Lucrezia Panciatichi by Branzino. Museo del prado
 

[Dramatis Personae]

ROMELIO, a merchant.

CONTARINO, a nobleman, and suitor to JOLENTA.

ERCOLE, a Knight of Malta, also suitor to JOLENTA.

CRISPIANO, a lawyer.

JULIO, son to CRISPIANO.

PROSPERO, a merchant, and colleage of ROMELIO.

ARIOSTO, a lawyer, and afterwards a judge.

CONTILUPO, a lawyer, representing LEONORA at the trial.

SANITONELLA, a law-clerk, assisting CONTILUPO

A CAPUCHIN FRIAR.

BAPTISTA, a merchant [ghost character].

LEONORA, mother of ROMELIO and of JOLENTA.

JOLENTA, sister of ROMELIO, and sought in marriage by CONTARINO and ERCOLE.

WINIFRID, her waiting woman.

ANGIOLELLA, a nun, pregnant by ROMELIO.

Two Surgeons, Judges, Lawyers, Bellmen, Registrar, Marshal, Herald, and Srevants.

Top of page


 

ACTS AND SCENES


Act I, scene i: The action takes place at Naples
Act I, scene ii: The action takes place at Naples

Act II, scene i: The action takes place at Naples
Act II, scene ii: The action takes place at Naples
Act II, scene iii: The action takes place at Naples
Act II, scene iv: The action takes place at Naples

Act III, scene i: The action takes place at Naples
Act III, scene ii: The action takes place at Naples
Act III, scene iii: The action takes place at Naples

Act IV, scene i: The action takes place at Naples
Act IV, scene ii: The action takes place at Naples

Act V, scene i: The action takes place at Naples
Act V, scene ii: The action takes place at Naples
Act V, scene iii: The action takes place at Naples
Act V, scene iv: The action takes place at Naples
Act V, scene v: The action takes place at Naples

To the Right Worthy, All-accomplished Gentleman, Sir Thomas Finch, Baronet

To the Judicious Reader

Top of page


 

Act I, Scene i: The action takes place at Naples


[Enter ROMELIO, and PROSPERO]

PROSPERO: You have shown a world of wealth; I did not think
There had been a merchant liv'd in Italy
Of half your substance.

ROMELIO: I'll give the King of Spain
Ten thousand ducats yearly, and discharge
my yearly custom. The Hollanders scarce trade
More generally than I: my factors' wives
Wear shaperoons of velvet, and my scriveners
Merely through my employment, grow so rich,
They build their palaces and belvederes
With musical water-works: never in my life
Had I loss at sea. They call me on th'exchange,
The fortunate young man, and make great suit
To venture with me. Shall I tell you sir,
Of a strange confidence in my way of trading?
I reckon it as certain as the gain
In erecting a lottery.

PROSPERO: I pray, sir, what do you think
Of Signor Baptista's estate?

ROMELIO: A mere beggar:
He's worth some fifty thousand ducats.

PROSPERO: Is not that well?

ROMELIO: How, well? For a man to be melted to snow-water,
With toiling in the world from three and twenty,
Till threescore, for poor fifty thousand ducats!

PROSPERO: To your estate 'tis little I confess:
You have the spring tide of gold.

ROMELIO: Faith, and for silver,
Should I not send it packing to th'East Indies,
We should have a glut on't.

[Enter SERVANT.]

SERVANT: Here's the great Lord Contarino.

PROSPERO: O, I know
His business, he's a suitor to your sister.

ROMELIO: Yes sir, but to you-
As my most trusted friend, I utter it-
I will break the alliance.

PROSPERO: You are ill-advis'd then;
There lives not a completer gentleman
In Italy, nor of a more ancient house.

ROMELIO: What tell you me of gentry? 'Tis nought else
But a superstitious relic of time past:
And sift it to the true worth, it is nothing
But ancient riches: and in him you know
They are pitifully in the wane. He makes his colour
Of visiting us so often, to sell land,
And thinks if he can gain my sister's love,
To recover the treble value.

PROSPERO: Sure he loves her
Entirely, and she deserves it.

ROMELIO: Faith, though she were
Crook'd-shoulder'd, having such a portion,
She would have noble suitors. But truth is,
I would wish my noble venturer take heed;
It may be whiles he hopes to catch a gilthead,
He may draw up a gudgeon.

[Enter CONTARINO.]

PROSPERO: He's come. Sir I will leave you.

[Exit PROSPERO and SERVANT]

CONTARINO: I sent you the evidence of the piece of land
I motioned to you for the sale.

ROMELIO: Yes

CONTARINO: Has your counsel perus'd it?

ROMELIO: Not yet my Lord. Do you
Intend to travel?

CONTARINO: No.

ROMELIO: O then you lose
That which makes a man most absolute.

CONTARINO: Yet I have heard
Of divers, that in passing of the Alps,
Have but exchang'd their virtues at dear rate
For other vices.

ROMELIO: O my Lord, lie not idle;
The chiefest action for a man of great spirit,
Is never to be out of action. We should think
The soul was never put into the body,
Which has so many rare and curious pieces
Of mathematical motion, to stand still.
Virtue is ever sowing of her seeds:
In the trenches for the soldier; in the wakeful study
For the scholar; in the furrows of the sea
For men of our profession: of all which
Arise and spring up honour. Come, I know
You have some noble great design in hand,
That you levy so much money.

CONTARINO: Sir, I'll tell you,
The greatest part of it I mean to employ
In payment of my debts, and the remainder
Is like to bring me into greater bonds,
As I aim it.

ROMELIO: How sir?

CONTARINO: I intend it
For the charge of my wedding.

ROMELIO: Are you to be married, my Lord?

CONTARINO: Yes sir; and I must now entreat your pardon,
That I have conceal'd from you a business
Wherein you had at first been call'd to counsel,
But that I thought it a less fault in friendship,
To engage myself thus far without your knowledge,
Than to do it against your will: another reason
Was that I would not publish to the world,
Nor have it whisper'd, scarce, what wealthy voyage
I went about, till I had got the mine
In mine own possession.

ROMELIO: You are dark to me yet.

CONTARINO: I'll now remove the cloud. Sir, your sister and I
Are vow'd each other's, and there only wants
Her worthy mother's, and your fair consents
To style it marriage. This is a way,
Not only to make a friendship, but confirm it
For our posterities. How do you look upon't?

ROMELIO: Believe me sir, as on the principal column
To advance our house: why you bring honour with you,
Which is the soul of wealth. I shall be proud
To live to see my little nephews ride
O'th upper hand of their uncles; and the daughters
Be rank'd by heralds at solemnities
Before the mother: all this deriv'd
From your nobility. Do not blame me sir,
If I be taken with't exceedingly:
For this same honour with us citizens,
Is a thing we are mainly fond of, especially
When it comes without money, which is very seldom.
But as you do perceive my present temper,
Be sure I am yours - [aside] fir'd with scorn and laughter
At your over-confident purpose- and no doubt
My mother will be of your mind.

CONTARINO: 'Tis my hope sir.

[Exit ROMELIO]

I do observe how this Romelio
Has very worthy parts, were they not blasted
By insolent vainglory. There rests now
The mother's approbation to the match,
Who is a woman of that state and bearing,
Though she be city-born, both in her language,
Her garments, and her table, she excels
Our ladies of the Court: she goes not gaudy,
Yet I have seen her wear one diamond,
Would have bought twenty gay ones out of their clothes,
And some of them, without the greater grace,
Out of their honesties.

[Enter LEONORA]

She comes, I will try
How she stands affected to me, without relating
My contract with her daughter.

LEONORA: Sir, you are nobly welcome, and presume
You are in a place that's wholly dedicated
To your service.

CONTARINO: I am ever bound to you
For many special favours.

LEONORA: Sir, your fame
Renders you most worthy of it.

CONTARINO: It could never have got
A sweeter air to fly in, than your breath.

LEONORA: You have been strange a long time; you are weary
Of our unseasonable time of feeding:
Indeed, th'exchange bell makes us dine so late.
I think the ladies of the Court from us
Learn to lie so long abed.

CONTARINO: They have a kind of exchange among them too.
Marry, unless it be to hear of news, I take it,
Theirs is like the New Burse, Thinly furnish'd
With tires and new fashions. I have a suit to you.

LEONORA: I would not have you value it the less,
If I say, 'tis granted already.

CONTARINO: You are all bounty.
'Tis to bestow your picture on me.

LEONORA: O sir,
Shadows are coveted in summer; and with me,
'Tis fall o'th' leaf.

CONTARINO: You enjoy the best of time:
This latter spring of yours shows in my eye,
More fruitful and more temperate withall,
Than that whose date is only limited
By the music of the cuckoo.

LEONORA: Indeed sir, I dare tell you,
My looking glass is a true one, and as yet
It does not terrify me. Must you have my picture?

CONTARINO: So please you lady, and I shall preserve it
As a most choice object.

LEONORA: You will enjoin me to a strange punishment:
With what a compell'd face a woman sits
While she is drawing! I have noted divers,
Either to feign smiles, or suck in the lips,
To have a little mouth; ruffle the cheeks,
To have the dimple seen, and so disorder
The face with affectation, at next sitting
It has not been the same. I have known others
Have lost the entire fashion of their face,
In half an hour's sitting.

CONTARINO: How?

LEONORA: In hot weather,
The painting on their face has been so mellow,
They have left the poor man harder work by half,
To mend the copy he wrought by. But indeed,
If ever I would have mine drawn to'th' life,
I would have a painter steal it, at such a time
I were devoutly kneeling at my prayers;
There is then a heavenly beauty in't; the soul
Moves in the superficies.

CONTARINO: Excellent lady,
Now you teach beauty a preservative,
More than 'gainst fading colours; and your judgement
Is perfect in all things.

LEONORA: Indeed sir, I am a widow,
And want the addition to make it so:
For man's experience has still been held
Woman's best eyesight. I pray sir tell me,
You are about to sell a piece of land
To my son, I hear.

CONTARINO: 'Tis truth.

LEONORA: Now I coul rather wish,
That noblemen would ever live i'th' country,
Rather than make their visits up to the city
About such business. O sir, noble houses
Have no such goodly prospects any way,
As into their own land: the decay of that,
Next to their begging church land, is a ruin
Worth all men's pity. Sir, I have forty thousand crowns
Sleep in my chest, shall waken when you please,
And fly to your commands. Will you stay supper?

CONTARINO: I cannot, worthy lady.

LEONORA: I would not have you come hither sir, to sell,
But to settle your estate. I hope you understand
Wherefore I make this proffer: so I leave you.

[Exit LEONORA]

CONTARINO: What a treasury have I pearch'd! 'I hope
You understand wherefore I make this proffer.'
She has got some intelligence, how I intend to marry
Her daughter, and ingenuously perceiv'd
That by her picture, which I beg'd of her,
I meant the fair Jolenta. Here's a letter,
Which gives express charge, not to visit her
Till midnight: [reads]
Fail not to come, for 'tis a business
That concerns both our honours.
Yours in danger to be lost, Jolenta.
'Tis a strange injuction; what should be the business?
She is not chang'd I hope. I'll thither straight:
For women's resolutions in such deeds,
Like bees, light oft on flowers, and oft on weeds.

Exit.

Top of page



 

Act I, scene ii: The action takes place at Naples

 

[Enter ERCOLE, ROMELIO, and JOLENTA.]

ROMELIO: O sister, come, the tailor must to work,
To make your wedding clothes.

JOLENTA: The tomb-maker,
To take measure of my coffin.

ROMELIO: Tomb-maker?
Look you, the King of Spain greets you.

[Gives her a paper]

JOLENTA: What does this mean?
Do you serve process on me?

ROMELIO: Process? Come,
You would be witty now.

JOLENTA: Why, what's this, I pray?

ROMELIO: Infinite grace to you: it is a letter
From his Catholic Majesty, for the commends
Of this gentleman for your husband.

JOLENTA: In good season:
I hope he will not have my allegiance stretch'd
To the undoing of myself.

ROMELIO: Undo yourself? He does proclaim him her -

JOLENTA: Not for a traitor, does he?

ROMELIO: You are not mad?
For one of the noblest gentlemen.

JOLENTA: Yet kings many times
Know merely but men's outsides. Was this commendation
Voluntary, think you?

ROMELIO: Voluntary: what mean you by that?

JOLENTA: Why I do not think but he beg'd it of the King,
And it may fortune to be out of's way:
Some better suit, that would have stood his Lordship
In far more stead. Letters of commendations;
Why 'tis reported that they are grown stale,
When places fall i'th' university.
I pray you return his pass: for to a widow
That longs to be a courtier, this paper
May do knight's service.

ERCOLE: Mistake not excellent mistress, these commends
Express, his Majesty of Spain has given me
Both addition of honour, as you may perceive
By my habit, and a place here to command
O'er thirty galleys: this your brother shows,
As wishing that you would be partner
In my good fortune.

ROMELIO: I pray come hither.
Have I any interest in you?

JOLENTA: You are my brother

ROMELIO: I would have you then use me with that respect
You may still keep me so, and to be sway'd
In this main business of life, which wants
Greatest consideration, your marriage,
By my direction. Here's a gentleman -

JOLENTA: Sir: I have often told you,
I am so little my own to dispose that way,
That I can never be his.

ROMELIO: Come, too much light
Makes you moo-eyed - are you in love with title?
I will have a herald, whose continual practice
Is all in pedigree, come a-wooing to you,
Or an antiquary in old buskins.

ERCOLE: Sir, you have done me the mainest wrong
That e'er was off'red to a gentleman
Of my breeding.

ROMELIO: Why sir?

ERCOLE: You have led me
With a vain confidence, that I should marry
Your sister, have proclaim'd it to my friends,
Employ'd the greatest lawyers of our state
To settle her a jointure; and the issue
Is, that I must become ridiculous
Both to my friends and enemies: I will leave you
Till I call to you for a strict account
Of your unmanly dealing.

ROMELIO: Stay my Lord!
[Aside] Do you long to have my throat cut? Good my Lord,
Stay but a little, till I have remov'd
This court-mist from her eyes, till I wake her
From this dull sleep, wherein she'll dream herself
To a deformed beggar. [To JOLENTA] You would marry
The great Lord Contarino.

[Enter LEONORA]

LEONORA: Contarino
Were you talking of? He lost last night at dice
Five thousand ducats; and when that was gone,
Set at one throw a lordship, that twice trebled
The former loss.

ROMELIO: And that flew after.

LEONORA: And most carefully
Carried the gentleman in his caroche
To a lawyer's chaber, there most legally
To put him in possession: was this wisdom?

ROMELIO: O yes, their credit in the way of gaming
Is the main thing they stand on; that must be paid,
Though the brewer bawl for's money. And this lord
Does she prefer i'th' way of marriage,
Before our choice here, noble Ercole!

LEONORA: You'll be advis'd, I hope. Know for your sakes
I married, that I might have children;
And for your sakes, if you'll be rul'd by me,
I will never marry again. Here's a gentleman
Is noble, rich, well featur'd, but 'bove all,
He loves you entirely; his intents are aim'd
For an expedition 'gainst the Turk,
Which makes the contract cannot be delayed.

JOLENTA: Contract? You must do this without my knowledge;
Give me some potion to make me mad,
And happily not knowing what I speak,
I may then consent to't.

ROMELIO: Come, you are mad already,
And I shall never hear you speak good sense,
Till you name him for husband.

ERCOLE: Lady, I will do
A manly office for you. I will leave you,
To the freedom of your own soul; may it mothe whither
Heaven and you please.

JOLENTA: Now you express yourself
Most nobly.

ROMELIO: Stay sir, what do you mean to do?

LEONORA:
[Kneels] Hear me: if ever thou dost marry Contarino,
All the misfortune that did ever dwell
In a parent's curse, light on thee!

ERCOLE: O rise lady, certainly heaven never
Intended kneeling to this fearful purpose.

JOLENTA: Your imprecation has undone me for ever.

ERCOLE: Give me your hand.

JOLENTA: No sir.

ROMELIO: Giv't me then:
[He takes her hand]
O what rare workmanship have I seen this
To finish with your needle, what excellent music
Have these struck upon the viol! Now I'll teach
A piece of art.

JOLENTA: Rather a damnable cunning,
To have me go about to giv't away,
Without consent of my soul.

ROMELIO: Kiss her my lord.
If crying had been regarded, maidenheads
Had ne'er been lost; at least some apprearance of crying
As an April shower i'th' sunshine.

LEONORA: She is yours.

ROMELIO: Nay, continue your station, and deal you in dumb show;
Kiss this doggedness out of her.

LEONORA: To be contracted
In tears, is but fashionable.

ROMELIO: Yet suppose
That they were hearty -

LEONORA: Virgins must seem unwilling.

ROMELIO: O what else? And you remember, we observe
The like in greater ceremonies than these contracts:
At the consecration of prelates, the ever use
Twice to say nay, and take it.

JOLENTA: O brother!
[He seizes her hand and lays it in ERCOLE'S]

ROMELIO: Keep your possession, you have the door by'th'ring,
That's livery and seasin in England:
But my lord, kiss that tear from her lip;
You'll find the rose the sweeter for the dew.

