Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MAID'S TRAGEDY, by FRANCIS BEAUMONT

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MAID'S TRAGEDY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The rest are making ready, sir
Last Line: But cursed is he that is their instrument. [exeunt.
Subject(s): Dishonor; Regicide; Vengeance


LYSIPPUS, his Brother.


Lords, Gentlemen, Servants, &c.

ASPATIA, betrothed to AMINTOR.


DULA, Attendant on EVADNE.
Characters in the Masque.
Night, Cynthia, Neptune, Æolus, Sea Gods.

SCENE.—The City of RHODES.


SCENE I.—An Apartment in the Palace.


CLE. The rest are making ready, sir.
Lys. So let them;
There's time enough.
Diph. You are the brother to the King, my lord;
We'll take your word.
Lys. Strato, thou hast some skill in poetry;
What think'st thou of the masque? will it be well.
Stra. As well as masques can be.
Lys. As masques can be!
Stra. Yes; they must commend their king, and speak in praise
Of the assembly, bless the bride and bridegroom
In person of some god; they're tied to rules
Of flattery.
Cle. See, good my lord, who is returned!


Lys. Noble Melantius, the land by me
Welcomes thy virtues home to Rhodes;
Thou that with blood abroad buy'st us our peace!
The breath of kings is like the breath of gods;
My brother wished thee here, and thou art here:
He will be too kind, and weary thee
With often welcomes; but the time doth give thee
A welcome above his or all the world's.
Mel. My lord, my thanks; but these scratched limbs of mine
Have spoke my love and truth unto my friends,
More than my tongue e'er could. My mind's the same
It ever was to you: where I find worth,
I love the keeper till he let it go,
And then I follow it.
Diph. Hail, worthy brother!
He that rejoices not at your return
In safety is mine enemy for ever.
Mel. I thank thee, Diphilus. But thou art faulty:
I sent for thee to exercise thine arms
With me at Patria; thou cam'st not, Diphilus;
'Twas ill.
Diph. My noble brother, my excuse
Is my king's strict command, which you, my lord,
Can witness with me.
Lys. 'Tis most true, Melantius;
He might not come till the solemnities
Of this great match were past.
Diph. Have you heard of it?
Mel. Yes, and have given cause to those that here
Envy my deeds abroad to call me gamesome;
I have no other business here at Rhodes.
Lys. We have a masque to-night and you must tread
A soldier's measure.
Mel. These soft and silken wars are not for me:
The music must be shrill and all confused
That stirs my blood; and then I dance with arms.
But is Amintor wed?
Diph. This day.
Mel. All joys upon him! for he is my friend.
Wonder not that I call a man so young my friend:
His worth is great; valiant he is and temperate;
And one that never thinks his life his own,
If his friend need it. When he was a boy,
As oft as I returned (as, without boast,
I brought home conquest), he would gaze upon me
And view me round, to find in what one limb
The virtue lay to do those things he heard;
Then would he wish to see my sword, and feel
The quickness of the edge, and in his hand
Weigh it: he oft would make me smile at this.
His youth did promise much, and his ripe years
Will see it all performed.

Enter ASPATIA, passing over the Stage.

Hail, maid and wife!
Thou fair Aspatia, may the holy knot,
That thou hast tied to-day, last till the hand
Of age undo it! may'st thou bring a race
Unto Amintor, that may fill the world
Successively with soldiers!
Asp. My hard fortunes
Deserve not scorn, for I was never proud
When they were good. [Exit.
Mel. How's this?
Lys. You are mistaken, sir;
She is not married.
Mel. You said Amintor was.
Diph. 'Tis true; but_____
Mel. Pardon me; I did receive
Letters at Patria from my Amintor,
That he should marry her.
Diph. And so it stood
In all opinion long; but your arrival
Made me imagine you had heard the change.
Mel. Who hath he taken then?
Lys. A lady, sir,
That bears the light above her, and strikes dead
With flashes of her eye; the fair Evadne,
Your virtuous sister.
Mel. Peace of heart betwixt them!
But this is strange.
Lys. The King, my brother, did it
To honour you; and these solemnities
Are at his charge.
Mel. 'Tis royal, like himself. But I am sad
My speech bears so unfortunate a sound
To beautiful Aspatia. There is rage
Hid in her father's breast, Calianax,
Bent long against me; and he should not think,
If I could call it back, that I would take
So base revenges, as to scorn the state
Of his neglected daughter. Holds he still
His greatness with the King?
Lys. Yes. But this lady
Walks discontented, with her watery eyes
Bent on the earth. The unfrequented woods
Are her delight; where, when she sees a bank
Stuck full of flowers, she with a sigh will tell
Her servants what a pretty place it were
To bury lovers in; and make her maids
Pluck 'em, and strow her over like a corse.
She carries with her an infectious grief,
That strikes all her beholders: she will sing
The mournful'st things that ever ear hath heard,
And sigh, and sing again; and when the rest
Of our young ladies, in their wanton blood,
Tell mirthful tales in course, that fill the room
With laughter, she will, with so sad a look,
Bring forth a story of the silent death
Of some forsaken virgin, which her grief
Will put in such a phrase that, ere she end,
She'll send them weeping one by one away.
Mel. She has a brother under my command,
Like her; a face as womanish as hers;
But with a spirit that hath much outgrown
The number of his years.
Cle. My lord, the bridegroom!


Mel. I might run fiercely, not more hastily,
Upon my foe. I love thee well, Amintor;
My mouth is much too narrow for my heart;
I joy to look upon those eyes of thine;
Thou art my friend, but my disordered speech
Cuts off my love.
Amin. Thou art Melantius;
All love is spoke in that. A sacrifice,
To thank the gods Melantius is returned
In safety! Victory sits on his sword,
As she was wont: may she build there and dwell;
And may thy armour be, as it hath been,
Only thy valour and thine innocence!
What endless treasures would our enemies give,
That I might hold thee still thus!
Mel. I am poor
In words; but credit me, young man, thy mother
Could do no more but weep for joy to see thee
After long absence: all the wounds I have
Fetched not so much away, nor all the cries
Of widowèd mothers. But this is peace,
And that was war.
Amin. Pardon, thou holy god
Of marriage-bed, and frown not, I am forced,
In answer of such noble tears as those,
To weep upon my wedding-day!
Mel. I fear thou art grown too fickle; for I hear
A lady mourns for thee; men say, to death;
Forsaken of thee; on what terms I know not.
Amin. She had my promise; but the King forbad it,
And made me make this worthy change, thy sister,
Accompanied with graces far above her;
With whom I long to lose my lusty youth,
And grow old in her arms.
Mel. Be prosperous!

Enter Servant.

Serv. My lord, the masquers rage for you.
Lys. We are gone.—Cleon, Strato, Diphilus!
Amin. We'll all attend you.—
We shall trouble you
With our solemnities.
Mel. Not so, Amintor:
But if you laugh at my rude carriage
In peace, I'll do as much for you in war,
When you come thither. Yet I have a mistress
To bring to your delights; rough though I am,
I have a mistress, and she has a heart
She says; but, trust me, it is stone, no better;
There is no place that I can challenge in't.
But you stand still, and here my way lies.
[Exeunt severally.

SCENE II.—A Hall in the Palace, with a Gallery full of

CALIANAX and DIAGORAS discovered.
Cal. Diagoras, look to the doors better, for shame! you let in all the
world, and anon the King will rail at me. Why, very well said. By
Jove, the King
will have the show i' the court.
Diag. Why do you swear so, my lord? you know he'll have it here.
Cal. By this light, if he be wise, he will not.
Diag. And if he will not be wise, you are forsworn.
Cal. One may wear his heart out with swearing, and get thanks on no
side. I'll be gone, look to't who will.
Diag. My lord, I shall never keep them out. Pray, stay; your looks
terrify them.
Cal. My looks terrify them, you coxcombly ass, you I'll be judged by
all the company whether thou hast not a worse face than I.
Diag. I mean, because they know you and your office.
Cal. Office! I would I could put it off! I am sure I sweat quite
through my office. I might have made room at my daughter's wedding: they ha'
near killed her among them; and now I must do service for him that hath
her. Serve that will. [Exit.
Diag. He's so humorous since his daughter was for saken! [Knocking
within.] Hark, hark! there, there; so, so! codes, codes! What now?
Mel. [within.] Open the door.
Diag. Who's there?
Mel. [within.] Melantius.
Diag. I hope your lordship brings no troop with you; for, if
you do, I
must return them. [Opens the door.

Enter MELANTIUS and a Lady.

Mel. None but this lady, sir.
Diag. The ladies are all placed above, save those that come in the
King's troop: the best of Rhodes sit there, and there's room.
Mel. I thank you, sir.—When I have seen you placed,
madam, I must
attend the King; but, the masque done, I'll wait on you again.
Diag. [opening another door.] Stand back there!—
Room for my Lord Melantius! [Exeunt MELANTIUS and
Lady.]—Pray, bear
back—this is no place for such youths and their trulls—let the doors
shut again.—No!—do your heads itch? I'll scratch them for you.
[Shuts the door.]—So, now thrust and hang. [Knocking
within.]—Again! who is't now?—I cannot blame my Lord Calianax for
going away: would he were here! he would run raging among them, and break a
dozen wiser heads than his own in the twinkling of an eye.—What's the
[Voice within.] I pray you, can you help me to the speech of the
Diag. If I open the door, I'll cook some of your calves-heads. Peace,
rogues! [Knocking within.]—Again! who is't?
Mel. [within.] Melantius.

Re-enter CALIANAX.

Cal. Let him not in.
Diag. O, my lord, I must. [Opening the door.]—Make room
for my lord.


Is your lady placed?
Mel. Yes, sir.
I thank you.—My Lord Calianax, well met:
Your causeless hate to me I hope is buried.
Cal. Yes, I do service for your sister here,
That brings my own poor child to timeless death:
She loves your friend Amintor; such another
False-hearted lord as you.
Mel. You do me wrong,
A most unmanly one, and I am slow
In taking vengeance: but be well advised.
Cal. It may be so.—Who placed the lady there
So near the presence of the King?
Mel. I did.
Cal. My lord, she must not sit there.
Mel. Why?
Cal. The place is kept for women of more worth.
Mel. More worth than she! It misbecomes your age
And place to be thus womanish: forbear!
What you have spoke, I am content to think
The palsy shook your tongue to.
Cal. Why, 'tis well,
If I stand here to place men's wenches.
Mel. I
Shall quite forget this place, thy age, my safety,
And, thorough all, cut that poor sickly week
Thou hast to live away from thee.
Cal. Nay, I know you can fight for your whore.
Mel. Bate me the King, and, be he flesh and blood,
He lies that says it! Thy mother at fifteen
Was black and sinful to her.
Diag. Good my lord—
Mel. Some god pluck threescore years from that fond man,
That I may kill him, and not stain mine honour!
It is the curse of soldiers, that in peace
They shall be braved by such ignoble men,
As, if the land were troubled, would with tears
And knees beg succour from 'em. Would the blood,
That sea of blood, that I have lost in fight,
Were running in thy veins, that it might make thee
Apt to say less, or able to maintain,
Should'st thou say more! This Rhodes, I see, is nought
But a place privileged to do men wrong.
Cal. Ay, you may say your pleasure.


Amin. What vile injury
Has stirred my worthy friend, who is as slow
To fight with words as he is quick of hand?
Mel. That heap of age, which I should reverence
If it were temperate, but testy years
Are most contemptible.
Amin. Good sir, forbear.
Cal. There is just such another as yourself.
Amin. He will wrong you, or me, or any man,
And talk as if he had no life to lose,
Since this our match. The King is coming in;
I would not for more wealth than I enjoy
He should perceive you raging: he did hear
You were at difference now, which hastened him.
[Hautboys play within.
Cal. Make room there!

Enter King, EVADNE, ASPATIA, Lords and Ladies.

King. Melantius, thou art welcome, and my love
Is with thee still: but this is not a place
To brabble in.—Calianax, join hands.
Cal. He shall not have my hand.
King. This is no time
To force you to it. I do love you both:
Calianax, you look well to your office;
And you, Melantius, are welcome home.—
Begin the masque.
Mel. Sister, I joy to see you and your choice;
You looked with my eyes when you took that man:
Be happy in him!
Evad. O, my dearest brother,
Your presence is more joyful than this day
Can be unto me. [Recorders play


NIGHT rises in mists.

Night. Our reign is come; for in the raging sea
The sun is drowned, and with him fell the Day.
Bright Cynthia, hear my voice! I am the Night,
For whom thou bear'st about thy borrowed light:
Appear! no longer thy pale visage shroud,
But strike thy silver horns quite through a cloud,
And send a beam upon my swarthy face,
By which I may discover all the place
And persons, and how many longing eyes
Are come to wait on our solemnities.


How dull and black am I ! I could not find
This beauty without thee, I am so blind:
Methinks they show like to those eastern streaks,
That warn us hence before the morning breaks.
Back, my pale servant! for these eyes know how
To shoot far more and quicker rays than thou.
Cynth. Great queen, they be a troop for whom alone
One of my clearest moons I have put on;
A troop, that looks as if thyself and I
Had plucked our reins in and our whips laid by,
To gaze upon these mortals, that appear
Brighter than we.
Night. Then let us keep 'em here;
And never more our chariots drive away,
But hold our places and outshine the Day.
Cynth. Great queen of shadows, you are pleased to speak
Of more than may be done: we may not break
The gods' decrees; but, when our time is come,
Must drive away, and give the Day our room.
Yet, whilst our reign lasts, let us stretch our power
To give our servants one contented hour,
With such unwonted solemn grace and state,
As may for ever after force them hate
Our brother's glorious beams, and wish the Night
Crowned with a thousand stars and our cold light:
For almost all the world their service bend
To Phœbus, and in vain my light I lend,
Gazed on unto my setting from my rise
Almost of none but of unquiet eyes.
Night. Then shine at full, fair queen, and by thy power
Produce a birth, to crown this happy hour,
Of nymphs and shepherds; let their songs discover,
Easy and sweet, who is a happy lover;
Or, if thou woo't, then call thine own Endymion
From the sweet flowery bed he lies upon,
On Latmus' top, thy pale beams drawn away,
And of his long night let him make a day.
Cynth. Thou dream'st, dark queen; that fair boy was not mine,
Nor went I down to kiss him. Ease and wine
Have bred these bold tales: poets, when they rage,
Turn gods to men, and make an hour an age.
But I will give a greater state and glory,
And raise to time a nobler memory
Of what these lovers are.—Rise, rise, I say,
Thou power of deeps, thy surges laid away,
Neptune, great king of waters, and by me
Be proud to be commanded!

NEPTUNE rises.

