The Maid's Tragedy
The source document of this text is not known.
Please see this document's talk page for details for verification. "Source" means a location at which other users can find a copy of this work. Ideally this will be a scanned copy of the original that can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and proofread. If not, it is preferably a URL; if one is not available, please explain on the talk page.
Act 1 Scene 1 An Apartment in the Palace. Scene 2 A large Hall in the same, with a Gallery full of Spectators.
Act 2 Scene 1 Antechamber to Evadne's Bedroom in the Palace. Scene 2 An Apartment in the Citadel.
Act 3 Scene 1 Antechamber to Evadne's Bedroom in the Palace. Scene 2 A Room in the Palace
Act 4 Scene 1 The Apartment of Evadne in the Palace. Scene 2 The Presence Chamber.
Act 5 Scene 1 A Room in the Palace. Scene 2 The Bedchamber. The King discovered in Bed, sleeping. Scene 3 Before the Citadel. Scene 4 Antechamber to Evadne's Apartments in the Palace.
Dramatis Personæ KING. LYSIPPUS, Brother to the King. AMINTOR, a noble Gentleman. NIELANTIUS, DIPHILUS, Brothers to Evadne. CALIANAX, an old humorous Lord, and Father to Aspatia. CLEON, STRATO, Gentlemen. DIAGORAS, a Servant to Calianax.
EVADNE, Sister to Melantius and Wife to Amintor. ASPATIA, The troth-plight Wife to Amintor. ANTIPHILA, OLYMPIAS, Waiting-Gentlewomen to Aspatia. DULA, Waiting-Woman to Evadne. Ladies.
NIGHT, CYNTHIA, NEPTUNE, AEOLUS, Sea Gods, Masquers. SCENE: The City of Rhodes.
Act 1, Scene I Scene: An Apartment in the Palace. Enter CLEON, STRATO, LYSIPPUS, and DIPHILUS. Cleon: The rest are making ready, sir.
Lysippus: So let them; There's time enough.
Diphilus: You are the brother to the king, my lord; We'll take your word.
Lysippus: Strato, thou hast some skill in poetry: What think'st thou of the masque? will it be well?
Strato: As well as masque can be.
Lysippus: As masque can be?
Strato: Yes; they must commend their king, and speak in praise Of the assembly; bless the bride and bridegroom In person of some god. They are tied to rules Of flattery.
Cleon: See, good my lord, who is return'd!
Lysippus: Noble Melantius! The land, by me, Welcomes thy virtues home to Rhodes. Thou, that with blood abroad buy'st us our peace! The breath of kings is like the breath of gods; My brother wish'd 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 his, or all the world's.
Melantius: My lord, my thanks; but these scratch'd limbs of mine Have spoke my love and truth unto my friends, More than my tongue e'er 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.
Diphilus: Hail, worthy brother! He, that rejoices not at your return In safety, is mine enemy for ever.
Melantius: I thank thee, Diphilus. But thou art faulty; I sent for thee to exercise thine arms With me at Patria: Thou camest not, Diphilus; 'Twas ill.
Diphilus: My noble brother, my excuse Is my king's strict command; which you, my lord, Can witness with me.
Lysippus: 'Tis true, Melantius; He might not come, till the solemnity Of this great match was past.
Diphilus: Have you heard of it?
Melantius: Yes. I have given cause to those that envy My deeds abroad, to call me gamesome: I have no other business here at Rhodes.
Lysippus: We have a masque to-night, and you must tread A soldier's measure.
Melantius: These soft and silken wars are not for me: The music must be shrill, and all confused, That stirs my blood; and then I dance with arms. But is Amintor wed?
Diphilus: This day.
Melantius: All joys 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 returned (as, without boast, I brought home conquest) he would gaze upon me, And view me round, to find in what one limb The virtue 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.] Hail, maid and wife! Thou fair Aspatia, may the holy knot That thou hast tied to-day, last till the hand Of age undo it! may'st thou bring a race Unto Amintor, that may fill the world Successively with soldiers! Aspatia: My hard fortunes Deserve not scorn; for I was never proud When they were good.
Melantius: How's this?
Lysippus: You are mistaken, For she is not married.
Melantius. You said Amintor was. Diphilus. 'Tis true; but—— Melantius. Pardon me, I did receive Letters at Patria from my Amintor, That he should marry her. Diphilus. And so it stood In all opinion long: but your arrival Made me imagine you had heard the change. Melantius. Who hath he taken then? Lysippus. A lady, sir, That bears the light about her, and strikes dead With flashes of her eye: the fair Evadne, Your virtuous sister. Melantius. Peace of heart betwixt them! But this is strange. Lysippus. The king my brother did it To honour you; and these solemnities Are at his charge. Melantius. 'Tis royal, like himself. But I am sad My speech bears so unfortunate a sound To beautiful Aspatia. There is rage Hid in her father's 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? Lysippus. Yes. But this lady Walks discontented, with her watery 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 strew 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'll send them weeping, one by one, away. Melantius. She has a brother under my command, Like her; a face as womanish as hers; But with a spirit that hath much outgrown The number of his years. Enter AMINTOR. Cleon. My lord, the bridegroom! Melantius. 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 disordered speech Cuts off my love. Amintor. 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 thine innocence! What endless treasures would our enemies give, That I might hold thee still thus! Melantius. I am but poor In words; but credit me, young man, thy mother Could do no more but weep for joy to see thee After long absence: All the wounds I have Fetch'd not so much away, nor all the cries Of widowed mothers. But this is peace, And that was war. Amintor. Pardon, thou holy god Of marriage bed, and frown not, I am forced, In answer of such noble tears as those, To weep upon my wedding-day. Melantius. I fear thou'rt grown too fickle; for I hear A lady mourns for thee; men say, to death; Forsaken of thee; on what terms I know not. Amintor. She had my promise; but the king forbade it, And made me make this worthy change, thy sister, Accompanied with graces far above her; With whom I long to lose my lusty youth, And grow old in her arms. Melantius. Be prosperous! Enter Messenger. Messenger. My lord, the masquers rage for you. Lysippus. We are gone. Cleon, Strato, Diphilus— [Exeunt Lysippus, Cleon, Sirato, and Diphilus. Amintor. We'll all attend you.—We shall trouble you With our solemnities. Melantius. Not so, Amintor: But if you laugh at my rude carriage In peace, I'll 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 says; 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. [Exeunt severally. Act 1, Scene II Scene: A large Hall in the same, with a Gallery full of Spectators. Enter CALIANAX, with DIAGORAS at the Door. Calianax. 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. Diagoras. Why do you swear so, my lord? You know, he'll have it here. Calianax. By this light, if he be wise, he will not. Diagoras. And if he will not be wise, you are forsworn. Calianax. One may wear out his heart with swearing, and get thanks on no side. I'll be gone—look to't who will. Diagoras. My lord, I shall never keep them out. Pray, stay; your looks will terrify them. Calianax. My looks terrify them, you coxcombly ass, you! I'll be judged by all the company whether thou hast not a worse face than I. Diagoras. I mean, because they know you and your office. Calianax. Office! I would I could put it off; I am sure I sweat quite through my office. I might have made room at my daughter's wedding: they have near kill'd her among them; and now I must do service for him that hath forsaken her. Serve that will. [Exit. Diagoras. He's so humorous since his daughter was forsaken—Hark, hark! there, there! so, so! Codes, codes! [Knock within.] What now? Melantius. [within.] Open the door. Diagoras. Who's there? Melantius. [within.] Melantius. Diagoras. I hope your lordship brings no troop with you; for, if you do, I must return them. [Opens the door. Persons endeavour to rush in. Enter MELANTIUS and a Lady. Melantius. None but this lady, sir. Diagoras. The ladies are all placed above, save those that come in the king's troop: The best of Rhodes sit there, and there's room. Melantius. I thank you, sir.—When I have seen you placed, madam, I must attend the king; but, the masque done, I'll wait on you again. [Exit with the Lady into the gallery. Diagoras. Stand back there!—Room for my lord Melantius!—pray, bear back—this is no place for such youths and their trulls—let the doors shut again.—No!—do your heads itch? I'll scratch them for you. [shuts the door.]—So, now thrust and hang. [Knocking.] 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? [Within.] I pray you, can you help me to the speech of the master-cook? Diagoras. If I open the door, I'll cook some of your calves-heads. Peace, rogues! [Knocking.]—Again! who is't? Melantius. [within.] Melantius. Enter CALIANAX. Calianax. Let him not in. Diagoras. O, my lord, I must.—Make room there for my lord. Enter MELANTIUS. Is your lady placed? [To Melantius. Melantius. Yes, sir. I thank you.—My Lord Calianax, well met. Your causeless hate to me, I hope, is buried. Calianax. 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. Melantius. You do me wrong, A most unmanly one, and I am slow In taking vengeance! But be well advised. Calianax. It may be so.—Who placed the lady there, So near the presence of the king? Melantius. I did. Calianax. My lord, she must not sit there. Melantius. Why? Calianax. The place is kept for women of more worth. Melantius. More worth than she? It misbecomes your age And place, to be thus womanish. Forbear! What you have spoke, I am content to think The palsy shook your tongue to. Calianax. Why, 'tis well If I stand here to place men's wenches. Melantius. I shall forget this place, thy age, my safety, And, thorough all, cut that poor sickly week, Thou hast to live, away from thee. Calianax. Nay, I know you can fight for your whore. Melantius. Bate the king, and be he flesh and blood, He lies, that says it! Thy mother at fifteen Was black and sinful to her. Diagoras. Good my lord! Melantius. Some god pluck threescore years from that fond man, That I may kill him and not stain mine honour. It is the curse of soldiers, that in peace They shall be braved 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, Should'st thou say more! This Rhodes, I see, is nought But a place privileged to do men wrong. Calianax. Ay, you may say your pleasure. Enter AMINTOR. Amintor. What vile injury Has stirr'd my worthy friend, who is as slow To fight with words as he is quick of hand? Melantius. That heap of age, which I should reverence If it were temperate: but testy years Are most contemptible. Amintor. Good sir, forbear. Calianax. There is just such another as yourself. Amintor. 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 hastened him. Calianax. Make room there! [Hautboys 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, join hands. Calianax. He shall not have my hand. King. This is no time To force you to it. I do love you both: Calianax, you look well to your office; And you, Melantius, are welcome home.— Begin the masque! Melantius. Sister, I joy to see you, and your choice. You look'd with my eyes when you took that man: Be happy in him! [Recorders play. Evadne. O, my dearest brother! Your presence is more joyful than this day Can be unto me. THE MASQUE. NIGHT rises in mists. Night. Our reign is come; for in the raging sea The sun is drown'd, and with him fell the Day. Bright Cynthia, hear my voice; I am the Night, For whom thou bear'st about thy borrow'd light. Appear; no longer thy pale visage shroud, But strike thy silver horns quite 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. Enter CYNTHIA. How dull and black am I! I could not find This beauty without thee, I am so blind. Methinks, they show 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 rays than thou. Cynthia. Great queen, they be a troop for whom alone One of my clearest moons I have put on; A troop, that looks as if thyself and I Had pluck'd our reins 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 outshine the day. Cynthia. Great queen of shadows, you are pleased 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, while our reign 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 brother's 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; Gazed on unto my setting from my rise Almost of none, but of unquiet eyes. Night. 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, Easy and sweet, who is a happy lover. Or, if thou woo't, then call thine own Endymion, From the sweet flowery bed he lies upon, On Latmus' top, thy pale beams drawn away, And of this long night let him make a day. Cynthia. 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. NEPTUNE rises. Neptune. Cynthia, see, Thy word hath fetch'd me hither: Let me know Why I ascend? Cynthia. Doth this majestic show Give thee no knowledge yet? Neptune. Yes, now I see Something intended, Cynthia, worthy thee. Go on: I'll be a helper. Cynthia. Hie thee then, And charge the wind fly from his rocky 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 music. Next, thy watery race Bring on in couples (we are pleased 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. Neptune. Ho! the wind— Commanding Æolus! Enter AEOLUS out of a Rock. Aeolus: Great Neptune?
