Act 3, Scene II

Scene: The Court of the Edile.

GETA discovered in his chair; Lictors and Suitors about him.

Geta.  
I am too merciful, I find it, friends,
Of too soft a nature, to be an officer
I bear too much remorse.
1 Lictor.
'Tis your own fault, sir;
For, look you, one so newly warm in office
Should lay about him blindfold, like true justice:
Hit where it will, the more you whip and hang, sir,
(Though without cause let that declare itself afterward)
The more you are admired.
Geta.  
I think I shall be.
2 Lictor.
Your worship is a man of a spare body,
And prone to anger.
Geta.  
Nay, I will be angry;
And the best is, I need not shew my reason.
2 Lictor.
You need not, sir; your place is without reason;
And what you want in growth and full proportion,
Make up in rule and rigour.
Geta.  
A rare counsellor!
Instruct me further. Is it fit, my friends,
The emperor, my master Dioclesian,
Should now remember or the times or manners
That call'd him plain down Diocles?
1 Lictor.
He must not;
It stands not with his royalty.
Geta.  
I grant ye,
I being then the edile Getianus,
A man of place, and judge, is it held requisite
I should commit to my consideration
Those rascals of removed and ragged hours,
That with unreverend months call'd me slave Geta?
2 Lictor.
You must forget their names; your honour bids you.
Geta.  
I do forget; but I will hang their natures.
I will ascend my place, which is of justice;
And, Mercy, I forget thee.
Suitor.
A rare magistrate!
Another Solon sure.
Geta.  
Bring out the offenders.
1 Lictor.
There are none yet, sir; but no doubt there will be.
But if you please touch some thing of those natures—
Geta.  
And am I ready, and mine anger too,
The melancholy of a magistrate upon me,
And no offenders to execute my fury?
Ha! no offenders, knaves?
1 Lictor.
There are knaves indeed, sir;
But we hope shortly to have 'em for your worship.
Geta.  
No men to hang or whip? Are ye good officers,
That provide no fuel for a judge's fury
In this place something must be done; this chair, I tell ye,
When I sit down, must savour of severity:
Therefore, I warn ye all, bring me lewd people,
Or likely to be lewd, (twigs must be cropt too;)
Let me have evil persons in abundance,
Or make 'em evil; 'tis all one, do but say so,
That I may have fit matter for a magistrate.
And let me work. If I sit empty once more,
And lose my longing, as 1 am true Edile,
And as I hope to rectify my country,
You are those scabs I'll scratch off from the commonwealth,
You are those rascals of the state I treat of;
And you shall find and feel——
2 Lictor.
You shall have many,
Many notorious people.
Geta.  
Let 'em be people,
And take ye notorious to yourselves. Mark me, my Lictors,
And you the rest of my officials;
If I be angry, (as my place will ask it)
And want fit matter to dispose my authority,
I'll hang a hundred of ye: I'll not stay longer,
Nor inquire no further into your offences;
It is sufficient that I find no criminals,
And therefore I must make some; if I cannot,
Suffer myself; for so runs my commission.
Suitor.
An admirable, zealous, and true justice!
1 Lictor.
I cannot hold! If there be any people,
Of what degree soever, or what quality,
That would behold the wonderful works of justice
In a new officer, a man conceal'd yet,
Let him repair, and see, and hear, and wonder
At the most wise anl gracious Getianus!

Enter DELPHIA and DRUSILLA.

Geta.  
This qualifies a little.—What are these?
Delphia.
You shall not mourn still: Times of recreation,
To allay this sadness, must be sought.—What's here?
A superstitious flock of senseless people
Worshipping a sign in office?
Geta.  
Lay hold on her,
[Guards seize her.
And hold her fast,
She will slip through your fingers like an eel else;
I know her tricks. Hold her, I say, and bind her;
Or, hang her first, and then I'll tell her wherefore.
Delphia.
What have I done?
Geta.  
Thou hast done enough to undo thee;
Thou bast pressed to the emperor"s presence without my warrant,
I being his key and image.
Delphia.
You are an image indeed,
And of the coarsest stuff, and the worst making,
That e'er I look'd on yet:
I'll make as good an image of an ass.
Geta.  
Besides, thou art a woman of a lewd life.
Delphia.
I am no whore, sir; nor no common fame
Has yet proclaimed me to the people vicious.
Geta.  
Thou art to me a damnable lewd woman,
Which is as much as all the people swore it.
I know thou art a keeper of tame devils:
And whereas great and grave men of my place
Can by the laws be allow'd but one a-piece,
For their own services and recreations,
Thou, like a traitorous quean, keep'st twenty devils,
Twenty in ordinary!
Delphia.
Pray you, sir, be pacified:
If that be all, and if you want a servant,
You shall have one of mine shall serve for nothing,
Faithful, and diligent, and a wise devil too;
Think for what end.
Geta.  
Let her alone: 'Tis useful;
[Guards release her.
We men of business must use speedy servants.
Let me see your family.
Delphia.
Think but one, he is ready.
Geta.  
A devil for intelligence? No, no,
He'll lie beyond all travellers. A state-devil?
Neither; he will undo me at mine own weapon.
For execution? He will hang me too.
I would have a handsome, pleasant, and a fine she-devil,
To entertain the ladies that come to me;
A travell'd devil too, that speaks the tongues,
And a neat carving devil.
[Music. DELPHIA conjures.

Enter a She-devil.

Delphia.
Be not fearful.
Geta.  
A pretty brown devil, i'faith. May I not kiss her?
Delphia.
Yes, and embrace her too; she is your servant.
Fear not, her lips are cool enough.
Geta.  
She is marvellous well mounted. What's her name?
Delphia.
Lucifera.
Geta.  
Come hither, Lucifera, and kiss me.
Delphia.
Let her sit on your knee.
Geta.  
The chair turns! Hey, boys!
Pleasant, i'faith! and a fine facetious devil.
[Dance.
Delphia.
She would whisper in your ear, and tell you wonders.
Geta.  
Come!—What's her name?
Delphia.
Lucifera.
Geta.  
Come, Lucie;
Come, speak thy mind.—I am certain burnt to ashes!
[Exeunt, all but GETA.
I have a kind of glass-house in my cod-piece!
Are these the flames of state? I am roasted over,
Over, and over-roasted. Is this office?
The pleasure of authority? I'll no more on't
Till I can punish devils too, I'll quit it.
Some other trade now, and some course less dangerous,
Or certainly I'll tile again for two-pence.
[Exit.