Nept. Cynthia, see,
Thy word hath fetched me hither: let me know
Why I ascend.
Cynth. Doth this majestic show
Give thee no knowledge yet?
Nept. Yes, now I see
Something intended, Cynthia, worthy thee.
Go on; I'll be a helper.
Cynth. Hie thee then,
And charge the Wind fly from his rocky den,
Let loose his subjects; only Boreas,
Too foul for our intention, as he was,
Still keep him fast chained: we must have none here
But vernal blasts and gentle winds appear,
Such as blow flowers, and through the glad boughs sing
Many soft welcomes to the lusty spring;
These are our music. Next, thy watery race
Bring on in couples (we are pleased to grace
This noble night), each in their richest things
Your own deeps or the broken vessel brings:
Be prodigal, and I shall be as kind
And shine at full upon you.
Nept. Ho, the Wind!
Commanding Æolus!

Enter ÆOLUS out of a Rock.

Æol. Great Neptune!
Nept. He.
Æol. What is thy will?
Nept. We do command thee free
Favonius and thy milder winds, to wait
Upon our Cynthia; but tie Boreas strait,
He's too rebellious.
Æol. I shall do it.
Nept. Do. [Exit ÆOLUS into the rock.
Æol. [within.] Great master of the flood and all below,
Thy full command has taken._____Ho, the Main!
Nept. Here.

Re-enter ÆOLUS, followed by FAVONIUS and other Winds.

Æol. Boreas has broke his chain,
And, struggling, with the rest has got away.
Nept. Let him alone, I'll take him up at sea;
I will not long be thence. Go once again,
And call out of the bottoms of the main
Blue Proteus and the rest; charge them put on
Their greatest pearls, and the most sparkling stone
The beaten rock breeds; tell this night is done
By me a solemn honour to the Moon:
Fly, like a full sail.
Æol. I am gone.
Cynth. Dark Night,
Strike a full silence, do a thorough right
To this great chorus, that our music may
Touch high as Heaven, and make the east break day
At midnight. [Music.


During which PROTEUS and other Sea-deities enter.

Cynthia, to thy power and thee
We obey.
Joy to this great company!
And no day
Come to steal this night away,
Till the rites of love are ended,
And the lusty bridegroom say,
Welcome, light, of all befriended!

Pace out, you watery powers below;
Let your feet,
Like the galleys when they row,
Even beat.
Let your unknown measures, set
To the still winds, tell to all,
That gods are come, immortal, great,
To honour this great nuptial. [A Measure.


Hold back thy hours, dark Night, till we have done;
The Day will come too soon:
Young maids will curse thee, if thou steal'st away,
And leav'st their losses open to the day:
Stay, stay, and hide
The blushes of the bride.

Stay, gentle Night, and with thy darkness cover
The kisses of her lover;
Stay, and confound her tears and her shrill cryings
Her weak denials, vows, and often-dyings;
Stay, and hide all:
But help not, though she call.

Nept. Great queen of us and Heaven, hear what I bring
To make this hour a full one, if not her measure.
Cynth. Speak, sea's king.
Nept. The tunes my Amphitrite joys to have,
When she will dance upon the rising wave,
And court me as she sails. My Tritons, play
Music to lay a storm! I'll lead the way.
[A Measure, NEPTUNE leading it.


To bed, to bed. Come, Hymen, lead the bride,
And lay her by her husband's side;
Bring in the virgins every one,
That grieve to lie alone;
That they may kiss while they may say a maid;
To-morrow 'twill be other kissed and said.
Hesperus, be long a-shining,
Whilst these lovers are a-twining.
Æol. [within.] Ho, Neptune!
Nept. Æolus!

Re-enter ÆOLUS.

Æol. The sea goes high,
Boreas hath raised a storm: go and apply
Thy trident; else, I prophesy, are day
Many a tall ship will be cast away.
Descend with all the gods and all their power,
To strike a calm. [Exit.
Cynth. We thank you for this hour:
My favour to you all. To gratulate
So great a service, done at my desire,
Ye shall have many floods, fuller and higher
Than you have wished for; and no ebb shall dare
To let the Day see where your dwellings are.
Now back unto your governments in haste,
Lest your proud charge should swell above the waste,
And win upon the island.
Nept. We obey.
[NEPTUNE descends with PROTEUS, &c. Exeunt FAVONIUS and
other Winds.
Cynth. Hold up thy head, dead Night; see'st thou not Day?
The east begins to lighten: I must down,
And give my brother place.
Night. Oh, I could frown
To see the Day, the Day that flings his light
Upon my kingdom and contemns old Night!
Let him go on and flame! I hope to see
Another wild-fire in his axle-tree,
And all fall drenched. But I forget; speak, queen:
The Day grows on; I must no more be seen.
Cynth. Heave up thy drowsy head again, and see
A greater light, a greater majesty,
Between our set and us! whip up thy team:
The Day breaks here, and you sun-flaring stream
Shot from the south. Which way wilt thou go? say.
Night. I'll vanish into mists.
Cynth. I into Day. [Exeunt NIGHT and CYNTHIA.

King. Take lights there!—Ladies, get the bride to bed.—
We will not see you laid; good night, Amintor;
We'll ease you of that tedious ceremony:
Were it my case, I should think time run slow.
If thou be'st noble, youth, get me a boy,
That may defend my kingdom from my foes.
Amin. All happiness to you!
King. Good night, Melantius. [Exeunt.


SCENE I.—Ante-room to EVADNE'S Bed-chamber.

Enter EVADNE, ASPATIA, DULA, and Ladies.

DULA. Madam, shall we undress you for this fight?
The wars are naked that you must make to-night.
Evad. You are very merry, Dula.
Dula. I should be far merrier, madam,
If it were with me as it is with you.
Evad. How's that?
Dula. That I might go
To bed with him with credit that you do.
Evad. Why, how now, wench?
Dula. Come, ladies, will you help?
Evad. I am soon undone.
Dula. And as soon done:
Good store of clothes will trouble you at both.
Evad. Art thou drunk, Dula?
Dula. Why, here's none but we.
Evad. Thou think'st belike there is no modesty
When we're alone.
Dula. Ay, by my troth, you hit my thoughts aright.
Evad. You prick me, lady.
1st Lady. 'Tis against my will.
Dula. Anon you must endure more and lie still;
You're best to practise.
Evad. Sure, this wench is mad.
Dula. No, faith, this is a trick that I have had
Since I was fourteen.
Evad. 'Tis high time to leave it.
Dula. Nay, now I'll keep it till the trick leave me.
A dozen wanton words, put in your head,
Will make you livelier in your husband's bed.
Evad. Nay, faith, then take it.
Dula. Take it, madam! where?
We all, I hope, will take it that are here.
Evad. Nay, then, I'll give you o'er.
Dula. So will I make
The ablest man in Rhodes, or his heart ache.
Evad. Wilt take my place to-night?
Dula. I'll hold your cards
'Gainst any two I know.
Evad. What wilt thou do?
Dula. Madam, we'll do't, and make 'em leave play too.
Evad. Aspatia, take her part.
Dula. I will refuse it:
She will pluck down a side; she will not use it.
Evad. Why, do, I prithee.
Dula. You will find the play
Quickly, because your head lies well that way.
Evad. I thank thee, Dula. Would thou couldst instil
Some of thy mirth into Aspatia!
Nothing but sad thoughts in her breast do dwell:
Methinks, a mean betwixt you would do well.
Dula. She is in love: hang me, if I were so,
But I could run my country. I love too
To do those things that people in love do.
Asp. It were a timeless smile should prove my cheek:
It were a fitter hour for me to laugh,
When at the altar the religious priest
Were pacifying the offended powers
With sacrifice, than now. This should have been
My rite; and all your hands have been employed
In giving me a spotless offering
To young Amintor's bed, as we are now
For you. Pardon, Evadne: would my worth
Were great as yours, or that the King, or he,
Or both, thought so! Perhaps he found me worthless:
But till he did so, in these ears of mine,
These credulous ears, he poured the sweetest words
That art or love could frame. If he were false,
Pardon it, Heaven! and, if I did want
Virtue, you safely may forgive that too;
For I have lost none that I had from you.
Evad. Nay, leave this sad talk, madam.
Asp. Would I could!
Then should I leave the cause.
Evad. See, if you have not spoiled all Dula's mirth!
Asp. Thou think'st thy heart hard; but, if thou be'st caught,
Remember me; thou shalt perceive a fire
Shot suddenly into thee.
Dula. That's not so good;
Let'em shoot anything but fire, I fear 'em not.
Asp. Well, wench, thou may'st be taken.
Evad. Ladies, good-night: I'll do the rest myself.
Dula. Nay, let your lord do some.
Asp. [singing.] Lay a garland on my hearse
Of the dismal yew—
Evad. That's one of your sad songs, madam.
Asp. Believe me, 'tis a very pretty one.
Evad. How is it, madam?
Asp. [singing.]
Lay a garland on my hearse
Of the dismal yew;
Maidens, willow-branches bear;
Say I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm
From my hour of birth:
Upon my buried body lie
Lightly, gentle earth!

Evad. Fie on it, madam! the words are so strange, they
Are able to make one dream of hobgoblins.—
"I could never have the power"—sing that, Dula.

Dula. [singing.]
I could never have the power
To love one above an hour,
But my heart would prompt mine eye
On some other man to fly.
Venus, fix mine eyes fast,
Or, if not, give me all that I shall see at last!

Evad. So, leave me now.
Dula. Nay, we must see you laid.
Asp. Madam, good night. May all the marriage-joys
That longing maids imagine in their beds
Prove so unto you! May no discontent
Grow 'twixt your love and you! but, if there do,
Inquire of me, and I will guide your moan;
Teach you an artificial way to grieve,
To keep your sorrow waking. Love your lord
No worse than I: but, if you love so well,
Alas, you may displease him! so did I.
This is the last time you shall look on me.—
Ladies, farewell. As soon as I am dead,
Come all and watch one night about my hearse;
Bring each a mournful story and a tear,
To offer at it when I go to earth;
With flattering ivy clasp my coffin round;
Write on my brow my fortune; let my bier
Be borne by virgins, that shall sing by course
The truth of maids and perjuries of men.
Evad. Alas, I pity thee.
All. Madam, good night. [Exit EVADNE.
1st Lady. Come, we'll let in the bridegroom.
Dula. Where's my lord?


1st Lady. Here, take this light.
Dula. He'll find her in the dark.
1st Lady. Your lady's scarce a-bed yet; you must help her.
Asp. Go, and be happy in your lady's love.
May all the wrongs that you have done to me
Be utterly forgotten in my death!
I'll trouble you no more; yet I will take
A parting kiss, and will not be denied. [Kisses AMINTOR.
You'll come, my lord, and see the virgins weep
When I am laid in earth, though you yourself
Can know no pity. Thus I wind myself
Into this willow-garland, and am prouder
That I was once your love, though now refused,
Than to have had another true to me.
So with my prayers I leave you, and must try
Some yet unpractised way to grieve and die. [Exit
Dula. Come, ladies, will you go?
All. Good night, my lord.
Amin. Much happiness unto you all!
[Exeunt DULA and Ladies
I did that lady wrong. Methinks, I feel
A grief shoot suddenly through all my veins;
Mine eyes rain: this is strange at such a time.
It was the King first moved me to't; but he
Has not my will in keeping. Why do I
Perplex myself thus? Something whispers me,
Go not to bed. My guilt is not so great
As mine own conscience too sensible
Would make me think; I only brake a promise,
And 'twas the King enforced me. Timorous flesh,
Why shak'st thou so? Away, my idle fears!

Re-enter EVADNE.

