Act 3, Scene II

Scene: A Room in the Palace.

Enter MELANTIUS.

Melantius.
I'll know the cause of all Amintor's griefs,
Or friendship shall be idle.

Enter CALIANAX.

Calianax.
O Melantius,
My daughter will die.
Melantius.
Trust me, I am sorry.
Would thou hadst ta'en her room!
Calianax.
Thou art a slave,
A cut-throat slave, a bloody treacherous slave!
Melantius.
Take heed, old man; thou wilt be heard to rave,
And lose thine offices.
Calianax.
I am valiant grown,
At all these years, and thou art but a slave!
Melantius.
Leave! Some company will come, and I respect
Thy years, not thee, so much, that I could wish
To laugh at thee alone.
Calianax.
I'll spoil your mirth:
I mean to fight with thee. There lie, my cloak!
This was my father's sword, and he durst fight.
Are you prepared?
Melantius.
Why wilt thou dote thyself
Out of thy life? Hence, get thee to bed!
Have careful looking-to, and eat warm things,
And trouble not me: My head is full of thoughts,
More weighty than thy life or death can be.
Calianax.
You have a name in war, where you stand safe
Amongst a multitude; but I will try
What you dare do unto a weak old man
In single fight. You will give ground, I fear.
Come, draw.
Melantius.
I will not draw, unless thou pull'st thy death
Upon thee with a stroke. There's no one blow,
That thou canst give, hath strength enough to kill me.
Tempt me not so far then: The power of earth
Shall not redeem thee.
Calianax. [aside.]
I must let him alone:
He's stout and able; and, to say the truth,
However I may set a face, and talk,
I am not valiant. When I was a youth,
I kept my credit with a testy trick
I had, 'mongst cowards, but durst never fight.
Melantius.
I will not promise to preserve your life,
If you do stay.
Calianax.
I would give half my land
That I durst fight with that proud man a little.
If I had men to hold him, I would beat him
Till he ask'd me mercy.
Melantius.
Sir, will you be gone?
Calianax.
I dare not stay; but I'll go home, and beat
My servants all over for this.
[Exit Calianax.
Melantius.
This old fellow haunts me!
But the distracted carriage of my Amintor
Takes deeply on me: I will find the cause.
I fear his conscience cries, he wrong'd Aspatia.

Enter AMINTOR.