JOLENTA: Bitter as gall.

ROMELIO: Aye, aye, all you women,
Although you be of never so low stature,
Have gall in you most abundant; it exceeds
Your brains by two ounces. I was saying somewhat:
O, do but observe i'th' city, and you'll find
The thrifties bargains that were ever made,
What a deal of wrangling ere they could be brought
To an upshot!

LEONORA: Great persons do not ever come together -

ROMELIO: With revelling faces, nor is it necessary
They should; the strangeness and unwillingness
Wears the greater state, and gives occasion that
The people may buzz and talk of't, though the bells
Be tongue-tied at the wedding.

LEONORA: And truly I have heard say,
To be a little strange to one another,
Will keep your longing fresh.

ROMELIO: Aye, and make you beget
More children when y'are married: some doctors
Are of that opinion. You see, my lord, we are merry
At the contract; your sport is to come hereafter.

ERCOLE: I will leave you excellent lady, and withal
Leave heart with you so entirely yours,
That I protest, had I the least of hope
To enjoy you, though I were to wait the time
That scholars do in taking their degree
In the noble arts, 'twere nothing. Howsoe'er,
He parts from you, that will depart from life,
To do you any service, and so humbly
I take my leave.

JOLENTA: Sir, I will pray for you.

[Exit ERCOLE. ]

ROMELIO: Why, that's well; 'twill make your prayer complete,
To pray for your husband.

JOLENTA: Husband!

LEONORA: This is
The happiest hour that I ever arriv'd at.

[Exit.]

ROMELIO: Husband, aye,husband! Come you peevish thing,
Smile me a thank for the pains I have tane.

JOLENTA: I hate myself for being thus enforc'd;
You may soon judge then what I think of you
Which are the cause of it.

[Enter [WINIFRID] the waiting woman.]

ROMELIO: You lady of the laundry, come hither.

WINIFRID: Sir?

ROMELIO: Look as you love your life, you have an eye
Upon your mistress: I do henceforth bar her
All visitansts. I do hear there are bawds abroad,
That bring cut-works, and mantoons, and convey letters
To such young gentlewomen, and there are others
That deal in corn-cutting, and fortune-telling:
Let none of these come at her on your life,
Nor Deuce-ace the wafer woman, that prigs abroad
With musk melons, and malakatoons;
Nor the Scotchwoman with the cittern, do you mark,
Nor a dancer by any means, though he ride on's footcloth,
Nor a hackney coachman, if he can speak French.

WINIFRID: Why Sir?

ROMELIO: By no means: no more words;
Nor the woman with marrow-bone puddings. I have heard
Strange juggling tricks have been convey'd to a woman
In a pudding. You are apprehensive?

WINIFRID: O good sir, I have travell'd.

ROMELIO: When you had a bastard, you travell'd indeed:
But, my precious chaperones,
I trust thee the better for that; for I have heard
There is no warier keeper of a park,
To prevent stalkers, or your night-walkers,
That such a man, as in his youth has been
A most notorious deer-stealer.

WINIFRID: Very well sir,
You may use me at your pleasure.

ROMELIO: By no means, Winifrid, that were the way
To make thee travel again. Come, be not angry,
I do but jest; thou knowest, wit and a woman
Are two very frail things, and so I leave you.

[Exit ]

WINIFRID: I could weep with you, but 'tis no matter,
I can do that at any time; I have now
A greater mind to rail a little. Plague of these
Unsanctified matches: they make us loathe
The most natural desire our grandame Eve ever left us.
Force one to marry against their will! Why 'tis
A more ungodly work than enclosing the commons.

JOLENTA: Prithee, peace.
This is indeed an argument so common,
I cannot think of matter new enogh
To express it bad enough.

WINIFRID: Here's one, I hope
Will put you out of't.

[Enter CONTARINO. ]

CONTARINO: How now, sweet mistress?
You have made sorrow look lovely of late,
You have wept.

WINIFRID: She has done nothing else these three days. Had you stood
behind the arras, to have heard her shed so much salt water
as I have done, you would have thought
she had been turn'd fountain.

CONTARINO: I would fain know the cause can be worthy this
Thy sorrow.

JOLENTA: Reach me the caskanet. I am studying, sir,
To take an inventory of all that's mine.

CONTARINO: What to do with it, lady?

JOLENTA: To make you a deed of gift.

CONTARINO: That's done already. You are all mine.

WINIFRID: Yes, but the devil would fain put in for's share,
In likeness of a separation.

JOLENTA: O sir, I am bewitch'd.

CONTARINO: Ha?

JOLENTA: Most certain. I am forespoken,
To be married to another: can you ever think
That I shall ever thrive in't? Am I not then bewitch'd?
All comfort I can teach myself is this:
There is a time left for me to die nobly,
When I cannot live so.

CONTARINO: Give me in a word, to whom, or by whose means,
Are you thus torn from me?

JOLENTA: By Lord Ercole, my mother, and my brother.

CONTARINO: I'll make his bravery fitter far for a grave,
Than for a wedding.

JOLENTA: So you will beget
A far more dangerous and strange disease
Out of the cure. You must love him again
For my sake: for the noble Ercole
Had such a true compassion of my sorrow.
Hark in your ear, I'll show you his right worthy
Demeanour to me.

WINIFRID: [aside] O you pretty ones!
I have seen this lord many a time and oft
Set her in's lap, and talk to her of love
So feelingly, I do protest it has mede me
Run out of my self to think on't.
O sweet-breath'd monkey; how they grow together!
Well, 'tis my opinion, he was no woman's friend
That did invent a punishment for kissing.

CONTARINO: If he bear himself so nobly,
The manliest office I can do for him,
Is to afford him my pity, since he's like
To fail of so dear a purchase. For your mother,
Your goodness quits her ill; for your brother,
He that vows friendship to a man, and proves
A traitor, deserves rather to be hang'd,
Than he that counterfeits money. Yet for your sake
I must sign his pardon too. Why do you tremble?
Be safe, you are now free from him.

JOLENTA: O but sir,
The intermission from a fit of an ague
Is grievous; for indeed it doth prepare us
To entertain torment next morning.

CONTARINO: Why, he's gone to sea.

JOLENTA: But he may return too soon.

CONTARINO: To avoid which, we will instantly be married.

WINIFRID: To avoid which, get you instantly to bed together,
Do, and I think no civil lawyer for his fee
Can give you better counsel.

JOLENTA: Fie upon thee,
Prithee leave us.

[Exit WINIFRID.]

CONTARINO: Be of comfort, sweet mistress.

JOLENTA: Upon one condition, we may have no quarrel
About this

CONTARINO: Upon my life, none.

JOLENTA: None,
Upon your honour?

CONTARINO: With whom? With Ercole?
You have delivered him guiltless. With your brother?
He's part of yourself. With your complemental mother?
I use no fight with women. Tomorrow we'll
Be married. Let those that would oppose this union,
Grow ne'er so subtle, and entangle themselves
In their own work like spiders, while we two
Haste to our noble wishes, and presume
The hindrance of it will breed more delight,
As black copartaments shows gold more bright.

[Exit]

 

Top of page

 


 

Act II, Scene i: The action takes place at Naples


[Enter CRISPIANO ( in disguise) and SANITONELLA]


CRISPIANO: Am I well habited?

SANITONELLA: Exceeding well. Any man would take you for a merchant.
But pray sir, resolve me what should be the reason, that
you being one of the most eminent civil lawyers in Spain,
and but newly arriv'd from the East Indies, should take
this habit of a merchant upon you?

CRISPIANO: Why my son lives here in Naples, and in's riot
Doth far exceed the exhibition I allow'd him.

SANITONELLA: So then, and in this disguise you mean to trace him?

CRISPIANO: Partly for that, but there is other business
Of greater consequence.

SANITONELLA: Faith, for his expense, 'tis nothing to your estate.
What, to Don Crispiano, the famous Corregidor
of Seville, who by his mere practice of the law,
in less time than half a Jubilee, hath gotten thirty
thousand ducats a year!

CRISPIANO: Well, I will give him line,
Let him run on in's course of spending.

SANITONELLA: Freely?

CRISPIANO: Freely.
For I protest, if that I could conceive
My son would take more pleasure or content,
By any course of riot, in the expense,
Than I took joy, nay soul's felicity,
In the getting of it, should all the wealth I have
Waste to as small an atomy as flies
I'th' sun, I do protest on that condition,
It should not move me.

SANITONELLA: How's this? Cannot he take more pleasure
in spending it riotously than you have done by
scraping it together? O ten thousand times more,
and I make no question, five hundred young gallants
will be of my opinion.
Why all the time of your collectionship,
Has been a perpetual calendar. Begin first
With your melancholy study of the law
Before you came to finger the ruddocks; after that,
The tiring importunity of clients,
To rise so early, and sit up so late,
You made yourself half ready in a dream,
And never pray'd but in your sleep. Can I think
That you have half your lungs left with crying out
For judgements, and days of trial? Remember sir,
How often have I borne you on my shoulder,
Among a shoal or swarm of reeking night-caps,
When that your worship has bepiss'd yourself,
Either with vehemency or argument,
Or being out from the matter. I am merry.

CRISPIANO: Be so.

SANITONELLA: You could not eat like a gentleman, at leissure;
But swallow'd it like flap-dragons, as if you liv'd
With chewing the cud after.

CRISPIANO: No pleasure in the world was comparable to't.

SANITONELLA: Possible?

CRISPIANO: He shall never taste the like,
Unless he study law.

SANITONELLA: What, not in wenching, sir?
'Tis a court game believe it, as familiar
As gleek, or any other.

CRISPIANO: Wenching? O fie, the disease follows it:
Beside, can the fing'ring taffetas, or lawns,
Or a painted hand, or a breast, be like the pleasure
In taking clients' fees, and piling them
In several goodly rows before my desk?
An according to the bigness of each heap,
Which I took by a leer (for lawyers do not tell them)
I vail'd my cap, and withal gave great hope
The cause should go on their sides.

SANITONELLA: What think you then
Of a good cry of hounds? I has been known
Dogs have hunted lordships to a fault.

CRISPIANO: Cry of curs?
The noise of clients at my chamber door
Was sweeter music far, in my conceit,
Than all the hunting in Europe.

SANITONELLA: Pray stay sir,
Say he should spend it in good housekeeping?

CRISPIANO: Aye, marry sir, to have him keep a good house,
And not sell't away; I'd find no fault with that:
But his kitchen, I'd have no bigger than a sawpit;
For the smallness of a kitchen, without question,
Makes many noblemen in France and Spain
Build the rest of the house the bigger.

SANITONELLA: Yes, mock-beggars.

CRISPIANO: Some sevenscore chimneys,
But half of them have no tunnels.

SANITONELLA: A pox upon them, cuckshaws, that beget
Such monsters without fundaments.

CRISPIANO: Come, come, leave citing other vanities;
For neither wine, nor lust, nor riotous feasts,
Rich clothes, nor all the pleasure that the devil
Has ever practis'd with, to raise a man
To a devil's likeness, e'er brought man that pleasure
I took in getting my wealth: so I conclude.
If he can outvie me, let it fly to th' devil.
Yon's my son, what company keeps he?

[Enter ROMELIO, JULIO, ARIOSTO, and BAPTISTA SANITONELLA]

The gentleman he talks with, is Romelio
The merchant.

CRISPIANO: I never saw him till now.
A has a brave sprightly look; I knew his father,
And sojourn'd in his house two years together,
Before this young man's birth. I have news to tell him
Of certain losses happened him at sea,
That will not please him.

SANITONELLA: What's that dapper fellow
In the long stocking? I do think 'twas he
Came to your lodging this morning.

CRISPIANO: 'Tis the same.
There he stands, but a little piece of flesh,
But he is the very miracle of a lawyer,
One that persuades men to peace and compounds quarrels,
Among his neighbours, without going to law.

SANITONELLA: And is he a lawyer?

CRISPIANO: Yes, and will give counsel
In honest causes gratis, never in his life
Took fee, but he came a spake for't, is a man
Of extreme practice, and yet all his longing
Is to become a judge.

SANITONELLA: Indeed, tha's a rare longing with men of
his profession. I think he'll prove the miracle
of a lawyer indeed.

ROMELIO: Here's the man brought word your father died i'th' Indies.

JULIO: He died in perfect memory I hope,
And made me his heir,

CRISPIANO: Yes sir.

JULIO: He's gone the right way then without question.
Friend, in time of mourning we must not use any
action, that is but accessory to the making men
merry. I do therefore give you nothing for your
good tidings.

CRISPIANO: Nor do I look for it sir.

JULIO: Honest fellow, give me thy hand. I do not think but
thou hast carried New Year's gift to th' Court in thy days,
and learned'st there to be so free of thy painstaking.

ROMELIO: Here's an old gentleman says he was chamber-fellow
to your father, when they studied the law together
at Barcelona.

JULIO: Do you know him?

ROMELIO: Not I, he's newly come to Naples.

JULIO: And what's his business?

ROMELIO: A says he's come to read you good counsel.

CRISPIANO [aside to ARIOSTO] To him: rate him soundly.

JULIO: And what's your counsel?

ARIOSTO: Why, I would have you leave your whoring.

JULIO: He comes hotly upon me at first. Whoring?

ARIOSTO: O young quat, incontinence is plagu'd
In all the creatures of the world.

JULIO: When did you ever hear that a cock-sparrow
Had the French pox?

ARIOSTO: When did you ever know any of them fat, but
in the nest? Ask all your Cantaride-mongers that question:
remember your self sir.

JULIO: A very fine naturalist, a physician, I take you, by
your round slop; for 'tis just of the bigness, and no more,
of the case for a urinal: 'tis concluded, you are a physician.
[ARIOSTO takes off his hat]
What do you mean si? Youl'll take cold.

ARIOSTO: 'Tis concluded, you are a fool, a precious one;
you are a mere stick of sugar candy, a man may look
quite thorough you.

JULIO: You are a very bold gamester. [JULIO takes off his hat.]

ARIOSTO: I can play at chess, and know how to handle a rook.

JULIO: Pray preserve your velvet from the dust.

ARIOSTO: Keep your hat upon the block sir,
'Twill continue fashion the longer.

JULIO: I was never so abus'd with the hat in the hand
In my life.

ARIOSTO: I will put on; why look you,
Those lands that were the client's are now become
The lawyer's; and those tenements that were
The country gentleman's, are now grown
To be his tailor's.

JULIO: Tailor's?

ARIOSTO: Yes, tailors in France, they grow to great
abominable purchase, and become great officers. How
many ducats think you he has spent within a twelve-month,
besides his father's allowance?


JULIO: Besides my father's allowance? Why gentleman,
do you think an auditor begat me? Would you have
me make even at year's end?

ROMELIO: A hundred ducats a month in breaking Venice glasses.

ARIOSTO: He learnt that of an English drunkard, and a
knight too, as I take it. This comes of your numerous
wardrobe.

ROMELIO: Aye, and wearing cut-work, a pound a purl.

ARIOSTO: Your dainty embroidered stockings, with
overblown roses, to hide your gouty ankles.

ROMELIO: And wearing more taffeta for a garter, than
would serve The galley dung-boat for streamers.

ARIOSTO: Your switching up at the horse-race, with the
Illustrissimni.

ROMELIO: And studying a puzzling arithmetic at the cock-pit.

ARIOSTO: Shaking your elbow at the Taule-board.

ROMELIO: And resorting to your whore in hired velvet,
with a spangled copper fringe at her netherlands.

ARIOSTO: Whereas if you had stay'd at Padua, and fed upon
cow-trotters, and fresh beef to supper-

JULIO: How I am baited!

ARIOSTO: Nay, be not you so forward with him neither,
for 'tis thought, you'll prove a main part of this undoing.

JULIO [aside] I think this fellow is a witch.

ROMELIO: Who, I sir?

ARIOSTO: You have certain rich city choughs, that when
they have no acres of their own, they will go and plough
up fools, and turn them into excellent meadow; besides
some enclosures for the first cherries in the spring, and
apricots to pleasure a friend at Court with. You have
'pothecaries deal in selling commodities to young
gallants, will put four or five coxcombs into a sieve, and
so drum with them upon their counter; they'll searse them through like Guinea pepper. They cannot endure to find a
man like a pair of tarriers, they would undo him in a trice.

ROMELIO: Maybe there are such.

ARIOSTO: O terrible exactors, fellows with six hands, and three heads.

JULIO: Aye, those are hell-hounds.

ARIOSTO: Take heed of them, they'll rend thee like tenterhooks.
Hark in your ear, there is intelligence upon you.
The report goes, there has been gold convey'd beyond the
sea in hollow anchors. Farewell, you shall know me better,
I will do thee more good, than thou art aware of.

[Exit ARIOSTO]

JULIO: He's a mad fellow.

SANITONELLA: He would have made an excellent barber,
he does so curry it with his tongue.

[Exit SANITONELLA]

CRISPIANO: Sir, I was directed to you.

ROMELIO: From whence?

