Enter ARRIGO and ORIANA below;
DUKE, VALORE, and GONDARINO above.
- Sir, what may be the current of your business,
That thus you single out your time and place?
- Madam, the business now imposed upon me
Concerns you nearly;
I wish some worser man might finish it.
- Why are you changed so? are you not well, sir?
- Yes, madam, I am well: 'Would you were so!
- Why, sir, I feel myself in perfect health.
- And yet you cannot live long, madam.
- Why, good Arrigo?
- Why, you must die.
- I know I must;
But yet my fate calls not upon me.
- It does;
This hand the duke commands shall give you death.
- Heaven, and the powers divine, guard well the innocent!
- Lady, your prayers may do your soul some good,
But sure your body cannot merit by 'em:
You must prepare to die.
- What's my offence? What have these years committed,
That may be dangerous to the duke or state?
Have I conspired by poison? have I given up
My honour to some loose unsettled blood,
This may give action to my plots? dear sir,
Let me not die ignorant of my faults!
- You shall not:
Then, lady, you must know, you are held unhonest:
The duke, your brother, and your friends in court,
With too much grief condemn you; though to me,
The fault deserves not to be paid with death.
- Who's my accuser?
- Lord Gondarino.
- Arrigo, take these words, and bear them to the duke;
It is the last petition I shall ask thee:
Tell him, the child this present hour brought forth
To see world has not a soul more pure,
More white, more virgin, than I have; tell him,
Lord Gondarino's plot I suffer for,
And willingly; tell him, it had been
A greater honour to have saved than kill'd:
But I have done: strike! I am arm'd for Heaven.
Why stay you? is there any hope?
- I would not strike.
- Have you the power to save?
- With hazard of my life, if it should be known.
- You will not venture that?
- I will: Lady,
There is that means yet to escape your death,
If you can wisely apprehend it.
- You dare not be so kind?
- I dare, and will, if you dare but deserve it.
- If I should slight my life, I were to blame.
- Then, madam,
This is the means, or else you die: I love you.
- I shall believe it if you save my life.
- And you must lie with me.
- I dare not buy my life so.
- Come, you must resolve; say yea or no.
- Then no! Nay, look not ruggedly upon me;
I am made up too strong to fear such looks:
Come do your butcher's part! before
I would wish life, with the dear loss of honour,
I dare find means to free myself.
- Speak, will you yield?
- Villian, I will not! Murderer, do the worst
Thy base unnoble thoughts dare prompt thee to!
I am above thee, slave!
- Wilt thou not be drawn
To yeild by fair persuasions?
- No; nor by
- Peace! know your doom then: your ladyship must remember
You are not now at home, where you dare feast
All that come about you; but you are fallen
Under my mercy, which shall be but small,
If thou refuse to yield: hear what I have sworn
Unto myself; I will enjoy thee, though it be
Between the parting of thy soul and body;
Yield yet, and live!
- I'll guard the one; let Heaven guard the other!
- Are you so resolute then?
- Duke. [From above.]
- Hold, hold, I say!
- What, yet more terror to my tragedy?
- Lady, the scene of blood is done;
You are now as free from scandal as from death.
Enter below DUKE, VALORE, and GONDARINO.
- Thou woman, which wert born to teach men virtue,
Fair, sweet, and modest maid, forgive my thoughts;
My trespass was my love.
Seize Gondarino! Let him wait our dooms.
- I do begin a little to love this woman;
I could endure her already, twelve miles off.
I am glad you have brought your honour off so fairly,
Without loss you have done a work above your sex;
The duke admires it: give him fair encounter.
- Best of all comforts, may I take this hand,
And call it mine?
- I am your grace's handmaid!
- 'Would you had said myself: might it not be so, lady?
- Sister, say ay; I know you can afford it.
- My lord, I am your subject; you may command me,
Provided still your thoughts be fair and good.
- Here; I am yours; and when I cease to be so,
Let Heaven forget me! thus I make it good.
- My lord, I am no more mine own.
- So! this bargain was well driven.
Thou hast sold away thyself to all perdition;
Thou art this present hour becoming cuckold:
Methinks I see thy gall grate through thy veins,
And jealousy seize on thee with her talons.
I know that woman's nose must be cut off;
She cannot 'scape it.
- Sir, we have punishment for you.
- I do beseech your lordship, for the wrongs
This man hath done me, let me pronounce his punishment!
- Lady, I give it to you; he is your own.
- I do beseech your grace, let me be banish'd,
With all the speed that may be.
- Stay still! you shall attend her sentence.
- Lord Gondarino, you have wrong'd me highly;
Yet since it sprung from no peculiar hate
To me, but from a general dislike
Unto all women, you shall thus suffer for it.
Arrigo, call in some ladies to assist us.
Will your grace take your state?
- My lord, I do
Beseech your grace for any punishment,
Saving this woman: let me be sent upon
Discovery of some island; I do desire
But a small gondola, with ten Holland cheeses,
And I'll undertake it.
- Sir, you must be content.
Will you sit down? Nay, do it willingly.
Arrigo, tie his arms close to the chair;
I dare not trust his patience.
