Act 3, Scene I

Scene: Another Room in Gondarino's House.

Enter GONDARINO, flying from ORIANA.

Gondarino.
Save me, ye better powers! let me not fall
Between the loose embracements of a woman!
Heaven, if my sins be ripe, grown to a head,
And must attend your vengeance, I beg not divert my fate,
Or to reprieve a while thy punishment;
Only I crave, (and hear me, equal Heavens!)
Let not your furious rod, that must afflict me,
Be that imperfect piece of Nature
That Art makes up, woman, unsatiate woman!
Had we not knowing souls, at first infused
To teach a difference 'twixt extremes and goods?
Were we not made ourselves, free, unconfined,
Commanders of our own affections?
And can it be, that this most perfect creature,
This image of his Maker, well-squared man,
Should leave the handfast, that he had of grace,
To fall into a woman's easy arms?

Enter ORIANA.

Oriana.
Now, Venus, be my speed! inspire me with all the several subtle temptations, that thou hast already given, or hast in store hereafter to bestow upon our sex! Grant that I may apply that physic that is most apt to work upon him; whether he will soonest be moved with wantonness, singing, dancing, or (being passionate) with scorn; or with sad and serious looks, cunningly mingled with sighs, with smiling, lisping, kissing the hand, and making short curt'sies; or with whatsoever other nimble power he may be caught, do thou infuse into me; and, when I have him, I will sacrifice him up to thee!
Gondarino.
It comes again! new apparitions,
And tempting spirits! Stand and reveal thyself;
Tell why thou follow'st me? I fear thee,
As I fear the place thou camest from, Hell.
Oriana.
My lord, I am a woman, and such a one—
Gondarino.
That I hate truly!
Thou hadst better been a devil.
Oriana.
Why, my unpatient lord?
Gondarino.
Devils were once good; there they excell'd you women.
Oriana.
Can you be so uneasy? can you freeze,
And such a summer's heat so ready to dissolve?
Nay, gentle lord, turn not away in scorn,
Nor hold me less fair than I am! Look on these cheeks;
They have yet enough of nature, true complexion;
If it be red and white, a forehead high,
An easy melting lip, a speaking eye,
And such a tongue, whose language takes the ear
Of strict religion, and men most austere;
If these may hope to please, look here!
Gondarino.
This woman with entreaty would shew all!
—Lady there lies your way; I pray you, farewell.
Oriana.
You're yet too harsh, too dissonant;
There's no true music in your words, my lord.
Gondarino.
What shall I give thee to be gone? Here stay;
And thou want'st lodging, take my house, 'tis big enough,
'Tis thine own; 'twill hold five lecherous lords
And their lackies, without discovery:
There's stoves and bathing-tubs.
Oriana.
Dear lord, you are too wild.
Gondarino.
'Shalt have a doctor too, thou shalt,
'Bout six and twenty, 'tis a pleasing age;
Or I can help thee to a handsome usher;
Or if thou lack'st a page, I'll give thee one:
Pr'ythee keep house, and leave me!
Oriana.
I do confess I am too easy, too much woman,
Not coy enough to take affection;
Yet I can frown, and nip a passion,
Even in the bud: I can say,
Men please their present heats, then please to leave us.
I can hold off, and, by my chymic power,
Draw sonnets from the melting lover's brain;
Ay-me's, and elegies: Yet to you, my lord,
My love, my better self, I put these off,
Doing that office not befits our sex,
Entreat a man to love.—Are you not yet
Relenting? ha' you blood and spirit in those veins?
You are no image, though you be as hard
As marble: Sure you have no liver; if you had,
'Twould send a lively and desiring heat
To every member! Is not this miserable?
A thing so truly form'd, shaped out by symmetry,
Has all the organs that belong to man,
And working too, yet to show all these
Like dead motions moving upon wires?
Then, good my lord, leave off what you have been,
And freely be what you were first intended for,
A man!
Gondarino.
Thou art a precious piece of sly damnation!
I will be deaf; I will lock up my ears:
Tempt me not! I will not love! if I do——
Oriana.
Then I'll hate you.
Gondarino.
Let me be 'nointed with honey, and turn'd
Into the sun, to be stung to death with horse-flies!
Hear'st thou, thou breeder? here I'll sit,
And, in despite of thee, I will say nothing.
[Sits down.
Oriana.
Let me, with your fair patience, sit beside you!
Gondarino.
Madam, lady, tempter, tongue, woman, air,
Look to me, I shall kick! I say again,
Look to me, I shall kick!
Oriana.
I cannot think your better knowledge
Can use a woman so uncivilly.
Gondarino.
I cannot think I shall become a coxcomb,
To ha' my hair curl'd by an idle finger,
My cheeks turn tabors, and be play'd upon,
Mine eyes look'd babies in, and my nose blow'd to my hand:
I say again, I shall kick! sure, I shall.
Oriana.
'Tis but
Your outside that you show; I know your mind
Never was guilty of so great a weakness:
Or, could the tongues of all men join'd together
Possess me with a thought of your dislike,
My weakness were above a woman's, to fall off
From my affection, for one crack of thunder.
Oh, would you could love, my lord!
Gondarino.
I would thou wouldst
Sit still, and say nothing! What madman let thee loose,
To do more mischief than a dozen whirlwinds?
Keep thy hands in thy muff, and warm the idle
Worms in thy fingers' ends: Will you be doing still?
Will no entreating serve you? no lawful warning?
I must remove, and leave your ladyship:
Nay, never hope to stay me; for I will run
From that smooth, smiling, witching, cozening, tempting,
Damning face of thine, as far as I can find any land,
Where I wilt put myself into a daily course
Of curses for thee and all thy family.
Oriana.
Nay, good my lord, sit still! I'll promise peace,
And fold mine arms up, let but mine eye discourse;
Or let my voice, set to some pleasing chord, sound out
The sullen strains of my neglected love!
Gondarino.
Sing till thou crack thy treble-string in pieces,
And when thou hast done, put up thy pipes and walk!
Do anything, sit still and tempt me not!
Oriana. [Aside]
I would rather sing at doors for bread, than sing to
This fellow, but for hate: If this should be
Told in the court, that I begin to woo lords,
What a troop of the untruss'd nobility
Should I have at my lodging tomorrow morning!
[Sings.
SONG.
Come, sleep, and, with thy sweet deceiving,
  Lock me in delight awhile;
  Let some pleasing dreams beguile
  All my fancies; that from thence,
  I may feel an influence,
All my powers of care bereaving!
Though but a shdow, but a sliding,
  Let me know some little joy!
  We treat suffer long annoy,
  And are contented with a thought,
  Through an idle fancy wrought:
Oh, let my joys have some abiding!
Gondarino.
Have you done your wassail?
'Tis a handsome drowsy ditty, I'll assure you:
Now I had as lief hear a cat cry, when her tail
Is cut off, as hear these lamentations,
These lowsy love-lays, these bewailments.
You think you have caught me, lady; you think I melt now,
Like a dish of May-butter, and run
All into brine and passion: Yes, yes, I am taken
Look how I cross my arms, look pale, and dwindle,
And would cry, but for spoiling my face!
We must part: Nay, we'll avoid all ceremony;
No kissing, lady! I desire to know
Your ladyship no more.—'Death of my soul, the Duke!
Oriana.
God keep your lordship
Gondarino.
From thee and all thy sex.
Oriana.
I'll be the clerk, and cry, Amen! Your lordship's
Ever-assured enemy, Oriana.
[Exit ORIANA.

