Act 5, Scene IV

Scene: Antechamber to Evadne's Apartments in the Palace.

Enter ASPATIA, in man's apparel.

Aspatia.
This is my fatal hour. Heaven may forgive
My rash attempt, that causelessly hath laid
Griefs on me that will never let me rest;
And put a woman's heart into my breast.
It is more honour for you, that I die;
For she, that can endure the misery
That I have on me, and be patient too,
May live and laugh at all that you can do.

Enter Servant.

God save you, sir!

Servant.
And you, sir. What's your business?
Aspatia.
With you, sir, now; to do me the fair office
To help me to your lord.
Servant.
What, would you serve him?
Aspatia.
I'll do him any service; but to haste,
For my affairs are earnest, I desire
To speak with him.
Servant.
Sir, because you're in such haste, I would be loth
Delay you any longer: You cannot.
Aspatia.
It shall become you, though, to tell your lord.
Servant.
Sir, he will speak with nobody; but, in particular,
I have in charge, about no weighty matters.
Aspatia.
This is most strange. Art thou gold-proof?
There's for thee; help me to him.
Servant.
Pray be not angry, sir. I'll do my best.
[Exit.
Aspatia.
How stubbornly this fellow answered me!
There is a vile dishonest trick in man,
More than in woman: All the men I meet
Appear thus to me, are all harsh and rude;
And have a subtilty in everything,
Which love could never know. But we fond women
Harbour the easiest and the smoothest thoughts,
And think, all shall go so! It is unjust,
That men and women should be match'd together.

Enter AMINTOR and his Man.

Amintor.
Where is he?
Servant.
There, my lord.
Amintor.
What would you, sir?
Aspatia.
Please it your lordship to command your man
Out of the room, I shall deliver things
Worthy your hearing.
Amintor.
Leave us.
[Exit Servant.
Aspatia.
Oh, that that shape
Should bury falsehood in it!
[Aside.
Amintor.
Now your will, sir.
Aspatia.
When you know me, my lord, you needs must guess
My business; and I am not hard to know;
For till the chance of war mark'd this smooth face
With these few blemishes, people would call me
My sister's picture, and her mine. In short,
I am the brother to the wrong'd Aspatia.
Amintor.
The wrong'd Aspatia! 'Would thou wert so too
Unto the wrong'd Amintor! Let me kiss
That hand of thine, in honour that I bear
Unto the wrong'd Aspatia. Here I stand,
That did it. 'Would he could not! Gentle youth,
Leave me; for there is something in thy looks,
That calls my sins, in a most hideous form,
Into my mind; and I have grief enough
Without thy help.
Aspatia.
I would I could with credit.
Since I was twelve years old, I had not seen
My sister till this hour; I now arrived:
She sent for me to see her marriage;
A woful one! But they, that are above,
Have ends in everything. She used few words,
But yet enough to make me understand
The baseness of the injuries you did her.
That little training I have had, is war:
I may behave myself rudely in peace;
I would not, though. I shall not need to tell you,
I am but young, and would be loth to lose
Honour, that is not easily gained again.
Fairly I mean to deal: The age is strict
For single combats; and we shall be stopp'd,
If it be publish'd. If you like your sword,
Use it; if mine appear a better to you,
Change: for the ground is this, and this the time,
To end our difference.
Amintor.
Charitable youth,
(If thou be'st such) think not I will maintain
So strange a wrong: And, for thy sister's sake,
Know, that I could not think that desperate thing
I durst not do; yet, to enjoy this world,
I would not see her; for, beholding thee,
I am I know not what. If I have aught,
That may content thee, take it, and begone;
For death is not so terrible as thou.
Thine eyes shoot guilt into me.
Aspatia.
Thus, she swore,
Thou wouldst behave thyself; and give me words
That would fetch tears into mine eyes; and so
Thou dost indeed. But yet she bade me watch,
Lest I were cozen'd; and be sure to fight
Ere I return'd.
Amintor.
That must not be with me.
For her I'll die directly; but against her
Will never hazard it.
Aspatia.
You must be urged.
I do not deal uncivilly with those
That dare to fight; but such a one as you
Must be used thus.
[She strikes him.
Amintor.
I pr'ythee, youth, take heed.
Thy sister is a thing to me so much
Above mine honour, that I can endure
All this. Good gods! a blow I can endure!
But stay not, lest thou draw a timeless death
Upon thyself.
Aspatia.
Thou art some prating fellow;
One, that hath studied out a trick to talk,
And move softhearted people; to be kicked
[She kicks him
Thus, to be kick'd!—Why should he be so slow
In giving me my death?
[Aside.
Amintor.
A man can bear
No more, and keep his flesh. Forgive me, then!
I would endure yet, if I could. Now show
[Draws.
The spirit thou pretend'st, and understand,
Thou hast no hour to live.——
[They fight; Aspatia is wounded.
Thou hast no hour to live.—— What dost thou mean?
Thou canst not fight: the blows thou mak'st at me
Are quite besides; and those I offer at thee,
Thou spread'st thine arms, and tak'st upon thy breast,
Alas, defenceless!
Aspatia.
I have got enough,
And my desire. There is no place so fit
For me to die as here.

