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How much we fight with weakness to preserve thee!
[Walks aside. Enter BASSANES and GRAUSIS. Bass. Fie on thee, rotten maggot! Sleep! sleep at court! and now ! Aches, convul.
sions, Imposthumes, rheums, gouts, palsies, clog thy bones A dozen years more yet!
Grau. Now you are in humours.
Bass. She’s by herself, there's hope of that; she's
She's in strong contemplation; yes, and fix'd:
The signs are wholesome.
Grau. Very wholesome, truly.
Bass. Hold your chops, nightmare!-Lady, come; Is carried to his closet; you must thither.
Pen. Not well, my lord ?
Bass. A sudden fit, 't will off;
Some surfeit or disorder.—How dost, dearest?
Pen. Your news is none o'th' best.
Pro. The chief of men,
The excellentest Ithocles, desires
Your presence, madam.
Bass. We are hasting to him.
Pen. In vain we labour in this course of life To piece our journey out at length, or crave Respite of breath; our home is in the grave.
Bass. Perfect philosophy!
Pen. Then let us care
To live so, that our reckonings may fall even,
When we're to make account.
Pro. He cannot fear
Who builds on noble grounds ; sickness or pain
Is the deserver's exercise; and such
Your virtuous brother to the world is known.
Speak comfort to him, lady, be all gentle;
Stars fall but in the grossness of our sight,
A good man dying, th' earth doth lose a light.
The Study of TECNICUS. Enter TECNICUS, and Orgilus in his usual dress.
Tec. Be well advised; let not a resolution Of giddy rashness choke the breath of reason.
Org. It shall not, most sage master.
Tec. I am jealous ;'
For if the borrow'd shape so late put on
Inferr'd a consequence, we must conclude
Some violent design of sudden nature
Hath shook that shadow off, to fly upon
A new-hatch'd execution. Orgilus,
Take heed thou hast not, under our integrity,
Shrouded unlawful plots : our mortal eyes
Pierce not the secrets of your heart; the gods
Are only privy to them.
Org. Learned Tecnicus,
Such doubts are causeless; and, to clear the truth
From misconceit,--the present state commands me.
The prince of Argos comes himself in person
In quest of great Calantha for his bride,
Our kingdom's heir; besides, mine only sister,
Euphranea, is disposed to Prophilus :
Lastly, the king is sending letters for me
To Athens, for my quick repair to court;
Please to accept these reasons.
Tec. Just ones, Orgilus,
Not to be contradicted: yet, beware
Of an unsure foundation; no fair colours
1 I am jealous,] i.e. I am fearful, suspicious of it.-GIFFORD
Can fortify a building faintly jointed.
I have observ'd a growth in thy aspect
Of dangerous extent, sudden, ånd--look to 't-
I might add, certain-
Org. My aspèct! could art
Run through mine inmost thoughts, it should not
An inclination there, more than what suited
With justice of mine honour.
Tec. I believe it.
But know then, Orgilus, what honour is :
Honour consists not in a bare opinion
By doing any act that feeds content,
Brave in appearance, 'cause we think it brave;
Such honour comes by accident, not nature,
Proceeding from the vices of our passion,
Which makes our reason drunk: but real honour
Is the reward of virtue, and acquired
By justice, or by valour, which, for bases,
Hath justice to uphold it. He then fails
In honour, who, for lucre or revenge,
Commits thefts, murther, treasons, and adulteries,
With such like, by intrenching on just laws,
Whose sovereignty is best preserv'd by Justice.
Thus, as you see how honour must be grounded
On knowledge, not opinion (for opinion
Relies on probability and accident,
But knowledge on necessity and truth),
I leave thee to the fit consideration
Of what becomes the grace of real honour,
success to all thy virtuous meanings. Org. The gods increase thy wisdom, reverend
oracle, And in thy precepts make me ever thrifty ! [Exit.
Tec. I thank thy wish.—Much mystery of fate
Lies hid in that man's fortunes; curiosity
May lead his actions into rare attempts :-
But let the gods be moderators still;
No human power can prevent their will.
Enter ARMOSTES, with a casket. From whence come you?
Arm. From king Amyclas,-pardon My interruption of your studies.—Here, In this seal'd box, he sends a treasure [to you), Dear to him as his crown; he prays your gravity, You would examine, ponder, sift, and bolt The pith and circumstance of every tittle "The scroll within contains.
Tec. What is 't, Armostes ?
Arm. It is the health of Sparta, the king's life,
Sinews and safety of the commonwealth;
The sum of what the oracle deliver'd,
When last he visited the prophetic temple
At Delphos: what his reasons are, for which,
After so long a silence, he requires
Your counsel now, grave man, his majesty
Will soon himself acquaint you with.
[He takes the casket. Inspire my intellect !—The prince of Argos Is entertain'd?
Arm. He is; and has demanded
Our princess for his wife; which I conceive
One special cause the king importunes you
For resolution of the oracle.
Tec. My duty to the king, good peace to Sparta,
And fair day to Armostes !
Arm. Like to Tecnicus.
A Room in ITHOCLES's House.
Soft music.-A Song within, during which PROPHILUS, BASSANES, PENTHEA, and GRAUSIS pass over the
Stage. BASSANES and GRAUSIS re-enter softly, and listen in different places.
Can you paint a thought? or number
Every funcy in a slumber?
Can you count soft minutes roving
From a dial's point by moving?
Can you grasp a sigh? or, lastly,
Rob a virgin's honour chastly?
No, oh no! yet you may
Sooner do both that and this,
This and that, and never miss,
Than by any praise display
Beauty's beauty; such a glory,
As beyond all fate, all story,
arins, all arts,
All loves, all hearts,
Greater than those, or they,
Do, shall, and must, obey.
Bass. All silent, calm, secure.Grausis, dost [thou] hear nothing?
Grau. Not a mouse, Or whisper of the wind.
Bass. Soldiers Should not affect, methinks, strains so effeminate; Sounds of such delicacy are but fawnings Upon the sloth of luxury. Grau. What do you mean, my lord ?-speak low;
Of yours will but undo us.
Pro. [within.] He wakes.
Bass. What's that?
Ith. [within.] Who's there?
Sister?-All quit the room else.
Bass. 'Tis consented!
Enter PROPHILUS. Pro. Lord Bassanes, your brother would be private,