Page images

practising more than the very act of adultery itself? Give but a little way by à feigned absence, and you shall find 'em-I blush to speak doing what; I am mad to think on't, you are most shamefully, most sinfully, most scornfully cornuted.

Duke. D'ye play upon me? as I am your prince, There's some shall roar for this! Why, what was I, Both to be thought or made so vile a thing? Stay-madam marquess:-ho, Roderico, you, sir, Bear witness that if ever I neglect One day, one hour, one minute, to wear out With toil of plot, or practice of conceit, My busy skull, till I have found a death More horrid than the bull of Phalaris, Or all the fabling poets' dreaming whips; If ever I take rest, or force a smile Which is not borrowed from a royal vengeance, Before I know which way to satisfy Fury and wrong,--nay, kneel down-[They kneel.]

let me die More wretched than despair, reproach, contempt, Laughter, and poverty itself can make me ! Let's rise on all sides, friends;—[They rise.]—now

all's agreed : If the moon sérve, some that are safe shall bleed.


If the moon serve, some that are safe shall bleed.] In Ford's time, and indeed long before and after it, the days of the moon, held to be propitious to bleeding, were distinguished by particular marks; and such was the absurd reliance on this ignorant medley of quackery and superstition, that few families would have ventured on the operation on one of the dies nefasti.

Enter FERNANDO, BIANCA, and MORONA. Bian. My lord the duke.

Duke. Bianca! ha, how is't? How is't, Bianca ? what, Fernando come, Shall's shake hands, sirs ?—’faith, this is kindly

done. Here's three as one; welcome, dear wife, sweet

friend! D'Av. I do not like this now; it shews scurvily to me.

[Aside to Fior. Bian. My lord, we have a suit, Your friend

and IDuke. She puts my friend before, most kindly still.

[Aside. Bian. Must joinDuke. What, must? Bian. My lord ! Duke. Must join, you say

Bian. That you will please to set Mauruccio At liberty; this gentlewoman here, Hath, by agreement made betwixt them two, Obtain’d him for her husband : good, my lord,

Let me entreat; I dare engage mine honour,
He's innocent in any wilful fault.
Duke. Your honour, madam! now beshrew you

T'engage your honour on so slight a ground:
Honour's a precious jewel, I can tell you ;
Nay 'tis, Bianca; go to.—D'Avolos,
Bring us Mauruccio hither.

D'Av. I shall, my lord.—

[Evit. Mor. I humbly thank your grace.

Fern. And, royal sir, since Julia and Colona, Chief actors in Ferentes' tragic end, Were, through their ladies' mediation, Freed by your gracious pardon: I, in pity, Tender'd this widow's friendless misery; For whose reprieve I shall, in humblest duty, Be ever thankful.

Re-enter D'Avolos with Mauruccio in rags

and GIAcopo weeping. Maur. Come you my learned counsel, do not

roar; If I must hang, why then lament therefore;' You may rejoice, and both, no doubt, be great To serve your prince, when I am turn'd worms'

meat. I fear my lands, and all I have, is begg’d.8 Else, woe is me, why should I be so ragg’d?

D’Av. Come on, sir, the duke stays for you.

Maur. O how my stomach doth begin to puke, When I do hear that only word, the duke! Duke. You, sir, look on that woman; are you


? Why then lament therefore.] This in Jonson is a sneer at Shakspeare ; in Shakspeare, and every other writer, it is a smile at Marlow.

My lands, and all I have, is begg'd.] As a condemned person : there were greedy courtiers enough in those days to scramble for the property of a falling man, even before the period of legal condemnation.

If we remit your body from the jail,
To take her for your wife?
Maur. On that condition, prince, with all my

heart. Mor. Yes, I warrant your grace, he is content. Duke. Why, foolish man, hast thou so soon

The public shame of her abused womb,
Her being mother to a bastard's birth?
Or canst thou but imagine she will be
True to thy bed, who to herself was false?

Gia. (To Maur.) Phew, sir, do not stand upon that; that's a matter of nothing, you know.

Maur. Nay, an't shall please your good grace, and it come to that, I care not; as good men as I have lain in foul sheets, I am sure; the linen has not been much the worse for the wearing a little : I will have her with all


heart. Duke. And shalt. Fernando, thou shalt have

the grace

To join their hands; put them together, friend. Bian. Yes, do, my lord; bring you the bride

groom hither, I'll give the bride myself.

D'Av. Here's argument to jealousy, as good as drink to the dropsy; she will share any disgrace with him: I could not wish it better. [Aside.

Duke. Even so; well, do it.

Fern. Here, Mauruccio; Long live a happy couple !

[He and Bian. join their hands.

Duke. 'Tis enough; Now know our pleasure henceforth : ’tis our will, If ever thou, Mauruccio, or thy wife, Be seen within a dozen miles o'th' court, We will recal our mercy; no entreat Shall warrant thee a minute of thy life: We'll have no servile slavery of lust Shall breathe near us; dispatch, and get ye hence. Bianca, come with me.—Oh my cleft soul!

[Exeunt DUKE and Bian. Maur. How's that? must I come no more near the court?

Gia. O pitiful! not near the court, sir?

D'Av. Not by a dozen miles, indeed, sir. Your only course I can advise

you, is to pass to Naples, , and set up a house of carnality; there are very fair and frequent suburbs, and you need not fear the contagion of any pestilent disease, for the worst is very proper to the place.

Fern. 'Tis a strange sentence.

Fior. 'Tis, and sudden too,
And not without some mystery.

D'Av. Will you go, sir?
Maur. Not near the court!

Mor. What matter is it, sweet-heart! fear nothing, love, you shall have new change of apparel, good diet, wholesome attendance; and we will live like pigeons, my lord.

Maur. Wilt thou forsake me, Giacopo?

Gia. I forsake you! no, not as long as I have a whole ear on my head, come what will come.

« PreviousContinue »