THE PICTURE
A True Hungarian History

By Philip Massinger

Performed 1629

First Published 1630

A Tragecomedie,

As it was often presented with good
allowance, at the Globe, and Blacke
Friers Play-houses, by the Kings
Maiesties Servants.

 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

The Hungarian Court:

Ladislaus, king of Hungary.

     Honoria, the queen.

          Acanthe, maid of honour.

          Sylvia, maid of honour.

Ferdinand, general of the army.

Eubulus, an old counsellor.

Ubaldo, a wild courtier.

Ricardo, a wild courtier.

Bohemian Characters:

Mathias, a knight of Bohemia.

     Sophia, wife to Mathias.

          Hilario, servant to Sophia.

          Corisca, Sophia's woman.

Julio Baptista, a great scholar.

Two Boys, representing Apollo and Pallas.

Two Posts, or Couriers.

A Guide.

Servants to the queen.

Servants to Mathias.

Maskers, Attendants, Officers, Captains, &c.

SCENE:

Partly in Hungary, and partly in Bohemia.

Settings, Scene Breaks and Stage Directions.

     The original quarto does not provide settings for the play; all this edition's indicated settings are adopted from Gifford.
     The original quarto of The Picture was divided into five Acts and multiple scenes, which organization we follow.
     Finally, as is our normal practice, some stage directions have been added, and some modified, for purposes of clarity. Most of these minor changes are adopted from Gifford.


 

ACT I.

SCENE I.

The Frontiers of Bohemia.

Enter Mathias in armour, Sophia in a riding suit,

Corisca, Hilario, with other Servants.

1

Math.  Since we must part, Sophia, to pass further

2

Is not alone impertinent, but dangerous.

We are not distant from the Turkish camp

4

Above five leagues, and who knows but some party

Of his Timariots, that scour the country,

6

May fall upon us? − be now, as thy name,

Truly interpreted, hath ever spoke thee,

8

Wise and discreet; and to thy understanding

Marry thy constant patience.

10

Soph.                                 You put me, sir,

12

To the utmost trial of it.

14

Math.                           Nay, no melting;

Since the necessity that now separates us,

16

We have long since disputed, and the reasons,

Forcing me to it, too oft washed in tears.

18

I grant that you, in birth, were far above me,

And great men, my superiors, rivals for you;

20

But mutual consent of heart, as hands,

Joined by true love, hath made us one, and equal:

22

Nor is it in me mere desire of fame,

Or to be cried up by the public voice,

24

For a brave soldier, that puts on my armour:

Such airy tumours take not me. You know

26

How narrow our demeans are, and what's more,

Having as yet no charge of children on us,

28

We hardly can subsist.

30

Soph.                          In you alone, sir,

I have all abundance.

32

Math.                       For my mind's content,

34

In your own language I could answer you.

You have been an obedient wife, a right one;

36

And to my power, though short of your desert,

I have been ever an indulgent husband.

38

We have long enjoyed the sweets of love, and though

Not to satiety, or loathing, yet

40

We must not live such dotards on our pleasures,

As still to hug them, to the certain loss

42

Of profit and preferment. Competent means

Maintains a quiet bed; want breeds dissention,

44

Even in good women.

46

Soph.                        Have you found in me, sir,

Any distaste, or sign of discontent,

48

For want of what's superfluous?

50

Math.                                       No, Sophia;

Nor shalt thou ever have cause to repent

52

Thy constant course in goodness, if Heaven bless

My honest undertakings. 'Tis for thee

54

That I turn soldier, and put forth, dearest,

Upon this sea of action, as a factor,

56

To trade for rich materials to adorn

Thy noble parts, and shew them in full lustre.

58

I blush that other ladies, less in beauty

And outward form, but in the harmony

60

Of the soul's ravishing music, the same age

Not to be named with thee, should so out-shine thee

62

In jewèls, and variety of wardrobes;

While you, to whose sweet innocence both Indies

64

Compared are of no value, wanting these,

Pass unregarded.

