by John Ford

c. 1633






Philippo Caraffa, Duke of Pavia.

     Bianca, the Duchess.

     Fiormonda, the Duke's Sister.

     Roderico D'Avolos, Secretary to the Duke.

Fernando, Favourite of the Duke.

Ferentes, a wanton Courtier.

Roseilli, a young Nobleman.

Paulo Baglione, Abbot of Monaco, and Uncle of the     


Petruchio, Counsellor of State, and uncle to Fernando.

     Colona, Daughter of Petruchio, and lady-in-waiting

                   to the duchess Bianca.

Nibrassa, Counsellor of State.

     Julia, Daughter of Nibrassa, and lady-in-waiting

               to Fiormonda.

Mauruccio, an old Buffoon.

     Giacopo, Servant to Mauruccio.

Morona, a Widow.

Courtiers, Officers, Friars, Attendants, &c.





A Room in the Palace.

Enter Roseilli and Roderico D’Avolos.

Ros.  Depart the court?

D’Av.                          Such was the duke's command.

Ros.  You're secretary to the state and him,

Great in his counsels, wise, and, I think, honest.

Have you, in turning over old recórds,

Read but one name descended of the house

Of Lesui in his loyalty remiss?

D’Av.  Never, my lord.

Ros.  Why, then, should I now, now when glorious peace

Triumphs in change of pleasures, be wiped off,

Like to a useless moth, from courtly ease? −

And whither must I go?

D’Av.  You have the open world before you.

Ros.  Why, then 'tis like I'm banished?

D’Av.  Not so: my warrant is only to command you

from the court; within five hours to depart after notice

taken, and not to live within thirty miles of it, until it

be thought meet by his excellence to call you back.

Now I have warned you, my lord, at your peril be it,

if you disobey. I shall inform the duke of your



Ros.  Do, politician, do! I scent the plot

Of this disgrace; 'tis Fiormonda, she,

That glorious widow, whose commanding check

Ruins my love: like foolish beasts, thus they

Find danger that prey too near the lions' den.

Enter Fernando and Petruchio.

Ferna.  My noble lord, Roseilli!

Ros.                                         Sir, the joy

I should have welcomed you with is wrapt up

In clouds of my disgrace; yet, honoured sir,

Howsoe'er frowns of great ones cast me down,

My service shall pay tribute in my lowness

To your uprising virtues.

Ferna.                              Sir, I know

You are so well acquainted with your own,

You need not flatter mine: trust me, my lord,

I'll be a suitor for you.

Pet.                            And I'll second

My nephew's suit with importunity.

Ros.  You are, my Lord Fernando, late returned

From travels; pray instruct me: − since the voice

Of most supreme authority commands

My absence, I determine to bestow

Some time in learning languages abroad;

Perhaps the change of air may change in me

Remembrance of my wrongs at home: good sir,

Inform me; say I meant to live in Spain,

What benefit of knowledge might I treasure?

Ferna.  Troth, sir, I'll freely speak as I have found.

In Spain you lose experience; 'tis a climate

Too hot to nourish arts; the nation proud,

And in their pride unsociable; the court

More pliable to glorify itself

Than do a stranger grace: if you intend

To traffic like a merchant, 'twere a place

Might better much your trade; but as for me,

I soon took surfeit on it.

Ros.                              What for France?

Ferna.  France I more praise and love. You are, my lord,

Yourself for horsemanship much famed; and there

You shall have many proofs to show your skill.

The French are passing courtly, ripe of wit,

Kind, but extreme dissemblers; you shall have

A Frenchman ducking lower than your knee,

At the instant mocking even your very shoe-ties.

To give the country due, it is on earth

A paradise; and if you can neglect

Your own appropriaménts, but praising that

In others wherein you excel yourself,

You shall be much belovèd there.

Ros.                                              Yet methought

I heard you and the duchess, two night since,

Discoursing of an island thereabouts,

Called − let me think − 'twas −

Ferna.                                     England?

Ros.                                                     That: pray, sir −

You have been there, methought I heard you praise it.

Ferna.  I'll tell you what I found there; men as neat,

As courtly as the French, but in condition

Quite opposite. Put case that you, my lord,

Could be more rare on horseback than you are,

If there − as there are many − one excelled

You in your art as much as you do others,

Yet will the English think their own is nothing

Compared with you, a stranger; in their habits

They are not more fantastic than uncertain;

In short, their fair abundance, manhood, beauty,

No nation can disparage but itself.

Ros.  My lord, you have much eased me; I resolve.

Ferna.  And whither are you bent?

Ros.                                            My lord, for travel;

To speed or England.

Ferna.                        No, my lord, you must not:

I have yet some private conference

T' impart unto you for your good; at night

I'll meet you at my Lord Petruchio's house:

Till then be secret.

Ros.                       Dares my cousin trust me?

Pet.  Dare I, my lord! yes, 'less your fact were greater

Than a bold woman's spleen.

Ros.                                      The duke's at hand,

And I must hence: my service to your lordships.


Pet.  Now, nephew, as I told you, since the duke

Hath held the reins of state in his own hand,

Much altered from the man he was before, −


As if he were transformèd in his mind,

To soothe him in his pleasures, amongst whom

Is fond Ferentes; one whose pride takes pride

In nothing more than to delight his lust;

And he − with grief I speak it − hath, I fear,

Too much besotted my unhappy daughter,

My poor Colona; whom, for kindred's sake,

As you are noble, as you honour virtue,

Persuade to love herself: a word from you

May win her more than my entreaties or frowns.

Ferna.  Uncle, I'll do my best: meantime, pray tell me,

Whose mediation wrought the marriáge

Betwixt the duke and duchess, − who was agent.

Pet.  His roving eye and her enchanting face,

The only dower nature had ordained

T' advance her to her bride-bed. She was daughter

Unto a gentleman of Milan − no better −

Preferred to serve i' the Duke of Milan's court;

Where for her beauty she was greatly famed:

And passing late from thence to Monaco

To visit there her uncle, Paul Baglione

The Abbot, Fortune − queen to such blind matches −

Presents her to the duke's eye, on the way,

As he pursues the deer: in short, my lord,

He saw her, loved her, wooed her, won her, matched her;

No counsel could divert him.

Ferna.                                     She is fair.

Pet.  She is; and, to speak truth, I think right noble

In her conditions.

Ferna.                   If, when I should choose,

Beauty and virtue were the fee proposed,

I should not pass for parentage.

Pet.                                           The duke

Doth come.

Ferna.        Let's break-off talk. − [Aside] If ever, now,

Good angel of my soul, protect my truth!

Enter the Duke, Bianca, Fiormonda, Nibrassa,

Ferentes, Julia, and D’Avolos.

Duke.  Come, my Bianca, revel in mine arms;

Whiles I, wrapt in my admiration, view

Lilies and roses growing in thy cheeks. −

Fernando! O, thou half myself! no joy

Could make my pleasure full without thy presence:

I am a monarch of felicity,

Proud in a pair of jewèls, rich and beautiful, −

A perfect friend, a wife above compare.

Ferna.  Sir, if a man so low in rank may hope,

By loyal duty and devoted zeal,

To hold a correspondency in friendship

With one so mighty as the Duke of Pavy,

My uttermost ambition is to climb

To those deserts may give the style of servant.

Duke.  Of partner in my dukedom, in my heart,

As freely as the privilege of blood

Hath made them mine; Philippo and Fernando

Shall be without distinction. − Look, Bianca,

On this good man; in all respects to him

Be as to me: only the name of husband,

And reverent observance of our bed,

Shall differ us in person, else in soul

We are all one.

Bian.               I shall, in best of love,

Regard the bosom-partner of my lord.

Fiorm.  [Aside to Ferentes] Ferentes, −

Feren.  [Aside to Fiormonda] Madam?

Fiorm.  [Aside to Ferentes]  You are one loves courtship:

He hath some change of words, 'twere no lost labour

To stuff your table-books; the man speaks wisely!

Feren.  [Aside to Fiormonda]

I'm glad your highness is so pleasant.

Duke.                                               Sister, −

Fiorm.  My lord and brother?

Duke.                                          You are too silent,

Quicken your sad remembrance, though the loss

Of your dead husband be of more account

Than slight neglect, yet 'tis a sin against

The state of princes to exceed a mean

In mourning for the dead.

Fiorm.                                Should form, my lord,

Prevail above affection? no, it cannot.

You have yourself here a right noble duchess,

Virtuous at least; and should your grace now pay −

Which Heaven forbid! − the debt you owe to nature,

I dare presume she'd not so soon forget

A prince that thus advanced her. − Madam, could you?

D’Av.  [Aside] Bitter and shrewd.

Bian.  Sister, I should too much bewray my weakness,

To give a resolution on a passion

I never felt nor feared.

Nib.                            A modest answer.

Ferna.  If credit may be given to a face,

My lord, I'll undertake on her behalf;

Her words are trusty heralds to her mind.

