servant.
From the court.
Gondarino.
Oh, 'tis a cod's head.
Servant.
No, my lord; 'tis some strange head; it comes from the duke.
Gondarino.
Let it be carried to my mercer; I do owe him money for silks; stop his mouth with that.— [Exeunt Servants.] Was there ever any man that hated his wife after death but I and, for her sake, all women, women that were created only for the preservation of little dogs!

Enter Servant.

Servant.
My lord, the count's sister being overtaken in the streets with a great hail-storm, is lit at your gate, and desires room till the storm be overpast.
Gondarino.
Is she a woman?
Servant.
Ay, my lord, I think so.
Gondarino.
I have none for her then; bid her get her gone; tell her she is not welcome!
Servant.
My lord, she is now coming up.
Gondarino.
She shall not come up! tell her anything; tell her I have but one great room in my house, and I am now in it at the close-stool.
Servant.
She's here, my lord.
Gondarino.
Oh, impudence of women! I can keep dogs out of my house, or I can defend my bouse against thieves; but I cannot keep out women.—Now, madam;

Enter ORIANA, a Waiting-woman, and a Page.

What hath your ladyship to say to me?

Oriana.
My lord, I was bold to crave the help of your house against the storm.
Gondarino.
Your ladyship's boldness in coming will be impudence in staying; for you are most unwelcome.
Oriana.
Oh, my lord!
Gondarino.
Do you laugh? by the hate I bear to you, 'tis true!
Oriana.
You are merry, my lord.
Gondarino.
Let me laugh to death if I be, or can be, whilst thou art here, or livest, or any of thy sex!
Oriana.
I commend your lordship.
Gondarino.
Do you commend me? why do you commmend me! I give you no such cause: Thou art a filthy, impudent whore; a woman, a very woman!
Oriana.
Ha, ha, ha!
Gondarino.
Begot when thy father was drunk.
Oriana.
Your lordship hath a good wit.
Gondarino.
How? what? have I good wit?
Oriana.
Come, my lord; I have heard before of your lordship's merry vein in jesting against our sex which I being desirous to hear, made me rather chuse your lordship's house than any other; but I know I am welcome.
Gondarino.
Let me not live, if you be! Methinks it doth not become you to come to my house, being a stranger to you: I have no woman in my house to entertain you, nor to shew you your chamber; why should you come to me? I have no galleries, nor banqueting-houses, nor bawdy-pictures, to shew your ladyship.
Oriana.
Believe me, this your lordship's plainness makes me think myself more welcome than if you had sworn, by all the pretty court-oaths that are, I had been welcomer than your soul to your body.
Gondarino.
Now she's in, talking treason will [not] get her out; I durst sooner undertake to talk an intelligencer out of the room, and speak more than he durst hear, than talk a woman out of my company.

Enter a Servant.

Servant.
My lord, the Duke being in the streets, and the storm continuing, is entered your gate, and now coming up.
Gondarino.
The Duke?—Now I know your errand, madam; you have plots and private-meetings in hand: Why do you chuse my house? are you ashamed to go to it in the old coupling-place? though it be less suspicious here, (for no Christian will suspect a woman to be in my house) yet you may do it cleanlier there, for there is a care had of those businesses; and wheresoever you remove, your great maintainer and you shall have your lodgings directly opposite: it is but putting on your nightgown and your slippers: Madam, you understand me?
Oriana.
Before, I would not understand him, but now he speaks riddles to me indeed.

Enter the DUKE, ARRIGO, and Lucio.

Duke.  
'Twas a strange hail-storm.
Lucio.
'Twas exceeding strange.
Gondarino.
Good morrow to your grace!
Duke.  
Good morrow, Gondarino.
Gondarino.
Justice, great prince!
Duke.  
Why should you beg for justice? I never did you wrong; what's the offender?
Gondarino.
A woman.
Duke.  
Oh, I know your ancient quarrel against that sex; but what heinous crime hath she committed?
Gondarino.
She hath gone abroad.
Duke.  
What? it cannot be.
Gondarino.
She hath done it.
Duke.  
How! I never heard of any woman that did so before.
Gondarino.
If she have got laid by that modesty
That should attend a virgin, and, quite void,
Of shame, hath left the house where she was born,
(As they should never do,) let me endure
The pains that she should suffer!
Duke.  
Hath she so?
Which is the woman?
Gondarino.
This, this.
Duke.  
How!—Arrigo! Lucio!
Gondarino.
Ay, then it is a plot: No prince alive
Shall force me make my house a brothel-house;
Not for the sin's, but for the woman's sake;
I will not have her in my doors so long:
Will they make my house as bawdy as their own are?
Duke.  
Is it not Oriana?
Lucio.
It is.
Duke.  
Sister to count Valore?
Arrigo.
The very same.
Duke.  
She that I love?
Lucio.
She that you love.
Duke.  
I do suspect——
Lucio.
So do I.
Duke.  
This fellow to be but a counterfeit;
One that doth seem to loath all woman-kind,
To hate himself because be hath some part
Of woman in him, seems not to endure
To see or to be seen of any woman,
Only because he knows it is their nature
To wish to taste that which is most forbidden
And with this show he may the better compass
(And with far less suspicion) his base ends.
Lucio.
Upon my life, 'tis so.
Duke.  
And I do know,
Before his late wife gave him that offence,
He was the greatest servant to that sex
That ever was. What doth this lady here
With him alone? Why should he rail at her
To me?
Lucio.
Because your grace might not suspect.
Duke.  
It was so! I do love her strangely.
I would fain know the truth; counsel me.
[They three whisper.