Aeolus: What is thy will?
Neptune: We do command thee free Favonius, and thy milder winds, to wait Upon our Cynthia; but tie Boreas straight; He's too rebellious. Aeolus. I shall do it. Neptune. Do.—— [Exit Aeolus into the rock and re-enters.]
Æolus. Great master of the flood, and all below, Thy full command has taken.—Ho! the Main! Neptune! Neptune. Here. Æolus. Boreas has broke his chain, And, struggling, with the rest has got away. Neptune. Let him alone, I'll take him up at sea; He will not long be thence. Go once again, And call out of the bottoms of the main Blue Proteus, and the rest; charge them put on Their greatest pearls, and the most sparkling stone The beaten rock breeds; till this night is done By me a solemn honour to the moon. Fly, like a full sail. Æolus. I am gone. Cynthia. Dark Night, Strike a full silence; do a thorough right To this great chorus; that our music may Touch high as Heaven, and make the east break day At mid-night. [Music. SONG.
Cynthia, to thy power and thee,
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 watery powers below;
Let your feet,
Like the gallies when they row,
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 by the Sea-gods. 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 losses 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.
Neptune. Great queen of us and Heaven, Hear what I bring to make this hour a full one, If not o'ermeasure. Cynthia. Speak, sea's king. Neptune. The tunes my Amphitrite joys to have, When they will dance upon the rising wave, And court me as she sails. My Tritons, play Music to lead a storm; I'll lead the way. [Measure. SONG. To bed, to bed; come, Hymen, lead the bride,
And lay her by her husband's 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, kiss'd, and said.
Hesperus be long a-shining, Whilst these lovers are a-twining.
Æolus. Ho! Neptune! Neptune. Æolus! Æolus. The sea goes high, Boreas hath raised a storm: Go and apply Thy trident; else, I prophesy, ere day Many a tall ship will be cast away. Descend with all the gods, and all their power, To strike a calm. Cynthia. 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 wished 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. Neptune. We obey. [Neptune descends, and the Sea-gods. Cynthia. Hold up thy head, dead Night; see'st thou not Day? The cast begins to lighten: I must down, And give my brother place. Night. Oh, I could frown To see the Day, the Day that flings his light Upon my kingdom, and contemns old Night! Let him go on and flame! I hope to see Another wild-fire in his axletree; And all fall drench'd. But I forgot; speak, queen, The day grows on; I must no more be seen. Cynthia. Heave up thy drowsy head again, and see A greater light, a greater majesty, Between our set and us! Whip up thy team! The day-break's here, and yon sun-flaring beam Shot from the south. Say, which way wilt thou go? Night. I'll vanish into mists. Cynthia. I into day. [Exeunt. THE MASQUE ENDS. King. Take lights there!—Ladies, get the bride to bed.— We will not see you laid. Good-night, Amintor; We'll ease you of that tedious ceremony. Were it my case, I should think time run slow. If thou be'st noble, youth, get me a boy, That may defend my kingdom from my foes. Amintor. All happiness to you. King. Good night, Melantius. [Exeunt.
Act 2, Scene I Scene: Antechamber to Evadne's Bedroom in the Palace. Enter EVADNE, ASPATIA, DULA, and other Ladies. Dula. Madam, shall we undress you for this fight? The wars are nak'd that you must make to-night. Evadne. You are very merry, Dula. Dula. I should be merrier far, if 'twere
With me as 'tis with you.
Evadne. How's that? Dula. That I might go to bed with him
With the credit that you do.
Evadne. Why, how now, wench? Dula. Come, ladies, will you help? Evadne. I am soon undone. Dula. And as soon done: Good store of clothes will trouble you at both. Evadne. Art thou drunk, Dula? Dula. Why, here's none but we. Evadne. Thou think'st belike, there is no modesty When we're alone. Dula. Ay, by my troth, you hit my thoughts aright. Evadne. You prick me, lady. Dula. 'Tis against my will. Anon you must endure more, and lie still; You're best to practise. Evadne. Sure, this wench is mad. Dula. No, 'faith, this is a trick that I have had Since I was fourteen. Evadne. 'Tis high time to leave it. Dula. Nay, now I'll keep it, till the trick leave me. A dozen wanton words, put in your head, Will make you livelier in your husband's bed. Evadne. Nay, 'faith, then take it. Dula. Take it, madam? where? We all, I hope, will take it, that are here. Evadne. Nay, then, I'll give you o'er. Dula. So will I make The ablest man in Rhodes, or his heart ache. Evadne. Wilt take my place to-night? Dula. I'll hold your cards 'gainst any two I know. Evadne. What wilt thou do? Dula. Madam, we'll do't, and make 'em leave play too. Evadne. Aspatia, take her part. Dula. I will refuse it. She will pluck down a side; she does not use it. Evadne. Why, do. Dula. You will find the play Quickly, because your head lies well that way. Evadne. I thank thee, Dula. 'Would thou could'st instil Some of thy mirth into Aspatia! Nothing but sad thoughts in her breast do dwell: Methinks, a mean betwixt you would do well. Dula. 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. Aspatia. 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 employed In giving me a spotless offering To young Amintor's 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 Virtue, you safely may forgive that too; For I have lost none that I had from you. Evadne. Nay, leave this sad talk, madam. Aspatia. Would I could! Then should I leave the cause. Evadne. See, if you have not spoil'd all Dula's mirth. Aspatia. Thou think'st thy heart hard; but if thou be'st caught, Remember me; thou shalt perceive a fire Shot suddenly into thee. Dula. That's not so good; let 'em shoot anything But fire, I fear 'em not. Aspatia. Well, wench, thou may'st be taken. Evadne. Ladies, good-night: I'll do the rest myself. Dula. Nay, let your lord do some. Aspatia. [Sings.] Lay a garland on my hearse,
Of the dismal yew.
Evadne. That's one of your sad songs, madam. Aspatia. Believe me, 'tis a very pretty one. Evadne. How is it, madam? SONG, Aspatia. 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 lie
Lightly, gentle earth!
Evadne. 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. SONG. 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 fly; Venus, fix mine eyes fast,
Or if not, give me all that I shall see at last. Evadne. So, leave me now. Dula. Nay, we must see you laid. Aspatia. 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, Inquire 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, farewell. 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 flatt'ring ivy clasp my coffin round; Write on my brow my fortune; let my bier Be borne by virgins that shall sing, by course, The truth of maids, and perjuries of men. Evadne. Alas, I pity thee. [Exit Evadne. All. Madam, good-night. 1 Lady. Come, we'll let in the bridegroom. Dula. Where's my lord? Enter AMINTOR. 1 Lady. Here, take this light. Dula. You'll find her in the dark. 1 Lady. Your lady's scarce a-bed yet; you must help her. Aspatia. Go, and be happy in your lady's love. May all the wrongs, that you have done to me, Be utterly forgotten in my death! I'll trouble you no more; yet I will take A parting kiss, and will not be denied. You'll come, my lord, and see the virgins weep When I am laid in earth, though you yourself Can know no pity. Thus I wind myself Into this willow garland, and am prouder That I was once your love, though now refused, Than to have had another true to me. So with my prayers I leave you, and must try Some yet-unpractised way to grieve and die. [Exit. Dula. Come, ladies, will you go? All. Good-night, my lord. Amintor. Much happiness unto you all!— [Exeunt Ladies.
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 moved me to't;—but he Has not my will in keeping.—Why do I Perplex myself 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 break a promise, And 'twas the king that forced me.—Timorous flesh, Why shak'st thou so?—Away, my idle fears! Enter EVADNE. 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? Evadne. No. Amintor. Come, Come, my love, And let us lose ourselves to one another. Why art thou up so long? Evadne. I am not well. Amintor. To bed, then; let me wind thee in these arms, Till I have banish'd sickness. Evadne. Good my lord, I cannot sleep. Amintor. Evadne, we will watch; I mean no sleeping. Evadne. I'll not go to bed. Amintor. I pr'ythee do. Evadne. I will not for the world. Amintor. Why, my dear love? Evadne. Why? I have sworn I will not. Amintor. Sworn! Evadne. Ay. Amintor. How! sworn, Evadne? Evadne. Yes, Sworn, Amintor; and will swear again, If you will wish to hear me. Amintor. To whom have you sworn this? Evadne. If I should name him, the matter were not great. Amintor. Come, this is but the coyness of a bride. Evadne. The coyness of a bride? Amintor. How prettily that frown becomes thee! Evadne. Do you like it so? Amintor. Thou canst not dress thy face in such a look, But I shall like it. Evadne. What look likes you best? Amintor. Why do you ask? Evadne. That I may show you one less pleasing to you. Amintor. How's that? Evadne. That I may show you one less pleasing to you. Amintor. I pr'ythee, put thy jests in milder looks; It shows as thou wert angry. Evadne. So, perhaps, I am indeed. Amintor. Why, who has done thee wrong? Name me the man, and by thyself I swear, Thy yet-unconquer'd self, I will revenge thee. Evadne. Now I shall try thy truth. If thou dost love me, Thou weigh'st not anything compared with me: Life, honour, joys 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'll kiss the sin Off from thy lips. Amintor. I will not swear, sweet love, Till I do know the cause. Evadne. I would thou would'st. Why, it is thou that wrong'st me; I hate thee; Thou should'st have kill'd thyself. Amintor. If I should know that, I should quickly kill The man you hated. Evadne. Know it then, and do't. Amintor. Oh, no; what look soe'er 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. Evadne. A maidenhead, Amintor, At my years? Amintor. 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. Evadne. Neither, Amintor: Think you I am mad, Because I speak the truth? Amintor. Will you not lie with me to-night? Evadne. To-night! you talk as if I would hereafter. Amintor. Hereafter! yes, I do. Evadne. You are deceived. 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. Amintor. I dream! Awake, Amintor! Evadne. You hear right. I sooner will find out the beds of snakes, And with my youthful blood warm their cold flesh, Letting them curl themselves about my limbs, Than sleep one night with thee. This is not feign'd, Nor sounds it like the coyness of a bride. Amintor. Is flesh so earthly to endure all this? Are these the joys 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 smoke In praise of thee; we will adopt us sons; Then virtue shall inherit, and not blood. If we do lust, we'll take the next we meet, Serving ourselves 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. O, pardon me, my love! So dear the thoughts are that I hold of thee, That I must break forth. Satisfy my fear; It is a pain, beyond the hand of death, To be in doubt: Confirm it with an oath, If this be true. Evadne. 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? Amintor. I know too much. Would I had doubted still! Was ever such a marriage night as this! Ye powers above, if you did ever mean Man should be used 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? Evadne. This rage will do no good. Amintor. Evadne, hear me: Thou hast ta'en 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 virtuous in this isle, That would have shunn'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 woman! 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 joys thou hast; I know thou wilt; And make me careful, lest the sudden change O'ercome my spirits. Evadne. When I call back this oath, The pains of hell environ me! Amintor. I sleep, and am too temperate! Come to bed! Or by those hairs, which, if thou hadst a soul Like to thy locks, were threads for kings to wear About their arms—— Evadne. Why, so, perhaps, they are. Amintor. I'll drag thee to my bed, and make thy tongue Undo this wicked oath, or on thy flesh I'll print a thousand wounds to let out life! Evadne. I fear thee not. Do what thou dar'st to me! Every ill-sounding word, or threatening look, Thou show'st to me, will be revenged at full. Amintor. It will not, sure, Evadne? Evadne. Do not you hazard that. Amintor. Have you your champions? Evadne. Alas, Amintor, think'st thou I forbear To sleep with thee, because I have put on A maiden's strictness? Look upon these cheeks, And thou shalt find the hot and rising blood Unapt for such a vow. No; in this heart There dwells as much desire, and as much will To put that wish'd 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'er 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. Amintor. 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. Evadne. You dare not strike him. Amintor. Do not wrong me so. Yes, if his body were a poisonous plant, That it were death to touch, I have a soul Will throw me on him. Evadne. Why, it is the king. Amintor. The king! Evadne. What will you do now? Amintor. 'Tis not the king! Evadne. What did he make this match for, dull Amintor? Amintor. Oh, thou hast named 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 when let us Suffer, and wait. Evadne. Why should you fill yourself so full of heat, And haste so to my bed? I am no virgin. Amintor. What devil put it in thy fancy, then! To marry me? Evadne. Alas, I must have one To father children, and to bear the name Of husband to me, that my sin may be More honourable. Amintor. What a strange thing am I! Evadne. A miserable one; one that myself Am sorry for. Amintor. Why, show 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 cross'd in their desires, Shall bless thy memory, and call thee good; Because such mercy in thy heart was found, To rid a ling'ring wretch. Evadne. I must have one To fill thy room again, if thou wert dead; Else, by this night, I would: I pity thee. Amintor. These strange and sudden injuries have fallen So thick upon me, that I lose all sense Of what they are. Methinks I am not wrong'd: Nor is it aught, 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 thyself. Evadne. To cover shame, I took thee; never fear That I would blaze myself. Amintor. Nor let the king Know I conceive he wrongs me; then mine honour Will thrust me into action, though my flesh Could bear with patience. And it is some ease To me in these extremes, that I knew this Before I touch'd 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 left one desire: 'tis not his crown Shall buy me to thy bed, now I resolve, He has dishonoured thee. Give me thy hand; Be careful of thy credit, and sin close; 'Tis all I wish. Upon thy chamber-floor I'll rest to-night, that morning-visitors May think we did as married people use. And, pr'ythee, smile upon me when they come, And seem to toy, as if thou hadst been pleased With what we did. Evadne. Fear not; I will do this. Amintor. Come, let us practise: and as wantonly As ever loving bride and bridegroom met, Let's laugh and enter here. Evadne. I am content. Amintor. Down all the swellings of my troubled heart! When we walk thus intwined, let all eyes see If ever lovers better did agree. [Exeunt.