Enter EVADNE, her Hands bloody, with a Knife.

Evadne.
Amintor, I am loaden with events,
That fly to make thee happy. I have joys,
That in a moment can call back thy wrongs,
And settle thee in thy free state again.
It is Evadne still that follows thee,
But not her mischiefs.
Amintor.
Thou canst not fool me to believe again;
But thou hast looks and things so full of news,
That I am stay'd.
Evadne.
Noble Amintor, put off thy amaze,
Let thine eyes loose, and speak: Am I not fair?
Looks not Evadne beauteous, with these rites now
Were those hours half so lovely in thine eyes,
When our hands met before the holy man?
I was too foul within to look fair then:
Since I knew ill, I was not free till now.
Amintor.
There is presage of some important thing
About thee, which, it seems, thy tongue hath lost.
Thy hands are bloody, and thou hast a knife!
Evadne.
In this consists thy happiness and mine.
Joy to Amintor! for the king is dead.
Amintor.
Those have most power to hurt us, that we love;
We lay our sleeping lives within their arms!
Why, thou hast raised up Mischief to his height,
And found out one, to out-name thy other faults.
Thou hast no intermission of thy sins,
But all thy life is a continued ill.
Black is thy colour now, disease thy nature.
Joy to Amintor! Thou hast touch'd a life,
The very name of which had power to chain
Up all my rage, and calm my wildest wrongs.
Evadne.
'Tis done; and since I could not find a way
To meet thy love so clear as through his life,
I cannot now repent it.
Amintor.
Couldst thou procure the gods to speak to me,
To bid me love this woman, and forgive,
I think I should fall out with them. Behold,
Here lies a youth whose wounds bleed in my breast,
Sent by his violent fate, to fetch his death
From my slow hand: And, to augment my woe,
You now are present, stain'd with a king's blood,
Violently shed. This keeps night here,
And throws an unknown wilderness about me.
Aspatia.
Oh, oh, oh!
Amintor.
No more; pursue me not.
Evadne.
Forgive me then,
And take me to thy bed. We may not part.
[Kneels.
Amintor.
Forbear! Be wise, and let my rage go this way.
Evadne.
'Tis you that I would stay, not it.
Amintor.
Take heed;
It will return with me.
Evadne.
If it must be,
I shall not fear to meet it: take me home.
Amintor.
Thou monster of cruelty, forbear!
Evadne.
For heaven's sake, look more calm: thine eyes are sharper
Than thou canst make thy sword.
Amintor.
Away, away!
Thy knees are more to me than violence.
I am worse than sick to see knees follow me,
For that I must not grant. For Heaven's sake stand.
Evadne.
Receive me, then.
Amintor.
I dare not stay thy language;
In midst of all my anger and my grief,
Thou dost awake something that troubles me,
And says, “I loved thee once.” I dare not stay;
There is no end of woman's reasoning.
[Leaves her.
Evadne.
Amintor, thou shalt love me now again:
Go; I am calm. Farewell, and peace for ever!
Evadne, whom thou hat'st, will die for thee.
[Kills herself.
Amintor.
I have a little human nature yet,
That's left for thee, that bids me stay thy hand.
[Returns.
Evadne.
Thy hand was welcome, but it came too late.
Oh, I am lost! the heavy sleep makes haste.
[She dies.
Aspatia.
Oh, oh, oh!
Amintor.
This earth of mine doth tremble. and I feel
A stark affrighted motion in my blood:
My soul grows weary of her house, and I
All over am a trouble to myself.
There is some hidden power in these dead things,
That calls my flesh unto 'em: I am cold!
Be resolute, and bear 'em company.
There's something, yet, which I am loth to leave.
There's man enough in me to meet the fears
That death can bring; and yet, 'would it were done!
I can find nothing in the whole discourse
Of death, I durst not meet the boldest way;
Yet still, betwixt the reason and the act,
The wrong I to Aspatia did stands up:
I have not such another fault to answer.
Though she may justly arm herself with scorn
And hate of me, my soul will part less troubled,
When I have paid to her in tears my sorrow.
I will not leave this act unsatisfied,
If all that's left in me can answer it.
Aspatia.
Was it a dream? There stands Amintor still;
Or I dream still.
Amintor.
How dost thou? Speak! receive my love and help.
Thy blood climbs up to his old place again:
There's hope of thy recovery.
Aspatia.
Did you not name Aspatia?
Amintor.
I did.
Aspatia.
And talk'd of tears and sorrow unto her?
Amintor.
'Tis true; and till these happy signs in thee
Did stay my course, 'twis neither I was going.
Aspatia.
Thou art there already, and these wounds are hers:
Those threats I brought with me sought not revenge;
But come to fetch this blessing from thy hand.
I am Aspatia yet.
Amintor.
Dare my soul ever look abroad again?
Aspatia.
I shall surely live, Amintor; I am well:
A kind of healthful joy wanders within me.
Amintor.
The world wants lives to excuse thy loss!
Come, let me bear thee to some place of help.
Aspatia.
Amintor, thou must stay; I must rest here;
My strength begins to disobey my will.
How dost thou, my best soul? I would fain live
Now, if I could: Wouldst thou have loved me then?
Amintor.
Alas?
All that I am's not worth a hair from thee.
Aspatia.
Give me thy hand; my hands grope up and down,
And cannot find thee: I am wondrous sick:
Have I thy hand, Amintor?
Amintor.
Thou greatest blessing of the world, thou hast.
Aspatia.
I do believe thee better than my sense.
Oh! I must go. Farewell!
[Dies.
Amintor.
She swoons! Aspatia!—Help! for Heaven's sake, water!
Such as may chain life ever to this frame.—
Aspatia, speak!—What, no help yet? I fool!
I'll chafe her temples: Yet there's nothing stirs;
Some hidden power tell her, Amintor calls,
And let her answer me!—Aspatia, speak!—
I have heard, if there be any life, but bow
The body thus, and it will show itself.
Oh, she is gone! I will not leave her yet.
Since out of justice we must challenge nothing,
I'll call it mercy, if you'll pity me,
Ye heavenly powers! and lend, for some few years,
The blessed soul to this fair seat again.
No comfort comes; the gods deny me too!
I'll bow the body once again.—Aspatia!—
The soul is fled for ever; and I wrong
Myself, so long to lose her company.
Must I talk now? Here's to be with thee, love!
[Stabs himself.