Yonder she is, the lustre of whose eye
Can blot away the sad remembrance
Of all these things.—Oh, my Evadne, spare
That tender body; let it not take cold!
The vapours of the night shall not fall here.
To bed, my love: Hymen will punish us
For being slack performers of his rites.
Cam'st thou to call me?
Evad. No.
Amin. Come, come, my love,
And let us lose ourselves to one another.
Why art thou up so long?
Evad. I am not well.
Amin. To bed then; let me wind thee in these arms
Till I have banished sickness.
Evad. Good my lord,
I cannot sleep.
Amin. Evadne, we will watch;
I mean no sleeping.
Evad. I'll not go to bed.
Amin. I prithee, do.
Evad. I will not for the world.
Amin. Why, my dear love?
Evad. Why! I have sworn I will not.
Amin. Sworn!
Evad. Ay.
Amin. How? sworn, Evadne!
Evad. Yes, sworn, Amintor; and will swear again.
If you will wish to hear me.
Amin. To whom have you sworn this?
Evad. If I should name him, the matter were not great.
Amin. Come, this is but the coyness of a bride.
Evad. The coyness of a bride!
Amin. How prettily
That frown becomes thee!
Evad. Do you like it so?
Amin. Thou canst not dress thy face in such a look
But I shall like it.
Evad. What look likes you best?
Amin. Why do you ask?
Evad. That I may show you one less pleasing to you.
Amin. How's that?
Evad. That I may show you one less pleasing to you.
Amin. I prithee, put thy jests in milder looks;
It shows as thou wert angry.
Evad. So perhaps
I am indeed.
Amin. Why, who has done thee wrong?
Name me the man, and by thyself I swear,
Thy yet unconquered self, I will revenge thee!
Evad. Now I shall try thy truth. If thou dost love me,
Thou weigh'st not any thing compared with me:
Life, honour, joys eternal, all delights
This world can yield, or hopeful people feign,
Or in the life to come, are light as air
To a true Jover when his lady frowns,
And bids him do this. Wilt thou kill this man?
Swear, my Amintor, and I'll kiss the sin
Off from thy lips.
Amin. I will not swear, sweet love,
Till I do know the cause.
Evad. I would thou wouldst.
Why, it is thou that wrong'st me; I hate thee;
Thou should'st have killed thyself.
Amin. If I should know that, I should quickly kill
The man you hated.
Evad. Know it, then, and do't.
Amin. Oh, no! what look soe'er thou shalt put on
To try my faith, I shall not think thee false;
I cannot find one blemish in thy face,
Where falsehood should abide. Leave, and to bed.
If you have sworn to any of the virgins
That were your old companions to preserve
Your maidenhead a night, it may be done
Without this means.
Evad. A maidenhead, Amintor,
At my years!
Amin. Sure she raves; this cannot be
Her natural temper. [Aside.] Shall I call thy maids?
Either thy healthful sleep hath left thee long,
Or else some fever rages in thy blood,
Evad. Neither, Amintor: think you I am mad,
Because I speak the truth?
Amin. Is this the truth?
Will you not lie with me to-night?
Evad. To night!
You talk as if you thought I would hereafter.
Amin. Hereafter! yes, I do.
Evad. You are deceived.
Put off amazement, and with patience mark
What I shall utter, for the oracle
Knows nothing truer: 'tis not for a night
Or two that I forbear thy bed, but ever.
Amin. I dream. Awake, Amintor!
Evad. You hear right:
I sooner will find out the beds of snakes,
And with my youthful blood warm their cold flesh,
Letting them curl themselves about my limbs,
Than sleep one night with thee. This is not feigned,
Nor sounds it like the coyness of a bride.
Amin. Is flesh so earthly to endure all this?
Are these the joys of marriage? Hymen, keep
This story, that will make succeeding youth
Neglect thy ceremonies, from all ears;
Let it not rise up, for thy shame and mine
To after-ages: we will scorn thy laws, If thou no better bless them. Touch the
Of her that thou hast sent me, or the world
Shall know this: not an altar then will smoke
In praise of thee; we will adopt us sons;
Then virtue shall inherit, and not blood.
If we do lust, we'll take the next we meet,
Serving ourselves as other creatures do;
And never take note of the female more,
Nor of her issue.—I do rage in vain;
She can but jest. [Aside.] Oh, pardon me, my love!
So dear the thoughts are that I hold of thee,
That I must break forth. Satisfy my fear;
It is a pain, beyond the hand of death,
To be in doubt: confirm it with an oath,
If this be true.
Evad. Do you invent the form:
Let there be in it all the binding words
Devils and conjurers can put together,
And I will take it. I have sworn before,
And here by all things holy do again,
Never to be acquainted with thy bed!
Is your doubt over now?
Amin. I know too much: would I had doubted still!
Was ever such a marriage-night as this!
You powers above, if you did ever mean
Man should be used thus, you have thought a way
How he may bear himself, and save his honour:
Instruct me in it; for to my dull eyes
There is no mean, no moderate course to run;
I must live scorned, or be a murderer:
Is there a third? Why is this night so calm?
Why does not Heaven speak in thunder to us,
And drown her voice?
Evad. This rage will do no good.
Amin. Evadne, hear me. Thou hast ta'en an oath,
But such a rash one, that to keep it were
Worse than to swear it: call it back to thee;
Such vows as that never ascend to Heaven;
A tear or two will wash it quite away.
Have mercy on my youth, my hopeful youth,
If thou be pitiful! for, without boast,
This land was proud of me: what lady was there,
That men called fair and virtuous in this isle,
That would have shunned my love? It is in thee
To make me hold this worth. Oh, we vain men,
That trust out all our reputation
To rest upon the weak and yielding hand
Of feeble woman! But thou art not stone;
Thy flesh is soft, and in thine eyes doth dwell
The spirit of love; thy heart cannot be hard.
Come, lead me from the bottom of despair
To all the joys thou hast; I know thou wilt;
And make me careful lest the sudden change
O'ercome my spirits.
Evad. When I call back this oath,
The pains of hell environ me!
Amin. I sleep, and am too temperate. Come to bed!
Or by those hairs, which, if thou hadst a soul
Like to thy locks, were threads for kings to wear
About their arms_____
Evad. Why, so perhaps they are.
Amin. I'll drag thee to my bed, and make thy tongue
Undo this wicked oath, or on thy flesh
I'll print a thousand wounds to let out life!
Evad. I fear thee not: do what thou dar'st to me!
Every ill-sounding word or threatening look
Thou shew'st to me will be revenged at full.
Amin. It will not sure, Evadne?
Evad. Do not you hazard that.
Amin. Have you your champions?
Evad. Alas, Amintor, think'st thou I forbear
To sleep with thee, because I have put on
A maiden's strictness? Look upon these cheeks,
And thou shalt find the hot and rising blood
Unapt for such a vow. No; in this heart
There dwells as much desire and as much will
To put that wished act in practice as e'er yet
Was known to woman; and they have been shown
Both. But it was the folly of thy youth
To think this beauty, to what land soe'er
It shall be called, shall stoop to any second.
I do enjoy the best, and in that height
Have sworn to stand or die: you guess the man.
Amin. No; let me know the man that wrongs me so,
That I may cut his body into motes,
And scatter it before the northern wind.
Evad. You dare not strike him.
Amin. Do not wrong me so:
Yes, if his body were a poisonous plant
That it were death to touch, I have a soul
Will throw me on him.
Evad. Why, it is the King.
Amin. The King!
Evad. What will you do now?
Amin. 'Tis not the King!
Evad. What did he make this match for, dull Amintor?
Amin. Oh, thou hast named a word, that wipes away
All thoughts revengeful! In that sacred word,
"The King," there lies a terror: what frail man
Dares lift his hand against it? Let the gods
Speak to him when they please: till when, let us
Suffer and wait.
Evad. Why should you fill yourself so full of heat,
And haste so to my bed? I am no virgin.
Amin. What devil put it in thy fancy, then,
To marry me?
Evad. Alas, I must have one
To father children, and to bear the name
Of husband to me, that my sin may be
More honourable!
Amin. What strange thing am I!
Evad. A miserable one; one that myself
Am sorry for.
Amin. Why, show it then in this:
If thou hast pity, though thy love be none,
Kill me; and all true lovers, that shall live
In after ages crossed in their desires,
Shall bless thy memory, and call thee good,
Because such mercy in thy heart was found,
To rid a lingering wretch.
Evad. I must have one
To fill thy room again, if thou wert dead;
Else, by this night, I would! I pity thee.
Amin. These strange and sudden injuries have fallen
So thick upon me, that I lose all sense
Of what they are. Methinks, I am not wronged;
Nor is it aught, if from the censuring world
I can but hide it. Reputation,
Thou art a word, no more!—But thou hast shown
An impudence so high, that to the world
I fear thou wilt betray or shame thyself.
Evad. To cover shame, I took thee; never fear
That I would blaze myself.
Amin. Nor let the King
Know I conceive he wrongs me; then mine honour
Will thrust me into action, though my flesh
Could bear with patience. And it is some ease
To me in these extremes, that I knew this
Before I touched thee; else, had all the sins
Of mankind stood betwixt me and the King,
I had gone through 'em to his heart and thine.
I have left one desire: 'tis not his crown
Shall buy me to thy bed, now I resolve
He has dishonoured thee. Give me thy hand:
Be careful of thy credit, and sin close;
'Tis all I wish. Upon thy chamber-floor
I'll rest to-night, that morning visitors
May think we did as married people use:
And prithee, smile upon me when they come,
And seem to toy, as if thou hadst been pleased
With what we did.
Evad. Fear not; I will do this.
Amin. Come, let us practise; and, as wantonly
As ever longing bride and bridegroom met,
Let's laugh and enter here.
Evad. I am content.
Amin. Down all the swellings or my troubled heart!
When we walk thus intwined, let all eyes see
If ever lovers better did agree. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.—An Apartment in the House of CALIANAX.


Asp. Away, you are not sad! force it no further.
Good gods, how well you look! Such a full colour
Young bashful brides put on: sure, you are new married!
Ant. Yes, madam, to your grief.
Asp. Alas, poor wenches!
Go learn to love first; learn to lose yourselves;
Learn to be flattered, and believe and bless
The double tongue that did it; make a faith
Out of the miracles of ancient lovers,
Such as spake truth, and died in't; and, like me,
Believe all faithful, and be miserable.
Did you ne'er love yet, wenches? Speak, Olympias:
Thou hast an easy temper, fit for stamp.
Olym. Never.
Asp. Nor you, Antiphila?
Ant. Nor I.
Asp. Then, my good girls, be more than women, wise;
At least be more than I was; and be sure
You credit any thing the light gives life to,
Before a man. Rather believe the sea
Weeps for the ruined merchant, when he roars;
Rather, the wind courts but the pregnant sails,
When the strong cordage cracks; rather, the sun
Comes but to kiss the fruit in wealthy autumn,
When all falls blasted. If you needs must love,
(Forced by ill fate,) take to your maiden-bosoms
Two dead-cold aspics, and of them make lovers:
They cannot flatter nor forswear; one kiss
Makes a long peace for all. But man.—
Oh, that beast man! Come, let's be sad, my girls:
That down-cast of thine eye, Olympias,
Shows a fine sorrow.—Mark, Antiphila;
Just such another was the nymph CEnone,
When Paris brought home Helen.—Now, a tear;
And then thou art a piece expressing fully
The Carthage queen, when from a cold sea-rock,
Full with her sorrow, she tied fast her eyes
To the fair Trojan ships; and, having lost them,
Just as thine eyes do, down stole a tear.—Antiphila,
What would this wench do, if she were Aspatia?
Here she would stand, till some more pitying god
Turned her to marble!—'Tis enough, my wench!—
Show me the piece of needlework you wrought.
Ant. Of Ariadne, madam?
Asp. Yes, that piece.—
This should be Theseus; h'as a cozening face.—
You meant him for a man?
Ant. He was so, madam.
Asp. Why, then, 'tis well enough.—Never look back;
You have a full wind and a false heart, Theseus.—
Does not the story say, his keel was split,
Or his masts spent, or some kind rock or other
Met with his vessel?
Ant. Not as I remember.
Asp. It should have been so. Could the gods know this,
And not, of all their number, raise a storm?
But they are all as evil. This false smile
Was well expressed; just such another caught me.—
You shall not go so.—
Antiphila, in this place work a quicksand,
And over it a shallow smiling water,
And his ship ploughing it; and then a Fear:
Do that Fear bravely, wench.
Ant. 'Twill wrong the story.
Asp. 'Twill make the story, wronged by wanton poets,
Live long and be believed. But where's the lady?
Ant. There, madam.
Asp. Fie, you have missed it here, Antiphila;
You are much mistaken, wench:
These colours are not dull and pale enough
To show a soul so full of misery
As this sad lady's was. Do it by me,
Do it again by me, the lost Aspatia;
And you shall find all true but the wild island.
Suppose I stand upon the sea-beach now,
Mine arms thus, and mine hair blown with the wind,
Wild as that desert; and let all about me
Tell that I am forsaken. Do my face
(If thou had'st ever feeling of a sorrow)
Thus, thus, Antiphila: strive to make me look
Like Sorrow's monument; and the trees about me,
Let them be dry and leafless; let the rocks
Groan with continual surges; and behind me,
Make all a desolation. See, see, wenches,
A miserable life of this poor picture!
Olym. Dear madam!
Asp. I have done. Sit down; and let us
Upon that point fix all our eyes, that point there.
Make a dull silence, till you feel a sudden sadness
Give us new souls.


Cal. The King may do this, and he may not do it:
My child is wronged, disgraced.—Well, how now, huswives?
What, at your ease! is this a time to sit still?
Up, you young lazy whores, up, or I'll swinge you!
Olym. Nay, good my lord—
Cal. You'll lie down shortly. Get you in, and work!
What, are you grown so resty you want heats?
We shall have some of the court-boys heat you shortly.
Ant. My lord, we do no more than we are charged:
It is the lady's pleasure we be thus;
In grief she is forsaken.
Cal. There's a rogue too,
A young dissembling slave!—Well, get you in.—
I'll have a bout with that boy. 'Tis high time
Now to be valiant: I confess my youth
Was never prone that way. What, made an ass!
A court-stale! Well, I will be valiant,
And beat some dozen of these whelps; I will!
And there's another of 'em, a trim cheating soldier;
I'll maul that rascal; h'as out-braved me twice:
But now, I thank the gods, I am valiant.—
Go, get you in.—I'll take a course with all. [Exeunt.


SCENE I.—Ante-room to EVADNE'S Bed-chamber.


CLE. Your sister is not up yet.
Diph. Oh, brides must take their morning's rest; the night is
Stra. But not tedious.
Diph. What odds, he has not my sister's maidenhead to-night?
Stra. None; it's odds against any bridegroom living, he ne'er gets it
while he lives.
Diph. You're merry with my sister; you'll please to allow me the same
freedom with your mother.
Stra. She's at your service.
Diph. Then she's merry enough of herself; she needs no tickling.
at the door.
Stra. We shall interrupt them.
Diph. No matter; they have the year before them.
[STRATA knocks at the door.
Good morrow, sister. Spare yourself to-day;
The night will come again.


Amin. Who's there? my brother! I'm no readier yet.
Your sister is but now up.
Diph. You look as you had lost your eyes to-night:
I think you have not slept.
Amin. I'faith I have not
Diph. You have done better, then.
Amin. We ventured for a boy; when he is twelve,
He shall command against the foes of Rhodes.
Shall we be merry?
Stra. You cannot; you want sleep.
Amin. 'Tis true.—But she,
As if she had drank Lethe, or had made
Even with Heaven, did fetch so still a sleep,
So sweet and sound_____ [Aside.
Diph. What's that?
Amin. Your sister frets
This morning; and does turn her eyes upon me,
As people on their headsman. She does chafe,
And kiss, and chafe again, and clap my cheeks:
She's in another world.
Diph. Then I had lost: I was about to lay
You had not got her maidenhead to-night.
Amin. Ha! does he not mock me? [Aside.]—You had lost indeed;
I do not use to bungle.
Cleo. You do deserve her.
Amin. I laid my lips to hers, and that wild breath,
That was so rude and rough to me last night,
Was sweet as April. I'll be guilty too,
If these be the effects. [Aside.


Mel. Good day, Amintor; for to me the name
Of brother is too distant: we are friends,
And that is nearer.
Amin. Dear Melantius!
Let me behold thee. Is it possible?
Mel. What sudden gaze is this?
Amin. 'Tis wondrous strange!
Mel. Why does thine eye desire so strict a view
Of that it knows so well? There's nothing here
That is not thine.
Amin. I wonder much, Melantius,
To see those noble looks, that make me think
How virtuous thou art: and, on the sudden,
'Tis strange to me thou shouldst have worth and honour;
Or not be base, and false, and treacherous,
And every ill. But_____
Mel. Stay, stay, my friend;
I fear this sound will not become our loves:
No more embrace me.
Amin. Oh, mistake me not!
I know thee to be full of all those deeds
That we frail men call good; but by the course
Of nature thou shouldst be as quickly changed
As are the winds; dissembling as the sea,
That now wears brows as smooth as virgins' be,
Tempting the merchant to invade his face,
And in an hour calls his billows up,
And shoots 'em at the sun, destroying all
He carries on him.—Oh, how near am I
To utter my sick thoughts! [Aside.
Mel. But why, my friend, should I be so by nature?
Amin. I have wed thy sister, who hath virtuous thoughts
Enough for one whole family; and it is strange
That you should feel no want.
Mel. Believe me, this compliment's too cunning for me.
Diph. What should I be then by the course of nature,
They having both robbed me of so much virtue?
Stra. Oh, call the bride, my Lord Amintor,
That we may see her blush, and turn her eyes down:
It is the prettiest sport!
Amin. Evadne!
Evad. [within.] My lord?
Amin. Come forth, my love:
Your brothers do attend to wish you joy.
Evad. [within] I am not ready yet.
Amin. Enough, enough.
Evad. [within] They'll mock me.
Amin. Faith, thou shalt come in.


