« PreviousContinue »
Duke. Forbear, you monstrous women! do not
add Murther to lust; your lives shall pay
this forfeit. Fer. Pox upon all cod-piece extravagancy! I am pepper’d-oh, oh, oh!--Duke, forgive me! Had I rid any tame beasts but Barbary wild colts, I had not thus been jerk'd out of the saddle. My forfeit was in my blood; and my life hath answer'd it. Vengeance on all wild whores, I say!--oh 'tis true—farewell, generation of hacknies.-oh!
[Dies. Duke. He is dead. To prison with those monstrous strumpets.
Nib. And I for mine.
Fern. I for yon gentlewoman, sir.
Maur. Good my lord, I am an innocent in the business. Duke. To prison with him!4 Bear the body
hence. Abbot. Here's fatal sad presages; but 'tis just, He dies by murther, that hath lived in lust.
4 Duke. To prison with him.) i. e. with Mauruccio, the only innocent person of the party. This good prince seems determined, like the Cardinal in a former play, to have some one to punish. Few third acts can be found so uniformly reprehensible and disgusting as this : the only thing to praise in it, is the promptitude with which the author has freed himself, in part, from the loathsome incumbrance of such a worthless rabble.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
An Apartment in the Palace. Enter DUKE, FIORMONDA, and D'Avolos. Fior. Art thou Caraffa ? is there in thy veins One drop of blood that issued from the loins Of Pavy's ancient dukes? or dost thou sit On great Lorenzo's seat, our glorious father, And canst not blush to be so far beneath The spirit of heroic ancestors ? Canst thou ingross a slavish shame, which men, Far, far below the region of thy state, Not more abhor, than study to revenge? Thou an Italian! I could burst with rage, To think I have a brother so befool'd, In giving patience to a harlot's lust.
D'Av. One, my lord, that doth so palpably, so apparently make her adulteries a trophy, whiles the poting-sticks to her unsatiate and more than
s Poting-stick.] A poting, or, as it was more commonly called, a poking-stick, was a slender rod of bone or steel, for setting the plaits of ruffs, cuffs, &c. after starching. The name of this little implement grievously annoys old Stubbes; it was given to it, he says, by the devil, who brought in the practice of starching : it might, perhaps, have been more elegant ; otherwise, I do not see much amiss in it. Archdeacon Nares, in bis valuable Glossary, quotes poted. On which he says, “I have seen this word only in the following instance, and do not exactly know its meaning:
“ He keeps a starcht gate, weares a formall ruffe,
Hayw. Brit. iv. 20. The meaning is clear enough : a cuff, of which the plaits had
goatish abomination jeers at, and flouts your sleepish, and more than sleepish security.
Fior. What is she, but the sallow-colour'd brat Of some unlanded bankrupt, taught to catch The easy fancy of young prodigal bloods, In springes of her stew-instructed art?Here's your most virtuous duchess! your rare
piece! D'Av. More base in the infiniteness of her sensuality than corruption can infect:-to clip and inveigle your friend too! oh unsufferable!a friend ! how of all men are you most unfortunate: —to pour out your soul into the bosom of such a creature, as holds it religion to make your own trust a key to open the passage to your own wife's womb, to be drunk in the privacies of your bed! --think upon that, sir.
Duke. Be gentle in your tortures, e'en for pity; For pity's cause, I beg it.
Fior. Be a prince! Thou hadst better, duke, thou hadst, been born a
peasant. Now boys will sing thy scandal in the streets, Tune ballads to thy infamy, get money
been starched, and stiffened and puffed out by the poting-stick. My old schoolmaster wore a coat with a cuff of this kind; it was large, and turned back very far on the sleeve. The good man had figured in it for half a century on Sundays; but, I grieve to say, it excited in his latter days more mirth than reverence in the ungracious urchins who followed him to church. This note (otherwise of no value) may serve to shew that poted cuffs came down, at least in the remote provinces, to Queen Anne's days.
By making pageants of thee, and invent
Duke. Endless immortal plague!
D'Av. There's the mischief, sir: in the meantime you shall be sure to have a bastard (of whom you did not so much as beget a little toe, a left ear, or half the farther side of an upper lip) inherit both your throne and name; this would kill the soul of very patience itself. Duke. Forbear; the ashy paleness of my
Fior. Why, now I hear you speak in majesty.
Malice or envy, or such woman's frailty,
Fior. Or what? you will be mad ? be rather
Duke. Shrewdly urged,—’tis piercing.
D'Av. Right. Would you desire, my lord, to see them exchange kisses, sucking one another's lips, nay, begetting an heir to the dukedom, or