66

Soph.                 If I am so rich, or

68

In your opiniön, why should you borrow

Additions for me?

70

Math.                Why! I should be censured

72

Of ignorance, possessing such a jewel

Above all price, if I forbear to give it

74

The best of ornaments: therefore, Sophia,

In few words know my pleasure, and obey me,

76

As you have ever done. To your discretion

I leave the government of my family,

78

And our poor fortunes; and from these command

Obedience to you, as to myself:

80

To the utmost of what's mine, live plentifully;

And, ere the remnant of our store be spent,

82

With my good sword I hope I shall reap for you

A harvest in such full abundance, as

84

Shall make a merry winter.

86

Soph.                                 Since you are not

To be diverted, sir, from what you purpose,

88

All arguments to stay you here are useless:

Go when you please, sir. − Eyes, I charge you waste not

90

One drop of sorrow; look you hoard all up

Till in my widowed bed I call upon you,

92

But then be sure you fail not. You blest angels,

Guardians of human life, I at this instant

94

Forbear t'invoke you: at our parting, 'twere

To personate devotiön. − My soul

96

Shall go along with you, and, when you are

Circled with death and horror, seek and find you:

98

And then I will not leave a saint unsued to

For your protectiön. To tell you what

100

I will do in your absence, would shew poorly;

My actions shall speak for me: 'twere to doubt you

102

To beg I may hear from you; where you are

You cannot live obscure, nor shall one post,

104

By night or day, pass unexamined by me.

If I dwell long upon your lips, consider,

106

[Kisses him.]

108

After this feast, the griping fast that follows,

110

And it will be excusable; pray turn from me.

All that I can, is spoken.

112

[Exit Sophia.]

114

Math.                           Follow your mistress.

116

Forbear your wishes for me; let me find them,

At my return, in your prompt will to serve her.

118

Hil.  For my part, sir, I will grow lean with study

120

To make her merry.

122

Coris.                    Though you are my lord,

Yet being her gentlewoman, by my place

124

I may take my leave; your hand, or, if you please

To have me fight so high, I'll not be coy,

126

But stand a-tip-toe for't.

128

Math.                           O, farewell, girl!

130

[Kisses her.]

132

Hil.  A kiss well begged, Corisca.

134

Coris.                                         'Twas my fee;

Love, how he melts! I cannot blame my lady's

136

Unwillingness to part with such marmalade lips.

There will be scrambling for them in the camp;

138

And were it not for my honesty, I could wish now

I were his leaguer laundress; I would find

140

Soap of mine own, enough to wash his linen,

Or I would strain hard for't.

142

Hil.                                  How the mammet twitters! −

144

Come, come; my lady stays for us.

146

Coris.                                           Would I had been

Her ladyship the last night!

148

Hil.                                    No more of that, wench.

150

[Exeunt Hilario, Corisca, and the rest.]

152

Math. I am strangely troubled: yet why I should nourish

154

A fury here, and with imagined food,

Having no real grounds on which to raise

156

A building of suspicion she was ever

Or can be false hereafter? I in this

158

But foolishly enquire the knowledge of

A future sorrow, which, if I find out,

160

My present ignorance were a cheap purchase,

Though with my loss of being. I have already

162

Dealt with a friend of mine, a general scholar,

One deeply read in nature's hidden secrets,

164

And, though with much unwillingness, have won him

To do as much as art can, to resolve me

166

My fate that follows. − To my wish, he's come.

168

Enter Baptista.

170

Julio Baptista, now I may affirm

Your promise and performance walk together;

172

And therefore, without circumstance, to the point:

Instruct me what I am.

174

Bapt.                           I could wish you had

176

Made trial of my love some other way.

178

Math.  Nay, this is from the purpose.

180

Bapt.                                                If you can

Proportion your desire to any mean,

182

I do pronounce you happy; I have found,

By certain rules of art, your matchless wife

184

Is to this present hour from all pollution

Free and untainted.

186

Math.                    Good.