Enter VALORE, LAZARILLO, and Boy.

Valore.
It falls out better than we could expect, sir, that we should find the duke and my lord Gondarino together, both which you desire to be acquainted with.
Lazarillo.
'Twas very happy.—Boy, go down into the kitchen, and see if you can spy that same.— [Exit Boy.] I am now in some hope; I have methinks a kind of fever upon me, a certain gloominess within me, doubting, as it were, betwixt two passions: There is no young maid upon her wedding-night, when her husband sets first foot in the bed, blushes, and looks pale again, oftner than I do now. There is no poet acquainted with more shakings and quakings, towards the latter end of his new play, (when he's in that case that he stands peeping betwixt the curtains, so fearfully that a bottle of ale cannot be open'd, but he thinks somebody hisses) than I am at this instant.
Valore.
Are they in consultation? If they be, either my young Duke hath gotten some bastard, and is persuading my knight yonder to father the child, and marry the wench, or else some cockpit is to be built.
Lazarillo.
My lord! what nobleman's that?
Valore.
His name is Lucio; 'tis he that was made a lord at the request of some of his friends for his wife's sake; be affects to be a great statesman, and thinks it consists in night-caps, and jewels, and toothpicks.
Lazarillo.
And what's that other?
Valore.
A knight, sir, that pleaseth the Duke to favour, and to raise to some extraordinary fortunes: He can make as good men as himself every day in the week, and doth.
Lazarillo.
For what was he raised?
Valore.
Truly, sir, I am not able to say directly for what, but for wearing of red breeches, as I take it: be is a brave man; he will spend three knighthoods at a supper without trumpets.
Lazarillo.
My lord, I'll talk with him; for I have a friend that would gladly receive the honour——
Valore.
If be have the itch of knighthood upon him, let him repair to that physician, he'll cure him. But I will give you a note: Is your friend fat or lean?
Lazarillo.
Something fat.
Valore.
It will be the worse for him.
Lazarillo.
I hope that's not material.
Valore.
Very much, for there's an impost set upon knighthoods, and your friend shall pay a noble in the pound.
Duke.   [Coming forward.]
I do not like examinations;
We shall find out the truth more easily,
Some other way less noted, and that course
Should not be used, till we be sure to prove
Something directly; for when they perceive
Themselves suspected, they will then provide
More warily to answer.
Lucio.
Doth she know
Your grace doth love her?
Duke.  
She hath never heard it.
Lucio.
Then thus, my lord.
[They whisper again.
Lazarillo.
What's he that walks alone so sadly, with his hands behind him?
Valore.
The lord of the house, he that you desire to be acquainted with. He doth hate women for the same cause that I love them.
Lazarillo.
What's that?
Valore.
For that which apes want: You perceive me, sir?
Lazarillo.
And is he sad? can he be sad that hath so rich a gem under his roof, as that which I do follow!—What young lady's that?
Valore.
Which? Have I mine eye-sight perfect? 'tis my sister! Did I say the Duke had a bastard? what should she make here with him and his council? She hath no papers in her hand to petition to them; she hath never a husband in prison, whose release she might sue for: That's a fine trick for a wench, to get her husband clapt up, that she may more freely, and with less suspicion, visit the private studies of men in authority. Now I do discover their consultation; yon fellow is a pandar without all salvation! but let me not condemn her too rashly, without weighing the matter: She is a young lady; she went forth early this morning with a waiting-woman, and a page or so: This is no garden-house, in my conscience, she went forth with no dishonest intent; for she did not pretend going to any sermon in the further end of the city; neither went she to see any odd old gentlewoman, that mourns for the death of her husband, or the loss of her friend, and must have young ladies come to comfort her; those are the damnable bawds! 'Twas no set meeting certainly, for there was no wafer-woman with her these three days, on my knowledge. I'll talk with her.— Good morrow, my lord!
Gondarino.
You are welcome, sir.—Here's her brother come now to do a kind office for his sister; is it not strange?
Valore.
I am glad to meet you here, sister.
Oriana.
I thank you, good brother; and if you doubt of the cause of my coming, I can satisfy you.
Valore.
No, 'faith, I dare trust thee: I do suspect thou art honest; for it is so rare a thing to be honest, amongst you, that some one man in an age may perhaps suspect some two woman to be honest, but never believe it verily.—
Lucio.
Let your return be sudden!
Arrigo.
Unsuspected by them.
Duke.  
It shall; so shall I best
Perceive their love, if there be any: Farewell!
Valore.
Let me entreat your grace to stay a little,
To know a gentleman, to whom yourself
Is much beholding: He hath made the sport
For your whole court these eight years, on my knowledge.
Duke.  
His name?
Valore.
Lazarillo.
Duke.  
I heard of him this morning;
Which is he?
Valore.
Lazarillo, pluck up thy spirits!
Thy fortunes are now raising; the duke calls for thee
And thou shalt be acquainted with him.
Lazarillo.
He's going away,
And I must of necessity stay here,
Upon business.
Valore.
'Tis all one; thou shalt know him first.
Lazarillo.
Stay a little!—
[Aside.