Mel. Good morrow, sister. He that understands
Whom you have wed, need not to wish you joy;
You have enough: take heed you be not proud.
Diph. Oh, sister, what have you done?
Evad. I done! why, what have I done?
Stra. My Lord Amintor swears you are no maid now.
Evad. Pish!
Stra. I'faith, he does.
Evad. I knew I should be mocked.
Diph. With a truth.
Evad. If 'twere to do again,
In faith I would not marry.
Amin. Nor I, by Heaven!
Diph. Sister, Dula swears
She heard you cry two rooms off.
Evad. Fie, how you talk!
Diph. Let's see you walk.
Evad. By my troth you're spoiled.
Mel. Amintor.—
Amin. Ha!
Mel. Thou art sad.
Amin. Who, I? I thank you for that.
Shall Diphilus, thou, and I, sing a catch?
Mel. How!
Amin. Prithee, let's.
Mel. Nay, that's too much the other way.
Amin. I'm so lightened with my happiness!—
How dost thou, love? kiss me.
Evad. I cannot love you, you tell tales of me.
Amin. Nothing but what becomes us.—Gentlemen,
Would you had all such wives, and all the world,
That I might be no wonder! You're all sad:
What, do you envy me? I walk, methinks,
On water, and ne'er sink, I am so light.
Mel. 'Tis well you are so.
Amin. Well! how can I be other,
When she looks thus?—Is there no music there?
Let's dance.
Mel. Why, this is strange, Amintor!
Amin. I do not know myself; yet I could wish
My joy were less.
Diph. I'll marry too, if it will make one thus.
Evad. Amintor, hark.
Amin. What says my love?—I must obey.
Evad. You do it scurvily, 'twill be perceived.
Cleo. My lord, the King is here.
Amin. Where?
Stra. And his brother.


King. Good morrow, all!—
Amintor, joy on joy fall thick upon thee!—
And, madam, you are altered since I saw you;
I must salute you; you are now another's.
How liked you your night's rest?
Evad. Ill, sir.
Amin. Ay, 'deed,
She took but little.
Lys. You'll let her take more,
And thank her too, shortly.
King. Amintor, wert thou truly honest till
Thou wert married?
Amin. Yes, sir.
King. Tell me, then, how shows
The sport unto thee?
Amin. Why, well.
King. What did you do?
Amin. No more, nor less, than other couples use;
You know what 'tis; it has but a coarse name.
King. But, prithee, I should think, by her black eye,
And her red cheek, she should be quick and stirring
In this same business; ha?
Amin. I cannot tell;
I ne'er tried other, sir; but I perceive
She is as quick as you delivered.
King. Well,
You will trust me then, Amintor, to choose
A wife for you again?
Amin. No, never, sir.
King. Why, like you this so ill?
Amin. So well I like her.
For this I bow my knee in thanks to you,
And unto Heaven will pay my grateful tribute
Hourly; and do hope we shall draw out
A long contented life together here,
And die both, full of grey hairs, in one day:
For which the thanks is yours. But if the powers
That rule us please to call her first away,
Without pride spoke, this world holds not a wife
Worthy to take her room.
King. I do not like this.—All forbear the room,
But you, Amintor, and your lady.
[Exeunt all but the KING, AMINTOR, and EVADNE
I have some speech with you, that may concern
Your after living well.
Amin. He will not tell me that he lies with her?
If he do, something heavenly stay my heart,
For I shall be apt to thrust this arm of mine
To acts unlawful! [Aside.
King. You will suffer me
To talk with her, Amintor, and not have
A jealous pang?
Amin. Sir, I dare trust my wife
With whom she dares to talk, and not be jealous. [Retires.
King. How do you like Amintor?
Evad. As I did, sir.
King. How's that?
Evad. As one that, to fulfil your pleasure,
I have given leave to call me wife and love.
King. I see there is no lasting faith in sin;
They that break word with Heaven will break again
With all the world, and so dost thou with me.
Evad. How, sir?
King. This subtle woman's ignorance
Will not excuse you: thou hast taken oaths,
So great, methought, they did not well become
A woman's mouth, that thou wouldst ne'er enjoy
A man but me.
Evad. I never did swear so;
You do me wrong.
King. Day and night have heard it.
Evad. I swore indeed that I would never love
A man of lower place; but, if your fortune
Should throw you from this height, I bade you trust
I would forsake you, and would bend to him
That won your throne: I love with my ambition,
Not with my eyes. But, if I ever yet
Touched any other, leprosy light here
Upon my face! which for your royalty
I would not stain!
King. Why, thou dissemblest, and
It is in me to punish thee.
Evad. Why, it is in me,
Then, not to love you, which will more afflict
Your body than your punishment can mine.
King. But thou hast let Amin.: or lie with thee.
Evad. I have not.
King. Impudence! he says himself so.
Evad. He lies.
King. He does not.
Evad. By this light, he does,
Strangely and basely! and I'll prove it so:
I did not only shun him for a night,
But told him I would never close with him.
King. Speak lower; it is false.
Evad. I am no man
To answer with a blow; or, nor were,
You are the King. But urge me not; 'tis most true.
King. Do not I know the uncontrollèd thoughts
That youth brings with him, when his blood is high
With expectation and desire of that
He long hath waited for? Is not his spirit,
Though he be temperate, of a valiant strain
As this our age hath known? What could he do,
If such a sudden speech had met his blood,
But ruin thee for ever, if he had not killed thee
He could not bear it thus: he is as we,
Or any other wronged man.
Evad. It is dissembling.
King. Take him! farewell: henceforth I am thy foe;
And what disgraces I can blot thee with look for.
Evad. Stay, sir!—Amintor!—You shall hear.—Amintor!
Amin. [coming forward.] What my love.
Evad. Amintor, thou hast an ingenious look,
And shouldst be virtuous: it amazeth me
That thou canst make such base malicious lies!
Amin. What my dear wife?
Evad. Dear wife! I do despise thee.
Why, nothing can be baser than to sow
Dissention amongst lovers.
Amin. Lovers! who?
Evad. The king and me-
Amin. Oh, Heaven!
Evad. Who should live long, and love without distaste,
Were it not for such pickthanks as thyself.
Did you lie with me? swear now, and be punished
In hell for this!
Amin. The faithless sin I made
To fair Aspatia is not yet revenged;
It follows me.—I will not lose a word
To this vile woman: but to you, my King,
The anguish of my soul thrusts out this truth,
You are a tyrant! and not so much to wrong
An honest man thus, as to take a pride
In talking with him of it.
Evad. Now, sir, see
How loud this fellow lied!
Amin. You that can know to wrong, should know how men
Must right themselves. What punishment is due
From me to him that shall abuse my bed?
Is it not death? nor can that satisfy,
Unless I send your limbs through all the land,
To show how nobly I have freed myself.
King. Draw not thy sword; thou know'st I cannot fear
A subject's hand; but thou shalt feel the weight
Of this, if thou dost rage.
Amin. The weight of that!
If you have any worth, for Heaven's sake, think
I fear not swords; for, as you are mere man,
I dare as easily kill you for this deed,
As you dare think to do it. But there is
Divinity about you, that strikes dead
My rising passions: as you are my King,
I fall before you, and present my sword
To cut mine own flesh, if it be your will.
Alas, I am nothing but a multitude
Of walking griefs! Yet, should I murder you,
I might before the world take the excuse
Of madness: for, compare my injuries,
And they will well appear too sad a weight
For reason to endure: but, fall I first
Amongst my sorrows, ere my treacherous hand
Touch holy things! But why (I know not what
I have to say) why did you choose out me
To make thus wretched? there were thousand fools
Easy to work on, and of state enough,
Within the island.
Evad. I would not have a fool;
It were no credit for me.
Amin. Worse and worse!
Thou, that dar'st talk unto thy husband thus,
Profess thyself a whore, and, more than so,
Resolve to be so still!_____It is my fate
To bear and bow beneath a thousand griefs,
To keep that little credit with the world!—
But there were wise ones too; you might have ta'en
King. No: for I believed thee honest,
As thou wert valiant.
Amin. All the happiness
Bestowed upon me turns into disgrace.
Gods, take your honesty again, for I
Am loaden with it!—Good my lord the King,
Be private in it.
King. Thou mayst live, Amintor,
Free as thy king, if thou wilt wink at this,
And be a means that we may meet in secret.
Amin. A bawd! Hold, hold, my breast! A bitter curse
Seize me, if I forget not all respects
That are religious, on another word
Sounded like that; and through a sea of sins
Will wade to my revenge, though I should call
Pains here and after life upon my soul!
King. Well, I am resolute you lay not with her;
And so I leave you. [Exit.
Evad. You must needs be prating;
And see what follows!
Amin. Prithee, vex me not:
Leave me; I am afraid some sudden start
Will pull a murder on me.
Evad. I am gone;
I love my life well. [Exit.
Amin. I hate mine as much.
This 'tis to break a troth! I should be glad,
If all this tide of grief would make me mad. [Exit.

SCENE II.—A Room in the Palace.


Mel. I'll know the cause of all Amintor's griefs,
Or friendship shall be idle.


Cal. Oh, Melantius,
My daughter will die!
Mel. Trust me, I am sorry:
Would thou hadst ta'en her room!
Cal. Thou art a slave,
A cut-throat slave, a bloody treacherous slave!
Mel. Take heed, old man; thou wilt be heard to rave,
And lose thine offices.
Cal. I am valiant grown
At all these years, and thou art but a slave!
Mel. Leave!
Some company will come, and I respect
Thy years, not thee, so much, that I could wish
To laugh at thee alone.
Cal. I'll spoil your mirth:
I mean to fight with thee. There lie, my cloak.
This was my father's sword, and he durst fight.
Are you prepared?
[Throws down his cloak, and draws his sword.
Mel. Why wilt thou dote thyself
Out of thy life? Hence, get thee to bed,
Have careful looking-to, and eat warm things,
And trouble not me: my head is full of thoughts
More weighty than thy life or death can be.
Cal. You have a name in war, where you stand safe
Amongst a multitude; but I will try
What you dare do unto a weak old man
In single fight. You will give ground, I fear.
Come, draw.
Mel. I will not draw, unless thou pull'st thy death
Upon thee with a stroke. There's no one blow,
That thou canst give hath strength enough to kill me.
Tempt me not so far, then: the power of earth
Shall not redeem thee.
Cal. I must let him alone;
He's stout and able; and, to say the truth,
However I may set a face and talk,
I am not valiant. When I was a youth,
I kept my credit with a testy trick
I had 'mongst cowards, but durst never fight. [Aside.
Mel. I will not promise to preserve your life,
If you do stay.
Cal. I would give half my land
That I durst fight with that proud man a little:
If I had men to hold him, I would beat him
Till he asked me mercy. [Aside.
Mel. Sir, will you be gone?
Cal. I dare not stay; but I will go home, and beat
My servants all over for this.
[Aside—takes up his cloak, sheaths his sword, and exit.
Mel. This old fellow haunts me.
But the distracted carriage of mine Amintor
Takes deeply on me. I will find the cause:
I fear his conscience cries, he wronged Aspatia.


