Written in 1622, toward the end of an extraordinarily rich period in English drama that produced a substantial body of the finest plays written in English, The Changeling is widely considered to be one of the best non-Shakespearean tragedies. The opening and closing scenes and the subplot are generally attributed to William Rowley, and the remainder of the play to Thomas Middleton. Of the two authors, Middleton was the more prolific. He wrote at least twenty-five plays alone or in collaboration with other playwrights, such as Thomas Dekker, John Webster, and Francis Beaumont. Middleton’s output was varied, including comedies, tragicomedies, and masques. He is best known for his political satire, A Game at Chess (1624), and for his two great tragedies, The Changeling and Women Beware Women (c. 1621-1627). Rowley was well known in his own time as an actor of comedy roles. He also wrote at least eleven plays in collaboration with others and four plays unaided.
The word “changeling” has three definitions relevant to the play: a changeable person, a person surreptitiously exchanged for another, and an idiot. Various characters are associated with the different senses of the word, and the last few speeches of the closing scene point to many of these. Although the subplot of the play, with its fools and madmen, is tiresome and in poor taste according to twentieth century sensibilities, it provides some commentary on the main theme of the play. There is a shared imagery of change. Antonio and Francisco undergo transformation in their pursuit of love, as do Alsemero, Beatrice, and De Flores. Isabella, who remains true to her marriage vows in spite of temptation, provides a comparison to Beatrice’s increasing immorality. The madness and folly observed in Alibius’s institution form a grotesque reflection of the madness and folly of the outside world. In the play’s development of the characters of Beatrice and De Flores, as well as in some fine passages of dramatic rhetoric, the play achieves great stature.
In the course of the play, Beatrice is transformed from an apparently pious, dutiful young woman into a damned soul, stabbed to death by her murderous lover. This process occurs with terrifying ease and speed. Her downfall begins with her passion...
(The entire section is 944 words.)
VERMANDERO, father to Beatrice
TOMAZO de Piracquo, a noble lord
ALONZO de Piracquo, his brother, suitor to Beatrice
ALSEMERO, a nobleman, afterwards married to Beatrice
JASPERINO, his friend
ALIBIUS, a jealous doctor
LOLLIO, his man
PEDRO, friend to Antonio
ANTONIO, the changeling
FRANCISCUS, the counterfeit madman
DEFLORES, servant to Vermandero
[Two] SERVANTS [to Alsemero]
[A SERVANT to Vermandero]
BEATRICE [Joanna], daughter to Vermandero
DIAPHANTA, her waiting woman
ISABELLA, wife to Alibius
The Scene: Alicant
Acts and Scenes
I.i. A street near the harbor
I.ii. A room in Alibius's house
II.i. A chamber in the castle
II.ii. Another chamber
III.i. A narrow passage
III.ii. A vault
III.iii. A room in Alibius's house
III.iv. A chamber in the castle
IV.i. Alsemero's chamber
IV.ii. A chamber in the castle
IV.iii. A room in Alibius's house
V.i. A gallery in the castle
V.ii. A chamber
V.iii. Alsemero's chamber
I.[i. A street near the harbor]
'Twas in the temple where I first beheld her,
And now again the same; what omen yet
Follows of that? None but imaginary.
Why should my hopes or fate be timorous?
The place is holy, so is my intent:
I love her beauties to the holy purpose,
And that methinks admits comparison
With man's first creation, the place blest,
And is his right home back, if he achieve it.
The church hath first begun our interview
And that's the place must join us into one,
So there's beginning and perfection too.
O sir, are you here? Come, the wind's fair with you;
Y'are like to have a swift and pleasant passage.
Sure y'are deceived, friend; 'tis contrary
In my best judgment.
What, for Malta?
If you could buy a gale amongst the witches,
They could not serve you such a lucky pennyworth
As comes a' God's name.
Even now I observ'd
The temple's vane to turn full in my face;
I know 'tis against me.
Then you know not where you are.
Not well indeed.
Are you not well, sir?
Unless there be some hidden malady
Within me that I understand not.
I begin to doubt, sir; I never knew
Your inclinations to travels at a pause
With any cause to hinder it till now.
Ashore you were wont to call your servants up,
And help to trap your horses for the speed.
At sea I have seen you weigh the anchor with 'em,
Hoist sails for fear to lose the foremost breath,
Be in continual prayers for fair winds;
And have you chang'd your orisons?
I keep the same church, same devotion.
Lover I'm sure y'are none: the stoic
Was found in you long ago; your mother
Nor best friends, who have set snares of beauty,
Ay, and choice ones too, could never trap you that way.
What might be the cause?
Lord, how violent
Thou art: I was but meditating of
Somewhat I heard within the temple.
Is this violence? 'Tis but idleness
Compar'd with your haste yesterday.
I'm all this while a-going, man.
Enter [Two] Servants [to Alsemero].
Backwards, I think, sir. Look, your servants.
The seamen call; shall we board your trunks?
No, not today.
'Tis the critical day,
It seems, and the sign in Aquarius.
We must not to sea today; this smoke will bring forth fire.
Keep all on shore; I do not know the end,
Which needs I must do, of an affair in hand
Ere I can go to sea.
Well, your pleasure.
[Aside to First Servant] Let him e'en take his leisure too; we are safer on land.
Exeunt [Alsemero's] Servants. Enter Beatrice, Diaphanta, and Servants. [Alsemero bows to Beatrice and kisses her.]
[Aside] How now! The laws of the Medes are chang'd sure: salute a woman! He kisses too: wonderful! Where learnt he this? And does it perfectly too; in my conscience he ne'er rehears'd it before. Nay, go on, this will be stranger and better news at Valencia than if he had ransom'd half Greece from the Turk!
You are a scholar, sir.
A weak one, lady.
Which of the sciences is this love you speak of?
From your tongue I take it to be music.
You are skillful in't, can sing at first sight.
And I have show'd you all my skill at once.
I want more words to express me further
And must be forc'd to repetition:
I love you dearly.
Be better advis'd, sir:
Our eyes are sentinels unto our judgments,
And should give certain judgment what they see;
But they are rash sometimes, and tell us wonders
Of common things, which when our judgments find,
They can then check the eyes, and call them blind.
But I am further, lady; yesterday
Was mine eyes' employment, and hither now
They brought my judgment, where are both agreed.
Both houses then consenting, 'tis agreed,
Only there wants the confirmation
By the hand royal; that's your part, lady.
Oh, there's one above me, sir. [Aside] For five days past
To be recall'd! Sure, mine eyes were mistaken;
This was the man was meant me. That he should come
So near his time, and miss it!
[Aside] We might have come by the carriers from Valencia, I see, and sav'd all our sea-provision: we are at farthest sure. Methinks I should do something too; I meant to be a venturer in this voyage. Yonder's another vessel: I'll board her; if she be lawful prize, down goes her topsail!
Lady, your father--
Is in health, I hope.
Your eye shall instantly instruct you, lady.
He's coming hitherward.
What needed then
Your duteous preface? I had rather
He had come unexpected; you must stall
A good presence with unnecessary blabbing:
And how welcome for your part you are,
I'm sure you know.
[Aside] [Will't] never mend, this scorn,
One side nor other? Must I be enjoin'd
To follow still whilst she flies from me? Well,
Fates do your worst, I'll please myself with sight
Of her, at all opportunities,
If but to spite her anger. I know she had
Rather see me dead than living, and yet
She knows no cause for't but a peevish will.
You seem'd displeas'd, lady, on the sudden.
Your pardon, sir, 'tis my infirmity,
Nor can I other reason render you
Than his or hers, [of] some particular thing
They must abandon as a deadly poison,
Which to a thousand other tastes were wholesome;
Such to mine eyes is that same fellow there,
The same that report speaks of the basilisk.
This is a frequent frailty in our nature;
There's scarce a man amongst a thousand sound
But hath his imperfection: one distastes
The scent of roses, which to infinites
Most pleasing is and odoriferous.
One oil, the enemy of poison,
Another wine, the cheerer of the heart,
And lively refresher of the countenance.
Indeed this fault, if so it be, is general:
There's scarce a thing but is both lov'd and loath'd;
Myself, I must confess, have the same frailty.
And what may be your poison, sir? I am bold with you.
What might be your desire perhaps, a cherry.
I am no enemy to any creature
My memory has but yon gentleman.
He does ill to tempt your sight, if he knew it.
He cannot be ignorant of that, sir;
I have not spar'd to tell him so, and I want
To help myself, since he's a gentleman
In good respect with my father and follows him.
He's out of his place then now.
I am a mad wag, wench.