188

Bapt.                             In reason, therefore,

190

You should fix here, and make no further search

Of what may fall hereafter.

192

Math.                                O, Baptista,

194

'Tis not in me to master so my passions;

I must know further, or you have made good

196

But half your promise. While my love stood by,

Holding her upright, and my presence was

198

A watch upon her, her desires being met too

With equal ardour from me, what one proof

200

Could she give of her constancy, being untempted?

But when I am absent, and my coming back

202

Uncertain, and those wanton heats in women

Not to be quenched by lawful means, and she

204

The absolute disposer of herself,

Without control or curb; nay, more, invited

206

By opportunity, and all strong temptations,

If then she hold out −

208

Bapt.                     As, no doubt, she will.

210

Math.  Those doubts must be made certainties, Baptista,

212

By your assurance; or your boasted art

Deserves no admiration. How you trifle,

214

And play with my affliction! I am on

The rack, till you confirm me.

216

Bapt.                                      Sure, Mathias,

218

I am no god, nor can I dive into

Her hidden thoughts, or know what her intents are;

220

That is denied to art, and kept concealed

Even from the devils themselves: they can but guess,

222

Out of long observation, what is likely;

But positively to fortell that shall be,

224

You may conclude impossible. All I can,

I will do for you; when you are distant from her

226

A thousand leagues, as if you then were with her,

You shall know truly when she is solicited,

228

And how far wrought on.

230

Math.                              I desire no more.

232

Bapt.  Take, then, this little model of Sophia,

With more than human skill limned to the life;

234

[Gives him a picture.]

236

Each line and lineament of it, in the drawing

238

So punctually observed, that, had it motion,

In so much 'twere herself.

240

Math.                               It is indeed

242

An admirable piece; but if it have not

Some hidden virtue that I cannot guess at,

244

In what can it advantage me?

246

Bapt.                                     I'll instruct you:

Carry it still about you, and as oft

248

As you desire to know how she's affected,

With curious eyes peruse it: while it keeps

250

The figure it now has, entire and perfit,

She is not only innocent in fact,

252

But unattempted; but if once it vary

From the true form, and what's now white and red

254

Incline to yellow, rest most confident

She's with all violence courted, but unconquered;

256

But if it turn all black, 'tis an assurance

The fort, by composition or surprise,

258

Is forced, or with her free consent surrendered.

260

Math.  How much you have engaged me for this favour,

The service of my whole life shall make good.

262

Bapt.  We will not part so, I'll along with you,

264

And it is needful: with the rising sun

The armies meet; yet, ere the fight begin,

266

In spite of opposition, I will place you

In the head of the Hungarian general's troop,

268

And near his person.

270

Math.                      As my better angel,

You shall direct and guide me.

272

Bapt.                                      As we ride

274

I'll tell you more.

276

Math.                 In all things I'll obey you.

278

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE II.

Alba Regalis, Hungary.

A State-room in the Palace.

Enter Ubaldo and Ricardo.

1

Ric.  When came the post?

2

Ubald.                           The last night.

4

Ric.                                                   From the camp?

6

Ubald.  Yes, as 'tis said, and the letter writ and signed

8

By the general, Ferdinand.

10

Ric.                                  Nay, then, sans question,

It is of moment.

12

Ubald.             It concerns the lives

14

Of two great armies.

16

Ric.                        Was it cheerfully

Received by the king?

18

Ubald.                      Yes; for being assured

20

The armies were in view of one another,

Having proclaimed a public fast and prayer

22

For the good success, he dispatched a gentleman

Of his privy chamber to the general,

24

With absolute authority from him

To try the fortune of a day.

26

Ric.                                    No doubt then

28

The general will come on, and fight it bravely.

Heaven prosper him! This military art

30

I grant to be the noblest of professions;

And yet, I thank my stars for't, I was never

32

Inclined to learn it; since this bubble honour

(Which is, indeed, the nothing soldiers fight for),

34

With the loss of limbs or life, is, in my judgment,

Too dear a purchase.