CRISPIANO: From the East Indies.

ROMELIO: You are very welcome.

CRISPIANO: Please you walk apart,
I shall acquaint you with particulars
Touching your trading i'th' East Indies.

ROMELIO: Willingly, pray walk sir.

[Exit CRISPIANO and ROMELIO. Enter ERCOLE.]

ERCOLE: O my right worthy friends, you have stay'd me long:
One health, and then aboard; for all the galleys
Are come about.

[Enter CONTARINO]

CONTARINO: Signor Ercole,
The wind has stood my friend sir, to prevent
Your putting to sea.

ERCOLE: Pray why sir?

CONTARINO: Only love sir;
That I might take my leave sir, and withal
Entreat from you a private recommends
To a friend in Malta; 'twould be deliver'd
To your bosom, for I had not time to writw.

ERCOLE: Pray leave us gentlemen. [Exit JULIO and BAPTISTA]
[ERCOLE and CONTARINO sit down.]
Wilt please you sit?

CONTARINO: Sir, my love to you has proclaim'd you one,
Whose word was still lead by a noble thought,
And that thought follow'd by as fair a deed:
Deceive not that opinion. We were students
At Padua together, and have long
To'th' worlds's eye shown like friends;
Was it hearty on your part to me?

ERCOLE: Unfeigned.

CONTARINO: You are false
To the good thought I held of you, and now
Join the worst part of man to you, your malice,
To uphold that falsehood; sacred innocence
Is fled your bosom. Signor, I must tell you,
To draw the picture of unkindness truly,
Is to express two that have dearly lov'd,
And fallen at variance. 'Tis a wonder to me,
Knowing my interest in the fair Jolenta,
That you should love her.

ERCOLE: Compare her beauty, and my youth together,
And you will find the fair effects of love
No miracle at all.

CONTARINO: Yes, it will prove
Prodigious to you. I must stay your voyage.

ERCOLE: Your warrant must be mighty.

CONTARINO: 'T'as a seal
From heaven to do it, since you would ravish from me
What's there entitl'ed mine: and yet I vow,
By the essential front of spotless virtue,
I have compassion of both our youths:
To approve which, I have not tane the way,
Like an Italian, to cut your throat
By practice, that had given you now for dead,
And never frown'd upon.

ERCOLE: You deal fair, sir.

CONTARINO: Quit me of one doubt, pray sir.

ERCOLE: Move it.

CONTARINO: 'Tis this.
Whether her brother were a main instrument
In her disign for marriage.

ERCOLE: If I tell truth,
You will not credit me.

CONTARINO: Why?

ERCOLE: I will tell you truth,
Yet show some reason you have not to believe me:
Her brother had no hand in't: is't not hard
For you to credit this? For you may think
I count it baseness to engage another
Into my quarrel; and for that take leave
To dissemble the truth. Sir, If you will fight
With any but myself, fight with her mother,
She was the motive.

CONTARINO: I have no enemy
In the world them, but yourself: you must fight
With me.

ERCOLE: I will sir.

CONTARINO: And instantly.

ERCOLE: I will haste before you; point whither.

CONTARINO: Why, you speak nobly, and for this fair dealing,
Were the rich jewel which we vary for,
A thing to be divided; by my life,
I would be well content to give you half.
But since 'tis vain to think we can be friends,
'Tis needful one of us be tane away,
From being the other's enemy.

ERCOLE: Yet methinks,
This looks not like a quarrel.

CONTARINO: Not a quarrel?

ERCOLE: You have not apparell'd your fury well,
It goes too plain, like a scholar.

CONTARINO: It is an ornament
Makes it more terrible, and you shall find it
A weighty injury, and attended on
By discreett valour. Because I do not strike you,
Or give you the lie - such foul preparatives
Would show like the stale injury of wine -
I reserve my rage to sit on my sword's point,
Which a great quantity of your best blood
Cannot satisfy.

ERCOLE: You promise well to yourself.
Shall's have no seconds?

CONTARINO: None, for fear of prevention.

ERCOLE: The length of our weapons?

CONTARINO: We'll fit them by the way.
So whether our time calls us to live or die,
Let us do both like noble gentlemen,
And true Italians.

ERCOLE: For that let me embrace you.

CONTARINO: Methinks, being an Italian, I trust you
To come somewhat too near me:
But your jealousy gave that embrace to try
If I were arm'd, did it not?

ERCOLE: No, believe me,
I take heart to be sufficient proof,
Without a privy coat; and for my part,
A taffeta is all the shirt of mail
I am arm'd with.

CONTARINO: You deal equally.

[Exit. Enter JULIO, and SERVANT]

JULIO: Where are these gallants, the brave Ercole,
And noble Contarino?

SERVANT: They are newly gone, sir,
And bade me tell you that they will return
Within this half hour.

[Enter ROMELIO.]

JULIO: Met you the Lord Ercole?

ROMELIO: No, but I met the devil in villainous tidings.

JULIO: Why, what's the matter?

ROMELIO: O, I am pour'd out
Like water: the greatest rivers i'th' world
Are lost in the sea, and so am I. Pray leave me.
Where's Lord Ercole?

JULIO: You were scarce gone hence,
But in came Contarino.

ROMELIO: Contarino?

JULIO: And entreated some private conference with Ercole,
And on the sudden they have giv'n's the slip.

ROMELIO: One mischief never comes alone: they are
Gone to fight.

JULIO: To fight?

ROMELIO: And you be gentlemen,
Do not talk, but make haste after them.

JULIO: Let's take several ways then,
And if't be possible, for women's sakes,
For they are proper men, use our endeavours,
That the prick do not spoil them.

Top of page



 

Act II, Scene ii: The action takes place at Naples


[Enter ERCOLE and CONTARINO.]


CONTARINO: You'll not forgo your interest in my mistress?

ERCOLE: My sword shall answer that: come, are you ready?

CONTARINO: Before you fight sir, think upon your cause
It is a wondrous foul one, and I wish
That all your exercise these four days past
Had been employ'd in a most fervent prayer,
And the foul sin for which your are to fight
Chiefly remembered in't.

ERCOLE: I'd as soon take
Your counsel in divinity at this present,
As I would take a kind direction from you
For the managing my weapon: and indeed,
Both would show much alike.
Come, are you ready?

CONTARINO: Bethink yourself,
How fair the object is that we conted for.

ERCOLE: O, I cannot forget it.

[They fight. ERCOLE is wounded.]

CONTARINO: You are hurt.

ERCOLE: Did you come hither only to tell me so,
Or to do it? I mean well, but 'twill not thrive.

CONTARINO: Your cause, your cause, sir:
Will you yet be a man of conscience, and make
Restitution for your rage upon your death-bed?

ERCOLE: Never, till the grave father one of us

[They fight again]

CONTARINO: That was fair, and home I think.

[Wounds ERCOLE]

ERCOLE: You prate as if you were in a fence-school.

CONTARINO: Spare your youth, have compassion on yourself.

ERCOLE: When I am all in pieces; I am now unfit
For any lady's bed; take the rest with you.

[CONTARINO wounded, falls upon ERCOLE]

CONTARINO: I am lost in too much daring; yield your sword.

ERCOLE: To the pangs of death I shall, but not to thee.

CONTARINO: You are now at my rapairing, or confusion:
Beg your life.

ERCOLE: O, most foolishly demanded,
To bid me beg that which thou canst not give.

[Enter ROMELIO, PROSPERO, BAPTISTA, ARIOSTO, and JULIO]

PROSPERO: See both of them are lost: we come too late.

ROMELIO: Take up the body, and convey it
To Saint Sebstian's monastery.

CONTARINO: I will not part with his sword, I have won't.

JULIO: You shall not: take him up gently; so:
And bow his body, for fear of bleeding inward.
Well, these are perfect lovers.

PROSPERO: Why, I pray?

JULIO: It has ever been my opinion,
That there are none love perfectly indeed,
But those that hang or drown themselves for love:
Now these have chose a death next to beheading;
They have cut one another's throats,
Brave valiant lads.

PROSPERO: Come, you do ill, to set the name of valour
Upon a violent and mad despair.
Hence may all learn, that count such actions well,
The roots of fury shoot themselves to hell.

[Exit]

 

Top of page

 


 

Act II, Scene iii: The action takes place at Naples

[Enter ROMELIO and ARIOSTO.]


ARIOSTO: Your losses, I confess, are infinite,
Yet sir, you must have patience.

ROMELIO: Sir, my losses
I know, but you I do not.

ARIOSTO: 'Tis most true,
I am but a stranger to you, but am wish'd
By some of your best friends, to visit you,
And out of my experience in the world,
To instruct you patience.

ROMELIO: Of what profession are you?

ARIOSTO: Sir I am a lawyer.

ROMELIO: Of all men living,
You lawyers I account the only men
To confirm patience in us; your delays
Would make three parts of this little Christian world
Run out of their wits else. Now I remember,
You read lectures to Julio: are you such a leech
For patience?

ARIOSTO: Yes sir, I have had some crosses.

ROMELIO: You are married then, I am certain.

ARIOSTO: That I am sir.

ROMELIO: And have you studied patience?

ARIOSTO: You shall find I have.

ROMELIO: Did you ever see your wife make you cuckold?

ARIOSTO: Make me cuckold?

ROMELIO: I ask it seriously: and you have not seen that,
Your patience has not tane the right degree
Of wearing scarlet; I should rather take you
For a Bachelor in the Art, than for a Doctor.

ARIOSTO: You are merry.

ROMELIO: No sir, with leave of your patience,
I am horrible angry.

ARIOSTO: What should move you
Put forth that harsh interrogatory, if these eyes,
Ever saw my wife do the thing you wot of?

ROMELIO: Why, I'll tell you,
Most radically to try your patience,
And the mere question shows you but a dunce in't.
It has made you angry; there's another lawyer's beard
In your forehead, you do bristle.

ARIOSTO: You are very conceited:
But come, this is not the right way to cure you.
I must talk to you like a divine.

ROMELIO: I have heard
Some talk of it very much, and many times
To their auditors' impatience; but I pray,
What practice do they make of't in their lives?
They are too full of choler with living honest,
And some of them not only impatient
Of their own slightest injuries, but stark mad
At one another's preferment. Now to you sir;
I have lost three goodly carracks.

ARIOSTO: So I hear.

ROMELIO: The very spice in them,
Had they been shipwreck'd here upon our coast,
Would have made all our sea a drench.

ARIOSTO: All the sick horses in Italy
Would have been glad of your loss then.

ROMELIO: You are conceited too.

ARIOSTO: Come, come, come,
You gave those ships most strange, most dreadful, and
Unfortunate names: I never look'd they'd prosper.

ROMELIO: Is there any ill omen in giving names to ships?

ARIOSTO: Did you not call one, The Storm's Defiance;
Another, The Scourge of the Sea; and the third,
The Great Leviathan?

ROMELIO: Very right, sir.

ARIOSTO: Very devilish names, all three of them:
And surely I think they were curs'd
In their very cradles; I do mean, when they were
Upon their stocks.

ROMELIO: Come, you are superstitious.
I'll give you my opinion, and 'tis serious:
I am persuaded there came not cuckolds enough
To the first launching of them, and 'twas that
Made them thrive the worse for't. O, your cuckold's handsel
Is pray'd for i'th' City.

ARIOSTO: I will hear no more.
Give me thy hand. My intent of coming hither,
Was to persuade you to patience: as I live,
If ever I do visit you again,
It shall be to entreat you to be angry; sure it will,
I'll be as good as my word, believe it.

[Exit ARIOSTO. Enter LEONORA]

ROMELIO: So sir. How now?
Are the screech owls abroad already?

LEONORA: What a dismal noise yon bell makes;
Sure, some great person's dead.

ROMELIO: No such matter,
I is the common bellman goes about,
To publish the sale of goods.

LEONORA: Why do they ring
Before my gate thus? Let them into'th' court,
I cannot understand what they say.

[Enter two bellmen and a CAPUCHIN.]

CAPUCHIN: For pity's sake, you that have tears to shed,
Sigh a soft requiem, and let fall a bead
For two unfortunate nobles, whose sad fate
Leaves them both death, and excommunicate:
No churchman's prayer to comfort their last groans,
No sacred sod of earth to hide their bones;
But as their fury wrought them out of breath,
The canon speaks them guilty of their own death.

LEONORA: What noblemen, I pray sir?

CAPUCHIN: The Lord Ercole,
And the noble Contarino, both of them
Slain in single combat.

LEONORA: O, I am lost forever.

ROMELIO: Denied Christian burial - I pray, what does that,
Or the dead lazy march in the funeral,
Or the flattery in the epitaphs, which shows
More sluttish far than all the spider's webs
Shall ever grow upon it; what do these
Add to our well-being after death?

CAPUCHIN: Not a scruple.

ROMELIO: Very well then,
I have a certain meditation,
If I can think of't, somewhat to this purpose;
I'll say it to you, while my mother there
Numbers her beads.
You that dwell near these graves and vaults,
Which oft do hide physicians' faults,
Note what a small room does suffice,
To express men's good; their vanities
Would fill more volume in small hand,
Than all the evidence of church land.
Funerals hide men in civil wearing,
And are to the drapers a a good hearing,
Make the heralds laugh in their black raiment,
And all die worthies die worth payment
To the altar offerings; though their fame,
And all the charity of their name,
'Tween heaven and this yield no more light,
Than rotten trees, which shine i'th' night.
O, look the last act be the best i'th' play,
And then rest gentle bones; yet pray
That when by the precise you are view'd,
A supersedeas be not sued,
To remove you to a place more airy,
That in your stead they make keep chary
Stockfish, or sea-coal, for the abuses
Of sacrilege have turn'd graves to viler uses.
How then can any monument say,
Here rest these bones, till the last day,
When time swift both of foot and feather,
May bear them the sexton kens not whither?
What care I then, though my last sleeo,
Be in the desert, or in the deep;
No lamp, nor taper, day and night,
To give my charnel chargeable light?
I have there like quantity of ground,
And at the last day I shall be found.
Now I pray leave me.

CAPUCHIN: I am sorry for your losses.

ROMELIO: Um sir, the more spacious that the tennis
Court is, the more large is the hazard.
I dare the spiteful Fortune do her worst,
I can now fear nothing.

CAPUCHIN: O sir, yet consider,
He that is without fear, is without hope,
And sins from presumption. Better thoughts attend you!

[Exit CAPUCHIN and Bellmen].

ROMELIO: Poor Jolente, should she hear of this!
She would not after the report keep fresh,
So long as flowers in graves.

[Enter PROSPERO]

How now Prospero?

PROSPERO: Contarino has sent you here his will,
Wherein a has made your sister his sole heir.

ROMELIO: Is he not dead?

PROSPERO: He's yet living.

ROMELIO: Living? The worse luck.

LEONORA: The worse? I do protest it is the best
That ever came to disturb my prayers.

ROMELIO: How?

LEONORA: Yet I would have him live
To satisfy public justice for the death
Of Ercole. O go visit him for heaven's sake.
I have within my closet a choice relic,
Preservative 'gainst swounding, and some earth,
Brought from the Holy Land, right sovereign
To staunch blood. Has he skilful surgeons, think you?

PROSPERO: The best in Naples.

ROMELIO: How oft has he been dress'd?

PROSPERO: But once.

LEONORA: I have some skill this way.
The second or third dressing will show clearly,
Whether there be hope of life. I pray be near him,
If there be any soul can bring me word,
That there is hope of life.

ROMELIO: Do you prize his life so?

LEONORA: That he may live, I mean, to come to his trial,
To satisfy the law.

ROMELIO: O, is't nothing else?

LEONORA: I shall be the happiest woman.

[Exit LEONORA and PROSPERO].

ROMELIO: Here is cruelty apparell'd in kindness.
I am full of thoughts, strange ones, but they're no good ones.
I must visit Contarino; upon that
Depends an engine shall weigh up my losses,
Were they sunk as low as hell: yet let me think,
How I am impair'd in an hour, and the cause of't:
Lost in security. O how this wicked world bewitches,
Especially made insolent with riches!
So sails with force-winds stretch'd, do soonest break,
And pyramids a'th' top are still most weak.

[Exit.]

Top of page



 

Act II, Scene iv: The action takes place at Naples

[Enter CAPUCHIN, ERCOLE led between two.]


CAPUCHIN: Look up, sir, you are preserv'd beyond
Natural reason; you were brought dead out a'th' field,
The surgeons ready to have embalm'd you.

ERCOLE: I do look on my action with a thought of terror;
To do ill and dwell in't, is unmanly.

CAPUCHIN: You are divinely informed sir.

ERCOLE: I fought for one, in whom I have no more right,
Thab false executors have in orphans' goods
They cozen them of; yet though my cause were naught,
I rather chose the hazard of my soul,
Than forgo the compliment of a choleric man.
I pray continue the report of my death, and give out,
'Cause the Church denied me Christian burial,
The vice-admiral of my galleys took my body,
With purpose to commit it to the earth,
Either in Sicil, or Malta.

CAPUCHIN: What aim you at
By this rumour of your death?

