Act 4, Scene II

Scene: A Prison.

TIGRANES is discovered.

Satyr.
Tigranes.
Fool that I am! I have undone myself,
And with my own hand turn'd my fortune round,
That was a fair one. I have childishly
Play'd with my hope so long, till I have broke it
And now too late I mourn for't. Oh. Spaconia!
Thou hast found an even wav to thy revenge now.
Why didst thou follow me, like a faint shadow,
To wither my desires? But, wretched fool,
Whv did I plant thee 'twixt the sun and me,
To make me freeze thus! why did I prefer her
To the fair princess? Oh. thou fool, thou fool,
Thou family of fools, live like a slave still!
And in thee bear thine own hell and thy torment;
Thou hast deserved it. Couldst thou find no lady,
But she that has thy hopes, to put her to,
And hazard all thy peace? none to abuse,
But she that loved thee ever, poor Spaconia?
And so much loved thee, that, in honesty
And honour, thou art bound to meet her virtues!
She'that forgot the greatness of her grief
And miseries, that must follow such mad passions,
Endless and wild in women! she, that for thee,
And with thee. left her liberty, her name,.
And country! You have paid me equal, heavens,
And sent my own rod to correct me with,
A woman! For inconstancy I'll suffer;
Lay it on, justice, till my soul melt in me,
For my unmanly, beastly, sudden doting,
Upon a new face; after all my oaths,
Many, and strange ones.
I feel my old fire flame again and burn
So strong and violent, that, should I see her
Again, the grief, and that, would kill me.

Enter BACURIUS and SPACONIA.

Bacurius.
Lady,
Your token I acknowledge; you may pass;
There is the king.
Spaconia.
I thank your lordship for it.
[Exit Bacurius.
Tigranes.
She comes, she comes! Shame hide me ever from her
'Would I were buried, or so far removed
Light might not find me out! I dare not see her.
Spaconia.
Nay, never hide vourself! Or, were you hid
Where earth hides all her riches, near her centre,
My wrongs, without more day, would light me to you:
I must speak ere I die. Were all vour greatness
Doubled upon you, you're a perjured man,
And only mighty in your wickedness
Of wronging women! Thou art false, false, prince.
I live to see it: poor Spaconia lives
To tell thee thou art false: and then no more!
She lives to tell thee, thou art more inconstant
Than all ill women ever were together.
Thy faith is firm as raging overflows,
That no bank can command; as lasting
As boys' gay bubbles, blown i' th' air and broken.
The wind is fix'd to thee; and sooner shall
The beaten mariner, with his shrill whistle,
Calm the loud murmur of the troubled main,
And strike it smooth again, than thy soul fall
To have peace in love with any: Thou art all
That all good men must hate; and if thy story
Shall tell succeeding ages what thou wert,
Oh 'let it spare me in it, lest true lovers
In pity of my wrongs, burn thy black legend,
And with their curses shake thy sleeping ashes.
Tigranes.
Oh! oh!
Spaconia.
The destinies, I hope, have pointed out
Our ends alike, that thou may'st die for love,
Though not for me; for, this assure thyself,
The princess hates thee deadly, and will sooner
Be won to marry with a bull, and safer,
Than such a beast as thou art.—I have struck,
I fear too deep; beshrew me for 't!—Sir,
This sorrow works me, like a cunnine, friendship,
Into the same piece with it.—He's ashamed!
Alas, I have been too rugged.—Dear my lord,
I am sorry I have spoken anything,
Indeed I am, that may add more restraint
To that too much you have. Good sir, be pleased
To think it was a fault of love, not malice;
And do as I will do, forgive it, prince.
I do and can forgive the greatest sins
To me you can repent of. Pray believe.
Tigranes.
Oh, my Spaconia! Oh, thou virtuous woman!
Spaconia.
No more; the king, sir.

Enter ARBACES, BACURIUS, and MARDONIUS.