Act 2, Scene II Scene: An Apartment in the Citadel. Enter ASPATIA, ANTIPHILA, and OLYMPIAS. Aspatia. 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! Antiphila. Yes, madam, to your grief. Aspatia. Alas, poor wenches! Go learn to love first; learn to lose yourselves; Learn to be flatter'd, and believe, and bless The double tongue that did it. Make a faith Out of the miracles of ancient lovers, Such as speak truth, and died in't, and, like me, Believe all faithful, and be miserable. Did you ne'er love yet, wenches? Speak, Olympias; Thou hast an easy temper, fit for stamp. Olympias. Never. Aspatia. Nor you, Antiphila? Amintor. Nor I. Aspatia. Then, my good girls, be more than women, wise: At least be more than I was; and be sure You credit anything 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, (Forced 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, let's be sad, my girls! That down-cast of thine eye, Olympias, Shows a fine sorrow. Mark, Antiphila; Just such another was the nymph Œnone, 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 tied 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! Show me the piece of needlework you wrought. Antiphila. Of Ariadne, madam? Aspatia. Yes, that piece.— This should be Theseus; he has a cozening face: You meant him for a man? Antiphila. He was so, madam. Aspatia. 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? Antiphila. Not as I remember. Aspatia. It should have 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 express'd; just such another caught me! You shall not go [on] so, Antiphila: In this place work a quicksand, And over it a shallow smiling water, And his ship ploughing it; and then a Fear: Do that Fear to the life, wench. Antiphila. 'Twill wrong the story. Aspatia. 'Twill make the story, wrong'd by wanton poets, Live long, and be believed. But where's the lady? Antiphila. There, madam. Aspatia. Fie! you have miss'd it here, Antiphila; You are much mistaken, wench: These colours are not dull and pale enough To show a soul so full of misery As this sad lady's was. Do it by me; Do it again, by me, the lost Aspatia, And you shall find all true but the wild island. Suppose I stand upon the sea-beach now, Mine arms thus, and mine hair blown with the wind, Wild as that desart; and let all about me Be teachers of my story. Do my face (If thou hadst ever feeling of a sorrow) Thus, thus, Antiphila: Strive to make me look Like Sorrow's monument! And the trees about me, Let them be dry and leafless; let the rocks Groan with continual surges; and, behind me, Make all a desolation. Look, look, wenches! A miserable life of this poor picture! Olympias. Dear madam! Aspatia. 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. Calianax. The king may do this, and he may not do it: My child is wrong'd, disgraced.—Well, how now, huswives! What, at your ease? Is this a time to sit still? Up, you young lazy whores, up, or I'll swinge you! Olympias. Nay, good my lord. Calianax. You'll lie down shortly. Get you in, and work! What, are you grown so resty you want heats? We shall have some of the court-boys heat you shortly. Antiphila. My lord, we do no more than we are charged. It is the lady's pleasure we be thus In grief: she is forsaken. Calianax. There's a rogue too! A young dissembling slave! Well, get you in! I'll 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 soldier; I'll maul that rascal; he has out-braved me twice: But now, I thank the gods, I am valiant.— Go, get you in! I'll take a course with all. [Exeunt.
Act 3, Scene I Scene: Antechamber to Evadne's Bedroom in the Palace. Enter CLEON, STRATO, and DIPHILUS. Cleon. Your sister is not up yet. Diphilus. Oh, brides must take their morning's rest; the night is troublesome. Strato. But not tedious. Diphilus. What odds, he has not my sister's maidenhead to-night? Strato. No; it's odds, against any bridegroom living, he ne'er gets it while he lives. Diphilus. You're merry with my sister; you'll please to allow me the same freedom with your mother. Strato. She's at your service. Diphilus. Then she's merry enough of herself; she needs no tickling. Knock at the door. Strato. We shall interrupt them. Diphilus. No matter; they have the year before them.—Good-morrow, sister! Spare yourself to-day; the night will come again. Enter AMINTOR. Amintor. Who's there? my brother! I'm no readier yet. Your sister is but now up. Diphilus. You look as you had lost your eyes to-night: I think you have not slept. Amintor. I'faith I have not. Diphilus. You have done better, then. Amintor. We ventured for a boy: When he is twelve, He shall command against the foes of Rhodes. Shall we be merry? Strato. You cannot; you want sleep. Amintor. 'Tis true.—But she, [Aside. As if she had drank Lethe, or had made Even with Heaven, did fetch so still a sleep, So sweet and sound—— Diphilus. What's that? Amintor. 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. Diphilus. Then I had lost: I was about to lay You had not got her maidenhead to-night. Amintor. Ha! he does not mock me? [Aside.]—You had lost, indeed; I do not use to bungle. Cleon. You do deserve her. Amintor. I laid my lips to hers, and that wild breath, That was so rude and rough to me last night, Was sweet as April.—I'll be guilty too, If these be the effects. [Aside. Enter MELANTIUS. Melantius. Good day, Amintor! for, to me, the name Of brother is too distant: We are friends. And that is nearer. Amintor. Dear Melantius! Let me behold thee. Is it possible? Melantius. What sudden gaze is this? Amintor. 'Tis wond'rous strange! Melantius. Why does thine eye desire so strict a view Of that it knows so well? There's nothing here That is not thine. Amintor. I wonder, much, Melantius, To see those noble looks, that make me think How virtuous 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—— Melantius. Stay, stay, my friend; I fear this sound will not become our loves. No more; embrace me. Amintor. 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 changed 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.—Oh, how near am I To utter my sick thoughts! [Aside. Melantius. But why, my friend, should I be so by nature? Amintor. I have wed thy sister, who hath virtuous thoughts Enough for one whole family; and, 'tis strange That you should feel no want. Melantius. Believe me, this compliment's too cunning for me. Diphilus. What should I be then, by the course of nature, They having both robb'd me of so much virtue? Strato. Oh, call the bride, my lord Amintor, That we may see her blush, and turn her eyes down: 'Tis the prettiest sport! Amintor. Evadne! Evadne. [within.] My lord! Amintor. Come forth, my love! Your brothers do attend to wish you joy. Evadne. I am not ready yet. Amintor. Enough, enough. Evadne. They'll mock me. Amintor. 'Faith, thou shalt come in. Enter EVADNE. Melantius. 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. Diphilus. Oh, sister, what have you done? Evadne. I done! why, what have I done? Strato. My lord Amintor swears you are no maid now. Evadne. Pish! Strato. I'faith, he does. Evadne. I knew I should be mock'd. Diphilus. With a truth. Evadne. If 'twere to do again, In faith, I would not marry, Amintor. Nor I, by heaven! [Aside. Diphilus. Sister, Dula swears She heard you cry two rooms off. Evadne. Fie, how you talk! Diphilus. Let's see you walk, Evadne. By my troth, You are spoil'd. Melantius. Amintor! Amintor. Ha? Melantius. Thou art sad. Amintor. Who, I? I thank you for that. Shall Diphilus, thou, and I, sing a catch? Melantius. How! Amintor. Pr'ythee, let's. Melantius. Nay, that's too much the other way. Amintor. I am so lightened with my happiness! How dost thou, love? kiss me. Evadne. I cannot love you, you tell tales of me. Amintor. Nothing but what becomes us.—Gentlemen, 'Would you had all such wives, and all the world, That I might be no wonder! You are all sad: What, do you envy me? I walk, methinks, On water, and ne'er sink, I am so light. Melantius. 'Tis well you are so. Amintor. Well? how can I be other, When she looks thus?—Is there no music there? Let's dance. Melantius. Why, this is strange, Amintor! Amintor. I do not know myself; yet I could wish My joy were less. Diphilus. I'll marry too, if it will make one thus. Evadne. Amintor, hark. [Aside. Amintor. What says my love?—I must obey. Evadne. You do it scurvily, 'twill be perceived. [Apart to him. Cleon. My lord, the king is here. Enter KING and LYSIPPUS. Amintor. Where? Strato. 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 another's. How liked you your night's rest? Evadne. Ill, sir. Amintor. Ay, 'deed, She took but little. Lysippus. You'll let her take more, And thank her too, shortly. King. Amintor, wert Thou truly honest till thou wert married. Amintor. Yes, sir. King. Tell me, then, how shows the sport unto thee? Amintor. Why, well. King. What did you do? Amintor. No more, nor less, than other couples use; You know what 'tis; it has but a coarse name. King. But, pr'ythee, I should think, by her black eye, And her red check, she should be quick and stirring In this same business; ha? Amintor. I cannot tell; I ne'er try'd other, sir; but I perceive She is as quick as you delivered. King. Well, you will trust me then, Amintor, To chuse a wife for you again? Amintor. No, never, sir. King. Why? like you this so ill? Amintor. 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 do hope we shall draw out A long contented life together here, And die both, full of grey hairs, in one day: For which the thanks are 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. [Exeunt all but the King, Amintor, and Evadne. I have some speech with you, that may concern Your after living well. Amintor. [aside.] 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? Amintor. Sir, I dare trust my wife with whom she dares To talk, and not be jealous. [Evadne and the King speak apart. King. How do you like Amintor? Evadne. As I did, sir. King. How is that? Evadne. 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. Evadne. How, sir? King. This subtle woman's ignorance Will not excuse you thou hast taken oaths, So great, methought, they did not well become A woman's mouth, that thou wouldst ne'er enjoy A man but me. Evadne. I never did swear so; You do me wrong. King. Day and night have heard it. Evadne. 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 my eyes. But, if I ever yet Touch'd any other, leprosy 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. Evadne. Why, 'tis 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. Evadne. I have not. King. Impudence! he says himself so. Evadne. He lies. King. He does not. Evadne. By this light he does, Strangely and basely! and I'll 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. Evadne. I am 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 uncontrolled thoughts That youth brings with him, when his blood is high With expectation, and desire 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 ruin 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. Evadne. 'Tis dissembling. King. Take him! farewell! henceforth I am thy foe; And what disgraces I can blot thee with look for. Evadne. Stay, sir!—Amintor!—You shall hear.—Amintor! Amintor. [coming forward.] What, my love? Evadne. Amintor, thou hast an ingenuous look, And shouldst be virtuous: It amazeth me, That thou canst make such base malicious lies! Amintor. What, my dear wife! Evadne. Dear wife! I do despise thee. Why, nothing can be baser than to sow Dissension amongst lovers. Amintor. Lovers! who? Evadne. The king and me. Amintor. O, God! Evadne. Who should live long, and love without distaste, Were it not for such pickthanks as thyself. Did you lie with me? Swear now, and be, punish'd In hell for this! Amintor. The faithless sin I made To fair Aspatia, is not yet revenged; It follows me.—I will not lose a word To this vile woman: But to you, my king, The anguish of my soul thrusts out this truth, You are a tyrant! And not so much to wrong An honest man thus, as to take a pride In talking with him of it. Evadne. Now, sir, see How loud this fellow lied. Amintor. 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? Is it not death? Nor can that satisfy, Unless I send your limbs through all the land, To show how nobly I have freed myself. King. Draw not thy sword: thou know'st I cannot fear A subject's hand; but thou shalt feel the weight Of this, if thou dost rage. Amintor. The weight of that! If you have any worth, for Heaven's sake, think I fear not swords; for as you are mere 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 murder 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 chuse out me To make thus wretched? There were thousand fools Easy to work on, and of state enough, Within the island. Evadne. I would not have a fool; It were no credit for me. Amintor. Worse and worse! Thou, that dar'st talk unto thy husband thus, Profess thyself 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'en Another. King. No; for I believe thee honest, As thou wert valiant. Amintor. All the happiness Bestowed 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. Amintor. A bawd! Hold, 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 I leave you. [Exit King. Evadne. You must needs be prating; And see what follows. Amintor. Pr'ythee, vex me not! Leave me: I am afraid some sudden start Will pull a murder on me. Evadne. I am gone; I love my life well. [Exit Evadne. Amintor. 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. [Exit.