ERCOLE: There is hope of life
In Contarino, and he has my prayers,
That he may live to enjoy what is his own,
The fair Jolenta: where, should it be thought
That I were breathing, happily her friends
Would oppose it still.

CAPUCHIN: But if you be suppos'd dead,
The law will strictly prosecute his life
For your murder.

ERCOLE: That's prevented thus:
There does belong a noble privilege
To all his family, ever since his father
Bore from the worthy Emperor Charles the Fith
An answer to the French King's challenge, at such time
The two noble princes were engag'd to fight
Upon a frontier arm o'th' sea in a flat-bottomed boat,
That if any of his family should chance
To kill a man i'th' field, in a noble cause,
He should have his pardon: now, sir, for his cause,
The world may judge if it were not honest.
Pray help me in speech, 'tis very painful to me.

CAPUCHIN: Sir I shall.

ERCOLE: The guilt of this lies in Romelio,
And as I hear, to second this good contract,
He has got a nun with child.

CAPUCHIN: These are crimes
That either must make work for speedy repentance,
Or for the devil.

ERCOLE: I have much compassion on him,
For sin and shame are ever tied together,
With Gordian knots, of such a strong thread spun,
They cannot without violence be undone.

[Exit.]

Top of page



 

Act III, scene i: The action takes place at Naples

 

[Enter ARIOSTO, CRISPIANO.]

ARIOSTO: Well sir, now I must claim your promise,
To reveal to me the cause why you live
Thus clouded.

CRISPIANO: Sir, the King of Spain
Suspects that your Romelio here, the merchant,
Has discover'd some gold mine to his own use,
In the West Indies, and for that employs me
To discover in what part of Christendom
He vents this treasure. Besides, he is inform'd
What mad tricks has been played of late by ladies.

ARIOSTO: Most true, and I am glad the King has heard on't.
Why, they use their lords as if they were their wards;
And as your Dutchwomen in the Low Countries,
Take all and pay all, and do keep their husbands
So silly all their lives of their own estates,
That when they are sick, and come to make their will,
They know not precisely what to give away
From their wives, because they know not what they are worth:
So here should I repeat what factions,
What bat-fowling for offices,
As you must conceive their game is all i'th' night,
What calling in question one another's honesties,
Withal what sway they bear i'th' Viceroy's court,
You'd wonder at it: 'twill do well shortly,
Can we keep them off being of our
Council of War.

CRISPIANO: Well, I have vow'd
That I will never sit upon the bench more,
Unless it be to curb the insolencies
Of these women.

ARIOSTO: Well, take it on my word then,
Your place will not long be empty.

[Exit.]

Top of page

 


 

Act III, scene ii: The action takes place at Naples

[Enter ROMELIO in the habit of a Jew.]

ROMELIO: Excellently well habited! Why, methinks
That I could play with mine own shadow now,
And be a rare Italianated Jew;
To have as many several change of faces,
As I have seen carv'd upon one cherry stone;
To wind about a man like rotten ivy,
Eat into him like quicksilver, poison a friend
With pulling but a loose hair from's beard, or give a drench,
He should linger of't nine years, and ne'er complain,
But in the spring and fall, and so the cause
Imputed to the disease natural. For slight villainies,
As to coin money, corrupt ladies' honours,
Betray a town to'th' Turk, or make a bonfire
A'th' Christian navy, I could settle to't,
As if I had eat a politician,
And digested him to nothing but pure blood.
But stay, I lose myself, this is the house.
Within there.

[Enter TWO SURGEONS.]

FIRST SURGEONS: Now sir.

ROMELIO: You are the men of art, that as I hear,
Have the Lord Contarino under cure.

SECOND SURGEON: Yes sir, we are his surgeons,
But he is past all cure.

ROMELIO: Why, is he dead?

FIRST SURGEONS: He is speechless sir, and we do find this wound
So fester'd near the vitals, all our art
By warm drinks, cannot clear th'imposthumation;
And he's so weak, to make incision
By the orifix were present death to him.

ROMELIO: He has made a will I hear.

FIRST SURGEONS: Yes sir.

ROMELIO: And deputed Jolenta his heir.

SECOND SURGEON: He has, we are witness to't.

ROMELIO: Has not Romelio been with you yet,
To give you thanks, and ample recompense
For the pains you have tane.

FIRST SURGEON: Not yet.

ROMELIO: Listen to me gentlemen, for I protest
If you will seriously mind your own good,
I am come about a business shall convey
Large legacies from Contarino's will
To both of you.

SECOND SURGEON: How sir? Why Romelio
Has the will, and in that he has given us nothing.

ROMELIO: I pray attend me: I am a physician.

SECOND SURGEON: A physician? Where do you practise?

ROMELIO: In Rome.

FIRST SURGEON: O then you have store of patients.

ROMELIO: Store? Why look you, I can kill my twenty a month
And work but i'th' forenoons: you will give me leave
To jest and be merry with you; but as I said,
All my study has been physic; I am sent
From a noble Roman that is near akin
To Contarino, and that ought indeed,
By the law of alliance, be his only heir,
To practise his good and yours.

BOTH: How, I pray sir?

ROMELIO: I can by an extraction which I have,
Though he were speechless, his eyes set in's head,
His pulse without motion, restore to him
For half an hour's space, the use of sense,
And perhaps a little speech: having done this,
If we can work him, as no doubt we shall,
To make another will, and therein assign
This gentleman his heir, I will assure you,
'Fore I depart this house, ten thousand ducats,
And then we'll pull the pillow from his head,
And let him e'en go whither the religion sends him that he died in.

FIRST SURGEON: Will you give's ten thousand ducats?

ROMELIO: Upon my Jewism.

[The traverse is drawn, revealing CONTARINO in a bed.]

SECOND SURGEON: 'Tis a bargain sir, we are yours:
Here is the subject you must work on.

ROMELIO: Well said, you are honest men,
And go to the business roundly: but gentlemen,
I must use my art singly.

FIRST SURGEON: Osir, you shall have all privacy.

ROMELIO: And the doors lock'd to me.

SECOND SURGEON: At your best pleasure.
[aside] Yet for all this, I will not trust this Jew.

FIRST SURGEON: [aside] Faith, to say truth, I do not like him neither,
He looks like a rogue. This is a fine toy,
Fetch a man to life, to make a new will:
There's some trick in't. I'll be near you, Jew.

[Exit SURGEONS.]

ROMELIO: Excellent, as I would wish, these credulous fools
Have given me freely what I would have bought
With a great deal of money. -Softly, here's breath yet;
Now Ercole, for part of the revenge,
Which I have vow'd for thy untimely death:
Besides this politic working of my own,
That scorns precedent. Why, should this graet man live,
And not enjoy my sister, as I have vow'd
He never shall? O, he may alter's will
Every new moon if he please; to prevent which,
I must put in a strong caveat. Come forth then,
My desperate stiletto, that may be worn
In a woman's hair, and ne'er discover'd,
And either would be taken for a bodkin,
Or a curling iron at most; why 'tis an engine
That's only fit to put in execution
Barmotho pigs; a most unmanly weapon,
That steals into a man's life he knows not how.
O that great Caesar, he that pass'd the shock
Of so many armed pikes, and poison'd darts,
Swords, slings, and battleaxes, should at length,
Sitting at ease on a cushion, come to die
By such a shoemaker's awl as this, his soul let forth
At a hole no bigger than the incision
Made for a Wheal! 'Uds foot, I am horribly angry
That he should die so scurvily: yet wherefore
Do I condemn thee thereof so cruelly,
Yet shake him by the hand? 'Tis to express
That I would never have such weapons us'd,
But in a plot like this, that's treacherous:
Yet this shall prove most merciful to thee,
For it shall preserve thee from dying
On public scaffold, and withal
Bring thee an absolute cure, thus.
[stabs CONTARINO.]
So, 'tis done:
And now for my escape.

[Enter SURGEONS.]

FIRST SURGEON: You rogue mountebank,
I will try whether your inwards can endure
To be wash'd in scalding lead.

ROMELIO: Hold, I turn Christian.

SECOND SURGEON: Nay, prithee be a Jew still;
I would not have a Christian be guilty
Of such a villainous act as this is.

ROMELIO: I am Romelio the merchant.

FIRST SURGEON: Romelio!
You have prov'd yourself a cunning merchant indeed.

ROMELIO: You may read why I came hither.

SECOND SURGEON: Yes,
In a bloody Roman letter.

ROMELIO: I did hate this man,
Each minute of his breath was torture to me.

FIRST SURGEON: Had you forborne this act, he had not liv'd
This two hours.

ROMELIO: But he had died then,
And my revenge unsatisfied. Here's gold;
Never did wealthy man purchase the silence
Of a terrible scolding wife at a dearer rate,
Than I will pay for your. Here's your earnest
In a bag of double ducats.

SECOND SURGEON: Why look you sir, as I do weigh this business,
This cannot be counted murder in you by no means.
Why, 'tis no more than should I go and choke
An Irishman that were three quartes drown'd,
With pouring usquebath in's throat.

ROMELIO: You will be secret?

FIRST SURGEON: As your soul.

ROMELIO: The West Indies shall sooner want gold, than you yhen.

SECOND SURGEON: That protestation has the music of the Mint in't.

ROMELIO: [aside] How unfortunately was I surpris'd!
I have made myself a slave perpetually
To these two beggars.

[Exit.]

FIRST SURGEON: Excellent.
By this act he has made his estate ours.

SECOND SURGEON: I'll presently grow a lazy surgeon, and
ride on my footcloth. I'll fetch from him every eight days a policy
for a hundred double ducats; if he grumble, I'll peach.

FIRST SURGEON: But let's take heed he do not poison us.

SECOND SURGEON: O, I will never eat nor drink with him,
Without unicorn's horn in a hollow tooth.

CONTARINO: O!

FIRST SURGEON: Did he not groan?

SECOND SURGEON: I s the wind in that door still?

FIRST SURGEON: Ha! Come hither, note a strange accident:
His steel has lighted in the former wound,
And made free passage for the congealed blood.
Observe in what abundance it delivers
The putrefaction.

SECOND SURGEON: Methinks he fetches
His breath very lively.

FIRST SURGEON: The hand of heaven is in't,
That his intent to kill him should become
The very direct way to save his life.

SECOND SURGEON: Why this is like one I have heard of in England,
Was cur'd a'th' gout, by being rack'd i'th' Tower.
Well, if we can recover him, here's reward
On bith sides. Howsoever, we must be secret.

FIRST SURGEON: We are tied to't.
When we cure gentlemen of foul diseases,
They give us so much for the cure, and twice as much
That we do not blab on't. Come, let's to work roundly,
Heat the lotion, and bring the searing.

[Exit.]

Top of page


 

 Act III, Scene iii: The action takes place at Naples

A tahle set forth With two tapers, a death's head, a book.
JOLENTA in mourning, ROMELIO sits by her.

ROMELIO: Why do you grieve thus? Take a looking glass,
And see if this Sorrow become you; that pale face
Will make men think you us'd Some art before,
Some odious painting: Contarino's dead.

JOLENTA: O that he should die so soon!

ROMELIO: Why, I pray tell me,
Is not the shortest fever the best? And are not bad plays
The Worse for their length?

JOLENTA: Add not to'th' ill y'ave done
An odious slander. He stuck i'th' eyes a'th' Court
As the most choice jewel there.

ROMELIO: O be not angry.
Indeed the Court to well composed nature
Adds much to perfection; for it is, or should be,
As a bright crystal mirror to the World,
To dress itself; but I must tell you sister,
If th 'excellency of the place could have wrought salvation,
The devil had ne'er fall'n from heaven; he Was proud —

[JOLENTA rises angrily to go away.]

Leave us, leave us?
Come, take your seat again, I have a plot,
If you will listen to it seriously,
That goes beyond example; it shall breed
Out of the death of these two noblemen,
The advancement of our house.

JOLENTA: O take heed,
A grave is a rotten foundation.

ROMELIO: Nay, nay, hear me.
'Tis somewhat indirectly, I confess:
But there is much advancement in the world,
That comes in indirectly. I pray mind me:
You are already made by absoIute will,
Contarino's heir: now, if it can be prov'd
That you have issue by Lord Ercole,
I will make you inherit his land too.

JOLENTA: How's this?
Issue by him, he dead, and I a virgin?

ROM ELlO: I knew you would wonder how it could be done,
But I have laid the case so radically,
Not all the lawyers in Christendom
Shall find any the least flaw in' t. I have a mistress
Of the Order of St Clare, a beauteous nun,
Who being cloister'd ere she knew the heat
Her blood would arrive to, had only time enough
To repent, and idleness sufficient
To fall in love with me; and to be short,
I have so much disorder'd the holy Order,
I have got this nun with child.

JOLENTA: Excellent work, made for a dumb midwife!

ROMELIO: I am glad you grow thus pleasant.
Now will I have you presently give out,
That you are full t'vvo months quick'ned with child
By Ercole: which rumour can beget
No scandal to you, since we will affirm,
The precontract was so exactly done,
By the same words used in the form of marriage,
That with a little dispensation,
A money matter, it shall be register'd
Absolute matrimony.

JOLENTA: So, then I conceive you,
My child must prove your bastard.

ROMELIO: Right;
For at such time my mistress fall in labour,
You must feign the like.

JOLENTA: 'Tis a pretty feat this,
But I am not capable of it.

ROMELIO: Not capable?

JOLENTA: No, for the thing you would have me counterfeit,
Is most essentially put in practice: nay, 'tis done,
I am with child already.

ROMELIO: Ha, by whom?

JOLENTA: By Contarino. Do not knit the brow,
The precontract shall justify it, it shall:
Nay, I will get some singular fine churchman,
Or though he be a plural one, shall affirm
He coupl'd us together.

ROMELIO: O misfortune!
Your child must then be reputed Ercole's.

JOLENTA: Your hopes are dash'd then, since your votary's Issue
Must not inherit the land.

ROMELIO: No matter for that,
So I preserve her fame. I am strangely puzzl'd:
Why, suppose that she be brought abed before you,
And we conceal her issue till the time
Of your delivery, and then give out
That you have two at a birth. Ha, were't not excellent?

JOLENTA: And what resemblance think you, would they have
To one another? Twins are still alike:
But this is not your aim; you would have your child
Inherit Ercole's land —O my sad soul,
Have you not made me yet wretched enough,
But after all this frosty age in youth,
Which you have witch' d upon me, you will seek
To poison my fame?

ROMELIO: That's done already.

JOLENTA: No sir, I did but feign it, to a fatal
Purpose, as I thought.

ROMELIO: What purpose?

JOLENTA: If you had lov'd or tend'red my dear honour,
You would have locked your poniard in my heart,
When I nam'd I was with child. But I must live
To linger out, till the consumption
Of my own sorrow kill me.

ROMELIO [aside]: This will not do.
The devil has on the sudden furnish'd me
With a rare charm, yet a most unnatural
Falsehood: no matter, so 'twill take.
Stay sister, I would utter to you a business,
But I am very loath: a thing indeed,
Nature would have compassionately conceal'd,
Till my mother's eyes be clos'd.

JOLENTA: Pray what's that sir?

ROMELIO: You did observe
With what a dear regard our mother tend'red
The Lord Contarino, yet how passionately
She sought to cross the match: why this was merely
To blind the eye o'th' world; for she did know
That you would marry him, and he was capable.
My mother doted upon him, and it was plotted
Cunningly between them, after you were married,
Living all three together in one house,
A thing I cannot whisper without horror:
Why the malice scarce of devils would suggest
Incontinence 'tween them two.

JOLENTA: I remember since his hurt,
She has been very passionately enquiring
After his health.

ROMELIO: Upon my soul, this jewel
With a piece of the holy cross in't, this relic,
Valued at many thousand crowns, she would
Have sent him, lying upon his death-bed.

JOLENTA: Professing, as you say, love to my mother:
Wherefore did he make me his heir?

ROMELIO: His will was made afore he went to fight,
When he was first a suitor to you.

JOLENTA: To fight: O well rememb'red!
If he lov'd my mother, wherefore did he lose
His life in my quarrel?

ROMELI 0: For the affront sake, a word you understand not;
Because Ercole was pretended rival to him,
To clear your suspicion: I was gulled in't too.
Should he not have fought upon't,
He had undergone the censure of a coward.

JOLENTA: How came you by this wretched knowledge?

ROMELIO: His surgeon overheard it,
As he did sigh it out to his confessor,
Some half hour 'fore he died.

JOLENTA: I would have the surgeon hang'd
For abusing confession, and for making me
So wretched by'th' report. Can this be truth?

ROMELIO: No, but direct falsehood,
As ever was banish' d the Court. Did you ever hear
Of a mother that has kept her daughter's husband
For her own tooth? He fancied you in one kind,
For his lust, and he lov'd our mother
In another kind, for her money;
The gallant's fashion right. But come, ne'er think on't,
Throw the fowl to the devil that hatch' d it, and let this
Bury all ill that's in't; she is our mother.

