Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher
Persons Represented in the Play.
Lysippus, brother to the King.
Amintor, a Noble Gentleman.
Evadne, Wife to Amintor.
Malantius} Diphilius} Brothers to Evadne.
Aspatia, troth-plight wife to Amnitor.
Calianax, an old humorous Lord, and Father to Aspatia.
Cleon} Strato} Gentlemen.
Diagoras, a Servant.
Antiphila} Olympias} waiting Gentlewomen to Aspatia.
Dula, a Lady.
Night} Cynthia} Neptune} Eolus} Maskers.
* * * * *
Actus primus. Scena prima.
Enter Cleon, Strato, Lysippus, Diphilus.
Cleon. The rest are making ready Sir.
Strat. So let them, there's time enough.
Diph. You are the brother to the King, my Lord, we'll take your word.
Lys. Strato, thou hast some skill in Poetry, What thinkst thou of a Mask? will it be well?
Strat. As well as Mask can be.
Lys. As Mask can be?
Strat. Yes, they must commend their King, and speak in praise of the Assembly, bless the Bride and Bridegroom, in person of some God; th'are tyed to rules of flattery.
Cle. See, good my Lord, who is return'd!
Lys. Noble Melantius!
The Land by me welcomes thy vertues home to Rhodes, thou that with blood abroad buyest us our peace; the breath of King is like the breath of Gods; My brother wisht thee here, and thou art here; he will be too kind, and weary thee with often welcomes; but the time doth give thee a welcome above this or all the worlds.
Mel. My Lord, my thanks; but these scratcht limbs of mine have spoke my love and truth unto my friends, more than my tongue ere could: my mind's the same it ever was to you; where I find worth, I love the keeper, till he let it go, And then I follow it.
Diph. Hail worthy brother! He that rejoyces not at your return In safety, is mine enemy for ever.
Mel. I thank thee Diphilus: but thou art faulty; I sent for thee to exercise thine armes With me at Patria: thou cam'st not Diphilus: 'Twas ill.
Diph. My noble brother, my excuse Is my King's strict command, which you my Lord Can witness with me.
Lys. 'Tis true Melantius, He might not come till the solemnity Of this great match were past.
Diph. Have you heard of it?
Mel. Yes, I have given cause to those that Envy my deeds abroad, to call me gamesome; I have no other business here at Rhodes.
Lys. We have a Mask to night, And you must tread a Soldiers measure.
Mel. These soft and silken wars are not for me; The Musick must be shrill, and all confus'd, That stirs my blood, and then I dance with armes: But is Amintor Wed?
Diph. This day. Mel. All joyes upon him, for he is my friend: Wonder not that I call a man so young my friend, His worth is great; valiant he is, and temperate, And one that never thinks his life his own, If his friend need it: when he was a boy, As oft as I return'd (as without boast) I brought home conquest, he would gaze upon me, And view me round, to find in what one limb The vertue lay to do those things he heard: Then would he wish to see my Sword, and feel The quickness of the edge, and in his hand Weigh it; he oft would make me smile at this; His youth did promise much, and his ripe years Will see it all perform'd.
[Enter Aspatia, passing by.
Melan. Hail Maid and Wife! Thou fair Aspatia, may the holy knot That thou hast tyed to day, last till the hand Of age undo't; may'st thou bring a race Unto Amintor that may fill the world Successively with Souldiers.
Asp. My hard fortunes Deserve not scorn; for I was never proud When they were good.
Mel. How's this?
Lys. You are mistaken, for she is not married.
Mel. You said Amintor was.
Diph. 'Tis true; but
Mel. Pardon me, I did receive Letters at Patria, from my Amintor, That he should marry her.
Diph. And so it stood, In all opinion long; but your arrival Made me imagine you had heard the change.
Mel. Who hath he taken then?
Lys. A Lady Sir, That bears the light above her, and strikes dead With flashes of her eye; the fair Evadne your vertuous Sister.
Mel. Peace of heart betwixt them: but this is strange.
Lys. The King my brother did it To honour you; and these solemnities Are at his charge.
Mel. 'Tis Royal, like himself; But I am sad, my speech bears so unfortunate a sound To beautiful Aspatia; there is rage Hid in her fathers breast; Calianax Bent long against me, and he should not think, If I could call it back, that I would take So base revenges, as to scorn the state Of his neglected daughter: holds he still his greatness with the King?
Lys. Yes; but this Lady Walks discontented, with her watry eyes Bent on the earth: the unfrequented woods Are her delight; and when she sees a bank Stuck full of flowers, she with a sigh will tell Her servants what a pretty place it were To bury lovers in, and make her maids Pluck'em, and strow her over like a Corse. She carries with her an infectious grief That strikes all her beholders, she will sing The mournful'st things that ever ear hath heard, And sigh, and sing again, and when the rest Of our young Ladies in their wanton blood, Tell mirthful tales in course that fill the room With laughter, she will with so sad a look Bring forth a story of the silent death Of some forsaken Virgin, which her grief Will put in such a phrase, that ere she end, She'l send them weeping one by one away.
Mel. She has a brother under my command Like her, a face as womanish as hers, But with a spirit that hath much out-grown The number of his years.
Cle. My Lord the Bridegroom!
Mel. I might run fiercely, not more hastily Upon my foe: I love thee well Amintor, My mouth is much too narrow for my heart; I joy to look upon those eyes of thine; Thou art my friend, but my disorder'd speech cuts off my love.
Amin. Thou art Melantius; All love is spoke in that, a sacrifice To thank the gods, Melantius is return'd In safety; victory sits on his sword As she was wont; may she build there and dwell, And may thy Armour be as it hath been, Only thy valour and thy innocence. What endless treasures would our enemies give, That I might hold thee still thus!
Mel. I am but poor in words, but credit me young man, Thy Mother could no more but weep, for joy to see thee After long absence; all the wounds I have, Fetch not so much away, nor all the cryes Of Widowed Mothers: but this is peace; And what was War?
Amin. Pardon thou holy God Of Marriage bed, and frown not, I am forc't In answer of such noble tears as those, To weep upon my Wedding day.
Mel. I fear thou art grown too sick; for I hear A Lady mourns for thee, men say to death, Forsaken of thee, on what terms I know not.
Amin. She had my promise, but the King forbad it, And made me make this worthy change, thy Sister Accompanied with graces above her, With whom I long to lose my lusty youth, And grow old in her arms.
Mel. Be prosperous.
Messen. My Lord, the Maskers rage for you.
Lys. We are gone. Cleon, Strata, Diphilus.
Amin. Wee'l all attend you, we shall trouble you With our solemnities.
Mel. Not so Amintor. But if you laugh at my rude carriage In peace, I'le do as much for you in War When you come thither: yet I have a Mistress To bring to your delights; rough though I am, I have a Mistress, and she has a heart, She saies, but trust me, it is stone, no better, There is no place that I can challenge in't. But you stand still, and here my way lies.
Enter Calianax with Diagoras.
Cal. Diagoras, look to the doors better for shame, you let in all the world, and anon the King will rail at me; why very well said, by Jove the King will have the show i'th' Court.
Diag. Why do you swear so my Lord? You know he'l have it here.
Cal. By this light if he be wise he will not.
Diag. And if he will not be wise, you are forsworn.
Cal. One may wear his heart out with swearing, and get thanks on no side, I'le be gone, look to't who will.
Diag. My Lord, I will never keep them out. Pray stay, your looks will terrifie them.
Cal. My looks terrifie them, you Coxcombly Ass you! I'le be judg'd by all the company whether thou hast not a worse face than I—
Diag. I mean, because they know you and your Office.
Cal. Office! I would I could put it off, I am sure I sweat quite through my Office, I might have made room at my Daughters Wedding, they had near kill'd her among them. And now I must do service for him that hath forsaken her; serve that will. [Exit Calianax.
Diag. He's so humourous since his daughter was forsaken: hark, hark, there, there, so, so, codes, codes. What now? [Within. knock within.
Mel. Open the door.
Diag. Who's there?
Diag. I hope your Lordship brings no troop with you, for if you do, I must return them. [Enter Melantius.
Mel. None but this Lady Sir. [And a Lady.
Diag. The Ladies are all plac'd above, save those that come in the Kings Troop, the best of Rhodes sit there, and there's room.
Mel. I thank you Sir: when I have seen you plac'd Madam, I must attend the King; but the Mask done, I'le wait on you again.
Diag. Stand back there, room for my Lord Melantius, pray bear back, this is no place for such youths and their Truls, let the doors shut agen; I, do your heads itch? I'le scratch them for you: so now thrust and hang: again, who is't now? I cannot blame my Lord Calianax for going away; would he were here, he would run raging among them, and break a dozen wiser heads than his own in the twinkling of an eye: what's the news now?
I pray can you help me to the speech of the Master Cook?
Diag. If I open the door I'le cook some of your Calvesheads. Peace Rogues.—again,—who is't?
Mel. Melantius within. Enter Calianax to Melantius.
Cal. Let him not in.
Diag. O my Lord I must; make room there for my Lord; is your Lady plac't?
Mel. Yes Sir, I thank you my Lord Calianax: well met, Your causless hate to me I hope is buried.
Cal. Yes, I do service for your Sister here, That brings my own poor Child to timeless death; She loves your friend Amintor, such another false-hearted Lord as you.
Mel. You do me wrong, A most unmanly one, and I am slow In taking vengeance, but be well advis'd.
Cal. It may be so: who placed the Lady there so near the presence of the King?
Mel. I did.
Cal. My Lord she must not sit there.