So methinks; but for your comfort I can tell you we have a doctor in the city that undertakes the cure of such.
Tush, I know what physic is best for the state of mine own body.
'Tis scarce a well-govern'd state, I believe.
I could show thee such a thing with an [ingredient] that we two would compound together, and if it did not tame the maddest blood i' th' town for two hours after, I'll ne'er profess physic again.
A little poppy, sir, were good to cause you sleep.
Poppy! I'll give thee a pop i' th' lips for that first, and begin there. [He kisses her.] Poppy is one simple indeed, and cuckoo, what you call't, another: I'll discover no more now; another time I'll show thee all.
Enter Vermandero and Servants.
My father, sir.
Oh, Joanna, I came to meet thee.
Your devotion's ended?
For this time, sir.
[Aside] I shall change my saint, I fear me: I find
A giddy turning in me.--Sir, this while
I am beholding to this gentleman
Who left his own way to keep me company,
And in discourse I find him much desirous
To see your castle: he hath deserv'd it, sir,
If ye please to grant it.
With all my heart, sir.
Yet there's an article between: I must know
Your country. We use not to give survey
Of our chief strengths to strangers; our citadels
Are plac'd conspicuous to outward view
On promonts' tops, but within are secrets.
A Valencian, sir.
That's native, sir; of what name, I beseech you?
Alsemero? Not the son
Of John de Alsemero?
The same, sir.
My best love bids you welcome.
[Aside] He was wont
To call me so, and then he speaks a most
Oh, sir, I knew your father.
We two were in acquaintance long ago
Before our chins were worth iulan down,
And so continued till the stamp of time
Had coin'd us into silver. Well, he's gone;
A good soldier went with him.
You went together in that, sir.
No, by Saint Jaques, I came behind him;
Yet I have done somewhat too. An unhappy day
Swallowed him at last at Gibraltar
In fight with those rebellious Hollanders,
Was it not so?
Whose death I had reveng'd,
Or followed him in fate, had not the late league
Ay, ay, 'twas time to breath.
Oh, Joanna, I should ha' told thee news:
I saw Piracquo lately.
[Aside] That's ill news.
He's hot preparing for this day of triumph;
Thou must be a bride within this sevennight.
Nay, good sir, be not so violent; with speed
I cannot render satisfaction
Unto the dear companion of my soul,
Virginity, whom I thus long have liv'd with,
And part with it so rude and suddenly,
Can such friends divide never to meet again
Without a solemn farewell?
Tush, tush, there's a toy.
[Aside] I must now part, and never meet again
With any joy on earth.--Sir, your pardon,
My affairs call on me.
How, sir? By no means;
Not chang'd so soon, I hope? You must see my castle
And her best entertainment ere we part;
I shall think myself unkindly us'd else.
Come, come, let's on; I had good hope your stay
Had been a while with us in Alicant;
I might have bid you to my daughter's wedding.
[Aside] He means to feast me, and poisons me beforehand.--
I should be dearly glad to be there, sir,
Did my occasions suit as I could wish.
I shall be sorry if you be not there
When it is done, sir, but not so suddenly.
I tell you, sir, the gentleman's complete,
A courtier and a gallant, enrich'd
With many fair and noble ornaments;
I would not change him for a son-in-law
For any he in Spain, the proudest he,
And we have great ones, that you know.
Bound to you, sir.
He shall be bound to me,
As fast as this tie can hold him; I'll want
My will else.
[Aside] I shall want mine if you do it.
But come, by the way I'll tell you more of him.
[Aside] How shall I dare to venture in his castle
When he discharges murderers at the gate?
But I must on, for back I cannot go.
[Aside] Not this serpent gone yet?
Look, girl, thy glove's fall'n;
Stay, stay, Deflores, help a little.
[He hands Beatrice her glove.]
Mischief on your officious forwardness;
Who bade you stoop? They touch my hand no more:
There, for t'other's sake I part with this;
Take 'em and draw thine own skin off with 'em.
Exeunt. [Manet Deflores.]
Here's a favour come with a mischief: now
I know she had rather wear my pelt tann'd
In a pair of dancing pumps than I should
Thrust my fingers into her sockets here.
I know she hates me, yet cannot choose but love her:
No matter, if but to vex her, I'll haunt her still;
Though I get nothing else, I'll have my will.
[I.ii. A room in Alibius's house]
Enter Alibius and Lollio.
Lollio, I must trust thee with a secret,
But thou must keep it.
I was ever close to a secret, sir.
The diligence that I have found in thee,
The care and industry already past,
Assures me of thy good continuance.
Lollio, I have a wife.
Fie, sir, 'tis too late to keep her secret; she's known to be married all the town and country over.
Thou goest too fast, my Lollio: that knowledge
I allow no man can be [barr'd] it;
But there is a knowledge which is nearer,
Deeper and sweeter, Lollio.
Well, sir, let us handle that between you and I.
'Tis that I go about man; Lollio,
My wife is young.
So much the worse to be kept secret, sir.
Why, now thou meet'st the substance of the point:
I am old, Lollio.
No, sir, 'tis I am old Lollio.
Yet why may not this concord and sympathize?
Old trees and young plants often grow together,
Well enough agreeing.
Ay, sir, but the old trees raise themselves higher and broader than the young plants.
Shrewd application: there's the fear, man.
I would wear my ring on my own finger;
Whilst it is borrowed it is none of mine,
But his that useth it.
You must keep it on still then; if it but lie by, one or other will be thrusting into't.
Thou conceiv'st me, Lollio; here thy watchful eye
Must have employment. I cannot always be at home.
I dare swear you cannot.
I must look out.
I know't, you must look out, 'tis every man's case.
Here I do say must thy employment be.
To watch her treadings, and in my absence
Supply my place.
I'll do my best, sir; yet surely I cannot see who you should have cause to be jealous of.
Thy reason for that, Lollio? 'Tis a comfortable question.
We have but two sorts of people in the house, and both under the whip, that's fools and madmen; the one has not wit enough to be knaves, and the other not knavery enough to be fools.
Ay, those are all my patients, Lollio.
I do profess the cure of either sort:
My trade, my living 'tis, I thrive by it.
But here's the care that mixes with my thrift:
The daily visitants that come to see
My brainsick patients I would not have
To see my wife. Gallants I do observe
Of quick, enticing eyes, rich in habits,
Of stature and proportion very comely:
These are most shrewd temptations, Lollio.
They may be easily answered, sir. If they come to see the fools and madmen, you and I may serve the turn, and let my mistress alone; she's of neither sort.
'Tis a good ward. Indeed, come they to see
Our madmen or our fools; let 'em see no more
Than what they come for. By that consequent
They must not see her. I'm sure she's no fool.
And I'm sure she's no madman.
Hold that buckler fast, Lollio; my trust
Is on thee, and I account it firm and strong.
What hour is't, Lollio?
Towards belly hour, sir.
Dinner time? Thou mean'st twelve a' clock.
Yes, sir, for every part has his hour. We wake at six and look about us, that's eye hour; at seven we should pray, that's knee hour; at eight walk, that's leg hour; at nine gather flowers, and pluck a rose, that's nose hour; at ten we drink, that's mouth hour; at eleven lay about us for victuals, that's hand hour; at twelve go to dinner, that's belly hour.
Profoundly, Lollio; it will be long
Ere all thy scholars learn this lesson, and
I did look to have a new one entered. Stay,
I think my expectation is come home.
Enter Pedro and Antonio like an idiot.
Save you, sir, my business speaks itself;
This sight takes off the labour of my tongue.
Ay, ay, sir,
'Tis plain enough, you mean him for my patient.
[Giving Alibius money] And if your pains prove but commodious,
To give but some little strength to his sick
And weak part of nature in him, these are
But patterns to show you of the whole pieces
That will follow to you, beside the charge
Of diet, washing, and other necessaries
Believe it, sir, there shall no care be wanting.
Sir, an officer in this place may deserve something; the trouble will pass through my hands.
[Giving Lollio money] 'Tis fit something should come to your hands then, sir.
Yes, sir, 'tis I must keep him sweet, and read to him; what is his name?
His name is Antonio; marry, we use but half to him, only Tony.
Tony, Tony, 'tis enough, and a very good name for a fool. What's your name, Tony?
He, he, he; well, I thank you, cousin, he, he, he.
Good boy, hold up your head. He can laugh; I perceive by that he is no beast.
If you can raise him but to any height,
Any degree of wit, might he attain,
As I might say, to creep but on all four
Towards the chair of wit or walk on crutches,
'Twould add an honour to your worthy pains,
And a great family might pray for you,
To which he should be heir had he discretion
To claim and guide his own; assure you, sir,
He is a gentleman.