JOLENTA: I never did find anything i'th' world,
Turn my blood so much as this: here's such a conflict
Between apparent presumption, and unbelief,
That I shall die in't.
O, if there be another world i'th' moon,
As some fantastics dream, I could wish all men,
The whole race of them, for their inconstancy,
Sent thither to people that. Why, I protest
I now affect the Lord Ercole's memory
Better than the other's.

ROMELIO: But were Contarino
Living?

JOLENTA: I do call anything to witness,
That the divine law prescrib'd us to strengthen
An oath, were he living and in health, I would never
Marry with him. Nay, since I have found the world
So false to me, I'll be as false to it;
I will mother this child for you.

ROMELIO: Ha?

JOLENTA: Most certainly it will beguile part of my sorrow.

ROMELIO: O most assuredly; make you smile to think
How many times i'th'world lordships descend
To divers men that might, and truth were known,
Be heir, for anything that belongs to'th' flesh,
As well to the Turk's richest eunuch.

JOLENTA: But do you not think
I shall have a horrible strong breath now?

ROMELIO: Why?

JOLENTA: O, with keeping your counsel, 'tis so terrible
foul.

ROMELIO: Come, come, come, you must leave these bitter
flashes.

JOLENTA: Must I dissemble dishonesty? You Have divers
Counterfeit honesty: but I hope here's none
Will take exceptions; I now must practise
The art of a great-bellied woman, and go feign
Their qualms and swoundings.

ROMELIO: Eat unripe fruit, and oatmeal,
To take away your colour.

JOLENTA: Dine in my bed
Some two hours after noon.

ROMELIO: And when you are up,
Make to your petticoat a quilted preface,
To advance your belly.

JOLENTA: I have a strange conceit now.
I have known some women when they were with child,
Have long'd to beat their husbands: what if I,
To keep decorum, exercise my longing
Upon my tailor that way, and noddle him soundly?
He'll make the larger bill for't.

ROMELIO: I'll get one shall be as tractable to't as stockfish.

JOLENTA: O my fantastical sorrow! Cannot I now
Be miserable enough, unless I wear
A pied fool's coat? Nay worse, for when our passions
Such giddy and uncertain changes breed,
We are never well, till we are mad indeed.

Exit.

ROMELIO: So, nothing in the world could have done this,
But to beget in her a strong distaste
Of the Lord Contarino. O jealousy,
How violent, especially in women,
How often has it rais'd the devil up
In form of a law-case! My especial care
Must be, to nourish craftily this fiend,
'Tween the mother and the daughter, that the deceit
Be not perceiv'd. My next task, that my sister,
After this suppos'd childbirth, be persuaded
To enter into religion: 'tis concluded
She must never marry; so I am left guardian
To her estate: and lastly, that my two surgcons
Be wag'd to tlle East Indies. Let them prate
When they are beyond the line: the callenture,
Or the scurvy, or the Indian pox, I hope,
Will take ordcr for their coming back.

Enter LEON[ORA].

O here's my mother. I ha' strange new.s for you,
My sister is with child.

LEONORA: I do look now
For some great misfortunes to follow.
For indeed mischiefs are like the visits
Of Franciscan friars, they never come
To prey upon us single. In what estate
Left you Contarino?

ROMELIO: Strange that you
Can skip from the former sorrow to such a question?
I'll tell you: in the absence of his surgeon,
My charity did that for him in a trice,
They would have done at leisure, and been paid for't.
I have kill'd him.

LEONORA: I am twenty years elder
Since you last opened your lips.

ROMELIO: Ha?

LEONORA: You have given him the wound you speak of
Quite thorough your mother's heart.

ROMELIO: I will
Heal it presently mother: for this sorrow
Belongs to your error. You would have him live
Because you think he's father of the child;
But Jolenta vows by all the rights of truth,
'Tis Ercole's. It makes me smile to think
How cunningly my sister could be drawn
To the contract, and yet how familiarly
To his bed. Doves never couple without
A kind of murmur.

LEONORA: O I am very sick.

ROMELIO: Your old disease; when you are griev'd, you are
troubl' d
With the motller.

LEONORA [aside]: I am rapt with the mother indeed,
That I ever bore such a son.

ROMELIO: Pray tend my sister,
I am infinitely full of business.

LEONORA: Stay, you will mourn for Contarino?

ROMELIO: O by all means, 'tis fit; my sister is his heir.

Exit.

LEONORA: I will make you chief mourner, believe it.
Never was woe like mine: O that my care
And absolute study to preserve his life, .
Should be his absolute ruin! Is he gone then?
There is no plague i'th' world can be compar'd
To impossible desire, for they are plagu' d
In the desire itself: never, O never
Shall I behold him living, in whose life
I liv'd far sweetlier than in mine own.
A precise curiosity has undone me: why did I not
Make my love known directly? 'T had not been
Beyond example, for a matron to affect
I'th' honourable way of marriage,
So youthful a person. O I shall run mad:
For as we love our youngest children best,
So the last fruit of our affection,
Wherever we bestow it, is most strong,
Most violent, most unresistable,
Since 'tis indeed our latest harvest-home,
Last merriment 'fore winter. And we widows,
As men report of our best picture makers,
We love the piece we are in hand with better
Than all the excellent work we have done before:
And my son has depriv'd me of all this. Ha, my son!
I'll be a fury to him; like an Amazon lady,
I'd cut off this right pap, that gave him suck,
To shoot him dead. I'll no more tender him,
Than had a wolf stol'n to my teat i'th' night,
And robb'd me of my milk: nay, such a creature
I should love better far. -Ha, ha, what say you?
I do talk to somewhat, methinks: it may be
My evil genius. Do not the bells ring?
I have a strange noise in my head. O, fly in pieces!
Come age, and wither me into the malice
Of those that have been happy; let me have
One more property more than the Devil of Hell,
Let me envy the pleasure of youth heartily,
Let me in this life fear no kind of ill,
That have no good to hope for: let me die
In the distraction of that worthy princess,
Who loathed food, and sleep, and ceremony,
For thought of losing that brave gentIeman,
She would fain have sav'd, had not a false conveyance
Express'd him stubborn-hearted. Let me sink,
Where neither man, nor memory may ever find me.

[LEONORA] falls down. [Enter CAPUCHIN and ERCOLE.]

CAPUCHIN: This is a private way which I command,
As her confessor. I would not have you seen yet,
Till I prepare her.

[ERCOLE withdraws.]

Peace to you lady.

LEONORA: Ha?

CAPUCHIN: You are well employ'd, I hope; the best pillow
I'th' world for this your contemplation,
Is the earth, and the best object, heaven.

LEONORA: I am whispering to a dead friend.

CAPUCHIN: And I am come
To bring you tidings of a friend was dead,
Restor'd to life again.

LEONORA: Say sir?

CAPUCHIN: One whom I dare presume, next to your children,
You tend'red above life.

LEONORA: Heaven will not suffer me
Utterly to be lost.

CAPUCHIN: For he should have been
Your son-in-law; miraculously sav'd,
When surgery gave him o'er.

LEONORA: O may you live
To win many souls to heaven, worthy sir,
That your crown may be the greater. Why my son
Made me believe he stole into his chamber,
And ended that which Ercole began
By a deadly stab in's heart.

ERCOLE [aside]: Alas, she mistakes,
'Tis Contarino she wishes living; but I must fasten
On her last words, for my own safety.

LEONORA: Where,
O where shall I meet this comfort?

ERCOLE [reveals himself]: Here in the vow'd comfort of your
daughter.

LEONORA: O I am dead again; instead of the man,
You present me the grave swallowed him.

ERCOLE: Collect yourself, good lady
Would you behold brave Contarino living?
There cannot be a nobler chronicle
Of his good than myself: if you would view him dead,
I will present him to you bleeding fresh,
In my penitency.

LEONORA: Sir, you do only live
To redeem another ill you have committed,
That my poor innocent daughter perish not
By your vile sin, whom you have got : with child.

ERCOLE [aside]: Here begin all my compassion: O poor soul!
She is with child by Contarino, and he dead;
By whom should she preserve her fame to'th' world,
But by myself that lov'd her 'bove the world?
There never was a way more honourable
To exercise my virtue, than to father it,
And preserve her credit, and to marry her.
I'll suppose her Contarino's widow, bequeath'd to me
Upon his death: for sure she was his wife,
But that the ceremony a'th' Church was wanting.
[To LEONORA] Report this to her, madam, and withal,
That never father did conceive more joy
For the birth of an heir, than I to understand
She had such confidence in me. I will not now
Press a visit upon her, till you have prepar'd her:
For I do read in your distraction,
Should I be brought a'th' sudden to her presence,
Either the hasty fright, or else the shame
May blast the fruit within her. I will leave you
To commend as loyal faith and service to her,
As e'er heart harbour'd. By my hope of bliss,
I never liv'd to do good act but this.

CAPUCHIN [aside to ERCOLE]: Withal, and you be wise,
Remember what the mother has reveal'd
Of Romelio' s treachery.

Exeunt ERCOLE, CAPUCHIN.

LEONORA: A most noble fellow! In his loyalty
I read what worthy comforts I have lost
In my dear Contarino, and all adds
To my despair. -Within there!

Enter WINIFRID.

Fetch the picture
Hangs in my inner closet.

Exit WIN[IFRID].

I remember
I let a word slip of Romelio's practice
At the surgeons': no matter, I can salve it,
I have deeper vengeance that's preparing for him:
To let him live and kill him, that's revenge
I meditate upon.

Enter WIN[IFRID] and the picture.

So, hang it up.
I was enjoin'd by the party ought that picture,
Forty years since, ever when I was vex'd,
To look upon that. What was his meaning in't,
I know not, but methinks upon the sudden
It has furnish'd me with mischief; such a plot
As never mother dreamt of. Here begins
My part i'th' play: my son's estate is sunk
By loss at sea, and he has nothing left
But the land his father left him. 'Tis concluded,
The law shall undo him. Come hither,
I have a weighty secret to impart,
But I would have thee first confirm to me,
How I may trust that thou canst keep my counsel
Beyond death.

WINIFRID: Why mistress, 'tis your only way
To enjoin me first that I reveal to you
The worst act I e'er did in all my life:
So one secret shall bind another.

LEONORA: Thou instruct'st me
Most ingeniously, for indeed it is not fit,
Where any act is plotted, that is nought,
Any of counsel to it should be good;
And in a thousand ills have happ'd i'th' world,
The intelligence of one another's shame
Have wrought far more effectually than the tie
Of conscience, or religion.

WINIFRID: But think not, mistress,
That any sin which ever I committed
Did concern you; for proving false in one thing,
You were a fool if ever you would trust me
In the least matter of weight.

LEONORA: Thou hast liv'd with me
These forty years; we have grown old together,
As many ladies and their women do,
With talking nothing, and with doing less:
We have spent our life in that which least concerns life,
Only in putting on our clothes. And now I think on't,
I have been a very courtly mistress to thee,
I have given thee good words, but no deeds;
Now's the time to requite all. My son has
Six lordships left him.

WINIFRID: 'Tis truth.
LEONORA: But he cannot
Live four days to enjoy them.

WINIFRID: Have you poison'd him?

LEONORA: No, the poison is yet but brewing.

WINIFRID: You must minister it to him with all privacy.

LEONORA: Privacy? It shall be given him
In open court. I'll make him swallow it
Before the judge's face. If he be master
Of poor ten arpines of land forty hours longer,
Let the world repute me an honest woman.

WINIFRID: So 'twill I hope.

LEONORA: O thou canst not conceive
My inimitable plot. Let's to my ghostly father,
Where first I will have thee make a promise
To keep my counsel, and then I will employ thee
In such a subtle combination,
Which will require to make the practice fit,
Four devils, five advocates, to one woman's wit.

Exeunt.

Top of page


 

 Act IV, Scene i: The action takes place at Naples

Enter LEONORA, SANITONELLA, WINIFRID and REGISTER at one door: at the other, ARIOSTO.


SANITONELLA [to the REGISTER]: Take her into your office sir,
she has that in her belly will dry up your ink, I can tell you.

[Exeunt WINIFRID, REGISTER.]

[to LEONORA]: This is the man that is your learned counsel,
A fellow that will trowel it off with tongue:
He never goes without restorative powder
Of the lungs of fox in's pocket, and Malligo raisins
To make him long-winded. Sir, this gentlewoman
Entreats your counsel in an honest cause,
Which please you sir, this brief, my own poor labour
Will give you light of.

[He offers the brief to ARIOSTO.]

ARIOSTO: Do you call this a brief?
Here's as I weigh them, some fourscore sheets of paper.
What would they weigh if there were cheese wrap'd in them,
Or figdates!

[He reads the brief]

SANITONELLA: Joy come to you, you are merry;
We call this but a brief in our office.
The scope of the business lies i'th' margent.

ARIOSTO: Methinks you prate too much.
I never could endure an honest cause
With a long prologue to't.

LEONORA: You trouble him.

ARIOSTO: What's here? O strange. I have liv'd this sixty years,
Yet in all my practice never did shake hands
With a cause so odious. Sirrah, are you her knave?

SANITONELLA: No sir, I am a clerk.

ARIOSTO: Why you whoreson fogging rascal,
Are there not whores enough for presentations,
Of overseers, wrong the will o'th' dead,
Oppressions of widows, or young orphans,
Wicked divorces, or your vicious cause
Of plus quam satis, to content a woman,
But you must find new stratagems, new pursenets?
O Woman, as the ballad lives to tell you,
What will you shortly come to?

SANITONELLA: Your fee is ready sir.

ARIOSTO: The devil take such fees,
And all such suits i'th' tail of them; see the slave
Has written false Latin: sirrah Ignoramus,
Were you ever at the university?

SANITONELLA: Never sir: but 'tis well known to divers
I nave commenc'd in a pew of our office.

ARIOSTO: Where? In a pew of your office!

SANITONELLA: I have been dry-found'red in't this four years,
Seldom found non-resident from my desk.

ARIOSTO: Non-resident subsumner!
I'll tear your libel for abusing that word,
By virtue of the clergy.

[He tears up the brief]

SANITONELLA: What do. you mean sir?
It cost me four nights'labour.

ARIOSTO: Hadst thou been drunk
So long, th'adst done our court better service.

LEONORA: Sir, you do forget your gravity, methinks.

ARIOSTO: Cry ye mercy, do I so?
And as I take it, you do very little
Remember either womanhood
Or Christianity: why do ye meddle
With that seducing knave, that's good for naught,
Unless 't be to fill the office full of fleas,
Or a winter itch, wears that spacious inkhorn
All a vacation only to cure tetters,
And his penknife to weed corns from the splay toes
Of the right worshipful of the office?

LEONORA: You make bold with me sir.

ARIOSTO: Woman, y'are mad, I'll swear it, and have more need
Of a physician than a lawyer.
The melancholy humour flows in your face,
Your painting cannot hide it. Such vile suits
Disgrace our courts, and these make honest lawyers
Stop their own ears whilst they plead, and that's the reason
Your younger men that have good conscience,
Wear such large nightcaps. Go old woman, go pray,
For lunacy, or else the devil himself
Has tane possession of thee. May like cause
In any Christian court never find name:
Bad suits, and not the law, bred the law's shame.

Exit.

LEONORA: Sure the old man's frantic.

SANITONELLA: Plague on's gouty fingers.
Were all of his mind, to entertain no suits
But such they thought were honest, sure our lawyers
Would not purchase half so fast. But here's the man,

Enter CONTILUPO, a spruce lawyer.

Learned Signior Contilupo, here's a fellow
Of another piece, believe't; I must make shift
With the foul copy.

CONTILUPO: Business to me?

SANITONELLA: To you sir, from this lady.

CONTILUPO: She is welcome.

SANITONELLA: 'Tis a foul copy sir, you'll hardly read it.
There's twenty double ducats, can you read sir?

CONTILUPO: Exceeding well; very, very exceeding well

SANITONELLA [aside]: This man will be sav'd, he can read.
Lord, lord, to see
What money can do! Be the hand never so foul,
Somewhat will be pick'd out on't.

CONTILUPO: Is not this
Vivere honeste?

SANITONELLA: No, that's struck out sir;
And wherever you find vivere honeste in these papers,
Give it a dash sir.

CONTILUPO: I shall be mindful of it.
In truth you write a pretty secretary;
Your secretary hand ever takes best
In mine opinion.

SANITONELLA: Sir, I have been in France,
And there, believe't, your court hand generally,
Takes beyond thought.

CONTILUPO: Even as a man is traded in't.

SANITONELLA [aside]: That I could not think of this virtuous gentleman
Before I went to'th' other hog-rubber!
Why this was wont to give young clerks half fees,
To help him to clients. Your opinion in the case sir?

CONTILUPO: I am struck with wonder, almost extasied,
With this most goodly suit.

LEONORA: It is the fruit
Of a most hearty penitence.

CONTILUPO: 'Tis a case
Shall leave a precedent to all the world,
In our succeeding annals, and deserves
Rather a spacious public theatre
Than a pent court for audience: it shall teach
All ladies the right path to rectify
Their issue.

SANITONELLA: Lo you, here's a man of comfort.