Cal. The place is kept for women of more worth. Mel. More worth than she? it mis-becomes your Age And place to be thus womanish; forbear; What you have spoke, I am content to think The Palsey shook your tongue to.
Cal. Why 'tis well if I stand here to place mens wenches.
Mel. I shall forget this place, thy Age, my safety, and through all, cut that poor sickly week thou hast to live, away from thee.
Cal. Nay, I know you can fight for your Whore.
Mel. Bate the King, and be he flesh and blood, He lyes that saies it, thy mother at fifteen Was black and sinful to her.
Diag. Good my Lord!
Mel. Some god pluck threescore years from that fond man, That I may kill him, and not stain mine honour; It is the curse of Souldiers, that in peace They shall be brain'd by such ignoble men, As (if the Land were troubled) would with tears And knees beg succour from 'em: would that blood (That sea of blood) that I have lost in fight, Were running in thy veins, that it might make thee Apt to say less, or able to maintain, Shouldst thou say more,—This Rhodes I see is nought But a place priviledg'd to do men wrong.
Cal. I, you may say your pleasure.
Amint. What vilde injury Has stirr'd my worthy friend, who is as slow To fight with words, as he is quick of hand?
Mel. That heap of age which I should reverence If it were temperate: but testy years Are most contemptible.
Amint. Good Sir forbear.
Cal. There is just such another as your self.
Amint. He will wrong you, or me, or any man, And talk as if he had no life to lose Since this our match: the King is coming in, I would not for more wealth than I enjoy, He should perceive you raging, he did hear You were at difference now, which hastned him.
Cal. Make room there.
Hoboyes play within.
Enter King, Evadne, Aspatia, Lords and Ladies.
King. Melantius, thou art welcome, and my love Is with thee still; but this is not a place To brabble in; Calianax, joyn hands.
Cal. He shall not have my hand.
King. This is no time To force you to't, I do love you both: Calianax, you look well to your Office; And you Melantius are welcome home; begin the Mask.
Mel. Sister, I joy to see you, and your choice, You lookt with my eyes when you took that man; Be happy in him.
Evad. O my dearest brother! Your presence is more joyful than this day can be unto me.
Night rises in mists.
Nigh. Our raign is come; for in the raging Sea The Sun is drown'd, and with him fell the day: Bright Cinthia hear my voice, I am the Night For whom thou bear'st about thy borrowed light; Appear, no longer thy pale visage shrowd, But strike thy silver horn through a cloud, And send a beam upon my swarthy face, By which I may discover all the place And persons, and how many longing eyes Are come to wait on our solemnities.
How dull and black am I! I could not find This beauty without thee, I am so blind; Methinks they shew like to those Eastern streaks That warn us hence before the morning breaks; Back my pale servant, for these eyes know how To shoot far more and quicker rayes than thou.
Cinth. Great Queen, they be a Troop for whom alone One of my clearest moons I have put on; A Troop that looks as if thy self and I Had pluckt our rains in, and our whips laid by To gaze upon these Mortals, that appear Brighter than we.
Night. Then let us keep 'em here, And never more our Chariots drive away, But hold our places, and out-shine the day.
Cinth. Great Queen of shadows, you are pleas'd to speak Of more than may be done; we may not break The gods decrees, but when our time is come, Must drive away and give the day our room. Yet whil'st our raign lasts, let us stretch our power To give our servants one contented hour, With such unwonted solemn grace and state, As may for ever after force them hate Our brothers glorious beams, and wish the night Crown'd with a thousand stars, and our cold light: For almost all the world their service bend To Phoebus and in vain my light I lend, Gaz'd on unto my setting from my rise Almost of none, but of unquiet eyes.
Nigh. Then shine at full, fair Queen, and by thy power Produce a birth to crown this happy hour; Of Nymphs and Shepherds let their songs discover, Easie and sweet, who is a happy Lover; Or if thou woot, then call thine own Endymion From the sweet flowry bed he lies upon, On Latmus top, thy pale beams drawn away, And of this long night let him make a day.
Cinth. Thou dream'st dark Queen, that fair boy was not mine, Nor went I down to kiss him; ease and wine Have bred these bold tales; Poets when they rage, Turn gods to men, and make an hour an age; But I will give a greater state and glory, And raise to time a noble memory Of what these Lovers are; rise, rise, I say, Thou power of deeps, thy surges laid away, Neptune great King of waters, and by me Be proud to be commanded.
Nep. Cinthia, see, Thy word hath fetcht me hither, let me know why I ascend.
Cinth. Doth this majestick show Give thee no knowledge yet?
Nep. Yes, now I see. Something intended (Cinthia) worthy thee; Go on, I'le be a helper.
Cinth. Hie thee then, And charge the wind flie from his Rockie Den. Let loose thy subjects, only Boreas Too foul for our intention as he was; Still keep him fast chain'd; we must have none here But vernal blasts, and gentle winds appear, Such as blow flowers, and through the glad Boughs sing Many soft welcomes to the lusty spring. These are our musick: next, thy watry race Bring on in couples; we are pleas'd to grace This noble night, each in their richest things Your own deeps or the broken vessel brings; Be prodigal, and I shall be as kind, And shine at full upon you.
Nep. Ho the wind Commanding Eolus!
[Enter Eolus out of a Rock.
Eol. Great Neptune!
Eol. What is thy will?
Nep. We do command thee free Favonius and thy milder winds to wait Upon our Cinthia, but tye Boreas straight; He's too rebellious.
Eol. I shall do it.
Nep. Do, great master of the flood, and all below, Thy full command has taken.
Eol. Ho! the main; Neptune.
Eol. Boreas has broke his chain, And struggling with the rest, has got away.
Nep. Let him alone, I'le take him up at sea; He will not long be thence; go once again And call out of the bottoms of the Main, Blew Proteus, and the rest; charge them put on Their greatest pearls, and the most sparkling stone The bearing Rock breeds, till this night is done By me a solemn honour to the Moon; Flie like a full sail.
Eol. I am gone.
Cin. Dark night, Strike a full silence, do a thorow right To this great Chorus, that our Musick may Touch high as heaven, and make the East break day At mid-[n]ight.
SONG. Cinthia to thy power, and them we obey. Joy to this great company, and no day Come to steal this night away, Till the rites of love are ended, And the lusty Bridegroom say, Welcome light of all befriended. Pace out you watry powers below, let your feet Like the Gallies when they row, even beat. Let your unknown measures set To the still winds, tell to all That Gods are come immortal great, To honour this great Nuptial.
The Measure. Second Song.
Hold back thy hours dark night, till we have done, The day will come too soon; Young Maids will curse thee if thou steal'st away, And leav'st their blushes open to the day. Stay, stay, and hide the blushes of the Bride. Stay gentle night, and with thy darkness cover The kisses of her Lover. Stay, and confound her tears, and her shrill cryings, Her weak denials, vows, and often dyings; Stay and hide all, but help not though she call.
Nep. Great Queen of us and Heaven, Hear what I bring to make this hour a full one, If not her measure.
Cinth. Speak Seas King.
Nep. Thy tunes my Amphitrite joyes to have, When they will dance upon the rising wave, And court me as the sails, my Trytons play Musick to lead a storm, I'le lead the way.
To bed, to bed; come Hymen, lead the Bride, And lay her by her Husbands side: Bring in the Virgins every one That grieve to lie alone: That they may kiss while they may say, a maid, To morrow 'twill be other, kist and said: Hesperus be long a shining, Whilst these Lovers are a twining.
Eol. Ho! Neptune!
Eol. The Seas go hie, Boreas hath rais'd a storm; go and applie Thy trident, else I prophesie, ere day Many a tall ship will be cast away: Descend with all the Gods, and all their power to strike a cal[m].
Cin. A thanks to every one, and to gratulate So great a service done at my desire, Ye shall have many floods fuller and higher Than you have wisht for; no Ebb shall dare To let the day see where your dwellings are: Now back unto your Government in haste, Lest your proud charge should swell above the waste, And win upon the Island.
Nep. We obey.
[Neptune descends, and the Sea-gods.
Cinth. Hold up thy head dead night; seest thou not day? The East begins to lighten, I must down And give my brother place.
Nigh. Oh! I could frown To see the day, the day that flings his light Upon my Kingdoms, and contemns old Night; Let him go on and flame, I hope to see Another wild-fire in his Axletree; And all false drencht; but I forgot, speak Queen. The day grows on I must no more be seen.
Cin. Heave up thy drowsie head agen, and see A greater light, a greater Majestie, Between our sect and us; whip up thy team; The day breaks here, and you some flashing stream Shot from the South; say, which way wilt thou go?
Nigh. I'le vanish into mists. [Exeunt.
Cin. I into day. [Finis Mask.
King. Take lights there Ladies, get the Bride to bed; We will not see you laid, good night Amintor, We'l ease you of that tedious ceremony; Were it [my] case, I should think time run slow. If thou beest noble, youth, get me a boy, That may defend my Kingdom from my foes.
Amin. All happiness to you.
King. Good night Melantius. [Exeunt.
Enter Evadne, Aspatia, Dula, and other Ladies.
Dul. Madam, shall we undress you for this fight? The Wars are nak'd that you must make to night.
Evad. You are very merry Dula.
Dul. I should be far merrier Madam, if it were with me as it is with you.
Eva. Why how now wench?
Dul. Come Ladies will you help?
Eva. I am soon undone.
Dul. And as soon done: Good store of Cloaths will trouble you at both.
Evad. Art thou drunk Dula?
Dul. Why here's none but we.
Evad. Thou think'st belike, there is no modesty When we are alone.
Dul. I by my troth you hit my thoughts aright.
Evad. You prick me Lady.
Dul. 'Tis against my will, Anon you must endure more, and lie still. You're best to practise.