Enter DUKE, ARRlGO, and LUCIO.

Gondarino.
All the day's good attend your lordship!
Duke.  
We thank you, Gondarino.—Is it possible?
Can belief lay hold on such a miracle?
To see thee (one that hath cloistered up all passion,
Turn'd wilful votary, and forsworn converse
With women) in company and fair discourse
With the best beauty of Milan?
Gondarino.
'Tis true; and if your grace, that hath the sway
Of the whole state, will suffer this lewd sex,
These women, to pursue us to our homes,
Not to be pray'd nor to be rail'd away,
But they will woo, and dance, and sing,
And, in a manner looser than they are
By nature (which should seem impossible).
To throw their arms on our unwilling necks——
Duke.  
No more! I can see through your visor; dissemble it
No more! Do not I know thou hast used all art,
To work upon the poor simplicity
Of this young maid, that yet hath known none ill,
Thinks that damnation will fright those that woo
From oaths and lies? But yet I think her chaste,
And will from thee, before thou shalt apply
Stronger temptations, bear her hence with me.
Gondarino.
My lord, I speak not this to gain new grace,
But howsoever you esteem my words,
My love and duty will not suffer me
To see you favour such a prostitute,
And I stand by dumb; without rack, torture,
Or strapado, I will unrip myself:
I do confess I was in company
With that pleasing piece of frailty, that we call woman;
I do confess, after a long and tedious siege,
I yielded.
Duke.  
Forward!
Gondarino.
'Faith, my lord, to come quickly to the point,
The woman you saw with me is a whore,
An arrant whore.
Duke.  
Was she not count Valore's sister?
Gondarino.
Yes; that count Valore's sister is naught.
Duke.  
Thou darest not say so.
Gondarino.
Not if it be distasting to your lordship;
But give me freedom, and I dare maintain
She has embraced this body, and grown to it
As close as the hot youthful vine to the elm.
Duke.  
Twice have I seen her with thee, twice my thoughts
Were prompted by mine eye, to hold thy strictness
False and impostorous:
Is this your mewing-up, your strict retirement,
Your bitterness and gall against that sex?
Have I not heard thee say, thou would'st sooner meet
The basilisk's dead-doing eye, than meet
A woman for an object? Look it be true you tell me;
Or, by our country's saint, your head goes off!—
If thou prove a whore,
No woman's face shall ever move me more.
[Exeunt DUKE, ARRIGO, and LUCIO.
Gondarino.
So, so! 'tis as't should be.
Are women grown so mankind? must they be wooing?
I have a plot shall blow her up; she flies, she mounts;
I'll teach her ladyship to dare my fury!
I will be known, and fear'd, and more truly hated
Of women than an eunuch.