Fiorm.  [Aside to D’Avolos]

Exceeding good; the man will "undertake"!

Observe it, D'Avolos.

D’Av.  [Aside to Fiormonda] Lady, I do;

Tis a smooth praise.

Duke.  Friend, in thy judgment I approve thy love,

And love thee better for thy judging mine.

Though my gray-headed senate in the laws

Of strict opinion and severe dispute

Would tie the limits of our free affects, −

Like superstitious Jews, − to match with none

But in a tribe of princes like ourselves,

Gross-nurtured slaves, who force their wretched souls

To crouch to profit; nay, for trash and wealth

Dote on some crooked or misshapen form;

Hugging wise nature's lame deformity,

Begetting creatures ugly as themselves: −

But why should princes do so, that command

The storehouse of the earth's hid minerals? −

No, my Bianca, thou'rt to me as dear

As if thy portion had been Europe's riches;

Since in thine eyes lies more than these are worth.

Set on; they shall be strangers to my heart

That envy thee thy fortunes. − Come, Fernando,

My but divided self; what we have done

We are only debtor to Heaven for. − On!

Fiorm.  [Aside to D'Avolos]

Now take thy time, or never, D'Avolos;

Prevail, and I will raise thee high in grace.

D’Av.  [Aside to Fiormonda] Madam, I will omit no art.

[Exeunt all but D’Avolos, who recalls Fernando.]

My honoured Lord Fernando!

Ferna.                                     To me, sir?

D’Av.  Let me beseech your lordship to excuse me,

in the nobleness of your wisdom, if I exceed good

manners: I am one, my lord, who in the admiration

of your perfect virtues do so truly honour and

reverence your deserts, that there is not a creature

bears life shall more faithfully study to do you

service in all offices of duty and vows of due respect.

Ferna.  Good sir, you bind me to you: is this all?

D’Av.  I beseech your ear a little; good my lord, what

I have to speak concerns your reputation and best


Ferna.  How's that! my reputation? lay aside

Superfluous ceremony; speak; what is't?

D’Av.  I do repute myself the blessedest man alive,

that I shall be the first gives your lordship news of

your perpetual comfort.

Ferna.  As how?

D’Av.  If singular beauty, unimitable virtues, honour,

youth, and absolute goodness be a fortune, all those

are at once offered to your particular choice.

Ferna.  Without delays, which way?

D’Av.  The great and gracious Lady Fiormonda loves

you, infinitely loves you. − But, my lord, as ever you

tendered a servant to your pleasures, let me not be

revealed that I gave you notice on't.

Ferna.  Sure, you are strangely out of tune, sir.

D’Av.  Please but to speak to her; be but courtly-

ceremonious with her, use once but the language of

affection, if I misreport aught besides my knowledge,

let me never have place in your good opinion. O, these

women, my lord, are as brittle metal as your glasses,

as smooth, as slippery, − their very first substance 

was quicksands: let 'em look never so demurely, 

one fillip chokes them. My lord, she loves you; I know

it. − But I beseech your lordship not to discover me;

I would not for the world she should know that you 

know it by me.

Ferna.  I understand you, and to thank your care

Will study to requite it; and I vow

She never shall have notice of your news

By me or by my means. And, worthy sir,

Let me alike enjoin you not to speak

A word of that I understand her love;

And as for me, my word shall be your surety

I'll not as much as give her cause to think

I ever heard it.

D’Av.  Nay, my lord, whatsoever I infer, you may

break with her in it, if you please; for, rather than

silence should hinder you one step to such a

fortune, I will expose myself to any rebuke for

your sake, my good lord.

Ferna.  You shall not indeed, sir; I am still your

friend, and will prove so. For the present I am

forced to attend the duke: good hours befall ye!

I must leave you.


D’Av.  Gone already? 'sfoot, I ha' marred all! this is

worse and worse; he's as cold as hemlock. If her

highness knows how I have gone to work she'll thank

me scurvily: a pox of all dull brains! I took the clean

contrary course. There is a mystery in this slight

carelessness of his; I must sift it, and I will find it.

Ud's me, fool myself out of my wit! well, I'll choose

some fitter opportunity to inveigle him, and till then

smooth her up that he is a man overjoyed with the




Another Room in the Palace.

Enter Ferentes and Colona.

Feren.  Madam, by this light I vow myself your servant;

only yours, inespecially yours. Time, like a turncoat,

may order and disorder the outward fashions of our

bodies, but shall never enforce a change on the

constancy of my mind. Sweet Colona, fair Colona,

young and sprightful lady, do not let me in the best

of my youth languish in my earnest affections.

Col.  Why should you seek, my lord, to purchase glory

By the disgrace of a silly maid.

Feren.  That I confess too. I am every way so unworthy

of the first-fruits of thy embraces, so far beneath

the riches of thy merit, that it can be no honour to thy

fame to rank me in the number of thy servants; yet

prove me how true, how firm I will stand to thy

pleasures, to thy command; and, as time shall serve,

be ever thine. Now, prithee, dear Colona, −

Col.  Well, well, my lord, I have no heart of flint;

Or if I had, you know by cunning words

How to outwear it: − but −

Feren.  But what? do not pity thy own gentleness,

lovely Colona. Shall I? Speak, shall I? − say but ay,

and our wishes are made up.

Col.  How shall I say ay, when my fears say no?

Feren.  You will not fail to meet me two hours hence,


Col.  No;

Yes, yes, I would have said: how my tongue trips!

Feren.  I take that promise and that double "yes" as

an assurance of thy faith. In the grove; good sweet,

remember; in any case alone, − d'ye mark, love? –

not as much as your duchess' little dog; − you'll not

forget? − two hours hence − think on't, and miss

not: till then −

Col.  O, if you should prove false, and love another!

Feren.  Defy me, then! I'll be all thine, and a servant

only to thee, only to thee.

[Exit Colona.]

− Very passing good! three honest women in our

courts here of Italy are enough to discredit a whole

nation of that sex. He that is not a cuckold or a

bastard is a strangely happy man; for a chaste wife,

or a mother that never stepped awry, are wonders,

wonders in Italy. 'Slife! I have got the feat on't, and

am every day more active in my trade: 'tis a sweet

sin, this slip of mortality, and I have tasted enough

for one passion of my senses. − Here comes more

work for me.

Enter Julia.

And how does my own Julia? Mew upon this sadness!

what's the matter you are melancholy? − Whither

away, wench?

Jul.  Tis well; the time has been when your smooth tongue

Would not have mocked my griefs; and had I been

More chary of mine honour, you had still

Been lowly as you were.

Feren.  Lowly! why, I am sure I cannot be much more

lowly than I am to thee; thou bringest me on my

bare knees, wench, twice in every four-and-twenty

hours, besides half-turns instead of bevers. What must

we next do, sweetheart?

Jul.  Break vows on your side; I expect no other,

But every day look when some newer choice

May violate your honour and my trust.

Feren.  Indeed, forsooth! how say ye by that, la? I

hope I neglect no opportunity to your nunquam satis,

to be called in question for. Go, thou art as fretting

as an old grogram: by this hand, I love thee for't;

it becomes thee so prettily to be angry. Well, if thou

shouldst die, farewell all love with me for ever! go;

I'll meet thee soon in thy lady's back-lobby, I will,

wench; look for me.

Jul.  But shall I be resolved you will be mine?

Feren.  All thine; I will reserve my best ability, my

heart, my honour only to thee, only to thee. Pity of my

blood, away! I hear company coming on: remember,

soon I am all thine, I will live perpetually only to thee:


[Exit Julia.]

Sfoot! I wonder about what time of the year I was

begot; sure, it was when the moon was in conjunction,

and all the other planets drunk at a morris-dance:

I am haunted above patience; my mind is not as

infinite to do as my occasions are proffered of doing.

Chastity! I am an eunuch if I think there be any

such thing; or if there be, 'tis amongst us men, for I

never found it in a woman thoroughly tempted yet. I

have a shrewd hard task coming on; but let it pass. −

Who comes now? My lord, the duke's friend! I will

strive to be inward with him.

Enter Fernando.

My noble Lord Fernando! −

Ferna.  My Lord Ferentes, I should change some words

Of consequence with you; but since I am,

For this time, busied in more serious thoughts,

I'll pick some fitter opportunity.

Feren.  I will wait your pleasure, my lord. Good-day

to your lordship.


Ferna.  Traitor to friendship, whither shall I run,

That, lost to reason, cannot sway the float

Of the unruly faction in my blood?

The duchess, O, the duchess! in her smiles

Are all my joys abstracted. − Death to my thoughts!

My other plague comes to me.

Enter Fiormonda and Julia.

Fiorm.  My Lord Fernando, what, so hard at study!

You are a kind companion to yourself,

That love to be alone so.

Ferna.                             Madam, no;

I rather chose this leisure to admire

The glories of this little world, the court,

Where, like so many stars, on several thrones

Beauty and greatness shine in proper orbs;

Sweet matter for my meditatión.