Evad. Sure this wench is mad.
Dul. No faith, this is a trick that I have had Since I was fourteen.
Evad. 'Tis high time to leave it.
Dul. Nay, now I'le keep it till the trick leave me; A dozen wanton words put in your head, Will make you lively in your Husbands bed.
Evad. Nay faith, then take it.
Dul. Take it Madam, where? We all I hope will take it that are here.
Evad. Nay then I'le give you o're.
Dul. So will I make The ablest man in Rhodes, or his heart to ake.
Evad. Wilt take my place to night?
Dul. I'le hold your Cards against any two I know.
Evad. What wilt thou do?
Dul. Madam, we'l do't, and make'm leave play too.
Evad. Aspatia, take her part.
Dul. I will refuse it. She will pluck down a side, she does not use it.
Evad. Why, do.
Dul. You will find the play Quickly, because your head lies well that way.
Evad. I thank thee Dula, would thou could'st instill Some of thy mirth into Aspatia: Nothing but sad thoughts in her breast do dwell, Methinks a mean betwixt you would do well.
Dul. She is in love, hang me if I were so, But I could run my Country, I love too To do those things that people in love do.
Asp. It were a timeless smile should prove my cheek, It were a fitter hour for me to laugh, When at the Altar the Religious Priest Were pacifying the offended powers With sacrifice, than now, this should have been My night, and all your hands have been imployed In giving me a spotless offering To young Amintors bed, as we are now For you: pardon Evadne, would my worth Were great as yours, or that the King, or he, Or both thought so, perhaps he found me worthless, But till he did so, in these ears of mine, (These credulous ears) he pour'd the sweetest words That Art or Love could frame; if he were false, Pardon it heaven, and if I did want Vertue, you safely may forgive that too, For I have left none that I had from you.
Evad. Nay, leave this sad talk Madam.
Asp. Would I could, then should I leave the cause.
Evad. See if you have not spoil'd all Dulas mirth.
Asp. Thou think'st thy heart hard, but if thou beest caught, remember me; thou shalt perceive a fire shot suddenly into thee.
Dul. That's not so good, let'm shoot any thing but fire, I fear'm not.
Asp. Well wench, thou mayst be taken.
Evad. Ladies good night, I'le do the rest my self.
Dul. Nay, let your Lord do some.
Asp. Lay a Garland on my Hearse of the dismal Yew.
Evad. That's one of your sad songs Madam.
Asp. Believe me, 'tis a very pretty one.
Evad. How is it Madam?
Asp. Lay a Garland on my Hearse of the dismal yew; Maidens, Willow branches bear; say I died true: My Love was false, but I was firm from my hour of birth; Upon my buried body lay lightly gentle earth.
Evad. Fie on't Madam, the words are so strange, they are able to make one Dream of Hobgoblins; I could never have the power, Sing that Dula.
Dula. I could never have the power To love one above an hour, But my heart would prompt mine eye On some other man to flie; Venus, fix mine eyes fast, Or if not, give me all that I shall see at last.
Evad. So, leave me now.
Dula. Nay, we must see you laid.
Asp. Madam good night, may all the marriage joys That longing Maids imagine in their beds, Prove so unto you; may no discontent Grow 'twixt your Love and you; but if there do, Enquire of me, and I will guide your moan, Teach you an artificial way to grieve, To keep your sorrow waking; love your Lord No worse than I; but if you love so well, Alas, you may displease him, so did I. This is the last time you shall look on me: Ladies farewel; as soon as I am dead, Come all and watch one night about my Hearse; Bring each a mournful story and a tear To offer at it when I go to earth: With flattering Ivie clasp my Coffin round, Write on my brow my fortune, let my Bier Be born by Virgins that shall sing by course The truth of maids and perjuries of men.
Evad. Alas, I pity thee. [Exit Evadne.
Omnes. Madam, goodnight.
1 Lady. Come, we'l let in the Bridegroom.
Dul. Where's my Lord?
1 Lady. Here take this light.
Dul. You'l find her in the dark.
1 Lady. Your Lady's scarce a bed yet, you must help her.
Asp. Go and be happy in your Ladies love; May all the wrongs that you have done to me, Be utterly forgotten in my death. I'le trouble you no more, yet I will take A parting kiss, and will not be denied. You'l come my Lord, and see the Virgins weep When I am laid in earth, though you your self Can know no pity: thus I wind my self Into this willow Garland, and am prouder That I was once your Love (though now refus'd) Than to have had another true to me. So with my prayers I leave you, and must try Some yet unpractis'd way to grieve and die.
Dul. Come Ladies, will you go? [Exit Aspatia.
Om. Goodnight my Lord.
Amin. Much happiness unto you all.
I did that Lady wrong; methinks I feel Her grief shoot suddenly through all my veins; Mine eyes run; this is strange at such a time. It was the King first mov'd me to't, but he Has not my will in keeping—why do I Perplex my self thus? something whispers me, Go not to bed; my guilt is not so great As mine own conscience (too sensible) Would make me think; I only brake a promise, And 'twas the King that forc't me: timorous flesh, Why shak'st thou so? away my idle fears.
Yonder she is, the lustre of whose eye Can blot away the sad remembrance Of all these things: Oh my Evadne, spare That tender body, let it not take cold, The vapours of the night will not fall here. To bed my Love; Hymen will punish us For being slack performers of his rites. Cam'st thou to call me?
Amin. Come, come my Love, And let us lose our selves to one another. Why art thou up so long?
Evad. I am not well.
Amint. To bed then let me wind thee in these arms, Till I have banisht sickness.
Evad. Good my Lord, I cannot sleep.
Amin. Evadne, we'l watch, I mean no sleeping.
Evad. I'le not go to bed.
Amin. I prethee do.
Evad. I will not for the world.
Amin. Why my dear Love?
Evad. Why? I have sworn I will not.
Amint. How? Sworn Evadne?
Evad. Yes, Sworn Amintor, and will swear again If you will wish to hear me. 0 Amin. To whom have you Sworn this?
Evad. If I should name him, the matter were not great.
Amin. Come, this is but the coyness of a Bride.
Evad. The coyness of a Bride?
Amin. How prettily that frown becomes thee!
Evad. Do you like it so?
Amin. Thou canst not dress thy face in such a look But I shall like it.
Evad. What look likes you best?
Amin. Why do you ask?
Evad. That I may shew you one less pleasing to you.
Amin. How's that?
Evad. That I may shew you one less pleasing to you.
Amint. I prethee put thy jests in milder looks. It shews as thou wert angry.
Evad. So perhaps I am indeed.
Amint. Why, who has done thee wrong? Name me the man, and by thy self I swear, Thy yet unconquer'd self, I will revenge thee.
Evad. Now I shall try thy truth; if thou dost love me, Thou weigh'st not any thing compar'd with me; Life, Honour, joyes Eternal, all Delights This world can yield, or hopeful people feign, Or in the life to come, are light as Air To a true Lover when his Lady frowns, And bids him do this: wilt thou kill this man? Swear my Amintor, and I'le kiss the sin off from thy lips.
Amin. I will not swear sweet Love, Till I do know the cause.
Evad. I would thou wouldst; Why, it is thou that wrongest me, I hate thee, Thou shouldst have kill'd thy self.
Amint. If I should know that, I should quickly kill The man you hated.
Evad. Know it then, and do't.
Amint. Oh no, what look soe're thou shalt put on, To try my faith, I shall not think thee false; I cannot find one blemish in thy face, Where falsehood should abide: leave and to bed; If you have sworn to any of the Virgins That were your old companions, to preserve Your Maidenhead a night, it may be done without this means.
Evad. A Maidenhead Amintor at my years?
Amint. Sure she raves, this cannot be Thy natural temper; shall I call thy maids? Either thy healthful sleep hath left thee long, Or else some Fever rages in thy blood.
Evad. Neither Amintor; think you I am mad, Because I speak the truth?
Amint. Will you not lie with me to night?
Evad. To night? you talk as if I would hereafter.
Amint. Hereafter? yes, I do.
Evad. You are deceiv'd, put off amazement, and with patience mark What I shall utter, for the Oracle Knows nothing truer, 'tis not for a night Or two that I forbear thy bed, but for ever.
Amint. I dream,—awake Amintor!
Evad. You hear right, I sooner will find out the beds of Snakes, And with my youthful blood warm their cold flesh, Letting them curle themselves about my Limbs, Than sleep one night with thee; this is not feign'd, Nor sounds it like the coyness of a Bride.
Amin. Is flesh so earthly to endure all this? Are these the joyes of Marriage? Hymen keep This story (that will make succeeding youth Neglect thy Ceremonies) from all ears. Let it not rise up for thy shame and mine To after ages; we will scorn thy Laws, If thou no better bless them; touch the heart Of her that thou hast sent me, or the world Shall know there's not an Altar that will smoak In praise of thee; we will adopt us Sons; Then vertue shall inherit, and not blood: If we do lust, we'l take the next we meet, Serving our selves as other Creatures do, And never take note of the Female more, Nor of her issue. I do rage in vain, She can but jest; Oh! pardon me my Love; So dear the thoughts are that I hold of thee, That I must break forth; satisfie my fear: It is a pain beyond the hand of death, To be in doubt; confirm it with an Oath, if this be true.
Evad. Do you invent the form: Let there be in it all the binding words Devils and Conjurers can put together, And I will take it; I have sworn before, And here by all things holy do again, Never to be acquainted with thy bed. Is your doubt over now?