Amintor.
Men's eyes are not so subtle to perceive
My inward misery: I bear my grief
Hid from the world. How art thou wretched then?
For aught I know, all husbands are like me;
And every one I talk with of his wife,
Is but a well dissembler of his woes,
As I am. 'Would I knew it! for the rareness
Afflicts me now.
Melantius.
Amintor, we have not enjoy'd our friendship of late,
For we were wont to change our souls in talk.
Amintor.
Melantius, I can tell thee a good jest
Of Strato and a lady the last day.
Melantius.
How was't?
Amintor.
Why, such an odd one!
Melantius.
I have long'd to speak with you;
Not of an idle jest, that's forced, but of matter
You are bound to utter to me.
Amintor.
What is that, my friend?
Melantius.
I have observed your words
Fall from your tongue wildly; and all your carriage
Like one that strove to show his merry mood,
When he were ill disposed: You were not wont
To put such scorn into your speech, or wear
Upon your face ridiculous jollity.
Some sadness sits here, which your cunning would
Cover o'er with smiles, and 'twill not be.
What is it?
Amintor.
A sadness here! what cause
Can fate provide for me, to make me so?
Am I not loved through all this isle? The king
Rains greatness on me. Have I not received
A lady to my bed, that in her eye
Keeps mounting fire, and on her tender checks
Inevitable colour, in her heart
A prison for all virtue? Are not you,
Which is above all joys, my constant friend?
What sadness can I have? No; I am light,
And feel the courses of my blood more warm
And stirring than they were. 'Faith, marry too:
And you will feel so unexpress'd a joy
In chaste embraces, that you will indeed
Appear another.
Melantius.
You may shape, Amintor,
Causes to cozen the whole world withal,
And yourself too: but 'tis not like a friend,
To hide your soul from me. 'Tis not your nature
To be thus idle: I have seen you stand
As you were blasted, 'midst of all your mirth;
Call thrice aloud, and then start, feigning joy
So coldly!—World, what do I hear? a friend
Is nothing. Heaven, I would have told that man
My secret sins! I'll search an unknown land,
And there plant friendship; all is wither'd here.
Come with a compliment! I would have fought,
Or told my friend “he lied,” ere sooth'd him so.
Out of my bosom!
Amintor.
But there is nothing——
Melantius.
Worse and worse! farewell!
From this time have acquaintance, but no friend.
Amintor.
Melantius, stay: You shall know what it is.
Melantius.
See, how you play'd with friendship! Be advised
How you give cause unto yourself to say,
You have lost a friend.
Amintor.
Forgive what I have done;
For I am so o'ergone with injuries
Unheard of, that I lose consideration
Of what I ought to do. Oh, oh!
Melantius.
Do not weep.
What is it? May I once but know the man
Hath turn'd my friend thus!
Amintor.
I had spoke at first,
But that——
Melantius.
But what?
Amintor.
I held it most unfit
For you to know. 'Faith, do not know it yet.
Melantius.
Thou see'st my love, that will keep company
With thee in tears I hide nothing, then, from me:
For when I know the cause of thy distemper,
With mine old armour I'll adorn myself,
My resolution, and cut through my foes,
Unto thy quiet; till I place thy heart
As peaceable as spotless innocence.
What is it?
Amintor.
Why, 'tis this——It is too big
To get out——Let my tears make way awhile.
Melantius.
Punish me strangely, Heaven, if he 'scape
Of life or fame, that brought this youth to this!
Amintor.
Your sister——
Melantius.
Well said.
Amintor.
You will wish't unknown,
When you have heard it.
Melantius.
No.
Amintor.
Is much to blame,
And to the king has given her honour up,
And lives in whoredom with him.
Melantius.
How is this?
Thou art run mad with injury, indeed;
Thou couldst not utter this else. Speak again;
For I forgive it freely; tell thy griefs.
Amintor.
She's wanton: I am loth to say, “a whore,”
Though it be true.
Melantius.
Speak yet again, before mine anger grow
Up, beyond throwing down: What are thy griefs?
Amintor.
By all our friendship, these.
Melantius.
What, am I tame?
After mine actions, shall the name of friend
Blot all our family, and stick the brand
Of whore upon my sister, unrevenged?
My shaking flesh, be thou a witness for me,
With what unwillingness I go to scourge
This railer, whom my folly hath called friend!—
I will not take thee basely; thy sword
Hangs near thy hand; draw it, that I may whip
Thy rashness to repentance. Draw thy sword!
Amintor.
Not on thee, did thine anger swell as high
As the wild surges. Thou shouldst do me ease
Here, and eternally, if thy noble hand
Would cut me from my sorrows.
Melantius.
This is base
And fearful. They, that use to utter lies,
Provide not blows, but words, to qualify
The men they wrong'd. Thou hast a guilty cause.
Amintor.
Thou pleasest me; for so much more like this