Nay, there's nobody doubted that. At first sight I knew him for a gentleman; he looks no other yet.
Let him have good attendance and sweet lodging.
As good as my mistress lies in, sir, and as you allow us time and means, we can raise him to the higher degree of discretion.
Nay, there shall no cost want, sir.
He will hardly be stretch'd up to the wit of a magnifico.
Oh, no, that's not to be expected; far shorter will be enough.
I warrant you [I'll] make him fit to bear office in five weeks; I'll undertake to wind him up to the wit of constable.
If it be lower than that, it might serve turn.
No, fie, to level him with a headborough, beadle, or watchman, were but little better then he is; constable I'll able him: if he do come to be a justice afterwards, let him thank the keeper. Or I'll go further with you; say I do bring him up to my own pitch, say I make him as wise as myself.
Why, there I would have it.
Well, go to, either I'll be as arrant a fool as he, or he shall be as wise as I, and then I think 'twill serve his turn.
Nay, I do like thy wit passing well.
Yes, you may; yet if I had not been a fool, I had had more wit than I have too. Remember what state you find me in.
I will, and so leave you: your best cares, I beseech you.
Take you none with you; leave 'em all with us.
Oh, my cousin's gone; cousin, cousin, oh!
Peace, peace, Tony: you must not cry, child; you must be whipp'd if you do. Your cousin is here still; I am your cousin, Tony.
He, he, then I'll not cry, if thou beest my cousin, he, he, he.
I were best try his wit a little, that I may know what form to place him in.
Ay, do, Lollio, do.
I must ask him easy questions at first. Tony, how many true fingers has a tailor on his right hand?
As many as on his left, cousin.
Good, and how many on both?
Two less than a deuce, cousin.
Very well answered; I come to you again, cousin Tony: how many fools goes to a wise man?
Forty in a day sometimes, cousin.
Forty in a day? How prove you that?
All that fall out amongst themselves, and go to a lawyer to be made friends.
A parlous fool; he must sit in the fourth form at least, I perceive that. I come again, Tony: how many knaves make an honest man?
I know not that, cousin.
No, the question is too hard for you: I'll tell you, cousin. There's three knaves may make an honest man, a sergeant, a jailer, and a beadle: the sergeant catches him, the jailer holds him, and the beadle lashes him; and if he be not honest then, the hangman must cure him.
Ha, ha, ha, that's fine sport, cousin.
This was too deep a question for the fool, Lollio.
Yes, this might have serv'd yourself, though I say't; once more and you shall go play, Tony.
Ay, play at push-pin cousin, ha, he.
So thou shalt; say how many fools are here.
Two, cousin, thou and I.
Nay, y'are too forward there, Tony; mark my question: how many fools and knaves are here? A fool before a knave, a fool behind a knave, between every two fools a knave, how many fools, how many knaves?
I never learnt so far, cousin.
Thou putt'st too hard questions to him, Lollio.
I'll make him understand it easily. Cousin, stand there.
Master, stand you next the fool.
Here's my place. Mark now, Tony: there a fool before a knave.
That's I, cousin.
Here's a fool behind a knave, that's I, and between us two fools there is a knave, that's my master; 'tis but we three, that's all.
We three, we three, cousin.
Madmen [shout from] within.
Put's head i' th' pillory, the bread's too little!
Fly, fly, and he catches the swallow!
Give her more onion, or the devil put the rope about her crag!
You may hear what time of day it is: the chimes of Bedlam goes.
Peace, peace, or the wire comes!
Cat whore, cat whore, her parmasant, her parmasant!
Peace, I say! Their hour's come, they must be fed, Lollio.
There's no hope of recovery of that Welsh madman: was undone by a mouse that spoil'd him a parmasant; lost his wits for't.
Go to your charge, Lollio, I'll to mine.
Go you to your madmen's ward, let me alone with your fools.
And remember my last charge, Lollio.
Of which your patients do you think I am?
Come, Tony, you must amongst your school-fellows now; there's pretty scholars amongst 'em, I can tell you: there's some of 'em at stultus, stulta, stultum.
I would see the madmen, cousin, if they would not bite me.
No, they shall not bite thee, Tony.
They bite when they are at dinner, do they not, coz?
They bite at dinner indeed, Tony. Well, I hope to get credit by thee; I like thee the best of all the scholars that ever I brought up, and thou shalt prove a wise man, or I'll prove a fool myself.
II.[i. A chamber in the castle]
Enter Beatrice and Jasperino severally.
Oh, sir, I'm ready now for that fair service
Which makes the name of friend sit glorious on you.
Good angels and this conduct be your guide;
Fitness of time and place is there set down, sir.
[She hands him a paper.]
The joy I shall return rewards my service.
How wise is Alsemero in his friend!
It is a sign he makes his choice with judgment.
Then I appear in nothing more approv'd
Than making choice of him;
For 'tis a principle, he that can choose
That bosom well, who of his thoughts partakes,
Proves most discreet in every choice he makes.
Methinks I love now with the eyes of judgment
And see the way to merit, clearly see it.
A true deserver like a diamond sparkles:
In darkness you may see him, that's in absence,
Which is the greatest darkness falls on love;
Yet is he best discern'd then
With intellectual eyesight. What's Piracquo
My father spends his breath for? And his blessing
Is only mine as I regard his name,
Else it goes from me, and turns head against me,
Transform'd into a curse. Some speedy way
Must be remembered; he's so forward too,
So urgent that way, scarce allows me breath
To speak to my new comforts.
[Aside] Yonder's she.
What ever ails me? Now alate especially
I can as well be hang'd as refrain seeing her;
Some twenty times a day, nay, not so little,
Do I force errands, frame ways and excuses
To come into her sight, and I have small reason for't,
And less encouragement; for she baits me still
Every time worse than other, does profess herself
The cruelest enemy to my face in town,
At no hand can abide the sight of me,
As if danger, or ill luck, hung in my looks.
I must confess my face is bad enough,
But I know far worse has better fortune,
And not endur'd alone, but doted on;
And yet such pick-hair'd faces, chins like witches',
Here and there five hairs whispering in a corner,
As if they grew in fear one of another,
Wrinkles like troughs, where swine deformity swills
The tears of perjury that lie there like wash,
Fallen from the slimy and dishonest eye.
Yet such a one [plucks] sweets without restraint,
And has the grace of beauty to his sweet.
Though my hard fate has thrust me out to servitude,
I tumbled into th' world a gentleman.
She turns her blessed eye upon me now,
And I'll endure all storms before I part with 't.
[Aside] This ominous ill-fac'd fellow more disturbs me
Than all my other passions!
[Aside] Now 't begins again;
I'll stand this storm of hail though the stones pelt me.
Thy business? What's thy business?
[Aside] Soft and fair,
I cannot part so soon now.
[Aside] The villain's fix'd.--
Thou standing toad-pool!
[Aside] The shower falls amain now.
Who sent thee? What's thy errand? Leave my sight!
My lord your father charg'd me to deliver
A message to you.
What, another since?
Do't and be hang'd then, let me be rid of thee!
True service merits mercy.
What's thy message?
Let beauty settle but in patience,
You shall hear all.
A dallying, trifling torment!
Signior Alonzo de Piracquo, lady,
Sole brother to Tomazo de Piracquo--
Slave, when wilt make an end?
Too soon I shall.
What all this while of him?
The said Alonzo,
With the foresaid Tomazo--
Is new alighted.
Vengeance strike the news!
Thou thing most loath'd, what cause was there in this
To bring thee to my sight?
My lord your father
Charg'd me to seek you out.
Is there no other
To send his errand by?
It seems 'tis my luck
To be i' th' way still.
Get thee from me.
[Aside] Why, am not I an ass to devise ways
Thus to be rail'd at? I must see her still;
I shall have a mad qualm within this hour again,
I know't, and like a common Garden bull,
I do but take breath to be lugg'd again.
What this may bode I know not; I'll despair the less
Because there's daily precedents of bad faces
Belov'd beyond all reason. These foul chops
May come into favour one day 'mongst his fellows:
Wrangling has prov'd the mistress of good pastime;
As children cry themselves asleep, I ha' seen
Women have chid themselves abed to men.
I never see this fellow but I think
Of some harm towards me: danger's in my mind still;
I scarce leave trembling of an hour after.
The next good mood I find my father in
I'll get him quite discarded. Oh, I was
Lost in this small disturbance and forgot
Affliction's fiercer torrent that now comes,
To bear down all my comforts!
Enter Vermandero, Alonzo, Tomazo.
