The Case is Altered/Act III Scene IV

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Nuntius, Count.

Nun. See, here's the count Ferneze, I will tell him

The hapless accident of his brave son,

That he may seek the sooner to redeem him.

[Exit Jaques.]

God save your lordship.

Count. You are right welcome, sir.

Nun. I would I brought such news as might deserve it.

Count. What! bring you me ill news?

Nun. 'Tis ill, my lord,

Yet such as usual chance of war affords,

And for which all men are prepar'd that use it,

And those that use it not but in their friends,

Or in their children.

Count. Ill news of my son,

My dear and only son, I'll lay my soul!

Ah me accurs'd! thought of his death doth wound me,

And the report of it will kill me quite.

Nun. 'Tis not so ill, my lord.

Count. How then?

Nun. He's taken prisoner, and that's all.

Count. That's enough, enough;

I set my thoughts on love, on servile love,

Forget my virtuous wife, feel not the dangers,

The bands and wounds of my own flesh and blood,

And therein am a madman; therein plagu'd

With the most just affliction under heaven.

Is Maximilian taken prisoner too?

Nun. No, good my lord; he is return'd with prisoners.

Count. Is't possible! can Maximilian

Return and view my face without my son,

For whom he swore such care as for himself?

Nun. My lord, no care can change the events of war.

Count. O in what tempests do my fortunes sail!

Still wrack'd with winds more foul and contrary

Than any northern gust, or southern flawe,

That ever yet inforc'd the sea to gape,

And swallow the poor merchant's traffick up.

First in Vicenza lost I my first son,

Next here in Milan my most dear lov'd lady,

And now my Paulo prisoner to the French;

Which last being printed with my other griefs,

Doth make so huge a volume, that my breast

Cannot contain them. But this is my love;

I must make love to Rachel: heaven hath thrown

This vengeance on me most deservedly,

Were it for nought but wronging of my steward.

Nun. My lord, since only money may redress

The worst of this misfortune, be not griev'd;

Prepare his ransom, and your noble son

Shall greet your cheared eyes with the more honour.

Count. I will prepare his ransom; gracious heaven

Grant his imprisonment may be his worst,

Honour'd and soldier-like imprisonment,

And that he be not manacled and made

A drudge to his proud foe. And here I vow,

Never to dream of seemless amorous toys,

Nor aim at other joy on earth,

But the fruition of mine only son.