36

Ubald.                     Give me our court-warfare:

38

The danger is not great in the encounter

Of a fair mistress.

40

Ric.                     Fair and sound together

42

Do very well, Ubaldo; but such are,

With difficulty to be found out; and when they know

44

Their value, prized too high. By thy own report,

Thou wast at twelve a gamester, and since that,

46

Studied all kinds of females, from the night-trader

I' the street, with certain danger to thy pocket,

48

To the great lady in her cabinet;

That spent upon thee more in cullises,

50

To strengthen thy weak back, than would maintain

Twelve Flanders mares, and as many running horses:

52

Besides apothecaries and chirurgeons' bills,

Paid upon all occasions, and those frequent.

54

Ubald.  You talk, Ricardo, as if yet you were

56

A novice in those mysteries.

58

Ric.                                      By no means;

My doctor can assure the contrary:

60

I lose no time. I have felt the pain and pleasure,

As he that is a gamester, and plays often,

62

Must sometimes be a loser.

64

Ubald.                             Wherefore, then,

Do you envy me?

66

Ric.                    It grows not from my want,

68

Nor thy abundance; but being, as I am,

The likelier man, and of much more experience,

70

My good parts are my curses: there's no beauty,

But yields ere it be summoned; and, as nature

72

Had signed me the monopoly of maidenheads,

There's none can buy till I have made my market.

74

Satiety cloys me; as I live, I would part with

Half my estate, nay, travel o'er the world,

76

To find that only phoenix in my search,

That could hold out against me.

78

Ubald.                                      Be not rapt so;

80

You may spare that labour. As she is a woman,

What think you of the queen?

82

Ric.                                      I dare not aim at

84

The petticoat royal, that is still excepted:

Yet, were she not my king's, being the abstract

86

Of all that's rare, or to be wished in woman,

To write her in my catalogue, having enjoyed her,

88

I would venture my neck to a halter − but we talk of

Impossibilities: as she hath a beauty

90

Would make old Nestor young; such majesty

Draws forth a sword of terror to defend it,

92

As would fright Paris, though the queen of love

Vowed her best furtherance to him.

94

Ubald.                                          Have you observed

96

The gravity of her language, mixed with sweetness?

98

Ric.  Then at what distance she reserves herself

When the king himself makes his approaches to her.

100

Ubald.  As she were still a virgin, and his life

102

But one continued wooing.

104

Ric.                                   She well knows

Her worth, and values it.

106

Ubald.                           And so far the king is

108

Indulgent to her humours, that he forbears

The duty of a husband, but when she calls for't.

110

Ric.  All his imaginatiöns and thoughts

112

Are buried in her; the loud noise of war

Cannot awake him.

114

Ubald.                  At this very instant,

116

When both his life and crown are at the stake,

He only studies her content, and when

118

She's pleased to shew herself, music and masques

Are with all care and cost provided for her.

120

Ric.  This night she promised to appear.

122

Ubald.                                                  You may

124

Believe it by the diligence of the king,

As if he were her harbinger.

126

[Enter Ladislaus, Eubulus,

128

and Attendants with perfumes.]

130

Ladis.                                 These rooms

Are not perfumed, as we directed.

132

Eubu.                                         Not, sir!

134

I know not what you would have; I am sure the smoke

Cost treble the price of the whole week's provision

136

Spent in your majesty's kitchens.

138

Ladis.                                         How I scorn

Thy gross comparison! When my Honoria,

140

The amazement of the present time, and envy

Of all succeeding ages, does descend

142

To sanctify a place, and in her presence

Makes it a temple to me, can I be

144

Too curious, much less prodigal, to receive her?

But that the splendour of her beams of beauty

146

Hath struck thee blind −

148

Eubu.                         As dotage hath done you.

150

Ladis.  Dotage? O blasphemy! is it in me

To serve her to her merit? Is she not

152

The daughter of a king?

154

Eubu.                          And you the son

Of ours, I take it; by what privilege else

156

Do you reign over us? for my part, I know not

Where the disparity lies.