Fiorm.  So, so, sir! − Leave us, Julia

[Exit Julia.]

                                                      − your own proof,

By travel and prompt observatión,

Instructs you how to place the use of speech. −

But since you are at leisure, pray let's sit:

We'll pass the time a little in discourse.

What have you seen abroad?

Ferna.                                    No wonders, lady,

Like these I see at home.

Fiorm.                               At home! as how?

Ferna.  Your pardon, if my tongue, the voice of truth,

Report but what is warranted by sight.

Fiorm.  What sight?

Ferna.                  Look in your glass, and you shall see

A miracle.

Fiorm.        What miracle?

Ferna.                           Your beauty,

So far above all beauties else abroad

As you are in your own superlative.

Fiorm.  Fie, fie! your wit hath too much edge.

Ferna.                                                       Would that,

Or any thing that I could challenge mine,

Were but of value to express how much

I serve in love the sister of my prince!

Fiorm.  Tis for your prince's sake, then, not for mine?

Ferna.  For you in him, and much for him in you.

I must acknowledge, madam, I observe

In your affects a thing to me most strange,

Which makes me so much honour you the more.

Fiorm.  Pray, tell it.

Ferna.                 Gladly, lady:

I see how opposite to youth and custom

You set before you, in the tablature

Of your remembrance, the becoming griefs

Of a most loyal lady for the loss

Of so renowned a prince as was your lord.

Fiorm.  Now, good my lord, no more of him.

Ferna.                                                           Of him!

I know it is a needless task in me

To set him forth in his deservèd praise;

You better can record it; for you find

How much more he exceeded other men

In most heroic virtues of account,

So much more was your loss in losing him.

Of him! his praise should be a field too large,

Too spacious, for so mean an orator

As I to range in.

Fiorm.                 Sir, enough: 'tis true

He well deserved your labour. On his deathbed

This ring he gave me, bade me never part

With this but to the man I loved as dearly

As I loved him: yet since you know which way

To blaze his worth so rightly, in return

To your deserts wear this for him and me.

[Offers him the ring.]

Ferna.  Madam!

Fiorm.            ‘Tis yours,

Ferna.                     Methought you said he charged you

Not to impart it but to him you loved

As dearly as you loved him.

Fiorm.                                   True, I said so,

Ferna.  O, then, far be it my unhallowed hand

With any rude intrusion should annul

A testament enacted by the dead!

Fiorm.  Why, man, that testament is disannulled

And cancelled quite by us that live. Look here,

My blood is not yet freezed; for better instance,

Be judge yourself; experience is no danger −

Cold are my sighs; but, feel, my lips are warm.

[Kisses him.]

Ferna.  What means the virtuous marquess?

Fiorm.                                                     To new-kiss

The oath to thee, which whiles he lived was his:

Hast thou yet power to love?

Ferna.                                     To love!

Fiorm.                                                    To meet

Sweetness of language in discourse as sweet?

Ferna.  Madam, 'twere dulness past the ignorance

Of common blockheads not to understand

Whereto this favour tends; and 'tis a fortune

So much above my fate, that I could wish

No greater happiness on earth: but know

Long since I vowed to live a single life.

Fiorm.  What was't you said?

Ferna.                                   I said I made a vow −

Enter Bianca, Petruchio, Colona, and D'Avolos.

[Aside] Blessèd deliverance!

Fiorm.  [Aside] Prevented? mischief on this interruption!

Bian.  My Lord Fernando, you encounter fitly;

I have a suit t'ye.

Ferna.                 'Tis my duty, madam,

To be commanded.

Bian.                       Since my lord the duke

Is now disposed to mirth, the time serves well

For mediation, that he would be pleased

To take the Lord Roseilli to his grace.

He is a noble gentleman; I dare

Engage my credit, loyal to the state; −

And, sister, one that ever strove, methought,

By special service and obsequious care,

To win respect from you: it were a part

Of gracious favour, if you pleased to join

With us in being suitors to the duke

For his return to court.

Fiorm.                            To court! indeed,

You have some cause to speak; he undertook,

Most champion-like, to win the prize at tilt,

In honour of your picture; marry, did he.

There's not a groom o' the querry could have matched

The jolly riding-man: pray, get him back;

I do not need his service, madam, I.

Bian.  Not need it, sister? why, I hope you think

'Tis no necessity in me to move it,

More than respect of honour.

Fiorm.                                     Honour! puh!

Honour is talked of more than known by some.

Bian.  Sister, these words I understand not.

Ferna.  [Aside] Swell not, unruly thoughts! −

Madam, the motion you propose proceeds

From the true touch of goodness; 'tis a plea

Wherein my tongue and knee shall jointly strive

To beg his highness for Roseilli's cause.

Your judgment rightly speaks him; there is not

In any court of Christendom a man

For quality or trust more absolute.

Fiorm.  [Aside] How! is't even so?

Pet.                                            I shall for ever bless

Your highness for your gracious kind esteem

Of my disheartened kinsman; and to add

Encouragement to what you undertake,

I dare affirm ‘tis no important fault

Hath caused the duke’s distaste,

Bian.                                          I hope so too.

D’Av.  Let your highness, and you all, my lords, take

advice how you motion his excellency on Roseilli's

behalf; there is more danger in that man than is fit to

be publicly reported. I could wish things were

otherwise for his own sake; but I'll assure ye, you

will exceedingly alter his excellency's disposition he

now is in, if you but mention the name of Roseilli to

his ear; I am so much acquainted in the process of

his actions.

Bian.  If it be so, I am the sorrier, sir:

I'm loth to move my lord unto offence;

Yet I'll adventure chiding.

Ferna.  [Aside] O, had I India's gold, I'd give it all

T' exchange one private word, one minute's breath,

With this heart-wounding beauty!

Enter the Duke, Ferentes, and Nibrassa.

Duke.  Prithee, no more, Ferentes; by the faith

I owe to honour, thou hast made me laugh

Beside my spleen. − Fernando, hadst thou heard

The pleasant humour of Mauruccio's dotage

Discoursed, how in the winter of his age

He is become a lover, thou wouldst swear

A morris-dance were but a tragedy

Compared to that: well, we will see the youth. −

What council hold you now, sirs?

Bian.                                            We, my lord,

Were talking of the horsemanship in France,

Which, as your friend reports, he thinks exceeds

All other nations.

Duke.                  How! why, have not we

As gallant riders here?

Ferna.                          None that I know.

Duke.  Pish, your affection leads you; I dare wage

A thousand ducats, not a man in France

Outrides Roseilli.

Fiorm.  [Aside]      I shall quit this wrong.

Bian.  I said as much, my lord.

Ferna.                                       I have not seen

His practice since my coming back.

Duke.                                              Where is he?

How is't we see him not?

Pet.  [Aside]                  What's this? what's this?

Ferna.  I hear he was commanded from the court.

D’Av.  [Aside] O, confusion on this villainous


Duke.  True; but we meant a day or two at most

Should be his furthest term. Not yet returned?

Where's D'Avolos?

D’Av.  [Advancing] My lord?

Duke.                                     You know our mind:

How comes it thus to pass we miss Roseilli?

D’Av.  My lord, in a sudden discontent I hear he

departed towards Benevento, determining, as I

am given to understand, to pass to Seville, minding

to visit his cousin, Don Pedro de Toledo, in the

Spanish court.

Duke.  The Spanish court! now by the blessèd bones

Of good Saint Francis, let there posts be sent

To call him back, or I will post thy head

Beneath my foot: ha, you! you know my mind;

Look that you get him back: the Spanish court!

And without our commission! −

Pet.  [Aside]                            Here's fine juggling!

Bian.  Good sir, be not so moved.

Duke.                                          Fie, fie, Bianca,

'Tis such a gross indignity; I'd rather

Have lost seven years' revenue: − the Spanish court! −

How now, what ails our sister?

Fiorm.                                         On the sudden

I fall a-bleeding; 'tis an ominous sign,

Pray Heaven it turn to good! − Your highness' leave.


Duke.  Look to her. − Come, Fernando, − come, Bianca, −

Let's strive to overpass this choleric heat. −

[To D'Avolos] Sirrah, see that you trifle not. − How we

Who sway the manage by authority

May be abused by smooth officious agents! −

But look well to our sister.

[Exeunt all but Petruchio and Fernando.]

Pet.                                  Nephew, please you

To see your friend to-night?

Ferna.                                  Yes, uncle, yes.

[Exit Petruchio.]

Thus bodies walk unsouled! mine eyes but follow

My heart entombed in yonder goodly shrine:

Life without her is but death's subtle snares,

And I am but a coffin to my cares.




A Room in Mauruccio's House.

Mauruccio looking in a glass, trimming his beard;

Giacopo brushing him.

Maur.  Beard, be confined to neatness, that no hair

May stover up to prick my mistress' lip,

More rude than bristles of a porcupine. −


Gia.       My lord?

Maur.                  Am I all sweet behind?