Amin. Men's eyes are not so subtle to perceive
My inward misery: I bear my grief
Hid from the world. How art thou wretched then?
For aught I know, all husbands are like me;
And every one I talk with of his wife
Is but a well dissembler of his woes,
As I am. Would I knew it ! for the rareness
Afflicts me now. [Aside.
Mel. Amintor, we have not enjoyed our friendship of late,
For we were wont to change our souls in talk.
Amin. Melantius, I can tell thee a good jest
Of Strato and a lady the last day.
Mel. How was't?
Amin. Why, such an odd one!
Mel. I have longed to speak with you;
Not of an idle jest, that's forcèd, but
Of matter you are bound to utter to me.
Amin. What is that, my friend?
Mel. I have observed your words
Fall from your tongue wildly; and all your carriage
Like one that strove to shew his merry mood,
When he were ill disposed: you were not wont
To put such scorn into your speech, or wear
Upon your face ridiculous jollity.
Some sadness sits here, which your cunning would
Cover o'er with smiles, and 'twill not be. What is it?
Amin. A sadness here, Melantius! what cause
Can fate provide for me to make me so?
Am I not loved through all this isle? The King
Rains greatness on me. Have I not received
A lady to my bed, that in her eye
Keeps mounting fire, and on her tender cheeks
Inevitable colour, in her heart
A prison for all virtue? Are not you.
Which is above all joys, my constant friend?
What sadness can I have? No; I am light,
And feel the courses of my blood more warm
And stirring than they were. Faith, marry too;
And you will feel so unexpressed a joy
In chaste embraces, that you will indeed
Appear another.
Mel. You may shape, Amintor,
Causes to cozen the whole world withal,
And yourself too; but 'tis not like a friend
To hide your soul from me. 'Tis not your nature
To be thus idle: I have seen you stand
As you were blasted 'midst of all your mirth;
Call thrice aloud, and then start, feigning joy
So coldly!—World, what do I here? a friend
Is nothing. Heaven, I would have told that man
My secret sins! I'll search an unknown land,
And there plant friendship; all is withered here.
Come with a compliment! I would have fought,
Or told my friend he lied, ere soothed him so.
Out of my bosom!
Amin. But there is nothing.
Mel. Worse and worse! farewell:
From this time have acquaintance, but no friend.
Amin. Melantius, stay: you shall know what that is.
Mel. See; how you played with friendship! be advised
How you give cause unto yourself to say
You have lost a friend.
Amin. Forgive what I have done;
For I am so o'ergone with injuries
Unheard of, that I lose consideration
Of what I ought to do. Oh, oh!
Mel. Do not weep.
What is it? May I once but know the man
Hath turned my friend thus!
Amin. I had spoke at first,
But that_____
Mel. But what?
Amin. I held it most unfit
For you to know. Faith, do not know it yet.
Mel. Thou see'st my love, that will keep company
With thee in tears; hide nothing, then, from me;
For when I know the cause of thy distemper,
With mine old armour I'll adorn myself,
My resolution, and cut through thy foes,
Unto thy quiet, till I place thy heart
As peaceable as spotless innocence.
What is it?
Amin. Why, 'tis this_____it is too big
To get out_____let my tears make way awhile.
Mel. Punish me strangely, Heaven, if he escape
Of life or fame, that brought this youth to this!
Amin. Your sister_____
Mel. Well said.
Amin. You will wish't unknown,
When you have heard it.
Mel. No.
Amin. Is much to blame,
And to the King has given her honour up,
And lives in whoredom with him.
Mel. How is this?
Thou art run mad with injury indeed;
Thou couldst not utter this else. Speak again;
For I forgive it freely; tell thy griefs.
Amin. She's wanton: I am loth to say, a whore,
Though it be true.
Mel. Speak yet again, before mine anger grow
Up beyond throwing down: what are thy griefs?
Amin. By all our friendship, these.
Mel. What, am I tame?
After mine actions, shall the name of friend
Blot all our family, and stick the brand
Of whore upon my sister, unrevenged?
My shaking flesh, be thou a witness for me,
With what unwillingness I go to scourge
This railer, whom my folly hath called friend?
I will not take thee basely: thy sword
[Draws his sword.
Hangs near thy hand; draw it, that I may whip
Thy rashness to repentance; draw thy sword!
Amin. Not on thee, did thine anger swell as high
As the wild surges. Thou shouldst do me ease
Here and eternally, if thy noble hand
Would cut me from my sorrows.
Mel. This is base
And fearful. They that use to utter lies
Provide not blows but words to qualify
The men they wronged. Thou hast a guilty cause.
Amin. Thou pleasest me; for so much more like this
Will raise my anger up above my griefs,
(Which is a passion easier to be borne,)
And I shall then be happy.
Mel. Take, then, more
To raise thine anger: 'tis mere cowardice
Makes thee not draw; and I will leave thee dead,
However. But if thou art so much pressed
With guilt and fear as not to dare to fight,
I'll make thy memory loathed, and fix a scandal
Upon thy name for ever.
Amin. [Drawing his sword.] Then I draw,
As justly as our magistrates their swords
To cut offenders off. I knew before
'Twould grate your ears; but it was base in you
To urge a weighty secret from your friend,
And then rage at it. I shall be at ease,
If I be killed; and, if you fall by me,
I shall not long outlive you.
Mel. Stay awhile.—
The name of friend is more than family,
Or all the world besides: I was a fool.
Thou searching human nature, that didst wake
To do me wrong, thou art inquisitive,
And thrust'st me upon questions that will take
My sleep away! Would I had died, ere known
This sad dishonour!—Pardon me, my friend!
[Sheaths his sword.
If thou wilt strike, here is a faithful heart;
Pierce it, for I will never heave my hand
To thine. Behold the power thou hast in me!
I do believe my sister is a whore,
A leprous one. Put up thy sword, young man.
Amin. How should I bear it, then, she being so?
I fear, my friend, that you will lose me shortly;
[Sheaths his sword.
And I shall do a foul act on myself,
Through these disgraces.
Mel. Better half the land
Were buried quick together. No, Amintor;
Thou shalt have ease. Oh, this adulterous King,
That drew her to it! where got he the spirit
To wrong me so?
Amin. What is it, then, to me,
If it be wrong to you?
Mel. Why, not so much:
The credit of our house is thrown away.
But from his iron den I'll waken Death,
And hurl him on this King: my honesty
Shall steel my sword; and on its horrid point
I'll wear my cause, that shall amaze the eyes
Of this proud man, and be too glittering
For him to look on.
Amin. I have quite undone my fame,
Mel. Dry up thy watery eyes,
And cast a manly look upon my face;
For nothing is so wild as I thy friend
Till I have freed thee: still this swelling breast.
I go thus from thee, and will never cease
My vengeance till I find thy heart at peace.
Amin. It must not be so. Stay. Mine eyes would tell
How loth I am to this; but, love and tears,
Leave me awhile! for I have hazarded
All that this world calls happy.—Thou hast wrought
A secret from me, under name of friend,
Which art could ne'er have found, nor torture wrung
From out my bosom. Give it me again;
For I will find it wheresoe'er it lies,
Hid in the mortal'st part: invent a way
To give it back.
Mel. Why would you have it back?
I will to death pursue him with revenge.
Amin. Therefore I call it back from thee; for I know
Thy blood so high, that thou wilt stir in this,
And shame me to posterity. Take to thy weapon!
[Draws his sword.
Mel. Hear thy friend, that bears more years than thou.
Amin. I will not hear: but draw, or I_____
Mel. Amintor!
Amin. Draw, then; for I am full as resolute
As fame and honour can enforce me be:
I cannot linger. Draw!
Mel. [Drawing his sword.] I do. But is not
My share of credit equal with thine,
If I do stir?
Amin. No; for it will be called
Honour in thee to spill thy sister's blood,
If she her birth abuse; and, on the King
A brave revenge: but on me, that have walled
With patience in it, it will fix the name
Of fearful cuckold. Oh, that word! Be quick.
Mel. Then, join with me.
Amin. I dare not do a sin, or else I would.
Be speedy.
Mel. Then, dare not fight with me; for that's a sin.—
His grief distracts him.—Call thy thoughts again,
And to thyself pronounce the name of friend,
And see what that will work. I will not fight.
Amin. You must.
Mel. [Sheathing his sword] I will be killed first.
Though my passions
Offered the like to you, 'tis not this earth
Shall buy my reason to it. Think awhile,
For you are (I must weep when I speak that)
Almost besides yourself.
Amin. [Sheathing his sword.] Oh, my soft temper!
So many sweet words from thy sister's mouth,
I am afraid would make me take her to
Embrace, and pardon her. I am mad indeed,
And know not what I do. Yet, have a care
Of me in what thou dost.
Mel. Why, thinks my friend
I will forget his honour? or, to save
The bravery of our house, will lose his fame,
And fear to touch the throne of majesty?
Amin. A curse will follow that; but rather live
And suffer with me.
Mel. I will do what worth
Shall bid me, and no more.
Amin. Faith, I am sick,
And desperately I hope; yet, leaning thus,
I feel a kind of ease.
Mel. Come, take again
Your mirth about you.
Amin. I shall never do't.
Mel. I warrant you; look up; we'll walk together;
Put thine arm here; all shall be well again.
Amin. Thy love (oh, wretched!) ay, thy love Melantius;
Why, I have nothing else.
Mel. Be merry, then. [Exeunt.


Mel. This worthy young man may do violence
Upon himself; but I have cherished him
To my best power, and sent him smiling from me,
To counterfeit again. Sword, hold thine edge;
My heart will never fail me.


Thou com'st as sent.
Diph. Yonder has been such laughing.
Mel. Betwixt whom?
Diph. Why, our sister and the King
I thought their spleens would break; they laughed us all
Out of the room.
Mel. They must weep, Diphilus.
Diph. Must they?
Mel. They must.
Thou art my brother; and, if I did believe
Thou hadst a base thought, I would rip it out,
Lie where it durst.
Diph. You should not; I would first
Mangle myself and find it.
Mel. That was spoke
According to our strain. Come, join thy hands to mine,
And swear a firmness to what project I
Shall lay before thee.
Diph. You do wrong us both:
People hereafter shall not say, there passed
A bond, more than our loves, to tie our lives
And deaths together.
Mel. It is as nobly said as I would wish.
Anon I'll tell you wonders: we are wronged.
Diph. But I will tell you now, we'll right ourselves.
Mel. Stay not: prepare the armour in my house;
And what friends you can draw unto our side,
Not knowing of the cause, make ready too.
Haste, Diphilus, the time requires it, haste:—
I hope my cause is just; I know my blood
Tells me it is; and I will credit it.
To take revenge, and lose myself withal,
Were idle; and to scape impossible,
Without I had the fort, which (misery!)
Remaining in the hands of my old enemy
Calianax_____but I must have it. See.

Re-enter CALIANAX.

Where he comes shaking by me!—Good my lord,
Forget your spleen to me; I never wronged you,
But would have peace with every man.
Cal. 'Tis well:
If I durst fight, your tongue would lie at quiet.
Mel. You're touchy without cause.
Cal. Do you mock me?
Mel. By mine honour, I speak truth.
Cal. Honour! where is it?
Mel. See, what starts you make
Into your idle hatred, to my love
And freedom to you. I come with resolution
To obtain a suit of you.
Cal. A suit of me!
'Tis very like it should be granted, sir.
Mel. Nay, go not hence:
'Tis this; you have the keeping of the fort,
And I would wish you, by the love you ought
To bear unto me, to deliver it
Into my hands.
Cal. I am in hope thou art mad,
To talk to me thus.
Mel. But there is a reason
To move you to it: I would kill the King,
That wronged you and your daughter.
Cal. Out, traitor!
Mel. Nay,
But stay: I cannot scape, the deed once done,
Without I have this fort.
Cal. And should I help thee?
Now thy treacherous mind betrays itself.
Mel. Come, delay me not;
Give me a sudden answer, or already
Thy last is spoke! refuse not offered love
When it comes clad in secrets.
Cal. If I say
I will not, he will kill me; I do see't
Writ in his looks; and should I say I will,
He'll run and tell the King. [Aside]—I do not shun
Your friendship, dear Melantius; but this cause
Is weighty: give me but an hour to think.
Mel. Take it.—I know this goes unto the King;
But I am armed. Aside, and exit.
Cal. Methinks I feel myself
But twenty now again. This fighting fool
Wants policy: I shall revenge my girl,
And make her red again. I pray my legs
Will last that pace that I will carry them:
I shall want breath before I find the King. Exit.


SCENE I.—An Apartment of EVADNE.

EVADNE and Ladies discovered. Enter. MELANTIUS.

MEL. Save you!
Evad. Save you, sweet brother
Mel. In my blunt eye, methinks, you look Evadne—
Evad. Come, you would make me blush.
Mel. I would, Evadne; I shall displease my ends else.
Evad. You shall, if you commend me; I am bashful.
Come, sir, how do I look?
Mel. I would not have your women hear me
Break into commendation of you; 'tis not seemly.
Evad. Go wait me in the gallery. Exeunt Ladies
Now speak.
Mel. I'll lock the door first.
Evad. Why?
Mel. I will not have your gilded things, that dance
In visitation with their Milan skins,
Choke up my business.
Evad. You are strangely disposed, sir.
Mel. Good madam, not to make you merry.
Evad. No; if you praise me, it will make me sad.
Mel. Such a sad commendation I have for you.
Evad. Brother,
The court hath made you witty, and learn to riddle.
Mel. I praise the court for't: has it learnt you nothing?
Evad. Me!
Mel. Ay, Evadne; thou art young and handsome,
A lady of a sweet complexion,
And such a flowing carriage, that it cannot
Choose but inflame a kingdom.
Evad. Gentle brother!
Mel. 'Tis yet in thy repentance, foolish woman,
To make me gentle.
Evad. How is this?
Mel. 'Tis base;
And I could blush, at these years, thorough all
My honoured scars, to come to such a parley.
Evad. I understand you not.
Mel. You dare not, fool!
They that commit thy faults fly the remembrance.
Evad. My faults, sir! I would have you know, I care not
If they were written here, here in my forehead.
Mel. Thy body is too little for the story;
The lusts of which would fill another woman,
Though she had twins within her.
Evad. This is saucy:
Look you intrude no more! there lies your way.
Mel. Thou art my way, and I will tread upon thee,
Till I find truth out.
Evad. What truth is that you look for?
Mel. Thy long-lost honour. Would the gods had set me
Rather to grapple with the plague, or stand
One of their loudest bolts! Come, tell me quickly,
Do it without enforcement, and take heed
You swell me not above my temper.
Evad. How, sir!
Where got you this report?
Mel. Where there was people,
In every place.
Evad. They and the seconds of it are base people:
Believe them not, they lied.
Mel. Do not play with mine anger, do not, wretch!
[Seizes her.
I come to know that desperate fool that drew thee
From thy fair life: be wise, and lay him open.
Evad. Unhand me, and learn manners! such another
Forgetfulness forfeits your life.
Mel. Quench me this mighty humour, and then tell me
Whose whore you are; for you are one, I know it.
Let all mine honours perish but I'll find him,
Though he lie locked up in thy blood! Be sudden;
There is no facing it; and be not flattered;
The burnt air, when the Dog reigns, is not fouler
Than thy contagious name, till thy repentance
(If the gods grant thee any) purge thy sickness.
Evad. Begone! you are my brother; that's your safety.
Mel. I'll be a wolf first: 'tis, to be thy brother,
An infamy below the sin of coward.
I am as far from being part of thee
As thou art from thy virtue: seek a kindred
'Mongst sensual beasts, and make a goat thy brother;
A goat is cooler. Will you tell me yet?
Evad. If you stay here and rail thus, I shall tell you
I'll have you whipped! Get you to your command,
And there preach to your sentinels, and tell them
What a brave man you are: I shall laugh at you.
Mel. You're grown a glorious whore! Where be your fighters?
What mortal fool durst raise thee to this daring,
And I alive! By my just sword, he had safer
Bestrid a billow when the angry North
Ploughs up the sea, or made Heaven's fire his foe!
Work me no higher. Will you discover yet?
Evad. The fellow's mad. Sleep, and speak sense.
Mel. Force my swol'n heart no further: I would save thee.
Your great maintainers are not here, they dare not:
Would they were all, and armed! I would speak loud;
Here's one should thunder to 'em! Will you tell me?—
Thou hast no hope to scape: he that dares most,
And damns away his soul to do thee service,
Will sooner snatch meat from a hungry lion
Than come to rescue thee; thou hast death about thee;—
He has undone thine honour, poisoned thy virtue,
And, of a lovely rose, left thee a canker.
Evad. Let me consider.
Mel. Do, whose child thou wert,
Whose honour thou hast murdered, whose grave opened,
And so pulled on the gods, that in their justice
They must restore him flesh again and life,
And raise his dry bones to revenge this scandal.
Evad. The gods are not of my mind; they had better
Let 'em lie sweet still in the earth; they'll stink here.
Mel. Do you raise mirth out of my easiness?
Forsake me, then, all weaknesses of nature,
[Draws his sword.
That make men women! Speak, you whore, speak truth,
Or, by the dear soul of thy sleeping father,
This sword shall be thy lover! tell, or I'll kill thee;
And, when thou hast told all, thou wilt deserve it.
Evad. You will not murder me?
Mel. No; 'tis a justice, and a noble one,
To put the light out of such base offenders.
Evad. Help!
Mel. By thy foul self, no human help shall help thee,
If thou criest! When I have killed thee, as I
Have vowed to do, if thou confess not, naked
As thou hast left thine honour will I leave thee,
That on thy branded flesh the world may read
Thy black shame and my justice. Wilt thou bend yet?
Evad. Yes.
Mel. [Raising her.] Up, and begin your story.
Evad. Oh, I am miserable!
Mel. 'Tis true, thou art. Speak truth still.
Evad. I have offended: noble sir, forgive me!
Mel. With what secure slave?
Evad. Do not ask me, sir;
Mine own remembrance is a misery
Too mighty for me.
Mel. Do not fall back again;
My sword's unsheathèd yet.
Evad. What shall I do?
Mel. Be true and make your fault less.
Evad. I dare not tell.
Mel. Tell, or I'll be this day a-killing thee.
Evad. Will you forgive me, then?
Mel. Stay; I must ask mine honour first.
I have too much foolish nature in me: speak.
Evad. Is there none else here?
Mel. None but a fearful conscience; that's too many.
Who is't?
Evad. Oh, hear me gently! It was the King.
Mel. No more. My worthy father's and my services
Are liberally rewarded! King, I thank thee!
For all my dangers and my wounds thou hast paid me
In my own metal: these are soldiers' thanks!—
How long have you lived thus, Evadne?
Evad. Too long.
Mel. Too late you find it. Can you be very sorry?
Evad. Would I were half as blameless!
Mel. Evadne, thou wilt to thy trade again
Evad. First to my grave.
Mel. Would gods thou hadst been so blest!
Dost thou not hate this King now? prithee hate him:
Couldst thou not curse him? I command thee, curse him
Curse till the gods hear, and deliver him
To thy just wishes. Yet I fear, Evadne,
You had rather play your game out.
Evad. No; I feel
Too many sad confusions here, to let in
Any loose flame hereafter.
Mel. Dost thou not feel, 'mongst all those, one brave anger,
That breaks out nobly, and directs thine arm
To kill this base King?
Evad. All the gods forbid it!
Mel. No, all the gods require it;
They are dishonoured in him.
Evad. 'Tis too fearful.
Mel. You're valiant in his bed, and bold enough
To be a stale whore, and have your madam's name
Discourse for grooms and pages; and hereafter,
When his cool majesty hath laid you by,
To be at pension with some needy sir
For meat and coarser clothes; thus far you know
No fear. Come, you shall kill him.
Evad. Good sir!
Mel. An 'twere to kiss him dead, thou'dst smother him:
Be wise, and kill him. Canst thou live, and know
What noble minds shall make thee, see thyself
Found out with every finger, made the shame
Of all successions, and in this great ruin
Thy brother and thy noble husband broken?
Thou shalt not live thus. Kneel, and swear to help me,
When I call thee to it; or, by all
Holy in Heaven and earth, thou shalt not live
To breathe a full hour longer; not a thought!
Come, 'tis a righteous oath. Give me thy hands,
And, both to Heaven held up, swear, by that wealth
This lustful thief stole from thee, when I say it,
To let his foul soul out.
Evad. Here I swear it; [Kneels.
And, all you spirits of abusèd ladies,
Help me in this performance! none
Mel. [Raising her.] Enough. This must be known to
But you and I, Evadne; not to your lord,
Though he be wise and noble, and a fellow
Dares step as far into a worthy action
As the most daring. ay, as far as justice.
Ask me not why. Farewell. [Exit.
Evad. Would I could say so to my black disgrace!
Oh, where have I been all this time? how friended,
That I should lose myself thus desperately,
And none for pity show me how I wandered?
There is not in the compass of the light
A more unhappy creature: sure, I am monstrous;
For I have done those follies, those mad mischiefs,
Would dare a woman. Oh, my loaden soul,
Be not so cruel to me; choke not up
The way to my repentance!