Act 3, Scene II Scene: A Room in the Palace. Enter MELANTIUS. Melantius. I'll know the cause of all Amintor's griefs, Or friendship shall be idle. Enter CALIANAX. Calianax. O Melantius, My daughter will die. Melantius. Trust me, I am sorry. Would thou hadst ta'en her room! Calianax. Thou art a slave, A cut-throat slave, a bloody treacherous slave! Melantius. Take heed, old man; thou wilt be heard to rave, And lose thine offices. Calianax. I am valiant grown, At all these years, and thou art but a slave! Melantius. Leave! Some company will come, and I respect Thy years, not thee, so much, that I could wish To laugh at thee alone. Calianax. I'll spoil your mirth: I mean to fight with thee. There lie, my cloak! This was my father's sword, and he durst fight. Are you prepared? Melantius. Why wilt thou dote thyself 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. Calianax. You have a name in war, where you stand safe Amongst a multitude; but I will try What you dare do unto a weak old man In single fight. You will give ground, I fear. Come, draw. Melantius. I will not draw, unless thou pull'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. Calianax. [aside.] 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 testy trick I had, 'mongst cowards, but durst never fight. Melantius. I will not promise to preserve your life, If you do stay. Calianax. I would give half my land That I durst fight with that proud man a little. If I had men to hold him, I would beat him Till he ask'd me mercy. Melantius. Sir, will you be gone? Calianax. I dare not stay; but I'll go home, and beat My servants all over for this. [Exit Calianax. Melantius. This old fellow haunts me! But the distracted carriage of my Amintor Takes deeply on me: I will find the cause. I fear his conscience cries, he wrong'd Aspatia. Enter AMINTOR. Amintor. Men's eyes are not so subtle to perceive My inward misery: I bear my grief Hid from the world. How art thou wretched then? For aught 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. Melantius. Amintor, we have not enjoy'd our friendship of late, For we were wont to change our souls in talk. Amintor. Melantius, I can tell thee a good jest Of Strato and a lady the last day. Melantius. How was't? Amintor. Why, such an odd one! Melantius. I have long'd to speak with you; Not of an idle jest, that's forced, but of matter You are bound to utter to me. Amintor. What is that, my friend? Melantius. I have observed your words Fall from your tongue wildly; and all your carriage Like one that strove to show his merry mood, When he were ill disposed: 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'er with smiles, and 'twill not be. What is it? Amintor. A sadness here! what cause Can fate provide for me, to make me so? Am I not loved 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 checks Inevitable colour, in her heart A prison for all virtue? Are not you, Which is above all joys, 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 unexpress'd a joy In chaste embraces, that you will indeed Appear another. Melantius. You may shape, Amintor, Causes to cozen the whole world withal, And yourself 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 hear? a friend Is nothing. Heaven, I would have told that man My secret sins! I'll search an unknown land, And there plant friendship; all is wither'd here. Come with a compliment! I would have fought, Or told my friend “he lied,” ere sooth'd him so. Out of my bosom! Amintor. But there is nothing—— Melantius. Worse and worse! farewell! From this time have acquaintance, but no friend. Amintor. Melantius, stay: You shall know what it is. Melantius. See, how you play'd with friendship! Be advised How you give cause unto yourself to say, You have lost a friend. Amintor. Forgive what I have done; For I am so o'ergone with injuries Unheard of, that I lose consideration Of what I ought to do. Oh, oh! Melantius. Do not weep. What is it? May I once but know the man Hath turn'd my friend thus! Amintor. I had spoke at first, But that—— Melantius. But what? Amintor. I held it most unfit For you to know. 'Faith, do not know it yet. Melantius. Thou see'st my love, that will keep company With thee in tears I hide nothing, then, from me: For when I know the cause of thy distemper, With mine old armour I'll adorn myself, My resolution, and cut through my foes, Unto thy quiet; till I place thy heart As peaceable as spotless innocence. What is it? Amintor. Why, 'tis this——It is too big To get out——Let my tears make way awhile. Melantius. Punish me strangely, Heaven, if he 'scape Of life or fame, that brought this youth to this! Amintor. Your sister—— Melantius. Well said. Amintor. You will wish't unknown, When you have heard it. Melantius. No. Amintor. Is much to blame, And to the king has given her honour up, And lives in whoredom with him. Melantius. How is this? Thou art run mad with injury, indeed; Thou couldst not utter this else. Speak again; For I forgive it freely; tell thy griefs. Amintor. She's wanton: I am loth to say, “a whore,” Though it be true. Melantius. Speak yet again, before mine anger grow Up, beyond throwing down: What are thy griefs? Amintor. By all our friendship, these. Melantius. What, am I tame? After mine actions, shall the name of friend Blot all our family, and stick the brand Of whore upon my sister, unrevenged? My shaking flesh, be thou a witness for me, With what unwillingness I go to scourge This railer, whom my folly hath called 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! Amintor. 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. Melantius. This is base And fearful. They, that use to utter lies, Provide not blows, but words, to qualify The men they wrong'd. Thou hast a guilty cause. Amintor. Thou pleasest me; for so much more like this Will raise my anger up above my griefs, (Which is a passion easier to be borne) And I shall then be happy. Melantius. Take then more, To raise thine anger: 'Tis mere cowardice Makes thee not draw; and I will leave thee dead, However. But if thou art so much press'd With guilt and fear, as not to dare to fight, I'll make thy memory loath'd, and fix a scandal Upon thy name for ever. Amintor. 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. Melantius. Stay awhile.— The name of friend is more than family, Or all the world besides: I was a fool! Thou searching human nature, that didst wake To do me wrong, thou art inquisitive, And thrust'st 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. Amintor. How shall I bear it then, she being so? I fear, my friend, that you will lose me shortly; And I shall do a foul act on myself, Through these disgraces. Melantius. Better half the land Were buried quick together. No, Amintor; Thou shalt have case. Oh, this adulterous king, That drew her to it! Where got he the spirit To wrong me so? Amintor. What is it then to me, If it be wrong to you? Melantius. Why, not so much: The credit of our house is thrown away. But from his iron den I'll waken Death And hurl him on this king! My honesty Shall steel my sword; and on its horrid point I'll wear my cause, that shall amaze the eyes Of this proud man, and be too glittering For him to look on. Amintor. I have quite undone my fame. Melantius. Dry up thy watery 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 thy heart at peace. Amintor. It must not be so. Stay!—Mine eyes would tell How loth I am to this; but, love and tears, Leave me awhile; for I have hazarded All that this world calls happy.—Thou hast wrought A secret from me, under name of friend, Which art could ne'er have found, nor torture wrung From out my bosom: Give it me again, For I will find it, wheresoe'er it lies, Hid in the mortal'st part! Invent a way To give it back. Melantius. Why would you have it back? I will to death pursue him with revenge. Amintor. 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! Melantius. Hear thy friend, that bears More years than thou. Amintor. I will not hear! but draw, Or I—— Melantius. Amintor! Amintor. Draw then; for I am full as resolute As fame and honour can enforce me be! I cannot linger. Draw! Melantius. I do. But is not My share of credit equal with thine, If I do stir? Amintor. No; for it will be call'd Honour in thee to spill thy sister's blood, If she her birth abuse; and, on the king, A brave revenge: But on me, that have walk'd With patience in it, it will fix the name Of fearful cuckold. Oh, that word! Be quick. Melantius. Then join with me. Amintor. I dare not do a sin, or else I would. Be speedy. Melantius. Then dare not fight with me; for that's a sin.— His grief distracts him.—Call thy thoughts again, And to thyself pronounce the name of friend, And see what that will work. I will not fight. Amintor. You must. Melantius. I will be kill'd first. Though my passions Offer'd the like to you, 'tis not this earth Shall buy my reason to it. 'Think awhile, For you are (I must weep when I speak that) Almost besides yourself. Amintor. Oh, my soft temper! So many sweet words from thy sister's 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 dost. Melantius. 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? Amintor. A curse will follow that; but rather live And suffer with me. Melantius. I'll do what worth shall bid me, and no more. Amintor. Faith, I am sick, and desperately I hope; Yet, leaning thus, I feel a kind of case. Melantius. Come, take again your mirth about you. Amintor. I shall never do't. Melantius. I warrant you; look up; we'll walk together; Put thine arm here; all shall be well again. Amintor. Thy love (oh, wretched!) ay, thy love, Melantius! Why, I have nothing else. Melantius. Be merry then. [Exeunt. Re-enter MELANTIUS. Melantius. This worthy young man may do violence Upon himself; but I have cherish'd him To my best power, and sent him smiling from me, To counterfeit again. Sword, hold thine edge; My heart will never fail me. Enter DIPHILUS. Diphilus! Thou com'st as sent. Diphilus. Yonder has been such laughing. Melantius. Betwixt whom ? Diphilus. Why, our sister and the king; I thought their spleens would break; they laugh'd us all Out of the room. Melantius. They must weep, Diphilus. Diphilus. Must they? Melantius. 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. Diphilus. You should not; I would first Mangle myself and find it. Melantius. That was spoke According to our strain. Come, join thy hands to mine, And swear a firmness to what project I Shall lay before thee. Diphilus. You do wrong us both: People hereafter shall not say, there pass'd A bond, more than our loves, to tie our lives And deaths together. Melantius. It is as nobly said as I would wish. Anon I'll tell you wonders: We are wrong'd. Diphilus. But I will tell you now, we'll right ourselves. Melantius. 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!— [Exit Diphilus. I hope my cause is just; I know my blood Tells me it is; and I will credit it. To take revenge, and lose myself 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, Enter CALIANAX. 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. Calianax. 'Tis well; If I durst fight, your tongue would lie at quiet. Melantius. You are touchy without all cause. Calianax. Do, mock me. Melantius. By mine honour I speak truth. Calianax. Honour? where is it? Melantius. 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. Calianax. A suit of me! 'Tis very like it should be granted, sir. Melantius. 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. Calianax. I am in hope thou'rt mad, To talk to me thus. Melantius. But there is a reason To move you to it: I would kill the king, That wrong'd you and your daughter. Calianax. Out, traitor! Melantius. Nay, But stay: I cannot 'scape, the deed once done, Without I have this fort. Calianax. And should I help thee? Now thy treacherous mind betrays itself. Melantius. Come, delay me not; Give me a sudden answer, or already Thy last is spoke I refuse not offer'd love, When it comes clad in secrets. Calianax. [Aside.] 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'll 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. Melantius. Take it.—I know this goes unto the king; But I am arm'd. [Exit Melantius. Calianax. Methinks I feel myself But twenty now again! 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. [Exit.