CONTILUPO: And you shall go unto a peaceful grave,
Discharg'd of such a guilt, as would have lain
Howling for ever at your wounded heart,
And rose with you to Judgement.

SANITONELLA: O give me
Such a lawyer, as will think of the day
Of Judgement!

LEONORA: You must urge the business
Against him as spitefully as may be.

CONTILUPO: Doubt not. What, is he summon'd?

SANITONELLA: Yes, and the court
Will sit within this half hour. Peruse your notes,
You have very short warning.

CONTILUPO: Never fear you that.
Follow me worthy lady, and make account
This suit is ended already.

Exeunt.

Top of page


 

 Act IV, Scene ii: The action takes place at Naples

Enter officers preparing seats for the judges; to them ERCOLE, muffled.

FIRST OFFICER: You would have a private seat sir?

ERCOLE: Yes sir.

SECOND OFFICER: Here's a closet belongs to'th' court,
Where you may hear all unseen.

ERCOLE: I thank you;
There's money.

SECOND OFFICER: I give your thanks again sir.

Enter CONTARINO, the two surgeons, disguised;
[CONTARINO as a Dane].

CONTARINO: Is't possible Romelio's persuaded
You are gone to the East Indies?

FIRST SURGEON: Most confidently.

CONTARINO: But do you mean to go?

SECOND SURGEON: How? Go to the East Indies? And so
many Hollanders gone to fetch sauce for their pickled herrings:
some have been pepper'd there too, lately; but I pray, being thus
well recover'd of your wound, why do you not reveal yourself?

CONTARINO: That my fairJolenta should be rumour'd
To be with child by noble Ercole,
Makes me expect to what a violent issue
These passages will come. I hear her brother
Is marrying the infant she goes with,
'Fore it be born, as, if it be a daughter,
To the Duke of Austria's nephew; if a son,
Into the noble ancient family
Of the Palavafini. He's a subtle devil.
And I do wonder what strange suit in law
Has happ'd between him and's mother.

FIRST SURGEON: 'Tis whisper'd 'mong the lawyers, 'twill undo
Him for ever.

Enter SANIT[ONELLA], WIN[IFRID].

SANITONELLA: Do you hear, officers?
You must take special care, that you let in
No brachigraphy men, to take notes.

FIRST OFFICER: No sir?

SANITONELLA: By no means;
We cannot have a cause of any fame,
But you must have scurvy pamphlets, and lewd ballads
Engend'red of it presently. Have you broke fast yet?

WINIFRID: Not I sir.

SANITONELLA: 'Twas very ill done of you:
For this cause will be long a-pleading; but no matter,
I have a modicum in my buckram bag,
To stop your stomach.

WINIFRID: What is't? Green ginger?

SANITONELLA: Green ginger, nor pellitory of Spain
Neither, yet 'twill stop a hollow tooth better
Than either of them.

WINIFRID: Pray what is't?

SANITONELLA: Look you,
It is a very lovely pudding-pie,
Which we clerks find great relief in.

WINIFRID: I shall have no stomach.

SANITONELLA: No matter and you have not, I may pleasure
Some of our learned counsel with't; I have done it
Many a time and often, when a cause
Has proved like an after-game at Irish.

Enter CRISPIANO like a judge, with another judge; CONTILUPO
and another lawyer at one bar; ROMELIO, ARIOSTO at another;
LEONORA with a black veil over her, and JULIO.

CRISPIANO: 'Tis a strange suit; is Leonora come?

CONTILUPO: She's here my lord; make way there for the
lady.

CRISPIANO: Take off her veil: it seems she is asham'd
To look her cause i'th' face.

CONTILUPO: She's sick, my lord.

ARIOSTO: She's mad my lord, and would be kept more
dark.

[To Romelio] By your favour sir, I have now occasion
To be at your elbow, and within this half hour
Shall entreat you to be angry, very angry.

CRISPIANO: Is Romelio come?

ROMELIO: I am here my lord, and call'd, I do protest,
To answer what I know not, for as yet
I am wholly ignorant of what the court
Will charge me with.

CRISPIANO: I assure you, the proceeding
Is most unequal then, for I perceive
The counsel of the adverse party furnish' d
With full instruction.

ROMELIO: Pray my lord,
Who is my accuser?

CRISPIANO: 'Tis your mother.

ROMELIO [aside]: She has discover'd Contarino's murder:
If she prove so unnatural, to call
My life in question, I am arm'd to suffer
This to end all my losses.

CRISPIANO: Sir, we will do you
This favour: you shall hear the accusation,
Which being known, we will adjourn the court
Till a fortnight hence, you may provide your counsel.

ARIOSTO: I advise you, take their proffer,
Or else the lunacy runs in a blood,
You are more mad than she.

ROMELIO: What are you sir?

ARIOSTO: An angry fellow that would do thee good,
For goodness' sake itself, I do protest,
Neither for love nor money.

ROMELIO: Prithee stand further, I shall gall your gout else.

ARIOSTO: Come, come, I know you for an East Indy merchant,
You have a spice of pride in you still.

ROMELIO: My lord,
I am so strength'ned in my innocence,
For any the least shadow of a crime,
Committed 'gainst my mother, or the world,
That she can charge me with, here do I make it
My humble suit, only this hour and place
May give it as full hearing, and as free,
And unrestrain'd a sentence.

CRISPIANO: Be not too confident; you have cause to fear.

ROMELIO: Let fear dwell with earthquakes,
Shipwrecks at sea, or prodigies in heaven;
I cannot set myself so many fathom
Beneath the height of my true heart, as fear.

ARIOSTO: Very fine words, I assure you, if they were
To any purpose.

CRISPIANO: Well, have your entreaty:
And if your own credulity undo you,
Blame not the court hereafter. Fall to your plea.

CONTILUPO: May it please your lordship and the reverend court,
To give me leave to open to you a case
So rare, so altogether void of precedent,
That I do challenge all the spacious volumes
Of the whole civil law to show the like.
We are of counsel for this gentlewoman,
We have receiv'd our fee, yet the whole course
Of what we are to speak, is quite against her,
Yet we'll deserve our fee too. There stands one,
Romelio the merchant; I will name him to you
Without either title or addition:
For those false beams of his supposed honour,
As void of true heat as are all painted fires,
Or glow-worms in the dark, suit him all basely,
As if he had bought his gentry from the herald,
With money got by extortion: I will first
Produce this Aesop's crow as he stands forfeit
For the long use of his gay borrowed plumes,
And then let him hop naked. I come to'th' point:
'T'as been a dream in Naples, very near
This eight and thirty years, that this Romelio
Was nobly descended; he has rank'd himself
With the nobility, shamefully usurp'd
Their place, and in a kind of saucy pride,
Which like to mushrooms, ever grow most rank
When they do spring from dunghills, sought to o'ersway
The Fieschi, the Grimaldi, Doria,
And all the ancient pillars of our state.
View now what he is come to: this poor thing
Without a name, this cuckoo hatch'd i'th'nest
Of a hedge-sparrow.

ROMELIO: Speaks he all this to me?

ARIOSTO: Only to you sir.

ROMELIO: I do not ask thee,
Prithee hold thy prating.

ARIOSTO: Why very good!
You will be presently as angry as I could wish.

CONTILUPO: What title shall I set to this base coin?
He has no name, and for's aspect he seems
A giant in a May-game, that within
Is nothing but a porter: I'll undertake
He had as good have travell'd all his life
With gypsies: I will sell him to any man
For an hundred chickeens, and he that buys him of me
Shall lose by'th' hand too.

ARIOSTO: Lo,what are you come to:
You that did scorn to trade in anything
But gold or spices, or your cochineal,
He rates you now at poor John.

ROMELIO: Out upon thee,
I would thou wert of his side.

ARIOSTO: Would you so?

ROMELIO: The devil and thee together on each hand,
To prompt the lawyer's memory when he founders.

CRISPIANO: Signor Contilupo, the court holds it fit,
You leave this stale declaiming 'gainst the person,
And come to the matter.

CONTILUPO: Now I shall my lord.

CRISPIANO: It shows a poor malicious eloquence,
And it is strange men of your gravity
Will not forgo it. Verily, I presume,
If you but heard yourself speaking with my ears,
Your phrase would be more modest.

CONTILUPO: Good my lord, be assured,
I will leave all circumstance, and come to'th'purpose:
This Romelio is a bastard.

ROMELIO: How, a bastard?
O mother, now the day begins grow hot
On your side.

CONTILUPO: Why she is your accuser.

ROMELIO: I had forgot that; was my father married
To any other woman, at the time
Of my begetting?

CONTILUPO: That's not the business.

ROMELIO: I turn me then to you that were my mother,
But by what name I am to call you now,
You must instruct me: were you ever married
To my father?

LEONORA: To my shame I speak it, never.

CRISPIANO: Not to Francisco Romelio?

LEONORA: May it please your lordships,
To him I was, but he was not his father.

CONTILUPO: Good my lord, give us leave in a few words
To expound the riddle, and to make it plain
Without the least of scruple: for I take it,
There cannot be more lawful proof i'th' world,
Than the oath of the mother.

CRISPIANO: Well then, to your proofs,
And be not tedious.

CONTILUPO: I'll conclude in a word:
Some nine and thirty years since, which was the time
This woman was married, Francisco Romelio,
This gentleman's putative father, and her husband,
Being not married to her past a fortnight,
Would needs go travel; did so, and continued
In France and the Low Countries eleven months:
Take special note o'th' time, I beseech your lordship,
For it makes much to'th' business. In his absence
He left behind to sojourn at his house
A Spanish gentleman, a fine spruce youth
By the ladies' confession, and you may be sure
He was no eunuch neither; he was one
Romelio loved very dearly, as oft haps,
No man alive more welcome to the husband
Than he that makes him cuckold. This gentleman
I say, breaking all laws of hospitality,
Got his friend's wife with child, a full two months
'Fore the husband returned.

SANITONELLA [aside]: Good sir, forget not the lambskin.

CONTILUPO [aside]: I warrant thee.

SANITONELLA [aside]: I will pinch by the buttock,
To put you in mind of't.

CONTILUPO [aside]: Prithee hold thy prating.
What's to be practis'd now, my lord? Marry this:,
Romelio being a young novice, not acquainted
With this precedence, very innocently
Returning home from travel, finds his wife
Grown an excellent good huswife, for she had set
Her women to spin flax, and to that use,
Had in a study which was built of stone,
Stor'd up at least an hundredweight of flax:
Marry such a thread as was to be spun from the flax,
I think the like was never heard of.

CRISPIANO: What was that?

CONTILUPO: You may be certain, she would lose no time
In bragging that her husband had got up
Her belly: to be short, at seven months' end,
Which was the time of her delivery,
And when she felt her self to faIl in travail,
She makes her waiting woman, as by mischance,
Set fire to the flax, the fright whereof,
As they pretend, causes this gentlewoman
To fall in pain, and be delivered
Eight weeks afore her reckoning.

SANITONELLA [aside]: Now sir, remember the lambskin.

CONTILUPO: The midwife straight howls out, there Was no hope
Of th'infant's life, swaddles it in a flay'd lambskin,
As a bird hatch'd too early, makes it up
With three quarters of a face, that made it look
like a changeling, cries out to Romelio
To have it christ'ned, lest it should depart
Without that it came for: and thus are many serv'd,
That take care to get gossips for those children,
To which they might be godfathers themselves,
And yet be no arch-puritans neither.

CRISPIANO: No more!

ARIOSTO: Pray my lord, give him way, you spoil
His oratory else: thus would they jest
Were they feed to open their sister's cases.

CRISPIANO: You have urg'd enough; you first affirm,
Her husband was away from her eleven Months?

CONTILUPO: Yes my lord.

CRISPIANO: And at seven months' end,
After his return she was delivered
Of this Romelio, and had gone her full time?

CONTILUPO: True my lord.

CRISPIANO: So by this account this gentleman was begot
In his suppos'd father's absence.

CONTILUPO: You have it fully.

CRISPIANO: A most strange suit this, 'tis beyond example,
Either time past, or present, for a woman
To publish her own dishonour voluntarily,
Without being call'd in question, some forty years
After the sin committed, and her counsel
To enlarge the offence with as much oratory
As ever I did hear them in my life
Defend a guilty woman; 'tis most strange:
Or why with such a poison'd violence
Should she labour her son's undoing? We observe
Obedience of creatures to the Law of Nature
Is the stay of the whole world: here that Law is broke,
For though our civil law makes difference
'Tween the base, and the legitimate,
Compassionate Nature makes them equal;
Nay, she many times prefers them. I pray
Resolve me sir, have not you and your mother
Had some suit in law together lately?

ROMELIO: None my lord.

CRISPIANO: No? No contention about parting your
goods?

ROMELIO: Not any.

CRISPIANO: No flaw, no unkindness?

ROMELIO: None that ever arriv'd at my knowledge.

CRISPIANO: Bethink yourself, this cannot choose but savour
Of a woman's malice deeply; and I fear
Y'are practis'd upon most devilishly.
How happ'd gentlewoman, you revealed this no sooner?

LEONORA: While my husband lived, my lord, I durst not.

CRISPIANO: I should rather ask you, why you reveal it now?

LEONORA: Because my lord, I loath'd that such a sin
Should lie smother'd with me in my grave; my penitence,
Though to my shame, prefers the revealing of it
'Bove worldly reputation.

CRISPIANO: Your penitence?
Might not your penitence have been as hearty,
Though it had never summon'd to the court
Such a conflux of people?

LEONORA: Indeed, I might have confess'd it,
Privately to'th' Church, I grant; but you know repentance
Is nothing without satisfaction.

CRISPIANO: Satisfaction? Why your husband's dead,
What satisfaction can you make him?

LEONORA: The greatest satisfaction in the world, my lord,
To restore the land to'th' right heir, and that's
My daughter.

CRISPIANO: O she's straight begot then?

ARIOSTO: Very well, may it please this honourable court,
If he be a bastard, and must forfeit his land for't,
She has prov'd herself a strumpet, and must lose
Her dower; let them go a-begging together.

SANITONELLA: Who shall pay us our fees then?

CRISPIANO: Most just.

ARIOSTO: You may see now what an old house
You are like to pull over your head, dame.

ROMELIO: Could I conceive this publication
Grew from a hearty penitence, I could bear
My undoing the more patiently; but my lord,
There is no reason, as you said even now,
To satisfy me but this suit of hers
Springs from a devilish malice, and her pretence,
Of a grieved conscience, and religion,
Like to the horrid powder-treason in England,
Has a most bloody unnatural revenge
Hid under it. O the violencies of women!
Why, they are creatures made up and compounded
Of all monsters, poisoned minerals,
And sorcerous herbs that grows.

ARIOSTO: Are you angry yet?

ROMELIO: Would man express a bad one, let him forsake
All natural example, and compare
One to another; they have no more mercy
Than ruinous fires in great tempests.

ARIOSTO: Take heed you do not crack your voice sir.

ROMELIO: Hard-hearted creatures, good for nothing else,
But to wind dead bodies.

ARIOSTO: Yes, to weave seaming lace
With the bones of their husbands that were long since buried,
And curse them when they tangle.

ROMELIO: Yet why do I
Take bastardy so distastefully, when i'th' world,
A many things that are essential parts
Of greatness, are but by-slips, and are father'd
On the wrong parties?
Preferment in the world a many times,
Basely begotten? Nay, I have observ'd
The immaculate justice of a poor man's cause,
In such a court as this, has not known whom
To call father, which way to direct itself
For compassion: but I forget my temper:
Only that I may stop that lawyer's throat,
I do beseech the court, and the whole world,
They will not think the baselier of me,
For the vice of a mother: for that woman's sin,
To which you all dare swear when it was done,
I would not give my consent.

CRISPIANO: Stay, here's an accusation,
But here's no proof; what was the Spaniard's name
You accuse of adultery?

CONTILUPO: Don Crispiano,
My lord.

CRISPIANO: What part of Spain was he born in?

CONTILUPO: In Castile.

JULIO [aside]: This may prove my father.

SANITONELLA [aside]: And my master; my client's spoil'd
then.

CRISPIANO: I knew that Spaniard well: if you be a bastard,
Such a man being your father, I dare vouch you
A gentleman; and in that, Signior Contilupo,
Your oratory went a little too far.
When do we name Don John of Austria..
The Emperor's son, but with reverence?
And I have known in divers families,
The bastards the greater spirits. But to'th' purpose;
What time was this gentleman begot? And be sure
You lay your time right.

ARIOSTO: Now the metal comes
To the touchstone.

CONTILUPO: In anno seventy-one, my lord.

CRISPIANO: Very well, seventy-one; the battle of Lepanto
Was fought in't - a most remarkable time,
'T will lie for no man's pleasure. And what proof is there
More than the affirmation of the mother,
Of this corporal dealing?

CONTILUPO: The deposition
Of a waiting-woman serv'd her the same time.

CRISPIANO: Where is she?

CONTILUPO: Where is our solicitor
Witll the waiting-woman?

ARIOSTO: Room for the bag
And baggage!

SANITONELLA: Here my lord, ore tenus.