Oh, my lord!
Amin. How now?
Evad. My much abusèd lord! [Kneels.
Amin. This cannot be!
Evad. I do not kneel to live; I dare not hope it;
The wrongs I did are greater. Look upon me,
Though I appear with all my faults.
Amin. Stand up.
This is a new way to beget more sorrows:
Heaven knows I have too many. Do not mock me:
Though I am tame, and bred up with my wrongs,
Which are my foster-brothers, I may leap,
Like a hand wolf, into my natural wildness,
And do an outrage: prithee, do not mock me.
Evad. My whole life is so leprous, it infects
All my repentance. I would buy your pardon,
Though at the highest set, even with my life:
That slight contrition, that's no sacrifice
For what I have committed.
Amin. Sure, I dazzle:
There cannot be a faith in that foul woman,
That knows no god more mighty than her mischiefs.
Thou dost still worse, still number on thy faults,
To press my poor heart thus. Can I believe
There's any seed of virtue in that woman
Left to shoot up, that dares go on in sin
Known, and so known as thine is? Oh, Evadne!
Would there were any safety in thy sex,
That I might put a thousand sorrows off,
And credit thy repentance! but I must not:
Thou hast brought me to that dull calamity,
To that strange misbelief of all the world
And all things that are in it, that I fear
I shall fall like a tree, and find my grave,
Only remembering that I grieve.
Evad. My lord,
Give me your griefs: you are an innocent,
A soul as white as Heaven; let not my sins
Perish your noble youth. I do not fall here
To shadow by dissembling with my tears,
(As all say women can,) or to make less
What my hot will hath done, which Heaven and you
Know to be tougher than the hand of time
Can cut from man's remembrances; no, I do not;
I do appear the same, the same Evadne,
Drest in the shames I lived in, the same monster.
But these are names of honour to what I am;
I do present myself the foulest creature,
Most poisonous, dangerous, and despised of men,
Lerna e'er bred or Nilus. I am hell,
Till you, my dear lord, shoot your light into me,
The beams of your forgiveness; I am soul-sick,
And wither with the fear of one condemned,
Till I have got your pardon.
Amin. Rise, Evadne
Those heavenly powers that put this good into thee
Grant a continuance of it! I forgive thee:
Make thyself worthy of it; and take heed,
Take heed, Evadne, this be serious.
Mock not the powers above, that can and dare
Give thee a great example of their justice
To all ensuing ages, if thou playest
With thy repentance, the best sacrifice.
Evad. I have done nothing good to win belief,
My life hath been so faithless. All the creatures,
Made for Heaven's honours, have their ends, and good ones
All but the cozening crocodiles, false women:
They reign here like those plagues, those killing sores,
Men pray against; and when they die, like tales
Ill told and unbelieved, they pass away,
And go to dust forgotten. But, my lord,
Those short days I shall number to my rest
(As many must not see me) shall, though too late,
Though in my evening, yet perceive a will,
Since I can do no good, because a woman,
Reach constantly at something that is near it:
I will redeem one minute of my age,
Or, like another Niobe, I'll weep,
Till I am water.
Amin. I am now dissolved:
My frozen soul melts. May each sin thou hast,
Find a new mercy! Rise; I am at peace. [EVADNE rises.
Hadst thou been thus, thus excellently good,
Before that devil-king tempted thy frailty,
Sure thou hadst made a star. Give me thy hand:
From this time I will know thee; and, as far
As honour gives me leave, be thy Amintor.
When we meet next, I will salute thee fairly,
And pray the gods to give thee happy days:
My charity shall go along with thee,
Though my embraces must be far from thee.
I should have killed thee, but this sweet repentance
Locks up my vengeance: for which thus I kiss thee—
[Kisses her.
The last kiss we must take: and would to Heaven
The holy priest that gave our hands together
Had given us equal virtues! Go, Evadne;
The gods thus part our bodies. Have a care
My honour falls no farther: I am well, then.
Evad. All the dear joys here, and above hereafter,
Crown thy fair soul! Thus I take leave, my lord;
And never shall you see the foul Evadne,
Till she have tried all honoured means, that may
Set her in rest and wash her stains away.
[Exeunt severally

SCENE II.—A Hall in the Palace.

A Banquet spread. Hautboys play within. Enter KING and CALIANAX.

King. I cannot tell how I should credit this
From you, that are his enemy.
Cal. I am sure
He said it to me; and I'll justify it
What way he dares oppose—but with my sword.
King. But did he break, without all circumstance,
To you, his foe, that he would have the fort,
To kill me, and then scape?
Cal. If he deny it,
I'll make him blush:
King. It sounds incredibly.
Cal. Ay, so does every thing I say of late.
King. Not so, Calianax.
Cal. Yes, I should sit
Mute, whilst a rogue with strong arms cuts your throat.
King. Well, I will try him; and, if this be true,
I'll pawn my life I'll find it; if 't be false,
And that you clothe your hate in such a lie,
You shall hereafter dote in your own house,
Not in the court.
Cal. Why, if it be a lie,
Mine ears are false, for I'll be sworn I heard it.
Old men are good for nothing: you were best
Put me to death for hearing, and free him
For meaning it. You would have trusted me
Once, but the time is altered.
King. And will still,
Where I may do with justice to the world:
You have no witness.
Cal. Yes, myself.
King. No more,
I mean, there were that heard it.
Cal. How? no more!
Would you have more? why, am not I enough
To hang a thousand rogues?
King. But so you may
Hang honest men too, if you please.
Cal. I may!
'Tis like I will do so: there are a hundred
Will swear it for a need too, if I say it—
King. Such witnesses we need not.
Cal. And 'tis hard
If my word cannot hang a boisterous knave.
King. Enough.—Where's Strato?


Strato. Sir?
King. Why, where's all the company? Call Amintor in;
Evadne. Where's my brother, and Melantius?
Bid him come too; and Diphilus. Call all
That are without there. [Exit STRATO.
If he should desire
The combat of you, 'tis not in the power
Of all our laws to hinder it, unless
We mean to quit 'em.
Cal. Why, if you do think
'Tis fit an old man and a councillor
To fight for what he says, then you may grant it.


King. Come, sirs!—Amintor, thou art yet a bridegroom,
And I will use thee so; thou shalt sit down.—
Evadne, sit;—and you, Amintor, too;
This banquet is for you, sir.—Who has brought
A merry tale about him, to raise laughter
Amongst our wine? Why, Strato, where art thou?
Thou wilt chop out with them unseasonably,
When I desire 'em not.
Stra. 'Tis my ill luck, sir, so to spend them, then.
King. Reach me a bowl of wine.—Melantius, thou Art sad.
Mel. I should be, sir, the merriest here,
But I have ne'er a story of mine own
Worth telling at this time.
King. Give me the wine.—
Melantius, I am now considering
How easy 'twere for any man we trust
To poison one of us in such a bowl.
Mel. I think it were not hard, sir, for a knave.
Cal. Such as you are. [Aside.
King. I' faith, 'twere easy. It becomes us well
To get plain-dealing men about ourselves;
Such as you all are here.—Amintor, to thee;
And to thy fair Evadne. [Drinks
Mel. Have you thought
Of this, Calianax? [Apart to him
Cal. Yes, marry, have I.
Mel. And what's your resolution?
Cal. You shall have it,—
Soundly, I warrant you. [Aside
King. Reach to Amintor, Strato.
Amin. Here my love;
[Drinks, and then hands the cup to EVADNE.
This wine will do thee wrong, for it will set
Blushes upon thy cheeks; and, till thou dost
A fault, 'twere pity.
King. Yet I wonder much
At the strange desperation of these men,
That dare attempt such acts here in our state:
He could not scape that did it.
Mel. Were he known,
King. It would be known, Melantius.
Mel. It ought to be. If he got then away,
He must wear all our lives upon his sword:
He need not fly the island; he must leave
No one alive.
King. No; I should think no man
Could kill me, and scape clear, but that old man.
Cal. But I! Heaven bless me! I! should I, my liege?
King. I do not think thou wouldst; but yet thou mightst,
For thou hast in thy hands the means to scape,
By keeping of the fort.—He has, Melantius,
And he has kept it well.
Mel. From cobwebs, sir,
'Tis clean swept: I can find no other art
In keeping of it now: 'twas ne'er besieged
Since he commanded.
Cal. I shall be sure
Of your good word: but I have kept it safe
From such as you.
Mel. Keep your ill temper in:
I speak no malice; had my brother kept it,
I should have said as much.
King. You are not merry.
Brother, drink wine. Sit you all still:—Calianax,
[Apart to him
I cannot trust thus: I have thrown out words,
That would have fetched warm blood upon the cheeks
Of guilty men, and he is never moved;
He knows no such thing.
Cal. Impudence may scape,
When feeble virtue is accused.
King. He must,
If he were guilty, feel an alteration
At this our whisper, whilst we point at him:
You see he does not.
Cal. Let him hang himself;
What care I what he does? this he did say.
King. Melantius, you can easily conceive
What I have meant; for men that are in fault
Can subtly apprehend when others aim
At what they do amiss: but I forgive
Freely before this man,—Heaven do so too!
I will not touch thee, so much as with shame
Of telling it. Let it be so no more.
Cal. Why, this is very fine!
Mel. I cannot tell
What 'tis you mean; but I am apt enough
Rudely to thrust into an ignorant fault.
But let me know it: happily 'tis nought
But misconstruction; and, where I am clear,
I will not take forgiveness of the gods,
Much less of you.
King Nay, if you stand so stiff,
I shall call back my mercy.
Mel. I want smoothness
To thank a man for pardoning of a crime
I never knew.
King. Not to instruct your knowledge, but to show you
My ears are every where; you meant to kill me,
And get the fort to scape.
Mel. Pardon me, sir;
My bluntness will be pardoned. You preserve
A race of idle people here about you,
Facers and talkers, to defame the worth
Of those that do things worthy. The man that uttered this
Had perished without food, be't who it will,
But for this arm, that fenced him from the foe:
And if I thought you gave a faith to this,
The plainness of my nature would speak more.
Give me a pardon (for you ought to do't)
To kill him that spake this.
Cal. Ay, that will be
The end of all: then I am fairly paid
For all my care and service.
Mel. That old man,
Who calls me enemy, and of whom I
(Though I will never match my hate so low)
Have no good thought, would yet, I think, excuse me,
And swear he thought me wronged in this.
Cal. Who, I?
Thou shameless fellow! didst thou not speak to me
Of it thyself?
Mel. Oh, then it came from him!
Cal. From me! who should it come from but from me?
Mel. Nay, I believe your malice is enough:
But I have lost my anger.—Sir, I hope
You are well satisfied.
King. Lysippus, cheer
Amintor and his lady: there's no sound
Comes from you; I will come and do't myself.
Amin. You have done already, sir, for me, I thank you.
King. Melantius, I do credit this from him,
How slight soe'er you make't.
Mel. 'Tis strange you should.
Cal. 'Tis strange he should believe an old man's word
That never lied in's life!
Mel. I talk not to thee.—
Shall the wild words of this distempered man,
Frantic with age and sorrow, make a breach
Betwixt your majesty and me? 'Twas wrong
To hearken to him; but to credit him,
As much at least as I have power to bear.
But pardon me—whilst I speak only truth,
I may commend myself—I have bestowed
My careless blood with you, and should be loth
To think an action that would make me lose
That and my thanks too. When I was a boy,
I thrust myself into my country's cause,
And did a deed that plucked five years from time,
And styled me man then. And for you, my King,
Your subjects all have fed by virtue of
My arm: this sword of mine hath ploughed the ground,
And reaped the fruit in peace;
And you yourself have lived at home in ease.
So terrible I grew, that without swords,
My name hath fetched you conquest: and my heart
And limbs are still the same; my will as great
To do you service. Let me not be paid
With such a strange distrust.
King. Melantius,
I held it great injustice to believe
Thine enemy, and did not; if I did,
I do not; let that satisfy.—What, struck
With sadness all? More wine!
Cal. A few fine words
Have overthrown my truth. Ah, thou'rt a villain!
Mel. Why, thou wert better let me have the fort:
[Apart to him.
Dotard, I will disgrace thee thus for ever;
There shall no credit lie upon thy words:
Think better, and deliver it.
Cal. My liege,
He's at me now again to do it.—Speak;
Deny it, if thou canst.—Examine him
Whilst he is hot; for, if he cool again,
He will forswear it.
King. This is lunacy,
I hope, Melantius.
Mel. He hath lost himself
Much, since his daughter missed the happiness
My sister gained; and, though he call me foe,
I pity him.
Cal. Pity! a pox upon you!
Mel. Mark his disordered words: and at the masque
Diagoras knows he raged and railed at me,
And called a lady "whore," so innocent
She understood him not. But it becomes
Both you and me too to forgive distraction:
Pardon him, as I do.
Cal. I'll not speak for thee,
For all thy cunning.—If you will be safe,
Chop off his head; for there was never known
So impudent a rascal.
King. Some, that love him,
Get him to bed. Why, pity should not let
Age make itself contemptible; we must be
All old. Have him away.
Mel. Calianax, [Apart to him.
The King believes you; come, you shall go home,
And rest; you have done well. You'll give it up,
When I have used you thus a month, I hope.
Cal. Now, now, 'tis plain, sir; he does move me still:
He says, he knows I'll give him up the fort,
When he has used me thus a month. I am mad,
Am I not, still?
All. Ha, ha, ha!
Cal. I shall be mad indeed, if you do thus.
Why should you trust a sturdy fellow there
(That has no virtue in him, all's in his sword)
Before me? Do but take his weapons from him,
And he's an ass; and I am a very fool,
Both with 'em and without 'em, as you use me.
All. Ha, ha, ha!
King. 'Tis well, Calianax: but if you use
This once again, I shall entreat some other
To see your offices be well discharged.—
Be merry, gentlemen.—It grows somewhat late.—
Amintor, thou wouldst be a-bed again.
Amin. Yes, sir.
King. And you, Evadne.—Let me take
Thee in my arms, Melantius, and believe
Thou art, as thou deserv'st to be, my friend
Still and for ever.—Good Calianax,
Sleep soundly; it will bring thee to thyself.
[Exeunt all except MELANTIUS and CALIANAX.
Cal. Sleep soundly! I sleep soundly now, I hope;
I could not be thus else.—How dar'st thou stay
Alone with me, knowing how thou hast used me?
Mel. You cannot blast me with your tongue, and that's
The strongest part you have about you.
Cal. I
Do look for some great punishment for this;
For I begin to forget all my hate,
And take't unkindly that mine enemy
Should use me so extraordinarily scurvily.
Mel. I shall melt too, if you begin to take
Unkindnesses: I never meant you hurt.
Cal. Thou'lt anger me again. Thou wretched rogue,
Meant me no hurt! disgrace me, with the King!
Lose all my offices! This is no hurt,
Is it? I prithee, what dost thou call hurt?
Mel. To poison men, because they love me not;
To call the credit of men's wives in question;
To murder children betwixt me and land;
This is all hurt.
Cal. All this thou think'st is sport;
For mine is worse: but use thy will with me;
For betwixt grief and anger I could cry.
Mel. Be wise, then, and be safe; thou may'st revenge—
Cal. Ay, o' the King: I would revenge of thee.
Mel. That you must plot yourself.
Cal. I'm a fine plotter.
Mel. The short is, I will hold thee with the King
In this perplexity, till peevishness
And thy disgrace have laid thee in thy grave:
But if thou wilt deliver up the fort,
I'll take thy trembling body in my arms,
And bear thee over dangers: thou shalt hold
Thy wonted state.
Cal. If I should tell the King,
Canst thou deny 't again?
Mel. Try, and believe.
Cal. Nay, then, thou canst bring any thing about.
Melantius, thou shalt have the fort.
Mel. Why, well.
Here let our hate be buried; and this hand
Shall right us both. Give me thy agèd breast
To compass.
Cal. Nay, I do not love thee yet;
I cannot well endure to look on thee;
And if I thought it were a courtesy,
Thou shouldst not have it. But I am disgraced;
My offices are to be ta'en away;
And, if I did but hold this fort a day,
I do believe the King would take it from me,
And give it thee, things are so strangely carried.
Ne'er thank me for't; but yet the King shall know
There was some such thing in't I told him of,
And that I was an honest man.
Mel. He'll buy
That knowledge very dearly.