158

Ladis.                           Her birth, old man,

160

(Old in the kingdom's service, which protects thee),

Is the least grace in her: and though her beauties

162

Might make the Thunderer a rival for her,

They are but superficial ornaments,

164

And faintly speak her: from her heavenly mind,

Were all antiquity and fiction lost,

166

Our modern poets could not, in their fancy,

But fashion a Minerva far transcending

168

The imagined one whom Homer only dreamt of.

But then add this, she's mine, mine, Eubulus!

170

And though she knows one glance from her fair eyes

Must make all gazers her idolaters,

172

She is so sparing of their influence,

That, to shun superstitiön in others,

174

She shoots her powerful beams only at me.

And can I, then, whom she desires to hold

176

Her kingly captive above all the world,

Whose natiöns and empires, if she pleased,

178

She might command as slaves, but gladly pay

The humble tribute of my love and service,

180

Nay, if I said of adoration, to her,

I did not err?

182

Eubu.       Well, since you hug your fetters,

184

In Love's name wear them! You are a king, and that

Concludes you wise, your will, a powerful reason:

186

Which we, that are foolish subjects, must not argue.

And what in a mean man I should call folly,

188

Is in your majesty remarkable wisdom:

But for me, I subscribe.

190

Ladis.                          Do, and look up,

192

Upon this wonder.

194

Loud music.

Enter Honoria in state under a Canopy;

196

her train borne up by Sylvia and Acanthe.

198

Ric.                    Wonder! It is more, sir.

200

Ubald.  A rapture, an astonishment.

202

Ric.                                              What think you, sir?

204

Eubu.  As the king thinks; that is the surest guard

We courtiers ever lie at. Was prince ever

206

So drowned in dotage? Without spectacles

I can see a handsome woman, and she is so:

208

But yet to admiration look not on her.

Heaven, how he fawns! and, as it were his duty,

210

With what assurèd gravity she receives it!

Her hand again! O she at length vouchsafes

212

Her lip, and as he had sucked nectar from it,

How he's exalted! Women in their natures

214

Affect command; but this humility

In a husband and a king marks her the way

216

To absolute tyranny.

218

[The king seats her on his throne.]

220

                              So! Juno's placed

In Jove's tribunal: and, like Mercury,

222

(Forgetting his own greatness), he attends

For her employments. She prepares to speak;

224

What oracles shall we hear now?

226

Hon.                                        That you please, sir,

With such assurances of love and favour,

228

To grace your handmaid, but in being yours, sir,

A matchless queen, and one that knows herself so,

230

Binds me in retribution to deserve

The grace conferred upon me.

232

Ladis.                                    You transcend

234

In all things excellent: and it is my glory,

Your worth weighed truly, to depose myself

236

From absolute command, surrendering up

My will and faculties to your disposure:

238

And here I vow, not for a day or year,

But my whole life, which I wish long to serve you,

240

That whatsoever I in justice may

Exact from these my subjects, you from me

242

May boldly challenge: and when you require it,

In sign of my subjection, as your vassal,

244

Thus I will pay my homage.

246

Hon.                                   O forbear, sir!

Let not my lips envy my robe; on them

248

Print your allegiance often: I desire

No other fealty.

250

Ladis.             Gracious sovereign!

252

Boundless in bounty!

254

Eubu.                       Is not here fine fooling!

He's, questionless, bewitched. Would I were gelt,

256

So that would disenchant him! though I forfeit

My life for't, I must speak. − By your good leave, sir –

258

I have no suit to you, nor can you grant one,

Having no power: you are like me, a subject,

260

Her more than serene majesty being present.

And I must tell you, 'tis ill manners in you,

262

Having deposed yourself, to keep your hat on,

And not stand bare, as we do, being no king,

264

But a fellow-subject with us. − Gentlemen ushers,

It does belong to your place, see it reformed;

266

He has given away his crown, and cannot challenge

The privilege of his bonnet.