CRISPIANO: And what can you say gentlewoman?

WINIFRID: Please your lordship, I Was the party that dealt
in the business, and brought them together.

CRISPIANO: Well.

WINIFRID: And convey'd letters between them.

CRISPIANO: What needed letters, when 'tis said he lodg'd
in her house?

WINIFRID: A running ballad now and then to her viol, for
he was never well, but when he was fiddling.

CRISPIANO: Speak to the purpose, did you ever know
them bed together?

WINIFRID: No my lord, but I have brought him to the
bed-side.

CRISPIANO: That was somewhat near to the business;
And what, did you help him off with his shoes?

WINIFRID: He wore no shoes, an't please you my lord.

CRISPIANO: No? What then, pumps?

WINIFRID: Neither.

CRISPIANO: Boots were not fit for hisjoumey.

WINIFRID: He wore tennis-court woollen slippers, for
fear of creaking sir, and making a noise, to wake the
rest o'th' house.

CRISPIANO: Well, and what did he there, in his
tennis-court woollen slippers?

WINIFRID: Please your lordship, question me in Latin, for
the cause is very foul; the Examiner o'th' court was fain to
get it out of me alone i'th' counting house, 'cause he would
not spoil the youth o'th' office.

ARIOSTO: Here's a latin spoon, and a long one, to feed with
the devil.

WINIFRID: I'd be loath to be ignorant that way, for I hope
to marry a proctor, and take my pleasure abroad at the
Commencements with him.

ARIOSTO: Come closer to the business.

WINIFRID: I will come as close as modesty will give me
leave. Truth is, every morning when he lay with her, I made
a caudle for him, by the appointment of my mistress, which
he would still refuse, and call for small drink.

CRISPIANO: Small drink?

ARIOSTO: For a julep.

WINIFRID: And said he was wondrous thirsty.

CRISPIANO: What's this to the purpose?

WINIFRID: Most effectual, my lord; I have heard them
laugh together extremely, and the curtain rods fall from
the tester of the bed, and he ne'er came from her, but he
thrust money in my hand; and once in truth, he would have
had some dealing with me; which I took he thought 'twould
be the only way i'th' world to make me keep counsel the better.

SANITONELLA [aside]: That's a stinger, 'tis a good wench,
be not daunted.

CRISPIANO: Did you ever find the print of two in the bed?

WINIFRID: What a question that to be ask'd! May it please
your lordship, 'tis to be thought he lay nearer to her
than so.

CRISPIANO: What age are you of, gentlewoman?

WINIFRID: About six and forty, my lord.

CRISPIANO: Anno seventy-one,
And Romelio is thirty-eight: by that reckoning,
You were a bawd at eight year old: now verily,
You fell to the trade betimes.

SANITONELLA [aside]: There y'are from the bias.

WINIFRID: I do not know my age directly: sure I am elder,
I can remember two great frosts, and three great plagues,
and the loss of Calais, and the first coming up of the breeches
with the great codpiece; and I pray what age do you take me
of then?

SANITONELLA [aside]: Well come off again!

ARIOSTO: An old hunted hare,
She has all her doubles.

ROMELIO: For your own gravities,
And the reverence of the court, I do beseech you,
Rip up the cause no further, but proceed
To sentence.

CRISPIANO: One question more and I have done:
Might not this Crispiano, this Spaniard,
Lie with your mistress at some other time,
Either afore or after, than i'th' absence
Of her husband?

LEONORA: Never.

CRISPIANO: Are you certain of that?

LEONORA: On my soul, never.

CRISPIANO: That's well - he never lay with her,
But in anno seventy-one, let that be remembered.
Stand you aside a while. Mistress, the truth is,
I knew this Crispiano, lived in Naples
At the same time, and loved the gentleman
As my bosom friend; and as I do remember,
The gentleman did leave his picture with you,
If age or neglect have not in so long time ruin'd it.

LEONORA: I preserve it still my lord.

CRISPIANO: I pray let me see't,
Let me see the face I then Ioved so much to look on.

LEONORA: Fetch it.

WINIFRID: I shall, my lord.
CRISPIANO: No, no, gentlewoman,
I have other business for you.

[Exit one for the picture.]

FIRST SURGEON [aside]: Now were the time to cut
Romelio's throat,
And accuse him for your murder.

CONTARINO [aside]: By no means.

SECOND SURGEON [aside]: Will you not let us be men of
fashion,
And down with him now he's going?

CONTARINO [aside]: Peace,
Let's attend the sequel.

CRISPIANO: I commend you lady,
There was a main matter of conscience;
How many ills spring from adultery !
First, the supreme law that is violated,
Nobility oft stain'd with bastardy,
Inheritance of land falsely possess'd,
The husband scorn'd, wife sham'd, and babes unbless'd.

The picture [is brought in].

So, hang it up i'th' court. You have heard
What has been urged 'gainst Romelio.
Now my defInitive sentence in this cause,
Is, I will give no sentence at all.

ARIOSTO: No?

CRISPIANO: No, I cannot, for I am made a party.

SANITONELLA [aside]: How, a party? Here are fine cross
tricks,
What the devil will he do now?

CRISPIANO: Signior Ariosto, his Majesty of Spain
Confers my place upon you by this patent,
Which till this urgent hour I have kept
From your knowledge: may you thrive in't, noble sir,
And do that which but few in our place do;
Go to their grave uncurs'd.

ARIOSTO: This law business
Will leave me so small leisure to serve God,
I shall serve the King the worse.

SANITONELLA [aside]: Is he ajudge?
We must then look for all conscience, and no law;
He'll beggar all his followers.

CRISPIANO [to ROMELIO]: Sir,
I am of your counsel, for the cause in hand
Was begun at such a time, 'fore you could speak;
You had need therefore have one speak for you.

ARIOSTO: Stay, I do here first make protestation,
I ne'er took fee of this Romelio,
For being of his counsel; which may free me,
Being now his judge, for the imputation
Of taking a bribe. Now sir, speak your mind.

CRISPIANO: I do first entreat, that the eyes of all
Here present, may be fixed upon this.

LEONORA [aside]: O I am confounded: this is Crispiano.

JULIO [aside]: This is my father; how the judges have
blear'd him!

WINIFRID [aside]: You may see truth will out in spite of the
devil.

CRISPIANO: Behold, I am the shadow of this shadow,
Age has made me so; take from me forty years,
And I was such a summer fruit as this,
At least the painter feigned so: for indeed,
Paintings and epitaphs are both alike,
They flatter us, and say we have been thus.
But I am the party here, that stands accus'd
For adultery with this woman, in the year
Seventy-one. Now I call you my lord to witness,
Four years before that time I went to'th' Indies,
And till this month, did never set my foot since
In Europe; and for any former incontinence,
She has vow'd there was never any. What remains then,
But this is a mere practice 'gainst her son?
And I beseech the court it may be sifted,
And most severely punish'd.

SANITONELLA [aside]: 'Uds foot, we are spoiled;
Why my client's proved an honest woman.

WINIFRID [aside]: What do you think will become of me
now?

SANITONELLA [aside]: You'll be made dance lachrimae I fear
At a cart's tail.

ARIOSTO: You mistress, where are you now?
Your tennis-court slippers, and your tane drink
In a morning for your hot liver; where's the man
Would have had some dealing with you, that you might
Keep counsel the better?

WINIFRID: May it please the court, I am but a young thing,
and was drawn arsy-varsy into the business.

ARIOSTO: How young? Of five and forty?

WINIFRID: Five and forty! And shall please you, I am not
five and twenty: she made me colour my hair with bean
flour, to seem elder than I was; and then my rotten teeth,
with eating sweetmeats: why, should a farrier look in
my mouth, he might mistake my age. O mistress,
mistress, you are an honest woman, and you may be
asham'd on't, to abuse the court thus.

LEONORA: Whatso'er I have attempted,
'Gainst my own fame, or the reputation
Of that gentleman my son, the Lord Contarino
Was cause of it.

CONTARINO [aside]: Who, I?

ARIOSTO: He that should have married your daughter?
It was a plot belike then to confer
The land on her that should have been his wife?

LEONORA: More than I have said already, all the world
Shall ne'er extract from me; I entreat from both
Your equal pardons.

JULIO: And I from you sir.

CRISPIANO: Sirrah, stand you aside,
I will talk with you hereafter.

JULIO: I could never away with after reckonings.

LEONORA: And now my lords, I do most voluntarily
Confine myself unto a stricter prison,
And a severer penance, than this court
Can impose; I am ent'red into religion.

CONTARINO [aside]: I the cause of this practice! This
ungodly woman
Has sold herself to falsehood. I will now
Reveal myself.

ERCOLE [revealing himself]: Stay my lord, here's a window
To let in more light to the court.

CONTARINO [aside]: Mercy upon me! O that thou art
living
Is mercy indeed!

FIRST SURGEON [aside]: Stay, keep in your shell
A little longer.

ERCOLE: I am Ercole.

ARIOSTO: A guard upon him for the death of Contarino.

ERCOLE: I obey the arrest o'th' court.

ROMELIO: O sir, you are happily restor'd to life,
And to us your friends !

ERCOLE: Away, thou art the traitor
I only live to challenge; this former suit
Touch'd but thy fame; this accusation
Reaches to thy fame and life: the brave Contarino
Is generally suppos'd slain by this hand.

CONTARINO [aside]: How knows he the contrary?

ERCOLE: But truth is,
Having receiv'd from me some certain wounds,
Which were not mortal, this vile murderer,
Being by will deputed overseer
Of the nobleman's estate, to his sister's use,
That he might make him sure from surviving,
To revoke the will, stole to him in's bed,
And kill'd him.

ROMELIO: Strange, unheard of! More practice yet!

ARIOSTO: What proof of this ?

ERCOLE: The report ofhis mother deliver'd to me,
In distraction for Contarino's death.

CONTARINO [aside]: For my death? I begin to apprehend,
That the violence of this woman's love to me
Might practise the disinheriting of her son.

ARIOSTO: What say you to this, Leonora?

LEONORA: Such a thing I did utter out of my distraction:
But how the court will censure that report,
I leave to their wisdoms.
ARIOSTO: My opinion is,
That this late slander urg'd against her son,
Takes from her all manner of credit:
She that would not stick to deprive him of his living,
Will as little tender his life.

LEONORA: I beseech the court,
I may retire myself to my place of penance,
I have vowed myself and my woman.

ARIOSTO: Go when you please. [To ERCOLE] What should
move you be thus forward
In the accusation?

ERCOLE: My love to Contarino.

ARIOSTO: O, it bore very bitter fruit at your last meeting.

ERCOLE: 'Tis true: but I begun to love him
When I had most cause to hate him; when our bloods
Embrac'd each other, then I pitied
That so much valour should be hazarded
On the fortune of a single rapier,
And not spent against the Turk.

ARIOSTO: Stay sir,
Be well advis'd, there is no testimony
But your own, to approve you slew him,
Therefore no other way to decide it,
But by duel.

CONTARINO: Yes my lord, I dare affirm
'Gainst all the world, this nobleman speaks truth.

ARIOSTO: You will make yourself a party in the duel.

ROMELIO: Let him, I will fight with them both, sixteen of
them.

ERCOLE: Sir, I do not know you.

CONTARINO: Yes, but you have forgot me,
You and I have sweat in the breach together
At Malta.

ERCOLE: Cry you mercy, I have known
Of your nation brave soldiers.

JULIO [aside]: Now if my father
Have any true spirit in him, I'll recover
His good opinion. [To CONTARINO] Do you hear? Do
not swear sir,
For I dare swear, that you will swear a lie,
A very filthy, stinking, rotten lie:
And if the lawyers think not this sufficient,
I'll give the lie in the stomach,
That's somewhat deeper than the throat:
Both here, and all France over and over,
From Marseilles, or Bayonne, to Calais sands,
And there draw my sword upon thee,
And new scour it in the gravel of thy kidneys.

ARIOSTO: You the defendant charg'd with the murder,
And you second there, must be committed
To the custody of the Knight-Marshal;
And the court gives charge, they be tomorrow
Ready in the lists before the sun be risen.

ROMELIO: I do entreat the court, there be a guard
Placed o'er my sister, that she enter not
Into religion: she's rich, my lords,
And the persuasions of friars, to gain
All her possessions to their monasteries,
May do much upon her.

ARIOSTO: We'll take order for her.

CRISPIANO: There's a nun too you have got with child,
How will you dispose of her?

ROMELIO: You question me, as if l were grav'd already,
When I have quench'd this wild-fire in Ercole's
Tame blood, I'll tell you.

Exit.

ERCOLE: You have judg'd today
A most confused practice, that takes end
In as bloody a trial; and we may observe
By these great persons, and their indirect
Proceedings, shadow'd in a veil of state,
Mountains are deform'd heaps, swell'd up aloft;
Vales wholesomer, though lower, and trod on oft.

SANITONELLA: Well, I will put up my papers,
And send them to France for a precedent,
That they may not say yet, but, for one strange law-suit,
We come somewhat near them.

Exeunt.

Top of page


 

 Act V, Scene i: The action takes place at Naples

Enter JOLENTA, and ANGIOLELLA, great-bellied.

JOLENTA: How dost thou friend? Welcome, thou and I
Were playfellows together, little children,
So small a while ago, that I presume
We are neither of us wise yet.

ANGIOLELLA: A most sad truth
On my part.

JOLENTA: Why do you pluck your veil
Over your face?

ANGIOLELLA: If you will believe truth,
There's nought more terrible to a guilty heart
Than the eye of a respected friend.

JOLENTA: Say friend, are you quick with child?

ANGIOLELLA: Too sure.

JOLENTA: How could you know [first of your] child
When you quick'ned?

ANGIOLELLA: How could you know friend?
'Tis reponed you are in the same taking.

JOLENTA: Ha, ha, ha, so 'tis given out:
But Ercole's coming to life again has shrunk,
And made invisible my great belly; yes faith,
My being with child was merely in supposition,
Not practice.

ANGIOLELLA: You are happy; what would I give,
To be a maid again!

JOLENTA: Would you? To what purpose?
I would never give great purchase for that thing
Is in danger every hour to be lost:
Pray thee laugh. A boy or a girl for a wager?

ANGIOLELLA: What heaven please.

JOLENTA: Nay, nay, will you venture
A chain of pearl with me whether?

ANGIOLELLA: I'll lay nothing,
I have ventur'd too much for't already; my fame.
I make no question sister, you have heard
Of the intended combat.

JOLENTA: O what else?
I have a sweetheart in't, against a brother.

ANGIOLELLA: And I a dead friend, I fear; what good
counsel
Can you minister unto me?

JOLENTA: Faith only this
Since there's no means i'th' world to hinder it,
Let thou and I, wench, get as far as we can
From the noise of it.

ANGIOLELLA: Whither?

JOLENTA: No matter,
Any whither.

ANGIOLELLA: Any whither, so you go not
By sea: I cannot abide rough water.

JOLENTA: Not endure to be tumbled? Say no more then,
We'll be land-soldiers for that trick: take heart,
Thy boy shall be bom a brave Roman.

ANGIOLELLA: O you mean
To go to Rome then.

JOLENTA: Within there!

Enter a servant.

Bear this letter
To the Lord Ercole. Now wench, I am for thee
All the world over.

ANGIOLELLA: I like your shade pursue you.

Exeunt.


Top of page


 

 Act V, Scene ii: The action takes place at Naples

 

Enter PROSPERO and SANITONELLA.

PROSPERO: Well, I do not think but to see you as pretty a
piece of law-flesh.

SANITONELLA: In time I may; marry I am resolv'd to take
a new way for't. You have lawyers take their clients' fees,
and their backs are no sooner turn'd, but they call them
fools, and laugh at them.

PROSPERO: That's ill done of them.

SANITONELLA: There's one thing too that has a vile abuse in't.

PROSPERO: What's that?

SANITONELLA: Marry this; that no proctor in the term
time be tolerated to go to the tavern above six times
i'th' forenoon.

PROSPERO: Why, man?

SANITONELLA: O sir, it makes their clients overtaken, and
become friends sooner than they would be.

Enter ERCOLE with a letter, and CONTARINO, coming in Friars' habits, as having been at the Bathanites, a ceremony used afore these combats.

ERCOLE: Leave the room, gentlemen.

Exeunt PROSPERO and SANITONELLA.

CONTARINO [aside]: Wherefore should I with such an
obstinacy,
Conceal myself any longer? I am taught
That all the blood which will be shed tomorrow,
Must fall upon my head: one question
Shall fix or untie it. [to ERCOLE] Noble brother,
I would fain know how it is possible,
When it appears you love the fair Jolenta
With such a height of fervour, you were ready
To father another's child, and marry her,
You would so suddenly engage yourself
To kill her brother, one that ever stood,
Your loyal and firm friend?

ERCOLE: Sir, I'll tell you:
My love, as I have formerly protested,
To Contarino, whose unfortunate end
The traitor wrought: and here is one thing more,
Dead's all good thoughts of him, which I now receiv'd
From Jolenta.

CONTARINO: In a letter?