Re-enter DIPHILUS.

What news with thee?
Diph. This were a night indeed
To do it in: the King hath sent for her.
Mel. She shall perform it, then.—Go, Diphilus,
And take from this good man, my worthy friend,
The fort; he'll give it thee.
Diph. Have you got that?
Cal. Art thou of the same breed? canst thou deny
This to the King too?
Diph. With a confidence
As great as his.
Cal. Faith, like enough.
Mel. Away, and use him kindly.
Cal. Touch not me;
I hate the whole strain. If thou follow me
A great way off, I'll give thee up the fort;
And hang yourselves.
Mel. Begone.
Diph. He's finely wrought.
Mel. This is a night, spite of astronomers,
To do the deed in. I will wash the stain
That rests upon our house off with his blood.

Re-enter AMINTOR.

Amin. Melantius, now assist me: if thou be'st
That which thou say'st, assist me. I have lost
All my distempers, and have found a rage
So pleasing! Help me.
Mel. Who can see him thus,
And not swear vengeance?—[Aside.] What's the matter, friend?
Amin. Out with thy sword; and, hand in hand with me,
Rush to the chamber of this hated King,
And sink him with the weight of all his sins
To hell for ever.
Mel. 'Twere a rash attempt,
Not to be done with safety. Let your reason
Plot your revenge, and not your passion.
Amin. If thou refusest me in these extremes,
Thou art no friend. He sent for her to me;
By Heaven, to me, myself! and, I must tell you,
I love her as a stranger: there is worth
In that vile woman, worthy things, Melantius;
And she repents. I'll do't myself alone,
[Draws his sword.
Though I be slain. Farewell.
Mel. He'll overthrow
My whole design with madness [Aside].—Amintor,
Think what thou dost: I dare as much as valour;
But 'tis the King, the King, the King, Amintor,
With whom thou fightest!—I know he is honest,
And this will work with him. [Aside.
Amin. I cannot tell [Lets fall his sword.
What thou hast said; but thou hast charmed my sword
Out of my hand, and left me shaking here,
Mel. I will take it up for thee.
[Takes up the sword, and gives it to AMINTOR.
Amin. What a wild beast is uncollected man!
The thing that we call honour bears us all
Headlong unto sin, and yet itself is nothing.
Mel. Alas, how variable are thy thoughts!
Amin. Just like my fortunes. I was run to that
I purposed to have chid thee for. Some plot,
I did distrust, thou hadst against the King,
By that old fellow's carriage. But take heed;
There's not the least limb growing to a King
But carries thunder in it.
Mel. I have none
Against him.
Amin. Why, come, then; and still remember
We may not think revenge.
Mel. I will remember. [Exeunt.


SCENE I.—A Room in the Palace.

Enter EVADNE and a Gentleman of the Bed-chamber.

EVAD. Sir, is the King a-bed?
Gent. Madam, an hour ago.
Evad. Give me the key, then, and let none be near;
'Tis the King's pleasure.
Gent. I understand you, madam; would 'twere mine!
I must not wish good rest unto your ladyship.
Evad. You talk, you talk.
Gent. 'Tis all I dare do, madam; but the King
Will wake, and then, methinks—
Evad. Saving your imagination, pray, good night, sir.
Gent. A good night be it, then, and a long one, madam.
I am gone. [Exeunt severally

SCENE II.—The Bed-chamber. The KING discovered in Bed,


Evad. The night grows horrible; and all about me
Like my black purpose. Oh, the conscience
Of a lost virgin, whither wilt thou pull me?
To what things dismal as the depth of hell
Wilt thou provoke me? Let no woman dare
From this hour be disloyal, if her heart be flesh,
If she have blood, and can fear. 'Tis a daring
Above that desperate fool's that left his peace,
And went to sea to fight: 'tis so many sins,
An age cannot repent 'em: and so great,
The gods want mercy for. Yet I must through 'em:
I have begun a slaughter on my honour,
And I must end it there.—He sleeps. Good Heavens!
Why give you peace to this untemperate beast,
That hath so long transgressed you? I must kill him,
And I will do it bravely: the mere joy
Tells me, I merit in it. Yet I must not
Thus tamely do it, as he sleeps—that were
To rock him to another world: my vengeance
Shall take him waking, and then lay before him
The number of his wrongs and punishments:
I'll shape his sins like Furies, till I waken
His evil angel, his sick conscience,
And then I'll strike him dead. King, by your leave;
[Ties his arms to the bed.
I dare not trust your strength; your grace and I
Must grapple upon even terms no more.
So, if he rail me not from my resolution,
I shall be strong enough.—My lord the King!
My lord!—He sleeps, as if he meant to wake
No more.—My lord!—Is he not dead already?
Sir! My lord!
King. Who's that?
Evad. Oh, you sleep soundly, sir!
King. My dear Evadne,
I have been dreaming of thee: come to bed.
Evad. I am come at length, sir; but how welcome?
King. What pretty new device is this, Evadne?
What, do you tie me to you? By my love,
This is a quaint one. Come, my dear, and kiss me;
I'll be thy Mars; to bed, my queen of love:
Let us be caught together, that the gods
May see and envy our embraces.
Evad. Stay, sir, stay;
You are too hot, and I have brought you physic
To temper your high veins.
King. Prithee, to bed, then; let me take it warm;
There thou shalt know the state of my body better.
Evad. I know you have a surfeited foul body;
And you must bleed. [Draws a knife.
King. Bleed!
Evad. Ay, you shall bleed. Lie still; and, if the devil,
Your lust, will give you leave, repent. This steel
Comes to redeem the honour that you stole,
King, my fair name; which nothing but thy death
Can answer to the world.
King. How's this, Evadne?
Evad. I am not she; nor bear I in this breast
So much cold spirit to be called a woman:
I am a tiger; I am any thing
That knows not pity. Stir not: if thou dost,
I'll take thee unprepared, thy fears upon thee,
That make thy sins look double, and so send thee
(By my revenge, I will!) to look those torments
Prepared for such black souls.
King. Thou dost not mean this; 'tis impossible;
Thou art too sweet and gentle.
Evad. No, I am not:
I am as foul as thou art, and can number
As many such hells here. I was once fair,
Once I was lovely; not a blowing rose
More chastely sweet, till thou, thou, thou, foul canker,
(Stir not) didst poison me. I was a world of virtue,
Till your cursed court and you (Hell bless you for't)
With your temptations on temptations
Made me give up mine honour; for which, King,
I am come to kill thee.
King. No!
Evad. I am.
King. Thou art not!
I prithee speak not these things: thou art gentle,
And wert not meant thus rugged.
Evad. Peace, and hear me.
Stir nothing but your tongue, and that for mercy
To those above us; by whose lights I vow,
Those blessèd fires that shot to see our sin,
If thy hot soul had substance with thy blood,
I would kill that too; which, being past my steel,
My tongue shall reach. Thou art a shameless villain;
A thing out of the overcharge of nature,
Sent, like a thick cloud, to disperse a plague
Upon weak catching women; such a tyrant,
That for his lust would sell away his subjects,
Ay, all his Heaven hereafter!
King. Hear, Evadne,
Thou soul of sweetness, hear! I am thy King.
Evad. Thou art my shame! Lie still; there's none about you,
Within your cries; all promises of safety
Are but deluding dreams. Thus, thus, thou foul man,
Thus I begin my vengeance! [Stabs him.
King. Hold, Evadne!
I do command thee hold.
Evad. I do not mean, sir,
To part so fairly with you; we must change
More of these love-tricks yet.
King. What bloody villain
Provoked thee to this murder?
Evad. Thou, thou monster!
King. Oh!
Evad. Thou kept'st me brave at court, and whored me, King;
Then married me to a young noble gentleman,
And whored me still.
King. Evadne, pity me!
Evad. Hell take me, then! This for my lord Amintor. [Stabs him.
This for my noble brother! and this stroke
For the most wronged of women!
King. Oh! I die. [Dies.
Evad. Die all our faults together! I forgive thee. [Exit.

Enter two Gentlemen of the Bed-chamber.

1st Gent. Come, now she's gone, let's enter; the King expects it, and
will be angry.
2nd Gent. 'Tis a fine wench; we'll have a snap at her one of these
nights, as she goes from him.
1st Gent. Content. How quickly he had done with her! I see kings can
no more that way than other mortal people.
2nd Gent. How fast he is! I cannot hear him breathe.
1st Gent. Either the tapers give a feeble light,
Or he looks very pale.
2nd Gent. And so he does:
Pray Heaven he be well; let's look.—Alas!
He's stiff, wounded, and dead! Treason, treason
1st Gent. Run forth and call.
2nd Gent. Treason, treason!
1st Gent. This will be laid on us:
Who can believe a woman could do this?


Cleon. How now! where's the traitor?
1st Gent. Fled, fled away; but there her woeful act
Lies still.
Cleon. Her act! a woman!
Lys. Where's the body?
1st Gent. There.
Lys. Farewell, thou worthy man! There were two bonds
That tied our loves, a brother and a king,
The least of which might fetch a flood of tears;
But such the misery of greatness is,
They have no time to mourn; then, pardon me!


Sirs, which way went she?
Stra. Never follow her;
For she, alas! was but the instrument.
News is now brought in, that Melantius
Has got the fort, and stands upon the wall,
And with a loud voice calls those few that pass
At this dead time of night, delivering
The innocence of this act.
Lys. Gentlemen,
I am your King.
Stra. We do acknowledge it.
Lys. I would I were not! Follow, all; for this
Must have a sudden stop. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.—Before the Citadel.

Enter MELANTIUS, DIPHILUS, and CALIANAX, on the Walls.

Mel. If the dull people can believe I am armed,
(Be constant, Diphilus,) now we have time
Either to bring our banished honours home,
Or create new ones in our ends.
Diph. I fear not;
My spirit lies not that way.—Courage, Calianax!
Cal. Would I had any! you should quickly know it.
Mel. Speal to the people; thou art eloquent.
Cal. 'Tis a fine eloquence to come to the gallows:
You were born to be my end; the devil take you!
Now must I hang for company. 'Tis strange,
I should be old, and neither wise nor valiant.


