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Ger. O! but my rarest Violanta, when
My lord Randulpho, brother to your father,
Shall understand this, how will he exclaim,
That my poor aunt and me, which his free alms
Hath nurs'd, since Milan by the duke of Mantua,
Who now usurps it, was surpriz'd that time
My father and my mother both were slain,
With my aunt's husband, as she says; their states
Despoil'd and seiz'd; 'tis past my memory,
But thus she told me: only thus I know,
Since I could understand, your honour'd uncle
Hath giv'n me all the liberal education
That his own son might look for, had he one;
Now will he say, dost thou requite me thus?
O! the thought kills me.
Viol. Gentle, gentle Gerrard,
Be cheer'd, and hope the best. My mother, father,
And uncle, love me most indulgently,
Being the only branch of all their stocks:
But neither they, nor he thou would'st not grieve
With this unwelcome news, shall ever hear
Violanta's tongue reveal, much less accuse
Gerrard to be the father of his own.
I'll rather silent die, that thou may'st live
To see thy little offspring grow and thrive.
Violanta is attended in Childbed by her mother Angelina.
Viol. Mother, I'd not offend you: might not Gerrard Steal in and see me in the evening?
Bid him do so.
Viol. Heaven's blessing on your heart.
Do ye not call child-bearing travel, mother?
Viol. It well may be. The bare-foot traveller
That's born a prince, and walks his pilgrimage,
Whose tender feet kiss the remorseless stones
Only, ne'er felt a travel like to it.
Alas, dear mother, you groan'd thus for me,
And yet how disobedient have I been!
Angel. Peace, Violanta: thou hast always been
Gentle and good.
Viol. Gerrard is better, mother:
O if you knew the implicit innocency
Dwells in his breast, you'd love him like your prayers.
I see no reason but my father might
Be told the truth, being pleas'd for Ferdinand
To wooe himself: and Gerrard ever was
His full comparative; my uncle loves him,
As he loves Ferdinand.
Angel. No, not for the world,
Since his intent is cross'd: lov'd Ferdinand
Thus ruin'd, and a child got out of wedlock,
His madness would pursue ye both to death.
Viol. As you please, mother. I am now, methinks, Even in the land of ease; I'll sleep.
The bed nearer the fire: silken rest
Tie all thy cares up.9
Violanta describes how her Love for Gerrard began,
Viol. Gerrard's and my affection began
In infancy: my uncle brought him oft
The little boy would kiss me, being a child,
And say he lov'd me; give me all his toys,
Bracelets, rings, sweetmeats, all his rosy smiles;
I then would stand and stare upon his eyes,
Play with his locks, and swear I loved him too;
For sure methought he was a little Love,
He wooed so prettily in innocence,
That then he warm'd my fancy.
93 Violanta's prattle is so very pretty and so natural in her situation, that I could not resist giving it a place. Juno Lucina was never invoked with more elegance. Pope has been praised for giving dig nity to a game at cards. It required at least as much address to ennoble a lying-in.
Amintor, a noble Gentleman, promises marriage to Aspatia, and forsakes her by the King's command to wed Evadne.— The grief of Aspatia at being forsaken, described,
Walks discontented, with her watry 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 mournfull'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.
The marriage-night of Amintor and Evadne.
EVADNE. ASPAtia. DULA, and other Ladies.
Evad. Would thou could'st instill
Some of thy mirth into Aspatia,
Asp. 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.
My night, and all your hands have been employ'd
In giving me a spotless offering
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.
Evad. Nay, leave this sad talk, madam.
Asp. Would I could, then should I leave the cause.
Lay a garland on my hearse of the dismal yew.
Evad. That's one of your sad songs, madam.
Asp. Believe me, 'tis a very pretty one.
Evad. How is it, madam?
Asp. 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 lay lightly gentle earth.
Madam, good night;-may no discontent
Grow 'twixt your love and you; but if there do,
Enquire of me, and I will guide your moan,
Teach you an artificial way to grieve,
To keep your sorrow waking. Love your
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 farewel; 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 flattering 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.
Evad. Alas, I pity thee. (Amintor enters.) Asp. 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 refus'd)
Than to have had another true to me.
Aspatia wills her Maidens to be sorrowful, because she is so.
Aspatia. Antiphila. Olympias.
Asp. Come let's be sad my girls;
That down-cast of thine eye, Olympias,
Shews a fine sorrow; mark, Antiphila,
Just such another was the nymph Oenone,
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;
Shew me the piece of needle-work you wrought.
Ant. Of Ariadne, madam?
This should be Theseus, h'as a cousening face;
You meant him for a man?
Ant. He was so, madam.
Asp. Why then 'tis well enough. Never look back, You have a full wind, and a false heart, Theseus.