Amint. I know too much, would I had doubted still; Was ever such a marriage night as this! You powers above, if you did ever mean Man should be us'd thus, you have thought a way How he may bear himself, and save his honour: Instruct me in it; for to my dull eyes There is no mean, no moderate course to run, I must live scorn'd, or be a murderer: Is there a third? why is this night so calm? Why does not Heaven speak in Thunder to us, And drown her voice?
Evad. This rage will do no good.
Amint. Evadne, hear me, thou hast ta'ne an Oath, But such a rash one, that to keep it, were Worse than to swear it; call it back to thee; Such vows as those never ascend the Heaven; A tear or two will wash it quite away: Have mercy on my youth, my hopeful youth, If thou be pitiful, for (without boast) This Land was proud of me: what Lady was there That men call'd fair and vertuous in this Isle, That would have shun'd my love? It is in thee To make me hold this worth—Oh! we vain men That trust out all our reputation, To rest upon the weak and yielding hand Of feeble Women! but thou art not stone; Thy flesh is soft, and in thine eyes doth dwell The spirit of Love, thy heart cannot be hard. Come lead me from the bottom of despair, To all the joyes thou hast; I know thou wilt; And make me careful, lest the sudden change O're-come my spirits.
Evad. When I call back this Oath, the pains of hell inviron me.
Amin. I sleep, and am too temperate; come to bed, or by Those hairs, which if thou hast a soul like to thy locks, Were threads for Kings to wear about their arms.
Evad. Why so perhaps they are.
Amint. I'le drag thee to my bed, and make thy tongue Undo this wicked Oath, or on thy flesh I'le print a thousand wounds to let out life.
Evad. I fear thee not, do what thou dar'st to me; Every ill-sounding word, or threatning look Thou shew'st to me, will be reveng'd at full.
Amint. It will not sure Evadne.
Evad. Do not you hazard that.
Amint. Ha'ye your Champions?
Evad. Alas Amintor, thinkst thou I forbear To sleep with thee, because I have put on A maidens strictness? look upon these cheeks, And thou shalt find the hot and rising blood Unapt for such a vow; no, in this heart There dwels as much desire, and as much will To put that wisht act in practice, as ever yet Was known to woman, and they have been shown Both; but it was the folly of thy youth, To think this beauty (to what Land soe're It shall be call'd) shall stoop to any second. I do enjoy the best, and in that height Have sworn to stand or die: you guess the man.
Amint. No, let me know the man that wrongs me so, That I may cut his body into motes, And scatter it before the Northern wind.
Evad. You dare not strike him.
Amint. Do not wrong me so; Yes, if his body were a poysonous plant, That it were death to touch, I have a soul Will throw me on him.
Evad. Why 'tis the King.
Amint. The King!
Evad. What will you do now?
Amint. 'Tis not the King.
Evad. What, did he make this match for dull Amintor?
Amint. Oh! thou hast nam'd a word that wipes away All thoughts revengeful: in that sacred name, The King, there lies a terror: what frail man Dares lift his hand against it? let the Gods Speak to him when they please; Till then let us suffer and wait.
Evad. Why should you fill your self so full of heat, And haste so to my bed? I am no Virgin.
Amint. What Devil put it in thy fancy then To marry me?
Evad. Alas, I must have one To Father Children, and to bear the name Of Husband to me, that my sin may be more honourable.
Amint. What a strange thing am I!
Evad. A miserable one; one that my self am sorry for.
Amint. Why shew it then in this, If thou hast pity, though thy love be none, Kill me, and all true Lovers that shall live In after ages crost in their desires, Shall bless thy memory, and call thee good, Because such mercy in thy heart was found, To rid a lingring Wretch.
Evad. I must have one To fill thy room again, if thou wert dead, Else by this night I would: I pity thee.
Amint. These strange and sudden injuries have faln So thick upon me, that I lose all sense Of what they are: methinks I am not wrong'd, Nor is it ought, if from the censuring World I can but hide it—Reputation, Thou art a word, no more; but thou hast shown An impudence so high, that to the World I fear thou wilt betray or shame thy self.
Evad. To cover shame I took thee, never fear That I would blaze my self.
Amint. Nor let the King Know I conceive he wrongs me, then mine honour Will thrust me into action, that my flesh Could bear with patience; and it is some ease To me in these extreams, that I knew this Before I toucht thee; else had all the sins Of mankind stood betwixt me and the King, I had gone through 'em to his heart and thine. I have lost one desire, 'tis not his crown Shall buy me to thy bed: now I resolve He has dishonour'd thee; give me thy hand, Be careful of thy credit, and sin close, 'Tis all I wish; upon thy Chamber-floore I'le rest to night, that morning visiters May think we did as married people use. And prethee smile upon me when they come, And seem to toy, as if thou hadst been pleas'd With what we did.
Evad. Fear not, I will do this.
Amint. Come let us practise, and as wantonly As ever loving Bride and Bridegroom met, Lets laugh and enter here.
Evad. I am content.
Amint. Down all the swellings of my troubled heart. When we walk thus intwin'd, let all eyes see If ever Lovers better did agree.
Enter Aspatia, Antiphila and Olympias.
Asp. Away, you are not sad, force it no further; Good Gods, how well you look! such a full colour Young bashful Brides put on: sure you are new married.
Ant. Yes Madam, to your grief.
Asp. Alas! poor Wenches. Go learn to love first, learn to lose your selves, Learn to be flattered, and believe, and bless The double tongue that did it; Make a Faith out of the miracles of Ancient Lovers. Did you ne're love yet Wenches? speak Olympias, Such as speak truth and dy'd in't, And like me believe all faithful, and be miserable; Thou hast an easie temper, fit for stamp.
Asp. Nor you Antiphila?
Ant. Nor I.
Asp. Then my good Girles, be more than Women, wise. At least be more than I was; and be sure you credit any thing the light gives light to, before a man; rather believe the Sea weeps for the ruin'd Merchant when he roars; rather the wind courts but the pregnant sails when the strong cordage cracks; rather the Sun comes but to kiss the Fruit in wealthy Autumn, when all falls blasted; if you needs must love (forc'd by ill fate) take to your maiden bosoms two dead cold aspicks, and of them make Lovers, they cannot flatter nor forswear; one kiss makes a long peace for all; but man, Oh that beast man! Come lets be sad my Girles; That down cast of thine eye, Olympias, Shews a fine sorrow; mark Antiphila, Just such another was the Nymph Oenone, When Paris brought home Helen: now a tear, And then thou art a piece expressing fully The Carthage Queen, when from a cold Sea Rock, Full with her sorrow, she tyed fast her eyes To the fair Trojan ships, and having lost them, Just as thine eyes do, down stole a tear, Antiphila; What would this Wench do, if she were Aspatia? Here she would stand, till some more pitying God Turn'd her to Marble: 'tis enough my Wench; Shew me the piece of Needle-work you wrought.
Ant. Of Ariadne, Madam?
Asp. Yes that piece. This should be Theseus, h'as a cousening face, You meant him for a man.
Ant. He was so Madam.
Asp. Why then 'tis well enough, never look back, You have a full wind, and a false heart Theseus; Does not the story say, his Keel was split, Or his Masts spent, or some kind rock or other Met with his Vessel?
Ant. Not as I remember.
Asp. It should ha' been so; could the Gods know this, And not of all their number raise a storm? But they are all as ill. This false smile was well exprest; Just such another caught me; you shall not go so Antiphila, In this place work a quick-sand, And over it a shallow smiling Water. And his ship ploughing it, and then a fear. Do that fear to the life Wench.
Ant. 'Twill wrong the story.
Asp. 'Twill make the story wrong'd by wanton Poets Live long and be believ'd; but where's the Lady?
Ant. There Madam.
Asp. Fie, you have mist it here Antiphila, You are much mistaken Wench; These colours are not dull and pale enough, To shew a soul so full of misery As this sad Ladies was; do it by me, Do it again by me the lost Aspatia, And you shall find all true but the wild Island; I stand upon the Sea breach now, and think Mine arms thus, and mine hair blown with the wind, Wild as that desart, and let all about me Tell that I am forsaken, do my face
(If thou hadst ever feeling of a sorrow) Thus, thus, Antiphila strive to make me look Like sorrows monument; and the trees about me, Let them be dry and leaveless; let the Rocks Groan with continual surges, and behind me Make all a desolation; look, look Wenches, A miserable life of this poor Picture.
Olym. Dear Madam!
Asp. I have done, sit down, and let us Upon that point fix all our eyes, that point there; Make a dull silence till you feel a sudden sadness Give us new souls. [Enter Calianax.
Cal. The King may do this, and he may not do it; My child is wrong'd, disgrac'd: well, how now Huswives? What at your ease? is this a time to sit still? up you young Lazie Whores, up or I'le sweng you.
Olym. Nay, good my Lord.
Cal. You'l lie down shortly, get you in and work; What are you grown so resty? you want ears, We shall have some of the Court boys do that Office.
Ant. My Lord we do no more than we are charg'd: It is the Ladies pleasure we be thus in grief; She is forsaken.
Cal. There's a Rogue too, A young dissembling slave; well, get you in, I'le have a bout with that boy; 'tis high time Now to be valiant; I confess my youth Was never prone that way: what, made an Ass? A Court stale? well I will be valiant, And beat some dozen of these Whelps; I will; and there's Another of 'em, a trim cheating souldier, I'le maul that Rascal, h'as out-brav'd me twice; But now I thank the Gods I am valiant; Go, get you in, I'le take a course with all.
Enter Cleon, Strato, Diphilus.
Cle. Your sister is not up yet.
Diph. Oh, Brides must take their mornings rest, The night is troublesome.
Stra. But not tedious.
Diph. What odds, he has not my Sisters maiden-head to night?