Gia.  I have no poulterer's nose; but your apparel

sits about you most debonairly.

Maur.  But, Giacopo, with what grace do my words

proceed out of my mouth? Have I a moving

countenance? is there harmony in my voice?

canst thou perceive, as it were, a handsomeness

of shape in my very breath, as it is formed into

syllables, Giacopo?

Enter above Duke, Bianca, Fiormonda, Fernando,

Courtiers, and Attendants.

Gia.  Yes, indeed, sir, I do feel a savour as pleasant as −

[Aside] a glister-pipe − calamus, or civet.

Duke.  Observe him, and be silent.

Maur.  Hold thou the glass, Giacopo, and mark me

with what exceeding comeliness I could court the

lady marquess, if it come to the push.

Duke.  Sister, you are his aim.

Fiorm.                                      A subject fit

To be the stale of laughter!

Bian.                                  That's your music.

Maur.  Thus I reverse my pace, and thus stalking in

courtly gait, I advance one, two, and three. − Good!

I kiss my hand, make my congee, settle my

countenance, and thus begin. − Hold up the

glass higher, Giacopo.

Gia.  Thus high, sir?

Maur.  'Tis well; now mark me.

     “Most excellent marquéss, most fair la-dý,

        Let not old age or hairs that are sil-vér

     Disparage my desire; for it may be

        I am than other green youth nimble-ér.

     Since I am your gracé’s servánt so true, 

        Great lady, then, love me for my vir-túe.”

O, Giacopo, Petrarch was a dunce, Dante a jig-maker,

Sanazzar a goose, and Ariosto a puck-fist to me! I

tell thee, Giacopo, I am rapt with fury; and have

been for these six nights together drunk with the

pure liquor of Helicon.

Gia.  I think no less, sir; for you look as wild, and

talk as idly, as if you had not slept these nine years.

Duke.  What think you of this language, sister?

Fiorm.                                                                  Sir,

I think in princes' courts no age nor greatness

But must admit the fool; in me 'twere folly

To scorn what greater states than I have been.

Bian.  O, but you are too generál −

Fiorm.                                            A fool!

I thank your highness: many a woman's wit

Have thought themselves much better was much worse.

Bian.  You still mistake me.

Duke.                                  Silence! note the rest.

Maur.  God-a'mercy, brains! Giacopo, I have it.

Gia.  What, my lord?

Maur.  A conceit, Giacopo, and a fine one − down on

thy knees, Giacopo, and worship my wit. Give me

both thy ears. Thus it is; I will have my picture

drawn most composituously, in a square table of

some two foot long, from the crown of the head to

the waist downward, no further.

Gia.  Then you'll look like a dwarf, sir, being cut off

by the middle.

Maur.  Speak not thou, but wonder at the conceit that

follows. In my bosom, on my left side, I will have a

leaf of blood-red crimson velvet − as it were part of

my doublet − open; which being opened, Giacopo, −

now mark! − I will have a clear and most transparent

crystal in the form of a heart. − Singular-admirable! –

When I have framed this, I will, as some rare

outlandish piece of workmanship, bestow it on the

most fair and illustrious Lady Fiormonda.

Gia.  But now, sir, for the conceit.

Maur.  Simplicity and ignorance, prate no more!

blockhead, dost not understand yet? Why, this being

to her instead of a looking-glass, she shall no oftener

powder her hair, surfle her cheeks, cleanse her teeth,

or conform the hairs of her eyebrows, but having

occasion to use this glass − which for the rareness

and richness of it she will hourly do − but she shall

as often gaze on my picture, remember me, and

behold the excellence of her excellency's beauty

in the prospective and mirror, as it were, in my heart.

Gia.  Ay, marry, sir, this is something.

All above except Fiorm.   Ha, ha, ha!

[Exit Fiormonda.]

Bian.  My sister's gone in anger.

Maur.  Who's that laughs? search with thine eyes,


Gia.  O, my lord, my lord, you have gotten an

everlasting fame! the duke's grace, and the duchess'

grace, and my Lord Fernando's grace, with all the

rabble of courtiers, have heard every word; look

where they stand! Now you shall be made a count

for your wit, and I lord for my counsel.

Duke.  Beshrew the chance! we are discoverèd.

Maur.  Pity − O, my wisdom! I must speak to them. −

O, duke most great, and most renownèd duchess!

Excuse my apprehensión, which not much is;

'Tis love, my lord, that's all the hurt you see;

Angelica herself doth plead for me.

Duke.  We pardon you, most wise and learnèd lord;

And, that we may all glorify your wit,

Entreat your wisdom's company to-day

To grace our table with your grave discourse:

What says your mighty eloquence?

Maur.  Giacopo, help me; 'his grace has put me

out of my own bias, and I know not what to answer

in form.

Gia.  Ud's me, tell him you'll come.

Maur.  Yes, I will come, my lord the duke, I will.

Duke.  We take your word, and wish your honour health. −

Away, then! come, Bianca, we have found

A salve for melancholy, − mirth and ease.

[Exit the Duke followed by all

but Bianca and Fernando.]

Bian.  I'll see the jolly lover and his glass

Take leave of one another.

Maur.                                 Are they gone?

Gia.  O, my lord, I do now smell news.

Maur.  What news, Giacopo?

Gia.  The duke has a smackering towards you, and

you shall clap-up with his sister the widow suddenly.

Maur.  She is mine, Giacopo, she is mine! Advance

the glass, Giacopo, that I may practise, as I pass, to walk

a portly grace like a marquis, to which degree I am

now a-climbing.

     Thus do we march to honour's haven of bliss,

     To ride in triumph through Persepolis.

[Exit Giacopo, going backward with the glass,

followed by Mauruccio complimenting.]

Bian.  Now, as I live, here's laughter

Worthy our presence! I'll not lose him so.


Ferna.  Madam, −

Bian.              To me, my lord?

Ferna.                                      Please but to hear

The story of a castaway in love;

And, O, let not the passage of a jest

Make slight a sadder subject, who hath placed

All happiness in your diviner eyes!

Bian.  My lord, the time −

Ferna.                             The time! yet hear me speak

For I must speak or burst: I have a soul

So anchored down with cares in seas of woe,

That passion and the vows I owe to you

Have changed me to a lean anatomy:

Sweet princess of my life, −

Bian.                                 Forbear, or I shall −

Ferna.  Yet, as you honour virtue, do not freeze

My hopes to more discomfort than as yet

My fears suggest; no beauty so adorns

The composition of a well-built mind

As pity: hear me out.

Bian.                         No more! I spare

To tell you what you are, and must confess

Do almost hate my judgment, that it once

Thought goodness dwelt in you. Remember now,

It is the third time since your treacherous tongue

Hath pleaded treason to my ear and fame;

Yet, for the friendship 'twixt my lord and you,

I have not voiced your follies: if you dare

To speak a fourth time, you shall rue your lust;

Tis all no better: − learn and love yourself.


Ferna.  Gone! O, my sorrows! how am I undone!

Not speak again? no, no, in her chaste breast

Virtue and resolution have discharged

All female weakness: I have sued and sued,

Knelt, wept, and begged; but tears and vows and words

Move her no more than summer-winds a rock.

I must resolve to check this rage of blood,

     And will: she is all icy to my fires,

     Yet even that ice inflames in me desires.



A Room in Petruchio's House.

Enter Petruchio and Roseilli.

Ros.  Is't possible the duke should be so moved?

Pet.  'Tis true; you have no enemy at court

But her for whom you pine so much in love;

Then master your affections: I am sorry

You hug your ruin so. −

What say you to the project I proposed?

Ros.  I entertain it with a greater joy

Than shame can check.

Enter Fernando.

Pet.                              You're come as I could wish;

My cousin is resolved.

Ferna.                          Without delay

Prepare yourself, and meet at court anon,

Some half-hour hence; and Cupid bless your joy!

Ros.  If ever man was bounden to a friend, −

Ferna.  No more; away!

[Exeunt Petruchio and Roseilli.]

                                   Love's rage is yet unknown;

In his − ay me! − too well I feel my own! −

So, now I am alone; now let me think.

She is the duchess; say she be; a creature

Sewed-up in painted cloth might so be styled;

That's but a name: she's married too; she is,

And therefore better might distinguish love:

She's young and fair; why, madam, that's the bait

Invites me more to hope: she's the duke's wife;

Who knows not this? − she's bosomed to my friend;

There, there, I am quite lost: will not be won;

Still worse and worse: abhors to hear me speak;

Eternal mischief! I must urge no more;

For, were I not be-lepered in my soul,

Here were enough to quench the flames of hell.

What then? pish! if I must not speak, I'll write.

Come, then, sad secretary to my plaints,

Plead thou my faith, for words are turned to sighs.

What says this paper?

[Takes out a letter, and reads.]

Enter D’Avolos behind with two pictures.

