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I have deserv'd no base opinion from you;
I wish not only to perpetuate
Our friendship, but t exchange that common name
Of friend for
Ant. What? take heed, do not prophane :
Wouldst thou be more than friend? it is a name
Virtue can only answer to : couldst thou
Unite into one all goodness whatsoe'er
Mortality can boast of, thou shalt find
The circle narrow-bounded to contain
This swelling treasure ; every good admits
Degrees, but this being so good, it cannot :
For he's no friend is not superlative.
Indulgent parents, brethren, kindred, tied
By the natural flow of blood, alliances,
And what you can imagine, is too light
To weigh with name of friend: they execute
At best but what a nature prompts them to;
Are often less than friends, when they remain
Our kinsmen still : but friend is never lost.
Seb. Nay then, Antonio, you mistake; I mean not
To leave off friend, which, with another title,
Would not be lost. Come then, I'll tell you, sir;
I would be friend and brother: thus our friendship
Shall, like a diamond set in gold, not lose
His sparkling, but shew fairer: I have a pair
Of sisters, which I would commend, but that
I might seem partial, their birth and fortunes
Deserving noble love; if thou be'st free'
From other fair engagement, I would be proud
To speak them worthy: come, shalt go and see them.
I would not beg them suitors; fame hath spread
Through Portugal their persons, and drawn to Avero
Many affectionate gallants.
Ant. Catalina and Berinthia.
Seb. The same.
Ant. Report speaks loud their beauties, and no less
Virtue in either. Well, I see you strive
To leave no merit where you mean to honour.
I cannot otherwise escape the censure
Of one ungrateful, but by waiting on you
Home to Avero.
Seb. You shall honour me,
And glad my noble father, to whom you are
No stranger; your own worth before hath been
I have not so much choice, Sebastiano :
But if one sister of Antonio's.
May have a commendation to your thoughts,
(I will not spend much art in praising her,
Her virtue speak itself) I shall be happy;
And be confirm’d your brother, though I miss
Acceptance at Avero.
Seb. Still you out-do me. I could never wish
My service better placed. At opportunity
I'll visit you at Elvas; i' the mean time
Lets haste to Avero, where with you I'll bring
My double welcome, and not fail to second
Ant. You shall teach me a lesson
Against we meet at Elvas castle, sir.
Sebastiano's father welcomes Antonio to Avero Castle.
CATALI NA. BERINTHIA.
Vil. Old Gaspar's house is honour'd by such guests.
Now, by the tomb of my progenitors,
I envied that your fame should visit me
So oft without your person. Sebastiano
Hath been long happy in your noble friendship,
And cannot but improve himself in virtues,
That lives so near your love.-You shall dishonour me,
you think yourself as welcome here
As at your Elvas castle. Villarezo
Was once as you are, sprightly; and though I say it,
Maintain'd my father's reputation,
And honour of our house, with actions
Worthy our name and family : but now
Tine hath let fall cold snow upon my hairs,
Plough’d on my brows the furrows of his anger,
Disturnish'd me of active blood, and wrapt me
Half in my sear-cloth, yet I have a mind
That bids me honour virtue, where I see it
Bud forth and spring so hopefully.
Ant. You speak all nobleness, and encourage me
To spend the greenness of my rising years
So to th' advantage, that at last I may
Be old like you.
Vil. Daughters, speak his welcome.
Antonio loves and is beloved by Berinthia, the younger sis-
ter. Catalina the elder is jealous, and plots to take off her
sister by poison. Antonio rescues Berinthia from the vin-
dictive jeulousy of her sister, and carries her off to Elvas
Castle ; where his sister Castabella and his cousin Villandras
ANTONIO. BERINTHIA. CASTABELLA. VILLANDRAS. SFORZA,
Ant. The welcom'st guest that ever Elvas had.
Sister-Villandras--you're not sensible
What treasure you possess. I have no loves,
I would not here divide.
Cast. Indeed, madam,
You are as welcome here as e'er my mother was.
Vil. And you are here as safe,
As if you had an army for your guard.
Nor think my noble cousin meaneth you
Any dishonour here.
Ant. Dishonour! 'tis a language
I never understood yet. Throw off your fears,
Berinthia, you're in the power of him,
That dares not think the least dishonour to you.
Come, be not sad.
Cast, Put on fresh blood; you are not chearful, how do
Ber. I know not how, nor what to answer you;
Your loves I cannot be ungrateful to ;
best friends I think, but yet I know not With what consent you brought my body hither. Ant. Can
you be ignorant what plot was laid To take your fair life from you?
Ber. If all be not a dream, I do remember Your servant Diego told me wonders, and
my preservation, but
Cast. It is your happiness you have escaped
The malice of your sister.'
Vill. And it is worth
A noble gratitude to have been quit
By such an honourer as Antonio is
Of fair Berinthia.
Ber. Oh, but my father; under whose displeasure
I ever sink.
Ant. You are secure-
Ber. As the poor deer that being pursued, for
Gets up a rock that overhangs the sea,
Where all that she can see is her destruction;
Before, the waves; behind, her enemies,
Promise her certain ruin.
Ant. Feign not yourself so hapless, my Berinthia.
Raise your dejected thoughts, be merry, come,
Think I am your Antonio.
Cast. 'Tis not wisdom To let our passed fortunes trouble us ; Since, were they bad, the memory is sweet That we have past them. Look before you, lady; The future most concerneth. Diego, a domestic, enters and announces that Sebastiano is
Ant. Your brother, lady, and my honour'd friend.
Why do the gates not spread themselves to open
At his arrival? Sforza, 'tis Berinthia's brother;
Sebastiano, th' example of all worth
And friendship, is come after his sweet sister.
Ber. Alas, I fear.
Ant. Be not such a coward, lady, he cannot comę
Without all goodness waiting on him. Sforza,
Sforza, I say, what precious time we lose !
Sebastiano-I almost lose myself
In joy to meet him. Break the iron bars,
And give him entrance.-Sebastiano's come-
Ber. Sent by my father to
Ant. What ? to see thee. He shall see thee here, Respected like thyself, Berinthia, Attended with Antonio, begirt With armies of thy servants. Sebastiano enters; with Count De Monte Nigro, his friend. I Ant. Oh, my friend.
Seb. 'Tis yet in question, sir, and will not be So easily prov'd.
Ant. What face have you put on ? am I awake,
Or do I dream Sebastiano frowns?
Seb. Antonio, (for here I throw off all
The ties of love) I come to fetch a sister
Dishonourably taken from her father;
Or with my sword to force thee render her:
Now if thou be'st a soldier, redeliver,
her with the danger of thy person.
Ant. Promise me the hearing,
And shalt have any satisfaction,
Becomes my fame.-
We'rt in your power, would you not account it
A precious victory, in your sister's cause,
To dye your sword with any blood of him,
Say'd both her life and honour?
Seb. Why, would you have me think
My sister owes to you such preservation?
Ant. Oh Sebastiano !
Thou dost not think what devil lies at home
Within a sister's hosom. Catalina
(I know not with what wors of envy) laid
Force to this goodly building, and through poison