Stra. No, it's odds against any Bridegroom living, he ne're gets it while he lives.
Diph. Y'are merry with my Sister, you'l please to allow me the same freedom with your Mother.
Stra. She's at your service.
Diph. Then she's merry enough of her self, she needs no tickling; knock at the door.
Stra. We shall interrupt them.
Diph. No matter, they have the year before them. Good morrow Sister; spare your self to day, the night will come again.
Amint. Who's there, my Brother? I am no readier yet, your Sister is but now up.
Diph. You look as you had lost your eyes to night; I think you ha' not slept.
Amint. I faith I have not.
Diph. You have done better then.
Amint. We ventured for a Boy; when he is Twelve, He shall command against the foes of Rhodes.
Stra. You cannot, you want sleep. [Aside.
Amint. 'Tis true; but she As if she had drunk Lethe, or had made Even with Heaven, did fetch so still a sleep, So sweet and sound.
Diph. What's that?
Amint. Your Sister frets this morning, and does turn her eyes upon me, as people on their headsman; she does chafe, and kiss, and chafe again, and clap my cheeks; she's in another world.
Diph. Then I had lost; I was about to lay, you had not got her Maiden-head to night.
Amint. Ha! he does not mock me; y'ad lost indeed; I do not use to bungle.
Cleo. You do deserve her.
Amint. I laid my lips to hers, and [t]hat wild breath That was rude and rough to me, last night
Was sweet as April; I'le be guilty too, If these be the effects.
Mel. Good day Amintor, for to me the name Of Brother is too distant; we are friends, And that is nearer.
Amint. Dear Melantius! Let me behold thee; is it possible?
Mel. What sudden gaze is this?
Amint. 'Tis wonderous strange.
Mel. Why does thine eye desire so strict a view Of that it knows so well? There's nothing here that is not thine.
Amint. I wonder much Melantius, To see those noble looks that make me think How vertuous thou art; and on the sudden 'Tis strange to me, thou shouldst have worth and honour, Or not be base, and false, and treacherous, And every ill. But—
Mel. Stay, stay my Friend, I fear this sound will not become our loves; no more, embrace me.
Amint. Oh mistake me not; I know thee to be full of all those deeds That we frail men call good: but by the course Of nature thou shouldst be as quickly chang'd As are the winds, dissembling as the Sea, That now wears brows as smooth as Virgins be, Tempting the Merchant to invade his face, And in an hour calls his billows up, And shoots 'em at the Sun, destroying all He carries on him. O how near am I
To utter my sick thoughts!
Mel. But why, my Friend, should I be so by Nature?
Amin. I have wed thy Sister, who hath vertuous thoughts Enough for one whole family, and it is strange That you should feel no want.
Mel. Believe me, this complement's too cunning for me.
Diph. What should I be then by the course of nature, They having both robb'd me of so much vertue?
Strat. O call the Bride, my Lord Amintor, that we may see her blush, and turn her eyes down; it is the prettiest sport.
Evad. My Lord! [Within.
Amint. Come forth my Love, Your Brothers do attend to wish you joy.
Evad. I am not ready yet.
Amint. Enough, enough.
Evad. They'l mock me.
Amint. Faith thou shalt come in.
Mel. Good morrow Sister; he that understands Whom you have wed, need not to wish you joy. You have enough, take heed you be not proud.
Diph. O Sister, what have you done!
Evad. I done! why, what have I done?
Strat. My Lord Amintor swears you are no Maid now.
Strat. I faith he does.
Evad. I knew I should be mockt.
Diph. With a truth.
Evad. If 'twere to do again, in faith I would not marry.
Amint. Not I by Heaven. [Aside.
Diph. Sister, Dula swears she heard you cry two rooms off.
Evad. Fie how you talk!
Diph. Let's see you walk.
Evad. By my troth y'are spoil'd.
Mel. Thou art sad.
Amint. Who I? I thank you for that, shall Diphilus, thou and I sing a catch?
Amint. Prethee let's.
Mel. Nay, that's too much the other way.
Amint. I am so lightned with my happiness: how dost thou Love? kiss me.
Evad. I cannot love you, you tell tales of me.
Amint. Nothing but what becomes us: Gentlemen, Would you had all such Wives, and all the world, That I might be no wonder; y'are all sad; What, do you envie me? I walk methinks On water, and ne're sink, I am so light.
Mel. 'Tis well you are so.
Amint. Well? how can I be other, when she looks thus? Is there no musick there? let's dance.
Mel. Why? this is strange, Amintor!
Amint. I do not know my self; Yet I could wish my joy were less.
Diph. I'le marry too, if it will make one thus.
Evad. Amintor, hark. [Aside.
Amint. What says my Love? I must obey.
Evad. You do it scurvily, 'twill be perceiv'd.
Cle. My Lord the King is here.
[Enter King and Lysi.
Stra. And his Brother.
King. Good morrow all. Amintor, joy on, joy fall thick upon thee! And Madam, you are alter'd since I saw you, I must salute you; you are now anothers; How lik't you your nights rest?
Evad. Ill Sir.
Amint. I! 'deed she took but little.
Lys. You'l let her take more, and thank her too shortly.
King. Amintor, wert thou truly honest Till thou wert Married?
Amint. Yes Sir.
King. Tell me then, how shews the sport unto thee?
Amint. Why well.
King. What did you do?
Amint. No more nor less than other couples use; You know what 'tis; it has but a course name.
King. But prethee, I should think by her black eye, And her red cheek, she should be quick and stirring In this same business, ha?
Amint. I cannot tell, I ne're try'd other Sir, but I perceive She is as quick as you delivered.
King. Well, you'l trust me then Amintor, To choose a Wife for you agen?
Amint. No never Sir.
King. Why? like you this so ill?
Amint. So well I like her. For this I bow my knee in thanks to you, And unto Heaven will pay my grateful tribute Hourly, and to hope we shall draw out A long contented life together here, And die both full of gray hairs in one day; For which the thanks is yours; but if the powers That rule us, please to call her first away, Without pride spoke, this World holds not a Wife Worthy to take her room.
King. I do not like this; all forbear the room But you Amintor and your Lady. I have some speech with You, that may concern your after living well. Amint. He will not tell me that he lies with her: if he do, Something Heavenly stay my heart, for I shall be apt To thrust this arm of mine to acts unlawful.
King. You will suffer me to talk with her Amintor, And not have a jealous pang!
Amint. Sir, I dare trust my Wife With whom she dares to talk, and not be jealous.
King. How do you like Amintor?
Evad. As I did Sir.
King. How's that!
Evad. As one that to fulfil your will and pleasure, I have given leave to call me Wife and Love.
King. I see there is no lasting Faith in Sin; They that break word with Heaven, will break again With all the World, and so dost thou with me.
Evad. How Sir?
King. This subtile Womans ignorance Will not excuse you; thou hast taken Oaths So great, methought they did not well become A Womans mouth, that thou wouldst ne're enjoy A man but me.
Evad. I never did swear so; you do me wrong.
King. Day and night have heard it.
Evad. I swore indeed that I would never love A man of lower place; but if your fortune Should throw you from this height, I bade you trust I would forsake you, and would bend to him That won your Throne; I love with my ambition, Not with mine eyes; but if I ever yet Toucht any other, Leprosie light here Upon my face, which for your Royalty I would not stain.
King. Why thou dissemblest, and it is in me to punish thee.
Evad. Why, it is in me then not to love you, which will More afflict your body, than your punishment can mine.
King. But thou hast let Amintor lie with thee.
Evad. I ha'not.
King. Impudence! he saies himself so.
Evad. He lyes.
King. He does not.
Evad. By this light he does, strangely and basely, and I'le prove it so; I did not shun him for a night, But told him I would never close with him.
King. Speak lower, 'tis false.
Evad. I'm no man to answer with a blow; Or if I were, you are the King; but urge me not, 'tis most true.
King. Do not I know the uncontrouled thoughts That youth brings with him, when his bloud is high With expectation and desires of that He long hath waited for? is not his spirit, Though he be temperate, of a valiant strain, As this our age hath known? what could he do, If such a sudden speech had met his blood, But ruine thee for ever? if he had not kill'd thee, He could not bear it thus; he is as we, Or any other wrong'd man.
Evad. It is dissembling.
King. Take him; farewel; henceforth I am thy foe; And what disgraces I can blot thee, look for.
Evad. Stay Sir; Amintor, you shall hear, Amintor.
Amint. What my Love?
Evad. Amintor, thou hast an ingenious look, And shouldst be vertuous; it amazeth me, That thou canst make such base malicious lyes.
Amint. What my dear Wife?
Evad. Dear Wife! I do despise thee; Why, nothing can be baser, than to sow Dissention amongst Lovers.
Amint. Lovers! who?
Evad. The King and me.
Amint. O Heaven!
Evad. Who should live long, and love without distaste, Were it not for such pickthanks as thy self! Did you lie with me? swear now, and be punisht in hell For this.
Amint. The faithless Sin I made To fair Aspatia, is not yet reveng'd, It follows me; I will not lose a word To this wild Woman; but to you my King, The anguish of my soul thrusts out this truth, Y'are a Tyrant; and not so much to wrong An honest man thus, as to take a pride In talking with him of it.
Evad. Now Sir, see how loud this fellow lyed.
Amint. You that can know to wrong, should know how Men must right themselves: what punishment is due From me to him that shall abuse my bed! It is not death; nor can that satisfie, Unless I send your lives through all the Land, To shew how nobly I have freed my self.
King. Draw not thy Sword, thou knowest I cannot fear A subjects hand; but thou shalt feel the weight of this If thou dost rage.