Act 4, Scene I Scene: The Apartment of Evadne in the Palace. Enter MELANTIUS, EVADNE, and Ladies. Melantius. Save you! Evadne. Save you, sweet brother! Melantius. In my blunt eye, methinks, you look, Evadne—— Evadne. Come, you will make me blush. Melantius. I would, Evadne; I shall displease my ends else. Evadne. You shall, if you commend me; I am bashful. Come, sir, how do I look? Melantius. I would not have your women hear me Break into commendation of you; 'tis not seemly. Evadne. Go, wait in the gallery.—Now speak. [Exeunt Ladies. Melantius. I'll lock the door first. Evadne. Why? Melantius. I will not have your gilded things, that dance In visitation with their Milan skins, Choke up my business. Evadne. You are strangely disposed, sir. Melantius. Good madam, not to make you merry. Evadne. No; If you praise me it will make me sad. Melantius. Such a sad commendation I have for you. Evadne. Brother, the court hath made you witty, And learn to riddle. Melantius. I praise the Court for't: Has it learnt you nothing? Evadne. Me? Melantius. Ay, Evadne; thou art young and handsome, A lady of a sweet complexion, And such a flowing carriage, that it cannot Chuse but inflame a kingdom. Evadne. Gentle brother! Melantius. 'Tis yet in thy repentance, foolish woman, To make me gentle. Evadne. How is this? Melantius. 'Tis base; And I could blush, at these years, thorough all My honour'd scars, to come to such a parley. Evadne. I understand you not. Melantius. You dare not, fool! They, that commit thy faults, fly the remembrance. Evadne. My faults, sir! I would have you know, I care not If they were written here, here in my forehead. Melantius. Thy body is too little for the story; The lusts of which would fill another woman, Though she had twins within her. Evadne. This is saucy: Look you intrude no more! There lies your way. Melantius. Thou art my way, and I will tread upon thee, Till I find truth out. Evadne. What truth is that you look for? Melantius. Thy long-lost honour. 'Would the gods had set me Rather to grapple with the plague, or stand One of their loudest bolts! Come, tell me quickly, Do it without enforcement, and take heed. You swell me not above my temper. Evadne. How, sir. Where got you this report? Melantius. Where there were people, In every place. Evadne. They, and the seconds of it are base people: Believe them not, they lied. Melantius. Do not play with mine anger, do not, wretch! [Seizes her. I come to know that desperate fool that drew thee From thy fair life: Be wise and lay him open. Evadne. Unhand me, and learn manners! Such another Forgetfulness forfeits your life. Melantius. 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'll find him, Though he lie lock'd up in thy blood! Be sudden; There is no facing it, and be not flatter'd! The burnt air, when the Dog reigns, is not fouler Than thy contagious name, till thy repentance (If the gods grant thee any) purge thy sickness. Evadne. Be gone! you are my brother; that's your safety. Melantius. I'll be a wolf first! 'Tis, to be thy brother, An infamy below the sin of coward. I am as far from being part of thee, As thou art from thy virtue: Seek a kindred 'Mongst sensual beasts, and make a goat thy brother? A goat is cooler. Will you tell me yet? Evadne. If you stay here and rail thus, I shall tell you, I'll have you whipp'd! 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. Melantius. You 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, he had safer Bestride a billow, when the angry North Plows up the sea, or made Heaven's fire his food! Work me no higher. Will you discover yet? Evadne. The fellow's mad: Sleep, and speak sense. Melantius. Force my swoll'n heart no further: I would save thee. Your great maintainers are not here, they dare not: Would they were all, and arm'd! 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 snatch meat from a hungry lion, Than come to rescue thee; thou hast death about thee. Who has undone thine honour, poison'd thy virtue, And, of a lovely rose, left thee a canker? Evadne. Let me consider. Melantius. Do, whose child thou wert, Whose honour thou hast murder'd, 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 this scandal. Evadne. The gods are not of my mind; they had better Let 'em lie sweet still in the earth; they'll stink here. Melantius. Do you raise mirth out of my easiness? [Draws. 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'll kill thee; And, when thou hast told all, thou wilt deserve it. Evadne. You will not murder me? Melantius. No; 'tis a justice, and a noble one, To put the light out of such base offenders. Evadne. Help! Melantius. By thy foul self, no human 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? Evadne. Yes. Melantius. Up, and begin your story. Evadne. Oh, I am miserable! Melantius. 'Tis true, thou art. Speak truth still. Evadne. I have offended: Noble sir, forgive me. Melantius. With what secure slave? Evadne. Do not ask me, sir: Mine own remembrance is a misery Too mighty for me. Melantius. Do not fall back again: My sword's unsheathed yet. Evadne. What shall I do? Melantius. Be true, and make your fault less. Evadne. I dare not tell. Melantius. Tell, or I'll be this day a-killing thee. Evadne. Will you forgive me then? Melantius. Stay; I must ask mine honour first.— I have too much foolish nature in me: Speak. Evadne. Is there none else here? Melantius. None but a fearful conscience; that's too many. Who is't? Evadne. Oh, hear me gently. It was the king. Melantius. 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 soldiers' thanks!— How long have you lived thus, Evadne? Evadne. Too long. Melantius. Too late you find it. Can you be sorry? Evadne. Would I were half as blameless. Melantius. Evadne, thou wilt to thy trade again! Evadne. First to my grave. Melantius. 'Would gods thou hadst been so blest. Dost thou not hate this king now? pr'ythee 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. Evadne. No. I feel Too many sad confusions here, to let in Any loose flame hereafter. Melantius. Dost thou not feel, 'mongst all those, one brave anger That breaks out nobly, and directs thine arm To kill this base king? Evadne. All the gods forbid it! Melantius. No; all the gods require it: They are dishonour'd in him. Evadne. 'Tis too fearful. Melantius. You are valiant in his bed, and bold enough To be a stale whore, and have your madam's name Discourse for grooms and pages; and, hereafter, When his cool majesty hath laid you by, To be at pension with some needy sir, For meat and coarser clothes; Thus far you know No fear. Come, you shall kill him. Evadne. Good sir! Melantius. An 'twere to kiss him dead, thou shouldst smother him. Be wise, and kill him. Canst thou live, and know What noble minds shall make thee, see thyself Found out with every finger, made the shame Of all successions, and in this great ruin 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 breathe a full hour longer; not a thought! Come, 'tis a righteous oath. Give me thy hands, 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. Evadne. Here I swear it; And, all you spirits of abused ladies, Help me in this performance! Melantius. 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: ay, as far as justice. Ask me not why. Farewell. [Exit Melantius. Evadne. 'Would I could say so to my black disgrace! Oh, where have I been all this time? how 'friended, That I should lose myself thus desperately, And none for pity show me how I wandered? 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. Oh, my loaden soul, Be not so cruel to me; choke not up The way to my repentance! Oh, my lord! Enter AMINTOR. Amintor. How now? Evadne. My much-abused lord! [Kneels. Amintor. This cannot be! Evadne. 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. Amintor. Stand up. This is a 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 wildness, And do an outrage. Pr'ythee, do not mock me. Evadne. 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. Amintor. Sure I dazzle: There cannot be a faith in that foul woman, That knows no god more mighty than her mischiefs. Thou dost still worse, still number on thy faults, To press my poor heart thus. Can I believe There's any seed of virtue in that woman Left to shoot up, that dares go on in sin, Known, and so known as thine is. Oh, 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 that 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 remembering that I grieve. Evadne. 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 Know to be tougher than the hand of time Can cut from man's remembrance. No, I do not: I do appear the same, the same Evadne, Drest in the shames I lived in: the same monster! But these are names of honour, to what I am: I do present myself the foulest creature, Most poisonous, dangerous, and despised of men, Lerna e'er 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. Amintor. Rise, Evadne. Those heavenly powers that put this good into thee, Grant a continuance of it! I forgive thee: Make thyself 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 playest With thy repentance, the best sacrifice. Evadne. I have done nothing good to win belief, My life hath been so faithless. All the creatures, Made for Heaven's, honours, have their ends, and good ones, All but the cozening crocodiles, false women! They reign here like those plagues, those killing sores, Men pray against; and when they die, like tales Ill told and unbelieved, they pass away And go to dust forgotten! But, my lord, Those short days 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 something that is near it: I will redeem one minute of my age, Or, like another Niobe, I'll weep Till I am water. Amintor. 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, its 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 days. My charity shall go along with thee, Though my embraces must be far from thee. I should have 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 virtues! Go, Evadne; The Gods thus part our bodies. Have a care My honour falls no farther: I am well then. Evadne. All the dear joys here, and, above, hereafter, Crown thy fair soul! Thus I take leave, my lord; And never shall you see the foul Evadne, Till she have tried all honour'd means, that may Set her in rest, and wash her stains away. [Exeunt.
