Act 1, Scene II

Scene: A Room in the House of the Prophetess.


'Tis true, that Diocles is courteous,
And of a pleasant nature, sweet and temperate;
His cousin Maximinian, proud and bloody.
Yes, and mistrustful too, my girl. Take heed:
Although he seem to love thee, and affect,
Like the more courtier, curious compliment,
Yet have a care.
You know all my affection,
And all my heart-desires, are set on Diocles:
But, aunt, how coldly he requites this courtesy,
How dull and heavily he looks upon me!
Although I woo him sometimes beyond modesty,
Beyond a virgin's care, how still he slights me!
And puts me still off with your prophecy,
And the performance of your late prediction,
That when he is emperor, then he will marry me!
Alas, what hope of that?
Peace, and be patient;
For though he be now a man most miserable,
Of no rank, nor no badge of honour on him,
Bred low and poor, no eye of favour shining;
And though my sure prediction of his rising,
Which can no more fail than the day or night does,
Nay, let him be asleep, will overtake him,
Have found some rubs and stops, yet (bear me, niece,
And hear me with a faith,) it shall come to him.
I'll tell thee the occasion.
Do, good aunt;
For yet I am ignorant.
Chiding him one day,
For being too near and sparing for a soldier,
Too griping, and too greedy, he made answer,
"When I am Cæsar, then I will be liberal:"
I presently, inspired with holy fire,
And my prophetic spirit burning in me,
Gave answer from the gods; and this it was:
Imperator eris Rome, cum Aprum grandem interfeceris:
"Thou shalt be emperor, oh Diocles,
When thou hast kill'd a mighty boar." From that time,
As giving credit to my words, he has employ'd
Much of his life in hunting: Many boars,
Hideous and fierce, with his own hands he has kill'd too,
But yet not lighted on the fatal one,
Should raise him to the empire. Be not sad, niece;
Ere long he shall. Come; let's go entertain him:
For by this time, I guess, he comes from hunting:
And, by my art, I find this very instant
Some great design's a-foot.
The gods give good, aunt!