Amint. The weight of that? If you have any worth, for Heavens sake think I fear not Swords; for as you are meer man, I dare as easily kill you for this deed, As you dare think to do it; but there is Divinity about you, that strikes dead My rising passions, as you are my King, I fall before you, and present my Sword To cut mine own flesh, if it be your will. Alas! I am nothing but a multitude Of walking griefs; yet should I murther you, I might before the world take the excuse Of madness: for compare my injuries, And they will well appear too sad a weight For reason to endure; but fall I first Amongst my sorrows, ere my treacherous hand Touch holy things: but why? I know not what I have to say; why did you choose out me To make thus wretched? there were thousand fools Easie to work on, and of state enough within the Island.
Evad. I would not have a fool, it were no credit for me.
Amint. Worse and worse! Thou that dar'st talk unto thy Husband thus, Profess thy self a Whore; and more than so, Resolve to be so still; it is my fate To bear and bow beneath a thousand griefs, To keep that little credit with the World. But there were wise ones too, you might have ta'ne another.
King. No; for I believe thee honest, as thou wert valiant.
Amint. All the happiness Bestow'd upon me, turns into disgrace; Gods take your honesty again, for I Am loaden with it; good my Lord the King, be private in it.
King. Thou may'st live Amintor, Free as thy King, if thou wilt wink at this, And be a means that we may meet in secret.
Amint. A Baud! hold my breast, a bitter curse Seize me, if I forget not all respects That are Religious, on another word Sounded like that, and through a Sea of sins Will wade to my revenge, though I should call Pains here, and after life upon my soul.
King. Well I am resolute you lay not with her, And so leave you.
Evad. You must be prating, and see what follows.
Amint. Prethee vex me not. Leave me, I am afraid some sudden start Will pull a murther on me.
Evad. I am gone; I love my life well.
Amint. I hate mine as much. This 'tis to break a troth; I should be glad If all this tide of grief would make me mad.
Mel. I'le know the cause of all Amintors griefs, Or friendship shall be idle.
Cal. O Melantius, my Daughter will die.
Mel. Trust me, I am sorry; would thou hadst ta'ne her room.
Cal. Thou art a slave, a cut-throat slave, a bloody treacherous slave.
Melan. Take heed old man, thou wilt be heard to rave, And lose thine Offices.
Cal. I am valiant grown At all these years, and thou art but a slave.
Mel. Leave, some company will come, and I respect Thy years, not thee so much, that I could wish To laugh at thee alone.
Cal. I'le spoil your mirth, I mean to fight with thee; There lie my Cloak, this was my Fathers Sword, And he durst fight; are you prepar'd?
Mel. Why? wilt thou doat thy self 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.
Cal. You have a name in War, when you stand safe Amongst a multitude; but I will try What you dare do unto a weak old man In single fight; you'l ground I fear: Come draw.
Mel. I will not draw, unless thou pul'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.
Cal. 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 testie trick I had, Amongst cowards, but durst never fight.
Mel. I will not promise to preserve your life if you do stay.
Cal. I would give half my Land that I durst fight with that proud man a little: if I had men to hold, I would beat him, till he ask me mercy.
Mel. Sir, will you be gone?
Cal. I dare not stay, but I will go home, and beat my servants all over for this.
Mel. This old fellow haunts me, But the distracted carriage of mine Amintor Takes deeply on me, I will find the cause; I fear his Conscience cries, he wrong'd Aspatia.
Amint. Mens eyes are not so subtil to perceive My inward misery; I bear my grief Hid from the World; how art thou wretched then? For ought 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.
Mel. Amintor, We have not enjoy'd our friendship of late, for we were wont to charge our souls in talk.
Amint. Melantius, I can tell thee a good jest of Strato and a Lady the last day.
Mel. How wast?
Amint. Why such an odd one.
Mel. I have long'd to speak with you, not of an idle jest that's forc'd, but of matter you are bound to utter to me.
Amint. What is that my friend?
Mel. I have observ'd, your words fall from your tongue Wildly; and all your carriage, Like one that strove to shew his merry mood, When he were ill dispos'd: 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're with smiles, and 'twill not be. What is it?
Amint. A sadness here! what cause Can fate provide for me, to make me so? Am I not lov'd 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 cheeks Inevitable colour, in her heart A prison for all vertue? are not you, Which is above all joyes, 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 unexprest a joy In chast embraces, that you will indeed appear another.
Mel. You may shape, Amintor, Causes to cozen the whole world withal, And your self 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 here? a friend Is nothing, Heaven! I would ha' told that man My secret sins; I'le search an unknown Land, And there plant friendship, all is withered here; Come with a complement, I would have fought, Or told my friend he ly'd, ere sooth'd him so; Out of my bosom.
Amint. But there is nothing.
Mel. Worse and worse; farewel; From this time have acquaintance, but no friend.
Amint. Melantius, stay, you shall know what that is.
Mel. See how you play'd with friendship; be advis'd How you give cause unto your self to say, You ha'lost a friend.
Amint. Forgive what I have done; For I am so ore-gone with injuries Unheard of, that I lose consideration Of what I ought to do—oh—oh.
Mel. Do not weep; what is't? May I once but know the man Hath turn'd my friend thus?
Amint. I had spoke at first, but that.
Mel. But what?
Amint. I held it most unfit For you to know; faith do not know it yet.
Mel. Thou seest my love, that will keep company With thee in tears; hide nothing then from me; For when I know the cause of thy distemper, With mine own armour I'le adorn my self, My resolution, and cut through thy foes, Unto thy quiet, till I place thy heart As peaceable as spotless innocence. What is it?
Amint. Why, 'tis this—it is too big To get out, let my tears make way a while.
Mel. Punish me strangely heaven, if he escape Of life or fame, that brought this youth to this.
Amint. Your Sister.
Mel. Well said.
Amint. You'l wish't unknown, when you have heard it.
Amint. Is much to blame, And to the King has given her honour up, And lives in Whoredom with him.
Mel. How, this! Thou art run mad with injury indeed, Thou couldst not utter this else; speak again, For I forgive it freely; tell thy griefs.
Amint. She's wanton; I am loth to say a Whore, Though it be true.
Mel. Speak yet again, before mine anger grow Up beyond throwing down; what are thy griefs?
Amint. By all our friendship, these.
Mel. What? am I tame? After mine actions, shall the name of friend Blot all our family, and strike the brand Of Whore upon my Sister unreveng'd? My shaking flesh be thou a Witness for me, With what unwillingness I go to scourge This Rayler, whom my folly hath call'd 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.
Amint. 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.
Mel. This is base and fearful! they that use to utter lyes, Provide not blows, but words to qualifie The men they wrong'd; thou hast a guilty cause.
Amint. Thou pleasest me; for so much more like this, Will raise my anger up above my griefs, Which is a passion easier to be born, And I shall then be happy.
Mel. Take then more to raise thine anger. 'Tis meer Cowardize makes thee not draw; and I will leave thee dead However; but if thou art so much prest With guilt and fear, as not to dare to fight, I'le make thy memory loath'd, and fix a scandal Upon thy name for ever.
Amint. 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.
Mel. Stay a while. The name of friend is more than family, Or all the world besides; I was a fool. Thou searching humane nature, that didst wake To do me wrong, thou art inquisitive, And thrusts 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.
Amint. How should I bear it then, she being so? I fear my friend that you will lose me shortly; And I shall do a foul action my self Through these disgraces.
Mel. Better half the Land Were buried quick together; no, Amintor, Thou shalt have ease: O this Adulterous King That drew her to't! where got he the spirit To wrong me so?
Amint. What is it then to me, If it be wrong to you!
Mel. Why, not so much: the credit of our house Is thrown away; But from his Iron Den I'le waken death, And hurle him on this King; my honesty Shall steel my sword, and on its horrid point I'le wear my cause, that shall amaze the eyes Of this proud man, and be too glittering For him to look on.
Amint. I have quite undone my fame.
Mel. Dry up thy watry 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 my heart at peace.
Amint. It must not be so; stay, mine eyes would tell How loth I am to this; but love and tears Leave me a while, for I have hazarded All this world calls happy; thou hast wrought A secret from me under name of Friend, Which Art could ne're have found, nor torture wrung From out my bosom; give it me agen, For I will find it, wheresoe're it lies Hid in the mortal'st part; invent a way to give it back.
Mel. Why, would you have it back? I will to death pursue him with revenge.
Amint. 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.
Mel. Hear thy friend, that bears more years than thou.
Amint. I will not hear: but draw, or I——
Amint. Draw then, for I am full as resolute As fame and honour can inforce me be; I cannot linger, draw.
Mel. I do—but is not My share of credit equal with thine if I do stir?
Amint. No; for it will be cal'd Honour in thee to spill thy Sisters blood, If she her birth abuse, and on the King A brave revenge: but on me that have walkt With patience in it, it will fix the name Of fearful Cuckold—O that word! be quick.
Mel. Then joyn with me.
Amint. I dare not do a sin, or else I would: be speedy.
Mel. Then dare not fight with me, for that's a sin. His grief distracts him; call thy thoughts agen, And to thy self pronounce the name of friend, And see what that will work; I will not fight.
Amint. You must.
Mel. I will be kill'd first, though my passions Offred the like to you; 'tis not this earth Shall buy my reason to it; think a while, For you are (I must weep when I speak that) Almost besides your self.
Amint. Oh my soft temper! So many sweet words from thy Sisters 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 doest.
Mel. 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?
Amint. A curse will follow that, but rather live And suffer with me.
Mel. I will do what worth shall bid me, and no more.
Amint. Faith I am sick, and desperately I hope, Yet leaning thus, I feel a kind of ease.