Y'are both welcome,
But an especial one belongs to you, sir,
To whose most noble name our love presents
The addition of a son, our son Alonzo.
The treasury of honour cannot bring forth
A title I should more rejoice in, sir.
You have improv'd it well. Daughter, prepare;
The day will steal upon thee suddenly.
[Aside] Howe'er, I will be sure to keep the night,
If it should come so near me.
[Vermandero and Beatrice talk apart.]
In troth I see small welcome in her eye.
Fie, you are too severe a censurer
Of love in all points; there's no bringing on you.
If lovers should mark everything a fault,
Affection would be like an ill-set book,
Whose faults might prove as big as half the volume.
That's all I do entreat.
It is but reasonable;
I'll see what my son says to't. Son Alonzo,
Here's a motion made but to reprieve
A maidenhead three days longer; the request
Is not far out of reason, for indeed
The former time is pinching.
Though my joys
Be set back so much time as I could wish
They had been forward, yet since she desires it,
The time is set as pleasing as before,
I find no gladness wanting.
May I ever
Meet it in that point still. Y'are nobly welcome, sirs.
Exeunt Vermandero and Beatrice.
So, did you mark the dullness of her parting now?
What dullness? Thou art so exceptious still.
Why, let it go then; I am but a fool
To mark your harms so heedfully.
Where's the oversight?
Come, your faith's cozened in her, strongly cozened;
Unsettle your affection with all speed
Wisdom can bring it to, your peace is ruin'd else.
Think what a torment 'tis to marry one
Whose heart is leapt into another's bosom:
If ever pleasure she receive from thee,
It comes not in thy name, or of thy gift.
She lies but with another in thine arms,
He the half-father unto all thy children
In the conception; if he get 'em not,
She helps to get 'em for him in his passions,
And how dangerous
And shameful her restraint may go in time to,
It is not to be thought on without sufferings.
You speak as if she lov'd some other then.
Do you apprehend so slowly?
Nay, and that
Be your fear only, I am safe enough;
Preserve your friendship and your counsel, brother,
For times of more distress. I should depart
An enemy, a dangerous, deadly one
To any but thyself that should but think
She knew the meaning of inconstancy,
Much less the use and practice; yet w'are friends.
Pray let no more be urg'd; I can endure
Much till I meet an injury to her,
Then I am not myself. Farewell, sweet brother;
How much w'are bound to heaven to depart lovingly!
Why, here is love's tame madness! Thus a man
Quickly steals into his vexation.
[II.ii. Another chamber]
Enter Diaphanta and Alsemero.
The place is my charge; you have kept your hour,
And the reward of a just meeting bless you.
I hear my lady coming; complete gentleman,
I dare not be too busy with my praises,
Th'are dangerous things to deal with.
This goes well.
These women are the ladies' cabinets;
Things of most precious trust are [lock'd] into 'em.
I have within mine eye all my desires;
Requests that holy prayers ascend heaven for
And brings 'em down to furnish our defects
Come not more sweet to our necessities
Than thou unto my wishes.
W'are so like
In our expressions, lady, that unless I borrow
The same words, I shall never find their equals.
How happy were this meeting, this embrace,
If it were free from envy! This poor kiss,
It has an enemy, a hateful one
That wishes poison to't. How well were I now
If there were none such name known as Piracquo,
Nor no such tie as the command of parents!
I should be but too much blessed.
One good service
Would strike off both your fears, and I'll go near it too,
Since you are so distress'd: remove the cause,
The command ceases; so there's two fears blown out
With one and the same blast.
Pray let me find you, sir.
What might that service be so strangely happy?
The honourablest peace 'bout man, valour.
I'll send a challenge to Piracquo instantly.
How? Call you that extinguishing of fear
When 'tis the only way to keep it flaming?
Are not you ventured in the action
That's all my joys and comforts? Pray no more, sir.
Say you prevail'd, [you're] danger's and not mine then:
The law would claim you from me, or obscurity
Be made the grave to bury you alive.
I'm glad these thoughts come forth; oh, keep not one
Of this condition, sir! Here was a course
Found to bring sorrow on her way to death:
The tears would ne'er 'a' dried till dust had chok'd 'em.
Blood-guiltiness becomes a fouler visage,
And now I think on one-- [Aside] I was too blame:
I ha' marr'd so good a market with my scorn.
'T had been done questionless. The ugliest creature
Creation fram'd for some use, yet to see
I could not mark so much where it should be.
[Aside] Why, men of art make much of poison,
Keep one to expel another; where was my art?
Lady, you hear not me.
I do especially, sir;
The present times are not so sure of our side
As those hereafter may be; we must use 'em then
As thrifty folks their wealth, sparingly now
Till the time opens.
You teach wisdom, lady.
Within there, Diaphanta!
Do you call, madam?
Perfect your service, and conduct this gentleman
The private way you brought him.
I shall, madam.
My love's as firm as love e'er built upon.
Exeunt Diaphanta and Alsemero. Enter Deflores.
[Aside] I have watch'd this meeting, and do wonder much
What shall become of t'other; I'm sure both
Cannot be serv'd unless she transgress. Happily
Then I'll put in for one: for if a woman
Fly from one point, from him she makes a husband,
She spreads and mounts then like arithmetic,
One, ten, one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand,
Proves in time sutler to an army royal.
Now do I look to be most richly rail'd at,
Yet I must see her.
[Aside] Why, put case I loath'd him
As much as youth and beauty hates a sepulcher,
Must I needs show it? Cannot I keep that secret,
And serve my turn upon him? See, he's here.--
[Aside] Ha, I shall run mad with joy!
She call'd me fairly by my name, Deflores,
And neither rogue nor rascal.
What ha' you done
To your face alate? Y'ave met with some good physician;
Y'ave prun'd yourself, methinks: you were not wont
To look so amorously.
[Aside] Not I;
'Tis the same physnomy to a hair and pimple
Which she call'd scurvy scarce an hour ago:
How is this?
Come hither, nearer, man.
[Aside] I'm up to the chin in heaven!
Turn, let me see.
Fah! 'Tis but the heat of the liver, I perceive 't.
I thought it had been worse.
[Aside] Her fingers touch'd me;
She smells all amber.
I'll make a water, for you shall cleanse this
Within a fortnight.
With your own hands, lady?
Yes, mine own, sir; in a work of cure,
I'll trust no other.
[Aside] 'Tis half an act of pleasure
To hear her talk thus to me.
When w'are us'd
To a hard face, 'tis not so unpleasing;
It mends still in opinion, hourly mends:
I see it by experience.
[Aside] I was blest
To light upon this minute; I'll make use on't.
Hardness becomes the visage of a man well;
It argues service, resolution, manhood,
If cause were of employment.
'Twould be soon seen,
If e'er your ladyship had cause to use it.
I would but wish the honour of a service
So happy as that mounts to.
[Aside] We shall try you.--
Oh, my Deflores!
[Aside] How's that?
She calls me hers already, my Deflores!--
You were about to sigh out somewhat, madam.
No, was I? I forgot. Oh!
There 'tis again,
The very fellow on't!
You are too quick, sir.
There's no excuse for't, now I heard it twice, madam:
That sigh would fain have utterance. Take pity on't
And lend it a free word; 'las, how it labours
For liberty! I hear the murmur yet
Beat at your bosom.
Ay, well said, that's it.
Had form'd me man.
Nay, that's not it.
Oh, 'tis the soul of freedom!
I should not then be forc'd to marry one
I hate beyond all depths; I should have power
Then to oppose my loathings, nay, remove 'em
Forever from my sight.
Oh, blest occasion!
[Kneeling] Without change to your sex, you have your wishes.
Claim so much man in me.
In thee, Deflores?
There's small cause for that.
Put it not from me;
It's a service that I kneel for to you.
You are too violent to mean faithfully;
There's horror in my service, blood and danger:
Can those be things to sue for?
If you knew
How sweet it were to me to be employed
In any act of yours, you would say then
I fail'd and us'd not reverence enough
When I receive the charge on't.
[Aside] This is much,
Methinks; belike his wants are greedy, and
To such gold tastes like angels' food.--Rise.
I'll have the work first.
[Aside] Possible his need
Is strong upon him. [Offering him money] There's to encourage thee;
As thou art forward and thy service dangerous,
Thy reward shall be precious.
That I have thought on;
I have assur'd myself of that beforehand,
And know it will be precious: the thought ravishes!
Then take him to thy fury.
I thirst for him.
Alonzo de Piracquo.
[Rises.] His end's upon him; he shall be seen no more.
How lovely now dost thou appear to me!