Will raise my anger up above my griefs,
(Which is a passion easier to be borne)
And I shall then be happy.
Melantius.
Take then more,
To raise thine anger: 'Tis mere cowardice
Makes thee not draw; and I will leave thee dead,
However. But if thou art so much press'd
With guilt and fear, as not to dare to fight,
I'll make thy memory loath'd, and fix a scandal
Upon thy name for ever.
Amintor.
Then I draw,
As justly as our magistrates their swords
To cut offenders off. I knew before,
'Twould grate your ears; but it was base in you
To urge a weighty secret from your friend,
And then rage at it. I shall be at ease,
If I be kill'd; and if you fall by me,
I shall not long out-live you.
Melantius.
Stay awhile.—
The name of friend is more than family,
Or all the world besides: I was a fool!
Thou searching human nature, that didst wake
To do me wrong, thou art inquisitive,
And thrust'st me upon questions that will take
My sleep away! 'Would I had died, ere known
This sad dishonour!—Pardon me, my friend!
If thou wilt strike, here is a faithful heart;
Pierce it, for I will never heave my hand
To thine. Behold the power thou hast in me!
I do believe my sister is a whore,
A leprous one! Put up thy sword, young man.
Amintor.
How shall I bear it then, she being so?
I fear, my friend, that you will lose me shortly;
And I shall do a foul act on myself,
Through these disgraces.
Melantius.
Better half the land
Were buried quick together. No, Amintor;
Thou shalt have case. Oh, this adulterous king,
That drew her to it! Where got he the spirit
To wrong me so?
Amintor.
What is it then to me,
If it be wrong to you?
Melantius.
Why, not so much:
The credit of our house is thrown away.
But from his iron den I'll waken Death
And hurl him on this king! My honesty
Shall steel my sword; and on its horrid point
I'll wear my cause, that shall amaze the eyes
Of this proud man, and be too glittering
For him to look on.
Amintor.
I have quite undone my fame.
Melantius.
Dry up thy watery eyes,
And cast a manly look upon my face;
For nothing is so wild as I, thy friend,
Till I have freed thee. Still this swelling breast!
I go thus from thee, and will never cease
My vengeance, till I find thy heart at peace.
Amintor.
It must not be so. Stay!—Mine eyes would tell
How loth I am to this; but, love and tears,
Leave me awhile; for I have hazarded
All that this world calls happy.—Thou hast wrought
A secret from me, under name of friend,
Which art could ne'er have found, nor torture wrung
From out my bosom: Give it me again,
For I will find it, wheresoe'er it lies,
Hid in the mortal'st part! Invent a way
To give it back.
Melantius.
Why would you have it back?
I will to death pursue him with revenge.
Amintor.
Therefore I call it back from thee; for I know
Thy blood so high, that thou wilt stir in this,
And shame me to posterity.
Take to thy weapon!
Melantius.
Hear thy friend, that bears
More years than thou.
Amintor.
I will not hear! but draw,
Or I——
Melantius.
Amintor!
Amintor.
Draw then; for I am full as resolute
As fame and honour can enforce me be!
I cannot linger. Draw!
Melantius.
I do. But is not
My share of credit equal with thine,
If I do stir?
Amintor.
No; for it will be call'd
Honour in thee to spill thy sister's blood,
If she her birth abuse; and, on the king,
A brave revenge: But on me, that have walk'd
With patience in it, it will fix the name
Of fearful cuckold. Oh, that word! Be quick.
Melantius.
Then join with me.
Amintor.
I dare not do a sin, or else I would.
Be speedy.
Melantius.
Then dare not fight with me; for that's a sin.—
His grief distracts him.—Call thy thoughts again,
And to thyself pronounce the name of friend,
And see what that will work. I will not fight.
Amintor.
You must.
Melantius.
I will be kill'd first. Though my passions
Offer'd the like to you, 'tis not this earth
Shall buy my reason to it. 'Think awhile,
For you are (I must weep when I speak that)
Almost besides yourself.
Amintor.
Oh, my soft temper!
So many sweet words from thy sister's mouth,
I am afraid, would make me take her
To embrace, and pardon her. I am mad indeed,
And know not what I do. Yet, have a care
Of me in what thou dost.
Melantius.
Why, thinks my friend
I will forget his honour? or, to save
The bravery of our house, will lose his fame,
And fear to touch the throne of majesty?
Amintor.
A curse will follow that; but rather live
And suffer with me.
Melantius.
I'll do what worth shall bid me, and no more.
Amintor.
Faith, I am sick, and desperately I hope;
Yet, leaning thus, I feel a kind of case.
Melantius.
Come, take again your mirth about you.
Amintor.
I shall never do't.
Melantius.
I warrant you; look up; we'll walk together;
Put thine arm here; all shall be well again.
Amintor.
Thy love (oh, wretched!) ay, thy love, Melantius!
Why, I have nothing else.
Melantius.
Be merry then.
[Exeunt.