D’Av.  [Aside] Now is the time. Alone? reading a

letter? good; how now! striking his breast! what,

in the name of policy, should this mean? tearing

his hair! passion; by all the hopes of my life,

plain passion! now I perceive it. If this be not

a fit of some violent affection, I am an ass in

understanding; why, 'tis plain, − plainer and

plainer; love in the extremest. O, for the party

who, now! The greatness of his spirits is too high

cherished to be caught with some ordinary stuff,

and if it be my Lady Fiormonda, I am strangely

mistook. Well, that I have fit occasion soon to

understand. I have here two pictures newly drawn,

to be sent for a present to the Abbot of Monaco,

the duchess' uncle, her own and my lady's: I'll

observe which of these may, perhaps, bewray

him − he turns about. − My noble lord! −

Ferna.  You're welcome, sir; I thank you.

D’Av.  Me, my lord! for what, my lord?

Ferna.  Who's there? I cry you mercy, D'Avolos,

I took you for another; pray, excuse me.

What is't you bear there?

D’Av.  No secret, my lord, but may be imparted to

you: a couple of pictures, my good lord, − please

you see them?

Ferna.  I care not much for pictures; but whose are they?

D’Av.  The one is for my lord's sister, the other is the


Ferna.  Ha, D'Avolos! the duchess's?

D’Av.  Yes, my lord. − [Aside] Sure, the word startled

him: observe that.

Ferna.  You told me, Master Secretary, once,

You owed me love.

D’Av.  Service, my honoured lord; howsoever you

please to term it.

Ferna.  'Twere rudeness to be suitor for a sight;

Yet trust me, sir, I'll be all secret.

D’Av.  I beseech your lordship; − they are, as I am,

constant to your pleasure.

[Shows Fiormonda's picture.]

This, my lord, is the widow marquess's, as it now

newly came from the picture-drawer's, the oil yet

green: a sweet picture; and, in my judgment, art

hath not been a niggard in striving to equal the

life. Michael Angelo himself needed not blush

to own the workmanship.

Ferna.  A very pretty picture; but, kind signior,

To whose use is it?

D’Av.  For the duke's, my lord, who determines to

send it with all speed as a present to Paul Baglione,

uncle to the duchess, that he may see the riches of

two such lustres as shine in the court of Pavy.

Ferna.  Pray, sir, the other?

D’Av.  [Shows Bianca's picture.] This, my lord, is

for the duchess Bianca: a wondrous sweet picture,

if you well observe with what singularity the

artsman hath strove to set forth each limb in

exquisitest proportion, not missing a hair.

Ferna.  A hair!

D’Av.  She cannot more formally, or − if it may be

lawful to use the word − more really, behold her

own symmetry in her glass than in taking a sensible

view of this counterfeit. When I first saw it, I verily

almost was of a mind that this was her very lip.

Ferna.  Lip!

D’Av.  [Aside] How constantly he dwells upon this

portraiture! − Nay, I'll assure your lordship there is

no defect of cunning − [Aside] His eye is fixed as if

it were incorporated there. − Were not the party

herself alive to witness that there is a creature

composed of flesh and blood as naturally enriched

with such harmony of admirable beauty as is here

artificially counterfeited, a very curious eye might

repute it as an imaginary rapture of some

transported conceit, to aim at an impossibility;

whose very first gaze is of force almost to persuade

a substantial love in a settled heart.

Ferna.  Love! heart!

D’Av.  My honoured lord, −

Ferna.  O Heavens!

D’Av.  [Aside] I am confirmed. − What ails your


Ferna.  You need not praise it, sir; itself is praise. −

[Aside] How near had I forgot myself! − I thank you.

'Tis such a picture as might well become

The shrine of some faned Venus; I am dazzled

With looking on't: − pray, sir, convey it hence.

D’Av.  I am all your servant. − [Aside] Blessed,

blessed discovery! − Please you to command me?

Ferna.  No, gentle sir. − [Aside] I'm lost beyond my senses. −

D'ye hear, sir? good, where dwells the picture-maker?

D’Av.  By the castle's farther drawbridge, near

Galiazzo's statue; his name is Alphonso Trinultio. –

[Aside] Happy above all fate!

Ferna.  You say enough; my thanks t'ye!

[Exit D’Avolos.]

                                                     − Were that picture

But rated at my lordship, 'twere too cheap.

I fear I spoke or did I know not what;

All sense of providence was in mine eye.

Enter Ferentes, Mauruccio, and Giacopo.

Feren.  [Aside] Youth in threescore years and ten! −

Trust me, my Lord Mauruccio, you are now younger

in the judgment of those that compare your former

age with your latter by seven-and-twenty years

than you were three years ago: by all my fidelity,

'tis a miracle! the ladies wonder at you.

Maur.  Let them wonder; I am wise as I am courtly.

Gia.  The ladies, my lord, call him the green broom

of the court, − he sweeps all before him, − and swear he

has a stabbing wit: it is a very glister to laughter.

Maur.  Nay, I know I can tickle 'em at my pleasure; I

am stiff and strong, Ferentes.

Gia.  [Aside] A radish-root is a spear of steel in

comparison of I know what.

Feren.  The marquess doth love you.

Maur.  She doth love me.

Feren.  And begins to do you infinite grace,

Mauruccio, infinite grace.

Ferna.  I'll take this time. − [Comes forward] Good

hour, my lords, to both!

Maur.  Right princely Fernando, the best of the

Fernandos; by the pith of generation, the man I look

for. His highness hath sent to find you out: he is

determined to weather his own proper individual

person for two days' space in my Lord Nibrassa's

forest, to hunt the deer, the buck, the roe, and eke

the barren doe.

Ferna.  Is his highness preparing to hunt?

Maur.  Yes, my lord, and resolved to lie forth for the

breviating the prolixity of some superfluous

transmigration of the sun's double cadence to the

western horizon, my most perspicuous good lord.

Ferna.  O, sir, let me beseech you to speak in your

own mother tongue. − [Aside] Two days' absence,

well. – My Lord Mauruccio, I have a suit t'ye, −

Maur.  My Lord Fernando, I have a suit to you.

Ferna.  That you will accept from me a very choice

token of my love: will you grant it?

Maur.  Will you grant mine?

Ferna.  What is't?

Maur.  Only to know what the suit is you please to

prefer to me.

Ferna.  Why, 'tis, my lord, a fool.

Maur.  A fool!

Ferna.  As very a fool as your lordship is − hopeful to

see in any time of your life.

Gia.  Now, good my lord, part not with the fool on

any terms.

Maur.  I beseech you, my lord, has the fool qualities?

Ferna.  Very rare ones: you shall not hear him

speak one wise word in a month's converse; passing

temperate of diet, for, keep him from meat four-and-

twenty hours, and he will fast a whole day and a

night together; unless you urge him to swear, there

seldom comes an oath from his mouth; and of a

fool, my lord, to tell ye the plain truth, had he but

half as much wit as you, my lord, he would be in

short time three-quarters as arrant wise as your


Maur.  Giacopo, these are very rare elements in a

creature of little understanding. O, that I long to

see him!

Ferna.  A very harmless idiot; − and, as you could

wish, look where he comes.

Enter Petruchio, and Roseilli dressed like a Fool.

Pet.  Nephew, here is the thing you sent for. − Come

hither, fool; come, 'tis a good fool.

Ferna.  Here, my lord, I freely give you the fool; pray

use him well for my sake.

Maur.  I take the fool most thankfully at your hands,

my lord. − Hast any qualities, my pretty fool? wilt

dwell with me?

Ros.  A, a, a, a, ay.

Pet.  I never beheld a more natural creature in my


Ferna.  Uncle, the duke, I hear, prepares to hunt;

Let's in and wait. − Farewell, Mauruccio.

[Exeunt Fernando and Petruchio.]

Maur.  Beast that I am, not to ask the fool's name! 'tis

no matter; fool is a sufficient title to call the greatest

lord in the court by, if he be no wiser than he.

Gia.  O, my lord, what an arrant excellent pretty

creature 'tis! − Come, honey, honey, honey, come!

Feren.  You are beholding to my Lord Fernando for

this gift.

Maur.  True. O, that he could but speak methodically!

− Canst speak, fool?

Ros.  Can speak; de e e e −

Feren.  Tis a present for an emperor. What an

excellent instrument were this to purchase a

suit or a monopoly from the duke's ear!

Maur.  I have it, I am wise and fortunate. − Giacopo,

I will leave all conceits, and instead of my picture,

offer the lady marquess this mortal man of weak


Gia.  My lord, you have most rarely bethought you;

for so shall she no oftener see the fool but she shall

remember you better than by a thousand looking-


Feren.  She will most graciously entertain it.

Maur.  I may tell you, Ferentes, there's not a great

woman amongst forty but knows how to make sport

with a fool. − Dost know how old thou art, sirrah?

Ros.  Dud − a clap cheek for nown sake, gaffer;

hee e e e e.

Feren.  Alas, you must ask him no questions, but clap

him on the cheek; I understand his language: your

fool is the tender-heartedest creature that is.