Never was man dearlier rewarded.
I do think of that.
Be wondrous careful in the execution.
Why, are not both our lives upon the cast?
Then I throw all my fears upon thy service.
They ne'er shall rise to hurt you.
When the deed's done,
I'll furnish thee with all things for thy flight;
Thou may'st live bravely in another country.
Ay, ay, we'll talk of that hereafter.
[Aside] I shall rid myself of two inveterate loathings
At one time: Piracquo and his dog-face.
Oh, my blood! Methinks I feel her in mine arms already,
Her wanton fingers combing out this beard,
And being pleased, praising this bad face!
Hunger and pleasure, they'll commend sometimes
Slovenly dishes and feed heartily on 'em,
Nay, which is stranger, refuse daintier for 'em.
Some women are odd feeders. I'm too loud.
Here comes the man goes supperless to bed,
Yet shall not rise tomorrow to his dinner.
My kind, honorable lord.
I am glad I ha' met with thee.
Thou canst show me the full strength of the castle?
That I can, sir.
I much desire it.
And if the ways and straits of some of the passages
Be not too tedious for you, I will assure
You worth your time and sight, my lord.
Shall be no hinderance.
I'm your servant then.
'Tis now near dinner time; 'gainst your lordship's rising
I'll have the keys about me.
Thanks, kind Deflores.
[Aside] He's safely thrust upon me beyond hopes.
Exeunt. In the act-time Deflores hides a naked rapier.
III.[i. A narrow passage]
Enter Alonzo and Deflores.
Yes, here are all the keys; I was afraid, my lord,
I'd wanted for the postern: this is it.
I've all, I've all, my lord: this for the sconce.
'Tis a most spacious and impregnable fort.
You'll tell me more, my lord. This descent
Is somewhat narrow: we shall never pass
Well with our weapons; they'll but trouble us.
Thou sayst true.
Pray let me help your lordship.
'Tis done. Thanks, kind Deflores.
Here are hooks, my lord,
To hang such things on purpose.
Lead, I'll follow thee.
Exit at one door and enter at the other.
[III.ii. A vault]
All this is nothing; you shall see anon
A place you little dream on.
I am glad
I have this leisure: all your master's house
Imagine I ha' taken a gondola.
All but myself, sir, [aside] which makes up my safety.--
My lord, I'll place you at a casement here,
Will show you the full strength of all the castle.
Look, spend your eye a while upon that object.
Here's rich variety, Deflores.
Ay, there's ordnance, sir;
No bastard metal will ring you a peal like bells
At great men's funerals. Keep your eye straight, my lord;
Take special notice of that sconce before you,
There you may dwell awhile.
I am upon't.
And so am I. [Stabs him.]
Deflores, oh, Deflores,
Whose malice hast thou put on?
Do you question
A work of secrecy? I must silence you. [Stabs him.]
Oh, oh, oh!
I must silence you. [Stabs him; Alonzo dies.]
So, here's an undertaking well accomplish'd.
This vault serves to good use now. Ha! What's that
Threw sparkles in my eye? Oh, 'tis a diamond
He wears upon his finger: it was well found,
This will approve the work.
[He tries to take the ring off.]
What, so fast on?
Not part in death? I'll take a speedy course then:
Finger and all shall off. [Cuts off his finger.] So, now I'll clear
The passages from all suspect or fear.
Exit with body.
[III.iii. A room in Alibius's house]
Enter Isabella and Lollio.
Why, sirrah? Whence have you commission
To fetter the doors against me? If you
Keep me in a cage, pray whistle to me,
Let me be doing something.
You shall be doing, if it please you; I'll whistle to you if you'll pipe after.
Is it your master's pleasure, or your own,
To keep me in this pinfold?
'Tis for my masters pleasure, lest being taken in another man's corn, you might be pounded in another place.
'Tis very well, and he'll prove very wise.
He says you have company enough in the house, if you please to be sociable, of all sorts of people.
Of all sorts? Why, here's none but fools and madmen.
Very well: and where will you find any other, if you should go abroad? There's my master, and I to boot too.
Of either sort one, a madman and a fool.
I would ev'n participate of both then if I were as you. I know y'are half mad already; be half foolish too.
Y'are a brave, saucy rascal! Come on, sir,
Afford me then the pleasure of your bedlam;
You were commending once today to me
Your last come lunatic: what a proper
Body there was without brains to guide it,
And what a pitiful delight appear'd
In that defect, as if your wisdom had found
A mirth in madness. Pray, sir, let me partake
If there be such a pleasure.
If I do not show you the handsomest, discreetest madman, one that I may call the understanding madman, then say I am a fool.
Well, a match, I will say so.
When you have a taste of the madman, you shall, if you please, see Fools' College o' th' side. I seldom lock there; 'tis but shooting a bolt or two, and you are amongst 'em.
[Within] Come on, sir, let me see how handsomely you'll behave yourself now.
Enter Lollio, Franciscus.
How sweetly she looks! Oh, but there's a wrinkle in her brow as deep as philosophy. Anacreon, drink to my mistress' health; I'll pledge it. Stay, stay, there's a spider in the cup! No, 'tis but a grape-stone: swallow it, fear nothing, poet; so, so, lift higher.
Alack, alack, 'tis too full of pity
To be laugh'd at! How fell he mad? Canst thou tell?
For love, mistress. He was a pretty poet too, and that set him forwards first; the Muses then forsook him, he ran mad for a chambermaid, yet she was but a dwarf neither.
Hail bright Titania!
Why stand'st thou idle on these flowery banks?
Oberon is dancing with his dryads.
I'll gather daisies, primrose, violets,
And bind them in a verse of poesy.
[Showing him a whip] Not too near, you see your danger.
Oh, hold thy hand, great Diomed!
Thou feed'st thy horses well, they shall obey thee.
Get up; Bucephalus kneels. [Gets down on all fours.]
You see how I awe my flock? A shepherd has not his dog at more obedience.
His conscience is unquiet; sure that was
The cause of this. A proper gentleman.
Come hither, Aesculapius, hide the poison.
[Hiding his whip] Well, 'tis hid.
[Rising] Didst thou never hear of one Tiresias, a famous poet?
Yes, that kept tame wild-geese.
That's he; I am the man.
Yes, but make no words on't; I was a man seven years ago,
A stripling, I think you might.
Now I'm a woman, all feminine.
I would I might see that.
Juno struck me blind.
I'll ne'er believe that; for a woman, they say, has an eye more than a man.
I say she struck me blind.
And Luna made you mad; you have two trades to beg with.
Luna is now big-bellied, and there's room
For both of us to ride with Hecate;
I'll drag thee up into her silver sphere,
And there we'll kick the dog, and beat the bush
That barks against the witches of the night.
The swift lycanthropi that walks the round,
We'll tear their wolvish skins, and save the sheep. [Beats Lollio.]
Is't come to this? Nay, then, my poison comes forth again! Mad slave, indeed, abuse your keeper? [Shows him the whip.]
I prithee hence with him, now he grows dangerous.
[Singing] Sweet love pity me, give me leave to lie with thee.
No, I'll see you wiser first. To your own kennel.
No noise, she sleeps, draw all the curtains round;
Let no soft sound molest the pretty soul
But love, and love creeps in at a mouse-hole.
I would you would get into your hole.
Now, mistress, I will bring you another sort; you shall be fool'd another while. Tony, come hither, Tony, look who's yonder, Tony.
Cousin, is it not my aunt?
Yes, 'tis one of 'em, Tony.
He, he, how do you, uncle?
Fear him not, mistress, 'tis a gentle nidget; you may play with him, as safely with him as with his bauble.
How long hast thou been a fool?
Ever since I came hither, cousin.
Cousin? I'm none of thy cousins, fool.
Oh, mistress, fools have always so much wit as to claim their kindred.
Bounce, bounce, he falls, he falls!
Hark you, your scholars in the upper room are out of order.
Must I come amongst you there? Keep you the fool, mistress; I'll go up and play left-handed Orlando amongst the madmen.
'Tis opportuneful now, sweet lady! Nay,
Cast no amazing eye upon this change.
This shape of folly shrouds your dearest love,
The truest servant to your powerful beauties,
Whose magic had this force thus to transform me.
You are a fine fool indeed.
Oh, 'tis not strange.
Love has an intellect that runs through all
The scrutinous sciences and, like
A cunning poet, catches a quantity
Of every knowledge, yet brings all home
Into one mystery, into one secret
That he proceeds in.
Y'are a parlous fool.
No danger in me: I bring naught but love
And his soft, wounding shafts to strike you with.