Re-enter MELANTIUS.

Melantius.
This worthy young man may do violence
Upon himself; but I have cherish'd him
To my best power, and sent him smiling from me,
To counterfeit again. Sword, hold thine edge;
My heart will never fail me.

Enter DIPHILUS.

Diphilus! Thou com'st as sent.

Diphilus.
Yonder has been such laughing.
Melantius.
Betwixt whom ?
Diphilus.
Why, our sister and the king;
I thought their spleens would break; they laugh'd us all
Out of the room.
Melantius.
They must weep, Diphilus.
Diphilus.
Must they?
Melantius.
They must.
Thou art my brother; and if I did believe
Thou hadst a base thought, I would rip it out,
Lie where it durst.
Diphilus.
You should not; I would first
Mangle myself and find it.
Melantius.
That was spoke
According to our strain. Come, join thy hands to mine,
And swear a firmness to what project I
Shall lay before thee.
Diphilus.
You do wrong us both:
People hereafter shall not say, there pass'd
A bond, more than our loves, to tie our lives
And deaths together.
Melantius.
It is as nobly said as I would wish.
Anon I'll tell you wonders: We are wrong'd.
Diphilus.
But I will tell you now, we'll right ourselves.
Melantius.
Stay not: Prepare the armour in my house;
And what friends you can draw unto our side,
Not knowing of the cause, make ready too.
Haste, Diphilus, the time requires it, haste!—
[Exit Diphilus.
I hope my cause is just; I know my blood
Tells me it is; and I will credit it.
To take revenge, and lose myself withal,
Were idle; and to 'scape impossible,
Without I had the fort, which (misery!)
Remaining in the hands of my old enemy
Calianax——But I must have it. See,

Enter CALIANAX.

Where he comes shaking by me.—Good my lord,
Forget your spleen to me; I never wrong'd you,
But would have peace with every man.

Calianax.
'Tis well;
If I durst fight, your tongue would lie at quiet.
Melantius.
You are touchy without all cause.
Calianax.
Do, mock me.
Melantius.
By mine honour I speak truth.
Calianax.
Honour? where is it?
Melantius.
See, what starts
You make into your hatred, to my love
And freedom to you. I come with resolution
To obtain a suit of you.
Calianax.
A suit of me!
'Tis very like it should be granted, sir.
Melantius.
Nay, go not hence:
'Tis this; you have the keeping of the fort,
And I would wish you, by the love you ought
To bear unto me, to deliver it
Into my hands.
Calianax.
I am in hope thou'rt mad,
To talk to me thus.
Melantius.
But there is a reason
To move you to it: I would kill the king,
That wrong'd you and your daughter.
Calianax.
Out, traitor!
Melantius.
Nay,
But stay: I cannot 'scape, the deed once done,
Without I have this fort.
Calianax.
And should I help thee?
Now thy treacherous mind betrays itself.
Melantius.
Come, delay me not;
Give me a sudden answer, or already
Thy last is spoke I refuse not offer'd love,
When it comes clad in secrets.
Calianax. [Aside.]
If I say
I will not, he will kill me; I do see't
Writ in his looks; and should I say I will,
He'll run and tell the king.—I do not shun
Your friendship, dear Melantius, but this cause
is weighty; give me but an hour to think.
Melantius.
Take it.—I know this goes unto the king;
But I am arm'd.
[Exit Melantius.
Calianax.
Methinks I feel myself
But twenty now again! this fighting fool
Wants policy: I shall revenge my girl,
And make her red again. I pray, my legs
Will last that pace that I will carry them:
I shall want breath, before I find the king.
[Exit.