Enter Fiormonda and D’Avolos in close conversation.

Fiorm.  No more; thou hast in this discovery

Exceeded all my favours, D'Avolos.

Is't Mistress Madam Duchess? brave revenge!

D’Av.  But had your grace seen the infinite appetite

of lust in the piercing adultery of his eye, you

would −

Fiorm.  Or change him, or confound him: prompt dissembler!

Is here the bond of his religious vow?

And that, “now when the duke is rid abroad,

My gentleman will stay behind, is sick − or so"?

D’Av.  "Not altogether in health;" it was the excuse

he made.

Maur.  [Seeing them] Most fit opportunity! her grace

comes just i' the nick; let me study.

Feren.  Lose no time, my lord.

Gia.  To her, sir.

Maur.  Vouchsafe to stay thy foot, most Cynthian hue,

     And from a creature ever vowed thy servant

     Accept this gift, most rare, most fine, most new;

     The earnest penny of a love so fervent.

Fiorm.  What means the jolly youth?

Maur.  Nothing, sweet princess, but only to present

your grace with this sweet-faced fool; please you to

accept him to make you merry: I'll assure your

grace he is a very wholesome fool.

Fiorm.  A fool! you might as well ha' given yourself.

Whence is he?

Maur.  Now, just very now, given me out of special

favour by the Lord Fernando, madam.

Fiorm.  By him? well, I accept him; thank you for't:

And, in requital, take that toothpicker;

'Tis yours.

Maur.  A toothpicker! I kiss your bounty: no quibble

now? − And, madam,

     If I grow sick, to make my spirits quicker,

     I will revive them with this sweet toothpicker.

Fiorm.  Make use on't as you list. − Here D'Avolos,

Take in the fool.

D’Av.  Come, sweetheart, wilt along with me?

Ros.  U u umh, − u u mh, − wonnot, wonnot − u u umh.

Fiorm.  Wilt go with me, chick?

Ros.  Will go, te e e − go will go −

Fiorm.  Come D'Avolos, observe to-night; 'tis late:

Or I will win my choice, or curse my fate.

[Exeunt Fiormonda, Roseilli, and D’Avolos.]

Feren.  This was wisely done, now. 'Sfoot, you

purchase a favour from a creature, my lord, the

greatest king of the earth would be proud of.

Maur.  Giacopo! −

Gia.  My lord?

Maur.  Come behind me, Giacopo: I am big with

conceit, and must be delivered of poetry in the

eternal commendation of this gracious toothpicker:

− but, first, I hold it a most healthy policy to make

a slight supper –

     For meat's the food that must preserve our lives,

     And now's the time when mortals whet their knives −

on thresholds, shoe-soles, cart-wheels, &c. − Away,




The Palace.

Bianca's Apartment.

Enter Colona with Lights, Bianca, Fiormonda, Julia,

Fernando, and D’Avolos; Colona places the lights

on a table, and sets down a chess-board.

Bian.  Tis yet but early night, too soon to sleep:

Sister, shall's have a mate at chess?

Fiorm.                                               A mate!

No, madam, you are grown too hard for me;

My Lord Fernando is a fitter match.

Bian.  He's a well-practised gamester: well, I care not

How cunning soe'er he be. − To pass an hour

I'll try your skill, my lord: reach here the chess-board.

D’Av.  [Aside] Are you so apt to try his skill, madam

duchess? Very good!

Ferna.  I shall bewray too much my ignorance

In striving with your highness; 'tis a game

I lose at still by oversight.

Bian.                                Well, well,

I fear you not; let's to't.

Fiorm.                              You need not, madam.

D’Av.  [Aside to Fiormonda] Marry, needs she not;

how gladly will she to't! 'tis a rook to a queen she

heaves a pawn to a knight's place; by'r lady, if all be

truly noted, to a duke's place; and that's beside the

play, I can tell ye.

[Fernando and Bianca play.]

Fiorm.  Madam, I must entreat excuse; I feel

The temper of my body not in case

To judge the strife.

Bian.                      Lights for our sister, sirs! −

Good rest t'ye; I'll but end my game and follow.

Fiorm.  [Aside to D’Avolos]

Let 'em have time enough; and, as thou canst,

Be near to hear their courtship, D'Avolos.

D’Av.  [Aside to Fiormonda] Madam, I shall observe

'em with all cunning secrecy.

Bian.  Colona, attend our sister to her chamber.

Col.  I shall, madam.

[Exit Fiormonda, followed by Colona,

Julia, and D’Avolos.]

Bian.  Play.

Ferna.  I must not lose th’ advantage of the game:

Madam, your queen is lost.

Bian.                                 My clergy help me!

My queen! and nothing for it but a pawn?

Why, then, the game's lost too: but play.

Ferna.                                                  What, madam?

[Fernando often looks about.]

Bian.  You must needs play well, you are so studious. −

Fie upon't! you study past patience: −

What do you dream on? here is demurring

Would weary out a statue! − Good, now, play.

Ferna.  Forgive me; let my knees for ever stick


Nailed to the ground, as earthy as my fears,

Ere I arise, to part away so cursed

In my unbounded anguish as the rage

Of flames beyond all utterance of words

Devour me, lightened by your sacred eyes.

Bian.  What means the man?

Ferna.                                   To lay before your feet

In lowest vassalage the bleeding heart

That sighs the tender of a suit disdained.

Great lady, pity me, my youth, my wounds;

And do not think that I have culled this time

From motion's swiftest measure to unclasp

The book of lust: if purity of love

Have residence in virtue's breast, lo here,

Bent lower in my heart than on my knee,

I beg compassion to a love as chaste

As softness of desire can intimate.

Re-enter D’Avolos behind.

D’Av.  [Aside] At it already! admirable haste!

Bian.  Am I again betrayed? bad man! −

Ferna.                                                   Keep in

Bright angel, that severer breath, to cool

That heat of cruèlty which sways the temple

Of your too stony breast: you cannot urge

One reason to rebuke my trembling plea,

Which I have not with many nights' expense

Examined; but, O, madam, still I find

No physic strong to cure a tortured mind,

But freedom from the torture it sustains.

D’Av.  [Aside] Not kissing yet? still on your

knees? O, for a plump bed and clean sheets,

to comfort the aching of his shins! We shall

have 'em clip anon and lisp kisses; here's

ceremony with a vengeance!

Bian.  Rise up; we charge you, rise!

[He rises.]

                                                       Look on our face:

What see you there that may persuade a hope

Of lawless love? Know, most unworthy man,

So much we hate the baseness of thy lust,

As, were none living of thy sex but thee,

We had much rather prostitute our blood

To some envenomed serpent than admit

Thy bestial dalliance. Couldst thou dare to speak

Again, when we forbade? no, wretched thing,

Take this for answer: if thou henceforth ope

Thy leprous mouth to tempt our ear again,

We shall not only certify our lord

Of thy disease in friendship, but revenge

Thy boldness with the forfeit of thy life.

Think on't.

D’Av.  [Aside] Now, now, now the game is a-foot!

your gray jennet with the white face is curried,

forsooth; − please your lordship leap up into the

saddle, forsooth. − Poor duke, how does thy head

ache now!

Ferna.  Stay; go not hence in choler, blessèd woman!

You've schooled me; lend me hearing: though the float

Of infinite desires swell to a tide

Too high so soon to ebb, yet, by this hand,

[Kisses her hand.]

This glorious, gracious hand of yours, −

D’Av.  [Aside] Ay, marry, the match is made;

clap hands and to't, ho!

Ferna.                                                 I swear,

Henceforth I never will as much in word,

In letter, or in syllable, presume

To make a repetition of my griefs.

Good-night t'ye! If, when I am dead, you rip

This coffin of my heart, there shall you read

With constant eyes, what now my tongue defines,

Bianca's name carved out in bloody lines.

For ever, lady, now good-night!

Bian.                                         Good-night!

Rest in your goodness. − Lights there! −

Enter Attendants with lights.

                                                          Sir, good-night!

[Exeunt Bianca and Fernando sundry ways,

with Attendants.]

D’Av.  So, via! − To be cuckold − mercy and

providence − is as natural to a married man as to eat,

sleep, or wear a nightcap. Friends! − I will rather trust

mine arm in the throat of a lion, my purse with a

courtesan, my neck with the chance on a die, or my

religion in a synagogue of Jews, than my wife with

a friend. Wherein do princes exceed the poorest

peasant that ever was yoked to a sixpenny strumpet

but that the horns of the one are mounted some

two inches higher by a choppine than the other?

O Actӕon! the goodliest-headed beast of the

forest amongst wild cattle is a stag; and the

goodliest beast among tame fools in a corporation

is a cuckold.

Re-enter Fiormonda.

Fiorm.  Speak, D'Avolos, how thrives intelligence?

D’Av.  Above the prevention of fate, madam. I saw

him kneel, make pitiful faces, kiss hands and

forefingers, rise, − and by this time he is up, up,

madam. Doubtless the youth aims to be duke,

for he is gotten into the duke's seat an hour ago.