Try but one arrow; if it hurt you,
I'll stand you twenty back in recompense.
A forward fool, too.
This was love's teaching;
A thousand ways hefashion'd out my way,
And this I found the safest and nearest
To tread the galaxia to my star.
Profound withal. Certain you dream'd of this;
Love never taught it waking.
Take no acquaintance
Of these outward follies; there is within
A gentleman that loves you.
When I see him,
I'll speak with him; so in the meantime
Keep your habit, it becomes you well enough.
As you are a gentleman, I'll not discover you;
That's all the favour that you must expect.
When you are weary, you may leave the school;
For all this while you have but play'd the fool.
And must again. He, he, I thank you, cousin;
I'll be your valentine tomorrow morning.
How do you like the fool, mistress?
Passing well, sir.
Is he not witty, pretty well for a fool?
If he hold on as he begins, he is like to come to something!
Ay, thank a good tutor. You may put him to't; he begins to answer pretty hard questions. Tony, how many is five times six?
Five times six is six times five.
What arithmetician could have answer'd better? How many is one hundred and seven?
One hundred and seven is seven hundred and one, cousin.
This is no wit to speak on. Will you be rid of the fool now?
By no means; let him stay a little.
Catch there, catch the last couple in hell!
Again? Must I come amongst you? Would my master were come home! I am not able to govern both these wards together.
Why should a minute of love's hour be lost?
Fie, out again! I had rather you kept
Your other posture: you become not your tongue
When you speak from your clothes.
How can he freeze
Lives near so sweet a warmth? Shall I alone
Walk through the orchard of the Hesperides.
And cowardly not dare to pull an apple?
This with the red cheeks I must venture for.
Enter Lollio above.
Take heed, there's giants keep 'em.
[Antonio kisses her.]
How now, fool, are you good at that? Have you read Lipsius? He's past Ars Amandi; I believe I must put harder questions to him, I perceive that.
You are bold without fear, too.
What should I fear,
Having all joys about me? Do you smile,
And love shall play the wanton on your lip,
Meet and retire, retire and meet again:
Look you but cheerfully, and in your eyes
I shall behold mine own deformity,
And dress myself up fairer; I know this shape
Becomes me not, but in those bright mirrors
I shall array me handsomely.
[Aside] Cuckoo, cuckoo!
Exit. [Enter] Madmen above, some as birds, others as beasts. [Exit Madmen.]
What are these?
Of fear enough to part us,
Yet are they but our schools of lunatics,
That act their fantasies in any shapes
Suiting their present thoughts: if sad, they cry;
If mirth be their conceit, they laugh again.
Sometimes they imitate the beasts and birds,
Singing or howling, braying, barking; all
As their wild fancies prompt 'em.
These are no fears.
But here's a large one, my man.
Ha, he, that's fine sport indeed, cousin.
I would my master were come home; 'tis too much for one shepherd to govern two of these flocks. Nor can I believe that one churchman can instruct two benefices at once: there will be some incurable mad of the one side and very fools on the other. Come, Tony.
Prithee, cousin, let me stay here still.
No, you must to your book now you have play'd sufficiently.
Your fool is grown wondrous witty.
Well, I'll say nothing; but I do not think but he will put you down one of these days.
Exeunt Lollio and Antonio.
Here the restrained current might make breach,
Spite of the watchful bankers. Would a woman stray,
She need not gad abroad to seek her sin;
It would be brought home one ways or other:
The needle's point will to the fixed north,
Such drawing arctics women's beauties are.
How dost thou, sweet rogue?
Come, there are degrees; one fool may be better than another.
What's the matter?
Nay, if thou giv'st thy mind to fools, flesh, have at thee!
[Tries to kiss her.]
You bold slave, you!
I could follow now as t'other fool did:
[Imitating Antonio] "What should I fear,
Having all joys about me? Do you smile,
And love shall play the wanton on your lip,
Meet and retire, retire and meet again:
Look you but cheerfully, and in your eyes
I shall behold mine own deformity,
And dress myself up fairer; I know this shape
Becomes me not--"
And so as it follows. But is not this the more foolish way? Come, sweet rogue, kiss me, my little Lacedemonian. Let me feel how thy pulses beat; thou hast a thing about thee would do a man pleasure, I'll lay my hand on't.
Sirrah, no more! I see you have discovered
This love's knight-errant, who hath made adventure
For purchase of my love; be silent, mute,
Mute as a statue, or his injunction
For me enjoying shall be to cut thy throat.
I'll do it, though for no other purpose,
And be sure he'll not refuse it.
My share, that's all; I'll have my fool's part with you.
No more: your master!
Sweet, how dost thou?
Your bounden servant, sir.
Fie, fie, sweetheart,
No more of that.
You were best lock me up.
In my arms and bosom, my sweet Isabella,
I'll lock thee up most nearly. Lollio,
We have employment, we have task in hand;
At noble Vermandero's, our castle-captain,
There is a nuptial to be solemnis'd,
Beatrice Joanna his fair daughter, bride,
For which the gentleman hath bespoke our pains:
A mixture of our madmen and our fools
To finish, as it were, and make the fag
Of all the revels, the third night from the first.
Only an unexpected passage over,
To make a frightful pleasure, that is all,
But not the all I aim at. Could we so act it,
To teach it in a wild, distracted measure,
Though out of form and figure, breaking time's head,
It were no matter: 'twould be heal'd again
In one age or other, if not in this.
This, this, Lollio: there's a good reward begun,
And will beget a bounty, be it known.
This is easy, sir, I'll warrant you. You have about you fools and madmen that can dance very well, and 'tis no wonder your best dancers are not the wisest men: the reason is, with often jumping they jolt their brains down into their feet, that their wits lie more in their heels than in their heads.
Honest Lollio, thou giv'st me a good reason
And a comfort in it.
Y'ave a fine trade on't;
Madmen and fools are a staple commodity.
Oh, wife, we must eat, wear clothes, and live:
Just at the lawyer's haven we arrive,
By madmen and by fools we both do thrive.
[III.iv. A chamber in the castle]
Enter Vermandero, Alsemero, Jasperino, and Beatrice.
Valencia speaks so nobly of you, sir,
I wish I had a daughter now for you.
The fellow of this creature were a partner
For a king's love.
I had her fellow once, sir,
But heaven has married her to joys eternal;
'Twere sin to wish her in this vale again.
Come, sir, your friend and you shall see the pleasures
Which my health chiefly joys in.
I hear the beauty of this seatlargely.
It falls much short of that.
Exeunt. Manet Beatrice.
So, here's one step
Into my father's favour; time will fix him.
I have got him now the liberty of the house;
So wisdom by degrees works out her freedom.
And if that eye be darkened that offends me--
I wait but that eclipse--this gentleman
Shall soon shine glorious in my father's liking,
Through the refulgent virtue of my love.
[Aside] My thoughts are at a banquet for the deed:
I feel no weight in't; 'tis but light and cheap
For the sweet recompense that I set down for't.
Thy looks promise cheerfully.
All things are answerable: time, circumstance,
Your wishes and my service.
Is it done then?
Piracquo is no more.
My joys start at mine eyes; our sweet'st delights
Are evermore born weeping.
I've a token for you.
But it was sent somewhat unwillingly:
I could not get the ring without the finger.
Bless me! What hast thou done?
Why, is that more
Than killing the whole man? I cut his heart strings.
A greedy hand thrust in a dish at court
In a mistake hath had as much as this.
'Tis the first token my father made me send him.
And I made him send it back again
For his last token. I was loathe to leave it,
And I'm sure dead men have no use of jewels;
He was as loath to part with't, for it stuck
As if the flesh and it were both one substance.
At the stag's fall the keeper has his fees;
'Tis soon apply'd: all dead men's fees are yours, sir.
I pray bury the finger, but the stone
You may make use on shortly; the true value,
Take't of my truth, is near three hundred ducats.
'Twill hardly buy a capcase for one's conscience, though,
To keep it from the worm, as fine as 'tis.
Well, being my fees I'll take it;
Great men have taught me that, or else my merit
Would scorn the way on't.
It might justly, sir.
Why, thou mistak'st, Deflores: 'tis not given
In state of recompense.
No, I hope so, lady;
You should soon witness my contempt to't then.
Prithee, thou look'st as if thou wert offended.
That were strange, lady; 'tis not possible
My service should draw such a cause from you.
Offended? Could you think so? That were much
For one of my performance, and so warm
Yet in my service.
'Twere misery in me to give you cause, sir.
I know so much; it were so, misery
In her most sharp condition.
'Tis resolv'd then.