ERCOLE: Yes, in this letter:
For having sent to her to be resolv'd
Most truly, who was father of the child,
She writes back, that the shame she goes withal,
Was begot by her brother.

CONTARINO: O most incestuous villain!

ERCOLE: I protest,
Before I thought 'twas Contarino's issue,
And for that would have veil'd her dishonour.

CONTARINO: No more. Has the armourer brought the
weapons?

ERCOLE: Yes sir.

CONTARINO: I will no more think of her.

ERCOLE: Of whom?

CONTARINO: Of my mother; I was thinking
Of my mother. Call the armourer.

Exeunt.

Top of page


 

 Act V, Scene iii: The action takes place at Naples

Enter [FIRST] SURGEON and WINIFRID.

WINIFRID: You do love me sir, you say?

FIRST SURGEON: O most entirely.

WINIFRID: And you will marry me?

FIRST SURGEON: Nay, I'll do more than that.
The fashion of the world is many times
To make a woman naught, and afterwards
To marry her: but I a'th' contrary,
Will make you honest first, and afterwards
Proceed to the wedlock.

WINIFRID: Honest! What mean you by that?

FIRST SURGEON: I mean, that your suborning the late
law-suit
Has got you a filthy report. Now there's no way
But to do some excellent piece of honesty,
To recover your good name.

WINIFRID: How sir?

FIRST SURGEON: You shall straight go, and reveal to your
old mistress
For certain truth, Contarino is alive.

WINIFRID: How, living?

FIRST SURGEON: Yes, he is living.

WINIFRID: No, I must not tell her of it.

FIRST SURGEON: No? Why?

WINIFRID: For she did bind me yesterday by oath,
Never more to speak of him .

FIRST SURGEON: You shall reveal it then
To Ariosto the judge.

WINIFRID: By no means, he has heard me
Tell so many lies i'th' court, he'll ne'er believe me.
What if I told it to the Capuchin?

FIRST SURGEON: You cannot
Think of a better. [As for] your young mistress,
Who as you told me, has persuaded you
To run away with her: let her have her humour.
I have a suit Romelio left i'th' house,
The habit of a Jew, that I'll put on,
And pretending I am robbed, by break of day
Procure all passengers to be brought back,
And by the way reveal myself, and discover
The comical event. They say she's a little mad;
This will help to cure her. Go, go presently,
And reveal it to the Capuchin.

WINIFRID: Sir, I shall.

Exeunt.

Top of page


 

 Act V, Scene iv: The action takes place at Naples

Enter JULIO, PROSPERO, and SANITONELLA.

JULIO: A pox on't,
I have undertaken the challenge very foolishly:
What if I do not appear to answer it?

PROSPERO: It would be absolute conviction
Of cowardice, and perjury; and the Dane
May to your public shame, reverse your arms,
Or have them ignominiously fastened
Under his horse tail.

JULIO: I do not like that so well.
I see then I must fight whether I will or no.

PROSPBRO: How does Romelio bear himself? They say
He has almost brain'd one of our cunning'st fencers,
That practis'd with him.

JULIO: Very certain: and now you talk of fencing,
Do you not remember the Welsh gentleman,
That was travelling to Rome upon return?

PROSPERO: No, what of him?

JULIO: There was a strange experiment of a fencer.

PROSPERO: What was that?

JULIO: The Welshman in's play, do what the fencer could,
Hung still an arse; he could not for's life
Make him come on bravely: till one night at supper,
Observing what a deal of Parma cheese
His scholar devoured, [a] goes ingeniously
The next morning, and makes a spacious button
For his foil, of toasted cheese, and as sure as you live,
That made him come on the braveliest.

PROSPERO: Possible!

JULIO: Marry it taught him an ill grace in's play,
It made him gape still, gape as he put in for't,
As I have seen some hungry usher.

SANITONELLA: The toasting of it belike,
Was to make it more supple, had he chanc'd
To have hit him a'th' chaps.

JULIO: Not unlikely.
Who can tell me if we may breathe in the duel?

PROSPERO: By no means.

JULIO: Nor drink?

PROSPERO: Neither.

JULIO: That's scurvy, anger will make me very dry.

PROSPERO: You mistake sir, 'tis sorrow that is very dry.

SANITONELLA: Not always sir, I have known sorrow very
wet.

JULIO: In rainy weather?

SANITONELLA: No, when a woman has come dropping
wet.
Out of a cuckingstool.

JULIO: Then 'twas wet indeed sir.

Enter ROMBLIO, very melancholy, and the CAPUCHIN.

CAPUCHIN [aside]: Having from Leonora's waiting-woman
Deliver'd a most strange intelligence
Of Contarino's recovery, I am come
To sound Romelio's penitence; that perform'd;
To end these errors by discovering
What she related to me. [To ROMELIO] Peace to you sir —
Pray gentlemen, let the freedom of this room
Be mine a little —[to JULIO] Nay sir, you may stay.

Exeunt PRO[SPERO and] SAN[ITONELLA].

Will you pray with me?

ROMELIO: No, no, the world and I
Have not made up our accounts yet.

CAPUCHIN: Shall I pray for you?

ROMBLIO: Whether you do or no, I care not.

CAPUCHIN: O you have a dangerous voyage to take.

ROMELIO: No matter, I will be mine own pilot:
Do not you trouble your head with the business.

CAPUCHIN: Pray tell me, do not you meditate of death?

ROMELIO: Phew, I took out that lesson
When I once lay sick of an ague: I do now
Labour for life, for life! Sir, can you tell me
Whether your Toledo, or your Milan blade
Be best temper'd?

CAPUCHIN: These things you know,
Are out of my practice.

ROMELIO: But these are things you know,
I must practise with tomorrow.

CAPUCHIN: Were l in your case,
I should present to myself strange shadows.

ROMELIO: Turn you, were I in your case, I should laugh
At mine own shadow. Who has hired you
To make me coward?

CAPUCHIN: I would make you
A good Christian.

ROMELIO: Withal, let me continue
An honest man, which I am very certain,
A coward can never be: you take upon you
A physician's place, rather than a divine's.
You go about to bring my body so low,
I should fight i'th' lists tomorrow like a dormouse,
And be made away in a slumber.

CAPUCHIN: Did you murder Contarino?

ROMELIO: That's a scurvy question now.

CAPUCHIN: Why sir?

ROMELIO: Did you ask it as a confessor, or as a spy?

CAPUCHIN: As one that fain would jostle the devil
Out of your way.

ROMELIO: Um, you are but weakly made for't:
He's a cunning wrestler, I can tell you, and has broke
Many a man's neck.

CAPUCHIN: But to give him the foil
Goes not by strength.

ROMELIO: Let it go by what it will,
Get me some good victuals to breakfast,
I am hungry.

CAPUCHIN: Here's food for you.

Offering him a book.

ROMELIO: Pew, I am not to commence Doctor:
For then the word, devour that book, were proper.
I am to fight, to fight sir, and I'll do't,
As I would feed, with a good stomach.

CAPUCHIN: Can you feed,
And apprehend death?

ROMELIO: Why sir? Is not Death
A hungry companion? Say? Is not the grave
Said to be a great devourer? Get me some victuals.
I knew a man that was to lose his head,
Feed with an excellent good appetite,
To strengthen his heart, scarce half an hour before.
And if he did it, that only was to speak,
What should I, that am to do?

CAPUCHIN: This confidence,
If it be grounded upon truth, 'tis well.

ROMELIO: You must understand, that resolution
Should ever wait upon a noble death,
As captains bring their soldiers out o'th' field,
And come off last: for, I pray, what is death?
The safest trench i'th' world to keep man free
From fortune's gunshot; to be afraid of that
Would prove me weaker than a teeming woman,
That does endure a thousand times more pain
In bearing of a child.

CAPUCHIN: O, I tremble for you:
For I do know you have a storm within you,
More terrible than a sea fight, and your soul
Being heretofore drown'd in security,
You know not how to live, nor how to die:
But I have an object that shall startle you,
And make you know whither you are going.

ROMELIO: I am arm'd for't.

Enter LEONORA with two coffins borne by her servants, and
two winding sheets stuck with flowers; presents one to her
son, and the other to JULIO.

'Tis very welcome, this is a decent garment
Will never be out of fashion. I will kiss it.
All the flowers of the spring
Meet to perfume our burying:
These have but their growing prime,
And man does flourish but his time.
Survey our progress from our birth,
We are set, we grow, we turn to earth.

Soft music [is played].

Courts adieu, and all delights,
All bewitching appetites;
Sweetest breath, and clearest eye,
Like perfumes go out and die;
And consequently this is done,
As shadows wait upon the sun.
Vain the ambition of kings,
Who seek by trophies and dead things,
To leave a living name behind,
And weave but nets to catch the wind.
O you have wrought a miracle, and melted
A heart of adamant: you have compris'd
In this dumb pageant, a right excellent form
Of penitence.

CAPUCHIN: I am glad you so receive it.

ROMELIO: This object does persuade me to forgive
The wrong she has done me, which I count the way
To be forgiven yonder: and this shroud
Shows me how rankly we do smell of earth
When we are in all our glory. Will it please you
Enter that closet, where I shall confer
'Bout matters of most weighty consequence,
Before the duel?

Exit LEONORA [into the closet].

JULIO: Now I am right in the bandoleer
For th' gallows. What a scurvy fashion 'tis,
To hang one's coffm in a scarf!

CAPUCHIN: Why this is well:
And now that I have made you fit for death,
And brought you even as low as is the grave,
I will raise you up again, speak comforts to you
Beyond your hopes, turn this intended duel
To a triumph.

ROMELIO: More divinity yet?
Good sir, do one thing first, there's in my closet
A prayer book that is cover'd with gilt vellum;
Fetch it, and pray you certify my mother,
I'll presently come to her.

[Exit CAPUCHIN into the closet. ROMELIO] locks him in.

So now you are safe.

JULIO: What have you done?

ROMELIO: Why I have lock'd them up
Into a turret of the castle, safe enough
For troubling us this four hours; and he please,
He may open a casement, and whistle out to'th' sea,
Like a bosun, not any creature can hear him.
Wast not thou a-weary of his preaching?

JULIO: Yes, if he had had an hour-glass by him,
I would have wish'd he would have jogg'd it a little.
But your mother, your mother's lock'd in too.

ROMELIO: So much the better,
I am rid of her howling at parting.

JULIO: Hark, he knocks to be let out and he were mad.

ROMELIO: Let him knock till his sandals fly in pieces.

JULIO: Ha, what says he? Contarino living?

ROMELIO: Aye, aye, he means he would have Contarino's
living
Bestow'd upon his monastery, 'tis that
He only fishes for. So, 'tis break of day,
We shall be call'd to the combat presently.

JULIO: I am sorry for one thing.

ROMELIO: What's that?

JULIO: That I made not mine own ballad: I do fear
I shall be roguishly abused in metre,
If I miscarry. Well, if the young Capuchin
Does not talk a'th' flesh as fast now to your mother,
As he did to us a'th' spirit! If he do,
'Tis not the first time that the prison royal
Has been guilty of close committing.

ROMELIO: Now to'th' combat.

[Exeunt.] Enter CAPUCHIN and LEONORA above
at a window.

LEONORA: Contarino living?

CAPUCHIN: Yes madam, he is living and Ercole's second.

LEONORA: Why has he lock'd us up thus?

CAPUCHIN: Some evil angel
Makes him deaf to his own safety; we are shut
Into a turret, the most desolate prison
Of all the castle, and his obstinacy,
Madness, or secret fate, has thus prevented
The saving of his life.

LEONORA: O the saving Contarino's,
His is worth nothing: for heaven's sake call louder.

CAPUCHIN: To little purpose.

LEONORA: I will leap these battlements,
And may I be found dead time enough,
To hinder the combat!

CAPUCHIN: O look upwards rather,
Their deliverance must come thence: to see how heaven
Can invert man's firmest purpose! His intent
Of murdering Contarino, was a mean
To work his safety, and my coming hither
To save him, is his ruin: wretches turn
The tide of their good fortune, and being drench' d
In some presumptuous and hidden sins,
While they aspire to do themselves most right,
The devil that rules i'th' air, hangs in their light.

LEONORA: O they must not be lost thus: some good
Christian
Come within our hearing! Ope the other casettlent
That looks into the city.

CAPUCHIN: Madam, I shall.

Exeunt.

Top of page


 

 Act V, Scene v: The action takes place at Naples

The lists set up. Enter the Marshal, CRISPIANO, and
ARIOSTO as judges, they sit. [With them SANITONELLA.]

MARSHAL: Give the appellant his summons. Do the like
To the defendant.

Two tuckets sounded by several trumpets. Enter at one door,
ERCOLE and CONTARINO, at the other, ROMELIO and JULIO.

Can any of you
Allege ought, why the combat should not proceed?

COMBATANTS: Nothing.
ARIOSTO: Have the knights weigh'd and measured
Their weapons?

MARSHAL: They have.

ARIOSTO: Proceed then to the battle,
And may heaven determine the right.

HERALD: Soit [la] bataille, et [victoire) a ceux qu[i ont] droit.

ROMELIO: Stay, I do not well know whither I am going:
'Twere needful therefore, though at the last gasp,
To have some churchman's prayer. Run I pray thee,
To Castle Novo; this key will release
A Capuchin and my mother, whom I shut
Into a turret; bid them make haste, and pray,
I may be dead ere he comes.

[Exit attendant.]

Now, [Victoire] a ceux qu[i ont] droit.
The combat continued to a good length, when enters
LEONORA, and the CAPUCHIN.

LEONORA: Hold, hold, for heaven's sake hold!

ARIOSTO: What are these that interrupt the combat?
Away to prison with them.

CAPUCHIN: We have been prisoners too long:
O sir, what mean you? Contarino's living.

ERCOLE: Living!

CAPUCHIN: Behold him living.

ERCOLE: You were but now my second, now I make you
Myself for ever.

[They embrace.]

LEONORA: O here's one between,
Claims to be nearer.

CONTARINO: And to you, dear lady,
I have entirely vowed my life.

ROMELIO: If I do not
Dream, I am happy too.

ARIOSTO: How insolently
Has this high court of honour been abus'd!

Enter ANGIOLELLA, veil'd, and JOLENTA, her face colour'd
like a Moor, the two
SURGEONS, one of them like a Jew.

How now, who are these?

SECOND SURGEON: A couple of strange fowl, and I the
falconer
That have sprung them. This is a white nun,
Of the Order of Saint Clare; and this a black one,
You'll take my word for't.

[He] discovers JOLENTA.

ARIOSTO: She's a black one indeed.

JOLENTA: Like or dislike me, choose you whether;
The down upon the raven's feather
Is as gentle and as sleek,
As the mole on Venus' cheek.
Hence vain show! I only care,
To preserve my soul most fair.
Never mind the outward skin,
But the jewel that's within:
And though I want the crimson blood,
Angels boast my sisterhood.
Which of us now judge you whiter,
Her whose credit proves the lighter,
Or this black, and ebon hue,
That unstain'd, keeps fresh and true?
For I proclaim't without control,
There's no true beauty, but i'th' soul.

ERCOLE: O 'tis the fair Jolenta; to what purpose
Are you thus eclips'd?

JOLENTA: Sir, I was running away
From the rumour of this combat: I fled likewise,
From the untrue report my brother spread
To his politic ends, that I was got with child.

LEONORA: Cease here all further scrutiny, this paper
Shall give unto the court each circumstance,
Of all these passages.

ARIOSTO: No more: attend the sentence of the court.
Rareness and difficulty give estimation
To all things are i'th' world: you have met both
In these several passages: now it does remain,
That these so comical events be blasted
With no severity of sentence. You Romelio,
Shall first deliver to that gentleman,
Who stood your second, all those obligations
Wherein he stands engag'd to you, receiving
Only the principal.

ROMELIO: I shall my lord.

JULIO: I thank you,
I have an humour now to go to sea
Against the pirates; and my only ambition
Is to have my ship furnish'd with a rare consort
Of music; and when I am pleased to be mad,
They shall play me Orlando.

SANITONELLA: You must lay in wait for the fiddlers,
They'll flyaway from the press like watermen.

ARIOSTO: Next, you shall marry that nun.

ROMELIO: Most willingly.

ANGIOLELLA: O sir, you have been unkind,
But I do only wish, that this my shame
May warn all honest virgins, not to seek
The way to heaven, that is so wondrous steep,
Thorough those vows they are too frail to keep.

ARIOSTO: Contarino, and Romelio, and yourself:
Shall for seven years maintain against the Turk
Six galleys. Leonora, Jolenta,
And Angiolella there, the beauteous nun,
For their vows' breach unto the monastery,
Shall build a monastery. Lastly, the two surgeons,
For concealing Contarino's recovery,
Shall exercise their art at their own charge,
For a twelvemonth in the galleys: so we leave you,
Wishing your future life may make good use
Of these events, since that these passages,
Which threat'ned ruin, built on rotten ground,
Are with Success beyond our wishes crown'd.

Exeunt omnes.



Top of page


Go Back to Devil's Law-Case