268

Ladis.                                 Do not tempt me.

270

Eubu. Tempt you! in what? in following your example?

272

If you are angry, question me hereafter,

As Ladislaus should do Eubulus,

274

On equal terms. You were of late my sovereign,

But weary of it, I now bend my knee

276

To her divinity, and desire a boon

From her more than magnificence.

278

Hon.                                             Take it freely. −

280

Nay, be not moved; for our mirth's sake let us hear him.

282

Eubu.  'Tis but to ask a question: Have you ne'er read

The story of Semiramis and Ninus?

284

Hon.  Not as I remember.

286

Eubu.                            I will then instruct you,

288

And 'tis to the purpose: this Ninus was a king,

And such an impotent loving king as this was,

290

But now he's none; this Ninus (pray you observe me)

Doted on this Semiramis, a smith's wife

292

(I must confess, there the comparison holds not,

You are a king's daughter, yet, under your correction,

294

Like her, a woman); this Assyrian monarch,

Of whom this is a pattern, to express

296

His love and service, seated her, as you are,

In his regal throne, and bound by oath his nobles,

298

Forgetting all allegiance to himself,

One day to be her subjects, and to put

300

In executiön whatever she

Pleased to impose upon them: − pray you command him

302

To minister the like to us, and then

You shall hear what followed.

304

Ladis.                                    Well, sir, to your story.

306

Eubu.  You have no warrant, stand by; let me know

308

Your pleasure, goddess.

310

Hon.                             Let this nod assure you.

312

Eubu.  Goddess-like, indeed! as I live, a pretty idol!

She knowing her power, wisely made use of it;

314

And fearing his inconstancy, and repentance

Of what he had granted (as, in reason, madam,

316

You may do his), that he might never have

Power to recall his grant, or question her

318

For her short government, instantly gave order

To have his head struck off.

320

Ladis.                                  Is't possible?

322

Eubu.  The story says so, and commends her wisdom

324

For making use of her authority.

And it is worth your imitation, madam:

326

He loves subjection, and you are no queen,

Unless you make him feel the weight of it.

328

You are more than all the world to him, and that

He may be so to you, and not seek change

330

When his delights are sated, mew him up

In some close prison (if you let him live,

332

Which is no policy), and there diet him

As you think fit, to feed your appetite;

334

Since there ends his ambition.

336

Ubald.                                   Devilish counsel!

338

Ric.  The king's amazed.

340

Ubald.                         The queen appears, too, full

Of deep imaginations; Eubulus

342

Hath put both to it.

344

Ric.                      Now she seems resolved:

I long to know the issue.

346

[Honoria descends from the throne.]

348

Hon.                             Give me leave,

350

Dear sir, to reprehend you for appearing

Perplexed with what this old man, out of envy

352

Of your unequal graces, showered upon me,

Hath, in his fabulous story, saucily

354

Applied to me. Sir, that you only nourish

One doubt Honoria dares abuse the power

356

With which she is invested by your favour;

Or that she ever can make use of it

358

To the injury of you, the great bestower,

Takes from your judgment. It was your delight

360

To seek to me with more obsequiousness

Than I desired: and stood it with my duty

362

Not to receive what you were pleased to offer?

I do but act the part you put upon me,

364

And though you make me personate a queen,

And you my subject, when the play, your pleasure,

366

Is at a period, I am what I was

Before I entered, still your humble wife,

368

And you my royal sovereign.

370

Ric.                                      Admirable!

372

Hon.  I have heard of captains taken more with dangers

Than the rewards; and if, in your approaches

374

To those delights which are your own, and freely,

To heighten your desire, you make the passage

376

Narrow and difficult, shall I prescribe you,

Or blame your fondness? or can that swell me

378

Beyond my just proportion?

380

Ubald.                              Above wonder!

382

Ladis.  Heaven make me thankful for such goodness.

384

Hon.                                                             Now, sir,

The state I took to satisfy your pleasure,

386

I change to this humility; and the oath

You made to me of homage, I thus cancel,

388

And seat you in your own.