- Gondarino. [He is seized and bound in a chair.]
- Mayst thou
Be quickly old and painted! may'st thou dote
Upon some sturdy yeoman of the wood-yard,
And he be honest! may'st thou be barred
The lawful lechery of thy couch, for want
Of instruments! and, last, be thy womb unopen'd
- This fellow hath a pretty gall.
- My lord,
I hope to see him purged, ere he part.
- Your ladyships are welcome! I must desire your helps,
Though you are no physicians, to do a strange cure
Upon this gentleman.
- In what we can assist you,
Madam, you may command us.
- Now do I
Sit like a conjuror within my circle,
And these the devils that are raised about me:
I'll pray that they may have no power upon me.
- Ladies, fall off in couples;
Then, with a soft still march, with low demeanours,
Charge this gentleman: I'll be your leader.
- Let me be quarter'd, duke, quickly! I can endure it.
These women long for man's flesh; let them have it!
- Count, have you ever seen so strange a passion?
What would this fellow do, if he should find himself
In bed with a young lady?
- 'Faith, my lord,
If he could get a knife, sure he would cut her throat;
Or else he would do as Hercules did by Lycas,
Swing out her soul.
He has the true hate of a woman in him.
- Low with your courtsies, ladies!
- Come not too near me! I have a breath will poison ye;
My lungs are rotten, and my stomach raw;
I am given much to belching: hold off, as you love sweet airs!
Ladies, by your first night's pleasure I conjure you,
As you would have your husbands proper men,
Strong backs, and little legs; as you would have 'em bate
- Sir, we must court you, till we have obtain'd
Some little favour from those gracious eyes;
'Tis but a kiss a-piece.
- I pronounce perdition to you all!
Ye are a parcel of that damned crew
That fell down with Lucifer, and here ye stay'd
On earth to plague poor men: Vanish, avaunt!
I am fortified against your charms.
Heaven grant me breath and patience!
- 1 Lady.
- Shalt we not kiss, then?
- No I sear my lips with
Hot irons first, or stitch them up like a ferret's!
Oh, that this brunt were over!
- 2 Lady.
- Come, come, little rogue, thou art too
maidenly; by my troth I think I must box thee
till thou be'st bolder; the more bold, the more
welcome: I pr'ythee kiss me I be not afraid.
[She sits on his knee.
- If there be any here
That yet have so much of the fool left in them
As to love their mothers, let them [look] on her,
And loath them too!
- 2 Lady.
- What a slovenly little villain art thou!
why dost thou not stroke up thy hair? I think
thou ne'er comb'st it; I must have it lie in better
order: so, so, so! Let me see thy hands! are they wash'd?
- I would they were loose for thy sake!
- She tortures him admirably.
- The best that ever was.
- 2 Lady.
- Alas, how cold they are! Poor golls!
why dost thee not get thee a muff?
- Madam, here's an old country gentlewoman
at the door, that came nodding up for justice; she
was with the lord Gondarino to-day, and would
now again come to the speech of him, she says.
- Let her in, for sport's sake, let her in!
- Mercy, oh duke! I do appeal to thee:
Plant cannons there, and discharge them
Against my breast rather! Nay, first
Let this she-fury sit still where she does,
And with her nimble fingers stroke my hair,
Play with my fingers' ends, or anything,
Until my panting heart have broke my breast
- You must abide her censure.
The Lady rises from his knee.
Enter old Gentlewoman.
- I see her come!
Unbutton me, for she will speak.
- Where is he, sir.
- Save me! I hear her.
- There he is in state, to give you audience.
- How does your good lordship?
- Sick of the spleen.
- Will you chew a nutmeg? you shall
not refuse it; 'tis very comfortable.
- Nay, now thou art come, I know it is
The devil's jubilee; hell is broke loose!
My lord, if ever I have done you service,
Or have deserved a favour of your grace,
Let me be turn'd upon some present action,
Where I may sooner die than languish thus!
Your grace hath her petition; grant it her,
And ease me now at last.
- No, sir; you must endure.
- For my petition, I hope your lordship hath remembered me.
- 'Faith, I begin to pity him; Arrigo,
Take her off; bear her away; say her petition
- Whither do you draw me, sir? I know
it is not my lord's pleasure I should be thus used,
before my business be dispatched.
- You shall know more of that without
[She is led off.
- Unbind him, ladies! But, before he go,
This he shall promise: For the love I bear
To our own sex, I would have them still
Hated by thee; and enjoin thee, as a punishment,
Never hereafter willingly to come
In the presence or sight of any woman,
Nor never to seek wrongfully the public
Disgrace of any.
- 'Tis that I would have sworn, and do:
when I meddle with them, for their good, or their
bad, may time call back this day again! and when
I come in their companies, may I catch the pox
by their breath, and have no other pleasure for it!
- You are too merciful.
- My lord, I shewd my sex the better.
- All is over-blown. Sister, you are like to
have a fair night of it, and a prince in your arms.
Let's go, my lord.
- Thus, through the doubtful streams of joy and grief,
True love doth wade, and finds at last relief.