Enter ORIANA.

Of women than a eunuch. She's here again:
Good gall be patient! for I must dissemble.

Oriana.
Now, my cold frosty lord,
My Woman-Hater, you that have sworn
An everlasting hate to all our sex!
By my troth, good lord, and as I am yet a maid,
Methought 'twas excellent sport to hear your honour
Swear out an alphabet, chafe nobly like a general,
Kick like a resty jade, and make ill faces!
Did your good honour think I was in love?
Where did I first begin to take that heat?
From those two radiant eyes, that piercing sight?
Oh, they were lovely, if the balls stood right!
And there's a leg made out of a dainty staff,
Where, the gods be thanked, there is calf enough!
Gondarino.
Pardon him, lady, that is now a convertite:
Your beauty, like a saint, hath wrought this wonder.
Oriana.
Alas, has it been pricked at the heart?
Is the stomach come down! will't rail no more
At women, and call 'em devils, she-cats, and goblins?
Gondarino. [Aside]
He that shall marry thee, had better spend
The poor remainder of his days in a dung-barge,
For two-pence a-week, and find himself.
Down again, spleen! I pr'ythee down again!—
Shall I find favour, lady? Shall at length
My true unfeigned penitence get pardon
For my harsh unseasoned follies?
I am no more an atheist; no; I do
Acknowledge that dread powerful deity,
And all his all-quick'ning heats burn in my breast:
Oh, be not as I was, hard, unrelenting;
But as I am, be partner of my fires!
Oriana.
Sure we shall have store of larks; the skies will
Not hold up long: I should have look'd as soon
For frost in the Dog-days, or another inundation,
As hoped this strange conversion above miracle.
Let me look upon your lordship: Is your name
Gondarino? are you Milan's general, that
Great bugbear Bloody-bones, at whose very name
All women, from the lady to the laundress,
Shake like a cold fit?
Gondarino.
Good patience, help me!
This fever will enrage my blood again.—
Madam, I am that man; I am even he
That once did owe unreconciled hate
To you, and all that bear the name of woman;
I am the man that wrong'd your honour to the Duke,
I am the man that said you were unchaste,
And prostitute; yet I am he that dare deny all this.
Oriana.
Your big nobility is very merry.
Gondarino.
Lady, 'tis true that I have wrong'd you thus,
And my contrition is as true as that;
Yet have I found a means to make all good again:
I do beseech your beauty, not for myself,
(My merits are yet in conception)
But for your honour's safety and my zeal,
Retire a while, while I unsay myself
Unto the Duke, and cast out that evil spirit
I have possess'd him with!
I have a house conveniently private.
Oriana.
Lord, thou hast wrong'd my innocence;
But thy confession hath gain'd thee faith.
Gondarino.
By the true honest service that I owe those eyes,
My meaning is as spotless as my faith.
Oriana.
The Duke doubt mine honour? a' may judge strangely.
'Twill not be long before I'll be enlarged again?
Gondarino.
A day or two.
Oriana.
Mine own servants shall attend me?
Gondarino.
Your ladyship's command is good.
Oriana.
Look you be true!
[Exit.
Gondarino.
Else let me lose the hopes my soul aspires to!—I will be a scourge to all females in my life, and, after my death, the name of Gondarino shall be terrible to the mighty women of the earth: they shall shake at my name, and at the sound of it their knees shall knock together; and they shall run into nunneries, for they and I are beyond all hope irreconcileable: for if I could endure an ear with an hole in't, or a plaited lock, or a bareheaded coachman, that sits like a sign where great ladies are to be sold within, agreement betwixt us were not to be despair'd of. If I could be but brought to endure to see women, I would have them come all once a week and kiss me, as witches do the devil, in token of homage. I must not live here; I will to the court,
And there pursue my plot; when it hath took,
Women shall stand in awe but of my look.
[Exeunt.