Fiorm.  Is't true?

D’Av.  Oracle, oracle! Siege was laid, parley admitted,

composition offered, and the fort entered; there's no

interruption. The duke will be at home to-morrow,

gentle animal! − what d'ye resolve?

Fiorm.  To stir-up tragedies as black as brave,

And send the lecher panting to his grave.



A Bedchamber in the Palace.

Enter Bianca, her hair loose, in her night-mantle.

She draws a curtain, and Fernando is discovered

in bed, sleeping; she sets down the candle,

and goes to the bedside.

Bian.  Resolve, and do; 'tis done. − What! are those eyes,

Which lately were so overdrowned in tears,

So easy to take rest? O happy man!

How sweetly sleep hath sealed up sorrows here!

But I will call him. − What, my lord, my lord,

My Lord Fernando!

Ferna.                     Who calls me?

Bian.                                            My lord,

Sleeping or waking?

Ferna.                      Ha! who is't?

Bian.                                            'Tis I:

Have you forgot my voice? or is your ear

But useful to your eye?

Ferna.  Madam, the duchess!

Bian.                                   She, 'tis she; sit up,

Sit up and wonder, whiles my sorrows swell:

The nights are short, and I have much to say.

Ferna.  Is't possible 'tis you?

Bian.                                 'Tis possible:

Why do you think I come?

Ferna.                               Why! to crown joys,

And make me master of my best desires.

Bian.  'Tis true, you guess aright; sit up and listen.

With shame and passion now I must confess,

Since first mine eyes beheld you, in my heart

You have been only king; if there can be

A violence in love, then I have felt

That tyranny: be record to my soul

The justice which I for this folly fear!

Fernando, in short words, howe'er my tongue

Did often chide thy love, each word thou spak'st

Was music to my ear; was never poor,

Poor wretched woman lived that loved like me,

So truly, so unfeignèdly.

Ferna.                              O, madam!

Bian.  To witness that I speak is truth, look here!

Thus singly I adventure to thy bed,

And do confess my weakness: if thou tempt'st

My bosom to thy pleasures, I will yield.

Ferna.  Perpetual happiness!

Bian.                                 Now hear me out.

When first Caraffa, Pavy's duke, my lord,

Saw me, he loved me; and without respect

Of dower took me to his bed and bosom;

Advanced me to the titles I possess,

Not moved by counsel or removed by greatness;

Which to requite, betwixt my soul and Heaven

I vowed a vow to live a constant wife:

I have done so; nor was there in the world

A man created could have broke that truth

For all the glories of the earth but thou,

But thou, Fernando! Do I love thee now?

Ferna.  Beyond imagination.

Bian.                                  True, I do,

Beyond imagination: if no pledge

Of love can instance what I speak is true

But loss of my best joys, here, here, Fernando,

Be satisfied and ruin me.

Ferna.                             What d'ye mean?

Bian.  To give my body up to thy embraces,

A pleasure that I never wished to thrive in

Before this fatal minute. Mark me now;

If thou dost spoil me of this robe of shame,

By my best comforts, here I vow again,

To thee, to Heavèn, to the world, to time,

Ere yet the morning shall new-christen day,

I'll kill myself!

Ferna.              How, madam, how!

Bian.                                              I will:

Do what thou wilt, 'tis in thy choice: what say ye?

Ferna.  Pish! do you come to try me? tell me, first,

Will you but grant a kiss?

Bian.                                Yes, take it; that,

Or what thy heart can wish: I am all thine.

[Fernando kisses her.]

Ferna.  O, me! − Come, come; how many women, pray,

Were ever heard or read of, granted love,

And did as you protest you will?

Bian.                                           Fernando,

Jest not at my calamity. I kneel:


By these dishevelled hairs, these wretched tears,

By all that's good, if what I speak my heart

Vows not eternally, then think, my lord,

Was never man sued to me I denied, −

Think me a common and most cunning whore;

And let my sins be written on my grave,

My name rest in reproof!


                                      Do as you list.

Ferna.  I must believe ye, − yet I hope anon,

When you are parted from me, you will say

I was a good, cold, easy-spirited man,

Nay, laugh at my simplicity: say, will ye?

Bian.  No, by the faith I owe my bridal vows!

But ever hold thee much, much dearer far

Than all my joys on earth, by this chaste kiss.

[Kisses him.]

Ferna.  You have prevailed; and Heaven forbid that I

Should by a wanton appetite profane

This sacred temple! 'tis enough for me

You'll please to call me servant.

Bian.                                         Nay, be thine:

Command my power, my bosom; and I'll write

This love within the tables of my heart.

Ferna.  Enough: I'll master passion, and triumph

In being conquered; adding to it this,

In you my love as it begun shall end.

Bian.  The latter I new-vow. But day comes on;

What now we leave unfinished of contént,

Each hour shall pérfect up: sweet, let us part.

Ferna.  This kiss, − best life, good rest!

[Kisses her.]

Bian.                                                  All mine to thee!

Remember this, and think I speak thy words;

"When I am dead, rip up my heart, and read

With constant eyes, what now my tongue defines,

Fernando's name carved out in bloody lines."

Once more, good rest, sweet!

Ferna.                                     Your most faithful servant!

[Exit Bianca − Scene closes.]




An Apartment in the Palace.

Enter Nibrassa chafing, followed by Julia weeping.

Nib.  Get from me, strumpet, infamous whore,

leprosy of my blood! make thy moan to

ballad-singers and rhymers; they'll jig-out thy

wretchedness and abominations to new tunes:

as for me, I renounce thee; thou'rt no daughter

of mine; I disclaim the legitimation of thy birth,

and curse the hour of thy nativity.

Jul.  Pray, sir, vouchsafe me hearing.

Nib.  With child! shame to my grave! O, whore,

wretched beyond utterance or reformation, what

wouldst say?

Jul.  Sir, by the honour of my mother's hearse,

He has protested marriage, pledged his faith;

If vows have any force, I am his wife.

Nib.  His faith! Why, thou fool, thou wickedly-

credulous fool, canst thou imagine luxury is

observant of religion? no, no; it is with a

frequent lecher as usual to forswear as to swear;

their piety is in making idolatry a worship; their

hearts and their tongues are as different as thou,

thou whore! and a virgin.

Jul.  You are too violent; his truth will prove

His constancy, and so excuse my fault.

Nib.  Shameless woman! this belief will damn thee.

How will thy lady marquess justly reprove me for

preferring to her service a monster of so lewd and

impudent a life! Look to't; if thy smooth devil

leave thee to thy infamy, I will never pity thy

mortal pangs, never lodge thee under my roof,

never own thee for my child; mercy be my witness!

Enter Petruchio, leading Colona.

Pet.  Hide not thy folly by unwise excuse,

Thou art undone, Colona; no entreaties,

No warning, no persuasion, could put off

The habit of thy dotage on that man

Of much deceit, Ferentes. Would thine eyes

Had seen me in my grave, ere I had known

The stain of this thine honour!

Col.                                          Good my lord,

Reclaim your incredulity: my fault

Proceeds from lawful compositión

Of wedlock; he hath sealed his oath to mine

To be my husband.

Nib.  Husband! hey-day! is't even so? nay, then, we

have partners in affliction: if my jolly gallant's long

clapper have struck on both sides, all is well. −

Petruchio, thou art not wise enough to be a paritor:

come hither, man, come hither; speak softly; is thy

daughter with child?

Pet.  With child, Nibrassa!

Nib.  Foh! do not trick me off; I overheard your

gabbling. Hark in thine ear, so is mine too.

Pet.  Alas, my lord, by whom?

Nib.  Innocent! by whom? what an idle question is

that! One cock hath trod both our hens: Ferentes,

Ferentes; who else? How dost take it? methinks

thou art wondrous patient: why, I am mad, stark


Pet.  How like you this, Colona? 'tis too true:

Did not this man protest to be your husband?

Col.  Ay me! to me he did.

Nib.  What else, what else, Petruchio? − and,

madam, my quondam daughter, I hope h'ave

passed some huge words of matrimony to you


Jul.  Alas! to me he did.

Nib.  And how many more the great incubus of hell

knows best. − Petruchio, give me your hand; mine

own daughter in this arm, − and yours, Colona, in

this: − there, there, sit ye down together.

[Julia and Colona sit down.]

Never rise, as you hope to inherit our blessings,

till you have plotted some brave revenge; think

upon it to purpose, and you shall want no seconds

to further it; be secret one to another. − Come,

Petruchio, let 'em alone: the wenches will demur

on't, and for the process we'll give 'em courage.

Pet.  You counsel wisely; I approve your plot. – Think

on your shames, and who it was that wrought 'em.


Nib.  Ay, ay, ay, leave them alone. − To work,

wenches, to work!

[Exeunt Nibrassa and Petruchio.]

Col.  We are quite ruined.