Enter Servant.

Servant.
This is a great grace to my lord, to have the new king come to him: I must tell him he is entering.—Oh, God! Help! help!

Enter LYSIPPUS, MELANTIUS, CALIANAX, CLEON, DIPHILUS, and STRATO.

Lysippus.
Where's Amintor?
Servant.
Oh, there, there.
Lysippus.
How strange is this!
Calianax.
What should we do here?
Melantius.
These deaths are such acquainted things with me,
That yet my heart dissolves not. May I stand
Stiff here for ever! Eyes, call up your tears!
This is Amintor: Heart! he was my friend;
Melt; now it flows.—Amintor, give a word
To call me to thee.
Amintor.
Oh!
Melantius.
Melantius calls his friend Amintor. Oh!
Thy arms are kinder to me than thy tongue!
Speak, speak!
Amintor.
What?
Melantius.
That little word was worth all the sounds
That ever I shall hear again.
Diphilus.
Oh, brother!
Here lies your sister slain; you lose yourself
In sorrow there.
Melantius.
Why, Diphilus, it is
A thing to laugh at, in respect of this:
Here was my sister, father, brother, son;
All that I had!—Speak once again: What youth
Lies slain there by thee?
Amintor.
'Tis Aspatia.
My last is said. Let me give up my soul
Into thy bosom.
[Dies.
Calianax.
What's that? what's that? Aspatia!
Melantius.
I never did
Repent the greatness of my heart till now;
It will not burst at need.
Calianax.
My daughter dead here too! And you have all fine new tricks to grieve; but I ne'er knew any but direct crying.
Melantius.
I am a prattler; but no more.
[Offers to kill himself.
Diphilus.
Hold, brother.
Lysippus.
Stop him.
Diphilus.
Fie! how unmanly was this offer in you;
Does this become our strain?
Calianax.
I know not what the matter is, but I am grown very kind, and am friends with you. You have given me that among you will kill me quickly; but I'll go home, and live as long as I can.
Melantius.
His spirit is but poor that can be kept
From death for want of weapons.
Is not my hand a weapon sharp enough
To stop my breath? or, if you tie down those,
I vow, Amintor, I will never eat,
Or drink, or sleep, or have to do with that
That may preserve life! This I swear to keep.
Lysippus.
Look to him though, and bear those bodies in.
May this a fair example be to me,
To rule with temper: For, on lustful kings,
Unlook'd-for, sudden deaths from heaven are sent;
But curst is he that is their instrument.
[Exeunt.

F I N I S