If he should offer to take me away with him,
And by that means I should lose that I seek for—
But if he should, I will not go with him.
Valore.
Lazarillo, the duke stays! wilt thou lose
This opportunity?
Lazarillo.
How must I speak to him?
Valore.
'Twas well thought of; you must not talk to him
As you do to an ordinary man,
Honest plain sense, but you must wind about him;
For example; if he should ask you what o'clock it is,
You must not say, "If it please your grace, 'tis nine;"
But thus, "Thrice three o'clock, so please my sovereign;"
Or thus, "Look how many muses there doth dwell
Upon the sweet banks of the learned well,
And just so many strokes the clock hath struck;"
And so forth: And you must now and then
Enter into a description.
Lazarillo.
I hope I shall do it.
Valore.
Come! "May it please your grace to take note of a gentleman, well seen, deeply read, and throughly grounded in the hidden knowledge of all salads and pot-herbs whatsoever."
Duke.  
I shall desire to know him more inwardly.
Lazarillo.
I kiss the ox-hide of your grace's foot. Very well!—Will your grace question him a little?
Duke.  
How old are you?
Lazarillo.
Full eight-and-twenty several almanacks
Have been compiled, all for several years,
Since first I drew this breath; four prenticeships
Have I most truly served in this world
And eight-and-twenty times hath Phœbus' car
Run out his yearly course, since——
Duke.  
I understand you, sir.
Lucio.
How like an ignorant poet he talks!
Duke.  
You are eight-and-twenty year old. What time of the day do you hold it to be?
Lazarillo.
About the time that mortals whet their knives,
On thresholds, on their shoe-soles, and on stairs
Now bread is grating, and the testy cook
Hath much to do now; now the tables all——
Duke.  
'Tis almost dinner-time?
Lazarillo.
Your grace doth apprehend me very rightly.
Valore.
Your grace shall find him, in your further conference, grave, wise, courtly, and scholar-like, understandingly read in the necessities of the life of man:
He knows that man is mortal by his birth;
He knows that man must die, and therefore live;
He knows that man must live, and therefore eat.
And if it shall please your grace to accompany yourself with him, I doubt not but that he will, at the least, make good my commendations.
Duke.  
Attend us, Lazarillo; we do want
Men of such action, as we have received you
Reported from your honourable friend.
Lazarillo.
Good my lord, stand betwixt me and my overthrow! you know I am tied here, and may not depart!—My gracious lord, so weighty are the businesses of mine own, which at this time do call upon me, that I will rather choose to die, than to neglect them.
Valore.
Nay, you shall well perceive; besides the virtues that I have already inform'd you of, he hath a stomach which will stoop to no prince alive.
Duke.  
Sir, at your best leisure; I shall thirst to see you.
Lazarillo.
And I shall hunger for it.
Duke.  
Till then, farewell all!
Gondarino, Valore.
Long life attend your grace!
Duke.  
I do not taste this sport. Arrigo! Lucio!
Arrigo. Lucio.
We do attend.
[Exeunt DUKE, ARRIGO, and LUCIO.
Gondarino.
His grace is gone, and hath left his Helen with me: I am no pandar for him; neither can I be won, with the hope of gain, or the itching desire of tasting my lord's lechery to him, to keep her at my house, or bring her in disguise to his bed-chamber.
The twines of adders and of scorpions
About my naked breast, will seem to me
More tickling than those clasps, which men adore,
The lustful, dull, ill-spirited embraces
Of women! The much-praised Amazons,
Knowing their own infirmities so well,
Made of themselves a people, and what men
They take amongst them they condemn to die
Perceiving that their folly made them fit
To live no longer, that would willingly
Come in the worthless presence of a woman.—
I will attend, and see what my young lord
Will do with his sister.