Jul.                               True, Colona,

Betrayed to infamy, deceived, and mocked,

By an unconstant villain: what shall's do?

I am with child.

Col.                 Heigh-ho! and so am I:

But what shall's do now?

Jul.                                 This: with cunning words

First prove his love; he knows I am with child.

Col.  And so he knows I am; I told him on't

Last meeting in the lobby, and, in troth,

The false deceiver laughed.

Jul.                                     Now, by the stars,

He did the like to me, and said 'twas well

I was so happily sped.

Col.                            Those very words

He used to me: it fretted me to the heart:

I'll be revenged.

Jul.                   Peace! here's a noise, methinks.

Let's rise; we'll take a time to talk of this.

[They rise, and walk aside.]

Enter Ferentes and Morona.

Feren.  Will ye hold? death of my delights, have ye

lost all sense of shame? You're best roar about the

court that I have been your woman's-barber and

trimmed ye, kind Morona.

Mor.  Defiance to thy kindness! thou'st robbed me of

my good name; didst promise to love none but me,

me, only me; sworest like an unconscionable villain,

to marry me the twelfth day of the month two months

since; didst make my bed thine own, mine house

thine own, mine all and everything thine own. I will

exclaim to the world on thee, and beg justice of the

duke himself, villain! I will.

Feren.  Yet again? nay, an if you be in that mood,

shut up your fore-shop, I'll be your journeyman no

longer. Why, wise Madam Dryfist, could your mouldy

brain be so addle to imagine I would marry a stale

widow at six-and-forty? Marry gip! are there not

varieties enough of thirteen? come, stop your

clap-dish, or I'll purchase a carting for you. − By this

light, I have toiled more with this tough carrion

hen than with ten quails scarce grown into their

first feathers.

Mor.  O, treason to all honesty or religion! − Speak,

thou perjured, damnable, ungracious defiler of

women, who shall father my child which thou

hast begotten?

Feren.  Why, thee, countrywoman; thou'st a larger

purse to pay for the nursing. Nay, if you'll needs

have the world know how you, reputed a grave,

matron-like, motherly madam, kicked up your

heels like a jennet whose mark is new come into

her mouth, e'en do, do! the worst can be said of

me is, that I was ill advised to dig for gold in a

coal-pit. Are you answered?

Mor.  Answered!

Jul.  Let's fall amongst 'em.

[Comes forward with Colona]

− Love, how is't, chick? ha?

Col.  My dear Ferentes, my betrothèd lord!

Feren.  [Aside] Excellent! O, for three Barbary

stone-horses to top three Flanders mares! − Why,

how now, wenches! what means this?

Mor.  Out upon me! here's more of his trulls.

Jul.  Love, you must go with me.

Col.                                            Good love, let's walk.

Feren.  [Aside] I must rid my hands of 'em, or they'll

ride on my shoulders. − By your leave, ladies; here's

none but is of common counsel one with another; in

short, there are three of ye with child, you tell me,

by me. All of you I cannot satisfy, nor, indeed,

handsomely any of ye. You all hope I should marry

you; which, for that it is impossible to be done, I

am content to have neither of ye: for your looking

big on the matter, keep your own counsels, I'll not

bewray ye! but for marriage, − Heaven bless ye, and

me from ye! This is my resolution.

Col.  How, not me!

Jul.  Not me!

Mor.  Not me!

Feren.  Nor you, nor you, nor you: and to give you

some satisfaction, I'll yield ye reasons. − You, Colona,

had a pretty art in your dalliance; but your fault was,

you were too suddenly won. − You, Madam Morona,

could have pleased well enough some three or four-

and-thirty years ago; but you are too old. − You, Julia,

were young enough, but your fault is, you have a

scurvy face. − Now, everyone knowing her proper

defect, thank me that I ever vouchsafed you the

honour of my bed once in your lives. If you want

clouts, all I'll promise is to rip up an old shirt or

two. So, wishing a speedy deliverance to all your

burdens, I commend you to your patience.


Mor.  Excellent!

Jul.                  Notable!

Col.                            Unmatchèd villain!

Jul.  Madam, though strangers, yet we understand

Your wrongs do equal ours; which to revenge,

Please but to join with us, and we'll redeem

Our loss of honour by a brave exploit.

Mor.  I embrace your motion, ladies, with gladness,

and will strive by any action to rank with you in

any danger.

Col.  Come, gentlewomen, let's together, then. −

        Thrice happy maids that never trusted men!



The State-room in the Palace.

Enter the Duke, Bianca supported by Fernando,

Fiormonda, Petruchio, Nibrassa,

Ferentes, and D'Avolos.

Duke.  Roseilli will not come, then! will not? well;

His pride shall ruin him. − Our letters speak

The duchess' uncle will be here to-morrow, −

To-morrow, D'Avolos.

D’Av.  To-morrow night, my lord, but not to make

more than one day's abode here; for his Holiness

has commanded him to be at Rome the tenth of

this month, the conclave of cardinals not being

resolved to sit till his coming.

Duke.  Your uncle, sweetheart, at his next return

Must be saluted cardinal. − Ferentes,

Be it your charge to think on some device

To entertain the present with delight.

Ferna.  My lord, in honour to the court of Pavy

I'll join with you. − Ferentes, not long since

I saw in Brussels, at my being there,

The Duke of Brabant welcome the Archbishop

Of Mentz with rare conceit, even on a sudden,

Performed by knights and ladies of his court,

In nature of an antic; which methought −

For that I ne'er before saw women-antics −

Was for the newness strange, and much commended.

Bian.  Now, good my Lord Fernando, further this

In any wise; it cannot but content.

Fiorm.  [Aside] If she entreat, 'tis ten to one the man

Is won beforehand.

Duke.                    Friend, thou honour'st me:

But can it be so speedily performed?

Ferna.  I'll undertake it, if the ladies please,

To exercise in person only that:

And we must have a fool, or such an one

As can with art well act him.

Fiorm.                                     I shall fit ye;

I have a natural.

Ferna.                Best of all, madam:

Then nothing wants. − You must make one, Ferentes.

Feren.  With my best service and dexterity,

My lord.

Pet.  [Aside to Nibrassa]

            This falls out happily, Nibrassa.

Nib.  [Aside to Petruchio] We could not wish it better:

Heaven is an unbribed justice.

Duke.  We'll meet our uncle in a solemn grace

Of zealous presence, as becomes the church:

See all the choir be ready, D'Avolos.

D’Av.  I have already made your highness' pleasure

known to them.

Bian.  Your lip, my lord!

Ferna.  Madam?

Bian.  Perhaps your teeth have bled: wipe't with my

handkercher: give me, I'll do't myself. −

[Aside to Fernando] Speak, shall I steal a kiss?

believe me, my lord, I long.

Ferna.  Not for the world.

Fiorm.  [Aside] Apparent impudence!

D’Av.  Beshrew my heart, but that's not so good.

Duke.  Ha, what's that thou mislikest, D'Avolos?

D’Av.  Nothing, my lord; − but I was hammering a

conceit of my own, which cannot, I find, in so

short a time thrive as a day's practice.

Fiorm.  [Aside] Well put off, secretary.

Duke.  We are too sad; methinks the life of mirth

Should still be fed where we are: where's Mauruccio?

Feren.  An't please your highness, he's of late grown

so affectionately inward with my lady marquess's

fool, that I presume he is confident there are few

wise men worthy of his society, who are not as

innocently harmless as that creature. It is almost

impossible to separate them, and 'tis a question

which of the two is the wiser man.

Duke.  'Would he were here! I have a kind of dulness

Hangs on me since my hunting, that I feel

As 'twere a disposition to be sick;

My head is ever aching.

D’Av.  A shrewd ominous token; I like not that neither.

Duke.  Again! what is't you like not?

D’Av.  I beseech your highness excuse me; I am so

busy with this frivolous project, and can bring it to

no shape, that it almost confounds my capacity.

Bian.  My lord, you were best to try a set at maw.

I and your friend, to pass away the time,

Will undertake your highness and your sister.

Duke.  The game's too tedious.

Fiorm.                                       'Tis a peevish play;

Your knave will heave the queen out or your king;

Besides, 'tis all on fortune.

Enter Mauruccio with Roseilli disguised

as before, and Giacopo.

Maur.  Bless thee, most excellent duke! I here present

thee as worthy and learned a gentleman as ever I − and

yet I have lived threescore years − conversed with.

Take it from me, I have tried him, and he is worthy

to be privy-counsellor to the greatest Turk in

Christendom; of a most apparent and deep

understanding, slow of speech, but speaks to the

purpose. − Come forward, sir, and appear before his

highness in your own proper elements.

Ros.  Will − tye − to da new toate sure la now.

Gia.  A very senseless gentleman, and, please your

highness, one that has a great deal of little wit, as

they say.

Maur.  O, sir, had you heard him, as I did, deliver

whole histories in the Tangay tongue, you would

swear there were not such a linguist breathed again;

and did I but perfectly understand his language, I

would be conf