Act 5, Scene II

Scene: The Bedchamber. The King discovered in Bed, sleeping.

Enter EVADNE.

Evadne.
The night grows horrible; and all about me
Like my black purpose. Oh, the conscience
Of a lost virgin! whither wilt thou pull me?
To what things, dismal as the depth of hell,
Wilt thou provoke me? Let no woman dare
From this hour be disloyal, if her heart be flesh,
If she have blood, and can fear: 'Tis a daring
Above that desperate fool's that left his peace,
And went to sea to fight. 'Tis so many sins,
An age cannot repent 'em; and so great,
The gods want mercy for! Yet I must through 'em.
I have begun a slaughter on my honour,
And I must end it there.—He sleeps. Good Heavens!
Why give you peace to this intemperate beast,
That hath so long transgressed you; I must kill him,
And I will do it bravely: The mere joy
Tells me, I merit in it. Yet I must not
Thus tamely do it, as he sleeps; that were
To rock him to another world: My vengeance
Shall take him waking, and then lay before him
The number of his wrongs and punishments.
I'll shake his sins like furies, till I waken
His evil angel, his sick conscience;
And then I'll strike him dead. King, by your leave:
[Ties his arms to the bed.
I dare not trust your strength. Your grace and I
Must grapple upon even terms no more.
So. If he rail me not from my resolution,
I shall be strong enough.—My lord the king!
My lord!—He sleeps, as if he meant to wake
No more.—My lord!—Is he not dead already?
Sir! My lord!
King.
Who's that?
Evadne.
Oh, you sleep soundly, sir!
King.
My dear Evadne,
I have been dreaming of thee. Come to bed.
Evadne.
I am come at length, sir; but how welcome?
King.
What pretty new device is this, Evadne?
What, do you tie me to you? By my love,
This is a quaint one. Come, my dear, and kiss me.
I'll be thy Mars; to bed, my queen of love:
Let us be caught together, that the gods
May see, and envy our embraces.
Evadne.
Stay, sir, stay;
You are too hot, and I have brought you physic
To temper your high veins.
King.
Pr'ythee, to bed then; let me take it warm;
There thou shalt know the state of my body better.
Evadne.
I know you have a surfeited foul body;
And you must bleed.
King.
Bleed!
Evadne.
Ay, you shall bleed! Lie still; and, if the devil,
Your lust, will give you leave, repent. This steel
Comes to redeem the honour that you stole,
King, my fair name; which nothing but thy death
Can answer to the world.
King.
How's this, Evadne?
Evadne.
I am not she; nor bear I in this breast
So much cold spirit to be call'd a woman.
I am a tiger; I am anything
That knows not pity. Stir not! If thou dost,
I'll take thee unprepared; thy fears upon thee,
That make thy sins look double; and so send thee
(By my revenge, I will) to look those torments
Prepared for such black souls.
King.
Thou dost not mean this; 'tis impossible:
Thou art too sweet and gentle.
Evadne.
No, I am not.
I am as foul as thou art, and can number
As many such hells here. I was once fair,
Once I was lovely; not a blowing rose
More chastely sweet, till thou, thou, thou foul canker,
(Stir not) didst poison me. I was a world of virtue,
Till your curst court and you (Hell bless you for't!)
With your temptations on temptations,
Made me give up mine honour; for which, king,
I'm come to kill thee.
King.
No!
Evadne.
I am.
King.
Thou art not!
I pr'ythee speak not these things: Thou art gentle,
And wert not meant thus rugged.
Evadne.
Peace, and hear me.
Stir nothing but your tongue, and that for mercy
To those above us; by whose lights I vow,
Those blessed fires that shot to see our sin,
If thy hot soul had substance with thy blood,
I would kill that too; which, being past my steel,
My tongue shall reach. Thou art a shameless villain!
A thing out of the overcharge of nature;
Sent, like a thick cloud, to disperse a plague
Upon weak catching women! such a tyrant,
That for his lust would sell away his subjects!
Ay, all his Heaven hereafter!
King.
Hear, Evadne,
Thou soul of sweetness, hear! I am thy king.
Evadne.
Thou art my shame! Lie still, there's none about you,
Within your cries: All promises of safety
Are but deluding dreams. Thus, thus, thou foul man,
Thus I begin my vengeance!
[Stabs him.
King.
Hold, Evadne!
I do command thee, hold.
Evadne.
I do not mean, sir.
To part so fairly with you; we must change
More of these love-tricks yet.
King.
What bloody villain
Provoked thee to this murder?
Evadne.
Thou, thou monster.
King.
Oh!
Evadne.
Thou kept'st me brave at court, and whor'd'st me, king;
Then married me to a young noble gentleman,
And whor'd'st me still.
King.
Evadne, pity me.
Evadne.
Hell take me then! This for my lord Amintor!
This for my noble brother! and this stroke
For the most wrong'd of women!
[Kills him.
King.
Oh! I die.
Evadne.
Die all our faults together! I forgive thee.
[Exit.

Enter two Gentlemen of the Bedchamber.

1 Gentleman.
Come, now she's gone, let's enter; the king expects it, and will be angry.
2 Gentleman.
'Tis a fine wench; we'll have a snap at her one of these nights, as she goes from him.
1 Gentleman.
Content. How quickly he had done with her! I see, kings can do no more that way than other mortal people.
2 Gentleman.
How fast he is! I cannot hear him breathe.
1 Gentleman.
Either the tapers give a feeble light,
Or he looks very pale.
2 Gentleman.
And so he does:
Pray Heaven he be well; let's look.—Alas!
He's stiff, wounded and dead: Treason, treason!
1 Gentleman.
Run forth and call.
2 Gentleman.
Treason, treason!
[Exit.
1 Gentleman.
This will be laid on us:
Who can believe a woman could do this?

Enter CLEON and LYSIPPUS.

Cleon.
How now! Where's the traitor?
1 Gentleman.
Fled, fled, away; but there her woful act lies still.
Cleon.
Her act! a woman!
Lysippus.
Where's the body?
1 Gentleman.
There.
Lysippus.
Farewell, thou worthy man! There were two bonds
That tied our loves, a brother and a king;
The least of which might fetch a flood of tears:
But such the misery of greatness is,
They have no time to mourn; then pardon me!—

Enter STRATO.

Sirs, which way went she?

Strato.
Never follow her;
For she, alas! was but the instrument.
News is now brought in, that Melantius
Has got the fort, and stands upon the wall;
And with a loud voice calls those few, that pass
At this dead time of night, delivering
The innocence of this act.
Lysippus.
Gentlemen,
I am your king.
Strato.
We do acknowledge it.
Lysippus.
I would I were not! Follow, all; for this
Must have a sudden stop.
[Exeunt.