Act 5, Scene I

Scene: Lucio's Apartment. A Curtain in the back Part.

Enter Lucio.

Lucio.  
Now, whilst the young duke follows his delights,
We that do mean to practise in the state,
Must pick our times, and set our faces in,
And nod our heads, as it may prove most fit
For the main good of the dear commonwealth.—
Who's within there?

Enter Secretary.

Secretary.
My lord?
Lucio.  
Secretary, fetch the gown I use to read petitions in, and the standish I answer French letters with; and call in the gentleman that attends.
[Exit Secretary.
Little know they that do not deal in state,
How mny things there are to be observed,
Which seem but little; yet, by one of us
(Whose brains do wind about the commonwealth)
Neglected, cracks our credits utterly.

Enter Gentleman and Secretary.

Sir, but that I do presume upon your secresy, I would not have appeared to you thus ignorantly attaired, without a toothpick in a ribband, or a ring in my bandstring.

Gentleman.
Your lordship sent for me.
Lucio.  
I did: Sir, your long practice in the state, under a great man, hath led you to much experience.
Gentleman.
My lord!
Lucio.  
Suffer not your modesty to excuse it. In short, and in private, I desire your direction: I take my study already to be furnished after a grave and wise method.
Gentleman.
What will this lord do?
[Aside.
Lucio.  
My book-strings are suitable, and of a reaching colour.
Gentleman.
How's this?
[Aside.
Lucio.  
My standish of wood strange and sweet, and my fore-flap hangs in the right place, and as near Machiavel's as can be gather'd by tradition.
Gentleman. [Aside.]
Are there such men as will say nothing abroad, and play the fools in their lodgings? This lord must be follow'd.—And hath your lordship some new-made words to scatter in your speeches in public, to gain note, that the hearers may carry them away, and dispute of them at dinner?
Lucio.  
I have, sir; and, besides, my several gowns and caps agreeable to my several occasions.
Gentleman.
'Tis well; and you have learned to write a bad hand, that the readers may take pains for it?
Lucio.  
Yes, sir; and I give out I have the palsy.
Gentleman.
Good!—'Twere better though if you had it. [Aside.]—Your lordship hath a secretary that can write fair, when you purpose to be understood?
Lucio.  
'Faith, sir, I have one; there he stands he hath been my secretary these seven years, but he hath forgotten to write.
Gentleman.
If he can make a writing face, it is not amiss, so he keep his own counsel. Your lordship hath no hope of the gout?
Lucio.  
Uh! little, sir, since the pain in my right foot left me.
Gentleman.
'Twill be some scandal to your wisdom, though I see your lordship knows enough in public business.
Lucio.  
I am not employed though to my desert in occasions foreign, nor frequented for matters domestical.
Gentleman.
Not frequented? What course takes your lordship?
Lucio.  
The readiest way; my door stands wide; my secretary knows I am not denied to any.
Gentleman.
In this (give me leave) your lordship is out of the way: make a back-door to let out intelligencers; seem to be ever busy, and put your door under keepers, and you shall have a troop of clients sweating to come at you.
Lucio.  
I have a back-door already: I will henceforth be busy.—Secretary, run and keep the door.
[Exit Secretary.
Gentleman.
This will fetch 'em.
Lucio.  
I hope so.

Re-enter Secretary.

Secretary.
My lord, there are some require access to you, about weighty affairs of state.
Lucio.  
Already?
Gentleman.
I told you so.
Lucio.  
How weighty is the business?
Secretary.
Treason, my lord.
Lucio.  
Sir, my debts to you for this are great.
Gentleman.
I will leave your lordship now.
Lucio.  
Sir, my death must be sudden, if I requite you not. At the back-door, good sir.
Gentleman.
I will be your lordship's intelligencer for once.
[Exit.
Secretary.
My lord.
Lucio.  
Let 'em in, and say I am at my study.
[Retires behind the curtain.