Mel. Come take agen your mirth about you.
Amint. I shall never do't.
Mel. I warrant you, look up, wee'l walk together, Put thine arm here, all shall be well agen.
Amint. Thy Love, O wretched, I thy Love, Melantius; why, I have nothing else.
Mel. Be merry then.
[Exeunt. Enter Melantius agen.
Mel. This worthy young man may do violence Upon himself, but I have cherisht him To my best power, and sent him smiling from me To counterfeit again; Sword hold thine edge, My heart will never fail me: Diphilus, Thou com'st as sent.
Diph. Yonder has been such laughing.
Mel. Betwixt whom?
Diph. Why, our Sister and the King, I thought their spleens would break, They laught us all out of the room.
Mel. They must weep, Diphilus.
Diph. Must they?
Mel. 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.
Diph. You should not, I would first mangle my self and find it.
Mel. That was spoke according to our strain; come Joyn thy hands to mine, And swear a firmness to what project I shall lay before thee.
Diph. You do wrong us both; People hereafter shall not say there past A bond more than our loves, to tie our lives And deaths together.
Mel. It is as nobly said as I would wish; Anon I'le tell you wonders; we are wrong'd.
Diph. But I will tell you now, wee'l right our selves.
Mel. 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.
I hope my cause is just, I know my blood Tells me it is, and I will credit it: To take revenge, and lose my self 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
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.
Cal. 'Tis well; If I durst fight, your tongue would lie at quiet.
Mel. Y'are touchie without all cause.
Cal. Do, mock me.
Mel. By mine honour I speak truth.
Cal. Honour? where is't?
Mel. 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.
Cal. A suit of me! 'tis very like it should be granted, Sir.
Mel. 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.
Cal. I am in hope that thou art mad, to talk to me thus.
Mel. But there is a reason to move you to it. I would kill the King that wrong'd you and your daughter.
Cal. Out Traytor!
Mel. Nay but stay; I cannot scape, the deed once done, Without I have this fort.
Cal. And should I help thee? now thy treacherous mind betrays it self.
Mel. Come, delay me not; Give me a sudden answer, or already Thy last is spoke; refuse not offered love, When it comes clad in secrets.
Cal. 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'l 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.
Mel. Take it—I know this goes unto the King, But I am arm'd. [Ex. Melant.
Cal. Me thinks I feel my self But twenty now agen; 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.
Enter Melantius, Evadne, and a Lady.
Mel. Save you.
Evad. Save you sweet Brother.
Mel. In my blunt eye methinks you look Evadne.
Evad. Come, you would make me blush.
Mel. I would Evadne, I shall displease my ends else.
Evad. You shall if you command me; I am bashful; Come Sir, how do I look?
Mel. I would not have your women hear me Break into commendation of you, 'tis not seemly.
Evad. Go wait me in the Gallery—now speak.
Mel. I'le lock the door first.
Mel. I will not have your guilded things that dance in visitation with their Millan skins choke up my business.
Evad. You are strangely dispos'd Sir.
Mel. Good Madam, not to make you merry.
Evad. No, if you praise me, 'twill make me sad.
Mel. Such a sad commendation I have for you.
Evad. Brother, the Court hath made you witty, And learn to riddle.
Mel. I praise the Court for't; has it learned you nothing?
Mel. I Evadne, thou art young and handsom, A Lady of a sweet complexion, And such a flowing carriage, that it cannot Chuse but inflame a Kingdom.
Evad. Gentle Brother!
Mel. 'Tis yet in thy remembrance, foolish woman, To make me gentle.
Evad. How is this?
Mel. 'Tis base, And I could blush at these years, through all My honour'd scars, to come to such a parly.
Evad. I understand you not.
Mel. You dare not, Fool; They that commit thy faults, fly the remembrance.
Evad. My faults, Sir! I would have you know I care not If they were written here, here in my forehead.
Mel. Thy body is too little for the story, The lusts of which would fill another woman, Though she had Twins within her.
Evad. This is saucy; Look you intrude no more, there lies your way.
Mel. Thou art my way, and I will tread upon thee, Till I find truth out.
Evad. What truth is that you look for?
Mel. Thy long-lost honour: would the Gods had set me One of their loudest bolts; come tell me quickly, Do it without enforcement, and take heed You swell me not above my temper.
Evad. How Sir? where got you this report?
Mel. Where there was people in every place.
Evad. They and the seconds of it are base people; Believe them not, they lyed.
Mel. Do not play with mine anger, do not Wretch, I come to know that desperate Fool that drew thee From thy fair life; be wise, and lay him open.
Evad. Unhand me, and learn manners, such another Forgetfulness forfeits your life.
Mel. Quench me this mighty humour, and then tell me Whose Whore you are, for you are one, I know it. Let all mine honours perish but I'le find him, Though he lie lockt up in thy blood; be sudden; There is no facing it, and be not flattered; The burnt air, when the Dog raigns, is not fouler Than thy contagious name, till thy repentance (If the Gods grant thee any) purge thy sickness.
Evad. Be gone, you are my Brother, that's your safety.
Mel. I'le be a Wolf first; 'tis to be thy Brother An infamy below the sin of a Coward: I am as far from being part of thee, As thou art from thy vertue: seek a kindred Mongst sensual beasts, and make a Goat thy Brother, A Goat is cooler; will you tell me yet?
Evad. If you stay here and rail thus, I shall tell you, I'le ha' you whipt; get you to your command, And there preach to your Sentinels, And tell them what a brave man you are; I shall laugh at you.
Mel. Y'are grown a glorious Whore; where be your Fighters? what mortal Fool durst raise thee to this daring, And I alive? by my just Sword, h'ad safer Bestride a Billow when the angry North Plows up the Sea, or made Heavens fire his food; Work me no higher; will you discover yet?
Evad. The Fellow's mad, sleep and speak sense.
Mel. Force my swollen heart no further; I would save thee; your great maintainers are not here, they dare not, would they were all, and armed, I would speak loud; here's one should thunder to 'em: will you tell me? thou hast no hope to scape; he that dares most, and damns away his soul to do thee service, will sooner fetch meat from a hungry Lion, than come to rescue thee; thou hast death about thee: h'as undone thine honour, poyson'd thy vertue, and of a lovely rose, left thee a canker.
Evad. Let me consider.
Mel. Do, whose child thou wert, Whose honour thou hast murdered, whose grave open'd, And so pull'd on the Gods, that in their justice They must restore him flesh again and life, And raise his dry bones to revenge his scandal.
Evad. The gods are not of my mind; they had better let 'em lie sweet still in the earth; they'l stink here.
Mel. Do you raise mirth out of my easiness? Forsake me then all weaknesses of Nature, That make men women: Speak you whore, speak truth, Or by the dear soul of thy sleeping Father, This sword shall be thy lover: tell, or I'le kill thee: And when thou hast told all, thou wilt deserve it.
Evad. You will not murder me!
Mel. No, 'tis a justice, and a noble one, To put the light out of such base offenders.
Mel. By thy foul self, no humane help shall help thee, If thou criest: when I have kill'd thee, as I have Vow'd to do, if thou confess not, naked as thou hast left Thine honour, will I leave thee, That on thy branded flesh the world may read Thy black shame, and my justice; wilt thou bend yet?
Mel. Up and begin your story.
Evad. Oh I am miserable.
Mel. 'Tis true, thou art, speak truth still.
Evad. I have offended, noble Sir: forgive me.
Mel. With what secure slave?
Evad. Do not ask me Sir. Mine own remembrance is a misery too mightie for me.
Mel. Do not fall back again; my sword's unsheath'd yet.
Evad. What shall I do?
Mel. Be true, and make your fault less.
Evad. I dare not tell.
Mel. Tell, or I'le be this day a killing thee.
Evad. Will you forgive me then?
Mel. Stay, I must ask mine honour first, I have too much foolish nature in me; speak.
Evad. Is there none else here?
Mel. None but a fearful conscience, that's too many. Who is't?
Evad. O hear me gently; it was the King.
Mel. No more. My worthy father's and my services Are liberally rewarded! King, I thank thee, For all my dangers and my wounds, thou hast paid me In my own metal: These are Souldiers thanks. How long have you liv'd thus Evadne?
Evad. Too long.
Mel. Too late you find it: can you be sorry?
Evad. Would I were half as blameless.
Mel. Evadne, thou wilt to thy trade again.
Evad. First to my grave.
Mel. Would gods th'hadst been so blest: Dost thou not hate this King now? prethee hate him: Couldst thou not curse him? I command thee curse him, Curse till the gods hear, and deliver him To thy just wishes: yet I fear Evadne; You had rather play your game out.
Evad. No, I feel Too many sad confusions here to let in any loose flame hereafter.
Mel. Dost thou not feel amongst all those one brave anger That breaks out nobly, and directs thine arm to kill this base King?
Evad. All the gods forbid it.
Mel. No, all the gods require it, they are dishonoured in him.
Evad. 'Tis too fearful.
Mel. Y'are valiant in his bed, and bold enough To be a stale whore, and have your Madams name Discourse for Grooms and Pages, and hereafter When his cool Majestie hath laid you by, To be at pension with some needy Sir For meat and courser clothes, thus far you know no fear. Come, you shall kill him.
Evad. Good Sir!
Mel. And 'twere to kiss him dead, thou'd smother him; Be wise and kill him: Canst thou live and know What noble minds shall make thee see thy self Found out with every finger, made the shame Of all successions, and in this great ruine Thy brother and thy noble husband broken? Thou shalt not live thus; kneel and swear to help me When I shall call thee to it, or by all Holy in heaven and earth, thou shalt not live To breath a full hour longer, not a thought: Come 'tis a righteous oath; give me thy hand, And both to heaven held up, swear by that wealth This lustful thief stole from thee, when I say it, To let his foul soul out.