Act 4, Scene II Scene: The Presence Chamber. Banquet—Enter KING and CALIANAX—Hautboys play within. King. I cannot tell how I should credit this From you, that are his enemy. Calianax. I am sure He said it to me; and I'll justify 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 'scape? Calianax. If he deny it, I'll make him blush. King. It sounds incredibly. Calianax. Ay, so does everything I say of late. King. Not so, Calianax. Calianax. 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'll pawn my life I'll find it. If't be false, And that you clothe your hate in such a lie, You shall hereafter dote in your own house, Not in the court. Calianax. Why, if it be a lie, Mine ears are false; for, I'll 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 it. You would have trusted me Once, but the time is alter'd. King. And will still, Where I may do with justice to the world: You have no witness? Calianax. Yes, myself. King. No more, I mean, there were that heard it. Calianax. 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. Calianax. 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. Calianax. And 'tis hard If my word cannot hang a boisterous knave. King. Enough.—Where's Strato? Enter STRATO. Strato. Sir! 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. [Exit Strato. 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. Calianax. Why, if you do think 'Tis fit an old man, and a counsellor, Do fight for what he says, then you may grant it. Enter AMINTOR, EVADNE, MELANTIUS, DIPHILUS, LYSIPPUS, CLEON, STRATO, DIAGORAS. 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 laughter Amongst our wine? Why, Strato, where art thou? Thou wilt chop out with them unseasonably, When I desire them not. Strato. 'Tis my ill luck, sir, so to spend them then. King. Reach me a bowl of wine.—Melantius, thou Art sad. Melantus. I should be, sir, the merriest here, But I have ne'er a story of my own Worth telling at this time. King. Give me the wine. Melantius I am now considering How easy 'twere, for any man we trust, To poison one of us in such a bowl. Melantus. I think it were not hard, sir, for a knave. Calianax. Such as you are. [Aside. King. I'faith, 'twere easy: It becomes us well To get plain-dealing men about ourselves; Such as you all are here.—Amintor, to thee; And to thy fair Evadne. Melantius. Have you thought Of this, Calianax? [Apart to him. Calianax. Yes, marry, have I. Melantus. And what's your resolution? Calianax. You shall have it,— Soundly, I warrant you. King. Reach to Amintor, Strato. Amintor. 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 At the strange desperation of these men, That dare attempt such acts here in our state: He could not 'scape, that did it. Melantius. Were he known, Impossible. King. It would be known, Melantius. Melantus. 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. Calianax. But I! heaven bless me! I! should I, my liege? King. I do not think thou would'st; 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. Melantus. From cobwebs, sir, 'Tis clean swept: I can find no other art In keeping of it now: 'Twas ne'er besieged Since he commanded it. Calianax. I shall be sure Of your good word: But I have kept it safe From such as you. Melantus. Keep your ill temper in: I speak no malice. Had my brother kept it, I should have said as much. King. You are not merry. Brother, drink wine. Sit you all still:—Calianax, [Apart to him. I cannot trust thus: I have thrown out words, That would have fetch'd warm blood upon the cheeks Of guilty men, and he is never moved: He knows no such thing. Calianax. Impudence may 'scape, When feeble virtue is accused. King. He must, If he were guilty, feel an alteration At this our whisper, whilst we point at him: You see he does not. Calianax. Let him hang himself: What care I what he does? This he did say. King. Melantius, you can easily conceive What I have meant; for men that are in fault Can subtly apprehend, when others aim 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. Calianax. Why, this is very fine. Melantius. I cannot tell What 'tis you mean; but I am apt enough Rudely to thrust into an 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. King. Nay, if you stand so stiff I shall call back my mercy. Melantius. I want smoothness To thank a man for pardoning of a crime I never knew. King. Not to instruct your knowledge, but to show you My ears are everywhere, you meant to kill me, And get the fort to 'scape. Melantus. Pardon me, sir; My bluntness will be pardoned: You preserve A race of idle people here about you, Facers and talkers, to defame the worth Of those that do things worthy. The man that utter'd this Had perish'd without food, be't who it will, But for this arm, that fenced him from the foe. And if I thought you gave a faith to this, The plainness of my nature would speak more. Give me a pardon (for you ought to do't) To kill him that spake this. Calianax. Ay, that will be The end of all: Then I am fairly paid For all my care and service. Melantus. That old man, Who calls me enemy, and of whom I (Though I will never match my hate so low) Have no good thought, would yet, I think, excuse me, And swear he thought me wrong'd in this. Calianax. Who—I? Thou shameless fellow! Didst thou not speak to me Of it thyself? Melantius. Oh, then it came from him? Calianax. From me I who should it come from, but from me? Melantus. Nay, I believe your malice is enough: But I have lost my anger.—Sir, I hope You are well satisfied. King. Lysippus, cheer Amintor and his lady; there's no sound Comes from you; I will come and do't myself. Amintor. You have done already, sir, for me, I thank you. [Apart. King. Melantius, I do credit this from him, How slight soe'er you make't. Melantus. 'Tis strange you should. Calianax. 'Tis strange he should believe an old man's word That never lied in's life. Melantus. I talk not to thee!— Shall the wild words of this distemper'd man, Frantic with age and sorrow, make a breach Betwixt your majesty and me? 'Twas wrong To hearken to him; but to credit him, As much, at least, as I have power to bear. But pardon me—whilst I speak only truth, I may commend myself—I have bestow'd My careless blood with you, and should be loth To think an action that would make me lose That, and my thanks too. When I was a boy, I thrust myself into my country's cause, And did a deed that pluck'd five years from time, And styled me man then. And for you, my king, Your subjects all have fed by virtue of My arm. This sword of mine hath plough'd the ground, And reapt the fruit in peace; And you yourself have lived at home in ease. So terrible I grew, that, without swords, My name hath fetch'd you conquest: And my heart And limbs are still the same: my will as great To do you service. Let me not be paid With such a strange distrust. King. Melantius, I held it great injustice to believe Thine enemy, and did not; if I did, I do not; let that satisfy.—What, struck With sadness all? More wine! Calianax. A few fine words Have overthrown my truth. Ah, thou'rt a villain! Melantus. Why, thou wert better let me have the fort, [Apart to him. Dotard! I will disgrace thee thus for ever: There shall no credit lie upon thy words. Think better, and deliver it. Calianax. My liege, He's at me now again to do it.—Speak; Deny it, if thou canst.—Examine him While he is hot; for if he cool again, He will forswear it. King. This is lunacy, I hope, Melantius. Melantus. He hath lost himself Much, since his daughter miss'd the happiness My sister gain'd; and, though he call me foe, I pity him. Calianax. Pity? a pox upon you! Melantus. Mark his disordered words! And, at the masque, Diagoras knows, he raged, and rail'd at me, And call'd a lady whore, so innocent She understood him not. But it becomes Both you and me too to forgive distraction: Pardon him, as I do. Calianax. I'll not speak for thee, For all thy cunning.—If you will be safe, Chop off his head; for there was never known So impudent a rascal. King. Some, that love him Get him to bed. Why, pity should not let Age make itself contemptible; we must be All old; have him away. Melantus. Calianax, [Apart to him. The king believes you; come, you shall go home, And rest; you have done well. You'll give it up When I have used you thus a month, I hope. Calianax. Now, now, tis plain, sir; he does move me still. he says, he knows I'll give him up the fort, When he has used me thus a month. I am mad, Am I not, still? All. Ha, ha, ha! Calianax. I shall be mad indeed, if you do thus! Why should you trust a sturdy fellow there (That has no virtue in him; all's in his sword) Before me? Do but take his weapons from him, And he's an ass; and I'm a very fool, Both with him, and without him, as you use me. All. Ha, ha, ha! King. 'Tis well, Calianax. But if you use This once again, I shall entreat some other To see your offices be well discharged. Be merry, gentlemen; it grows somewhat late.— Amintor, thou wouldst be a-bed again. Amintor. Yes, sir. King. And you, Evadne.—Let me take Thee in my arms, Melantius, and believe Thou art, as thou deserv'st to be, my friend Still, and for ever.—Good Calianax, Sleep soundly; it will bring thee to thyself. [Exeunt all but Melantius and Calianax. Calianax. Sleep soundly! I sleep soundly now, I hope; I could not be thus else.—How darest thou stay Alone with me, knowing how thou hast used me? Melantus. You cannot blast me with your tongue, and that's The strongest part you have about you. Calianax. I Do look for some great punishment for this; For I begin to forget all my hate, And take't unkindly that mine enemy Should use me so extraordinarily scurvily. Melantus. I shall melt too, if you begin to take Unkindnesses: I never meant you hurt. Calianax. Thou'lt anger me again. Thou wretched rogue, Meant me no hurt! Disgrace me, with the king; Lose all my offices! This is no hurt, Is it? I pr'ythee, what dost thou call hurt? Melantus. To poison men, because they love me not; To call the credit of men's wives in question; To murder children betwixt me and land; This is all hurt. Calianax. All this thou think'st is sport; For mine is worse: But use thy will with me; For, betwixt grief and anger, I could cry. Melantus. Be wise then, and be safe; thou may'st revenge. Calianax. Ay, o' the king? I would revenge o' thee. Melantus. That you must plot yourself. Calianax. I'm a fine plotter. Melantus. The short is, I will hold thee with the king In this perplexity, till peevishness And thy disgrace have laid thee in thy grave. But if thou wilt deliver up the fort, I'll take thy trembling body in my arms, And bear thee over dangers: Thou shalt hold Thy wonted state. Calianax. If I should tell the king, Canst thou deny't again? Melantus. Try, and believe. Calianax. Nay, then, thou canst bring anything about. Thou shalt have the fort. Melantus. Why, well; Here let our hate be buried; and this hand Shall right us both. Give me thy aged breast To compass. Calianax. Nay, I do not love thee yet; I cannot well endure to look on thee: And, if I thought it were a courtesy, Thou should'st not have it. But I am disgraced; My offices are to be ta'en away; And, if I did but hold this fort a day, I do believe, the king would take it from me, And give it thee, things are so strangely carried. Ne'er thank me for't; but yet the king shall know There was some such thing in't I told him of; And that I was an honest man. Melantus. He'll buy That knowledge very dearly.—Diphilus, Enter DIPHILUS. What news with thee? Diphilus. This were a night indeed To do it in: The king hath sent for her. Melantus. She shall perform it then.—Go, Diphilus, And take from this good man, my worthy friend, The fort; he'll give it thee. Diphilus. Have you got that? Calianax. Art thou of the same breed? Canst thou deny This to the king too? Diphilus. With a confidence As great as his. Calianax. 'Faith, like enough. Melantus. Away, and use him kindly. Calianax. Touch not me; I hate the whole strain. If thou follow me, A great way off, I'll give thee up the fort; And hang yourselves. Melantus. Be gone. Diphilus. He's finely wrought. [Exeunt Calianax and Diphilus. Melantus. This is a night, 'spite of astronomers, To do the deed in. I will wash the stain, That rests upon our house, off with his blood. Enter AMINTOR. Amintor. Melantius, now assist me: If thou be'st That which thou say'st, assist me. I have lost All my distempers, and have found a rage So pleasing! Help me. Melantus. Who can see him thus, And not swear vengeance?—What's the matter, friend? Amintor. Out with thy sword; and, hand in hand with me, Rush to the chamber of this hated king: And sink him, with the weight of all his sins, To hell for ever. Melantus. 'Twere a rash attempt, Not to be done with safety. Let your reason Plot your revenge, and not your passion. Amintor. If thou refusest me in these extremes, Thou art no friend: He sent for her to me; By Heaven, to me, myself! And, I must tell you, I love her, as a stranger; there is worth In that vile woman, worthy things, Melantius; And she repents. I'll do't myself alone, Though I be slain. Farewell. Melantius. He'll overthrow My whole design with madness.—Amintor, Think what thou dost: I dare as much as Valour; But 'tis the king, the king, the king, Amintor, With whom thou fightest!—I know he's honest, And this will work with him. [Aside. Amintor. I cannot tell What thou hast said; but thou hast charm'd my sword Out of my hand, and left me shaking here, Defenceless. Melantus. I will take it up for thee. Amintor. What a wild beast is uncollected man! The thing, that we call honour, bears us all Headlong to sin, and yet itself is nothing. Melantus. Alas, how variable are thy thoughts! Amintor. Just like my fortunes: I was run to that I purposed to have chid thee for. Some plot, I did distrust, thou hadst against the king, By that old fellow's carriage. But take heed; There's not the least limb growing to a king, But carries thunder in it. Melantus. I have none Against him. Amintor. Why, come then; and still remember, We may not think revenge. Melantus. I will remember. [Exeunt.