390

[Leads the king to the throne.]

392

Ladis.                               I am transported

Beyond myself.

394

Hon.               And now, to your wise lordship:

396

Am I proved a Semiramis? or hath

My Ninus, as maliciously you made him,

398

Cause to repent the excess of favour to me,

Which you call dotage?

400

Ladis.                         Answer, wretch!

402

Eubu.                                                  I dare, sir,

404

And say, however the event may plead

In your defence, you had a guilty cause;

406

Nor was it wisdom in you, I repeat it,

To teach a lady, humble in herself,

408

With the ridiculous dotage of a lover,

To be ambitious.

410

Hon.                  Eubulus, I am so;

412

Tis rooted in me; you mistake my temper.

I do profess myself to be the most

414

Ambitious of my sex, but not to hold

Command over my lord; such a proud torrent

416

Would sink me in my wishes: not that I

Am ignorant how much I can deserve,

418

And may with justice challenge.

420

Eubu.  [Aside]                          This I looked for;

After this seeming humble ebb, I knew

422

A gushing tide would follow.

424

Hon.                                     By my birth,

And liberal gifts of nature, as of fortune,

426

From you, as things beneath me, I expect

What's due to majesty, in which I am

428

A sharer with your sovereign.

430

Eubu.                                    Good again!

432

Hon.  And as I am most eminent in place,

In all my actiöns I would appear so.

434

Ladis.  You need not fear a rival.

436

Hon.                                           I hope not;

438

And till I find one, I disdain to know

What envy is.

440

Ladis.          You are above it, madam.

442

Hon.  For beauty without art, discourse, and free

444

From affectation, with what graces else

Can in the wife and daughter of a king

446

Be wished, I dare prefer myself, as −

448

Eubu.                                              I

Blush for you, lady. Trumpet your own praises!

450

This spoken by the people had been heard

With honour to you. Does the court afford

452

No oil-tongued parasite, that you are forced

To be your own gross flatterer?

454

Ladis.                                      Be dumb,

456

Thou spirit of contradictiön!

458

Hon.                                   The wolf

But barks against the moon, and I contemn it.

460

[A horn sounded within.]

462

The masque you promised?

464

Ladis.                                 Let them enter.

466

Enter a Post.

468

                                                                  How!

470

Eubu.  Here's one, I fear, unlooked for.

472

Ladis.                                                From the camp?

474

Post.   The general, victorious in your fortune,

476

Kisses your hand in this, sir.

478

[Delivers a letter.]

480

Ladis.                                 That great Power,

Who at his pleasure does dispose of battailes,

482

Be ever praised for't! Read, sweet, and partake it:

The Turk is vanquished, and with little loss

484

Upon our part, in which our joy is doubled.

486

Eubu. But let it not exalt you; bear it, sir,

With moderation, and pay what you owe for't.

488

Ladis. I understand thee, Eubulus. − I'll not now

490

Enquire particulars. −

492

[Exit Post.]

494

                                − Our delights deferred,

With reverence to the temples; there we'll tender

496

Our souls' devotiöns to His dread might,

Who edged our swords, and taught us how to fight.

498

[Exeunt.]

ACT II.

SCENE I.

Bohemia.

A Room in Mathias' House.

Enter Hilario and Corisca.

1

Hil.  You like my speech?

2

Coris.                             Yes, if you give it action

4

In the delivery.

6

Hil.                 If! I pity you.

I have played the fool before; this is not the first time,

8

Nor shall be, I hope, the last.

10

Coris.                                  Nay, I think so too.

12

Hil.  And if I put her not out of her dumps with laughter,

I'll make her howl for anger.

14

Coris.                                  Not too much

16

Of that, good fellow Hilario: our sad lady

Hath drank too often of that bitter cup;

18

A pleasant one must restore her. With what patience

Would she endure to hear of the death of my lord;

20

That, merely out of doubt he may miscarry,

Afflicts herself thus?

