The Duchess of Malfi/Act II, scene ii
Act II, scene ii
Action is continuous
BOSOLA: So, so, there's no question but her tetchiness
And most vulturous eating of the apricocks, are
Apparent signs of breeding. Now?
Enter an OLD LADY
OLD LADY: I am in haste, sir.
BOSOLA: There was a young waiting-woman, had a monstrous desire
To see the glass-house--
OLD LADY: Nay, pray let me go.
BOSOLA: And it was only to know what strange instrument it was,
Should swell up a glass to the fashion of a woman's belly.
OLD LADY: I will hear no more of the glass house.
You are still abusing women.
BOSOLA: Who I? no, only, by the way, now and then,
Mention your frailties. The orange-tree
Bears ripe and green fruit and blossoms,
Altogether: and some of you
Give entertainment for pure love, but more,
For precious reward. The lusty
Spring smells well; but drooping autumn tastes well. If we
Have the same golden showers, that rained in the time of Jupiter
The thunderer, you have the same Danaes still, to hold up
Their laps to receive them. Didst thou never study
OLD LADY: What's that, sir?
BOSOLA: Why, to know the trick how to make a many lines meet
In one center. Go, go, give your foster-daughters good counsel:
Tell them, that the devil takes delight to hang at a woman's girdle,
Like a false rusty watch, that she cannot discern
How the time passes.
Exit OLD LADY
Enter ANTONIO, RODERIGO, and GRISOLAN
ANTONIO: Shut up the court-gates.
RODERIGO: Why, sir? what's the danger?
ANTONIO: Shut up the posterns presently, and call
All the officers o'th'court.
GRISOLAN: I shall instantly.
ANTONIO: Who keeps the key o'th' park gate?
ANTONIO: Let him bring't presently.
Enter GRISOLAN and SERVANTS
SERVANT 1: O, gentlemen o'th' court, the foulest treason!
BOSOLA: [aside] If that these apricocks should be poison'd now,
Without my knowledge!
SERVANT 1: There was taken even now a Switzer in the duchess' bed-chamber--
SERVANT 2: A Switzer!
SERVANT 1: With a pistol in his great cod-piece.
BOSOLA: Ha, ha, ha!
SERVANT 1: The cod-piece was the case for't.
SERVANT 2: There was a cunning traitor; who would
have search'd his cod-piece?
SERVANT 1: True, if he had kept out of the ladies' chambers:
and all the moulds of his buttons were leaden bullets.
SERVANT 2: O, wicked cannibal! a firelock in's codpiece!
SERVANT 1: 'Twas a French plot, upon my life.
SERVANT 2: To see what the devil can do!
ANTONIO: Are all the officers here?
SERVANTS: We are.
We have lost much plate you know; and but this evening
Jewels, to the value of four thousand ducats,
Are missing in the duchess' cabinet.
Are the gates shut?
SERVANT 1: Yes.
ANTONIO: 'Tis the duchess' pleasure
Each officer be lock'd into his chamber
Till the sun-rising; and to send the keys
Of all their chests, and of their outward doors
Into her bed-chamber. She is very sick.
RODERIGO: At her pleasure.
ANTONIO: She entreats you tak't not ill: the innocent
Shall be the more approv'd by it.
BOSOLA: Gentlemen o'th' wood-yard, where's your Switzer now?
SERVANT 1: By this hand 'twas credibly reported by one o'th' blackguard.
DELIO: How fares it with the duchess?
ANTONIO: She's expos'd
Unto the worst of torture, pain and fear.
DELIO: Speak to her all happy comfort.
ANTONIO: How I do play the fool with mine own danger!
You are this night, dear friend, to post to Rome:
My life lies in your service.
DELIO: Do not doubt me.
ANTONIO: O, 'tis far from me! and yet fear presents me
Somewhat that looks like danger.
DELIO: Believe it,
'Tis but the shadow of your fear, no more:
How superstitiously we mind our evils!
The throwing down salt, or crossing of a hare,
Bleeding at nose, the stumbling of a horse,
Or singing of a cricket, are of power
To daunt whole man in us. Sir, fare you well:
I wish you all the joys of a blest father;
And, for my faith, lay this unto your breast,
Old friends, like old swords, still are trusted best.
CARIOLA: Sir, you are the happy father of a son:
Your wife commends him to you.
ANTONIO: Blessed comfort!
For heaven' sake tend her well: I'll presently
Go set a figure for's nativity.