Act 5, Scene I Scene: A Room in the Palace. Enter EVADNE and a Gentleman. Evadne. Sir, is the king a-bed? Gentleman. Madam, an hour ago. Evadne. Give me the key then, and let none be near; 'Tis the king's pleasure. Gentleman. I understand you, madam; 'would 'twere mine. I must not wish good rest unto your ladyship. Evadne. You talk, you talk. Gentleman. 'Tis all I dare do, madam; but the king Will wake, and then—— Evadne. Saving your imagination, pray, good night, sir. Gentleman. A good night be it then, and a long one, madam. I am gone. [Exeunt.
Act 5, Scene II Scene: The Bedchamber. The King discovered in Bed, sleeping. Enter EVADNE. Evadne. The night grows horrible; and all about me Like my black purpose. Oh, the conscience Of a lost virgin! whither wilt thou pull me? To what things, dismal as the depth of hell, Wilt thou provoke me? Let no woman dare From this hour be disloyal, if her heart be flesh, If she have blood, and can fear: 'Tis a daring Above that desperate fool's that left his peace, And went to sea to fight. 'Tis so many sins, An age cannot repent 'em; and so great, The gods want mercy for! Yet I must through 'em. I have begun a slaughter on my honour, And I must end it there.—He sleeps. Good Heavens! Why give you peace to this intemperate beast, That hath so long transgressed you; I must kill him, And I will do it bravely: The mere joy Tells me, I merit in it. Yet I must not Thus tamely do it, as he sleeps; that were To rock him to another world: My vengeance Shall take him waking, and then lay before him The number of his wrongs and punishments. I'll shake his sins like furies, till I waken His evil angel, his sick conscience; And then I'll strike him dead. King, by your leave: [Ties his arms to the bed. I dare not trust your strength. Your grace and I Must grapple upon even terms no more. So. If he rail me not from my resolution, I shall be strong enough.—My lord the king! My lord!—He sleeps, as if he meant to wake No more.—My lord!—Is he not dead already? Sir! My lord! King. Who's that? Evadne. Oh, you sleep soundly, sir! King. My dear Evadne, I have been dreaming of thee. Come to bed. Evadne. I am come at length, sir; but how welcome? King. What pretty new device is this, Evadne? What, do you tie me to you? By my love, This is a quaint one. Come, my dear, and kiss me. I'll be thy Mars; to bed, my queen of love: Let us be caught together, that the gods May see, and envy our embraces. Evadne. Stay, sir, stay; You are too hot, and I have brought you physic To temper your high veins. King. Pr'ythee, to bed then; let me take it warm; There thou shalt know the state of my body better. Evadne. I know you have a surfeited foul body; And you must bleed. King. Bleed! Evadne. Ay, you shall bleed! Lie still; and, if the devil, Your lust, will give you leave, repent. This steel Comes to redeem the honour that you stole, King, my fair name; which nothing but thy death Can answer to the world. King. How's this, Evadne? Evadne. I am not she; nor bear I in this breast So much cold spirit to be call'd a woman. I am a tiger; I am anything That knows not pity. Stir not! If thou dost, I'll take thee unprepared; thy fears upon thee, That make thy sins look double; and so send thee (By my revenge, I will) to look those torments Prepared for such black souls. King. Thou dost not mean this; 'tis impossible: Thou art too sweet and gentle. Evadne. No, I am not. I am as foul as thou art, and can number As many such hells here. I was once fair, Once I was lovely; not a blowing rose More chastely sweet, till thou, thou, thou foul canker, (Stir not) didst poison me. I was a world of virtue, Till your curst court and you (Hell bless you for't!) With your temptations on temptations, Made me give up mine honour; for which, king, I'm come to kill thee. King. No! Evadne. I am. King. Thou art not! I pr'ythee speak not these things: Thou art gentle, And wert not meant thus rugged. Evadne. Peace, and hear me. Stir nothing but your tongue, and that for mercy To those above us; by whose lights I vow, Those blessed fires that shot to see our sin, If thy hot soul had substance with thy blood, I would kill that too; which, being past my steel, My tongue shall reach. Thou art a shameless villain! A thing out of the overcharge of nature; Sent, like a thick cloud, to disperse a plague Upon weak catching women! such a tyrant, That for his lust would sell away his subjects! Ay, all his Heaven hereafter! King. Hear, Evadne, Thou soul of sweetness, hear! I am thy king. Evadne. Thou art my shame! Lie still, there's none about you, Within your cries: All promises of safety Are but deluding dreams. Thus, thus, thou foul man, Thus I begin my vengeance! [Stabs him. King. Hold, Evadne! I do command thee, hold. Evadne. I do not mean, sir. To part so fairly with you; we must change More of these love-tricks yet. King. What bloody villain Provoked thee to this murder? Evadne. Thou, thou monster. King. Oh! Evadne. Thou kept'st me brave at court, and whor'd'st me, king; Then married me to a young noble gentleman, And whor'd'st me still. King. Evadne, pity me. Evadne. Hell take me then! This for my lord Amintor! This for my noble brother! and this stroke For the most wrong'd of women! [Kills him. King. Oh! I die. Evadne. Die all our faults together! I forgive thee. [Exit. Enter two Gentlemen of the Bedchamber. 1 Gentleman. Come, now she's gone, let's enter; the king expects it, and will be angry. 2 Gentleman. 'Tis a fine wench; we'll have a snap at her one of these nights, as she goes from him. 1 Gentleman. Content. How quickly he had done with her! I see, kings can do no more that way than other mortal people. 2 Gentleman. How fast he is! I cannot hear him breathe. 1 Gentleman. Either the tapers give a feeble light, Or he looks very pale. 2 Gentleman. And so he does: Pray Heaven he be well; let's look.—Alas! He's stiff, wounded and dead: Treason, treason! 1 Gentleman. Run forth and call. 2 Gentleman. Treason, treason! [Exit. 1 Gentleman. This will be laid on us: Who can believe a woman could do this? Enter CLEON and LYSIPPUS. Cleon. How now! Where's the traitor? 1 Gentleman. Fled, fled, away; but there her woful act lies still. Cleon. Her act! a woman! Lysippus. Where's the body? 1 Gentleman. There. Lysippus. Farewell, thou worthy man! There were two bonds That tied our loves, a brother and a king; The least of which might fetch a flood of tears: But such the misery of greatness is, They have no time to mourn; then pardon me!— Enter STRATO. Sirs, which way went she? Strato. Never follow her; For she, alas! was but the instrument. News is now brought in, that Melantius Has got the fort, and stands upon the wall; And with a loud voice calls those few, that pass At this dead time of night, delivering The innocence of this act. Lysippus. Gentlemen, I am your king. Strato. We do acknowledge it. Lysippus. I would I were not! Follow, all; for this Must have a sudden stop. [Exeunt.
Act 5, Scene III Scene: Before the Citadel. Enter MELANTIUS, DIPHILUS, and CALIANAX, on the Walls. Melantius. If the dull people can believe I am arm'd, (Be constant, Diphilus!) now we have time, Either to bring our banish'd honours home, Or create new ones in our ends. Diphilus. I fear not; My spirit lies not that way.—Courage, Calianax. Calianax. 'Would I had any I you should quickly know it. Melantius. Speak to the people: Thou art eloquent. Calianax. 'Tis a fine eloquence to come to the gallows! You were born to be my end. The devil take you! Now must I hang for company. 'Tis strange, I should be old, and neither wise nor valiant. Enter below, LYSIPPUS, DIAGORAS, CLEON, STRATO, and Guard. Lysippus. See where he stands, as boldly confident As if he had his full command about him. Strato. He looks as if he had the better cause, sir; Under your gracious pardon, let me speak it! Though he be mighty-spirited, and forward To all great things; to all things of that danger Worse men shake at the telling of; yet, certainly, I do believe him noble; and this action Rather pull'd on, than sought: his mind was ever As worthy as his hand Lysippus. 'Tis my fear, too. Heaven forgive all! Summon him, lord Cleon. Cleon. Ho, from the walls there! Melantius. Worthy Cleon, welcome. We could have wish'd you here, lord. You are honest. Calianax. Well, thou art as flattering a knave, though I dare not tell thee so— [Aside. Lysippus. Melantius! Melantius. Sir? Lysippus. I am sorry that we meet thus; our old love Never required such distance. Pray Heaven, You have not left yourself, and sought this safety More out of fear than honour! You have lost A noble master; which your faith, Melantius, Some think, might have preserved: Yet you know best. Calianax. When time was, I was mad; some, that dares fight, I hope will pay this rascal. Melantius. Royal young man, whose tears look lovely on thee; Had they been shed for a deserving one, They had been lasting monuments! Thy brother, While he was good, I call'd him king; and served him With that strong faith, that most unwearied valour, Pull'd people from the farthest sun to seek him, And beg his friendship. I was then his soldier. But since his hot pride drew him to disgrace me, And brand my noble actions with his lust (That never-cured dishonour of my sister, Base stain of whore! and, which is worse, The joy to make it still so) like myself, Thus I have flung him off with my allegiance; And stand here mine own justice, to revenge What I have suffered in him; and this old man, Wronged almost to lunacy. Calianax. Who—I? You would draw me in. I have had no wrong, I do disclaim ye all. Melantius. The short is this: 'Tis no ambition to lift up myself Urgeth me thus; I do desire again To be a subject, so I may be free. If not, I know my strength, and will unbuild This goodly town. Be speedy and be wise, In a reply. Strato. Be sudden, sir, to tie All up again: What's done is past recall, And past you to revenge: and there are thousands, That wait for such a troubled hour as this. Throw him the blank. Lysippus. Melantius, write in that Thy choice: My seal is at it. [Throws him a paper. Melantius. It was our honours drew us to this act, Not gain: and we will only work our pardons. Calianax. Put my name in too. Diphilus. You disclaim'd us all But now, Calianax. Calianax. That is all one: I'll not be hang'd hereafter by a trick: I'll have it in. Melantius. You shall, you shall.— Come to the back gate, and we'll call you king, And give you up the fort. Lysippus. Away, away. [Exeunt.