Evad. Here I swear it, And all you spirits of abused Ladies Help me in this performance.
Mel. Enough; this must be known to none But you and I Evadne; not to your Lord, Though he be wise and noble, and a fellow Dares step as far into a worthy action, As the most daring, I as far as Justice. Ask me not why. Farewell.
Evad. Would I could say so to my black disgrace. Oh where have I been all this time! how friended, That I should lose my self thus desperately, And none for pity shew me how I wandred? There is not in the compass of the light A more unhappy creature: sure I am monstrous, For I have done those follies, those mad mischiefs, Would dare a woman. O my loaden soul, Be not so cruel to me, choak not up
The way to my repentance. O my Lord.
Amin. How now?
Evad. My much abused Lord! [Kneels.
Amin. This cannot be.
Evad. I do not kneel to live, I dare not hope it; The wrongs I did are greater; look upon me Though I appear with all my faults.
Amin. Stand up. This is no new way to beget more sorrow; Heaven knows I have too many; do not mock me; Though I am tame and bred up with my wrongs, Which are my foster-brothers, I may leap Like a hand-wolf into my natural wilderness, And do an out-rage: pray thee do not mock me.
Evad. My whole life is so leprous, it infects All my repentance: I would buy your pardon Though at the highest set, even with my life: That slight contrition, that's no sacrifice For what I have committed.
Amin. Sure I dazle: There cannot be a faith in that foul woman That knows no God more mighty than her mischiefs: Thou dost still worst, still number on thy faults, To press my poor heart thus. Can I believe There's any seed of Vertue in that woman Left to shoot up, that dares go on in sin Known, and so known as thine is, O Evadne! Would there were any safety in thy sex, That I might put a thousand sorrows off, And credit thy repentance: but I must not; Thou hast brought me to the dull calamity, To that strange misbelief of all the world, And all things that are in it, that I fear I shall fall like a tree, and find my grave, Only remembring that I grieve.
Evad. My Lord, Give me your griefs: you are an innocent, A soul as white as heaven: let not my sins Perish your noble youth: I do not fall here To shadow by dissembling with my tears, As all say women can, or to make less What my hot will hath done, which heaven and you Knows to be tougher than the hand of time Can cut from mans remembrance; no I do not; I do appear the same, the same Evadne, Drest in the shames I liv'd in, the same monster. But these are names of honour, to what I am; I do present my self the foulest creature, Most poysonous, dangerous, and despis'd of men, Lerna e're bred, or Nilus; I am hell, Till you, my dear Lord, shoot your light into me, The beams of your forgiveness: I am soul-sick, And [wither] with the fear of one condemn'd, Till I have got your pardon.
Amin. Rise Evadne, Those heavenly powers that put this good into thee, Grant a continuance of it: I forgive thee; Make thy self worthy of it, and take heed, Take heed Evadne this be serious; Mock not the powers above, that can and dare Give thee a great example of their justice To all ensuing eyes, if thou plai'st With thy repentance, the best sacrifice.
Evad. I have done nothing good to win belief, My life hath been so faithless; all the creatures Made for heavens honours have their ends, and good ones, All but the cousening Crocodiles, false women; They reign here like those plagues, those killing sores Men pray against; and when they die, like tales Ill told, and unbeliev'd, they pass away, And go to dust forgotten: But my Lord, Those short dayes I shall number to my rest, (As many must not see me) shall though too late, Though in my evening, yet perceive a will, Since I can do no good because a woman, Reach constantly at some thing that is near it; I will redeem one minute of my age, Or like another Niobe I'le weep till I am water.
Amin. I am now dissolved: My frozen soul melts: may each sin thou hast, Find a new mercy: Rise, I am at peace: Hadst thou been thus, thus excellently good, Before that devil King tempted thy frailty, Sure thou hadst made a star: give me thy hand; From this time I will know thee, and as far As honour gives me leave, be thy Amintor: When we meet next, I will salute thee fairly, And pray the gods to give thee happy dayes: My charity shall go along with thee, Though my embraces must be far from thee. I should ha' kill'd thee, but this sweet repentance Locks up my vengeance, for which thus I kiss thee, The last kiss we must take; and would to heaven The holy Priest that gave our hands together, Had given us equal Vertues: go Evadne, The gods thus part our bodies, have a care My honour falls no farther, I am well then.
Evad. All the dear joyes here, and above hereafter Crown thy fair soul: thus I take leave my Lord, And never shall you see the foul Evadne Till sh'ave tryed all honoured means that may Set her in rest, and wash her stains away.
Banquet. Enter King, Calianax. Hoboyes play within.
King. I cannot tell how I should credit this From you that are his enemy.
Cal. I am sure he said it to me, and I'le justifie it What way he dares oppose, but with my sword.
King. But did he break without all circumstance To you his foe, that he would have the Fort To kill me, and then escape?
Cal. If he deny it, I'le make him blush.
King. It sounds incredibly.
Cal. I, so does every thing I say of late.
King. Not so Calianax.
Cal. Yes, I should sit Mute, whilst a Rogue with strong arms cuts your throat.
King. Well, I will try him, and if this be true I'le pawn my life I'le find it; if't be false, And that you clothe your hate in such a lie, You shall hereafter doat in your own house, not in the Court.
Cal. Why if it be a lie, Mine ears are false; for I'le be sworn I heard it: Old men are good for nothing; you were best Put me to death for hearing, and free him For meaning of it; you would ha' trusted me Once, but the time is altered.
King. And will still where I may do with justice to the world; You have no witness.
Cal. Yes, my self.
King. No more I mean there were that heard it.
Cal. How no more? would you have more? why am Not I enough to hang a thousand Rogues?
King. But so you may hang honest men too if you please.
Cal. I may, 'tis like I will do so; there are a hundred will swear it for a need too, if I say it.
King. Such witnesses we need not.
Cal. And 'tis hard if my Word cannot hang a boysterous knave.
King. Enough; where's Strato?
King. Why where's all the company? call Amintor in. Evadne, where's my Brother, and Melantius? Bid him come too, and Diphilus; call all
That are without there: if he should desire The combat of you, 'tis not in the power Of all our Laws to hinder it, unless we mean to quit 'em.
Cal. Why if you do think 'Tis fit an old Man and a Counsellor, To fight for what he sayes, then you may grant it.
Enter Amin. Evad. Mel. Diph. [Lisip.] Cle. Stra. Diag.
King. Come Sirs, Amintor thou art yet a Bridegroom, And I will use thee so: thou shalt sit down; Evadne sit, and you Amintor too; This Banquet is for you, sir: Who has brought A merry Tale about him, to raise a laughter Amongst our wine? why Strato, where art thou? Thou wilt chop out with them unseasonably When I desire 'em not.
Strato. 'Tis my ill luck Sir, so to spend them then.
King. Reach me a boul of wine: Melantlius, thou art sad.
Amin. I should be Sir the merriest here, But I ha' ne're a story of mine own Worth telling at this time.
King. Give me the Wine. Melantius, I am now considering How easie 'twere for any man we trust To poyson one of us in such a boul.
Mel. I think it were not hard Sir, for a Knave.
Cal. Such as you are.
King. I' faith 'twere easie, it becomes us well To get plain dealing men about our selves, Such as you all are here: Amintor, to thee And to thy fair Evadne.
Mel. Have you thought of this Calianax?
Cal. Yes marry have I.
Mel. And what's your resolution?
Cal. Ye shall have it soundly?
King. Reach to Amintor, Strato.
Amin. Here my love, This Wine will do thee wrong, for it will set Blushes upon thy cheeks, and till thou dost a fault, 'twere pity.
King. Yet I wonder much Of the strange desperation of these men, That dare attempt such acts here in our State; He could not escape that did it.
Mel. Were he known, unpossible.
King. It would be known, Melantius.
Mel. It ought to be, if he got then away He must wear all our lives upon his sword, He need not fly the Island, he must leave no one alive.
King. No, I should think no man Could kill me and scape clear, but that old man.
Cal. But I! heaven bless me: I, should I my Liege?
King. I do not think thou wouldst, but yet thou might'st, For thou hast in thy hands the means to scape, By keeping of the Fort; he has, Melantius, and he has kept it well.
Mel. From cobwebs Sir, 'Tis clean swept: I can find no other Art In keeping of it now, 'twas ne're besieg'd since he commanded.
Cal. I shall be sure of your good word, But I have kept it safe from such as you.
Mel. Keep your ill temper in, I speak no malice; had my brother kept it I should ha' said as much.
King. You are not merry, brother; drink wine, Sit you all still! Calianax, [Aside. I cannot trust thus: I have thrown out words That would have fetcht warm blood upon the cheeks Of guilty men, and he is never mov'd, he knows no such thing.
Cal. Impudence may scape, when feeble vertue is accus'd.
King. He must, if he were guilty, feel an alteration At this our whisper, whilst we point at him, You see he does not.
Cal. Let him hang himself, What care I what he does; this he did say.
King. Melantius, you cannot easily conceive What I have meant; for men that are in fault Can subtly apprehend when others aime At what they do amiss; but I forgive Freely before this man; heaven do so too: I will not touch thee so much as with shame Of telling it, let it be so no more.
Cal. Why this is very fine.
Mel. I cannot tell What 'tis you mean, but I am apt enough Rudely to thrust into ignorant fault, But let me know it; happily 'tis nought But misconstruction, and where I am clear I will not take forgiveness of the gods, much less of you.