Look you, sir, here's three thousand golden florins;
I have not meanly thought upon thy merit.
What, salary? Now you move me!
Do you place me in the rank of verminous fellows
To destroy things for wages? Offer gold?
The lifeblood of man! Is anything
Valued too precious for my recompense?
I understand thee not.
I could ha' hir'd
A journeyman in murder at this rate,
And mine own conscience might have [slept at ease]
And have had the work brought home!
[Aside] I'm in a labyrinth;
What will content him? I would fain be rid of him.--
I'll double the sum, sir.
You take a course
To double my vexation, that's the good you do.
[Aside] Bless me! I am now in worse plight than I was;
I know not what will please him.--For my fear's sake,
I prithee make away with all speed possible.
And if thou be'st so modest not to name
The sum that will content thee, paper blushes not:
Send thy demand in writing, it shall follow thee;
But prithee take thy flight.
You must fly too then.
I'll not stir a foot else.
What's your meaning?
Why, are not you as guilty, in, I'm sure,
As deep as I? And we should stick together.
Come, your fears counsel you but ill: my absence
Would draw suspect upon you instantly;
There were no rescue for you.
[Aside] He speaks home.
Nor is it fit we two engag'd so jointly
Should part and live asunder.
[He tries to kiss her.]
How now, sir?
This shows not well.
What makes your lip so strange?
This must not be 'twixt us.
[Aside] The man talks wildly.
Come, kiss me with a zeal now!
[Aside] Heaven, I doubt him!
I will not stand so long to beg 'em shortly.
Take heed, Deflores, of forgetfulness;
'Twill soon betray us.
Take you heed first;
Faith, y'are grown much forgetful: y'are too blame in't.
[Aside] He's bold, and I am blam'd for't.
I have eas'd
You of your trouble; think on't: I'm in pain
And must be eas'd of you; 'tis a charity.
Justice invites your blood to understand me.
I dare not.
Oh, I never shall!
Speak it yet further off that I may lose
What has been spoken, and no sound remain on't!
I would not hear so much offence again
For such another deed.
Soft, lady, soft;
The last is not yet paid for. Oh, this act
Has put me into spirit; I was as greedy on't
As the parch'd earth of moisture when the clouds weep.
Did you not mark I wrought myself into't?
Nay, sued and kneel'd for't? Why was all that pains took?
You see I have thrown contempt upon your gold;
Not that I want it [not], for I do piteously:
In order I will come unto't and make use on't.
But 'twas not held so precious to begin with,
For I place wealth after the heels of pleasure,
And were I not resolv'd in my belief
That thy virginity were perfect in thee,
I should but take my recompense with grudging,
As if I had but half my hopes I agreed for.
Why, 'tis impossible thou canst be so wicked,
Or shelter such a cunning cruelty,
To make his death the murderer of my honour!
Thy language is so bold and vicious,
I cannot see which way I can forgive it
With any modesty.
Push, you forget yourself:
A woman dipp'd in blood and talk of modesty!
Oh, misery of sin! Would I had been bound
Perpetually unto my living hate
In that Piracquo than to hear these words!
Think but upon the distance that creation
Set 'twixt thy blood and mine, and keep thee there.
Look but into your conscience, read me there:
'Tis a true book; you'll find me there your equal.
Push, fly not to your birth, but settle you
In what the act has made you; y'are no more now.
You must forget your parentage to me;
Y'are the deeds creature: by that name
You lost your first condition, and I challenge you,
As peace and innocency has turn'd you out
And made you one with me.
With thee, foul villain?
Yes, my fair murderess. Do you urge me?
Though thou writ'st maid, thou whore in thy affection,
'Twas chang'd from thy first love, and that's a kind
Of whoredom in thy heart; and he's chang'd now
To bring thy second on, thy Alsemero,
Whom, by all sweets that ever darkness tasted,
If I enjoy thee not, thou ne'er enjoy'st.
I'll blast the hopes and joys of marriage;
I'll confess all, my life I rate at nothing.
I shall rest from all lovers' plagues then;
I live in pain now: that shooting eye
Will burn my heart to cinders.
Oh, sir, hear me!
She that in life and love refuses me,
In death and shame my partner she shall be.
Stay, hear me once for all: I make thee master
Of all the wealth I have in gold and jewels;
Let me go poor unto my bed with honour
And I am rich in all things.
Let this silence thee:
The wealth of all Valencia shall not buy
My pleasure from me.
Can you weep fate from its determin'd purpose?
So soon may [you] weep me.
Murder, I see, is followed by more sins.
Was my creation in the womb so curs'd
It must engender with a viper first?
Come, rise and shroud your blushes in my bosom;
Silence is one of pleasure's best receipts:
Thy peace is wrought forever in this yielding.
'Las, how the turtle pants! Thou'lt love anon
What thou so fear'st and faint'st to venture on.
Enter Gentlemen, Vermandero meeting them with action of wonderment at the flight of [Alonzo de] Piracquo. Enter Alsemero with Jasperino and Gallants; Vermandero points to him, the Gentlemen seeming to applaud the choice. [Exeunt Vermandero,] Alsemero, Jasperino, and Gentlemen [and Gallants]; [enter] Beatrice the bride, following in great state, accompanied with Diaphanta, Isabella, and other Gentlewomen. [Enter] Deflores after all, smiling at the accident; Alonzo's Ghost appears to Deflores in the midst of his smile, startles him, showing him the hand whose finger he had cut off. They pass over in great solemnity.
IV.[i. Alsemero's chamber]
This fellow has undone me endlessly;
Never was bride so fearfully distress'd.
The more I think upon th' ensuing night,
And whom I am to cope with in embraces--
One [who's] ennobled both in blood and mind,
So clear in understanding, that's my plague now,
Before whose judgment will my fault appear
Like malefactors' crimes before tribunals,
There is no hiding on't--the more I dive
Into my own distress. How a wise man
Stands for a great calamity! There's no venturing
Into his bed, what course soe'er I light upon,
Without my shame, which may grow up to danger.
He cannot but in justice strangle me
As I lie by him, as a cheater use me;
'Tis a precious craft to play with a false die
Before a cunning gamester. Here's his closet,
The key left in't, and he abroad i' th' park.
Sure 'twas forgot; I'll be so bold as look in't.
Bless me! A right physician's closet 'tis,
Set round with vials, every one her mark too.
Sure he does practice physic for his own use,
Which may be safely call'd your great man's wisdom.
What manuscript lies here? The Book of Experiment,
Call'd Secrets in Nature: so 'tis, 'tis so.
[Reading] "How to know whether a woman be with child or no."
I hope I am not yet; if he should try, though--
Let me see, folio forty-five. Here 'tis,
The leaf tuck'd down upon't, the place suspicious.
[Reading] "If you would know whether a woman be with child or not, give her two spoonfuls of the white water in glass C."
Where's that glass C? Oh, yonder I see't now.
[Reading] "And if she be with child, she sleeps full twelve hours after; if not, not."
None of that water comes into my belly.
I'll know you from a hundred; I could break you now
Or turn you into milk, and so beguile
The master of the mystery, but I'll look to you.
Ha! That which is next, is ten times worse.
[Reading] "How to know whether a woman be a maid or not."
If that should be apply'd, what would become of me?
Belike he has a strong faith of my purity,
That never yet made proof; but this he calls
[Reading] "A merry slight but true experiment,
The author, Antonius Mizaldus.
Give the party you suspect the quantity of a spoonful of the water in the glass M, which upon her that is a maid makes three several effects: 'twill make her incontinently gape, then fall into a sudden sneezing, last into a violent laughing; else dull, heavy, and lumpish."
Where had I been?
I fear it, yet 'tis seven hours to bedtime.
Cuds, madam, are you here?
[Aside] Seeing that wench now,
A trick comes in my mind; 'tis a nice piece
Gold cannot purchase.--I come hither, wench,
To look my lord.
[Aside] Would I had such a cause
To look him too.--Why, he's i' th' park, madam.
There let him be.
Ay, madam, let him compass
Whole parks and forests, as great rangers do;
At roosting time a little lodge can hold 'em.
Earth-conquering Alexander, that thought the world
Too narrow for him, in the end had but his pit-hole.
I fear thou art not modest, Diaphanta.
Your thoughts are so unwilling to be known, madam;
'Tis ever the bride's fashion towards bedtime
To set light by her joys, as if she ow'd 'em not.
Her joys? Her fears, thou wouldst say.
Fear of what?
Art thou a maid, and talk'st so to a maid?
You leave a blushing business behind,
Beshrew your heart for't.
Do you mean good sooth, madam?