Enter Boy.

Boy.    
My lord, the fish-head is gone again.
Valore.
Whither?
Boy.    
I know whither, my lord.
Valore.
Keep it from Lazarillo!—Sister, shall I confer with you in private, to know the cause of the duke's coming hither? I know he makes you acquainted with his business of state.
Oriana.
I'll satisfy you, brother; for I see you are jealous of me.
Gondarino.
Now there shall be some course taken for her conveyance.
Lazarillo.
Lazarillo, thou art happy! thy carriage hath begot love, and that love hath brought forth fruits; thou art here in the company of a man Honourable, that will help thee to taste of the bounties of the sea; and when thou hast so done, thou shalt retire thyself unto the court, and there taste of the delicates of the earth, and be great in the eyes of thy sovereign. Now no more shalt thou need to scramble for thy meat, nor remove thy stomach with the court; but thy credit shall command thy heart's desire, and all novelties shall be sent as presents unto thee.
Valore.
Good sister, when you see your own time, will you return home?
Oriana.
Yes, brother, and not before.
Lazarillo.
I will grow popular in this state, and overthrow the fortunes of a number, that live by extortion.
Valore.
Lazarillo, bestir thyself nimbly and suddenly, and hear me with patience.
Lazarillo.
Let me not fall from myself!
Speak! I am bound to hear.
Valore.
So art thou to revenge, when thou shall hear;
The fish-head is gone, and we know not whither.
Lazarillo.
I will not curse, nor swear, nor rage, nor rail,
Nor with contemptuous tongue accuse my fate
(Though I might justly do it;) nor will I
Wish myself uncreated, for this evil!—
Shall I entreat your lordship to be seen
A little longer in the company
Of a man cross'd by fortune?
Valore.
I hate to leave my friend in his extremities.
Lazarillo.
'Tis noble in you; then I take your hand,
And do protest, I do not follow this
For any malice or for private ends,
But with a love, as gentle and as chaste,
As that a brother to his sister bears:
And if I see this fish-head, yet unknown,
The last words that my dying father spake,
Before his eye-strings brake, shall not of me
So often be remembered, as our meeting:
Fortune attend me, as my ends are just,
Full of pure love, and free from servile lust!—
Valore. [To GONDARINO.]
Farewell, my lord! I was entreated to invite your lordship to a lady's up-sitting.
[Exeunt VALORE, LAZARILLO, and Boy.
Gondarino.
Oh, my ears!—Why, madam, will not you follow your brother? You are waited for by great men; he'll bring you to 'em.
Oriana.
I am very well, my lord; you do mistake me, if you think I affect greater company than yourself.
Gondarino.
What madness possesseth thee, that thou canst imagine me a fit man to entertain ladies? I tell thee, I do use to tear their hair, to kick them, and to twinge their noses, if they be not careful in avoiding me.
Oriana.
Your lordship may descant upon your own behaviour as please you, but I protest, so sweet and courtly it appears in my eye, that I mean not to leave you yet.
Gondarino.
I shall grow rough.
Oriana.
A rough carriage is 'best in a man.—I'll dine with you, my lord.
Gondarino.
Why, I will starve thee; thou shalt have nothing.
Oriana.
I have heard of your lordship's nothing; I'll put that to the venture.
Gondarino.
Well, thou shalt have meat; I'll send it to thee.
Oriana.
I'll keep no state, my lord; neither do I mourn; I'll dine with you.
Gondarino.
Is such a thing as this allow'd to live?
What power hath let thee loose upon the earth,
To plague us for our sins? Out of my doors!
Oriana.
I would your lordship did but see how well
This fury doth become you! it doth show
So near the life, as it were natural.
Gondarino.
Oh, thou damn'd woman! I will fly the vengeance
That hangs above thee: Follow, if thou darest!
[Exit GONDARINO.
Oriana.
I must not leave this fellow; I will torment him to madness!
To teach his passions against kind to move,
The more he hates, the more I'll seem to love.
[Exeunt ORIANA, Maid, and Page.