Arbaces.
Have you been careful of our noble prisoner,
That he want nothing fitting for his creatness?
Bacurius.
I hope his grace will quit me for my care, sir.
Arbaces.
'Tis well.—Royal Tigranes, health!
Tigranes.
More than the strictness of this place can give, sir
I offer back again to great Arbaces.
Arbaces.
We thank you, worthy prince; and pray excuse us,
We have not seen you since your being here.
I hope your noble usage has been equal
With your own person: Your imprisonment,
If it be any, I dare say, is easy;
And shall not out-last two days.
Tigranes.
I thank you.
My usage here has been the same it was,
Worthy a royal conqueror. For my restraint,
It came unkindly, because much unlook'd for
But I must bear it.
Arbaces.
What lady's that, Bacurius?
Bacurius.
One of the princess' women, sir.
Arbaces.
I fear'd it.
Why comes she hither?
Bacurius.
To speak with the prince Tigranes.
Arbaces.
From whom, Bacurius ?
Bacurius.
From the princess, sir.
Arbaces.
I knew I had seen her.
Mardonius.
His fit begins to take him now again. 'Tis a strange fever, and 'twill shake us all anon, I fear. 'Would he were well cured of this raging, folly: Give me the wars, where men are mad and may talk what they list, and held the bravest fellows; this pelting prating, peace is good for nothing: Drinking's a virtue to't.
Arbaces.
I see there's truth in no man, nor obedience,
But for his own ends: Whv did you let her in?
Bacurius.
It was your own command to bar none from him:
Besides, the princess sent her ring, sir, for my warrant.
Arbaces.
A token to Tigranes, did she not?
Sir, tell truth.
Bacurius.
I do not use to lie, sir.
'Tis no way I eat, or live by; and I think
This is no token, sir.
Mardonius.
This combat has undone him: If he had been well beaten, he had been temperate. I shall never see him handsome again, till he have a horseman's staff yoked through his shoulders, or an arm broke with a bullet.
Arbaces.
I am trifled with.
Bacurius.
Sir?
Arbaces.
I know it, as I know thee to be false.
Mardonius.
Now the clap comes.
Bacurius.
You never knew me so, sir, I dare speak it;
And, durst a worse man tell me, though my better——
Mardonius.
'Tis well said, by my soul.
Arbaces.
Sirrah, you answer as you had no life.
Bacurius.
That I fear, sir, to lose nobly.
Arbaces.
I say, sir, once again
Bacurius.
You may say what vou please, sir:
'Would I might do so.
Arbaces.
I will, sir; and say openly,
This woman carries letters: Bv my life,
I know she carries letters; this woman does it.
Mardonius.
'Would Bessus were here, to take her aside and search her; he would quickly tell you what she carried, sir.
Arbaces.
I have found it out, this woman carries letters.
Mardonius.
If this hold, 'twill be an ill world for bawds, chamber-maids, and post-boys. I thank Heaven, I have none but his letters-patents, things of his own inditing.
Arbaces.
Prince, this cunning cannot do't.
Tigranes.
Do what, sir? I reach you not.
Arbaces.
It shall not serve your turn, prince.
Tigranes.
Serve my turn, sir?
Arbaces.
Ay, sir, it shall not serve your turn.
Tigranes.
Be plainer, good sir.
Arbaces.
This woman shall carry no more letters back to your love Panthea; by Heaven she shall not I say she shall not.
Mardonius.
This would make a saint swear like a soldier, and a soldier like Termagant.
Tigranes.
This beats me more, king, than the blows you gave me.
Arbaces.
Take 'em away both, and together let them prisoners be, strictly and closely kept; or, sirrah, your life shall answer it; and let nobody speak with 'em hereafter.
Tigranes.
Well, I am subject to you,
And must endure these passions.
Spaconia.
This is th' imprisonment I have look'd for always,
And the dear place I would choose.
[Exeunt Tigranes, Spaconia, Bacurius.
Mardonius.
Sir, have you done well now?
Arbaces.
Dare you reprove it?
Mardonius.
No.
Arbaces.
You must be crossing me.
Mardonius.
I have no letters, sir, to anger you,
But a dry sonnet of my corporal's,
To an old sutler's wife; and that I'll burn, sir.
'Tis like to prove a fine age for the ignorant.
Arbaces.
How dar'st thou so often forfeit thy life?
Thou know'st 'tis in my power to take it.
Mardonius.
Yes, and I know you wo' not; or, if you do, you'll miss it quicklv.
Arbaces.
Why?
Mardonius.
Who shall tell you of these childish follies, when I am dead? who shall put-to his power to draw those virtues out of a flood of humours, when they are drown'd, and make 'em shine aoain? No, cut my head off: Then you may talk, and be believed and grow worse, and have your too self-glorious temper rock'd into a dead sleep, and the kingdom with you; till foreign swords be in your throats and slaughter be everywhere about you, like your flatterers. Do, kill me!
Arbaces.
Pr'ythee, be tamer, good Mardonius.
Thou know'st I love thee; nay, I honour thee;
Believe it, good old soldier, I am thine:
But I am rack'd clean from myself! Bear with me,
Woo't thou bear with me, my Mardonius?

Enter GOBRIAS.

Mardonius.
There comes a good man; love him too he's temperate; you may live to have need of such a virtue: Rage is not still in fashion.
Arbaces.
Welcome, good Gobrias.
Gobrias.
My service and this letter to your grace.
Arbaces.
From whom?
Gobrias.
From the rich mine of virtue and beauty,
Your mournful sister.
Arbaces.
She is in prison, Gobrias, is she not?
Gobrias.
[Kneels.] She is, sir, till your pleasure do enlarge her,
Which on my knees I beg. Oh, 'tis not fit,
That all the sweetness of the world in one,
The youth and virtue that would tame wild tigers,
And wilder people, that have known no manners,
Should live thus cloistered up! For your love's sake,
If there be any in that noble heart
To her, a wretched lady, and forlorn;
Or for her love, to you, which is as much
As Nature and Obedience ever gave.,
Have pity on her beauties.
Arbaces.
Praythee, stand up: 'Tis true, she is too fair,
And all these commendations but her own:
'Would thou hadst never so commended her,
Or I ne'er lived to have heard it, Gobrias!
If thou but knew'st the wrong her beauty does her,
Thou wouldst, in pity of her, be a liar.
Thy ignorance has drawn me, wretched man,
Whither myself, nor thou, canst well tell. Oh, my fate!
I think she loves me, but I fear another
Is deeper in her heart: How think'st thou, Gobrias?
Gobrias.
I do beseech vour grace, believe it not;
For, let me perish, if it be not false!
Good sir, read her letter.
[Arbaces reads.
Mardonius.
This love, or what a devil it is, I know not, begets more mischief than a wake. I had rather be well beaten, starved, or lousy, than live within the air on't. He, that had seen this brave fellow charge through a grove of pikes but t'other day, and look upon him now, will ne'er believe his eyes again. If he continue thus but two days more, a tailor may beat him with one hand tied behind him.
Arbaces.
Alas, she would be at liberty;
And there be thousand reasons, Gobrias,
Thousands, that will deny it;
Which, if she knew, she would contentedly
Be where she is, and bless her virtues for it,
And me, though she were closer: She would, Gobrias;
Good man, indeed, she would.
Gobrias.
Then, good sir, for her satisfaction,
Send for her, and, with reason, make her know
Why she must live thus from you.
Arbaces.
I will. Go bring her to me.
[Exeunt.