Well, if I'd thought upon the fear at first,
Man should have been unknown.
I will give a thousand ducats to that woman
Would try what my fear were, and tell me true
Tomorrow when she gets from 't: as she likes
I might perhaps be drawn to 't.
Are you in earnest?
Do you get the woman, then challenge me,
And see if I'll fly from 't; but I must tell you
This by the way, she must be a true maid,
Else there's no trial, my fears are not hers else.
Nay, she that I would put into your hands, madam,
Shall be a maid.
You know I should be sham'd else,
Because she lies for me.
'Tis a strange humour:
But are you serious still? Would you resign
Your first night's pleasure and give money too?
As willingly as live. [Aside] Alas, the gold
Is but a by-bet to wedge in the honour.
I do not know how the world goes abroad
For faith or honesty; there's both requir'd in this.
Madam, what say you to me, and stray no further?
I've a good mind, in troth, to earn your money.
Y'are too quick, I fear, to be a maid.
How? Not a maid? Nay, then, you urge me, madam,
Your honourable self is not a truer
With all your fears upon you--
[Aside] Bad enough then.
Then I with all my lightsome joys about me.
I'm glad to hear 't; then you dare put your honesty
Upon an easy trial.
[Going to the closet] I'll come to you straight.
[Aside] She will not search me, will she,
Like the forewoman of a female jury?
Glass M. Ay, this is it. Look, Diaphanta,
You take no worse than I do.
[She drinks and hands Diaphanta the glass.]
And in so doing
I will not question what 'tis, but take it.
[Aside] Now if the experiment be true, 'twill praise itself,
And give me noble ease. [Diaphanta gapes.] Begins already,
There's the first symptom. [Diaphanta sneezes.] And what haste it makes
To fall into the second, there by this time:
Most admirable secret! On the contrary,
It stirs not me a whit, which most concerns it.
Ha, ha, ha!
[Aside] Just in all things and in order,
As if 'twere circumscrib'd, one accident
Gives way unto another.
Ha, ha, ha!
How now, wench?
Ha, ha, ha, I am so, so light
At heart, ha, ha, ha. so pleasurable!
But one swig more, sweet madam.
We shall have time to sit by 't.
Now I'm sad again.
[Aside] It lays itself so gently too.--Come, wench,
Most honest Diaphanta I dare call thee now.
Pray tell me, madam, what trick call you this?
I'll tell thee all hereafter; we must study
The carriage of this business.
I shall carry 't well
Because I love the burthen.
You must not fail to steal forth gently
That I may use the place.
Oh, fear not, madam;
I shall be cool by that time. The bride's place,
And with a thousand ducats! I'm for a justice now:
I bring a portion with me; I scorn small fools!
[IV.ii. A chamber in the castle]
Enter Vermandero and Servant.
I tell thee, knave, mine honour is in question,
A thing till now free from suspicion,
Nor ever was there cause. Who of my gentlemen are absent?
Tell me and truly how many and who.
Antonio, sir, and Franciscus.
When did they leave the castle?
Some ten days since, sir, the one intending to Briamata, th'other for Valencia.
The time accuses 'um: a charge of murder
Is brought within my castle gate, Piracquo's murder;
I dare not answer faithfully their absence.
A strict command of apprehension
Shall pursue 'um suddenly, and either wipe
The stain off clear or openly discover it.
Provide me winged warrants for the purpose.
See, I am set on again.
I claim a brother of you.
Y'are too hot;
Seek him not here.
Yes, 'mongst your dearest bloods;
If my peace find no fairer satisfaction,
This is the place must yield account for him,
For here I left him, and the hasty tie
Of this snatch'd marriage gives strong testimony
Of his most certain ruin.
This is the place indeed; his breach of faith
Has too much marr'd both my abused love,
The honourable love I reserv'd for him,
And mock'd my daughter's joy. The prepar'd morning
Blush'd at his infidelity; he left
Contempt and scorn to throw upon those friends
Whose belief hurt 'em: oh, 'twas most ignoble
To take his flight so unexpectedly
And throw such public wrongs on those that lov'd him!
Then this is all your answer?
'Tis too fair
For one of his alliance, and I warn you
That this place no more see you.
Exit. Enter Deflores.
The best is,
There is more ground to meet a man's revenge on.
That's my name indeed.
Saw you the bride? Good sweet sir, which way took she?
I have blest mine eyes from seeing such a false one.
[Aside] I'd fain get off; this man's not for my company:
I smell his brother's blood when I come near him.
Come hither, kind and true one; I remember
My brother lov'd thee well.
Oh, purely, dear sir!
[Aside] Methinks I am now again a-killing on him,
He brings it so fresh to me.
Thou canst guess, sirrah,
One honest friend has an instinct of jealousy
At some foul guilty person.
I am so charitable, I think none
Worse than myself. You did not see the bride then?
I prithee name her not. Is she not wicked?
No, no, a pretty, easy, round-pack'd sinner,
As your most ladies are, else you might think
I flatter'd her; but, sir, at no hand wicked
Till th'are so old their sins and vices meet,
And they salute witches. I am call'd, I think, sir.
[Aside] His company ev'n o'erlays my conscience.
That Deflores has a wondrous honest heart.
He'll bring it out in time, I'm assur'd on't.
[Aside] Oh, here's the glorious master of the day's joy.
['Twill] not be long till he and I do reckon.--Sir.
You are most welcome.
You may call that word back;
I do not think I am, nor wish to be.
'Tis strange you found the way to this house then.
Would I'd ne'er known the cause. I'm none of those, sir,
That come to give you joy and swill your wine;
'Tis a more precious liquor that must lay
The fiery thirst I bring.
Your words and you
Appear to me great strangers.
Time and our swords
May make us more acquainted; this the business:
I should have a brother in your place;
How treachery and malice have dispos'd of him,
I'm bound to enquire of him which holds his right,
Which never could come fairly.
You must look
To answer for that word, sir.
Fear you not;
I'll have it ready drawn at our next meeting.
Keep your day solemn. Farewell, I disturb it not;
I'll bear the smart with patience for a time.
'Tis somewhat ominous, this, a quarrel entered
Upon this day; my innocence relieves me,
I should be wondrous sad else.
I have news to tell thee, strange news.
I ha' some too,
I think as strange as yours; would I might keep
Mine, so my faith and friendship might be kept in't.
Faith, sir, dispense a little with my zeal,
And let it cool in this.
This puts me on,
And blames thee for thy slowness.
All may prove nothing,
Only a friendly fear that leapt from me, sir.
No question it may prove nothing; let's partake it, though.
'Twas Diaphanta's chance--for to that wench
I pretend honest love, and she deserves it--
To leave me in a back part of the house,
A place we chose for private conference;
She was no sooner gone, but instantly
I heard your bride's voice in the next room to me
And, lending more attention, found Deflores
Louder then she.
Deflores? Thou art out now.
You'll tell me more anon.
Still I'll prevent thee:
The very sight of him is poison to her.
That made me stagger too, but Diaphanta
At her return confirm'd it.
Then fell we both to listen, and words pass'd
Like those that challenge interest in a woman.
Peace, quench thy zeal; 'tis dangerous to thy bosom
Then truth is full of peril.
Such truths are.
Oh, were she the sole glory of the earth,
Had eyes that could shoot fire into kings' breasts,
And touch'd, she sleeps not here; yet I have time,
Though night be near, to be resolv'd hereof,
And prithee do not weigh me by my passions.
I never weigh'd friend so.
[Giving him a key] That key will lead thee to a pretty secret
By a Chaldean taught me, and I've [made]
My study upon some; bring from my closet
A glass inscrib'd there with the letter M,
And question not my purpose.
It shall be done, sir.
How can this hang together? Not an hour since
Her woman came pleading her lady's fears,
Deliver'd her for the most timorous virgin
That ever shrunk at man's name, and so modest
She charg'd her weep out her request to me
That she might come obscurely to my bosom.
[Aside] All things go well; my woman's preparing yonder
For her sweet voyage, which grieves me to lose:
Necessity compels it; I lose all else.
[Aside] Push, modesty's shrine is set in yonder forehead.
I cannot be too sure though.--My Joanna.
Sir, I was bold to weep a message to you;
Pardon my modest fears.
[Aside] The dove's not meeker.
She's abus'd, questionless.
Oh, are you come, sir?
[Aside] The glass, upon my life! I see the letter.
Sir, this is M.
[Aside] I am suspected.
How fitly our bride comes to partake with us!
What is't, my lord?
Sir, pardon me,
I seldom taste of any composition.
But this upon my warrant you shall venture on.
I fear 'twill make me ill.