22

Hil.                        Umph! 'tis a question

24

A widow only can resolve. There be some

That in their husbands’ sicknesses have wept

26

Their pottle of tears a day; but being once certain

At midnight he was dead, have in the morning

28

Dried up their handkerchiefs, and thought no more on't.

30

Coris.  Tush, she is none of that race; if her sorrow

Be not true and perfit, I, against my sex,

32

Will take my oath woman ne'er wept in earnest.

She has made herself a prisoner to her chamber,

34

Dark as a dungeon, in which no beam

Of comfort enters. She admits no visits;

36

Eats little, and her nightly music is

Of sighs and groans, tuned to such harmony

38

Of feeling grief, that I, against my nature,

Am made one of the consort. This hour only

40

She takes the air, a custom every day

She solemnly observes, with greedy hopes,

42

From some that pass by, to receive assurance

Of the success and safety of her lord.

44

Now, if that your device will take −

46

Hil.                                              Ne'er fear it:

I am provided cap-à-pe, and have

48

My properties in readiness.

50

Soph.  [within]                 Bring my veil, there.

52

Coris.  Be gone, I hear her coming.

54

Hil.                                                If I do not

Appear, and, what's more, appear perfit, hiss me.

56

[Exit Hilario.]

58

Enter Sophia.

60

Soph.  I was flattered once, I was a star, but now 

62

Turned a prodigious meteor, and, like one,

Hang in the air between my hopes and fears;

64

And every hour, the little stuff burnt out

That yields a waning light to dying comfort,

66

I do expect my fall, and certain ruin.

In wretched things more wretched is delay;

68

And Hope, a parasite to me, being unmasked,

Appears more horrid than Despair, and my

70

Distraction worse than madness. Even my prayers,

When with most zeal sent upward, are pulled down

72

With strong imaginary doubts and fears,

And in their sudden precipice o'erwhelm me.

74

Dreams and fantastic visions walk the round

About my widowed bed, and every slumber's

76

Broken with loud alarms: can these be then

But sad presages, girl?

78

Coris.                       You make them so,

80

And antedate a loss shall ne'er fall on you.

Such pure affectiön, such mutual love,

82

A bed, and undefiled on either part,

A house without contention, in two bodies

84

One will and soul, like to the rod of concord,

Kissing each other, cannot be short-lived,

86

Or end in barrenness. − If all these, dear madam,

(Sweet in your sadness,) should produce no fruit,

88

Or leave the age no models of yourselves,

To witness to posterity what you were;

90

Succeeding times, frighted with the example,

But hearing of your story, would instruct

92

Their fairest issue to meet sensually,

Like other creatures, and forbear to raise

94

True Love, or Hymen, altars.

96

Soph.                                    O Corisca,

I know thy reasons are like to thy wishes;

98

And they are built upon a weak foundation,

To raise me comfort. Ten long days are past,

100

Ten long days, my Corisca, since my lord

Embarked himself upon a sea of danger,

102

In his dear care of me. And if his life

Had not been shipwracked on the rock of war,

104

His tenderness of me (knowing how much

I languish for his absence) had provided

106

Some trusty friend, from whom I might receive

Assurance of his safety.

108

Coris.                           Ill news, madam,

110

Are swallow-winged, but what's good walks on crutches:

With patiënce expect it, and, ere long,

112

No doubt you shall hear from him.

114

[A sowgelder's horn without.]

116

Soph.                                             Ha! What's that?

118

Coris.  [Aside]

The fool has got a sowgelder's horn. − A post,

120

As I take it, madam.

122

Soph.                     It makes this way still;

Nearer and nearer.

124

Coris.                    From the camp, I hope.

126

Enter a Post, with a horn;

128

followed by Hilario, in antic armour,

with long white hair and beard.

130

Soph.  The messenger appears, and in strange armour,

132

Heaven! if it be thy will −

134

Hil.                                It is no boot

To strive; our horses tired, let's walk on foot:

136

And that the castle, which is very near us,

To give us entertainment, may soon hear us,