Act 5, Scene IV Scene: Antechamber to Evadne's Apartments in the Palace. Enter ASPATIA, in man's apparel. Aspatia. This is my fatal hour. Heaven may forgive My rash attempt, that causelessly hath laid Griefs on me that will never let me rest; And put a woman's heart into my breast. It is more honour for you, that I die; For she, that can endure the misery That I have on me, and be patient too, May live and laugh at all that you can do. Enter Servant. God save you, sir! Servant. And you, sir. What's your business? Aspatia. With you, sir, now; to do me the fair office To help me to your lord. Servant. What, would you serve him? Aspatia. I'll do him any service; but to haste, For my affairs are earnest, I desire To speak with him. Servant. Sir, because you're in such haste, I would be loth Delay you any longer: You cannot. Aspatia. It shall become you, though, to tell your lord. Servant. Sir, he will speak with nobody; but, in particular, I have in charge, about no weighty matters. Aspatia. This is most strange. Art thou gold-proof? There's for thee; help me to him. Servant. Pray be not angry, sir. I'll do my best. [Exit. Aspatia. How stubbornly this fellow answered me! There is a vile dishonest trick in man, More than in woman: All the men I meet Appear thus to me, are all harsh and rude; And have a subtilty in everything, Which love could never know. But we fond women Harbour the easiest and the smoothest thoughts, And think, all shall go so! It is unjust, That men and women should be match'd together. Enter AMINTOR and his Man. Amintor. Where is he? Servant. There, my lord. Amintor. What would you, sir? Aspatia. Please it your lordship to command your man Out of the room, I shall deliver things Worthy your hearing. Amintor. Leave us. [Exit Servant. Aspatia. Oh, that that shape Should bury falsehood in it! [Aside. Amintor. Now your will, sir. Aspatia. When you know me, my lord, you needs must guess My business; and I am not hard to know; For till the chance of war mark'd this smooth face With these few blemishes, people would call me My sister's picture, and her mine. In short, I am the brother to the wrong'd Aspatia. Amintor. The wrong'd Aspatia! 'Would thou wert so too Unto the wrong'd Amintor! Let me kiss That hand of thine, in honour that I bear Unto the wrong'd Aspatia. Here I stand, That did it. 'Would he could not! Gentle youth, Leave me; for there is something in thy looks, That calls my sins, in a most hideous form, Into my mind; and I have grief enough Without thy help. Aspatia. I would I could with credit. Since I was twelve years old, I had not seen My sister till this hour; I now arrived: She sent for me to see her marriage; A woful one! But they, that are above, Have ends in everything. She used few words, But yet enough to make me understand The baseness of the injuries you did her. That little training I have had, is war: I may behave myself rudely in peace; I would not, though. I shall not need to tell you, I am but young, and would be loth to lose Honour, that is not easily gained again. Fairly I mean to deal: The age is strict For single combats; and we shall be stopp'd, If it be publish'd. If you like your sword, Use it; if mine appear a better to you, Change: for the ground is this, and this the time, To end our difference. Amintor. Charitable youth, (If thou be'st such) think not I will maintain So strange a wrong: And, for thy sister's sake, Know, that I could not think that desperate thing I durst not do; yet, to enjoy this world, I would not see her; for, beholding thee, I am I know not what. If I have aught, That may content thee, take it, and begone; For death is not so terrible as thou. Thine eyes shoot guilt into me. Aspatia. Thus, she swore, Thou wouldst behave thyself; and give me words That would fetch tears into mine eyes; and so Thou dost indeed. But yet she bade me watch, Lest I were cozen'd; and be sure to fight Ere I return'd. Amintor. That must not be with me. For her I'll die directly; but against her Will never hazard it. Aspatia. You must be urged. I do not deal uncivilly with those That dare to fight; but such a one as you Must be used thus. [She strikes him. Amintor. I pr'ythee, youth, take heed. Thy sister is a thing to me so much Above mine honour, that I can endure All this. Good gods! a blow I can endure! But stay not, lest thou draw a timeless death Upon thyself. Aspatia. Thou art some prating fellow; One, that hath studied out a trick to talk, And move softhearted people; to be kicked [She kicks him Thus, to be kick'd!—Why should he be so slow In giving me my death? [Aside. Amintor. A man can bear No more, and keep his flesh. Forgive me, then! I would endure yet, if I could. Now show [Draws. The spirit thou pretend'st, and understand, Thou hast no hour to live.—— [They fight; Aspatia is wounded. Thou hast no hour to live.—— What dost thou mean? Thou canst not fight: the blows thou mak'st at me Are quite besides; and those I offer at thee, Thou spread'st thine arms, and tak'st upon thy breast, Alas, defenceless! Aspatia. I have got enough, And my desire. There is no place so fit For me to die as here. Enter EVADNE, her Hands bloody, with a Knife. Evadne. Amintor, I am loaden with events, That fly to make thee happy. I have joys, That in a moment can call back thy wrongs, And settle thee in thy free state again. It is Evadne still that follows thee, But not her mischiefs. Amintor. Thou canst not fool me to believe again; But thou hast looks and things so full of news, That I am stay'd. Evadne. Noble Amintor, put off thy amaze, Let thine eyes loose, and speak: Am I not fair? Looks not Evadne beauteous, with these rites now Were those hours half so lovely in thine eyes, When our hands met before the holy man? I was too foul within to look fair then: Since I knew ill, I was not free till now. Amintor. There is presage of some important thing About thee, which, it seems, thy tongue hath lost. Thy hands are bloody, and thou hast a knife! Evadne. In this consists thy happiness and mine. Joy to Amintor! for the king is dead. Amintor. Those have most power to hurt us, that we love; We lay our sleeping lives within their arms! Why, thou hast raised up Mischief to his height, And found out one, to out-name thy other faults. Thou hast no intermission of thy sins, But all thy life is a continued ill. Black is thy colour now, disease thy nature. Joy to Amintor! Thou hast touch'd a life, The very name of which had power to chain Up all my rage, and calm my wildest wrongs. Evadne. 'Tis done; and since I could not find a way To meet thy love so clear as through his life, I cannot now repent it. Amintor. Couldst thou procure the gods to speak to me, To bid me love this woman, and forgive, I think I should fall out with them. Behold, Here lies a youth whose wounds bleed in my breast, Sent by his violent fate, to fetch his death From my slow hand: And, to augment my woe, You now are present, stain'd with a king's blood, Violently shed. This keeps night here, And throws an unknown wilderness about me. Aspatia. Oh, oh, oh! Amintor. No more; pursue me not. Evadne. Forgive me then, And take me to thy bed. We may not part. [Kneels. Amintor. Forbear! Be wise, and let my rage go this way. Evadne. 'Tis you that I would stay, not it. Amintor. Take heed; It will return with me. Evadne. If it must be, I shall not fear to meet it: take me home. Amintor. Thou monster of cruelty, forbear! Evadne. For heaven's sake, look more calm: thine eyes are sharper Than thou canst make thy sword. Amintor. Away, away! Thy knees are more to me than violence. I am worse than sick to see knees follow me, For that I must not grant. For Heaven's sake stand. Evadne. Receive me, then. Amintor. I dare not stay thy language; In midst of all my anger and my grief, Thou dost awake something that troubles me, And says, “I loved thee once.” I dare not stay; There is no end of woman's reasoning. [Leaves her. Evadne. Amintor, thou shalt love me now again: Go; I am calm. Farewell, and peace for ever! Evadne, whom thou hat'st, will die for thee. [Kills herself. Amintor. I have a little human nature yet, That's left for thee, that bids me stay thy hand. [Returns. Evadne. Thy hand was welcome, but it came too late. Oh, I am lost! the heavy sleep makes haste. [She dies. Aspatia. Oh, oh, oh! Amintor. This earth of mine doth tremble. and I feel A stark affrighted motion in my blood: My soul grows weary of her house, and I All over am a trouble to myself. There is some hidden power in these dead things, That calls my flesh unto 'em: I am cold! Be resolute, and bear 'em company. There's something, yet, which I am loth to leave. There's man enough in me to meet the fears That death can bring; and yet, 'would it were done! I can find nothing in the whole discourse Of death, I durst not meet the boldest way; Yet still, betwixt the reason and the act, The wrong I to Aspatia did stands up: I have not such another fault to answer. Though she may justly arm herself with scorn And hate of me, my soul will part less troubled, When I have paid to her in tears my sorrow. I will not leave this act unsatisfied, If all that's left in me can answer it. Aspatia. Was it a dream? There stands Amintor still; Or I dream still. Amintor. How dost thou? Speak! receive my love and help. Thy blood climbs up to his old place again: There's hope of thy recovery. Aspatia. Did you not name Aspatia? Amintor. I did. Aspatia. And talk'd of tears and sorrow unto her? Amintor. 'Tis true; and till these happy signs in thee Did stay my course, 'twis neither I was going. Aspatia. Thou art there already, and these wounds are hers: Those threats I brought with me sought not revenge; But come to fetch this blessing from thy hand. I am Aspatia yet. Amintor. Dare my soul ever look abroad again? Aspatia. I shall surely live, Amintor; I am well: A kind of healthful joy wanders within me. Amintor. The world wants lives to excuse thy loss! Come, let me bear thee to some place of help. Aspatia. Amintor, thou must stay; I must rest here; My strength begins to disobey my will. How dost thou, my best soul? I would fain live Now, if I could: Wouldst thou have loved me then? Amintor. Alas? All that I am's not worth a hair from thee. Aspatia. Give me thy hand; my hands grope up and down, And cannot find thee: I am wondrous sick: Have I thy hand, Amintor? Amintor. Thou greatest blessing of the world, thou hast. Aspatia. I do believe thee better than my sense. Oh! I must go. Farewell! [Dies. Amintor. She swoons! Aspatia!—Help! for Heaven's sake, water! Such as may chain life ever to this frame.— Aspatia, speak!—What, no help yet? I fool! I'll chafe her temples: Yet there's nothing stirs; Some hidden power tell her, Amintor calls, And let her answer me!—Aspatia, speak!— I have heard, if there be any life, but bow The body thus, and it will show itself. Oh, she is gone! I will not leave her yet. Since out of justice we must challenge nothing, I'll call it mercy, if you'll pity me, Ye heavenly powers! and lend, for some few years, The blessed soul to this fair seat again. No comfort comes; the gods deny me too! I'll bow the body once again.—Aspatia!— The soul is fled for ever; and I wrong Myself, so long to lose her company. Must I talk now? Here's to be with thee, love! [Stabs himself. Enter Servant. Servant. This is a great grace to my lord, to have the new king come to him: I must tell him he is entering.—Oh, God! Help! help! Enter LYSIPPUS, MELANTIUS, CALIANAX, CLEON, DIPHILUS, and STRATO. Lysippus. Where's Amintor? Servant. Oh, there, there. Lysippus. How strange is this! Calianax. What should we do here? Melantius. These deaths are such acquainted things with me, That yet my heart dissolves not. May I stand Stiff here for ever! Eyes, call up your tears! This is Amintor: Heart! he was my friend; Melt; now it flows.—Amintor, give a word To call me to thee. Amintor. Oh! Melantius. Melantius calls his friend Amintor. Oh! Thy arms are kinder to me than thy tongue! Speak, speak! Amintor. What? Melantius. That little word was worth all the sounds That ever I shall hear again. Diphilus. Oh, brother! Here lies your sister slain; you lose yourself In sorrow there. Melantius. Why, Diphilus, it is A thing to laugh at, in respect of this: Here was my sister, father, brother, son; All that I had!—Speak once again: What youth Lies slain there by thee? Amintor. 'Tis Aspatia. My last is said. Let me give up my soul Into thy bosom. [Dies. Calianax. What's that? what's that? Aspatia! Melantius. I never did Repent the greatness of my heart till now; It will not burst at need. Calianax. My daughter dead here too! And you have all fine new tricks to grieve; but I ne'er knew any but direct crying. Melantius. I am a prattler; but no more. [Offers to kill himself. Diphilus. Hold, brother. Lysippus. Stop him. Diphilus. Fie! how unmanly was this offer in you; Does this become our strain? Calianax. I know not what the matter is, but I am grown very kind, and am friends with you. You have given me that among you will kill me quickly; but I'll go home, and live as long as I can. Melantius. His spirit is but poor that can be kept From death for want of weapons. Is not my hand a weapon sharp enough To stop my breath? or, if you tie down those, I vow, Amintor, I will never eat, Or drink, or sleep, or have to do with that That may preserve life! This I swear to keep. Lysippus. Look to him though, and bear those bodies in. May this a fair example be to me, To rule with temper: For, on lustful kings, Unlook'd-for, sudden deaths from heaven are sent; But curst is he that is their instrument. [Exeunt. F I N I S