Lys. See where he stands, as boldly confident
As if he had his full command about him.
Stra. He looks as if he had the better cause, sir;
Under your gracious pardon, let me speak it!
Though he be mighty-spirited, and forward
To all great things, to all things of that danger
Worse men shake at the telling of, yet certainly
I do believe him noble, and this action
Rather pulled on than sought: his mind was ever
As worthy as his hand.
Lys. 'Tis my fear too.
Heaven forgive all!—Summon him, Lord Cleon.
Cleon. Ho, from the walls there!
Mel. Worthy Cleon, welcome:
We could have wished you here, lord; you are honest.
Cal. Well, thou art as flattering a knave, though
I dare not tell thee so_____ [Aside.
Lys. Melantius!
Mel. Sir?
Lys. I am sorry that we meet thus; our old love
Never required such distance. Pray to Heaven,
You have not left yourself, and sought this safety
More out of fear than honour! You have lost
A noble master; which your faith, Melantius,
Some think might have preserved: yet you know best.
Cal. When time was, I was mad: some that dares fight,
I hope will pay this rascal. [Aside.
Mel. Royal young man, those tears look lovely on thee:
Had they been shed for a deserving one,
They had been lasting monuments. Thy brother,
Whilst he was good, I called him King, and served him
With that strong faith, that most unwearied valour,
Pulled people from the farthest sun to seek him,
And beg his friendship: I was then his soldier.
But since his hot pride drew him to disgrace me,
And brand my noble actions with his lust,
(That never cured dishonour of my sister,
Base stain of whore, and, which is worse, the joy
To make it still so,) like myself, thus I
Have flung him off with my allegiance;
And stand here mine own justice, to revenge
What I have suffered in him, and this old man
Wrongèd almost to lunacy.
Cal. Who, I?
You would draw me in. I have had no wrong;
I do disclaim ye all.
Mel. The short is this.
'Tis no ambition to lift up myself
Urgeth me thus; I do desire again
To be a subject, so I may be free:
If not, I know my strength, and will unbuild
This goodly town. Be speedy, and be wise,
In a reply.
Stra. Be sudden, sir, to tie
All up again. What's done is past recall,
And past you to revenge; and there are thousands
That wait for such a troubled hour as this.
Throw him the blank.
Lys. Melantius, write in that
Thy choice: my seal is at it.
[Throws a paper to MELANTIUS.
Mel. It was our honours drew us to this act,
Not gain; and we will only work our pardons.
Cal. Put my name in too.
Diph. You disclaimed us all
But now, Calianax.
Cal. That is all one;
I'll not be hanged hereafter by a trick:
I'll have it in.
Mel. You shall, you shall.—
Come to the back gate, and we'll call you King,
And give you up the fort.
Lys. Away, away. [Exeunt.

SCENE IV.—Ante room to AMINTOR'S Apartments.

Enter ASPATIA, in male apparel, and with artificial scars on her

Asp. This is my fatal hour. Heaven may forgive
My rash attempt, that causelessly hath laid
Griefs on me that will never let me rest,
And put a woman's heart into my breast.
It is more honour for you that I die;
For she that can endure the misery
That I have on me, and be patient too,
May live and laugh at all that you can do.

Enter Servant.

God save you, sir!
Ser. And you, sir! What's your business?
Asp. With you, sir, now; to do me the fair office
To help me to your lord.
Ser. What, would you serve him?
Asp. I'll do him any service; but, to haste,
For my affairs are earnest, I desire
To speak with him.
Ser. Sir, because you are in such haste, I would
Be loth delay you longer: you can not.
Asp. It shall become you, though, to tell your lord.
Ser. Sir, he will speak with nobody;
But in particular, I have in charge,
About no weighty matters.
Asp. This is most strange.
Art thou gold-proof? there's for thee; help me to him.
[Gives money.
Ser. Pray be not angry, sir: I'll do my best. [Exit.
Asp. How stubbornly this fellow answered me!
There is a vile dishonest trick in man,
More than in woman. All the men I meet
Appear thus to me, are all harsh and rude,
And have a subtilty in every thing,
Which love could never know; but we fond women
Harbour the easiest and the smoothest thoughts,
And think all shall go so. It is unjust
That men and women should be matched together.

Enter AMINTOR with Servant.

Amin. Where is he?
Ser. There, my lord.
Amin. What would you, sir?
Asp. Please it your lordship to command your man
Out of the room, I shall deliver things
Worthy your hearing.
Amin. Leave us. [Exit Servant.
Asp. Oh, that that shape
Should bury falsehood in it! [Aside.
Amin. Now your will, sir.
Asp. When you know me, my lord, you needs must guess
My business; and I am not hard to know;
For, till the chance of war marked this smooth face
With these few blemishes, people would call me
My sister's picture, and her mine. In short,
I am brother to the wronged Aspatia.
Amin. The wronged Aspatia! would thou wert so too
Unto the wronged Amintor! Let me kiss [Kisses her hand.
That hand of thine, in honour that I bear
Unto the wronged Aspatia. Here I stand
That did it. Would he could not! Gentle youth,
Leave me; for there is something in thy looks
That calls my sins in a most hideous form
Into my mind; and I have grief enough
Without thy help.
Asp. I would I could with credit!
Since I was twelve years old, I had not seen
My sister till this hour I now arrived:
She sent for me to see her marriage;
A woful one! but they that are above
Have ends in everything. She used few words,
But yet enough to make me understand
The baseness of the injury you did her.
That little training I have had is war:
I may behave myself rudely in peace;
I would not, though. I shall not need to tell you,
I am but young, and would be loath to lose
Honour, that is not easily gained again.
Fairly I mean to deal: the age is strict
For single combats; and we shall be stopped,
If it be published. If you like your sword,
Use it; if mine appear a better to you,
Change; for the ground is this, and this the time,
To end our difference. [Draws her sword.
Amin. Charitable youth,
If thou be'st such, think not I will maintain
So strange a wrong: and, for thy sister's sake,
Know, that I could not think that desperate thing
I durst not do; yet, to enjoy this world,
I would not see her; for, beholding thee,
I am I know not what. If I have aught
That may content thee, take it, and begone,
For death is not so terrible as thou;
Thine eyes shoot guilt into me.
Asp. Thus, she swore,
Thou wouldst behave thyself, and give me words
That would fetch tears into mine eyes; and so
Thou dost indeed. But yet she bade me watch,
Lest I were cozened; and be sure to fight
Ere I returned.
Amin. That must not be with me.
For her I'll die directly; but against her
Will never hazard it.
Asp. You must be urged.
I do not deal uncivilly with those
That dare to fight; but such a one as you
Must be used thus. [Strikes him.
Amin. I prithee, youth, take heed.
Thy sister is a thing to me so much
Above mine honour, that I can endure
All this—Good gods! a blow I can endure;
But stay not, lest thou draw a timeless death
Upon thyself.
Asp. Thou art some prating fellow;
One that hath studied out a trick to talk,
And move soft hearted people; to be kicked,
[Kicks him.
Thus to be kicked.—Why should he be so slow
In giving me my death? [Aside.
Amin. A man can bear
No more, and keep his flesh. Forgive me, then!
I would endure yet, if I could. Now show
[Draws his sword.
The spirit thou pretend'st, and understand
Thou hast no hour to live.
[They fight; ASPATIA is wounded.
What dost thou mean?
Thou canst not fight: the blows thou mak'st at me
Are quite besides; and those I offer at thee,
Thou spread'st thine arms, and tak'st upon thy breast,
Alas, defenceless!
Asp. I have got enough,
And my desire. There is no place so fit
For me to die as here. [Falls.

Enter EVADNE, her hands bloody, with a knife.

Evad. Amintor, I am loaden with events,
That fly to make thee happy; I have joys,
That in a moment can call back thy wrongs,
And settle thee in thy free state again.
It is Evadne still that follows thee,
But not her mischiefs.
Amin. Thou canst not fool me to believe again;
But thou hast looks and things so full of news,
That I am stayed.
Evad. Noble Amintor, put off thy amaze,
Let thine eyes loose, and speak. Am I not fair?
Looks not Evadne beauteous with these rites now?
Were those hours half so lovely in thine eyes
When our hands met before the holy man?
I was too foul inside to look fair then:
Since I knew ill, I was not free till now.
Amin. There is presàge of some important thing
About thee, which, it seems, thy tongue hath lost:
Thy hands are bloody, and thou hast a knife.
Evad. In this consists thy happiness and mine:
Joy to Amintor! for the King is dead.
Amin. Those have most power to hurt us, that we love;
We lay our sleeping lives within their arms.
Why, thou hast raised up mischief to his height,
And found one to out-name thy other faults;
Thou hast no intermission of thy sins
But all thy life is a continued ill:
Black is thy colour now, disease thy nature.
Joy to Amintor! Thou hast touched a life,
The very name of which had power to chain
Up all my rage, and calm my wildest wrongs.
Evad. 'Tis done; and, since I could not find a way
To meet thy love so clear as through his life,
I cannot now repent it.
Amin. Couldst thou procure the gods to speak to me,
To bid me love this woman and forgive,
I think I should fall out with them. Behold,
Here lies a youth whose wounds bleed in my breast,
Sent by his violent fate to fetch his death
From my slow hand! And, to augment my woe,
You now are present, stained with a king's blood
Violently shed. This keeps night here,
And throws an unknown wilderness about me.
Asp. Oh, oh, oh!
Amin. No more; pursue me not.
Evad. Forgive me, then,
And take me to thy bed: we may not part. [Kneels.
Amin. Forbear, be wise, and let my rage go this way.
Evad. 'Tis you that I would stay, not it.
Amin. Take heed;
It will return with me.
Evad. If it must be,
I shall not fear to meet it: take me home.
Amin. Thou monster of cruelty, forbear!
Evad. For Heaven's sake look more calm: thine eyes are sharper
Than thou canst make thy sword.
Amin. Away, away!
Thy knees are more to me than violence;
I am worse than sick to see knees follow me
For that I must not grant. For Heaven's sake, stand.
Evad. Receive me, then.
Amin. I dare not stay thy language:
In midst of all my anger and my grief,
Thou dost awake something that troubles me,
And says, I loved thee once. I dare not stay;
There is no end of woman's reasoning. [Retiring.
Evad. [rising] Amintor, thou shalt love me now again:
Go; I am calm. Farewell, and peace for ever!
Evadne, whom thou hat'st, will die for thee. [Stabs herself.
Amin. [returning] I have a little human nature yet,
That's left for thee, that bids me stay thy hand.
Evad. Thy hand was welcome, but it came too late.
Oh, I am lost! the heavy sleep makes haste. [Dies.
Asp. Oh, oh, oh!
Amin. This earth of mine doth tremble, and I feel
A stark affrighted motion in my blood;
My soul grows weary of her house, and I
All over am a trouble to myself.
There is some hidden power in these dead things,
That calls my flesh unto 'em; I am cold:
Be resolute and bear 'em company.
There's something yet, which I am loath to leave:
There's man enough in me to meet the fears
That death can bring; and yet would it were done!
I can find nothing in the whole discourse
Of death, I durst not meet the boldest way;
Yet still, betwixt the reason and the act,
The wrong I to Aspatia did stands up;
I have not such another fault to answer:
Though she may justly arm herself with scorn
And hate of me, my soul will part less troubled,
When I have paid to her in tears my sorrow:
I will not leave this act unsatisfied,
If all that's left in me can answer it.
Asp. Was it a dream? there stands Amintor still;
Or I dream still.
Amin. How dost thou? speak; receive my love and help.
Thy blood climbs up to his old place again;
There's hope of thy recovery.
Asp. Did you not name Aspatia?
Amin. I did.
Asp. And talked of tears and sorrow unto her?
Amin. 'Tis true; and, till these happy signs in thee
Did stay my course, 'twas thither I was going.
Asp. Thou art there already, and these wounds are hers:
Those threats I brought with me sought not revenge,
But came to fetch this blessing from thy hand:
I am Aspatia yet.
Amin. Dare my soul ever look abroad again?
Asp. I shall sure live, Amintor; I am well;
A kind of healthful joy wanders within me.
Amin. The world wants lives to excuse thy loss;
Come, let me bear thee to some place of help.
Asp. Amintor, thou must stay; I must rest here;
My strength begins to disobey my will.
How dost thou, my best soul? I would fain live
Now, if I could: wouldst thou have loved me, then?
Amin. Alas,
All that I am's not worth a hair from thee!
Asp. Give me thy hand; mine hands grope up and down,
And cannot find thee; I am wondrous sick:
Have I thy hand, Amintor?
Amin. Thou greatest blessing of the world, thou hast.
Asp. I do believe thee better than my sense.
Oh, I must go! farewell! [Dies.
Amin. She swoons.—Aspatia!—Help! for Heaven's sake, water,
Such as may chain life ever to this frame!—
Aspatia, speak!—What, no help yet? I fool;
I'll chafe her temples. Yet there's nothing stirs:
Some hidden power tell her, Amintor calls,
And let her answer me!—Aspatia, speak!—
I have heard, if there be any life, but bow
The body thus, and it will show itself.
Oh, she is gone! I will not leave her yet.
Since out of justice we must challenge nothing,
I'll call it mercy, if you'll pity me,
You heavenly powers, and lend for some few years
The blessèd soul to this fair seat again!
No comfort comes; the gods deny me too.
I'll bow the body once again.—Aspatia!—
The soul is fled for ever; and I wrong
Myself, so long to lose her company.
Must I talk now? Here's to be with thee, love!
[Stabs himself.

Re-enter Servant.

Serv. This is a great grace to my lord, to have the new king come to
him: I must tell him he is entering.—Oh,
Heaven!—Help, help!


Lys. Where's Amintor?
Serv. Oh, there, there!
Lys. How strange is this!
Cal. What should we do here?
Mel. These deaths are such acquainted things with me,
That yet my heart dissolves not. May I stand
Stiff here for ever! Eyes, call up your tears!
This is Amintor: heart, he was my friend;
Melt! now it flows.—Amintor, give a word
To call me to thee.
Amin. Oh!
Mel. Melantius calls his friend Amintor. Oh,
Thy arms are kinder to me than thy tongue!
Speak, speak!
Amin. What?
Mel. That little word was worth all the sounds
That ever I shall hear again.
Diph. Oh, brother,
Here lies your sister slain! you lose yourself
In sorrow there.
Mel. Why, Diphilus, it is
A thing to laugh at, in respect of this:
Here was my sister, father, brother, son;
All that I had.—Speak once again; what youth
Lies slain there by thee?
Amin. 'Tis Aspatia.
My last is said. Let me give up my soul
Into thy bosom. [Dies.
Cal. What's that? what's that? Aspatia!
Mel. I never did
Repent the greatness of my heart till now;
It will not burst at need.
Cal. My daughter dead here too! And you have all fine new tricks to
grieve; but I ne'er knew any but direct crying.
Mel. I am a prattler: but no more. [Offers to stab himself.
Diph. Hold, brother!
Lys. Stop him.
Diph. Fie, how unmanly was this offer in you!
Does this become our strain?
Cal. I know not what the matter is, but I am grown very kind, and am
friends with you all now. You have given me that among you will kill me
but I'll go home, and live as long as I can. [Exit.
Mel. His spirit is but poor that can be kept
From death for want of weapons.
Is not my hands a weapon good enough
To stop my breath? or, if you tie down those,
I vow, Amintor, I will never eat,
Or drink, or sleep, or have to do with that
That may preserve life! This I swear to keep.
Lys. Look to him, though, and bear those bodies in.
May this a fair example be to me,
To rule with temper; for on lustful kings
Unlooked-for sudden deaths from Heaven are sent;
But cursed is he that is their instrument. [Exeunt.

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