Act 4, Scene V

Scene: The Wood before Clorin's Bower.

Enter CLORIN.

Clorin.
Here whilst one patient takes his rest secure,
I steal abroad to do another cure.—
Pardon, thou buried body of my love,
That from thy side I dare so soon remove;
I will not prove unconstant, nor will leave
Thee for an hour alone: when I deceive
My first-made vow, the wildest of the wood
Tear me, and o'er thy grave let out my blood!
I go by wit to cure a lover's pain,
Which no herb can; being done, I'll come again.
[Exit.

Enter THENOT.

Thenot.
Poor shepherd, in this shade for ever lie,
And seeing thy fair Clorin's cabin, die!
[Lying down.
Oh, hapless love, which being answered, ends!
And, as a little infant cries and bends
His tender brows, when, rolling of his eye,
He hath espied something that glisters nigh,
Which he would have, yet, give it him, away
He throws it straight, and cries afresh to play
With something else; such my affection, set
On that which I should loathe, if I could get.

Re-enter CLORIN.

Clorin.
See, where he lies! Did ever man but he
Love any woman for her constancy
To her dead lover, which she needs must end
Before she can allow him for her friend,
And he himself must needs the cause destroy
For which he loves, before he can enjoy?
Poor shepherd, Heaven grant I at once may free
Thee from thy pain, and keep my loyalty!—
[Aside.
Shepherd, look up.
Thenot.
Shepherd, look up. Thy brightness doth amaze;
So Phœbus may at noon bid mortals gaze;
Thy glorious constancy appears so bright,
I dare not meet the beams with my weak sight.
Clorin.
Why dost thou pine away thyself for me?
Thenot.
Why dost thou keep such spotless constancy?
Clorin.
Thou holy shepherd, see what for thy sake
Clorin, thy Clorin, now dare undertake.
Thenot. [Starting up.]
Stay there, thou constant Clorin! if there be
Yet any part of woman left in thee,
To make thee light, think yet before thou speak.
Clorin.
See, what a holy vow for thee I break;
I, that already have my fame far spread
For being constant to my lover dead.
Thenot.
Think yet, dear Clorin, of your love; how true,
If you had died, he would have been to you.
Clorin.
Yet, all I'll low for thee——
Thenot.
Yet, all I'll low for thee——. Think but how blest
A constant woman is above the rest!
Clorin.
And offer up myself, here on this ground,
To be disposed by thee.
Thenot.
To be disposed by thee. Why dost thou wound
His heart with malice against women more,
That hated all the sex but thee before?
How much more pleasant had it been to me
To die than to behold this change in thee!
Yet, yet return; let not the woman sway!
Clorin.
Insult not on her now, nor use delay,
Who for thy sake hath ventured all her fame.
Thenot.
Thou hast not ventured, but bought certain shame:
Your sex's curse, foul falsehood, must and shall,
I see, once in your lives, light on you all.
I hate thee now. Yet turn!
Clorin.
I hate thee now. Yet turn! Be just to me:
Shall I at once lose both my fame and thee?
Thenot.
Thou hadst no fame; that which thou didst like good
Was but thy appetite that swayed thy blood
For that time to the best: for as a blast
That through a house comes, usually doth cast
Things out of order, yet by chance may come,
And blow some one thing to his proper room,
So did thy appetite, and not thy zeal,
Sway thee by chance to do some one thing well.
Yet turn!
Clorin.
Yet turn! Thou dost but try me, if I would
Forsake thy dear embraces for my old
Love's, though he were alive: but do not fear.
Thenot.
I do contemn thee now, and dare come near,
And gaze upon thee; for methinks that grace,
Austerity, which sate upon that face,
Is gone, and thou like others. False maid, see,
This is the gain of foul inconstancy!
[Exit.
Clorin.
'Tis done:—great Pan, I give thee thanks for it!—
What art could not have cured is healed by wit.

Re-enter THENOT.

Thenot.
Will you be constant yet? will you remove
Into the cabin to your buried love?
Clorin.
No, let me die, but by thy side remain.
Thenot.
There's none shall know but thou didst ever stain
Thy worthy strictness, but shalt honoured be,
And I will lie again under this tree,
And pine and die for thee with more delight
Than I have sorrow now to know thee light.
Clorin.
Let me have thee, and I'll be where thou wilt.
Thenot.
Thou art of women's race, and full of guilt.
Farewell all hope of that sex! Whilst I thought
There was one good, I feared to find one naught:
But since their minds I all alike espy,
Henceforth I'll choose, as others, by mine eye.
[Exit.
Clorin.
Blest be ye powers that gave such quick redress,
And for my labours sent so good success!
I rather choose, though I a woman be,
He should speak ill of all than die for me.
[Exit into the bower.