Enter LAZARILLO and two Intelligencers.

1 Intelligencer.
Where is your lord?
Secretary.
At his study; but he will have you brought in.
Lazarillo.
Why, gentlemen, what will you charge me withal?
2 Intelligencer.
Treason, horrible treason: I hope to have the leading of thee to prison, and prick thee on i' th' arse with a halbert; to have him hang'd that salutes thee, and call all those in question that spit not upon thee.
Lazarillo.
My thread is spun; yet, might I but call for this dish of meat at the gallows, instead of a psalm, it were to be endured. The curtain opens; now my end draws on.
[Secretary draws the Curtain.
Lucio.  
Gentlemen, I am not empty of weighty occasions at this time. I pray you, your business.
1 Intelligencer.
My lord, I think we have discovered one of the most bloody traitors that ever the world held.
Lucio.  
Signor Lazarillo, I am glad you are one of this discovery: give me your hand!
2 Intelligencer.
My lord, that is the traitor.
Lucio.  
Keep him off! I would not for my whole estate have touched him.
Lazarillo.
My lord——
Lucio.  
Peace, sir! I know the devil is at your tongue's end, to furnish you with speeches. What are the particulars you charge him with?
[They deliver a Paper to Lucio, who reads.
Both Intelligencers.
We have conferr'd our notes, and have extracted that, which we will justify upon our oaths.
Lucio. [Reads.]
"That he would be greater than the duke; that he had cast plots for this, and meant to corrupt some to betray him; that he would burn the city, kill the duke, and poison the privy-council; and, lastly, kill himself." Though thou deservest justly to be hang'd with silence, yet I allow thee to speak: be short.
Lazarillo.
My lord, so may my greatest wish succeed,
So may I live, and compass what I seek,
As I had never treason in my thoughts,
Nor ever did conspire the overthrow
Of any creatures, but of brutish beasts,
Fowls, fishes, and such other human food,
As is provided for the good of man.
If stealing custards, tarts, and florentides,
By some late statute be created treason,
How many fellow-courtiers can I bring,
Whose long attendance and experience
Hath made them deeper in the plot than I!
Lucio.  
Peace! such hath ever been the clemency of my gracious master the duke, in all his proceedings, that I had thought, and thought I had thought rightly, that Malice would long ere this have hid herself in her den, and have turned her own sting against her own heart: but I well now perceive that so froward is the disposition of a depraved nature, that it doth not only seek revenge, where it hath received injury, but many times thirst after their destruction where it hath met with benefits.
Lazarillo.
But, my good lord——
2 Intelligencer.
Let's gag him.
Lucio.  
Peace! again! 'But many times thirst after their destruction where it hath met with benefits;' there I left. Such, and no better, are business that we have now in hand.
1 Intelligencer.
He's excellently spoken.
2 Intelligencer.
He'll wind a traitor, I warrant him.
Lucio.  
But surely, methinks, setting aside the touch of conscience, and all other inward convulsions——
2 Intelligencer.
He'll be hang'd, I know by that word.
Lazarillo.
Your lordship may consider——
Lucio.  
Hold thy peace! thou canst not answer this speech; no traitor can answer it. But, because you cannot answer this speech, I take it you have confessed the treason.
1 Intelligencer.
The Count Valore was the first that discovered him, and can witness it; but he left the matter to your lordship's grave consideration.
Lucio.  
I thank his lordship!—Carry him away speedily to the duke.
Lazarillo.
Now, Lazarillo, thou art tumbled down
The hill of fortune, with a violent arm!
All plagues that can be, famine and the sword,
Will light upon thee; black despair will boil
In thy despairing breast; no comfort by,
Thy friends far off, thy enemies are nigh!
Lucio.  
Away with him! I'll follow you. Look you pinion him, and take his money from him, lest he swallow a shilling, and kill himself.
2 Intelligencer.
Get thou on before!
[Exeunt.